Featured Posts

All In The Family

via USA Today

Members of Congress and their staffs are barred from using their positions for personal profit. But their spouses and other relatives can — and often do — cash in when lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars.

Lobbying groups employed 30 family members last year to influence spending bills that their relatives with ties to the House and Senate appropriations committees oversaw or helped write, a USA TODAY investigation found. Combined, they generated millions of dollars in fees for themselves or their firms.

(more)



Councilman Miguel Martinez gets fined (again)

What's up with Councilman Miguel Martinez? Is he a crook or is he just really, really bad at campaign finance?

From today's CFB press release:

October 17, 2006—The Campaign Finance Board today found in breach of certification and assessed penalties against the 2003 Manhattan (District 10) City Council campaign of Miguel Martinez for materially misrepresenting that the campaign received cash contributions in the manner described and documented by the campaign.

The CFB assessed a $10,000 penalty and breach of certification.



The Markets Speak: Dems More Likely to Control Congress than Rebublicans

http://iemweb.biz.uiowa.edu/graphs/graph_congress06.cfm

The price of a security that pays $1 if the Dems capture both houses of congress hit 30.7 cents yesterday while a security that pays $1 if the Republicans retain their control of both houses just fell to 30.3 cents. This is the first time that the Dem security has exceeded the Republican security (on the graph look for the crossing of the red and blue price lines).

These numbers should predict the probability that a party will control both houses.



What I Would Do About Taxes: Part 1

If you have been paying attention, you have read that I recommend changes to New York State’s Medicaid program to create incentives to reduce spending.  I propose similar changes in incentives to reduce spending in the state’s public schools outside New York City, partially balanced by increased spending in districts where spending is low, particularly New York City – but a smaller increase than proposed by the plaintiffs in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case.   The tax surcharge-based disclosure of the cost of retiree health benefits, pensions, and debts I have suggested are intended to limit, in the long term, the hidden growth of employee compensation and the interest burden of excess debt.  One might conclude that my proposals would lead to lower taxes.  And in the long run, when state and local taxes are combined, that could be the case.  But not in the short run for state taxes alone.



Where's the Bloomberg fundraiser for Callaghan, Faso?

Where's the Bloomberg fundraiser for Callaghan and Faso? Has he given them anything?

In Tuesday's New York Post are the stories "Bloomy Defends Hevesi" and "'Green' Arnie $cores Big in NY." Bloomberg does major fundraising for the GOP candidate for governor--of California?

"Bloomy Defends Hevesi" is most distressing. Here's the story:

October 17, 2006 -- Mayor Bloomberg defended State Comptroller Alan Hevesi yesterday, calling him an "honest" man, despite Hevesi's confession that he used a public employee to chauffeur his wife around for the past 3 1/2 years.



LunchBox: Twigs and Berries

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: Brain McLaughlin, Rep John Sweeney, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eliot Spitzer, Alan Hevesi, Hank Morris, Chris Callaghan, Ed Koch, Geraldine Ferraro, Bernie Kerik, Jeannine Pirro and more...



Those Popular AG Candidates

I didn't see this on Ben Smith's blog, even though he's listed as a contributor to this story on the New's site :

First of all, you gotta love the headline: "Aargh! AG foes losing luster"

The more people know about Jeanine Pirro and Andrew Cuomo, the less they seem to like them.

Well, that's probably true. I mean, neither Mr. Cuomo nor Ms. Pirro are particularly likeable people. (But then again, neither is Mark Green. That young Sean Patrick Maloney seems nice, though, as does Denise O'Donnell (she reminded me of one of a spinster aunt I have.))



Parking Ticket Book Promotion (NY Post exclusive!)

In a New York Post "exclusive" today, there's a story titled "Guide to beat parking tickets, written by a judge."

Exclusive? The guy gave his book to newspapers all over town, and one of them gave him free publicity? That's "exclusive"? The article doesn't give any facts at all about the book, so you're left wondering about the publisher, price, and the number of pages.

The article doesn't also state simple facts about the author, such as how long he was an administrative law judge, and why he is today a former administrative law judge (was he fired?).



Suport Your Local Wrongfully Imprisoned Defense Attorney

Lynne Stewart, Yellow Ribbon
I'm going to put up a yellow ribbon in my home for 67 year-old civil rights defense attorney Lynne Stewart. I'm sure most are familiar with the case—she was convicted of helping her imprisoned terrorist client Sheik Abdel Rahman communicate with his followers outside of prison.

Does anyone believe she actually knowingly helped a terrorist participate with planning new attacks?

What I Would Do: New York’s Debts

New York State’s politicians have found a magic way to reward their supporters lavishly without everyone else noticing how much they are being hurt:  they borrow the money, and put off the cost to a future they don’t care about.  Every year the debt rises, and our future is diminished.  It may be that the state budget wouldn’t pass otherwise, because it is only by finding an unseen victim that everyone who matters can be more-or-less satisfied.  But New York’s debts have grown so large that at this point current New Yorkers aren’t much better off at the expense of the future, they are simply less worse off as a result of the past, as the result of borrowing more.  The bomb has been timed to go off during the next administration. 



Buy Adam's Lunch!

We're looking for a few good sponsors who want nothing more than to reach the steadily growing LunchBox set - a hip, well educated, politically minded group of folk who find it easy to spend their disposable incomes.

We're offering two advertising opportunities:

1.  A 10-15 second video preview before each show; and/or,
2.  A "sponsored by" mention with logo [embedded both within the blog post text as well as the video credits].

Please email your best offer for either or both of these packages to editors (at) r8ny (dot) com.



LunchBox: A Sunday Morn Especiale

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: Jeannine Pirro, Andrew Cuomo, Marty Markowitz, Al Pirro, New York Magazine, Eliot Spitzer, John Faso, Alan Hevesi and more...



Good Bye And Good Luck

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries “(Cassius to Brutus, Julius Caesar)

So this is it!  My last commentary on Brooklyn Politics.

Somewhat later than scheduled.

I received many comments on Room8NY and through the e-mail. Surprisingly, none were nasty or sarcastic. Shockingly, no one said Good Riddance. At least not so far.

As a result, I had  put together a grace-note that conveyed expressions of pleasure, satisfaction, congratulations, optimism, and all the usual blend of  truth and  falsehood which accompanies moving on.  But I choked on it for several days.



Batboy in NYC Subway! (Weekly World News gets subway footage?)

"Batboy" in a New York City subway? I was checking out at a supermarket when I saw this story on the cover of Weekly World News. (Boy, I did I get outta NYC in time!) Go to the website:

http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/

Yes, Weekly World News is a parody and it's not true. But still, where did WWN get the (faked) subway footage when it's illegal to film in the subways after 9/11?

TEXAS OT: Favorite Kinky Friedman campaign (TX Governor) quote:

"The internet is the work of the devil."



Paraskevidekatriaphobia At The End Of The Road

------------------------------------------------

"We have concluded that Jeff Feldman was nothing more than a messenger who delivered demands to judicial candidates. These demands, which are the subject of this indictment, we re at the behest of and on behalf of his boss."

(Michael Vecchione, chief prosecutor, Bklyn DA’s office)

-------------------------------------------------

“This is a letter of understanding, not a cooperation agreement. He's not pleading guilty to anything. I am delighted by the district attorney's decision to dismiss the charges and very pleased that after substantial effort by us on behalf of Mr. Feldman, they ultimately accepted the proposition that he did not, in fact, commit a crime…..The D.A.’s office looked at the case very differently after we made our submission.”