The Gateway (Pro Forma SOTU References Edition)
Chait lays out the sad truth about SOTU:
"The vast majority of the speech was given over to Obama laying out his vision of the ideal. He laid out scads of new policy ideas, mostly appealing ones – a higher minimum wage, repairing infrastructure, commissions to reform voting, and so on. Obama wrapped all these ideas in the mantle of either proven social-science research supporting its merits, demonstrated bipartisan support, or both.
It doesn’t matter. The Republicans who support these things don’t hold seats in the House of Representatives and don’t have to worry about a right-wing primary challenge...It is interesting to hear Obama describe what American public policy would look like if he had untrammeled control of government, but it’s not helpful in predicting the next four years." http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/02/three-things-that-mattered-in-obamas-speech.html
The problem was not with the water Rubio was drinking, it was the Kool-Aid he was selling. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/02/13/cnn_wonders_if_rubio_s_sip_is_a_career_ender_video.html
Four Mayoral candidates, two of them top tier (DeBlasio and Liu) sat in Longbow's Pub on Third Avenue to view the State of the Union at the Bay Ridge Democrats' Watch Party.
I introduced myself to Ruby Diaz Sr.'s handpicked mayoral choice, Rev. Erick Salgado (now being managed by Russian media magnate, and cash magnet, Gregory Davidzon), making sure (for what I hope is the only time in my life) to drop Joe Hayon’s name as a character reference. Salgado seemed out of place in the decidedly liberal crowd, especially when Gate told him "Your candidacy fails even on its own terms. DeBlasio has converted more gays to heterosexuality that you have."
Still, Salgado seems likely to outperform Bay Ridge homeboy Sal Albanese (who, unlike his staff, and Vinnie Gentile, seemed to have no clue who or what Gatemouth is).
The rampant rumor of the night was that Sally Ally would drop out of the Mayor's race and run for Beep. This actually seems halfway credible, since Albanese would be an appealing candidate in southern Brooklyn, while his maverick record on the Council would have much appeal to Brownstone voters.
Further, it seems unlikely that frontrunner Eric Adams would be in a position to exploit Albanese's Achilles heel of supporting Republican Marty Golden for State Senate, given Adams’ own embarrassing history of loudly and publicly joining the GOP at the height of the Gingrich revolution.
Not seen: so-called Beep candidate John Gangemi, the subject of a very nasty takedown by Gary Tilzer, who lives quite close to the Ridge.
“Because it won’t stop with Manhattan,” Ms. Quinn said regarding the housing cost hikes that have been buffeting the city of late. “If we don’t reverse that trend, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens will be next.”
Excuse me, but this woman have a clue? I own a shotgun shack in Carroll Gardens, 3/4ths of a block away from a Superfund site (and a block south of a NYCHA project), in a zone where few want to use the local public school, which has since 2004 doubled in value and is now worth about $1.5 million. The $1800 a month my tenant pays for a tiny two bedroom is over a $1000 a month below the area's market rate.
It is as if she were promising to prevent Chelsea from going gay. http://observer.com/2013/02/speaker-quinn-vows-to-keep-park-slope-and-carroll-gardens-from-becoming-luxury-in-state-of-the-city/
Two notes about the Quinn/DeBlasio endorsement of Diana Reyna’s Chief of Staff, Antonio Reynoso, for Reyna's council seat:
1) Though many seem to believe there is a continuing alliance between Quinn and Reynoso's main opponent (at least before today), Vito Lopez, the Quinn/Reyna alliance, independent of Lopez, goes back quite awhile, as I noted in 2010:
"Last year, Vito set out to oust to win two City Council races. In his home turf of Ridgewood-Bushwick, he’d previously played Geppetto to Diana Reyna, only to discover one day that she could not only walk and talk on her own, but that it was Christine Quinn, rather than he, who was playing the role on Jiminy Cricket.
Though he was usually a reliable Quinn ally, nothing infuriated Lopez more than the idea that Quinn could obtain Reyna’s vote directly, rather than through his good offices.
Diana Reyna had got to be got."
I've also specified the exact reason for the break-up:
"The entire Brooklyn delegation, including Charles Barron and NKD favorite Tish James, voted against Quinn’s choice for City Clerk because they wanted a Brooklynite for the post; Reyna stuck with Quinn, hardly a favorite of “progressives.”
2) The article notes that "Regardless of whether Mr. Lopez runs, Mr. Reynoso is likely to face some competition. Tommy Torres, a teacher active in Democratic politics, told Politicker last week that his campaign is going full steam ahead."
Those with short memories (or a sense of charity) apparently include reporter Colin Campbell. Mr. Torres is best known for playing the lead male role as the pampered pet poodle of former Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera , and his Facebook page lists him as being "in a relationship with Daniela Rivera”, which is the nom de Faceook used by Naomi.
Here then is a man who’s already made a significant political impact with his bush-wick. http://politicker.com/2013/02/christine-quinn-and-bill-de-blasio-officially-endorse-vito-lopezs-council-foe/
Dick Dadey: "This is like a grand jury indictment...The Legislative Ethics Commission now acts as judge and jury."
I will note the sentence that appears in every press release about an indictment released by the Brooklyn DA:
"An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt."
The suspicion arises that Lopez is being ridden out of town on a rail, though the fact that his exit from Albany would be convenient to the powers there that be is no indication of the merits, one way or the other.
It's hard not to notice that the level of accusations have risen to the alarmingly disgusting, but I'll leave innocence or guilt to the triers of fact, and instead note that the failure of Lopez's opponents in the district to mount a credible write-in campaign against him last fall means that, should Lopez, for any reason, leave his Assembly seat early, the Democratic nominee in the special election for his successor will be chosen by the Democratic County Committee of the 53rd Assembly District, which means, it will be chosen by Vito Lopez. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2013/02/source-jcope-report-is-on-vito-lopez
The News: "State legislative leaders said they are prepared to pass a bill to strengthen the state’s rape laws."
Really? What exactly would be strengthened?
The article actually fuels the suspicion that the change the News is advocating (and that is exactly what it has been doing) would make the existing law weaker:
"Some prosecutors fear that using a rape standard for forced oral and anal sex could make it more difficult to get convictions.
To prove rape, a law enforcement source said, DA’s must prove there was penetration. Under current law, forced anal or oral sex has a charge of criminal sex act, which carries the same penalties as rape.
But unlike rape, to prove a criminal sex act, a DA must only prove contact with the anus or mouth and not actual penetration., the source said.
Another major concern prosecutors have is that by changing criminal sex act to rape, DAs won’t be able to get consecutive sentences, meaning attackers would wind up getting less time for the crimes, not more, the source said."
I would suggest that prosecutors could overcome the consecutive sentence issue by defining three different crimes: "oral rape," "anal rape" and "vaginal rape." If they did that, they'd get the name change, plus three different crimes they could charge.
Further, while they are at it, they could define "vaginal rape" to require only contact, rather than penetration.
That would actually strengthen the law, unlike the bill that The News is advocating. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2013/02/legislative-leaders-open-to-rape-is-rape-law-prosecutors-have-concerns
Blowback from my recent item on threats to Jeff Klein in his home district:
1- You should have pointed out their error in saying Diaz was part of 4 member coup
2 - My understanding is that Koppell & Ben Franklin Club are solidly in Klein's corner. He appeared with Ollie, Engel & Dinowitz at press conference supporting club candidate to succeed Ollie and he's sending lots of $ to club favored non-profits.
3- Also, calling Olga a Bronx pol isn't really accurate. In fact, calling Espada a Bronx pol is a stretch too.
An analysis of the wrangling over Council lines in white southern Brooklyn that mostly seems to ring true (though if you have an alternative version, I'd love to hear it). http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/156760/Analysis:-Why-the-Frum-Community-Lost-A-Seat-in-the-New-York-City-Council.html
Let's give Lautenberg a gold watch already.
Are the Democrats quoted here saying that we should defer to Lautenberg’s wishes really serious, or are they smoking crack?
Lautenberg’s an 89 year old cancer survivor in a State with a popular Republican Governor, sure to be re-elected, with the untrammeled power to appoint a successor to an expired term.
Love Frank, but it is time for him to go! http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/nyregion/challenged-at-89-senator-frank-r-lautenberg-does-not-go-gentle.html?_r=0
Worth reading and not currently linkable:
Wiesletier’s piece on Israel's security fence in the current New Republic.
"A criticism of Israel's 'security fence'--the common Israeli appellation for what the Palestinians call a 'wall of racial separation'--that does not take seriously its success in thwarting terrorism cannot itself be taken seriously."
"...Israel's isolation is both voluntary and involuntary, a choice and a fate. Physical walls crumble more easily than mental walls."
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