Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rep. Conyers Does What Sen. Leahy Was Too Afraid Of

This past week a group of Vermont citizens found out that their senior senator had failed them in seeking out justice and accountability for the crimes committed by the Bush Administration. Not only did Leahy not demand those accused to be tried in court, he couldn't muster the courage to call for a phony "Truth Commission" that would air out all the dirty laundry of the past eight years. Thankfully though we have a fighter in House that is willing to go above and beyond Vermont's weak-kneed senator.

From The Public Record:

On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers quietly released the final draft of an extensive report he first unveiled in January documenting the Bush administration’s “unreviewable war powers” and the possible crimes committed in implementing those policies.

In order to determine whether Bush officials broke laws, Conyers has recommended that Attorney General Eric Holder appoint a special prosecutor to launch a criminal inquiry to investigate, among other things, whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” used against alleged terrorist detainees violated international and federal laws against torture.

“The Attorney General should appoint a Special Counsel to determine whether there were criminal violations committed pursuant to Bush Administration policies that were undertaken under unreviewable war powers, including enhanced interrogation, extraordinary rendition, and warrantless domestic surveillance,” Conyers’s report says. “In this regard, the report firmly rejects the notion that we should move on from these matters.” An earlier draft of the report contained a similar recommendation, but the final version includes additional evidence that has surfaced since January to support Conyers's reasoning s for a special prosecutor. The updated version “highlights significant source materials and Judiciary Committee accomplishments, and accounts for the final days of the Bush Administration.”
Now the ball is in Attorney General Holder's court. Far from the Bush sycophant that former A.G. Mukasey was, Holder has a much higher regard for the rule of law. Of course he still actually has to go through with appointing a prosecutor, so he has to prove he's worthy in the eyes of the law. Hopefully Obama and his top man at the Justice Department will have the agency live up to its' name for the first time in over eight year.

Obama's Weekly Address: Oh So Many Challenges

This week's edition comes to you from the Presidential desk on Air Force One:

As Obama notes, we have a lot of problems, but there are solutions to them long as we are willing to seize upon those solutions and not let petty politics get in the way.

Steve King Reaffirms His Homophobe Cred In Spite Of His State

When it comes to right-wing nuttiness, Congressman Steve King of Iowa is right up there on the top of the list. His home state made headlines yesterday when the state's Supreme Court followed the lead of several Northeastern states and California in that bans on same-sex marriage is a violation (.pdf file) of the equal protection clause. It was a tremendous judicial victory for equal rights in a part of the country that is still behind the more progressive parts. Unfortunately, King had to sully the occasion with his own ignorant and hateful screed.

From ThinkProgress:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) reacted with fury to the Court’s decision, calling the ruling “unconstitutional” and denigrating the “activist judges” who decided it. He called for an constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and pressed for immediate action to prevent Iowa from becoming a “Mecca” for gay couples:

Now it is the Iowa legislature’s responsibility to pass the Marriage Amendment to the Iowa Constitution, clarifying that marriage is between one man and one woman, to give the power that the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself back to the people of Iowa. Along with a constitutional amendment, the legislature must also enact marriage license residency requirements so that Iowa does not become the gay marriage Mecca due to the Supreme Court’s latest experiment in social engineering.

ThinkProgress also made a list of other bigoted statements that show this last one is not isolated at all:

King compared gay people to unicorns and leprechauns. “Unicorns, leprechauns, gay marriages in Iowa — these are all things you will never find because they just don’t exist.”

King sought to uphold anti-gay employment discrimination. “The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would force employers to hire homosexual employees.”

King insisted homosexuality was just a “behavior.” Declaring that “homosexual marriage is not a civil right,” King said sexual orientation “is a self-identified behavior, not an immutable characteristic.”

If there's anything positive to take from this, it is that the hatred King holds for other human beings due to their sexual orientation is something that is waning in this country. That is not to say that the upcoming battles for equality will be a walk in the park, but that over time, more people will realize that they have nothing to fear from gay people and will see that they deserve all the rights and privileges afforded to straight people.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Immigration Rage Turns Tragic In Binghamton

The entire nation has been transfixed on the small upstate town of Binghamton today due to the brutal violence inside a community immigration assistance office. A man that goes by the alias of Jiverly Voong took his own life after killing at least a dozen others. The news is absolutely tragic to say the least.

From The Albany Times-Union:

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- A gunman opened fire on a room where immigrants were taking a citizenship exam in downtown Binghamton on Friday, killing as many as 13 people before committing suicide, officials said.[...]

The suspect's body was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in an office of the American Civic Association building, the official said. The gunman barricaded the rear door of the building with his car before entering through the front door, firing his weapon, the official said.

The gunman had recently been let go from IBM in nearby Johnson City, said Rep. Maurice Hinchey, whose district includes Binghamton. The gunman opened fire on a citizenship class, he said.

"People were there in the process of being tested for their citizenship," Hinchey said in a telephone interview. "It was in the middle of a test. He just went in and opened fire."

The pundits will be going non-stop today and for the next few days on how terrible this was and for the most part, that it was an isolated innocent and nothing more. The reality however, is that this type of violence is fomented by the bigots who spout their hatred of immigrants on Fox News and conservative radio. Bill O'Reilly, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and all those that like him all play a part in this terrible incident. This isn't a one-time only tragedy, it is a result of the immigrant bashing (whether overt or covert) that all of them love to do in order to boost their ratings.

Update (4/4/09-11am): In light of this, it is probably unlikely the attacker watched Bill O'Reilly or any of the right-wing hatemongers on radio and/or TV. However, that does not mean there is a culture of violence in their speech and does not fuel events similar to what happened yesterday. Immigrants are routinely lambasted for taking "American" jobs and discriminated against for not being as assimilated as many wingers would like. Whether or not "Mr. Voong" felt threatened by other immigrants (according to his sister he has been in America for 28 years) is something we won't know for sure, yet the hostility and divisiveness of this debate should not be dismissed lightly.

Thompson Speaks Out Against Dramatic Raise In Water Rates

The mayor's appointees on the city's water board have decided to raise rates an astounding 14% this week. That increase, coupled with the other raises in the mayor's current term amount to a 60% rise according to mayoral candidate and Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Leahy's "Truth Commission" Fails (As Expected)

Not that this is too surprising, but Senator Leahy's much-touted "Truth Commission" has failed to get off the ground. The senator from Vermont had promised us some sort of closure for the many injustices committed by members of the Bush Administration since 2001 but apparently that isn't going to happen. Many people on the left had called for prosecutions of the various criminals (from Bush and Cheney on down) but Leahy couldn't even get that far. Now his "compromise" solution won't even go anywhere.

From ThinkProgress:

In a meeting on Monday with Vermont citizens, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) admitted that the truth commission he has advocated to examine Bush administration crimes like torture most likely won’t happen. Reporter Charlotte Dennett writes that Leahy said political opposition was too strong to overcome:

Halfway through the allotted 30 minute meeting (with him taking up much of the time explaining why he was not generally opposed to prosecution, since he had been a DA for eight years and had the highest conviction rate in Vermont), he told us that his truth commission had failed to get the broad support it needed in Congress, and since he couldn’t get one Republican to come behind the plan, “it’s not going to happen.”

But Leahy didn't like that there was so much negative press following his statement, so he retorted with this:

Emphasizing that Leahy takes seriously his commitment to defend the Constitution, Leahy’s aide Chip Ross told the group, “He’s all you’ve got.” However, Leahy’s office sent an e-mail to reporters today objecting to “reports circulating on the internet” and claiming Leahy is “continuing to explore” the idea of a truth commission:

In contrast to reports circulating on the Internet, Leahy said he is continuing to explore the proposal.

“I am not interested in a panel comprised of partisans intent on advancing partisan conclusions,” Leahy said. “I regret that Senate Republicans have approached this matter to date as partisans. That was not my intent or focus. Indeed, it will take bipartisan support in order to move this forward. I continue to talk about this prospect with others in Congress, and with outside groups and experts. I continue to call on Republicans to recognize that this is not about partisan politics. It is about being honest with ourselves as a country. We need to move forward together.”

This sounds like a standard cop out for being yet another weak-kneed Democrat. Leahy fails (willingly or not) to recognize that he will never get a Republican to support him on anything that would resemble any form of accountability or dare I mention justice for the criminals inside the Bush Administration. Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

The only way we move forward together is if we put the rule of law above individual people who just so happen to be Republicans. It really is simple as that. And if Leahy doesn't want a group of partisans to exact justice on the accused, then he should have all of them brought before an international court. Don't worry Senator, the courts outside our borders would love to try them for all the damage they've done to the world.

Tedisco Quits Before Being Fired As Minority Leader

The ridiculously close vote margin between Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy is the big story coming from upstate New York but there are many interesting side stories to the race. One of those is Tedisco's ouster as Assembly Minority Leader. Members of his caucus wanted him out of there for making them look so bad in his campaign. So to counter them, he's simply stepping down as to make himself look confident in his race with Murphy.

From The Saratogian:

"I’ll continue to serve and will be in the leadership role until Monday, when there will be a vote for new leadership. Then I’ll be working on my transition and serving my Assembly district for the next few weeks," Tedisco said. "Then I believe we’ll be off to Congress."

Tedisco has served in the Assembly since 1982 and was first elected leader in November 2005 by a unanimous vote. He has twice been re-elected to the post.

He said he would suggest a choice for the next Assembly minority leader but that his opinion would not have any more weight than that of any other member.
Though of course his suggestion could carry less weight than the other members.

Tedisco simply saw the blood in the water and now he's stepping down so he doesn't have to be shamed with being kicked out with a vote amongst his fellow Republican Assembly members. The fact is that Tedisco ran a terrible campaign against Murphy and the slime managed to spread to his caucus. For that he blew a twenty point lead in six weeks and now might just end up as a regular Assemblymember because of it, while Scott Murphy goes to Congress.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Taking It To Climate Change Skeptics On The House Floor

Congressman Rob Andrews went up against Republican Paul Ryan and the other members of the minority who consistently twist facts and distort the truth in order to help the fossil fuel industry. Instead of letting them get away with misleading the public, Andrews corrected the record for all to see.

Bloomberg Courts GOP Leaders While Mentioning Obama In Robocalls

Not surprisingly, Michael Bloomberg is making nice with leaders of the local Republican party so that he gets a nice spot on the ballot this fall. That is an important part of the early campaign, especially being that the mayor has no party at the moment. What is surprising is his early use of robocalls. I personally find them distasteful and one of the least effective ways to build repoire with voters. The style doesn't matter here so much though, it is what he's saying on them that do.

From PolitickerNY:

Here’s the robocall Michael Bloomberg’s campaign is putting out, telling people how “the mayor endorsed President Obama’s health care reform.”

The call – which was provided to me by Bloomberg’s campaign - goes on to say, “Like President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg says it’s time to put politics aside” and reform health care. It then directs people to an official federal web site dealing with the issue.

Bloomberg is nothing like Barack Obama. One is a solid Democrat and the other is an "independent" aristocrat. Of course that won't stop the party-playing mayor from trying to connect himself to the President. Yet to pull that type of maneuver while trying to gain the favor of the GOP for their ballot line is just a bit ballsy.

One in Ten Americans On Food Stamps

The debate between this fiscal crisis being a recession and a depression has been increasing as do the length of the rolls displaying the recently unemployed. Nobody wants the economy to be in bad shape, but acknowledging the extent of the damage is the first step in dealing with it. For the unrealistic optimists still out there, take heed of this sobering fact, one in ten Americans are now on food stamps. Yes, one in ten.

From Yahoo News:

A record 32.2 million people -- one in every 10 Americans -- received food stamps at latest count, the government said on Thursday, a reflection of the recession now in its 16th month.

Food stamps are the major U.S. antihunger program and help poor people buy groceries. The average benefit was $112.82 per person in January.

The January figure marks the third time in five months that enrollment set a record.[...]

Food stamp enrollment rose in all but four of the 50 states during January, said Agriculture Department figures. Vermont, Alaska and South Dakota had increases of more than 5 percent. Texas had the largest enrollment, 2.984 million, down 65,000, followed by California at 2.545 million, up 43,000, and New York with 2.211 million, up 37,000.

Here in New York, a figure of 2.211 million means that even more than one in ten residents receives food stamps. Those numbers only reflect the people that actually go out and seek assistance. Thousands, if not millions more across the nation make much tougher decisions, such as going hungry because they have to pay rent or for overly-expensive prescriptions.

Imagine now if the GOP would have gone through with their attempt to eliminate the food stamp program. It is good to know Obama won't let that happen on his watch.

Jon Stewart Tells Rush To Get The F@*& Out Of New York

Jon Stewart details all the ways New York has tried to get Rush Limbaugh to leave the city and the state, though he still hasn't left. So Rush, is this an empty threat or will you take that hate-filled, bigoted energy elsewhere?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Rush Limbaugh Leaves New York
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Conservatives In Both Parties Look To Help The Rich By Cutting Estate Taxes

If I were Keith Olbermann, I'd put Sens. Kyl (R-AZ) and Lincoln (D-AR) as two of the worst persons in the world for today's show. These two Senators and their fellow supporters should be publicly shamed for what they consider a priority in their duties as Senators. Instead of backing the President and supporting sound, progressive policies, Kyl and others are focusing on reducing the estate taxes for the very wealthy.

From ThinkProgress:

Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) have offered a $250 billion proposal to cut estate taxes for the children of multi-millionaires. The proposal is attracting a disturbing amount of support. In an editorial this morning, The New York Times writes that, while the nation is focused on ending the deep recession, Kyl and Lincoln’s “most pressing issue is clear: America’s wealthiest families need help. Now.” The Wonk Room’s Ben Furnas noted yesterday:

While opponents of the estate tax claim rolling it back protects small farms and businesses, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that “only 0.2 percent of the additional cost of the proposal, relative to [the Obama proposal], would go toward tax cuts for small businesses and farms.”

The rest of the cost, approximately $249.5 billion, would go to the inheritors of estates worth over $7 million. Paris Hilton, get excited.

Now of course Blanche Lincoln is from Arkansas, home of the wealthiest family in the world and I presume supporters of her and her conservative outlook on matters such as this. I expect this type of pandering to the rich from Republicans, but I loathe to see it in Democrats, even blue dogs like Blanche. Democrats need to stand up for the people, and I sincerely doubt that a majority of Arkansans want to see the Walton family getting preferential treatment before every other family in the state.

Malcolm Smith Stands Up To Senate's Critics

Malcolm Smith took a moment this morning to praise the entirety of the Senate (Republicans included) for allowing Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson to come back and vote despite her extremely unfortunate rushes to the hospital this week. Both parties agreed to hold off on voting and not play partisan politics over this very human moment. However, Malcolm Smith tried to make the situation into something it is not.

From The Daily Politics:

On the Senate floor this morning, Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and Minority Leader Dean Skelos put their partisanship aside for a moment of mutual admiration, praising one another for the deal struck to allow Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson to vote on budget deals.

"I want to express my appreciation to Sen. Skelos and to all my colleagues," Smith said. "This is a day that I think the 19 million people of New York have come to recognize this is a fine chamber, irrespective of all that the papers have written, the editorial boards have said."

"Today we have proven to all of New York that we are a distinguished body that we are also a body that has a heart and understands the challenges that face this state and we rise above that."

Now I'm not discounting the graciousness of Skelos and Smith in letting Hassell-Thompson vote. What I am criticizing is Smith's blatant attempt at using Hassell-Thompson's illness and the Senate Leadership's reaction as a way to hit back against all the negative press that Smith and the Senate rightly deserves.

The 19 million people of New York want to see that their Senators are working to address their needs and will take care of business that concerns the General will, not each Senator's particular will (I'm sure Rousseau would be amused by Smith's statement today).

The papers, editorials and blogs write what they do because there is plenty to criticize. Whether it be about budget inaction, ignoring the real problems that the M.T.A. faces or refusing to enact real reform in the "distinguished body" that shows Smith and his caucus is ready to change the way Albany does business. Instead, the budget process has been behind closed doors for the most part and hidden from the public. If Smith and his colleagues had 'heart' then nearly everything that has happened this year in our capitol would have gone down differently.

Who Does It Better, Jon Stewart Or Stephen Colbert?

Cenk Uyugr of the Young Turks asks the question:

Personally I'm torn on this, both are funny guys and have a lot to offer the comedic world of news. Each has their own talents and honestly, I can't I guess I'll just continue to watch both.

Chris Quinn Still Will Not Support A Dem Vs. Bloomberg

Where Mayor Bloomberg goes, Chris Quinn is soon to follow. Except on a few occasions, the Speaker has done all she can and then some for our plutocratic mayor. If one didn't believe of the connection before October of last year, they got it when she forced passage of the controversial term limits extension bill. And now thanks to that bill, Quinn is running for a third a very Democratic district I might add (not that there are many Republican districts in the city).

So naturally, the smart move for a Democrat like Chris Quinn aiming to be re-elected would be to support the Democrat in the race. I know she has her squabbles with one candidate and Council Member Tony Avella, but whether it is him or Thompson that emerge from September's primary, she should stand with her party on this crucial matter. Unfortunately, Quinn is a bit more politically calculating than that.

At the Downtown Independent Democrats meeting this week Quinn was asked if she'd support the Democrat, whomever that may be. Her answer? That it was too early to make a decision on who to support and that eventually she'd go with the best candidate. Of course, she didn't specify which party that "best candidate" would come from.

Dissatisfaction in the third district has been growing in the face of Quinn's close ties with Bloomberg. This position isn't going to win her any favor in the community that has a list of grievances with the mayor. Whether it be term limits, development or vice-squads, the district wants change and Quinn has become a part of the status quo.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Norman Siegel Skewers Betsy Gotbaum

Generally politicians will say nice things about their predecessors (unless they're George Bush), especially when they are of the same party and not running against each other. That was what all the Public Advocate candidates did last night, except for one. Norman Siegel gave his audience a heaping dish of what he actually thought of Betsy Gotbaum's performance as New York City's Public Advocate.

From The Daily Politics:

“If you think Betsy Gotbaum did a good job as public advocate, you should vote for one of the other three people," he said. "I think she was not a good public advocate. She was not visible, she was not vocal and most people in the city do not know who the public advocate is."

"This office has had atrophy since Mark was there and that is unacceptable," Siegel continued. "The office now is up for debate on whether it will continue. So for everyone to continue in this Alice in Wonderland world and talk about how she is a good advocate, I respectfully disagree."

Say what you want, but Siegel was 100% honest about how he truly feels. That might be a quality New Yorkers should consider when deciding who will advocate for their best interests in the course of the next four years.

Contessa Brewer Slams Shadegg For Nonsensical Republican Budget

It's no joke:

MIT Professor Tells House GOP To Stop Lying About His Cap And Trade Study

Don't you just hate it when Republicans take your thorough academic work and twist it for their own diabolical ends? M.I.T. Professor John Reilly certainly feels that way now as the House Republicans led by John Boehner continue to blatant lie about what is in his report on what cap and trade costs to the public. Though he isn't taking it lightly, in fact he wrote a blistering open letter so that they'll stop misrepresenting the truth.

From ThinkProgress:

PolitiFact interviewed John Reilly, an MIT professor and one of the authors of the study, who explained he had spoken with a representative from the House Republicans on March 20, and that he had clearly told them, “why the estimate they had was probably incorrect and what they should do to correct it.” Nonetheless, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided to use the $3,100 figure to attack cap-and-trade, while the National Republican Campaign Committee blasted dozens of press releases like the following on March 31:

As Congress takes the President’s federal budget under consideration, North Carolina families deserve to know if Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC) would support such a devastating energy tax proposal. […] MIT researchers released an “Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals,” which shows that the increase would be an increase of more than $3,000 a year for each household.

Today, Professor Reilly sent a forceful letter to Boehner and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming to denounce this blatant distortion being told by Congressional Republicans. Reilly noted that $3,100 was actually “10 times the correct estimate which is approximately $340″ and that the costs on lower and middle income households can be “completely offset by returning allowance revenue to these households”:

It has come to my attention that an analysis we conducted examining proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Report No., 146, Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals, has been misrepresented in recent press releases distributed by the National Republican Congressional Committee. The press release claims our report estimates an average cost per family of a carbon cap and trade program that would meet targets now being discussed in Congress to be over $3,000, but that is nearly 10 times the correct estimate which is approximately $340. […] Our Report 160 shows that the costs on lower and middle income households can be completely offset by returning allowance revenue to these households.

Of course Congressman Boehner can't be troubled with actual facts. Only unmitigated spin and propaganda is allowed through his office. Whatever it takes to appease his fossil fuel lobbyist friends, John Boehner is happy to acquiesce. If the ecosystem has to go down for it, so be it.

Ray Kelly Wants Midtown On Lockdown

Slowly but surely, the powers that be are working on instituting a full-on police state that would make the fictional 'Gattaca' and 'Minority Report' a reality. Of course we aren't there yet, not even close, but things like this have to be introduced gradually. Liberty is not always given up so easily, so promising security is the way this gets done. Now it may be April Fools Day, but this plan is no joke.

From The NY Times:

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Tuesday that he wanted to create a security network in Midtown Manhattan that would involve license plate readers, heavily armed officers and a web of private and public surveillance cameras.

The plan, which would resemble a counterterrorism network already being installed in Lower Manhattan between Canal Street and Battery Park, would keep a hyper-vigilant eye on the corridor from 34th to 59th Streets, from the Hudson River to the East River, the commissioner told City Council members at a budget hearing Tuesday.

Like its sister system, the Midtown zone would have at its core the collection of data, including license plate numbers and video of people on the streets. It would rely on a web of public and private security cameras feeding to a joint coordination center at 55 Broadway that became functional last fall.

The counterterrorism program is a lot like the way the TSA operates at the airport. The "benefit" to the people is psychological, in that it is supposed to make people feel safe. Yet its' ultimate goal is to take liberty away from New Yorkers (or wherever programs like this are put in place) in order to concentrate more power with law enforcement simply for the sake of power. The NYCLU is already on the case, and we should certainly pay attention or else it is only a matter of time until the next "necessary" police surveillance program is instituted under the guise of our security from terror.

Chris Matthews Likens Rep. Ryan To Hebert Hoover

Chris Matthews pwns Congressman Paul Ryan when he attempted to spin Republican propaganda yesterday.

I hope you all don't mind the new YouTube format...especially since it fits the GOP's thinking so well.

Governor Paterson, You Are Not Scott Murphy

The fate of the Murphy-Tedisco race remains undetermined this morning (and for the next few weeks most likely) with just 60-some votes separating the two candidates. The fact that Murphy is where he's at compared to the slim chance he had six weeks ago is truly outstanding and a testament to the candidate he has been (also many thanks to Tedisco's horrific campaigning skills). With that said, we have seen very little of Governor Paterson in the 20th District since his toxicity was to be kept far away from the first time candidate. Then all of a sudden, he showed up at Murphy's party unexpectedly and tried comparing himself to the man in the lead.

From The Daily Politics:

But now that Murphy is running neck and neck with his Republican opponent, Jim Tedisco, overcoming his virtually nonexistent name recognition political inexperience and a 12 percentage-point deficit in the process, it was safe for Paterson to come out of hiding. He even made a speech, I'm told.

"We were in the neighborhood, looking for a place that was open to have a little drink," Paterson joked when I noted his surprise appearance.

Asked during a brief Q&A with reporters if he thought Murphy's strong showing might bode well for his own future, Paterson replied:

"Well there's nothing like comebacks by underdogs, so if it works for Scott Murphy, there's no reason it shouldn't be able to work for me if I have the right message and I conduct myself with the professionalism and with the heartfelt concern for the neighborhoods around the state the way he has the neighborhoods around the 20th Congressional District."

"...I've had a lot more difficult times than I'm having right now," Paterson continued. "But it's the resilience that tests people, not where they are at a particular moment. We've all had difficult times. The question is: Who recovers from them? Because the definition of success is that you got up one more time than you got knocked down.

Paterson knows how to make an attempt at humor, but there's just too much baloney in that highlighted paragraph up above.

First of all, Murphy didn't make a comeback, he started at the bottom and made his way up to the top in a short span of time. Paterson on the other hand, started off quite well a year ago and put himself in the tank by showing us his poor leadership skills. Oh and "professionalism" is clearly not a word that Paterson knows how to translate into action.

Now as for being heartfelt, Murphy has shown the district that he cares, but Paterson's fumbling of the budget and pushing aside the needs of New Yorkers shows his concerns rest in wishes of the well-funded lobbyists that visit him in Albany. If he would have championed the fair tax and not items such as the soda tax, he might not have slipped as much as he did.

Politically speaking, this is the worst time Paterson has ever experienced. As for the future (meaning from now until the primary next year) there is still time for the governor to get back up, but the question is if he can...or even knows how. There really is no comparison between him and Scott Murphy, unless you count the "D" after their name of course.

Taxi Surcharge To Boost M.T.A.?

The "service change" poster is brought to you from the Working Families Party but actual changes to the M.T.A.'s doomsday budget will hopefully come from our state legislature. Althought there is no consensus as of yet, what we do know is that Smith is having a rough time corralling his caucus and getting a feasible plan out the door, though there are plenty of thoughts on what to do. The latest idea circulating in Albany is bound to cull a "WTF?" not from straphangers or those that drive into the city everyday, but from the relatively few of us that depend on taxi service.

From The Gothamist:

Much of the deadlock surrounded the bridge tolls, which are now off the table according to Governor Paterson. Previously, Assembly Speaker Silver and Paterson supported a plan to raise subway/ bus fares by 8%, toll on East River and Harlem River Bridges and implement a payroll tax while Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith's proposal offers a 4% fare hike, no bridge tolls, and a smaller payroll tax (it's suggested that the Senate's math is "flawed" and that they would actually need to raise fares by 13% to make up the money).

Regarding the taxi charge, the Post says that it's just one of many ideas being considering (another is a fee on "anyone renting a car or parking in a garage"): "Sources were weary to say how seriously lawmakers are considering the taxi fee." We can't wait to hear what the taxi union says!

Tacking on 50 cents to Yellow Cabs will probably get the taxi drivers upset again, but as we saw a couple years ago their ability to organize effectively is worse than Paterson's ability to get a favorable poll rating. I personally don't mind the extra two quarters if I need a cab and neither should those people (generally wealthier than the average New Yorker) that take them regularly. It should be part of a comprehensive plan that will help the M.T.A. get out of debt but since the state Senate is currently in the business of quick fixes, this is probably as good as it gets.

Gov. Sanford Has A Severe Case Of GOP Insanity

Sanford's delusions were on full display yesterday as he tried claiming that accepting federal money to fund South Carolina's public school system is some sort of child abuse:

And the craziest thing? This man wants to run for President in three years.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NY Special Congressional Election Too Close To Call

With all the ballots counted tonight, Scott Murphy has come out on top by a mere 65 votes out of more than 159,000 cast. However, this thing is far from over as nearly 6,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted and are under lock and key until at least early next week. So while we'll have to wait to see who the winner is, one thing is for sure, Tedisco blew his overwhelming lead in the beginning and is caught in a dead heat. Now Jimmy realized this thing would be close, so he's already got his legal challenges ready to go.

From FireDogLake:

Republican Jim Tedisco may be running for the House in a district where Republicans outnumber Democratic voters by some 70,000, but with the polls closing in a matter of hours, Tedisco’s campaign is prepping for a loss.

An electoral loss, anyway.

The Dutchess County Clerk’s Office has confirmed to FDL that Tedisco’s people have filed an ex parte motion in order, the effect of which would be to investigate and overturn today’s election results, should the outcome not be to Republicans’ liking.

FDL is trying to obtain a copy of the motion and will post when available. We now have a sloppy copy (PDF), and are poring over it.

Yeah, so even with the choices of several thousand of Tedisco's potential constituents still up in the air, he chose to go the legal route if this thing doesn't go his way. It is almost if he ripped a page right out of Norm Coleman's handbook. Unfortunately for Jimmy, his fellow Republicans in Albany are none too happy about this, and everything that has happened in the campaign to date. They're so pissed that they just might go and strip him of his Minority Leader status.

So if he ends up losing this election (which is quite probable) then he'll have his hat in hand going back to Albany and will become just another ordinary Assembly member in the minority. That means as for power, he'll have absolutely none.

Transit Expert Questions Albany's Sobriety

I was hoping to make last night's forum on the M.T.A.'s current status, but last minute moving responsibilities had me elsewhere. I knew Azi at the Politicker would be there though. He caught one notable moment where panelist Peter Goldmark made a quip about Albany politicians and their ideas concerning the fate of the M.T.A. Although it was meant in jest, I do wonder how far off from the truth that joke was.

From PolitickerNY:

The highlight, I think, came nine-and-a-half minutes into the event, when Peter Goldmark, a former head of the Port Authority and member of the Ravitch Commission, which recommended tolling the East River Bridges, criticized state lawmakers for their alternative plans to fund the M.T.A.

“I have never seen so much squirming, squawking and squealing in my life,” Goldmark said, before referring to one of the alternative plans as “cockamamie.”

“There was one plan that recommended the pension system borough (sp: borrow) money and then lend it to the M.T.A. Are these people smoking something?” Goldmark asked.

If only grandstanding, obstructionism and corruption could be rolled up together into leafy form. Then there'd be a significant number of legislators walking the capitol with red and glazed-over eyes.

G.O.P. Pulls A Hit And Run On America

From the DSCC:

Jindal Attacked By Fellow Republican

After the President's first joint statement to Congress last month, Gov. Bobby Jindal's speech had him go from one of the brightest stars in the Republican party to just another GoOPer for Independents and Democrats to laugh at. While the news of that night has long since quieted down, the part about volcano monitoring hasn't been forgotten, even by members of his own party.

From TPM:

Bobby Jindal's denunciations of federal spending to monitor volcanoes is now attracting some serious critcism from a Republican Senator -- namely Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, whose state has been recently disrupted by a series of eruptions from Mount Redoubt.

"Recently there were some comments made about federal spending for volcano monitoring being wasteful," Murkowski said from the Senate floor, without naming Jindal directly. "I can assure you that monitoring volcanoes is critically important to the nation and especially to my home state of Alaska."

In Jindal's speech, he said: "While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes ... $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC."

Senator Murkowski in no way wants to be tied to Jindal and his idiotic and politically-opportunistic comments. When there are possiblly deadly natural disasters at your doorstep, the last thing a conscious elected official would think of doing is pooh poohing federal money that is meant to mitigate any potential damage to life and property. Murkowski's statement was a smart move on her part, but it does nothing to curb the meme that the Republican party is falling apart on message control or having any kind of real unity that they had enjoyed during most of the Clinton and Bush years.

Terms Of M.T.A. Bailout Still Up For Debate

The M.T.A.'s deadline passed last week and they did officially raise the fare and move to cut service, but it doesn't take effect for two months. Therefore there is still a limited amount of time for someone to do something. Now that the state budget is nearly passed, legislators are looking to show New Yorkers that they do indeed care about helping straphangers. The question though is how?

From The NY Times:

Lawmakers said that whatever plan emerges, it is expected to include the payroll tax and a smaller increase to fares and tolls.

But they continue to grapple with how to get drivers to contribute without creating new tolls.

Officials have discussed increasing vehicle registration fees in the 12-county region served by the authority.

But some officials said the governor’s office had been considering using an increase in vehicle registration fees to finance the state’s long-term road and bridge construction program.

Many senators have said that financing the road and bridge program is a priority, and they criticized the Ravitch plan for not taking that program’s needs into account.
Then of course there are the legislators that want to get rid of the payroll tax, but that seems unlikely. There is still a lot up in the air, but everyone needs to come down on solid ground soon. The clock is ticking until we see higher fares and reduced service. With the situation we face, outer-borough and extra-borough politicians must realize that New York needs a comprehensive plan to deal with the M.T.A.'s deficit and most certainly the long-term debt. If that includes a vehicle tax or a toll (preferably a toll) then so be it.

Olbermann Goes After The Bailout Double-Standard

Blue collar shirts are worth just as much as white collar ones. So why must we continue to see bankers being treated better than factory workers and retailers? Keith Olbermann examines the subject for us:

One Less Vote For Jim Tedisco

Tens of thousands of voters in the 20th District will come out to choose their next Congressman today. After a few short weeks of campaigning the day of reckoning has come and the once-runaway candidate Jim Tedisco is fighting off his Democratic challenger in a toss-up race. Imagine for a moment that in this close battle, Tedisco loses by one vote. If that rare scenario would occur, it would come down to the fact that Jim doesn't live in the district and he won't be casting a ballot today because of it.

From The NYT Cityroom:

Photos of political candidates voting (presumably) for themselves are an Election Day staple. But that’s one small way in which Assemblyman James N. Tedisco, the Republican running for Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand’s old seat in the House, is at a disadvantage: He doesn’t live in the district.

Who lives where became an issue when the candidates emerged for the 20th Congressional District special election, which is Tuesday. Scott Murphy, the Democratic contender, was a newcomer who grew up in Missouri, relocated to Manhattan, still owns an apartment on Central Park West, and only moved to Glens Falls a few years ago. (His wife, Jennifer Hogan, is part of a large and politically prominent family there.)
Although you can argue that Tedisco has lived in the region for decades and Murphy has only been here a few years, there is a much bigger picture to take in. Murphy for one was diligent enough to be aware of such details. Meanwhile Tedisco was just one that saw an opportunity to jump from one minority position in Albany to one in Washington.

Tedisco is busy with a new house in the district though:
But Mr. Tedisco, who bought a house last August in Glenville — a few blocks from the Saratoga County line, he has said — remains a registered voter in Schenectady County. So, while his wife will be able to cast a ballot on Tuesday, he will not.
And with the way things are going, Tedisco can rest assure that next month he'll have a competent Congressman in Scott Murphy representing his house in Glenville while he keeps busy in Albany.

Conservatives Starting To Lose Constituencies That They Have Failed

For years, nay, decades now, liberals have torn many a hair out when Americans who would benefit from Democratic representation went Republican instead. These "Reagan Democrats" voted on wedge issues and from excessive fearmongering. They voted for the Bushes and perhaps even Bob Dole, but this past election things have started to change, especially in areas that have been hit hard by economic devastation brought on by the laissez-faire attitude of the GOP. This just doesn't apply to those that switched parties, Republicans who stayed put are moderating as well.

From RawStory:

In New York, for example, a number of Republican members of Congress appear to have grown more moderate -- either that or the ACU's standards have become more extreme. For example, Rep. Peter King came in at only 50% in 2008, down from 68% the previous year and a lifetime record of 75%. Rep. John McHugh was at 40%, compared with a lifetime figure of 72%.

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan are other states where a number of Republican members of Congress drew ACU scores between the 40's and the 70's. These figures are in many cases 10, 15, or even 30 points lower than their lifetime ACU records.

Most of these Republicans remain clearly conservative according to their own standards -- but the ACU figures suggest that Rust Belt conservatism may have the potential of striking a different path from Limbaugh conservatism.
If the Republicans want to hold on to what they have left in the Rust Belt, they would do good by ditching Rush as their leader. It may be easy to see Indiana's vote for Obama as a fluke, but if the GOP remains as out of touch as they are and does not return to what they looked like thirty or forty years ago, the Rust Belt could start looking as deeply blue as the Northeast is now.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weiner And Bloomberg Stand Together For Stimulus Cash

Though there were quite a few New York politicians at this press conference, seeing Bloomberg and Weiner together is at least somewhat of a news story. Weiner has laid off campaigning and recently said he'll make a decision about running for mayor once Congress goes on break. Even with that admission, standing behind/beside the incumbent indicates that Weiner really isn't up for the challenge to contest Mayor Mike.

Landlord Lobby Rules The Day In Albany

Democrats may officially have control in Albany but that doesn't mean reform on all the key issues will immediately be coming down the pike. While Rockefeller Drug Law reform last week was a huge victory, translating that into upsets for tenants over landlords is a whole other matter. The prison industrial-complex lobby could not overcome the demand for a change in the drug laws but the landlords and their minions in Albany knew how to cover the board with more than a million dollars in cash and prizes, meaning that tenant rights' organizations will most likely fall short in their goals this year and lose faith in the nascent Democratic majority in the state senate. What people should be paying close attention to is who getting what.

From The Gothamist:

The Daily News notes that Brooklyn Senator Carl Kruger, who has 40,000 rent-stabilized units in his district, took in $27,700 from landlord lobbyists, and has yet to take a position on the issue. Groups like Tenants PAC are working to change the vacancy decontrol laws that landlords have exploited to take thousands of apartments out of the rent-stabilized system. Under the current laws, they can do this if rents reach $2,000 a month and household income exceeds $175,000, or if renovations on a vacant apartment require raising the rent above $2,000.

Though the Assembly has passed 10 rent reform bills since November, reform in the Senate is tied up in committee, just like in the Republican era! Pedro Espada, chairman of the housing committee, opposes reform because he says it would just help the affluent: "If we rubber-stamp the Working Families Party housing agenda, we would virtually provide protections for people who earn $175,000 or more annually — which is essentially a Manhattan-based constituency."

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal finds Espada's argument specious, noting that far fewer units (4,223) are decontrolled because their occupants earn $175,000 a year, compared with the 70,000-plus decontrolled by becoming vacant. Many tenants in rent-stabilized apartments complain that landlords pressure them to leave so they can make renovations and get out of the rent stabilization system; that's why the City Council passed the Tenant Protection Act last March. Rosenthal tells the News, "This has nothing to do with the rich. This is about a calamity for people of middle-income means. "It’s not a Manhattan issue. That’s what landlords are saying."

The landlords will say whatever they have to in order to keep the status quo as it is. For decades now a Republican state Senate has given them all they want and more. Landlords will go after the amoral Democrats in order to thwart the will of the new, but slim majority and then some. The Gang of Three/Four are certainly a part of their strategy and the actions of those Senators reflects the lobby's power. This shouldn't mean tenants should turn apathetic about the new majority though. It is a sign that not only do we need Democrats in control, but that better Democrats need to replace those that so willing to sell out their constituencies for a campaign contribution.

Bloomberg Booed As He Opens Campaign Offices

Slowly but surely, Michael Bloomberg is getting his campaign geared up and ready to spend tens of millions, if not a hundred million dollars in order beat back his challengers and sit upon the throne of New York for another four years. He still has a considerable degree of popularity and is widely held to be the run-away favorite against Thompson, Avella or ahem, Reverend Billy. Then again, there is a movement growing across the city that is trying to rebel against our plutocratic leader.

From PolitickerNY:

Michael Bloomberg opened campaign offices in three different boroughs today, a gesture toward accessibility in the early stage of his potentially $80 million campaign.

At each stop—in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island—Bloomberg was joined by at least one elected official and one local supporter who worked on his 2005 re-election campaign.

In Manhattan and Brooklyn, his appearances were also interrupted by protesters demonstrating against reductions in funding for housing and resources for AIDS treatment. The group tried make its presence known, with minimal success.

The several protesters who came out to rally against Mayor Bloomberg this weekend were only 'barely noticed', but yet, they were there and they were noticed. The campaign season is relatively fresh and the tough fights are still ahead. Yet the mayor should know that the backlash against his current tenure is just beginning and it will not end anytime soon.

Does Obama Get It With Afghanistan?

He looks good, he sounds good, but still, Obama just sent 4,000 troops over there in addition to the original 17,000 slated for duty this year. The only thing I find comforting is that at least he claims to understand that throwing more troops at a problem does not necessarily solve the crisis you are dealing with. Hopefully he means what he says.

The NY State Budget Is Bestowed Upon Us

The budget is officially out and the clock is ticking until the state legislature can approve it. It comes with plenty of criticism, plenty of perks and the made with the usual amount of shrouds, cloaks and general darkness. The Gotham Gazette wonders if people will care as long as the budget gets done. Of course, it wasn't done with the blessings of good government groups and probably meant that way so that the budget could be more easily made even bigger than it was supposed to be.

For the sake of New York, this turns out to be a deal:

The agreement attempts to close the state's estimated $17.7 billion budget deficit through roughly $6.2 billion in federal stimulus spending, $5.2 billion in cuts to an array of programs, and $6.3 billion in new revenue — including an increase in the personal income tax on affluent New Yorkers.

The personal income tax hike would create two new tax brackets — 7.85 percent for single or married-filing-separately taxpayers making more than $200,000, head-of-household filers making more than $250,000 and married couples with incomes greater than $300,000.

For all taxpayers making more than $500,000 — regardless of filing status — the rate would rise to 8.97 percent.

Currently, New York's highest tax rate is 6.85 percent, a rate that kicks in for single or married-filing-separately filers making more than $20,000, head-of-household filers making more than $30,000, and couples and joint filers making more than $40,000.

So the system is still broken, but the people did not lose out completely. Making the state income tax more progressive is a victory for those of us outside the elite class. It took a tremendous effort to put that Fair Share plan on the board but it should show New Yorkers one thing, if we put enough pressure on our leaders, they will act in our favor. Whether that takes displays of social protest or booting politicians from office, change can happen. Like in this instance, change is generally slow in coming, but persistence can transform society if we make it so. Sometimes though, we do need instrumental change, but it has to be brought about with a sustained push so that the powerful give way to the rest of us. The scenario that I present is something that has been done several times in our history as a state, that is, call a Constitutional Convention. When that happens, the sky is the limit on how open we want Albany to be.

Your TSA Security Is An Illusion

Every couple of months or so, I get to experience the ridiculousness that is airline travel in our country today. This past weekend included two of those moments, going out to L.A. on Friday and coming back last night. Now I'll exclude the parts about how a few thunderstorms were able to delay my fiancée and I from getting home by a few hours, thanks in part to a needed refueling after circling Pennsylvania for an hour. That's a whole other story.

The focus I have is for the Transportation Security Administration. Almost every single time, I whisper under my breath, or at least loud enough for people in the immediate vicinity to hear, that this process of taking off our shoes and ditching water bottles is a complete farce and that TSA does nothing to ensure our security. The only thing they do is make some of us feel safe. Having flown to several other countries, I'm aware that the TSA is not the gold standard in airline safety. No one makes that more clear than Israel in my opinion. So I was amused to see an article from the Jerusalem Post late last night telling Israelis (and anyone who wanted to read it) what a joke America's guard at the airport really is.

From The Jerusalem Post:

While US Transportation Security Administration officers relentlessly made sure that my 83-year-old, wheelchair-bound mother-in-law was not smuggling a shoe bomb onto her plane recently, was anyone thwarting an attack by a real terrorist? The answer, unfortunately, is no. Living in Israel, a country where every supermarket and café has a guard with a metal detector, I looked in vain for real security at the four US airports I passed through last month. It was clear that the TSA is mostly engaged in providing an illusion of security, while ignoring real threats.
Exactly! So how can it be done differently, if we really wanted to ensure our safety at the nation's airports?

ALL THOSE BILLIONS of dollars, all that high-level training in shoe and water bottle scrutiny, is invested in guarding the wrong place. No suicide bomber in his or her right mind would try to slip an explosive device past the TSA at the sensitive entrance to the boarding gates. A terrorist doesn't have to, for the TSA guards the wrong perimeter.

The boarding gate is the final hurdle for a terrorist whose particular preference is to slaughter innocents only in the air. A much easier target is the unguarded departure hall, which is freely accessible to the public at US airports.

At Ben-Gurion Airport, to get as far as the boarding gate, a passenger must first pass through several concentric rings of security checks. Unlike at US airports, vehicles approaching Ben-Gurion are checked at the outermost perimeter by guards armed with automatic weapons. Passengers dropped off with their luggage are then given the once over by more subtle plainclothes guards as they enter the terminal.

Before a passenger can approach the ticket counter, he or she is briefly, but carefully interviewed by another security guard. Then the luggage is X-rayed. Even the ground stewardess at the counter is trained to look for anything suspect about the passenger, including the travel documents. Then the passenger must show passport and boarding pass again before doffing shoes and being body scanned, and proceeding to yet another check at passport control.

That is how security it is done. If the Department of Homeland Security really wanted us to be secure and not just in our minds, they'd emulate Israel. Now if DHS doesn't care about bombs blowing up at JFK, O'Hare, LAX, etc...can I please leave my shoes on as I carry my drink through the metal detector?

The 21st Century Schizoid Men

Dennis Trainor Jr does a "slam poetry" session for the economy and slams Obama for allowing Geithner to follow policies that mirror that of Bush. Not only that, he goes after war and the health care crisis problems and their failed "solutions."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Evidence That Torture Doesn't Work

Republicans love the myth that fictional character Jack Bauer mirrors what happens in the real world of fighting back against international terrorists. Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. Investigators who have procured information from these people have already said that it doesn't work, but now we have even more evidence that waterboarding fails to help dismantle terror plots. In fact, it can lead to false information that wastes valuable time of our law enforcement capabilities.

From The Washington Post:

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates -- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.

The Post's article goes on to detail the story of Abu Zubaida and highlights the failings of using torture on captured al-Qaeda members. The facts are out there and anyone out there that still believes what they watch on "24" as truth needs to wake up. This isn't about being weak with those that wish to attack and kill Americans, it is about being smart, something the United States failed to do under eight years of George Bush.

NY Times Lets David Halbfinger Get Away With Scott Murphy Smear

Why is it that so many editors cannot do the jobs that they are hired for? Case in point is David Halbfinger's editor at the Times, who let the author pull a hit job on the surging Democratic challenger in the 20th District. Scott Murphy is a self-made man in the financial sector, but to tie him with the worst elements of the fiscal disaster we are in is extremely misleading. Yet with just a few days to go in this toss-up race, that is exactly what the "paper of record" in New York did.

From The Albany Project:

Yesterday, the New York Times had a story on the 20th congressional district race. The story was entitled, "Ire at Wall St. Bonuses Is Now Factor in House Race."

If you read the piece, which is a two-page story, you would get the feeling that the Times wasn't so high on Democratic candidate Scott Murphy. Even though the title of the article suggests something more broad (like voters being concerned about the bonuses AIG received) it is actually more specific than that. The target was Murphy and how his support of the stimulus package means that he supported the bonuses being handed out to AIG executives.

Recently, Irene Jay Liu of the Albany Times-Union termed this line of attack a "stretch." That's exactly what it is. The stimulus package covers a lot of ground and at $789 billion, there are a lot of things in there. Murphy might not support all of it, but he supports the goal: In order to stimulate the economy, we need to invest in our country.

However, one of the most prominent newspapers in the country didn't consider this a stretch. In fact, they essentially helped Tedisco further this talking point. There are a couple of things about this story that should bother the average reader and media critic alike:

- There isn't a single direct quote from Scott Murphy or his campaign and there are only a few select quotes from the debate on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Tedisco has at least two long quotes in the piece from the debate on Tuesday.

- The author of the piece, David Halbfinger, wrote the piece asserting that the AIG bonus issue is the major story in the race's final days leading up to Tuesday's special election. While AIG bonuses might be something on everyone's mind (they have certainly upset us all), to try and say that Murphy's support of the stimulus package means he supports the AIG bonuses is absurd. As others have said in recent days, it is a stretch.

- There is only one passing mention (that you could easily miss if you read the article fast enough) to Tedisco's refusal to take a position on the stimulus package. That is not a stretch, yet the article seems to downplay its significance.

- And here's the important one: There is not one mention of Tedisco's financial disclosure, which includes AIG under the "assets and unearned income" section. That asset is worth between $1 and $15,000, but apparently it wasn't worth inserting into a story about, well, AIG and its impact on the 20th district race.

I apologize for quoting so much from Robert Harding at TAP, but he covers this episode of journalistic misconduct perfectly. Calling out the NY Times for this is important and the more so, the better. With less than 55 hours to go in the race, time is at a minimum and voters should be informed by newspapers with the facts, not a pro-Tedisco/anti-Murphy bias. As Robert said in his post, and I'll say in my affirmation of it, that the progressive blogs can tout Murphy and point out the failings of Tedisco in any way we want (as long as it is truthful of course). The Times though is and should be held to a different standard....they should try living up to it.