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Iran declares genocidal intentions (friday's statements)

The President of Iran said today that Israel will be destroyed, and that he plans to build a nuclear weapon.

In a civilized world, no one would stand for this. Countries across the world--France, Russia, Germany, and all the rest, especially the NATO powers--would put an immediate stop to this madness.

Human Rights Watch (the Village Voice's "Best of New York"), did you listen to this? Is there some part of the "we're going to build a nuclear device and we'll finish the job Hitler started and kill all the Jews" that someone doesn't understand?

From the AP:

Grading Congress On Our Troops

by Paul Rieckhoff

Who in Washington really supports the troops?  Well, here are the facts.

Sure, politicians say they support the troops.  But whose votes back up their rhetoric – and who’s just wearing an American flag lapel pin?

Now there’s an easy way to know for sure.  The nonprofit, nonpartisan Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s Action Fund has tallied up every Congressional vote cast on troops’ and veterans’ issues for the last five years.  We’ve crunched the numbers, and given every legislator a letter grade - the IAVA Congressional Rating.  We have created a groundbreaking new web interface that will allow you (and every American) to find out for themselves where politicians stand on the issues.

Here are the official ratings for New York State:

Moynihan Station, We’ll Hardly Miss Ya

Now that Shelly Silver single-handedly pulled the plug on Moynihan Station, at least for the time being, the debate is beginning about what we need and should build to replace Penn Station, or, as some say, to finally restore what was lost when the old Penn Station was demolished.

Well, there are a few problems with that before we even get into the debate about what we need for transportation purposes.

First of all, we are not replacing the current Penn Station, but adding to it. The LIRR, Amtrak and the subway lines that currently run through Penn won’t be relocated to the new terminal. They will remain in the old, uninspiring station between 7th and 8th avenues. Only New Jersey Transit will be run out of the new, glorious new station that will be built where the Farley Post Office sits.

Now that Everyone's jumping on the King v. Mejias Bandwagon:

Just a reminder that exactly one month ago, I wrote the following about the race.

Folks, let's work hard to get this worthless, hypocritical racist out of Congress!! 

LunchBox: Of Baseball and Hobbits

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Rep Peter King, Sen Rick Santorum, Pervez Musharaf and much, much more...

Replacing Hevesi

Is it irresponsible to speculate about who might replace Alan Hevesi if he is forced to resign after being re-elected?

Sure, but let’s do it anyway.

Based on the last time a Comptroller quit, the next one will be picked by 2 men – the Governor & Assembly Speaker.

Who they pick will serve in the job for the rest of Hevesi’s term until the end of 2010.

Assuming the next Governor is Eliot Spitzer and Shelly Silver is still the Speaker and assuming they will pick someone with some qualifications for the job, would be a good candidate to run for re-election and is someone they both get along with, here are some potential candidates I came up. I also assumed that ethnic, gender & geographic considerations would be considered. I’ve added some comments where I think it’s appropriate.

NY-26: Fun vs. Substance

Reynolds is up and Davis is down in a new SurveyUSA poll; Reynolds is at 49% and Davis is at 46%. That swing back in Reynolds' favor, given everything that's gone down in the last couple of weeks, isn't necessarily a surprise. After all, Reynolds has taken the October storm as an opportunity to beat a path to every microphone and camera within 50 miles of here. Between his grandstanding and credit-taking and Pataki naming Reynolds the designated contact for FEMA (an appointment that FEMA itself said was bullshit), a bounce for Reynolds makes perfect sense. The poll, however, comes with a caveat:

Rep Sue Kelly Makes a Run For It - Really!

Ever seen a member of congress literally run away from a camera? Enter Rep Sue Kelly ...

Hat tip: TPM Cafe

Mayor Bloomberg, CURE AUTISM NOW! (Re: Daily News' Sidney Zion column)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg can do more than anyone else in the world to help cure autism now. Right now!

My nephew is severely autistic; he's 14 years old, and he can't speak to me, and he's 6'1" and almost 300 pounds. I corrected the Oxford English Dictionary and found the first English citation of the word "autism," in the August 1912 New York Hospitals Bulletin.

Sidney Zion writes strongly about autism in today's Daily News, "Texas Tyrant Stiffs Autistic Families":

It comes down now that a guy named Joe from Texas is blocking the Congress of the United States from helping to combat autism.

Republican Rep. Joe Barton, by dint of his chairmanship of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has thus far been able to keep from the House floor a bill that unanimously passed the Senate and would deliver $900 million for research into this disease, which afflicts some 1.5 million Americans.

Human Rights Watch--the best in NYC?

This week's issue of the Village Voice presents the "Best of NYC." Not to be missed is the love letter to Christine Quinn, urging her to run for mayor. The best local media show is NY1's "In the Papers"?  The best reform in a city of skells is the NYC Campaign Finance Board? The issue is mostly devoid of politics and heavy on clublife. Websites are surprisingly rarely mentioned (no best political blog?).

Most disturbing is best human rights watchers--Human Rights Watch:

Amnesty International has the name and reputation, but Human Rights Watch pours out more vital information from its Fifth Avenue offices than any other major watchdog keeping an eye on us humans. What we like most is HRW's ability to call 'em as it sees 'em. Take executive director Kenneth Roth, a former federal prosecutor. Roth's dad escaped from Nazi Germany in 1938, but that didn't stop Roth from taking Israel to task in August. In typically direct, lucid language, based on solid, on-the-ground reporting, one HRW report noted: "The pattern of attacks [by Israeli forces] in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes." Whew!

LunchBox: Real Time...

B/c of technical difficulties today, LunchBox with Adam Green will return tomorrow. In the mean time, we give you some entertaining clips from last week's Real Time with Bill Maher.

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher

How is Robert Novak Like Time Magazine

Years ago when Time Magazine was the major source of serious news for millions, somebody said “Time seems to informative until they write about something you know something about”.

I thought of that while reading today’s column by right-wing pundit Robert Novak.

Novak’s column is about an outstanding candidate who could have been a real contender except for the failure of others to support him.

That candidate – John Spencer!

Great Minds Think Alike?

Joe Torre & Karl Rove

posted by Jerry Skurnik
Thu, 10/12/2006 - 10:08am

His campaign was run by Karl Rove who is so smart that one book about him is titled Bush’s Brain and another Boy Genius. Rove is so brilliant that political reporters are probably trying to find out if he is behind the North Korean nuclear tests.

Stop The Presses!


That's what it has come to; a Republican mayor from Jeanine Pirro's home county has something nice to say about her, and it is actually a newsworthy story.

What I Would Do About Taxes 2

Economically efficient taxation includes a low tax rate spread over a wide tax base. In New York State, on the other hand, politically efficient taxation includes high tax rates spread over a tax base narrowed by exemptions, privileges, deductions, and tolerated tax evasion. Preferential treatment, tax and otherwise, was clearly on the minds of New York State leaders at a more enlightened point in our state’s history. Consider Article 3, Section 17 of the New York State Constitution, which prohibits "granting to any person, association, firm or corporation an exemption of real or personal property." It also forbids "granting any person, association or individual any exclusive privilege, immunity, or franchise whatever." Then there is Article 16, Section 4 which states "there shall be no discrimination in the rates and method of taxation between such corporations and other corporations exercising substantially similar functions and engaged in substantially similar businesses within the state." But it doesn’t matter. Whenever the economy is good, more special tax deals are enacted as added revenues come in.  And whenever the economy is bad, rates are raised.  Sometimes they are rolled back, and sometimes not.