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January 30th, 2009


by Joelle Panisch

Thanks to Rob Hollander for the heads up.

Ever since the economy has tanked, downtown activists have been especially fierce regarding housing issues. The ramifications of displacement are unquestionably dire and activists are doing everything they can to keep families in their homes. Recently, despite adverse efforts, the residents of 81 Bowery were evicted for unsafe conditions— a shallow reason, protestors believe, because it should fall on the landlord to institute repairs.

The CAAAV (Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence) has been seeking jurisprudence to allow displaced tenants back into their homes, and to enact legislation that will make it policy to have landlords remedy safety violations rather then to evict tenants in the first place. According to the CAAAV, the group has asked the Department of Buildings and Commissioner Robert LiMandr to meet with them, but they have repeatedly been refused. Continue Reading »

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January 27th, 2009


by Joelle Panisch

Spreading the word.

Members of the Transport Workers Union manned Metro stops in Brooklyn today, handing out flyers protesting service cuts in the MTA’s 2009 budget, warning that the lack of service will have dire effects on both riders and the economy.

This comes after months of debate and dread over how to manage the 2009 MTA budget with a reported deficit of close to $1.2 billion—hundreds of millions higher than projected in July.

In November the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Chief Executive, Elliot G. Sander, called the authority’s proposed budget “draconian,” and few would accuse him of being hyperbolic. In December, the MTA passed its “doomsday budget” by a vote of 13 to 1, which included both drastic fair hikes and service cuts. Continue Reading »

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January 20th, 2009


by Joelle Panisch

Watching the Inauguration from the Cupping Room Cafe in SoHo.

The staggering attention to Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration has reached even the cobblestone streets of SoHo. In stores and shops, restaurants and bars, offices and residences nearly all televisions were tuned to the inauguration.

SoHo houses a collection of people from all walks of life—many homespun, many foreigners who relocated to New York for its prestige.

“It’s in the air. Whether you are a salesgirl in Bloomingdales or whoever, everyone is talking about the same thing. Everyone’s talking about Obama,” said Favio Greene, a British tourist in Soho for a holiday.

When asked if his family was watching back home. “They’re watching everywhere,” Greene responded. Continue Reading »

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January 18th, 2009


by Ed Gold

Dark horse Tony Avella.

More city Democrats will be seeking the unglamorous positions of Comptroller and Public Advocate than Mayor this year. The reason is fairly obvious. Democrats will fill the two non-mayoral offices. But standing in front of City Hall this fall will be Daddy Warbucks and his $60 million bankroll, his candidacy due to the dispensation granted him by the City Council.

As of this writing, only three Democrats appear ready to take on Modest Mike: Anthony Weiner, the congressman from Brooklyn and Queens; Bill Thompson, the current comptroller, and Tony Avella, a Queens councilman and a very dark horse.

Six candidates have shown interest in the Comptroller post but one of them, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., is reportedly slated for a role in the Obama Administration.

Meanwhile, seven candidates have indicated interest in filling the seat being vacated by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

The surprising interest in the lesser citywide positions may be related to an increase in public matching funds this year. Continue Reading »

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January 16th, 2009


by Denise Civiletti

Marty Tankleff.

Thank you to Denise and Times/Review Newspapers Corp. for giving us permission to reprint this article.

The notorious criminal case of Martin Tankleff, the Belle Terre teenager convicted in 1990 of murdering his parents early in the morning on Sept. 7, 1988, ended without real resolution last December, when the state attorney general announced he would not seek a new trial of Mr. Tankleff.

His conviction had been tossed out in 2007 by a state appellate court after nearly 20 years of maneuvering by a team of believers who never gave up hope that justice would be served.

But the attorney general’s investigation and report did not exonerate Tankleff. It simply found that while there was “some evidence” that the youth committed the crimes, it was too old to form the basis of a new prosecution.

Marty Tankleff won his freedom. But justice was not served. The killer or killers of Seymour and Arlene Tankleff walked away.

A recently released book about the investigation and prosecution of the Tankleff case portrays the Suffolk County criminal justice system—police, prosecutors and judges alike—as a corrupt good ol’ boys network far more interested in protecting each other’s hides than pursuing truth and justice. Continue Reading »

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January 15th, 2009


by John Coakley

We are going to miss The Cheyenne. The closing of its doors last April was made bearable by the hope that it would be relocated to a different part of the city—it being a diner and thus portable and all. And indeed, plans surfaced to move it to Red Hook. Perfect! The soon to be empty lot on 33rd and 9th would be filled with condos, true, but part of New York’s history, a place where everyone from Jerry Lewis to David Letterman sat down for a cheeseburger at some point in time, would live on.

Problem is, those plans fell through when the diner proved too large to haul over the Manhattan Bridge, and transporting it by ferry proved too expensive. Meanwhile, the building has been empty for a long time now and, as we all know, we don’t have nearly enough empty or half-constructed luxury apartments in this town. So the estimable restaurant had to get moving.

Fortunately Michael Perlman, Chairman of Committee To Save The Cheyenne Diner, was able to broker a deal with property owner George Papas and Joel Owens of Birmingham, AL. That’s right. Just like a City employee with a fat pension, the Cheyenne is heading down south to take things easy. It’s going to be transported via flatbed in 2 sections to Birmingham with the help of Rigger Mel Brandt of M&M Rigging, who moved the Moondance Diner to LaBarge, WY in August of 2007.

So the Cheyenne is in good hands, and it will continue to feed the hungry and the drunk, just like it did here for 68 years. All well and good. But it is going to be missed. At least the Market Diner on 43rd and 11th has re-opened. Go there, people; give them your business so we can keep these beauties in New York where they truly belong.

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January 12th, 2009


by John Coakley

Jonathan Pollard has already served twenty years too many.

Twenty-four years ago Jonathan Pollard was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally (Israel), without intent to harm the United States. The usual sentence for such a crime is 2-4 years. Neither the American or Israeli governments wanted to get involved in a long trial, so a plea bargain was offered and accepted. The problem is that Pollard is still in jail; he was sentenced to life with no hope of parole. Everyone from Rabbis to former heads of the NAACP to Senators who were made aware of the content of the classified information have come out to support Pollard’s being freed, to no avail.

Now it’s up to you. The last weeks of a presidency are traditionally pardoning season, and as these last few days pass we’ll no doubt see a long list of greedy white collar criminals go free. To be fair, Clinton did the exact same thing, so we can’t blame Bush too harshly for that. Still, you would think that our soon-to-be-ex-president would appreciate the opportunity to strengthen his legacy before he goes. This would certainly be a good start. You can help by calling, writing or faxing the White House; you can also sign this petition. Telling all of your friends about this matter certainly wouldn’t hurt either. Opportunities to help correct travesties of justice are rare. We should all take advantage of them when they arise.

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January 9th, 2009


by Ed Gold

Jackie Robinson

The prospect of the first black president to take the oath of office on Lincoln’s bible brought to mind a broad range of memories in our long struggle for civil rights: examples of outright bigotry, of courageous actions, of stereotypes, zealotry, redemption and exhilaration.

What follows is a collection of incidents in this unfinished struggle to “overcome” and fulfill King’s dream for America.


Norm Skinner was the first black basketball star at Columbia. He was recently quoted in the college magazine indicating he had never experienced racial prejudice during his undergraduate days.

Maybe it was just as well he forgot one incident I was witness to.

As an editor of the Columbia Spectator I was friendly with Skinner and in 1947 we were part of a four-couple dinner date, two black couples and two white. We were meeting in one of the dorm lobbies. Skinner and another ball player were there with their dates, and I had a brainy bundle of energy from Smith.

A classmate of mine and his girlfriend were to meet us there. They entered the dorm and stood near the front door, engaged in conversation. They could easily see the six of us sitting on couches. Then my friend walked over to us, told us his girlfriend had gotten a splitting headache and that he’d have to take her home. He turned to the door and they were both gone.

The event did not sit well with Skinner who took the exodus as a slight. I tried to minimize the incident at dinner but Skinner was right.

It was all about race. Continue Reading »

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December 31st, 2008


by John Coakley

Have fun out there, kids. Just remember that aside from Halloween, New Year’s Eve is the night when homeless folks are most likely to be physically abused and assaulted by drunken idiots. If someone asks for change, did deep so that person can get off the street tonight. Just sayin’.

Filed Under: Commentary | Community | New York | Take Action | the Hamptons

December 29th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Sen John Ensign: Not a fan of stronger unions.

A tough, highly partisan battle is shaping up in the new Congress to determine whether labor unions can make a real comeback following the 2008 elections.

The struggle will be over the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), backed by labor and considered the death knell of the Republic by those who hate the union movement.

During the recent Senate debate on the auto industry bailout, the anti-union sentiment among Republicans, particularly those from states with non-union foreign auto plants, became conspicuously pronounced. A majority of Republicans would not support the bailout unless UAW workers would agree to accept wage levels which exist at non-union auto plants.

Unions, which have been on the skids in the U.S since the mid-fifties, believe the Free Choice Act would go a long way towards helping unions organize and win bargaining rights. The Republicans feel the same way about EFCA, given their vehemence against it.

John McCain calls the act a “threat to democracy.”

The Wall Street Journal says it’s “unconstitutional.”

Sen John Ensign of Nebraska calls it “the most heinous piece of legislation in history.”

So what would the EFCA do? Continue Reading »

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December 25th, 2008


by John Coakley

A stable economy wouldn’t hurt either.

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | Events | New York | News | Politics | Take Action | the Hamptons

December 23rd, 2008


by D. Clark MacPherson

Henry Paulson: A good man to know if you happen to own a bank.

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
— George Bernard Shaw

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
— Aesop

As the Hamptons economy burns, the Southampton Town Board fiddles, the real estate industry implodes, Suffolk County D.A., Tom Spota arrests people. It’s not bad enough that Henry Paulson is saving his buddies at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley—by dishing out billions from under the TARP to cover them for the losses that they created by handing out mortgages to anyone breathing—now Spota’s Economic Crimes unit is busy trying to criminalize the people who accepted the largesse. The bogus paper known facetiously as CDO’s and SVI’s—debts that were bundled into securities by thirty year olds pulling down $5 million dollar a year bonuses at Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns. One thirty year old from Merrill Lynch recently commented that he left the company with $20 million in cash and his only heartburn comes from trying to figure out how not to pay taxes on it.

You think he has a mortgage to worry about? Continue Reading »

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December 22nd, 2008


by Ed Gold

Rick Warren: Better than the average pro-life, creationist, homophobic Evangelist.

There are a substantial number of reasons why liberals as well as the entire LGBT community might be upset by the selection of Evangelist Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s Inaugural.

But those of us who cheered Obama’s victory had better get used to his nuanced concept of diversity, even when it proves exasperating at times.

Let’s not fudge the issue. Warren, who runs the fourth largest church in the nation, goes against the liberal grain in many ways:

*He of course opposes abortion, arguing that life begins at conception and that ending that life is unacceptable.

*He has compared gay marriage to incest and polygamy (although he has recently modified that comparison) and sees gayness as unnatural and not a human right.

*He favors creationism over evolution.

*He puts great limits on stem cell research.

So how could Obama give such a person a featured symbolic spot at his inauguration? Continue Reading »

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December 19th, 2008


by John Coakley

Little Honey
Lucinda Williams
Lost Highway

Decades ago, when Bessie Smith sang Nobody in Town Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine, it was pretty clear that she was not really touting her culinary virtues. She was talking about something else altogether that had all the menfolk lined up at her door. That tradition of barely veiled sexual joy is continued on Lucinda William’s new album Little Honey with the song Honeybee: “Oh, my little honey bee/I’m so glad you stung me/Now I’ve got your honey/All over my tummy.”

The music matches the playful exuberance; it’s a greasy, rowdy, roadhouse stomper that captures the joy of finding that special someone who knows how to get you happy in that special way. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | Commentary

December 19th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Caroline in her younger days.

The Kennedy dynasty continues to bewilder and dazzle. The three most famous, Jack, Bobby and Teddy, were all transformed by politics and all three emerged as inspirational leaders-unexpected, considering their early history.

Now we have a new family surprise with Caroline. Considered bookish and shy, she stayed conspicuously out of the limelight for almost all of her adult life. This daughter of Jack, niece of Bobby and Teddy, is emerging from the shadows of a mostly private life, seeking to replace a political icon, Hillary Clinton.

We have never had a family like the Kennedys and it is difficult to imagine another American family with similar impact.

Like all the Kennedy achievers, Caroline begins with a very thin resume, considering that she seeks the seat occupied most successfully by a superior political animal who now moves on as Secretary of State. Very big shoes to fill. Continue Reading »

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December 18th, 2008


by Mr. Norman Maine

Addictionary: Brave New Words
By Jim Banister
Illustrated By Robert Hanson
Published By Harry N. Abrams Inc.
US $12.95
160 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-8109-7269-8

We all invent words and coin phrases; it’s how language evolves. Taken from the popular website by the same name, Addictionary: Brave New Words collects the best of these “new words” into this handy volume, organized into categories (including technology, politics, dating, sports, religion, and medicine) and cleverly illustrated throughout.

Everyone knows a “dumpegator,” a person who delegates huge tasks ten minutes before they are due; many have encountered people who suffer from “algoreaphobia,” an irrational fear of the former presidential candidate—no better time for a word like that huh? A select few have reached “beervana,” the blissful state of oblivion brought on through copious consumption of malted hops; while others might be unrealistically proportioned, or “dolluptuous.”

A great gift for any wordsmith, Addictionary is on the cutting edge of the English language, staking claims on new linguistic territory with an arch blend of the sharply intellectual and the sublimely silly. This is also perfect if you want to try and get away with a few extra points in Scrabble!

Greg Lynn Form
Edited by Greg Lynn and Mark Rappolt; Contributions by J.G. Ballard, Jeffrey Kipnis and Bruce Sterling
Format: Hardcover
US Price: $55.00
CAN Price: $71.00
ISBN: 978-0-8478-3102-9 (0-
Publisher: Rizzoli

Greg Lynn is one of the most thought provoking, exciting and provocative architects working today. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | Commentary | New York

December 17th, 2008


by Sean Jaeger

The Great Wall Street Panic of 2008 should have taught us all some very valuable lessons. Lesson number one should be to forget about all those people on Wall Street and in Washington, on television, and in the newspapers telling us everything is going to be all right and we should just hold on tight.

Just who do you think was selling all those stocks flushing the Dow Jones average down the toilet to levels not seen in years? That’s right, the very same people telling us not to panic. The rats don’t want us to panic because they want to get off the sinking ship first.

The lesson is, don’t just stand there; panic. Panic first, panic fast and panic often.

Simply put, the guy who panics first gets a lot of cash to put in the mattress where he or she can save it until the storm passes over so he can buy a lot of bargains. In other words he sells near the top so he can buy near the bottom. Call this guy your broker, your hedge fund manager, or your financial advisor. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | News | Politics | the Hamptons

December 17th, 2008


by Jack Torrance

Andrea Schiavoni and Sally Pope.

By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell — and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed.
–Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

What most people don’t realize about the Hamptons is that it was one of the few locations that voted for Herbert Hoover. Residents of Villages and Towns, which are now Republican bastions, were busy wringing their hands over the incursion made by candidates who they perceived as riding Obama’s coattails to victory. Stealing the Obama signs apparently didn’t work. Of course, the faulty logic in that mind game is that African- Americans or Latinos are not supposed to win anywhere. But, Sally Pope, a Democratic candidate for Town Board in Southampton Town, edged out a hand-picked Republican. Linda Kabot selected Dan Russo, on the instructions of the Republican Party after a real Primary, which ejected Skip Heaney as Supervisor last year.

Although Anna Throne-Holst is a Democrat, holding hands with Russo was more than a romantic problem. The supposed changes after Throne-Holst became the lone Democrat amounted to little more than misinformed press pieces given to that stellar media source and a misguided attempt at a “Green Law,” which was just another route for the Code Enforcement Police to get into your bedroom to check for illegal immigrants. Most of what Code Enforcement does is geared towards investigating people rather than correcting problems. If that were not the case, there would be a system in place to notify owners of problems needing to be corrected. Continue Reading »

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December 16th, 2008


by Christian McLean

It’s cold, it’s dark, and, like every year at this time, New Yorkers shed their sunny dispositions and brace for the long hard winter ahead. As we transcend from the communal “Oh, look at the leaves,” to the introverted “Leave me alone, I’m freezing,” some New Yorkers were willing to step out of their down-lined shells and share their early holiday wishes.

The Christmas Wish List; the stuff of dreams, a magical piece of paper that details the hopes and aspirations of good (and bad) little boys and girls across the world, was placed into the hands of New Yorkers and Hamptonites–but the wishes were not for themselves. In the true spirit of giving, we hit the streets, polled the public and compiled their list of gifts for the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Continue Reading »

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December 14th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Yes, we did!

We changed the face of America on Nov. 4th, both literally and figuratively. When they play “Hail to the Chief” on Jan. 20th a tall, lanky black man will take center stage for all the world to see.

Ridiculed by the Republicans as a “community organizer,” Barack Obama put together the most expensive, technically advanced, best organized campaign for the Presidency in the nation’s his- tory.

He eradicated the red state myth, capturing the heart of the Confederacy, key pieces of the hard conservative Midwest and chunks of the rugged frontier Far West.

Virginia and North Carolina fell, along with Ohio, Indiana and Iowa, followed by New Mex- ico, Colorado and Nevada. And, of course, he took Florida, despite the robocalls that told Floridians he was Castro’s pal. Continue Reading »

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December 12th, 2008


by Anthony Venditto

One of my modern day literary heroes is Esquire’s writer at large, Tom Chiarella. I delight in his carefully crafted word usage, revel in his ability to concisely comment on the world as an introspective growth tool and simply groove on his humor in general. I read a piece of his entitled “75 Things Every Man Should Do Before He Dies”. To paraphrase his own introduction, it wasn’t a checklist but a collection of experiences gained through ones’ own personal choices over the course of his life. Here are a few examples from his essay: “Fly a Cessna”; “Toboggan Aggressively”; “Milk a cow. Drink that.” See, good shit. Reading his work has always moved me, but this time I was inspired to create my own compilation. So I did just that and here it is. Call it a tribute, call it an homage, call it a complete rip off: for better or worse here’s my list of…

A Bunch of Shit Any Guy Could Do!

HAVE PRIDE IN YOUR HOME STATE. Especially if it’s New Jersey, not so much if it’s Texas.

Sometimes being the bad guy is fun. (Just ask Darth)



SCREEN THE MAJOR FILMS OF BILLY ZABKA. (Karate Kid 84′, Just One of the Guys 85′, Back to School 86′) He elevated the role of the movie bully from a one trick pony into a fully developed person. A jerk-off, but a person all the same.



PUNCH SOMEBODY IN THE MOUTH. Be prepared for retaliation. Whatever happens, don’t cry. Continue Reading »

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December 11th, 2008


by Delbert Grady

Vertigo n. A disorder in which a person or his surroundings seem to whirl about in such a way as to make the person dizzy and usually sick.

Investment banks blowing up. Banks failing. Stock markets melting down. Millions (M) become billions (B) become trillions (T). Almost makes me feel like I was a cockeyed optimist in my previous economic articles (GUNS, BUTTER AND PIZZA – Spring 2006 issue, reprinted Fall 2008 and THE GREAT BOOMER BUST – Spring 2008 issue).

Trying to get a better handle on the diverse components of this Byzantine disaster, I’ve culled a pile of interesting facts from a wide variety of sources over the last few years, herewith submitted for your approval as Rod Serling used to say. (All figures approximate).

There is about $4.5T deposited in 8500 U.S. banks. The number of “troubled” banks jumped from 90 to 117 in the second quarter of 2008 and Bloomberg Markets estimates that 100 regional banks may fall next year costing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) $150B more than it actually has, and that doesn’t include potential losses on an additional $1.9T of deposits now covered due to the recent increase in coverage to $250K per account, up from $100K. The FDIC had only $45.2B on hand as of June after shelling out almost $9B for the IndyMac collapse.

Now to the subprime bailout: Continue Reading »

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December 11th, 2008


by Mark DeMaio

Connect Transfer.

Here in the States the opening ceremony of the 2008 summer Olympics held in Beijing was the most watched opening ceremonies of an Olympics not held in the US, and the second biggest television audience since the Super Bowl last year. More important than the total number of people who watched it across the world was what they watched.

Never in the history of the Olympics has a ceremony been so spectacular, so mesmerizing and so talked about. One of the men responsible for the grandeur and spectacle of this historic event was choreographer, artist, and photographer Shen Wei.

Shen Wei is the creator and choreographer of the internationally lauded Shen Wei Dance Arts in New York City. This artist’s work as a choreographer is so groundbreaking and new, so original and fascinating that one forgets you’re actually watching people; rather, the viewer is transported into a work of art in motion. This December Shen Wei will stage one of his most famous pieces, “Connect Transfer,” at the High Holy ground of dance, The Judson Church here in New York City. This piece combines all of Shen Wei’s many talents into one work. There will be only six performances and those lucky enough to get a ticket will experience a work of art without compare. In “Connect Transfer” the dancers dance on canvas, painting with their hands and feet as they go–artists in motion, creating art. At the end of the performance the canvas is cut into pieces and sold to the audience with the proceeds going to a dancers heath foundation. Shen Wei is the recipient of more awards, accolades and titles like genius (literally a genius–Shen Wei was awarded the MacArthur foundations Genius Award in 2007) than we have room to list.

A couple of weeks ago Shen Wei was gracious enough to take time out of his unbelievably busy schedule to do this interview. I have met a lot of artists and performers over the years but rarely have I met so ethereal a being, almost other-worldy in his grace. When meeting Shen Wei, you immediately realize you’re not in the presence of just another person, though his humble ways would have you think otherwise. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | Events | New York

December 10th, 2008


by Trip Plunkitt

Due to the possibly illegal City Council vote last October to repeal term limits, Plunkitt is disgusted with the following individuals (who all represent us locally): Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Bloomberg’s “Mini Me” Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Council member Alan Gerson (who even went so far to say he “had no choice” but to vote for it – puleeze!); Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (who strangely supported it even though he can already run for another wonderful four years).

And don’t forget all the council members who voted their self-interest in repealing the term limits law that was voted on not once but twice by the people of the City of New York by public referendum. Billionaire Bloomberg appears to have bought this vote with calls by his commissioners to everyone, threatening removal of Bloomberg-controlled public and private funding for their vital projects. And sources tell us most of the “undecided” council members were onboard to vote yes weeks before the actual vote and Mayor Bloomberg knew it. Shame on all of you! Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | News | Politics

December 10th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Some say Obama’s appointments haven’t been liberal enough. We say, let the man do his job, already.

Some of the cries from the left are telling us that Barack Obama is betraying his liberal base and backing too many right-wingers in putting his White House team together. They should review his campaign promises in which he rejected ideology and argued for a pragmatism that was non-partisan, if mildly left-leaning.

Obama’s critics on the left may have begun to believe some of the GOP campaign rhetoric that Obama was not only the most liberal senator, but that he showed signs of being a socialist or an agent of class warfare. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics





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