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LunchBox: The "Please Do Something" Congress

On a special LunchBox today, host Adam Green on the congressional work ethic. And tomorrow, a LunchBox cameo...stay tuned!

What I Would Do: School Accountability

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity suit, if it is to ever come of anything, will not only include more equitable funding for New York City’s schools (or at least higher, though still inequitable funding) but also increased “accountability” for those schools.  That is what the court decisions call for, and that seems reasonable, given that the city’s schools have been so bad for so long that the legal system finds that they violate the state constitution.  The usual way to create “accountability” in the public sector is to have a board or boards of people who don’t run an agency second guess it.  Implied is an acknowledgement that for our legislative elected officials, quality public services efficiently provided are not generally a priority.  After all, the New York City Council and New York State legislature control the purse strings and, in the latter case, the structure of the New York City schools.  They therefore have ultimate control over them, and have the ability to hold them accountable.  The City and State Comptrollers may audit their finances, and the New York State Department of Education and Board of Regents audit their performance.  And Mayor Bloomberg claimed that by putting him in charge, the city would gain accountability because he could be voted out if the schools didn’t work well.  But none of this is enough.  And yet another oversight board, appointed by the same politicians who have failed the city’s schools for 30 years, will not be enough either.

NY1's "Today in NYC History" screws up again

I looked up NY1's "Today in New York City History," just for old times' sake. Please tell me that they're not broadcasting this:

October 07, 2006

On this date in...

1890...Marian Anderson becomes the first African-American singer hired by the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Marian Anderson wasn't even alive in 1890. The correct date should be October 7, 1954. Not even close.

Why doesn't NY1 just make everything up? Clearly, what I or you say doesn't matter. Ain't New York great?

Tasinian Devil (in the Details)

“Anyway, next thing you'll do is start telling me about Tasini's poll numbers. Don't bother. Most of his votes probably come from the same rightwingers who voted for the boob from the McManus Club in the last primary, and probably will vote for Spencer in the fall.”

Posted by Gatemouth| March 2, 2006


Tasini’s Citywide Percentage:                                             16%

Tasini’s Best Borough: Staten Island                                  22%

Tasini’s Best AD:
 - 48th Represented by Dov Hikind (Running D-R):              37%

Runner Up:
 - 62nd  Represented by Vincent Ignizio (Running R-C-I)     29%

Kinky Friedman defines "politics" as "many bloodsuckers"

Friday night's one-hour (and only) debate for Texas Governor was interesting. The participants were Governor Rick Perry (R), Congressman Chris Bell (D), Carole Keeton Strayhorn (Ind.) and Kinky Friedman (Ind.). Strayhorn did the worst, Bell and Perry were the best, and Kinky was Kinky. The polls have three at about 20% and Perry at 30%.

Kinky Friedman defined the word "politics." "Poli" means "many," Kinky said, and "tics" means "blood suckers."

Well, I'm an OED consultant, and you can look "politics" up there. That's not the etymology, but I still like Kinky for that.

History Lesson

"All couples should enjoy what my wife and I have enjoyed for 20 years. It's a civil right,"  MALCOLM SMITH

So there you have it; the Holy Trinity of Civil Rights: "The Emancipation Proclamation", "The Voting Rights Act", and "The Bear Mountain Compact".

Survey Says?

We're not really sure what this NYU Law/DL21C survey will eventually say; but do know that we - Room Eight - have been included therein.

So,  you know, take it - and ... ummm ... say some nice things, or not.  Really, it's all about you.

Click here to take it. 

LunchBox: Oh So Happy Ending

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: Peter Kalikow, Malcolm Smith, Tom Duane, Scott Vanderhoef, David Paterson, Denny Hastert and more...

A Few More Health Care Notes

When Eliot Spitzer provided a one-word “yes” answer to the question of whether he would bring about universal health care, I can only hope that he meant he would do so someday as President, not as Governor.  After all, providing health care for every severely ill person in the United States without health insurance would be a big burden on the New York State tax dollar, perhaps leaving no money for anything else.  And as a result of a Supreme Court decision in the wake of welfare reform, which held that any benefit offered to state residents must also be offered to everyone else, that is exactly what would happen.  Anecdotal evidence suggests this happens, to an extent, already.  Still, while I believe a universal health care financing system must, and should, be implemented on the federal level, there are some things a New York State Governor could do to bring it about.

Slaying the Mythical Beasts: The Legend of Phillips, Roper and O’Hara

How does a columnist rise to the occasion of the combined Hevesi/Pirro fiascos? Mere commentary, no matter how sarcastic, seems unequal to the task. The absurdity of the election deserved an absurdist response, and I started to spin wild fantasies which, although no weirder than the day’s headlines, just didn’t fit into my normal modus operandi. As such, I decided to do an “Adam Green” type column, which started to take upon a life of its own; an item about Al Pirro’s driving segued into a joke about the driving of a former top Pirro aide related to the Brooklyn DA , but before, as planned, the Kevin Hynes jokes segued into a sequence  about Al Pirro driving Hevesi’s wife, they took an unexpected detour, streaming gently into some absurdity about his dad, Charlie Joe; to wit:     

Prediction: No GOP Nomination For Rudy Giuliani

In spite of current exploratory tours through parts of the country where he appears to be popular, Rudy Giuliani will never be the Republican  Presidential candidate.

Why?  The former Mayor has too many skeletons in his closet.

And particularly in view of the post-Congressman Foley fall-out, the Conservative and  Evangelical wing of the Republican Party will be vetting candidates with rigid back-ground tests for flaws that could further undermine the Republican platform of Family Values. Going forward,  Republican candidates for office will have to be squeaky-clean.  And Rudy happens to be more Squeaky than Clean.

LunchBox: GOP, Yeah You Know Me!

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: Kirk Fordham, former Rep Mark Foley, Rep Thomas Reynolds, Rep John Dennis Hastert, Rep Nancy Pelosi, the GOP, Urban Elephants, Chris Callaghan, Alan Hevesi and much much more...

Life Imitates Art

“A secret memo today unveiled a plan by Senate Republican Leader Joe Bruno to hold his position even in the event the Democrats achieved a majority by enlisting the vote of Democratic turncoats. Democrats foiled the plot when, upon uncovering the list of turncoats, they elected them to all to leadership positions. Eliot Spitzer promised to ensure the plan’s success by making sure that no resources of any kind be committed to electing any new Senate Democrats, who might foil the plan’s implementation by insisting on a new vote. Assembly Democrats, speaking off the record, insisted that the only foolproof method of ensuring the plan’s success was to defeat as many Senate Democratic candidates as possible, "the smaller their conference, the fewer the number of potential turncoats, and the less likelihood they'd be needed to turn tail". Speaker Silver solemnly pledged to continue his longstanding efforts to that end.  “Anything for the sake of the Party”, said Silver aide Judy Rapfogel”  

The Final Nail?


While she was Westchester district attorney, Jeanine Pirro steered a no-bid contract to Bernard Kerik and Rudy Giuliani's security firm, rebuffing protests about the arrangement, The Post has learned. The 2004 contract was ordered despite Pirro being warned by a lawyer in the DA's Office that it might be illegal or unethical to award a contract in that way. It also came in the face of protests over the cost of the deal by the private company that had to pay Kerik and Giuliani, a source close to the case told The Post...


Every once in a while a columnist gets a crazy idea and just can’t help himself. Yesterday, in just such a moment, I unloaded on Borough President Marty Markowitz’s representative on the City’s Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Joseph Douek. At the behest of the Mayor, in a blatant act of political hog-slopping, the IDA had approved a $12.5 million refinancing plan for the All Stars Project, a "non-profit" group controlled by cult leaders Fred Newman and Leonora Fulani, which specializes in staging anti-Semitic performance pieces and indoctrinating young recruits to the cult. Despite overwhelming evidence of the sleaziness of the deal and the evil of its beneficiaries, Markowitz, who brags about his fealty to the Mayor, had Douek, an Orthodox Jew from the Sephardic community, abstain. I wrote a piece criticizing Doeuk and it got a response which clearly had come from a source close to him. Picking up the ball, I then wrote a piece  calling upon Douek to resign. The piece implied that pressure could be brought to serve that end.