7 Reasons To LOVE The Wonderful MTA

7 Reasons To LOVE The Wonderful MTA

You know I do!
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here's something wonderfully expensive about living in New York. But, as they say, you get what you pay for. Access to some of the world's best schools, best museums, and best restaurants, it's no wonder the sales tax is close to 10%! It's also no wonder, then, that the cost of a MetroCard swipe keeps rising, what with all the wonderful new improvements being made to the system at the cost of millions of nearly-three dollar charges made daily. It's not inflation boys and girls, it's just evident in the wonderful services they provide in the most efficient and pleasant manner. So here I have compiled a list of 7 reasons that I love the MTA, and you should too!

1. They Always Come At The Right Time

If it's a challenge you want, then it's a challenge you'll get. If you're like me and you make three transfers before arriving at your destination (EVERY MORNING), you probably also really appreciate how it's almost as if the MTA times it so that even though the train you're getting off of and the train you're getting onto are often being ridden by the same group of people, neither will give any consideration to how efficient your transfer could be but won't be. Did that train just ride away with two people in it as a swarm of 200 frustrated commuters came running towards it? Ah, yes.

2. The Train Conductors Are Always Super Informative

Nothing like hearing someone screaming into a microphone at 8:45 in the morning, only to find out that

Blarhcks Onclvuuvod Werspekcfs Qoivcaldjd

Actually translates to

This train will not be stopping at 51st street. Please enjoy your morning

Which would make sense, seeing as how you just skid right by your 2nd connection on your commute.

3. They're Always Assigning MTA Employees/Officers to the Right Tasks

I once watched a grown man in a business suit nearly push a pregnant woman down a flight of stairs to make his train. I once witnessed a woman pull a child by her hair to get her onto their train. I was once stuck for several minutes in an MTA turnstile because my bag was caught and I couldn't get it off. The MTA employee was looking at something interesting that was happening somewhere in the phone-region of her tiny box, so I guess she was busy. Also, last week I was given a $100 fine for allowing my friend to swipe through with me because, you guessed it, their card machine was not running. On either side of the station. At three in the morning. But no, please, I deserve it, the mothers pulling their children by the hair are much more worthy of a free pass.

4. Also, They Are Always The Friendliest!

"Ma'am, can I use this reader to check my balance?"

"Ma'am, can I use this?"

"Ma'am?"

((swipes card))

Woman In Booth: EXCUSE ME, may I help you?

((me, struggling to get to a train that pulled in too far into the station))

((me, running with a pack of men and women hoping to board the only train for the next 13 minutes))

((me, making it to the door, but getting closed out))

((conductor, watching me struggle to get my bag out of the door, smiling))

5. Signal Problems? NEVER!

Signal Problems: clearly not what your swipe money is going towards fixing. I don't even know what a signal problem implies, but all I know is that the MTA is sending out mixed signals like an estranged Tinder hookup.

6. The Cost Is WORTH IT

There's nothing like stepping onto the morning train and finding out it smells like burning metal, or body odor, or both! There's nothing like forcing yourself onto an over-capacity car because, well honey, it's that or you're late for class. Furthermore, there's nothing like realizing that MOST OTHER MAJOR CITIES PAY CONSIDERABLY LESS FOR THEIR RAILWAY SYSTEMS, well, if they're not FREE. Most other major cities also have considerably fewer people relying on their systems because they have cars as well, and they account for this. Somedays, your everyday train has decided not to run, which would be fine if the bus wasn't 26 minutes away and your car wasn't nonexistent.

7. It's Not Their Fault If You're Late

In fact, it's not the MTA's fault if they're not providing effective alternative services, or if they decide to fix something that should have been fixed years ago, intermittently, all at once as to provide no service for anyone as opposed to limited service for all. It's not their fault the train is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's not their fault they're writing students up for hopping turnstiles, when there are people hopping metaphorical turnstiles in big business and in turn actually MAKING MONEY. By that I mean, the people in charge of the MTA whose pockets I fill with cash every time I cough over $32 for a weekly subway pass.

The bureaucracy of New York transportation works the way that all things in New York do: just enough to keep people from leaving. And so, here I am, eternally grateful for the services of those services that work just enough to keep me in class and at work.

Cover Image Credit: Antonio DiCaterina / Unsplash

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.
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I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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Last Time I Checked Asylum Is Not Illegal, Mr. President

Turning away these people is fundamentally unAmerican, unjust, and utterly wrong.

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Trump states that we will not allow anyone into our country that is not here legally. That if they want to come and be a part of our "great" nation they need to do it the right way. He claims these people are an invasion. The caravan of Central American migrants who are coming to seek asylum is, in fact, doing it the right way according to our laws regarding asylum seeking. So why are they being tear gassed?

US officers fire teargas at migrant caravan www.youtube.com


What are the current laws? According to the AIC (American Immigration Council) the definition of a refugee is as follows, "a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." Congress decided to incorporate this definition in the Refugee Act of 1980 and is now a part of US immigration law. According to the 1967 Protocol, and U.S. immigration law, the United States has legal obligations to provide protection to those who qualify as refugees.

Our laws indicate there are two paths to obtain refugee status. Either abroad as a resettled refugee or in the United States as what the caravan is attempting to do, as asylum seekers. As the AIC puts it this can be done by "the affirmative process and the defensive process. Asylum seekers who arrive at a U.S. port of entry or enter the United States without inspection generally must apply through the asylum process. Both processes require the asylum seeker to be physically present in the United States."

The difference between the two processes is the current status of removal proceedings. If you are not yet in removal proceeding you can apply via affirmative but "If the USCIS asylum officer does not grant the asylum application and the applicant does not have a lawful immigration status, he or she is referred to the immigration court for removal proceedings," where the asylum seeker can request for asylum through the defensive process. So basically once you are being threatened for removal you can go through the defensive process and if you apply through the affirmative process you are likely to also have to apply through the defensive process.

After filing for the process (which can and likely will take years) an asylum seeker must prove that he or she meets the definition of a refugee with or without counsel. Often providing substantial evidence throughout the processes demonstrating either past persecution or that they have a "well-founded fear" of future persecution in their home country, the individual's own testimony is critical to this determination. Certain factors can legally bar individuals from asylum. With limited exceptions, individuals who fail to apply for asylum within the one-year time limit of entering the United States and those who are found to pose a danger to the United States will be barred from receiving asylum.

The caravan person so far has yet to meet either reason for banning. So, therefore, these people who are in fact seeking asylum are attempting to follow our laws and areas such being violently and wrongfully treated by our own government for trying to follow a tricky confusing set of laws.

"Poor, miserable people, families, mothers, children, fleeing from terror and repression, for which we are responsible, and in reaction, they're sending thousands of troops to the border. The troops being sent to the border outnumber the children who are fleeing," says Noam Chomsky, a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, political scientist, and social critic. The reason is that they are fleeing from persecution, poverty, and violence in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The as of 2015 in Honduras was 60 per 100,000 which decreased only by a little and then El Salvador nearby increased to 100 per 100,000 people. Making El Salvador the most deadly country outside of a war zone this is due to gang-related violence which in percentage the homicide rate was 103 per hundred thousand only falling by thirty percent since 2015.

Their countries, which form a region known as the Northern Triangle, or "Troika of tyranny" were rocked by civil wars in the 1980s, leaving legacies of violence, poverty, fragile institutions, military coups, etc. In a 2015 investigation founded by La Presena, a local newspaper reported that Salvadorans and Hondurans pay an estimated $390 million, $200 million, and $61 million in extortion fees to organized crime groups. Which many of the asylum seekers have claimed as a dominant reason for leaving along with the fear of their children grow up with the pressure to join or be killed.

As many fear, and rightfully so as the report claims many attacks are on people who do not pay contribute to the violence. Meaning that the choice is to continue feed into the violence and anarchy, stay and likely be murdered, see your children fall into these organizations, or take a chance and flee. Once you flee, you cannot go back.

In short, there is a legal obligation to hear asylum claims from migrants who have arrived in the United States if they say they fear violence in their home countries. If an asylum seeker enters the US illegally, they are still entitled to a hearing of their claims. These people have rights even though they are not from our country. They are human. Scared and fearful for their lives and the lives of their families they have come to us, seeking hope and safety, greeting by their hope tear gassing them and saying hello with military force. This is wrong. It is not American justice and rightfulness. Let's fix it now.

c1.staticflickr.com

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