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December 3rd, 2008


by Ed Gold

Why can’t these guys get married? Seriously, is there a rational reason?

People in California voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, then surprisingly supported the traditional and conservative position by backing Proposition 8, opposing gay marriage and reversing a decision by the State Supreme Court which had concluded that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The Prop. 8 vote left about 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who married after the court decision in legal limbo, although it is hard to believe a state can cancel a marriage retroactively.

But the Prop. 8 decision in California, with similar results in Arizona and Florida, brought the marriage issue front and center, reinforcing the view that same-sex marriage may well be the hottest of the cultural wedge issues, even topping abortion. Continue Reading »

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

November 24th, 2008


by Ed Gold

I was sitting across the dinner table from him.

Newt Gingrich was pontificating about ancient history. He was the teacher and we were all students, although the table was occupied by a mix of famous people and top editors of Time Magazine, the writer excepted.

We were at a Time Magazine anniversary celebration. People who had made the Time cover had been invited. That included the writer and feminist, Susan Brownmiller, someone I had known for 40 years, who asked me along.

It was 2002, and I asked Gingrich if he was interested in being president. He said probably not in 2004, but who could tell about the future.

It seems now as if he has his eyes on 2012, and recent evidence indicates he’s trying to capture the right-wing base of the party. Continue Reading »

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

November 17th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

Fortress Global Investigations, a nationally distinguished private investigation firm, announced on October 27th the launch of the Fortress Innocence Group (FIG), an initiative to investigate and gather evidence for cases of wrongful conviction in collaboration with aiding law firms. Fortress Global Investigations President and CEO and former Manhattan persecutor, Robert Seiden, made the announcement standing side by side with his new partners— Martin Tankleff who was recently exonerated after 17 years in prison, and Jay Salpeter, the private investigator vital in securing his freedom.

The Group plans to conduct a strict appraisal of potential cases before accepting new cases, including one or multiple polygraphs, in depth questionnaires, and the evaluation of evidence and procedures. The Fortress Innocence Group hopes to be funded by private donations and public grants, and will work with experts within Fortress Global Investigations as well as private investigators across the United States, forensic experts, and former prosecutors and law enforcement.

“This is an unprecedented event in the history of the American criminal justice system,” said Seiden. “[It] will undoubtedly have an impact on the lives of innocent people wrongly convicted and may well shed much needed light on some of the inherent flaws [in the system].”

Perhaps the most compelling words were Mr. Tankliff ‘s, who celebrated a joyous anniversary of exactly 10 months since he was released from prison. “In many ways it’s just an epiphany,” said Tankliff. “Today is a day when I can make a difference for innocent men in the future.”

Also supporting FIG was New York State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Senator Eric Schneiderman, and ‘exonerees’ Alan Newton, Dave Sheppard and Dr. Ruben “Hurricane” Carter.

For more information on the Fortress Innocence Group call (516) 466-0176 or toll free at (866) 791-206 or go to

Filed Under: Articles | New York | News | Politics | Take Action

November 17th, 2008


by Ed Gold

No autographs, please: Palin at the Republican Governor’s Conference in Miami.

The Republican governors gathered in Miami recently, still suffering from the concussion their party received on Nov. 4, recognizing the seriousness of the injury but showing very little understanding of how they might recover.

A collection of 2012 wanna-bes was on hand, conspicuously headed by the gunslinger from Alaska, and including at least three other ambitious governors—Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Leaving aside the Barracuda, the other three have all succeeded politically, thanks to tight economies, good personalities, and sadly, loyalty to the cultural base of the party. Continue Reading »

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

November 16th, 2008


by John Coakley

Bush: will not be missed.

Unsurprisingly, the Bush administration is doing what it can to make our society as regressive as possible before we kick its collective ass to the curb. Case in point: new regulations that severely weaken the Family and Medical Leave Act. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, says it better than I could so let’s give the floor to her:

“It’s disappointing that the Bush Administration in its waning days would undermine a policy that’s so vital to working families. Among other things, these new regulations will make it harder for employees to take FMLA leave and easier for employers to deny it. The United States lags far behind most countries in protecting the jobs of workers who have caregiving responsibilities or who happen to fall seriously ill. There could not be a worse time than during a serious economic downturn to ask workers to choose between their job and a family member or their own health. Rather than watering down these important family supports, we should be working to expand them. Congress and President-elect Obama will have to add these regulations to the ever-growing list of compassionless Bush Administration policies that must be reversed.”

Quite so. Rep. Maloney will be joined by NYC Councilmember Jessica Lappin, NOW-NYC Chair Noreen Connell, Francine Moccio of the Institute for Families and Work, and other women’s leaders tomorrow at a news conference to protest this shining example of why Bush won’t be missed. Join them, won’t you?

Monday, 11/17/8 @ 10:30 AM
City Hall Steps
Centre St. between Worth and Pearl

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November 14th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

Marcello Lucero.

Thanks to Michael O’Neill for the heads up.

The November 8th murder and alleged hate crime of 37 year-old Ecuadorian Marcello Lucero in Patchogue, LI, has garnered local and national review of Suffolk County policies and practices, especially regarding immigration. Allegations of the intentional denial of hate crimes and of legislation that some believe is knowingly designed with loopholes to allow for immigrant harassment and to veil racially motivated crimes has stemmed suppositions of impropriety among Suffolk County legislature and County Executive, Steve Levy.

Overt blame is hard to prove but Levy, in his second term, has long been scrutinized for stewing a climate of hate and potential attacks. Continue Reading »

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

November 13th, 2008


by John Coakley

Trump SoHo: do you want this kind of thing going up on the Bowery?

Thanks to Rob Hollander for the heads up.

The Bowery, as we all know, has a rich history of inhabitants that ranges from turn of the century immigrants to skid row transients to punk rockers. Like so many other parts of Manhattan, the Bowery has been infested of late with tall residential towers that seem to be aimed squarely at the young, urban professionals who can afford them, thus making the character of the neighborhood less distinctive by the day. Fortunately, the west side of the Bowery has been protected via the rezoning of the Little Italy Special District and the NoHo Historic District. Unfortunately, the east side receives no such protection; the recent East Village/ Lower East Side Rezoning protects the area just east of the Bowery but not the street itself. The City Council will vote on whether or not to extend these boundaries to include the whole of the Bowery on Monday, which gives all of you until tomorrow morning to send them a quick email telling them that you’d like to see this historic street saved from the yuppification that continues to influence the look and feel of our city. The email addresses and a sample letter are included below: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | New York | News | Politics | Take Action

November 5th, 2008


by John Coakley

An indisputable majority in the popular vote.

An even bigger majority in the electoral college.

Control of the House and Senate.

A classy, quick concession speech from McCain.

No month-long investigation into Republican voting shenanigans keeping us all in a heightened state of anxiety.

Sarah Palin on the next moose back to Alaska.

That’s what I call a good election day.

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

November 1st, 2008


by John Coakley

Governor Paterson recently told the Daily News that charities “are going to become the replacement for what government is supposed to do.” At the same time, Paterson is ruling out an increase in taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers to help close the budget gap.

Oh really? Mary Brosnahan, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless, put it best: “Apparently Governor Paterson’s version of shared sacrifice is similar to that of George Bush: demand sacrifice from the poor and nothing from the most affluent.” In other words, if you’re rich, maybe you should sacrifice a bit by paying more taxes since you aren’t in a position to need services like Medicaid, though apparently lots of other people do—applications increased by 30% between December of last year and April of this year. And that was before the economic crisis. In other words, this is not the best time to cut services across the board, especially if you aren’t going to raise taxes for those who can afford it.

90 non-profit agencies got together and sent Paterson this letter in response to his plans: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Letters | New York | News | Politics | the Hamptons

October 31st, 2008


by Ed Gold

Bob Shrum.

If veteran political strategists Bob Shrum and Doug Schoen are right, Barack Obama could win in a landslide next Tuesday, and the Democrats in the Senate could close in on a filibuster-proof 60 votes while picking up 20-25 seats in the House.

Shrum has survived a host of campaigns, has been on the losing side for Gore and Kerry, suffered painfully for McGovern, and actually won with Bradley–when he ran for mayor of Los Angeles.

Schoen has had two notable clients recently—Bill Clinton and, currently, Mike Bloomberg—and has earned the honor of “Pollster of the Year.”

For Democrats, this was a good-cop, good-cop combo. The discussion would surely have been more contentious if GOP consultant Ed Rollins had shown up as originally scheduled

Shrum and Schoen, nevertheless, provided a lively 90 minutes before a mostly student audience on Tuesday evening, the event appropriately labeled “One Week and Counting.” Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | New York | News | Politics

October 27th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Mayor Mike, looking just a bit smug.

We knew the Bloomberg-Quinn tandem would carry the day when a vote was scheduled before the City Council which would permit the mayor to run for a third term. Both the mayor and the speaker are proficient in counting votes.

While all recent polls indicate a 70 percent approval rate for Bloomberg, a Quinnipiac poll showed 89 percent of voters in the city calling for a public referendum on term limits.

This adds up to a conspicuous ambivalence, with large majorities supporting the mayor’s right to seek a third term and at the same time opposing a change in the charter on the third term issue without a public referendum.

The N.Y. Times made the case for Bloomberg. The paper has always opposed term limits and would prefer no term limits at all.

Since a majority of New York voters have indicated they would back a Bloomberg third term, the Times argued they should have the right to make that choice.

Opposition was widespread and emotional. At the heart of the argument was the contention that a law opposed twice by public referendum should not be revoked by City Council action. Continue Reading »

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

October 20th, 2008


by Ed Gold

The GOP: In need of repair.

This has been an “Alice in Wonderland” presidential campaign, complete with a full moon. While the nation is faced with the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression, involved in two wars, trapped by an addiction for oil and faced with a collapsing infrastructure, the Republicans have their gunslinger from the north-her eye on the presidency, telling crowds in North Carolina that henceforth she only wants to talk in “pro-American” sections of the nation.

As unemployment this year climbs over three quarters of a million, and further millions are fearful of losing their homes, the GOP fills the nation’s phone lines with rantings challenging Barack Obama’s patriotism by suggesting his collusion with terrorists. One of that rare species, a moderate Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has publicly asked her candidate, John McCain, to stop running that garbage in her state.

As Yeats once put it, “the center doesn’t hold” in today’s Republican Party. Continue Reading »

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

October 15th, 2008


by Jo Panisch

“You’re not asking the people if they want term limit extensions? Not cool, Mike. Now give me a fish.”

Criticism gets increasingly vocal as opposition to Mayor Bloomberg strengthens. On Tuesday the Working Families Party delivered a petition to Councilman David Yassy to sway his undecided vote on Mayor Bloomberg’s appeal for a term extension. The WFP, officially not opposed to ending term limits as long as it goes to a public referendum, has organized a massive grassroots petition rallying support.

This comes after an array of nasty allegations were made against the mayor, including a letter to the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board asking them to conduct an investigation into whether the Mayor made unethical deals with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former term-limits advocate Ron Lauder.

Tuesday Bloomberg gave a press conference intended to pacify concerns, but got agitated when a journalist asked him about any misconduct in both lobbying City Council members and alleged attempts to sway votes by threatening committee positions. Continue Reading »

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October 13th, 2008


by Ed Gold

No candidate for president in my lifetime has ever been attacked so viciously and from such a wide range of sources as Barack Obama, who somehow has confounded the screamers by maintaining a composure that has further angered his enemies.

There are obvious reasons for this near-hysteria coming from the right: Barack Obama is not a familiar American name, and the man, after all, is black, the first of his color to be seriously considered for the presidency.

But other factors intrude. His mother seemed to favor African and Asian men. His early schooling was in a Muslim country.

He has contradicted a host of stereotypes. He overcame poor economic conditions to become a star in the Ivy League, which perplexed and aggravated many of his opponents. Then he skipped the big bucks in prestigious law firms for the grubby, painful work of urban community organizer. He served in the Illinois state senate, then won a surprisingly easy victory for the U.S. Senate where he now sits as its only black member.

The rightists turned the word “elite” into a pejorative because of his success at Harvard, where he became the first black editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. Continue Reading »

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

October 10th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Kay Hagan, D-NC.

The wind is at the Democrats’ backs in the battle for Senate control with one big surprise in the making: Liddy Dole of North Carolina may join husband Bob in retirement.

Kay Hagan, a feisty state senator, only recently took the lead against Liddy, who had held a steady edge in September.

Hagan has rapped Dole for for being a loyal Bush follower, and for being lethargic on the Senate floor.

There are 11 seriously contested seats, with ten currently occupied by Republicans and only one by a Democrat. Continue Reading »

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

October 10th, 2008


by You the Reader

Rudy didn’t want term limits. What more do you need to know?

Thanks to Rob Hollander and for the heads up.

In 1993, New Yorkers overwhelmingly voted for terms limits—two four-year terms for elected officials in New York City. In 1996, New Yorkers voted again to keep term limits, and keep them at just two terms.

No matter how you feel about term limits, one thing is clear: it’s OUR decision, not the politicians’. If they want to change term limits, it should be done the fair way, by asking the voters’ permission.

But a new bill introduced in the City Council would do just the opposite. The bill would ignore the voters and give politicians a third term (the same politicians who will vote on it).

City Hall needs to hear from you. Sign the petition and make your voice heard.

You can also see where your Council member stands, see a term limits time line, tell a friend, and see who we are.


The Committee on Governmental Operations, chaired by Council Member Simcha Felder, has scheduled two public hearings on this matter. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | News | Politics | Take Action

October 7th, 2008


by D. Clark MacPherson

About 11 o’clock last night neighbors were awakened by a major pipe break at the corner of Watts Street and Avenue of the Americas. Traffic was made even worse at the intersection leading to the Holland Tunnel this morning and continuing into the afternoon.

Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Community | New York | News

October 7th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

Its dirty business when it comes to erecting a “garbage garage,” especially in a neighborhood on the rise with million dollar real estate at stake. Thus is the case in Hudson Square, where the city is planning to build a 120 ft. tall Sanitation facility on the lots at Spring and West Streets. The building will hold Manhattan’s garbage trucks, store supplies and act as a refueling station.

The plan was proposed in early 2007 and since has united both residents and developers, who all have a stake in the growing neighborhood. Brokers foresee property values decreasing by an estimated 30 to 40 percent.

Community Boards 1 and 2, representing the opinion of most residents, oppose the plan. However, the city has already rejected proposed suggestions for a smaller facility and alternative locations. City Planning is expected to approve a revised proposal later this month, though changes will only slightly mollify residents.

This week the Community Sanitation Steering Committee, formed in early 2007, has once again expressed their concerns. In a letter to City Planning, Chairs Philip Mouquinho and Denise Levine have outlined their persisting worries with the updated proposal and to “advise of errors of fact.”

Among the concerns are noise and congestion, which the City addressed by proposing a mid-day blackout period during which City vehicles (which include garbage trucks, street cleaners, salt spreaders, and vehicles from other city agencies) will not be allowed to refuel. However, the Committee fears that it will only increase congestion in an area already “overburdened” from rush hour gridlock due to its proximity to the Hudson Tunnel. Also the committee points out that while the city cited less than 20 public agency vehicles fuel at Spring St. now on an average day, “the actual number of vehicles on a peak day (Monday) was 38, almost twice that amount.”

The Committee also has fears that the storage of 34,000 gallons of fuel is a danger due to the proximity to the Holland Tunnel, a supposed terrorist target. Continue Reading »

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

October 6th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Ehud Olmert: Now he sees the light, since he’s no longer in office. Thanks!

Four of my cousins miraculously survived the Holocaust and now represent a third generation in Israel. I correspond with Yehuda, who has become an internationally known biologist at the Weitzmann Institute.

He was saved twice during the Nazi rule of Czechoslovakia. First, a Christian family protected him and he has honored them by taking their last name. He was finally arrested and sent to a concentration camp. He survived by hiding under floorboards as the Nazis retreated in the face of the Soviet drive towards Berlin.

He e-mails me regularly and is not a political person, asking only that he and the rest of the family may live peaceful lives.

That likelihood is not too promising. An Israeli prime minister, weakened by scandal, has just resigned, leaving future Israeli leadership pretty much up in the air. Apparently, Ehud Olmert has had a very delayed epiphany. Long a right-winger, and then a moderate on Israeli-Palestinian relations, he now sounds like a member of Peace Now, the Israeli organization that wants Israel to give up almost all of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to a Palestinian state. Continue Reading »

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

October 6th, 2008


by Jo Panisch

Executive Director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition Michael Myers and New York State Senator Eric Adams

More than fifty impassioned protesters gathered at the steps of City Hall on Sunday to protest Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement that he will seek a third term through special legislation by the City Council. This controversial move was ignited by the current financial crisis, says Bloomberg, and his belief that his longstanding business experience is what the city needs to help withstand it.

Those gathered had differing opinions on Mayor Bloomberg and his economic prowess. Many even took opposing positions on term limits, some supportive of third term legislation. However all protestors agreed that Mr. Bloomberg’s petition for an extended term through the City Council undermines the democratic process, calling it nothing short of decree and self interest in extending his own tenure.

“What do we want?” the assembled chanted, “Democracy!”

According to a poll taken by Quinnipac University on July 16th the electorate opposed extending term limits for Mayor Bloomberg by a margin of 56% to 38%. However, since this question has changed from theoretical to actual, results have shifted. In a poll conducted October 3rd the opposition has dropped to 42% with support of a third term rising to 54%, so to see him remain in office. This contrasts a poll questioning the basic concept with a margin of 65% to 29% percent supporting the notion of term limits.

Extending the term limit to three terms has been put to vote twice before, in 1993 and again in 1996. Both times New Yorkers rejected it. Continue Reading »

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September 26th, 2008


by John Coakley

The New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal’s housing code currently contains an unfortunate/intentional (you pick) loophole that allows landlords to demolish rent-stabilized buildings even if they are not unsafe to live in. This is a loophole that needs to be closed because it has been used repeatedly to kick people out of buildings in order to allow construction contracts and big rents to move in. Fortunately, the code is about to be revised but, unfortunately, real estate lobbyists have the ear of the DCHR and its Commissioner, David Fewer. So print out the letter below (or write your own) and send a copy to both:

Governor David Paterson
633 Third Avenue
NY, NY 10017


Mr. Gregory Fewer
Gertz Plaza
92-31 Union Hall St.
Jamaica, New York 11433.

Be sure to include your address, either as a letterhead or under your signature. The letters must be received by Tuesday, 9/30/8. The apartment you save could be your own. The letter follows: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | New York | News | Politics | Take Action

September 24th, 2008


by Ed Gold

An open letter to Ed Koch:

Dear Ed,

We of course had our differences in the presidential election four years ago, so it’s very gratifying to me that you are now rooting for Obama and Biden.

I must admit I had expected you to go with John McCain, whom I know you admire. But that must have changed after he plucked Sarah Palin out of Alaska.

I recall four years ago that you completely ignored domestic issues and backed Bush because you supported his Iraq policy and felt he would defend Israeli’s security. Unfortunately, from my point of view and as you now repeat, you “didn’t feel that way about John Kerry.”

Your renewed support for the Democratic Party philosophy is particularly encouraging. Continue Reading »

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

September 19th, 2008


by You the Reader

An email from Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation:

“I have some important news regarding the Trump SoHo ‘Condo-Hotel,’ and the fight to prevent more such developments.

Trump: Last week it was revealed that the Department of Buildings (DOB) approved an additional, 43rd floor for the 454 ft. tall Trump SoHo ‘Condo-Hotel.’ However, a review by GVSHP of DOB’s records shows that the developer has recently submitted permit applications referring to a 44th floor, one floor even higher than DOB already approved. GVSHP has written to DOB to express outrage over the approval of the 43rd floor, and questioning the new reference to a “44th floor.” We have urged DOB not to approve any additional height for the building, and to rescind the existing approvals. We have also filed a Freedom of Information request to review all of DOB’s relevant files for the project, to uncover and refute the Department’s justification for approving these permits in the first place. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | New York | News | Politics | Take Action

August 13th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

Councilmember Rosie Mendez addresses the crowd.

City Hall Park was resounding with chants of protest Tuesday morning as gatherers rallied at the building steps against phony demolition regulations. Led by councilmember Rosie Mendez, the rally included close to a dozen high-ranking officials and advocacy group leaders.

The assembly came about an hour before the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) heard testimony on the unlawful use of the demolition clause to evict rent-stabilized tenants. The clause was instituted to protect renters from bodily harm due to unsafe conditions in buildings that are beyond repair. However landlords and developers have been abusing the law’s unspecific language to evoke the demolition clause with the actual intent to oust low rent tenants and create profitably luxury housing.

All this technicality is over the definition of demolition. “Demolish means razed to the ground,” Mendez said with the support of the crowd. Continue Reading »

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August 10th, 2008


by John Coakley

Speaking of der Spiegeltent, Bust Magazine will be celebrating its 15th anniversary there this Tuesday. Their brash, funny, and occasionally sexy brand of feminism is a welcome alternative to the staid “women’s interest” magazines that consistently glut the racks. Bust. Rack. Heh. Heh. Heh.

See, that’s the kind of dumb joke that the publication whose by-line is “The magazine for women with something to get off their chests” is too smart to be upset about. That kind of irreverent savvy is exemplified by the stellar line-up of performers at this event: Amy Sedaris is the host, JD Samson the DJ, and Murray Hill, The Pontani Sisters, Morningwood and many others will all be doing their thing. The first 500 people get a free gift bag, subscription and yes, a cupcake. Not bad for $25. Don’t miss it.

Bust Magazine 15th Anniversary Party
8pm – 1am
The Spiegeltent
Pier 17, South Street Seaport
Get tickets here.
See the full line-up here.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | News





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