The Artwork of Jeffrey Johnson

Jeffrey T. Johnson, the designer who killed a former colleague near the Empire State Building on Friday, had a YouTube channel dedicated to showcasing the illustrations on his Web site, St. Jolly’s Art, most of which depict cars, motorcycles, women and combinations thereof.

Here is a selection of videos from his channel.

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How to Educate Voters About the Free Markets

As the fall elections approach, the campaign season really begins now.  Voters will begin seeing and hearing ads and speeches from candidates and PAC’s (political action committees) who are not known for telling voters the truth-whether it’s on the candidate’s voting record, things the candidate has said in his or her past, publicly or privately, things the candidate has done in his or her own past, or even on the issues themselves and why they matter. The odds of getting the full truth about the candidates and issues this fall are as likely as seeing the Washington Redskins or Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl this year-you can wish for it all you like, and sure MAAAYBE it will happen, but the chances are, you aren’t going to get what you hope for (not a hater- I’m just being realistic based on past history).

The Caesar Rodney Institute was founded four years ago to change the way people think about certain issues. Unlike political candidates, we aren’t there to collect votes; we provide our information free of charge. We do not publish anything unless we are absolutely sure the data has been independently verified for accuracy. We do not try to scare you into hysterical actions with no thought; we invite all to read the blogs, read our editorials and research studies, and participate with us in teaching the public about the principles which made America great: the freedom of choice in life: choice in where to live, what occupation to have, choice in what to say, who to donate to, or anything else which makes you happy and prosperous. Everyone is welcome to agree or disagree with CRI’s findings, we are about freedom of speech and ideas.

This is the key part of the blog post today: how to teach the free-market system to those who have been deluded by “progressive regressives” (they call themselves progressives but what they really want is a monarchical czar-like system where bureaucrats make all the decisions for us peons-something that went out of style decades ago) into believing the government is their friend. That these eeeevil corporations and businesses just  want to “get you” because of their greed-and only the “big brother” government can “protect your rights” from these evil people who just want to get you. As if the government is never greedy or doesn’t have enough power already.
They also demonize anyone who believes as we do that the government should return to its original intent as specified by the Constitution-both the US Constitution and the Delaware Constitution.

So your job, not only this fall but always, is to educate the public about why free-market philosophies work. Here are some tricks to try at home with friends, family, classmates, neighbors, co-workers, employees, employers, etc.:

1. Give them a bag full of random goodies. Ask them if they are happy with what they have. Now offer them items you are sure they desire more than what was in that bag-this is the essence of free trade: the freedom to obtain things of value to you and for them to obtain things of value to them. Why? Value is subjective. I value a bag of Kit-Kats more than I value a bag of York Peppermint Patties. If I had the patties, I’d be less happy, and maybe someone who doesn’t like Kit-Kats, or who can’t eat chocolate/candy, will also be unhappy. Under the Statist system pushed by these “regressive”,  the government determines the value of goods., regardless of whether you want those services or not .This is called “price control”. You see this in monopolies all the time-it’s the reason  why when purchasing you have to purchase the cable digital box with over 200 channels, even if you only want 10 of them, all for a very high price: in the absence of competition, there is no incentive for the provider to do a good job. Not happy with your electric bill from your utility company, or your local government agency? Too bad. They have a monopoly, and they can do what they want.

2. Explain to people the dangers of being in debt. Ask people what their credit card statements look like. Then ask what will happen if they never pay off the full amount, or if they fail to pay at all, what will happen to them. You know the answer: the credit card companies will eventually come after them, deny those people who spend unwisely more credit, and the credit card company can repossess your items to pay for the debt. Now ask these people if they really think the US and Delaware can continue being in debt with no consequence. “Taxing the rich” doesn’t work because even if you take 100% of the money from the top 5% of people, you can’t pay down your debts and continue to spend unwisely. And if they really think there are no consequences for overspending in the government-see what is happening to Greece, Spain, Italy, and California.

2. When you hear someone tell you that more government spending is the key to fixing the economy,Give a person three one-dollar bills and then pull out a dollar bill. Then ask for one of your dollars back. Ask that person if both of you are wealthier because the wealth was “redistributed”. Assuming they say no, but insist the government is still wonderful, ask them how the government gets its money. All government bodies get it in three ways: raising taxes (taking money from one person to give to another), borrowing (say from China or some other entity which does not operate in the best interests of America or Delaware), or in the case of the Federal Government, printing it (causing inflation). The government cannot create wealth because it doesn’t create value: all it does is provide for some services that the private sector could not, or should not, do (examples: military, coin tender, act as an arbitrator for legal disagreements). Stimulus fails because all it does is take money from one group to give to another; explain to your neighbors that for one group to benefit, say solar companies, that means someone else ( a bakery for example) has to pay more in taxes and thus cannot hire more people or expand services. Redistribution of the wealth, via higher taxes and fees, does not “stimulate” the economy, because it is impossible: wealth was merely transferred, not created.

3. If you hear someone talk about the benefits of providing “access” to health care for more people, and how healthcare is “going to be better now”, tell them they have ten seconds to count to ten. Then, tell them to count to ten and write their name ten times on a piece of paper in ten seconds. Then, tell them to count to ten, write their names on a piece of paper ten times, and also separate a bag of M & M’s (or Skittles or whatever you like) by color. All in ten seconds. When they inevitably complain this is impossible, ask them how they can expect doctors to treat more patients and do more tasks without an increase in the numb The ACA will add 30 million people who currently don’t have health insurance to the system, and promise them it’s “free”. For example, many people have been told they now have a “free” annual checkup. Think about how long you sit in the doctor’s office now. Now imagine say 200 more people trying to see your same doctor. You think it will be faster? You think the doctor will do just as good a job as he did before he had to take on more patients? This has to be communicated to patients. Also, doctors typically spend 2-3 hours a day on paperwork. Just wait until they have more patients to take care of!

To be fair, we are not saying every provision of the bill is bad: for people with pre-existing conditions who were unable to buy insurance, or for young people (such as myself) who cannot afford an ever-expensive health care policy, being able to have those things is nice. Also, for some people, access to certain types of care would be less restricted under the new bill. But the negative aspects of this bill outweigh the good that comes with it.

Try these exercises out, or come up with your own. What matters is that people understand the principles of why the  free-markets matter. Any problem we have, healthcare, education, energy, economic, social-ALL can be fixed with the principles of the free markets. Over the coming months CRI will be educating the public about these principles and how to teach others them. By ourselves, we cannot get this job done: with all of you, we can change people’s minds and lives for the better.

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Board Considering Landmark Status for Rainbow Room Said ‘No’ Once Before

This isn’t exactly déjà vu all over again, but it is probably worth nothing that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission — which last week took the first step toward designating the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center an interior landmark — has said no to the idea before.

That was in 1998, according to the commission’s files. The commission’s director of research at the time concluded that the “current interior space was largely created by architect Hugh Hardy in 1987, interpreting the Art Deco spirit in contemporary form.”

That did not meet “the criteria for designation in regard to age,” which state that  potential landmarks must be at least 30 years old.

Time flies, but not that fast: 1987 was only 25 years ago, and the commission’s rules have not changed. But the commission now says that elements of the Rainbow Room are old  enough to make it eligible for consideration. After all, the Rainbow Room opened on Oct. 3, 1934, not quite 78 years ago.

“Our most recent evaluation involved a careful analysis of the original features and those that were restored as part of the 1980s renovation,” Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the commission, said by e-mail last week. “We determined that the historic room configuration and remaining original features meet the commission’s age requirements.”

The 1998 letter turning down the idea of landmark designation was addressed to Lee Presser, who said last week that he had had no real connection to the Rainbow Room in 1998 and did not remember seeking the designation.

“I had friends who worked at the Rainbow Room,” he said. “It’s conceivable I did it, but I don’t even remember it.”

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Bacon Scattered Before Muslim Celebration May Be Bias Crime

As the first of an estimated 1,500 Muslims began to arrive at Cpl. Allan E. Kivlehan Park in New Dorp, Staten Island, early Sunday morning to celebrateed Id al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, they discovered uncooked bacon scattered on the ground.

The New York Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible bias crime.

Muslims do not eat pork products. Pig parts have been used in other instances to taunt Muslims, according to a statement by the Council on American-Islamic Relations of New York.

The police said they did not know how much bacon had been placed on the ground. The incident was reported Sunday by the Staten Island Advance.

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A Digitally Inspired Veil, Intended to Save Lives, Appears at N.Y.U. Library

“One of New York’s most spectacular architectural experiences,” Paul Goldberger, then the architecture critic of The New York Times, wrote in 1973 about the atrium of the new Elmer Holmes Bobst Library at New York University. It was that, indeed.

Building Blocks

How the city looks and feels — and why it got that way.

It also proved to be one of the most unnerving. The thin aluminum balusters ringing the balconies of the 12-story structure seemed disquietingly insubstantial against the 150-foot-high void beyond. When seen from above, the trompe-l’oeil floor looked like a three-dimensional fantasy landscape by M. C. Escher that almost beckoned the viewer to enter. A journey through Bobst could feel precarious even on the best day.

And there were three dreadful days. On Sept. 12, 2003, John D. Skolnik, a junior, jumped to his death in the atrium. Less than a month later, on Oct. 10, so did Stephen Bohler, a freshman. Within weeks, the university installed eight-foot-high clear polycarbonate barriers along the balconies. Despite this measure, on Nov. 3, 2009, Andrew E. Williamson-Noble, a junior, also jumped to his death there.

One step the university took in response to these and other student deaths was to commission Joel Sanders Architect to reimagine the troublesome space in Bobst. Instead of trying to create an inconspicuous barrier, Mr. Sanders and his colleagues have designed randomly perforated aluminum screens that completely enclose the balconies around the perimeter of the atrium and the open staircase connecting them, transforming the space in consequence. University officials expect the renovation to be finished next month. They would not disclose the cost.

Though the panels visually isolate the enormous central volume from the surrounding stacks, reading rooms and offices, they can — in the right light — look as gauzy as theatrical scrims. They can also look like showers of gold confetti, in keeping with the late-’60s aesthetic of the building, which was designed by Philip Johnson and Richard T. Foster. But the screens are most intended to remind you of digital pixels.

“The whole idea was to come up with something sympathetic to the Philip Johnson design while being in and of today,” said Andrew T. Repoli, a director of construction management at New York University. “We didn’t want something that would have been hip 40 years ago.”

The 20-foot-tall panels weigh only about 150 pounds each, answering the university’s requirement that the barriers not place structural stress on the cantilevered balconies. The barriers also had to be transparent enough to allow daylight into the atrium and permeable enough to permit ventilation and, in emergencies, smoke purging.

The pattern extends the line of the balusters vertically with slender tines, four inches apart. Between the tines are solid rectangles or open rectangles. The proportion of open rectangles is greatest on the north side of the atrium, where daylight comes in through exterior windows overlooking Washington Square.

The composition around the atrium appears entirely random, but there are actually only 39 different patterns among the 286 panels.

SHoP Construction Services assisted in the design and engineering, Mr. Repoli said. Three-dimensional rendering software by Catia made it possible for the panel fabricators (MG McGrath of Maplewood, Minn.) to use the computer files created by the designers to cut openings in the quarter-inch aluminum.

At the moment, much of the work is hard to see. Among facets that critics may seize upon — and, this being N.Y.U., there will certainly be critics — is that the screens express technology’s new primacy, all but obscuring traditional forms of scholarship behind a cascade of random data. Critics may also discern a feeling of defeat in having to undertake such a fundamental alteration in the hope of saving students’ lives.

But in Mr. Repoli’s eyes, the architectural intervention is appropriately minimal. “You really don’t lose the visual qualities of the original atrium,” he said. “This is almost like a beautiful piece of lace that’s been stretched taut against the balcony slabs.”

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Restaurant Manager Is Shot to Death in Queens

A gunman walked up behind the manager of a restaurant in Queens on Friday night and shot him fatally in the head, the police said.

Authorities said on Saturday that the manager, Nevill Brown, 56, of Queens, was standing outside the Cozy Corner restaurant on 243rd Street in Rosedale, talking with a woman who was sitting in a parked car, when the gunman approached about 10:30 p.m.

The gunman, dressed in black, approached Mr. Brown from behind and shot him, the police said. Mr. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives were investigating on Saturday, but the police said the motive for the shooting was not immediately apparent.

“According to witnesses, there was no altercation at all,” a police official said. “He just walked up and started shooting.”

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Jailhouse Letter: Dear Judge, ‘The Staff Actually Discontinued My Fish Oil’

Judge Mary Gilbride
Saunders District Court
387 N. Chestnut Street
Wahoo, NE 68066-1869

August 9, 2012

Your Honor:

At my initial appearance on April 23rd, you directed the jail administration to treat me as someone who had had, in the previous 7 months, two heart attacks including full cardiac arrest, a double bypass and a stent put in. They took me out of a cell where I had no way of signaling if I were in distress, but since that time the nursing staff here has disregarded your directive in several respects.

I am in receipt of a list of meds from my surgeon Dr. Kantamneni and cardiologist Dr. Mnuk of St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, WI that includes melatonin. As I’ve been tormented by insomnia all of my adult life, I took melatonin on an as-needed basis before my heart attacks. The nursing staff here is defying the MDs in Madison, saying it is “not our policy to hand out sleep aids.” But melatonin is not Benadryl. It is a naturally occurring pineal substance that must be supplemented as we age because without it, we die a lot sooner. It is at least as important as an antioxidant and to combat stress for someone who has had a heart attack as it is to induce sleep.

Simple sleep deprivation leads to deterioration of health and is a standard tactic of law enforcement for coercing confessions and totalitarian regimes for breaking down dissidents. It is banned under the Geneva Convention. Melatonin is responsible for REM sleep. Rats jolted with electricity upon onset of REM suffer collapse of the their immune systems and toxic shock from normally benign intestinal micro-organisms.

Nurse Michelle says I should walk in circles around the mod, but I have acute double hernias at the bottom of my abdomen. The one on the right began to give me sharp, stabbing pains in early April that have subsided since I spend all my time on my back, reading, with the hernias pushed in. Glenn Shapiro is in receipt of a letter addressed to you from surgeon David DeAngeles of St. Mary’s Hospital saying I need an operation ASAP. I tried to get it just before I came here, but the local surgeon in Fox Lake had just botched a surgery on another inmate with an identical condition and there was no time to go back to Madison.

I’m willing to wait so the Wisconsin DOC can pay for surgery by someone I trust, but Nurse Michelle insists on giving orders she knows cannot be followed. A clue to her perspective is her response on the matter of my diet:
The only concession to my special needs is soy milk, which is a life-saver, because I used to get symptoms of congestive heart failure (which I thought was asthma from lactose intolerance) every morning after consuming milk at the Iowa Co. Jail prior to my first, big heart attack. In the interval before the Feb. 24th episode that necessitated the stent, I continued to eat eggs, lots of melted cheese on toasted bagels and pizza. My bloodwork showed my cholesterol was too high, and I was switched from simvastatin to Lipitor. But the doctor at Dodge (intake prison) put me back on simvastatin and I concurred, because Lipitor almost killed a friend of mine. And since the stent, I’ve been fanatical about no fat, no sugar, no salt. My bloodwork probably reflects that, and my blood pressure is normal. If you delete egg yokes, cheese and potato chips from the skimpy diet here, though, there’s not enough to eat. And commissary is all sweets. So I asked, not for anything outside the ordinary fare, but just that they replace things I can’t eat with extra helpings of veggies and oatmeal that I can eat. Nurse Michelle said: “If I do it for you, I have to do it for everyone.”

Well, everyone didn’t just have two heart attacks, including one where my heart stopped so long they had to put me in an induced coma for 6 days! The staff actually discontinued my fish oil with the excuse that it’s not a prescription drug, when the doctor definitely ordered it! It took 2 months of intense negotiating just to get them to accept it from a pharmacy with me paying. I’d be willing to swap food with other inmates, but that’s against jail rules, and I’d already been written up for bleeding. Because my father and maternal grandfather died of stroke at 65 (I’m 65), after my stent, Dr. Jeff Kamlet recommended I go on Plavix, and Dodge put me on clopidogrel (generic Plavix). The only problem is, if I scratch the psoriasis in my ear, it can bleed.

One day my elbow itched, I scratched it, and it wouldn’t stop bleeding for 4 hours. I showed it to Officer Jones, who’s an EMT, and he “gave me a direct order” to hold a wad of toilet paper on it ’til it stopped. But I don’t scab right, and every time I moved even a bit, it pulled off the semi-clotted blood. Forty-five minutes later I was bleeding at the dinner table. I threw the now-bloody wad of toilet paper into the waste basket behind me, next to the sink, and got a fresh wad. Still bleeding. I don’t have HIV or hep C, but it distressed the other inmates when I attempted to airdry it so the scab wouldn’t pull off. Finally another inmate gave me a small bandage (also against regulations) which reduced the bleeding to an ooze. But mea culpa! I should have flushed the toilet paper. An inmate with mental problems, one Marchinsky, with a history in a previous mod of hazing one particular inmate and manufacturing evidence against him (by urinating on the back of the toilet), fished a little piece of toilet paper out of the wastebasket and put it on the counter immediately adjacent. Someone else noticed it, raised a ruckus, and blamed me. But if I’d set it on the counter and a piece of the outside had stuck there, it would have been quite bloody. This piece had only a little stain on one edge, like it had been plucked up by someone who didn’t want to touch the blood.

I threw it away, thought nothing of it because it left no stain. Jones came in, bought into the idea I was at fault, and was having me spray and sanitize the counter, when I pointed to the bandage and said: “But what are you going to do about this? It’s still oozing.” He threw me in handcuffs. On the way to intake I said, “This is a medical situation, not a disciplinary problem.” He put me in a cell, but at least he gave me a paper towel. After 35 minutes of clamping the paper towel on the bandage, it finally stopped oozing.

Even though I’d done nothing wrong, I apologized, and sure enough, two days later, Jones had written me up for “refusing a direct order,” “failure to maintain sanitation,” and “disturbing the peace.” Glenn Shapiro has the complaint. It says I stopped oozing in 10 minutes. But I was watching the clock because I was due to make a phone call, and I know it took 30. I opted for a hearing, got a witness to Marchinsky faking evidence against another inmate, and asked that they review the tape to see who actually left the square of toilet paper on the counter. The hearing officer informed me he was dropping the charges anyway because it was “too much trouble” to review the tape. He did let it into the record that Jones could’ve taken me out and bandaged me up to begin with. The next morning I had the only coronary distress I’ve had since I got here, an episode of racing heartbeat.

The one dicey thing about my clotting problem is that the combination of meds I’m on tends to give me impacted stool, and I’ve had bleeding from that. They put me on Metamucil, which helped. Then they changed my Senna to docusate sodium, which Dodge had discontinued because it was ineffective. I got the Senna back with the fish oil, but not before I got a hemorrhoid. I hate to think what would happen if I got a bleeding hemorrhoid and it wouldn’t stop. And trying to force the stool out makes my right hernia hurt. I just got another twinge.

The sole object for the nursing staff seems to have been to get me to pay for my non-prescription meds myself. Nurse Michelle actually withheld the Tinactin (tolnaftate) for my foot fungus so I’d have to buy it off commissary, claiming the Wisconsin DOC might be smuggling drugs into Saunders County in the depleted tube. The fungus I have is not athlete’s foot. It’s the kind that lodges under your toenails; tolnaftate only gets it in the callouses. I can’t get rid of it unless they give me Lamisil, which they’ve refused to do. Instead of a short shower every day, which causes fungus flare-up, I have to take a long hot shower every other morning and soap my feet multiple times. But that way I can soften my beard, shave by touch in the shower, and not cut myself, so I don’t bleed.

To me, the important issues are melatonin, food, and the hernia operation, but not so important I’ll pack it in and waive my rights to a proper sentencing hearing with witnesses who can establish that the only national conspiracy I’m involved in is the medical marijuana movement, and the only international dimension is the ibogaine movement. St. Mary’s says I still have the atherosclerosis, that I’m going to have the heart problem for the rest of my life. Nothing settled in one place seems to carry over to the next place. Judge Van De Hey furloughs me after the first heart attack, then re-instates most of my sentence Dec. 29th. and a month and a half later, I have another heart attack. Special diet right after the stent, at Dodge, followed by the same thing as everyone else at Fox Lake, but at least with lots of veggies, followed by stuff I can’t eat here, where they act like I never even had heart attacks. Which begs the question: If I can’t even get proper health care in a situation that’s under the control of a judge, what will happen at the next place, where my only recourse is to sue in Federal court?

Yours truly,

I. Dana Beal, inmate #6669

Typed for Mr. Beal and mailed to Judge Gilbride by Nancy J. Allen, August 15, 2012

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Trash Talk at West Side’s Rat Academy

On West 76th Street, a sound that has been heard once or twice a week lately is that of a woman screaming. The provocation? A rat scurrying by. Close by.

The person relating that news, Joseph Bolanos, the president of the block association, was one of the students at the Rat Academy, officially a session in “rodent management training,” on Tuesday at the office of Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side.

No, they do not issue diplomas at the Rat Academy. They do not even give a final exam. Just big trash cans that would be hard to chew through if you happen to be a rat, and hungry.

So there was a lot of trash talk — that is, talk about trash — at the Rat Academy. The instructor, Caroline Bragdon of the city’s health department, said that the rat equivalent of four-star dining was usually just around the corner. Literally.

“Rats can pretty much find everything they need nutritionally in the average New York City trash can or trash bag,” she said, adding that rats needed only an ounce of food a day to survive.

Rats “communicate,” Ms. Bragdon said, by leaving behind a trail of urine and chemicals called pheromones that convey a message to other rats: “That’s where I just went to get a nice meal.”

“To get rid of rats, we’ve got to get rid of the food,” she said. “The key for rat management for us is all garbage must be contained in a can with a tightfitting lid.” That forces rats to go somewhere else when they are foraging.

The students were people on the front lines in the fight against rats: building superintendents and managers, owners, tenants and neighborhood leaders. The mix, Ms. Bragdon said, “defused a lot of the anger you sometimes hear when there’s just supers in the room or just tenants in the room.” Usually, she said, “they complain about each other, those different groups.”

This time, though, the atmosphere was serious, earnest and practical — except at the beginning, when the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, welcomed the students.

“The rats on my block, they don’t scurry anymore,” he said, noting that he lives on West 71st Street. “They walk upright. They greet me and say, ‘Good morning, Mr. Borough President.’ ”

This did not get a big laugh. Mr. Stringer turned serious, saying, “The West Side, in particular, is really going through a rat infestation.” He said that at recent town-hall-style meetings, “the No. 1 complaint I get from constituents is about the rat problem.”

Ms. Bragdon talked about the health department’s Rat Information Portal, a Web site with tools for tracking, among other things, whether a building’s neighbors have been reported for rat problems.

She also covered essentials like where to look for nests, how to plug gaps in the walls and doorways leading to areas where trash is stored before pickups and what to do about bait and traps.

“Don’t do it yourself,” she advised. “That’s like saying, ‘I have high blood pressure; I’m going to take some medicine on my own.’ No. You go to a trained professional.”

Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, who also helped organize the Rat Academy session, said she believed that the training would make a difference. “I’m hoping the West Side ends up with the fewest number of rat complaints,” she said. Aides said Ms. Brewer had secured $50,000 to pay for trash cans with built-in compactors that would be placed around Verdi Square, the park between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue by the 72nd Street subway station.

Mr. Bolanos, from the block association on West 76th Street, blamed contractors renovating brownstones for the block’s problems. He said the contractors discarded trash from lunch in their Dumpsters, which he said they covered with tarpaulins. He said the Dumpsters were not the kind of impenetrable containers that Ms. Bragdon had described.

“Any night when it’s not raining, you’ll see a ton of rats, 13 or 14 scampering back and forth,” he said. “Next week I’m putting up signs that say, ‘Rat Crossing.’ It’s like ‘Deer Crossing.’ ”

Of the people attending the Rat Academy, 10, chosen in a raffle, left with the plastic trash cans. Among them was Anderson Lopes, a superintendent on West 86th Street, who said he had picked up some useful tips. Not that he needed to.

“We don’t have a problem,” he said. “I’m the super there for four years now. I haven’t seen one rat.”

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