Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Ultimate Hypocrite, Bush Slashes Counter-Terror Funds

Yet again, George Bush proves that he is all talk and no walk. He'll promise you the moon and show you his ass instead. In the newest budget proposal by the White House, they want to cut funding for counter-terrorism programs by more than 50 percent, from $3.2 billion to $1.4. The man, his Presidency and his legacy are an utter disgrace.

From The Washington Post:

The proposal to drastically cut Homeland Security grants is at odds with some of the administration's own policies. For example, the White House recently promised continued funding for state and regional intelligence "fusion centers" _ information-sharing centers the administration deems critical to preventing another terrorist attack. Cutting the grants would limit money available for the centers.

The White House's plan to eliminate the port, transit and other grants, which are popular with state and local officials, would not go into effect until Sept. 30, 2008. Congress is unlikely to support the cuts and will ultimately decide the fate of the programs and the funding levels when it hashes out the department's 2009 budget next year. The White House routinely seeks to cut the budget requests of federal departments, but the cuts proposed for 2009 Homeland Security grants are far deeper than the norm. Congress has yet to approve the department's 2008 plan.

And predictably, the tough talk from the Democrats began:

"This budget proposal is dead on arrival," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. "This administration runs around the country scaring people and then when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is, they say 'sorry, the bank is closed.'" [...]

"To zero out essential Homeland Security programs which have more to do with protecting Americans and fighting the war on terror than much of the money spent in Iraq shows how warped and out of touch this administration's priorities are," said Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat.

Actually, most legislators on the Hill are displeased and/or angry about his anti-terror budget. Even Peter King, a Republican from Long Island and that man loves George Bush. Lieberman and Collins as well do not support the President on this one either. Of course, time will tell how they handle the budgeting dilemma that comes down on Congress every year. Unlike ending the war in Iraq, this has more of a chance, because the budget is all about bringing home the bacon to their districts and states, so that $1.4 billion dollar request should be changed quite a bit.

Edwards Weighs In On Republicans And Their Little Debate

I Pity The Judge!

When I was a little kid I loved watching the A-Team, maybe it was my 7 yr old mentality, but seeing those four guys blow stuff up was a lot of fun. Out of that pack, the most famous was Mr. T and people still use his lines today. For some reason I thought of his euphemism today when I read about Clarence Thomas' latest interview. It is incredible to me that someone like him sits on the highest court in the country. What he thinks of the other eight justices is telling of his character and what it means to have him on the bench.

From U.S. News:

There's a reason why Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas doesn't talk much from the bench: He thinks judges should be seen and not heard. "My colleagues should shut up!" he says. In a rare scolding of his fellow judges, Thomas Wednesday night took off after those who ask questions and debate cases out loud during oral arguments while defending his own, oft-criticized, silent treatment.

Asked at an event honoring Winston Churchill sponsored by independent Michigan school Hillsdale College if he would talk more from the bench to "give us relief" from the other chatty judges, Thomas said, "I don't think it's my job to give you relief." Thomas noted that through history, most top judges rarely asked questions. "What's changed? Have the laws changed? What's changed? And why are all these questions necessary? That should be the question," he demanded of the near epidemic level of judicial questioning at Supreme Court hearings.

Hmmm, where do I start....First of all the other justices would never disrespect one of their fellows by telling them to "shut up." This isn't the Jerry Springer Show, its the top of the Judiciary branch. Second, judges should ask questions. They are there to make sure laws are followed and are constitutional. If they need to ask questions, then it shows they have active minds. Clearly, Thomas' is shut down like Fort Knox.

Oh and yeah, laws do change. They change all the time, that is why we have legislators to craft bills that fit to our civilized societies. When this country was founded people still found it respectable to have duels with actual pistols. Women didn't vote and Thomas' ancestors were um yeah, sorry Clarence, you are absolutely wrong. Putting him on the Supreme Court was one of the bigger mistakes of 1991.

Now Americans Are Getting A Taste Of The Real Rudy

Whenever I talk to friends or even just people on the street about Rudy, they are always astonished that he is the national front runner. We all know he was our Mayor on September 11th, 2001, but that doesn't diminish his record and his persona to anyone that lived under his Mayoralty. He was a political brute who fired people that crossed him and made life miserable for those that got in his way.

When he started down the road of Presidential campaigning, he became a different man, I dare say even nice. Now that his "Shag Fund" is dominating much of the news since Wednesday, the Rudy that we know is about to show himself to the rest of the country. He already started with reporters yesterday. No one is going to like him after a few weeks, especially as this story continues...and his ego feels people's reactions to it.


OKATIE, SC -- Giuliani refused to take questions here today about allegations that travel expenses were picked up by obscure city offices when he was mayor of New York City.

“We’ve already explained it,” he said, walking past reporters after a town hall meeting.

Giuliani, who is normally friendly to reporters, bristled past them, and campaign staffers were unusually physical in keeping the press away. Several campaign aides told campaign reporters to return to the press area, and some of his security detail manhandled reporters. On other occasions, reporters have been free to video Giuliani as he is shaking hands and signing autographs after events, and he often informally takes questions from reporters.

Manhandling reporters? That isn't the way most politicians like to deal with the press. Being nice to the media and having a chummy relationship is what usually gets reporters to write nice stories, or at least to be fair. Ignoring their questions will definitely not help either, but this isn't any ol' politician, this is Rudy Giuliani. Perhaps these national political journalists haven't seen this side of Mr. 9/11, but we already know about him all too well.

Power To The People: The Story Of John Sinclair

Nothing like a happy story to start off your Saturday. If you are as young as me, you might not know about how John Sinclair was jailed for almost ten years and subsequently freed. This is a story of how the people (and a few celebrity-musicians) came out of their houses and got together to show the powers that ridiculous drug laws are unfair and should not be used to persecute activists like John Sinclair.

Three days after a rally of 15,000 people coalesced to have him relieved of his sentence, he was freed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ex-Bushie Slams Rove For Rewriting History Of Iraq

There are plenty of ex-Bush Administration officials these days. Seven years of a failed Presidency will certainly create many of them. Of course that doesn't mean they will speak out against one another, but the former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card came out against Rove's ridiculous claim that the Democrats are to blame for rushing to war in Iraq. Not only did he refute it, he came out swinging with brass knuckles.

From ThinkProgress:

This morning, former White House chief of staff at the time, Andrew Card, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and completely discredited Rove’s argument:

SCARBOROUGH: We have to start with something that we all are talking about a couple of days ago where Karl Rove went on Charlie Rose and he blamed the Democrats for pushing him and the president into war. Is that how it worked?

CARD: No, that’s not the way it worked.

Card went on to explain that sometimes Rove’s “mouth gets ahead of his brain”:

SCARBOROUGH: Is that just Karl spinning beyond the White House? …

CARD: Well, Karl is very smart. He’s — sometimes his brain gets ahead of his mouth. And sometimes his mouth gets ahead of his brain.

That highly touted brain of Rove's is seriously scrambled. If he thinks he is going to get away with lying about how we went to war, he's gotta be on some serious drugs. You know its bad when the former Chief of Staff is willing to rake Rove across the coals.

Of course, reality's version of how we went to war tells a different tale.

Friday Linkage

Tis' the last day in November, and I hear that December is going to start off with a cold snap here in the city. Of course that does not mean that there's a lot of action going on, here's a few links to show you why.

  • Californians and concerned citizens may not be able to talk directly to Dianne Feinstein about the upcoming FISA vote that may give her the chance to let the TeleCom companies off the hook, but you can certainly tell her buddy Art Torres to make the point for you.
  • The GOP debate on Wednesday was like any debate hosted by CNN (it was crap) but there was one question from a military man that really shook Republicans to their anti-GLBT core.
  • Hey guess what, Broadway is up and running again, as if it had never stopped...for 19 days. What came out of the strike again? Seems like the producers got their way...and the stagehands got some spare change thrown their way.
  • While there is a Grinch on Broadway, that isn't stopping NYC's M.T.A. from playing the character as well.

It's A Beautiful Sight

And one you can see on display at the New York Public Library. Naturally, Republicans are pissed even though the "line-up" of Bush and others in his Administration are part of a larger work, but who's to say the GOP would take this out of context.

It isn't like they'd ever do that elsewhere, right?

Central Park Carriage Rides No More?

When it comes to romance and New York City, some locals and many visitors think of a carriage ride in the park before anything else. Who knows how many marriage proposals have been made on those horse-drawn wooden carriages? Though many people see it as a vehicle for romance, animal rights supporters see it as something much different. If you have ever walked down Central Park South, or around the entrance for Tavern on the Green and looked closely at the horses, they seem to be the saddest souls in the city. Now Councilman Avella is trying to do something about it.

From The Daily News:

Horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park will become a thing of the past if a Queens lawmaker has his way.

Councilman Tony Avella (D-Queens) is introducing a bill next month that seeks to ban the carriage rides, arguing they promote animal cruelty and aren't safe.

"It is time to put this industry out to pasture," said Avella, explaining that attempts to regulate the industry have been fruitless.

Patrick Byrne, who operates out of Central Park Carriages, said, "Let the market decide if we should be in business, not a publicity-seeking councilman."

Damn, that a nasty (but expected) response from one member in the industry. Besides seeing sad eyes and hearing from Avella, is there anything written or reported about the carriage industry and how they treat their horses?

You bet there is.

If this bill does not pass, take the words Patrick Byrne to heart, stop thinking of those carriages as romantic and realize what those horses go through...then vote with your wallet and walk away. There are dozens, if not hundreds of other things in New York that you can do to be romantic.

Blaming Anonymous BookKeepers Won't Cut It

As the story about how Rudy covered up expenses to see his then mistress Judith gets juicier, his defense is getting more and more nasty by the moment. Giuliani and his aides are trashing Politico author Ben Smith for his article (even though they haven't refuted anything in it yet and declined to talk to Smith before the article was published) and even trotted out Bernie Kerik to come to his aid.

Meanwhile, the evidence piling up against the ex-Mayor continues at a furious pace. William Thompson, the City Comptroller gave an interview which decimated Rudy's claims of ignorance. Thompson says the Giuliani's Administration "stonewalled" him when he inquired about the odd numbers in the city agencies' budgets.

When Rudy's aides tried to answer the real question here, that is why those obscure agencies paid for Rudy's security detail to the Hamptons, Anthony Carbonetti said, "It was a bookkeeping exercise, why it was done this way, I don't know."

An exercise? Like jumping jacks and push-ups type of exercise? Maybe it was more along the lines of a criminal exercise, not like robbery or extortion exercises, but definitely a fraudulent exercise.

NRSC....Still Dreaming

With the NRSC's funds at the bottom of the toilet, ads like these could become more common, they'll do anything to try and muster at least a shred of credibility in the 2008 cycle. Too bad for them they do not stand a chance at winning two seats, let alone any. Right now across the board, four of their seats are in dire jeopardy (though it could be six or more), and the only shot they have at picking up anything is in Louisiana against Landrieu. Yet even down there, their hopes are slim to none.

The pretend-patriotism just oozes all over the screen as a backdrop against all those lies.

CNN : Still Trying To Emulate Fox News

CNN's acquisition of Campbell Brown reminds me of how Fox News employs Carl Cameron. As you may know, his wife worked for the Bush campaign, serving in a high-up role in Texas. You can see that Cameron and Bush are quite chummy over it. Now we have CNN's new anchor Campbell Brown, who's husband is a GOP operative. Now one might say, you don't know that she's biased just because her husband works for the GOP, so why not take a look at her very first week at the network.

From America Blog:

The wife of Dan Senor, who served as a spokesperson for Bush in Iraq, is now working for CNN. Normally, who a reporter's spouse wouldn't and shouldn't matter. And, it wouldn't if Campbell Brown didn't show an obvious bias. Last night, in her first week on the job, she attacked MoveOn:
During the November 28 CNN special Campaign Killers: Why Do Negative Ads Work?, CNN anchor Campbell Brown said: "General David Petraeus made his reputation taking on insurgents in Iraq. But when he came to Capitol Hill in September, he was confronted by American insurgents, a liberal anti-war group called"
Seriously, comparing MoveOn to insurgents is beyond the pale. That is such an obviously loaded term. Campbell Brown showed a clear bias, plain and simple.

How the hell is an insurgent who fights with guns, IED's and other weapons anything like one of the millions of MoveOn supporters? MoveOn is a political organization that fights against the tyranny of the Bush Adminstration. For a reporter, anchor or any other journalist to compare them to insurgents. Giuliani talks about hit jobs, but this is one hell of a hit piece right here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judith Nathan's Taxi Service = Rudy Might Have Committed A Felony

Damn, this really is Rudy's day. As the story that is hardly a day old unwinds, more and more legs come out. The latest is actually an old story, but no one really brought it up until last night's bombshell dropped. Ms. Nathan, then Rudy's mistress was able to use the NYPD as her personal taxi service. As Mayor, you are afforded security detail for yourself, spouse and children, but there is no mention of protecting mistresses.

From ABC:

Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on

"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.

New York papers reported in 2000 that the city had provided a security detail for Nathan, who became Giuliani's third wife after his divorce from Donna Hanover, who also had her own police security detail at the same time.

Well at least he had the women in his life well taken care of. I doubt that put Donna Hanover's mind at ease though.

Giuliani is now in full defense mode, calling Politico's article a "pre-debate hitjob" and having former aides say Rudy had nothing to do with making those arrangements. He is also going on CNBC at 6pm tonight to do more damage control. Though there may be a slight problem for Rudy, all of this activity is illegal.

You don't have to believe me, just ask another former New York politician, Alan Hevesi.

Barbie's Crisis...And Your Child's Too

Don't let this happen to you....

Rudy's Story Won't Die

It seems like everyone is talking and writing about Rudy today, 259 stories just from searching Google News and there are hundreds more from the blogs. The question came to his face last night at the debate from Anderson Cooper and Rudy was ready to spin. His story was that he had no control over how funds were allocated and that he needs security 24/7. The problem is that he didn't answer why those funds were put into the budgets of obscure city agencies, like those governing lofts and dispensing funds for defense attorneys for those that can't afford them.

Rudy may be hoping that this story dies a quick death, but one refutation to his refutation is quite damning. Ed Koch is no friend to Democrats (even though he technically is one), but having been a Mayor of New York before Rudy, his words carry weight on the situation. Well, those words weren't pretty for the Presidential aspirant.

From The Huffington Post:

"There is something improper about charging costs to a department other than the NYPD," said Koch. "They are the ones who are supposed to pick him up no matter where he is whether or not it's in the city."

Koch, who served as the mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, said that the episode gave off the appearance that Giuliani, who was at the time married to his second wife Donna Hanover, was trying to hide his affair. He also argued that providing Judith Nathan her own personal protection (when she was not a member of the first family) constituted an even more flagrant misuse of taxpayer money.

"I found it strange that his lady friend was given protection," said the long-time New York politico. "That was bizarre. She's not the city's responsibility. Rudy is the city's responsibility. Your wife and his children get protection, and that's understood. But certainly not your lady friend."

Maybe he was trying to impress her, but one thing is for certain. Someone helped Rudy cover his ass, now the question is who is it and is he or she going to come clean about the affair? Rudy acted improperly and quite possibly in an illegal manner. If this story keeps running, it could spell the end for Mr. 9/11.

Edwards Wins A GOP Convert On Live TV

John Edwards got the sweetest gift last night and it beats out anything he's done for his campaign (attending the WGA East protest, etc) this week. It didn't happen at a labor rally, a progressive meetup or anything Democratic. No, this was during the post-debate wrap-up on CNN last night.

From Crooks and Liars:

During the post-debate show last night, CNN’s Erica Hill asked her room full of undecided Republican voters for a show of hands to see if any had settled on a candidate and there was a lot of shaking heads but not one hand raised.

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But what really made the moment special was one undecided Republican voter who thought she ‘may’ have finally decided:

Sharon: “I think if the Democrats have John Edwards, I’d vote for John Edwards.” … “I had thought about Giuliani, I had thought about Mitt Romney, also Fred Thompson. I don’t care for his TV shows but you know, I thought maybe him being an actor that was just a persona and it’s not.”

Damn, thats gotta hurt for Freddie and the rest of the Republican bunch. It just goes to show that no one has really settled on a candidate over there on the right. That is because there is nothing to the eight white men on the stage. They are not in it to change America for the better, it is about winning for some...and making America less democratic for rest. Edwards actually speaks to most Americans because he is standing up for progressive principles...and like it or not, many Americans believe the same way at their core.

Giuliani's Perfect Timing

Rudy claims that he has made government more accountable as Mayor in the ad, I wonder if that could have conflictual problems with reality?

Winning Their Hearts And Minds

To quote a great horrific leader, we're over there to win hearts and minds...yada yada yada. Other reasons include stopping Saddam Hussein, WMDs and the war on terreh. The Iraqis would greet us as liberators and throw flowers at our troops as they rolled on to Baghdad and victory. Remember all that stuff? So now that it's been almost five years since we occupied liberated Iraq, how are they liking us now?

From The LA Times:

BAGHDAD -- Dozens of Iraqi lawmakers walked out of parliament Wednesday to protest what they view as overly aggressive and humiliating treatment by U.S. soldiers as representatives enter Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, where the legislature is located.

"I and many of my colleagues who live outside the Green Zone face a lot of problems," said Feryad Rawandozi, a high-ranking official with the Kurdish parliamentary bloc. U.S. soldiers "are very arrogant and impolite when they talk to us, especially with those who don't speak English."

Hmmm, that doesn't sound very comforting. Army Maj. Anton Alston, who runs the operations around the Green Zone calls it a "cultural thing." However, members of the Parliament have another idea. They want special permits to grant them quicker access, you know, so they can govern and lead their country. Isn't that what Bush wants to happen over there? Oh wait, he's rather have us stay in Iraq forever, my bad.

We're Still Going To Have To Pay More To The MTA, While They Save Less

You know all those trains under and above the streets of New York? Those sub-and-above-ways run on an operating budget of $10.8 billion dollars a year. Craziness I know, but what is nuts is that while Spitzer-approved fare increases will net the MTA $163 million, while the transit authority is only trying to save $50 million. That's the MTA, hard at work as usual.

From The Daily News:

The savings in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's 2008 "Program to Eliminate the Gap" are equal to less than one-half of 1% of the authority's proposed $10.8 billion operating budget.

"Most riders think they could do better at saving money," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

Even with those savings, which include leaving some vacancies unfilled and eliminating other positions, MTA spending will increase by about $500 million, or about 5%, next year, according to the budget going before the board next month.

MTA CEO Elliot Sander has said that the agency can't make deeper cuts than those outlined in the proposed budget and four-year financial plan without curtailing service and maintenance.

Curtailing service and maintenance? That sounds like a scare tactic to me. Their resistance to seeing what the state legislature can do for them in the spring is also disheartening. Sander says he doesn't want to burden them until he asks for larger amounts of money for the second phase of the 2nd Avenue subway and other projects. Well Mr. Sander, those things will come later, relief from a fare increase is needed now.

Rudy Connected To Terrorists? But I Thought....

Rudy is running on fighting terror. He's a tough, rootin, tootin son of a gun that's not taking names and strictly here to kick ass. "America's Mayor" they call him, a man that stood tough while NYC was in chaos after being attacked on 9/11. Thats what Rudy is about, or at least that's what he wants you to think. The truth is much, much different.

Keith had the Village Voice's Wayne Barrett on the show last night to talk about his bombshell article two days ago about Rudy's ties to terror. Now all you Rudy lovers wipe the shock (or denial) off your face and watch this interview, or go ahead and read the article linked in the first paragraph and tell me how you feel about this guy now.

Greed is an ugly thing, isn't it?

Lights To Go Back Up On B'Way

On a lighter note this morning, some good new came to New York and everyone who visits that likes to take in a show on Broadway. After nineteen arduous days, Local One and the Theater owners finally came to an agreement to end the longest theatrical strike since 1975. So be warned Times Square workers, foot traffic is about to return to normal at a quarter to eight in the evening and after 10pm.

From The New York Times:

At the center of this dispute were work rules in the stagehands’ contract that the producers’ league considered costly and inefficient. The league wanted changes to several rules, including those governing how many stagehands must come to work every day that a show is being loaded into a theater; minimum lengths of time for which stagehands can be called to work; and the kinds of tasks stagehands are allowed to perform during certain work calls. [....]

Neither side released details of the settlement.

But among the changes the league was able to achieve, according to officials involved in the talks, was a daily minimum of 17 stagehands on the load-in, the lengthy and costly period when a production is loaded into a theater. In the recently expired contract, producers would set a number of stagehands needed for a load-in — say, 35 — and all of them would have to stay every day for the entirety of the load-in, an arrangement that producers said often left large groups of stagehands with nothing to do.[...]

In return for these changes and others, union members would get yearly raises well above the 3.5 percent that the league had been offering.

Well for not releasing any details, the NY Times certainly got a heaping load of them.

So the question is, who won out in this slugfest? It is hard to tell how much the union workers gained, a raise over 3.5% could be 3.6% or 10%, but that would be their only gain. The theater owners got what they wanted, reducing the amount of stagehands working by half. Over the long run, that is great news for their budgets. Of course they also lost out on millions in revenue over the last two-plus weeks, so try to muster some sympathy for those rich bastards.

There were certainly plenty of losers here. Theater-goers, local restaurants, anyone who is employed directly or indirectly in the Theater District and the city's lost revenues of $2 million a day. At least the strike is over now, and (most) of the stagehands can go back to work.

Giuliani Used Us

The man running for the nomination from the "moral values" party has a big problem. No we aren't talking about his affair, his three marriages, his toleration (gasp!) of abortion and gay marriage in the past or even his nasty and brutish attitude exhibited while Mayor of New York. This has to deal with his spending New Yorkers' tax dollars to fund his many rendezvous with his now-wife Judith out in the Hamptons before 9/11.

From The Politico:

As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”

Security eh? Those Hamptons, what a dangerous place. Seriously though, it is abhorrent that the Mayor used money for city agencies so that Rudy could go out on the Island and cheat on his second wife. You would think that maybe he could spring for his own soirees.

Anderson Cooper confronted Rudy about the bombshell story last night at the CNN/YouTube debate and guess what....he denied it. Unfortunately for the people of the city and the nation, he won't answer exactly what is untrue. The Giuliani campaign then put the blame on the NYPD (ain't that nice) by saying they handled his security around the clock, so he had no idea what was going on.

Maybe he was clueless about these minor (dare I say, illegal) details. Cheating on your wife could occupy a lot of your head, managing your lies while being the most public person in a city of eight million. Oh wait a second, we are talking about Rudy, and the man could care less about who he hurts, whether it is his wife, his kids or the trust of the long as he wins in the end.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Edwards At The WGA East Rally

Here's the YouTube of the AP's report on the WGA strike from yesterday. As usual, Edwards says...and does the right thing here:

Jesse To March On Wall St

The subprime mortgage disaster has been picking up speed in the well as it is beginning to hurt the large banks. Thanks to people like Jesse Jackson, the crisis will also remind us that the worst effects are on the people who have had to foreclose on their homes, and those that might have to in the future. Jesse plans to march on Wall Street and bring the spotlight to the industry that has helped bring about this crisis.

From The Daily Politics:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson came to City Hall today to tout his Dec. 10 march/rally on Wall Street in hopes of pressuring big lenders to focus on, as he puts it, “restructuring, not repossession,” in hopes of staving off massive foreclosure crisis he believes could send the national into another Great Depression.

Jackson also announced support of Council resolution 1112 which “denounces” foreclosures precipitated by subprime and predatory lending and in support of federal and state legislation that regulates lenders and assists borrowers.

Denouncing the practice of foreclosing is not enough. We need real change and real regulation to prevent Wall Street from doing so much damage to middle class homeowners here in New York and across the country. With the $38 billion in Christmas bonuses that the industry is receiving this year, it is time to give those billions back and reimburse the all of their least those that have been foreclosed on.

If you have time on December 10th, put those marching boots on and stand against the corporate banking giants.

"Bush" And "Peace" Do Not Belong In The Same Sentence

Seriously, what would we do without Keith Olbermann? And why isn't there more out there like him, heaven knows there are enough ridiculous conservative shows on cable news.

Okay, I could get off topic here so back to the matter at hand. Keith talked about the Israeli-Palestinian conference going on in Annapolis this week and Bush's "contribution" to the peace process. While Abbas and Olmert are trying to hammer out some sort of agreement to stop the bloodshed and economic ruin in the region, Bush was doing......absolutely nothing. Except for a lame attempt at a cheap photo-op.

From Crooks and Liars:

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On Tuesday’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann talked with Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe about President Bush’s failed foreign policy and his awkward cameo appearance at today’s Middle East Peace Summit in Annapolis, Maryland. Looking confused and distracted, the president butchered the names of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas *shock* and even needed guidance on where to stand with the two leaders for a photo op — which was apparently the only reason he attended at all.

After all the hype and spin about how much President Bush cares about bringing peace to the Middle East, and how he’s worked the phones and listened in preparation, our Commander in Chief took off after spending less than three hours at the summit.

Truly pathetic, what a shame that this man is our President. Bush can hardly stand peace, all the man wants is war. He certainly has started enough of those already. What is it, 418 days to go until he's gone?

It can't come soon enough.

Trent, You'll Be Missed


Josh Marshall takes us on a trip down memory lane:

NYC City Council Follows Up On Bloomberg's PlaNYC

Bloomberg's PlaNYC earlier this year drew wide acclaim across the country as a model for cities to clean up and reduce energy usage. Now the City Council is getting in the act, making the goal of a 30% reduction in energy consumption by 2030. Not only are they dedicated to it, they're going to make it a law.

From The Daily News:

The City Council Wednesday will likely approve the Climate Protection Act, which forces the city to figure out a way to cut everyone's carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2030.

Mayor Bloomberg set a similar goal in his ambitious PlaNYC blueprint for the city's future, but the law would make it a lot harder for any future mayor to backtrack on the target.

"We've been wanting to do this for a long time," said Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee.

Now this is a law that is far from frivolous (like many of their other pieces of legislation) and in fact a necessary component to maintain the preeminent city in the country (or any city) in the 21st century.

Larry Craig Gets His Very Own Doll!

If you have ever been to NYC during the holiday season, you would know that at a few locations around the city (Union Sq, Columbus Circle, etc) they set up giant outdoor shopping cities in the open plaza area. Many, many vendors attend, but my favorite is the Unemployed Philosopher's Guild. They have the greatest little dolls, from Freud to the Axis of Evil (the ones in the White House that is). Now Larry Craig is certainly no philosopher but he joins the ranks of the many famed men and women that have had dolls modeled after them. From Page One News:

A novelty website is marketing a new toy figurine in the wake of this year's "toe-tapping" scandal involving Senator Larry Craig (R-ID).

(snip), selling the talking toy for $34.99, notes that its limbs are bendable, enabling one to pose the miniature Larry Craig into any number of positions, including the now famous "wide stance" Craig referred to during his June consultation with a Minneapolis police officer.

It may not be as admirable as the Monet or Shakespeare doll, but it certainly gets a laugh out of most. I wonder if anyone will get Larry a little Larry of his own?

Olbermann Talks About The White House In Crisis

And what a crisis it is:

Rudy Caught Using Hale House Kids And Workers W/O Permission

After bashing Mitt in the last post, I wouldn't want to leave Rudy out in the cold this morning (it is in the 30s outside right now, poor guy). The Giuliani campaign was caught making what is universally known as a rookie mistake. Using images of people for campaign advertising without their permission is a big no-no. You would think his camp would know that....apparently not.

From The Daily News:

Rudy Giuliani is using a photo of Hale House children and caregivers in a new presidential TV ad without permission - and at least one staffer at the home wants out of the spot.

"I know he's running for President, but I don't want to be involved," said child-care worker Marisol Molina, 44, when shown her image in the ad, titled "Leadership," which Giuliani's campaign debuted last week. The ad appears at the bottom of this page.

"They should have let us know first," added Molina, who has spent nearly six years at the fabled Harlem home for children of jailed or drug-addicted moms.

"I don't want to be in that - no, uh-uh," Molina said firmly.

You heard the woman, leave her out. And stay away from the kids especially, Presidential politics is no place for those little tykes to be props for a guy like Rudy Giuliani. What is really sad about this is that at first, it seemed like Rudy was doing honest to goodness charity work. Donating your time to read to kids is a real mitzvah. Taking pictures to be used to show yourself as a decent man without checking to see if people care to be in that is just sick.

Oh and the follow up? This part just make me sick:

When contacted by the Daily News, Team Giuliani at first dispatched senior adviser Anthony Carbonetti to talk with the soft-spoken Molina, a mother of three.

"We will deal with her privately," Carbonetti said. "I'd like the opportunity to speak with her."

Asked if the campaign planned to take the ad off the air, he added, "I will make that decision after listening to her."

Just a little callous, don't you think?

Mitt Hates Muslims

Uh oh Mitt, looks like you are in trouble again. The Iowa front runner is getting flack for not wanting any Muslims in his potential cabinet. When an article ran in the Christian Science Monitor that an Islamic businessman got a response from Mitt like that, Romney tried to back track and claim the question was phrased a different way. Too bad for Mitt there is earlier evidence that he answered the same question months before.

From TPM:

As you know, Romney is in a bit of a spot because of an account in the Christian Science Monitor by an Islamic businessman who claims Romney said that he "cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified" for a Muslim. Today Romney denied this version of events, saying that he had actually been asked whether he thought he needed a Muslim in his Cabinet to effectively counter Jihad, not whether he opposed the idea of having a Muslim in his Cabinet.

But as we reported earlier today, we located two GOPers in Nevada who say that Romney had in fact been asked a similar question and given a similar answer at another event three months ago. George Harris, a state GOP official, told us that he asked Romney at a private fundraiser if he would have any Muslims in his Cabinet. According to Harris, Romney's reply was "most likely not."

We've now discovered that there's a contemporaneous account of this episode in something called Liberty Watch Magazine, which Harris publishes.

Isn't sad that in this day and age a Presidential candidate of all people has to succumb to this religious bigotry? This is the man that many pundits say can over take Giuliani. Rudy is pretty much the same way, you never know what he'll say when he opens his mouth either.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kucinich's New Ad?

This is from his supporters and they mention he doesn't endorse it, but wouldn't it be funny if he did?

Hypocrisy Abounds When Rudy Opens His Mouth

Not only does he lie exaggerate everything to ridiculous levels, he's a hypocrite as well. It feels like only yesterday (really a couple of weeks) when he decried government health care after lauding over it when he was taken care of by NYC's HIP plan. What is good for Rudy isn't good for everyone else, according to the man himself at least. Well today was more of the same from Giuliani when he lashed out at all the earmarks in Congress. Maybe he forgot about all of those that went his way.

From Bloomberg:

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- On the campaign trail, Rudy Giuliani rails against congressional spending set aside for lawmakers' pet projects. In Washington, his law firm fights to obtain them.

Giuliani, the Republican presidential front-runner, last month pledged to ``get rid of'' so-called earmarks, which cost taxpayers about $13 billion this year, saying his party should promote ``fiscal discipline.'' Just weeks later, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP won $3 million worth of projects for its clients in defense-spending legislation.

``It's a bit hypocritical,'' said Republican consultant Eddie Mahe, who isn't aligned with any presidential candidate. ``He profits from it. I don't think Joe Sixpack is going to buy into that.''

Even his own party's political peeps are trashing him over this. Thanks for making it easier for us Dems to pile on. Oh and it appears his BFF is trailing him (scroll down to the last two paragraphs) on the campaign as well. Gotta love those diehards that follow Rudy, looking like Rudy touting old friendships.

Hillary And Obama's Dueling Celebs

Generally on a long, drawn out Presidential campaign (such as this one, that's more than eleven months away, that has already been going on for what seems like forever) the press has to look for side stories, since they find policy positions rather boring. Today Hillary indirectly caused one of these when she trotted out Barbra Streisand as her celebrity icon.

From The Chicago Sun-Times:

CHICAGO--As the announcement of Oprah Winfrey stumping for White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) continues to dominate political chatter, the campaign of chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) rolled out Tuesday the endorsement of megastar Barbra Streisand.

Streisand is being used to reclaim the political news cycle---there's been a lot of pondering going on in print and cable over the value of celebrity endorsements in general and Winfrey in particular.

The announcement did not say if Streisand, a longtime Democratic activist who has been close to Bill and Hill for years--would go on the stump for Clinton. Unlike Winfrey, a beloved figure who until now has stayed away from politics in order to not devalue her brand, Streisand is the star Republicans love to brand as a left-winger.

Wow, Streisand endorses Hillary. Damn, that is a shocker, what news, a mega-story in the making....Is this the best we can do in the media. Though I will not blame the media solely. Hillary's staff knew exactly what this press release would do. She is an expert at running in a horse race and Bill's experience with it doesn't hurt either. Streisand has a long-ass quote expounding on Hillary's greatness and rah rah women rah rah, if you want to read it, go ahead. Personally, I could care less what a singer, or a daytime TV talk show host has to say about someone running for the highest office in the land.

The Last Conservative Dinner

From the creative genius named Darkblack

Live From New York, It's The WGA East Rally!

There is no Saturday Night Live with the strike going on, and since only 150 people got to see the stage version (mostly SNL insiders) at UCB last weekend, I thought I would bring this to the orange worldwide theater in its place. Today, the Writers Guild of America East held a solidarity rally in Washington Square Park, and oh what a rally it was. Hundreds, if not over a thousand people came to show their support for the writers in Greenwich Village.

Many of course were the writers themselves. I saw a few from the Daily Show hanging in the back, as well as one correspondent, Aasif Mandvi who went up on stage. The event lasted over an hour, but the enthusiasm will last much longer than that, and the passion of the crowd can resonate with the bigwigs at the major studios.

Evan Handler (of Sex in the City fame) started it off a little bit past 12, helping to introduce the majority of the speakers. Most only went up for a minute or two, including Colin Quinn, Danny Glover, Gilbert Gottfried, Randi Weingarten of the United Federation of Teachers, Gary Le Barbera and Ed Ott from the Central Labor Council, Denis M. Hughes who leads the New York State AFL-CIO and Sam Freed who is the Screen Actors Guild President for New York.

Senator John Edwards came up for a little while to speak to the crowd. His speech was also short, but very, very sweet. He mentioned that he stands with the WGA-E, the WGA in Los Angeles and has not and will not cross their picket lines. Whether it is declining to go on "Ellen" or "The View," to potential canceling his appearance at a CBS-sponsored debate if their writers go on strike as well.

One of the most passionate of speakers is a man who is passionate about many causes, whether it is for human rights or for a fair wage for writers. That man, Tim Robbins, blew the crowd away. Clearly, he is experienced at speaking at these types of events.

I should also mention, many unions were in attendance, including parking attendants, the SEIU among others. The crowd was peppered with actors (many I that were recognizable, but sadly for me I can not place their names. If this sounds like a good time to you, being that there's an activist or two that might read this, be sure to check out their next rally here in the city, tomorrow at Columbus Circle from 10am to 2pm.

From The WGA East website:

Wednesday, November 28 Time Warner Center Columbus Circle 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Today's picket is part of the International Day of Solidarity, declared by The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds. They will be holding demonstrations in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, and France. If you can get ahold of a flag from any of these countries, you might bring it along to the picket line. We will continue to hold rallies, informational leaflets, and pickets at various locations around New York City. Wear your WGAE t-shirt to the event and bring your WGAE whistle. Other union members -- wear your union gear proudly! Check the website for updated location information. [If you are a Writers Guild member living outside of NYC or LA and would like to organize an action in your city, please email Actions are currently being organized in certain cities.]

Here's a couple more shots for your viewing pleasure:

How Would You Artistically Describe The 2nd Ave Line?

While the MTA, politicians and the public battle the fare increase out, the transit authority is busy in other areas. One project involves creating underground reservoirs where flood waters on the tracks can go after being pumped, alleviating rain delays that are more on schedule than the MTA can hope their subway trains can ever be. In other, lighter news, the MTA is calling all artists for their new subway stations on the to-be-completed 2nd Ave. subway.

From The NY Post:

The massive public-art commissions for the 96th, 86th, 72nd, and 63rd street stations are expected to attract artists from across the country, officials told The Post.

"We're looking for work that melds with the architecture and with the community of the new stations," said Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts for Transit.

The new stations will be much brighter and sleeker than those in the rest of the system, and the works, which will cover as much as 2,200 square feet of wall space at each station, should reflect that, said project manager Lester Burg.

The four commissioned "pieces" will cost up to $4 million for the four stations and artists have until December 21st to submit their designs. The applications should be interesting to see and review, perhaps the MTA might let the public in on the decision-making process, possibly with more say than they allow for the fare increases. Time will tell if New York's brand new stops will come close to the unique designs that Los Angeles installed in their one subway line.


The video is great, but the story behind it is, like the title, priceless:

Bloomberg Fails 9/11 Heroes Again

You know that old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?" Well Mayor Bloomberg really needs to check that one out after supporting Charles Hirsch's decisions regarding the heroes of 9/11 who worked on that wretched pile. Officer James Godbee was a well-fit ex-Marine and an NYPD cop, but after working on the pile, he suffered a fatal heart attack caused by sarcoidosis at the young age of 44.

It sounds like he was one of the many victims of the toxic stew that engulfed lower Manhattan in the days, weeks and months following September 11th. Yet when his widow talked to Hirsch, he told her that his death would remain "classified" and marked as "natural causes" because he wasn't there on the pile on September 11th. Instead, he was there on September 13th. Big @#%$& difference!

For the Mayor to support this man and not a blue ribbon commission is outright absurdity. The victims and their families deserve better than this. Hirsch was already taking fire over Officer Zadroga' death a few weeks ago and now we have him in the news yet again for similar reasons. I guess this was better because he didn't accuse Godbee of injecting prescription medication....nevertheless, Hirsch insulted both families and he is a stain on this city. Bloomberg should have him removed or at the very least investigated, not a man to be commended.

Shame on Hirsch and shame on Bloomberg.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Support Our Local Writers Tomorrow

It is commonly known that there is always something to do in New York City and tomorrow is no different. At high noon in Washington Square Park, the Writers Guild of America East will be holding a solidarity rally until 1:30PM approximately. Organizers are expecting around 1,000 people to show up, but I have feeling that those that love labor and the writers who are in this union have many devoted supporters. Even many that can spend their lunch hour in the Square to show the big corporate studios who's side their on.

From WGAEast:

Solidarity Rally
Tuesday, November 27
Washington Square Park
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Join your fellow members of the Writers Guild of America, the labor community, and supporters and fans, as the WGA begins week four of its strike against the media conglomerates of the AMPTP.

Meet us at Washington Square Park for a Solidarity Rally. We’re expecting a large attendance from the union community -- including SEIU, AFTRA, SAG, UNITE-HERE, AFT, NYS AFL-CIO, national AFL-CIO, and the New York City Central Labor Council among others -- as well as some exciting speakers, music and entertainment.

We want to thank the thousands of union members from every industry who have joined us on the picket lines from New York to Los Angeles and stood with us to preserve decent working standards against corporate power. Now that we’re going back to the table, it’s even more important to send the companies a strong message: We’re all in this together and we demand a fair deal!

If that isn't enough to coax you over, there will be a ton of celebrities as well, both political and plain old Hollywood style ones. Some names include Senator John Edwards, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Tim Robbins, Michael Emerson, Joe Pantoliano, Colin Quinn, Aasif Mandvi, Tony Goldwyn, Evan Handler, Gilbert Gottfried and many, many others. So I better see you all at Washington Square Park tomorrow at noon!

Reunited And It Feels So Good

For the first time, Al Gore was invited to the Bush White House as one of the winners of the Nobel Prize. As you can tell, Al looks comfortable and talkative while George is standing there with that fake smile of his, probably wishing this was all over soon.

Don't worry George, you only have 420 days left to go!

So Mr. Bush, Are You A Criminal Or Just Out Of Touch?

It is now post-Turkey Day and a week since Scott McClellan's publisher provided an excerpt from his upcoming book. That excerpt showed that McClellan had no idea he had passed on false information from Rove, Cheney, Bush and now he is ready to cash his chips out for this very lucrative book deal. Everyone has had some time to digest their turkey and the clip from Scotty's what does the pResident have to say about it?

From SignOnSanDiego:

The excerpt, posted on the Web site of publisher PublicAffairs, renews questions about what went on in the West Wing and how much Bush and Cheney knew about the leak. For years, it was McClellan's job to field – and often duck – those types of questions.

Now that he's spurring them, answers are equally hard to come by.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt. “The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information,” she said.

Well of course he'd never do anything illegal, this is our commander in chimp chief we are talking about here. And Dana would never pass on false information about false information either, right Ms. Perino? Well if that is the case, then it was and is a sad state of affairs that Mr. Bush can not keep a lid on his very own press secretary. Right?

TBogg looks into his crystal ball on how future press conferences might go from here on out:

One months later:
White House press secretary Tony Fratto said it wasn't clear what Gordon Johnroe was going on about when talking about some woman named Perrino, and that he had no idea who Scott McClellan was. “The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information,” he said.
Six days later:
White House press secretary Joe Lieberman was clearly agitated today when he accused the nations press of playing "some kind of partisan media 'gotcha' game with the Bush Administration"when it was clearly in the nations best interest to "move on" and get behind the recent invasions of Iran, Syria, and Yemen, all of whom , according to the former Senator and current Republican Vice Presidential nominee, "harbor ginormous stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and, did I mention that they hate our freedoms?" He later added, “The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information” to the few remaining journalists who hadn't already left the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in order to start drinking heavily until they forgot their deep personal shame .

Damn, if Lieberman is press secretary number six, I pray to the almighty not to see who number seven might be.

Rudy Attracts The Press And Who Else?

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. He's the national favorite, Mr. America's Mayor, stood by in his city and made it to photo-ops while people died in the wreckage of what were the Twin Towers...then he left the mayorship and made millions off of his fame and now he's running for President. It is quite the accomplishment to even be a front runner, but is there really anything behind it? In New Hampshire it doesn't seem that there is much there at all.


The numbers of reporters have ballooned. In addition to the regulars, all of the New York City tabloids are here, as are several national newspaper chains and numerous still photographers. Even Australian and Danish press made a cameo. For a campaign that never had a formal launch, this weekend almost seems like an unveiling.

The crowds, however, don’t seem to have gotten the message. A rally for Giuliani in front of Manchester City Hall garnered only a few dozen supporters. Backers of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich almost seemed to match them in numbers. Giuliani generates healthy crowds at town hall meetings, but they are not all loyalists. When it comes to rallies and events where partisans are expected in droves, Giuliani’s crowds disappoint. And the mainstream media has started to notice.

Finally they are noticing, wow, it only took the media until late November to see that Giuliani is made up of the majority of his words, that is, hot air. While Obama attracts tens of thousands, Rudy gets dozens. That alone speaks volumes. Astute observers that New Hampshire-ites are, they have seen that Rudy isn't much more than rhetoric. He talks enough, thats for sure, but a sound candidate worthy of the White House?


Hummers, Driving Through The Mess They Make

Isn't it ironic that with climate change, the vehicles that symbolize the gluttony of our society can drive through the catastrophes they help create? Sure, the Hummer isn't the sole problem, not every car out there is a Hummer. Still, it is a slap in the face that GM flaunts this car in such a terrible tragedy that was partially brought on by our ridiculous consumption habits, one being the enormous amount of cars out there that help destroy our environment.

You Know How Immigrants Suck Our Resources Dry?

Well it is a load of steaming, heaping BS and the product of xenophobic bastards everywhere that spread their ignorant hate of others. If you don't believe me, just look at the studies out there that show otherwise. Here in New York, all immigrants make up 21 percent of New York's population and over 22 percent of the gross domestic product. A labor think tank examined the effects of immigrants on our state and it shows just how important they are, if you didn't know already. Chances are, more than one in five of you are one of those that help contribute to the economy.

From The Daily News:

Immigrants, who make up 21% of the Empire State's population, added $229 billion to the economy last year alone and accounted for 22.4% of New York's gross domestic product, Fiscal Policy Institute researchers found.


The report found that immigrants in the city are moving into various realms of commerce and employment, and now make up 21% of all chief executive officers, half of accountants, and one-third of office clerks, receptionists and building cleaners.

The study also found that city neighborhoods with high concentrations of immigrants have seen rapid growth over the past decades in new business startups.

Will these facts and figures put an end to the crap the right wing spews over immigrants on a daily basis? Probably not, but at least clear thinking Americans can look at what is really going on, and not on Fox News. The Albany Project highlights much more from the report here.

Trent Lott Says Buh Bye

In an official announcement that could come today, Trent Lott will be stepping down from his Senate seat at the end of this year. The Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour will appoint his successor that will serve until next year when an election will be held to see who be the next elected Senator until 2012, since Trent was re-elected only last year.

From TPM:

Lott, 66, scheduled two news conferences in Pascagoula and Jackson later in the day to reveal his plans. According to congressional and White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement, Lott intends to resign effective the end of the year.

No reason for Lott's resignation was given, but according to a congressional official, there is nothing amiss with Lott's health. The senator has "other opportunities" he plans to pursue, the official said, without elaborating. The senator is serving his fourth Senate term.

Lott's colleagues elected him as the Senate's Republican whip last year, a redemption for the Mississippian after his ouster five years ago as the party's Senate leader over remarks he made at retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party in 2002. Lott had saluted the South Carolina senator with comments later interpreted as support for southern segregationist policies.

Oh yes, that little outburst back in 2002 sure did cost Senator Lott quite a bit. According to his book, he was shocked that President Bush condemned his comment about wishing for the old segregationist days (how dare he!). It was probably on par for him seeing what kind of response George showed for his neighbors that were wrecked by Hurricane Katrina.

Okay, Katrina was far, far worse in anyone' eyes. Perhaps Trent finally saw the error of the Republican way of dealing with government's relation with the people. When it comes down to it, less government means less services, including federal (and state) responses to disasters. If there isn't any money in the people's bank, then nothing will get done. That was surely evidenced at the end of August of 2005 and it still shows down on the Gulf Coast.

Even though he is only 66 and not in bad health, Trent is leaving disaffected by what was going on with him and his fellows leadership of our country. Oh and that new lobbying rule could be playing a factor in the decision as well. Now there must be a new way. Rep. Chip Pickering is being touted as a replacement, being his protegé and all, but is that what Mississippi and the Senate needs?

I beg to differ, and we might just see that Mississippi does as well, especially with people like Mike Moore being so heavily favored by many in that southern state.

"The War On Democracy"

Seeing who is fighting for the ideal and against it could shock many Americans to their core:

Not Much Thanks For These Indian Workers

Four days without a post and I am starting to feel funny, so its Monday, four days after Thanksgiving and there's still plenty to report on. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that no one ate more than I did (or else you'd be pretty sick), I was at my aunt's house and the amount of food was enough for 60 people, not the six that were in attendance. Meanwhile halfway across the world, there are hundreds of Indian workers that provide a small slice of New York's infrastructure, but barely get anything in return for their hard work.

From The New York Times:

The scene was as spectacular as it was anachronistic: flames, sweat and liquid iron mixing in the smoke like something from the Middle Ages. That’s what attracted the interest of a photographer who often works for The New York Times — images that practically radiate heat and illustrate where New York’s manhole covers are born.

When officials at Con Edison — which buys a quarter of its manhole covers, roughly 2,750 a year, from India — were shown the pictures by the photographer, they said they were surprised.

“We were disturbed by the photos,” said Michael S. Clendenin, director of media relations with Con Edison. “We take worker safety very seriously,” he said.

Nevertheless, these disturbing pictures will not do a damn thing in changing where Con Ed buys their manhole covers. If anything, design specifications might phase out this Indian company's contract sooner or later. Con Ed will continue to follow the pre-eminent policy of buying the cheapest product that fits what they want to place on top of the thousands of holes in our city's streets and sidewalks. That goes for the city of Syracuse and New Orleans as well.

When you are walking down the street today, make sure you remember where that heavy piece of iron came from....and give thanks that they are not too badly injured for Con Ed's reduced price.