Tag Archives: New York City

Carlos Danger & IOKIYAR

24 Jul

Because everyone’s a puritan busybody, everyone will call on serial sexter Carlos Danger (aka Anthony Weiner) to pull out of the New York City mayoral race in the wake of new evidence of his horny behavior. Lost in this is that the only thing he’s known to have done is text dick pics to women who were willing participants in the sexting. I’m not condoning or condemning what he did any more than I condone or condemn whatever you want to do sexually. 

To the holy rollers who are all a-shocked and a-stunned, consider why Louisiana congressman David Vitter is still happily in congress and spouting off about “family values” despite being caught up in a prostitution scandal – involving actual sexual intercourse – and diapers. Why should that creep still be in office and Weiner be treated any differently? 

Yesterday, Howard Stern interviewed Alec Baldwin, and the two talked about Bloomberg, Weiner, and Spitzer. While Stern is a fan of Bloomberg’s, Baldwin is not, and expressed that he thinks the billionaire three-term mayor has made New York City a worse place to live for everyone except the ultra-rich. They then turned to Spitzer and Weiner, and rhetorically asked, “do you really think Spitzer wants to be New York City comptroller?” Baldwin suggested that they’re both so incredibly ego-driven that Weiner saw this race as his political comeback, and Spitzer – not to be outdone – thought, “why not me?” and entered his race at the 11th hour.  The argument was that both of them were in it for their own egos than for any desire to serve the public (and both Baldwin and Stern would be exquisitely in tune with that motivation). 

I’m not saying Spitzer and Danger should get a pass. On the contrary, I think their behavior calls their sincerity, maturity, and seriousness into question. But Weiner committed no crime, although Larry Craig may have. Spitzer did, but so did Vitter. Chris Lee’s shirtless Craigslist trolling was one notable exception of a Republican screwing up and getting the hell out of dodge, mostly because his white, elderly, conservative constituency would never go for that sort of thing. Why is there a double standard here whereby it’s ok if you’re a Republican

I don’t think that’s necessarily the way it works, and Lee proves it. What this does is harken back to the way in which the Supreme Court had treated broadcast indecency and obscenity cases – the law leaves it up to “community standards” to dictate what language is and isn’t acceptable. 

It therefore follows that community standards in New York City – a place where 8 million people are constantly in each other’s faces and privacy is at a premium – is going to have a different tolerance for nonsense than, say, East Amherst. Louisiana has a weird, permissive culture all its own – unique for the South – that Vitter can get away with diaper whoring. 

In the end, Weiner said there’d be more, and now there’s more. Don’t act so shocked. 

Mayor Ed Koch

1 Feb

It’s being reported that former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died this morning at the age of 88 from congestive heart failure. Koch served as Mayor from 1978 until 1989 and quite literally helped save the city from the brink of financial ruin, helped to restore its greatness, and reversed years of decline. 

Koch was a tough-as-nails political centrist who suffered no fools, and always remembered who he was and why he was there – his signature quip was to greet people with a “how’m I doing?” 

While Giuliani is remembered as “America’s mayor” thanks to his leadership during 9/11 at the end of his term, and because of his focus on quality of life crimes, he famously got rid of the squeegee guys and the panhandlers, but Koch was always New York’s mayor. A mensch. 

Thanks, Mayor Koch. 

Artvoice Primary Day Coverage

24 Apr

Today is Primary Day here in New York! 

This post represents our wall-to-wall coverage of New York Republicans get to stay home in the bad weather or cast their protest votes for Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul. 

With 0% of precincts reporting, Artvoice is projecting that Willard Mitt Romney (R-Severe) will win the New York primary. 

If Romney receives over 50% of the vote statewide, it’s a winner-take-all proposition for him. If he receives less than a statewide majority, it’s a proportional system, and the delegates are split among the four candidates on the ballot (Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Paul). The delegate breakdown for New York is 10 at-large delegates, 3 delegates for each of the 27 Congressional Districts (district-by-district, it’s winner-take-all), and one “bonus” delegate.  To earn a proportional share of delegates, a candidate must break through a 20% threshold of votes. 

Artvoice also predicts that the sole Democrat on the primary ballot – President Barack Obama – will win that party’s primary. 

Occupy Evicted

16 Nov

Early yesterday morning, under cover of night and by excluding and/or arresting the press, Mayor Bloomberg ordered the New York City police to clear Occupy Wall Street out of Zuccotti Park, and sanitation to clean it.

I’ve always had my doubts about the First Amendment implications of Zuccotti being a privately owned park – to my mind, the protesters would be on a more solid legal footing if they were gathered on public property. In any event, to my mind, yesterday’s expulsion was violative of the Constitutional protections for political speech and assembly. The government kicked them out – not the private park owner.

That Bloomberg did it under cover of night and deliberately excluded the press makes this even more ominous – what were they hiding?

While most media coverage of the Occupy movement has been dismissive, or packed with unwanted advice, in my opinion the lumpendemocratic, unorganized (if not disorganized) nature of the protest is exactly right. As Matt Taibbi points out, Occupy isn’t for any one specific thing – it is demonstrating against the general wrong direction of a superficial, lost society; an economy that has been systematically transformed into a bastardization of free market capitalism. The 99% get the crumbs while 1% of Americans belong to a privileged brown-shoe mafia that enforces its advantage through buying off politicians.

Although Occupy had obtained a temporary restraining order blocking their eviction, a State Supreme Court judge upheld the eviction later in the day, stating that the park was for the benefit of all the public, and that Occupy posed a health and safety hazard.

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Occupy is allowed back in the park, but not with tents, tarps, or large bags or camping equipment.

The earlier TRO:

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The city’s response:

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In Buffalo, the Occupy movement has set up in Niagara Square as a 24-hour demonstration. It’s been invited to stay by city government, and finds support among the unionized police and fire departments. There’s no reason to evict what’s become a movement.

And to those who say that Occupy needs to immediately set up a list of demands and figure out what it’s all about, I can’t think of a more succinct, relevant, accurate, or reasonable slogan than “sh1t is all f*cked up and sh1t”.

Government Shouldn’t Tell You Who to Love, or Who to Marry

23 Jun

And that line was uttered by a Republican.  See how proponents for marriage equality appeal to fairness, equality, and love:

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Here is an ad issued by the leading national lobbying organization against marriage equality. It speaks for itself with fear and falsity.

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A vote in the State Senate is expected before the end of the week, although nothing is set in stone. The Senate will work out the massive reform bill being referred to as the “big ugly”, dealing with mandate relief, a property tax cap, and rent control issues before taking up (possibly) same sex marriage.  Shocking that raising the income threshold for rent control from $175k to $300k is holding up a bill to make a class of New Yorkers no longer be second-class citizens, but that’s why you never want to actually pay attention to any legislature, ever, anywhere.

Protesting Milstein

13 Jun

From my inbox this morning, a Niagara Falls-based group (NOAH – Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope) will be protesting the appointment of New York developer and Niagara Falls land speculator Howard Milstein as chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority:

A mock ribbon-cutting ceremony, in recognition of the Niagara Falls Redevelopment (NFR) 12-Year Development Plan and its accomplishments in Niagara Falls, will be held Wednesday, June 15th, at 4 p.m. on Old Falls Street across from Holy Trinity Church (between 13 and 14 St.) in Niagara Falls.

The public is encouraged to attend in question of Howard Milstein’s nomination as head of the NYS Thruway Authority which comes before the State Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. Charles J. Fuschillo (R-8th District), that day.

NOAH (Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope)  is appalled at this decision, according to Pastor David Crapnell, rector of the First Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls and president of NOAH.

“After 12 years of waiting, Mr. Milstein has developed nothing,” Crapnell explained. “He currently owns and manages 441 parcels of land in the center of Niagara Falls and despite his promises to invest $130 million dollars in development, the NFR , the private firm controlled by Milstein, has yet to develop a single parcel of land.”

NOAH has sent a letter to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and all members of the Senate Transportation Committee inviting them to attend the ceremony to speak with community members and witness what Milstein’s amassing of land has done to the city.

“We are asking you to send a signal that such behavior will not be tolerated, let alone rewarded by your administration,” Crapnell wrote. “We have endured years of broken promises by Mr. Milstein, which has resulted in a modern day Hiroshima next to one of the most treasured natural wonders of North America.”

NOAH is well acquainted with holding Milstein and his company accountable. In 2009, a government grant for $400,000 was suspiciously redirected through the New York State Dormitory Authority away from the city of Niagara to NFR for the renovation of a former funeral home into office space. Due to the outrage of NOAH and several other community groups that a private company receive public money to develop an existing property, the state had the grant withdrawn.

Milstein’s history in Niagara Falls will be documented at the press conference and NOAH will call for a hold on the appointment until he has met with community leaders and begun to develop the empty land.

 

Yesterday on WECK 1230-AM

31 Mar

I joined Corey Griswold for the free-wheeling, mid-day local micro-talk show “1230 at 12:30” to discuss the Partnership for Public Spaces’ remarkable PowerPoint presentaion and the power of 10 and how we prioritize matters in this city.

At 4pm, Brad Riter and Chris Smith interviewed Green Party candidate in NY-26 Ian Murphy.  Murphy is running what has long been my dream campaign – substance mixed with snark. He has a finely honed and profane disdain for things that suck and are stupid, and an articulate passion for things that he believes to be important.

Remember how a week or so ago, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said something about how Buffalo wishes it had our problems? I didn’t do a post about it because I knew that the usual local suspects would express outrageous outrage while ignoring the fact that, to a certain degree Bloomberg was absolutely right.  Not that we wish we had an overcrowded and overpriced island of millions, but that we have a crisis of too much supply and not enough demand, while New York has the exact opposite.

New York Magazine asked Murphy about this, because frankly what else is a New York City-based journalist going to ask someone from Buffalo at this time?

Mayor Bloomberg recently apologized for saying that Buffalo is full of empty space and implying that it was not a very enticing place to live. Apology accepted?
No, he shouldn’t apologize for that. Buffalo fucking sucks. And everyone here knows it. There’s a lot of good things about Buffalo, but it is full of empty space, it’s full of urban decay, everyone’s leaving, and instead of putting on a cheery, happy face and denying it, let’s admit it to ourselves and make it better, yeah?

How do you think saying “Buffalo sucks” is going to go over with people who live in Buffalo?
Well, Buffalo’s not in my district, so Buffalo can kiss my ass.

Oh, I thought you had some northern suburbs of Buffalo in there.
Ah, we do, we do. I mean, I love Buffalo. I grew up here, and you better write that there’s a lot of good things about it because there is. But there are a lot of problems. There are a lot of empty buildings, there is a lot of empty space, and there are not a lot of economic opportunities. That’s one of the reasons I am running, is to bring that to the region. I don’t think that’s something to apologize for. I mean, did he apologize for calling Irish people drunks yet? Did he do that?

He kind of gave a half apology.
I was about three fifths into my bottle of scotch when I read that, and I was eating my potatoes, and, uh … I was mightily upset.

So you didn’t have a problem with that.
No, I think it was just a joke that didn’t go over, and I think people are just way too thin-skinned about everything.

Indeed. Murphy is absolutely right that Buffalo needs to stop strutting around like a peacock, pretending like it’s on exactly the right track, when the objective evidence proves the exact opposite.  While Mayor Brown whinges about being “pissed” about Bloomberg’s response, he should instead be focused on slowing – if not reversing – the precipitous decline of the city over which he presides. There’s civic pride, and then there’s mindless cheerleading. We need less of the latter.

Bringing us back to the WECK theme, when this Bloomberg thing became “news”, I talked with Brad Riter about it.  Fast Forward to 20:35.

60 Minutes On the Park51 Project

27 Sep

Not many stories about Park51 include interviews with both Pamela Geller and Imam Rauf, but 60 Minutes’ does.  It’s well worth the almost 13 minutes.

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About Carl’s Bat…

21 Sep

Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind takes on Carl Paladino’s baseball bat imagery and pairs it with his rhetoric against Shelly Silver, as well as his support of Chris Collins’ “anti-Christ” description of the Assembly Speaker.

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Empire Wire Catch-Up

20 Sep

Marquil from EmpireWire has been sending me his brilliant political cartoons for a few years, now.  In my opinion, he is one of the most talented cartoonists in New York today.  He’s sent me several over the past couple of weeks that for no particular reason, I hadn’t gotten around to posting.  Until now.