Friday, April 30, 2010

Not Funny Mr. Mayor, Not Funny At All

Michael Bloomberg may think he's a humorous run of the mill plutocratic Mayor, but jokes about term limits are not funny to the democratic system we are supposed to be living in. At the announcement of Stephen Goldsmith as the new superstar Deputy Mayor (and former Mayor of Indianapolis) Bloomberg had those on hand guffawing over the controversial issue of term limits.

Here's the joke.

Getting a cheap laugh may sound good to the Mayor who got away with extending term limits in the fall of 2008 and capitalizing on it a year later. However, half of the voters last year and the great majority that did not even bother to vote are not laughing. What he did was denigrate and spit on the democratic process, all the while claiming to act under the guise of a free democracy. Unfortunately for him, reality says otherwise, and his statements throughout prove it.

Obama Death Wishers On Facebook Give Secret Service A Lot Of Work

Cenk Uyugr recently discussed the (sad to say) popular Facebook group that wishes for President Obama's death. Although it may have been in response for a similar group that wanted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to experience the same fate, neither group is acting responsibly. If there is one saving grace though from this act of hate, it would be that the Secret Service has just been given quite a few leads to go on in order to protect the President.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crist May Not Say It, But The Crazies Made Him Do It

Congratulations Governor Crist!

Thank you for saying goodbye to the Grand Old Party and hello to your new found freedom as an independent. Republicans loved the term "Drill baby drill!" last year as liberals and conservatives squared off on the issue of drilling for oil off of our coasts. Yet the Governor and U.S. Senate candidate had the where with all and good sense to change his mind on the matter, especially in the light of the catastrophic oil spill currently spreading in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the heels of that news, the Governor is set to announce his independence from the G.O.P. and run as an independent. Of course, this move may be the result of reading the writing on the wall and not something that is just out of left field.

Naturally, Republican leaders are infuriated at the news and are already threatening Crist to get their campaign contributions returned. They'll coalesce around State House Representative and Tea Party darling Marco Rubio and the election will now be decided in November instead of during the Republican primary held beforehand.

On the Democratic end, everyone in the blue camp has gotten behind Congressman Kendrick Meek. A month ago Swing State thought things looked good for the Dems in this race, granted that Crist would lose in the G.O.P. primary, but now everything has changed. A three candidate general election will definitely spice up the situation, though it remains to be seen if Crist can pull enough moderates away from going either to the left or right.

One thing is for sure, the popular Governor has lost a lot of ground to Marco Rubio in conservative circles these past few months, so if he wants to succeed this fall, he better show why the center-left should make him their Senator.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More Espada Crookedness! Now With Extra Slime!

Last week Attorney General Cuomo (along with the FBI and IRS) brought a bombshell lawsuit against Senator Pedro Espada for looting up to $14 million dollars from his non-profit Soundview Medical Center. Espada, not one to take responsibility for himself, immediately lashed out at Cuomo for perpetrating a political vendetta against poor Pedro. Today the good Senator is lashing out again, this time for yet another set of crimes alleged against him and his son for their dubious operation up at Soundview.

Here's what Cuomo announced today, via The Daily Politics:

Labeling workers as "trainees" who were then paid wages far below the required state levels -- some making less than $70 per week.

These workers "typically worked for a two-week period with little training or direction and performed tasks such as cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, and sweeping - the same tasks a full-time janitor performed.".....

Cuomo says workers were duped into joining the program with promises of jobs and training that never materialized. Instead, they were just replaced by other "trainees."

The full complaint can be read in the link to the DP above. Eighteen pages isn't much in lawyerese but damning enough for Pedro Espada. He can blame the Attorney General and call it politics as much as he wants, but the facts are not boding well for him. There is a tidal wave of evidence against him and when this comes to trial, his political career will be under water. And then of course there's that place called the state penitentiary with a special cell waiting just for him.

AZ Racial Profiling Law's Beginnings Exposed

Proponents of the controversial Arizona law SB1070 (PDF file) mention that lawmakers are trying to battle crime and that there's nothing really that bad in what they passed. However, as the public outcry increases in both private and public venues, the ugly, but not surprising truth is coming out about where this monstrosity came from. Rachel has the details:

Crooks and Liars has more on the connection between State Senator Russell Pearce and his neo-nazi friends. And Greg Palast wonders if this might just be a good old-fashioned GOP voter suppression technique. It's kinda like AZ's Prop 200 2.0.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bike Lanes Are To Cycles As Roads Are To Cars

A wise man (who also happens to be a former State Assemblyman) once told me that as far as transit in New York City goes, bikes are insignificant and that we should not dedicate as many resources as we do for them. To put the comment into context, we were discussing the newest bike lines that have a curb separating them from the avenue, such as the one on 9th Ave above 14th Street. I remembered that conversation this morning when I read the about the latest study showing that more than 200,000 New Yorkers now cycle for their commute.

From The NY Times:

Build it and they will ride. That’s the message conveyed in the latest annual estimate of the number of bicyclists in New York City by Transportation Alternatives, which found roughly 236,000 New Yorkers riding each day in 2009, up 28 percent from 185,000 daily riders the year before.

Total miles traveled by bike in the city also rose by about the same amount, to 1.8 million miles from 1.4 million miles, according to the estimate, with the vast majority of those miles traveled by commuters or recreational cyclists.

While the count also includes commercial riders such as bike messengers and food-delivery cyclists, Transportation Alternatives calculates that such riders travel only about 5 percent of the total miles, with non-commercial riders making up 95 percent of bike traffic on city streets.

Simple math will also tell you that 236,000 cyclists equals out to roughly 2.86 percent of all New Yorkers. The wise man seems to be proven correct. However, when you take out the elderly, young children and those that work from home, that percentage is bound to rise considerably. Furthermore, the increase in ridership correlates to the ever-expanding bike lanes and general accessibility to get around the city via bicycle.

Besides the reluctance for many to physically exert themselves more than necessary in order to get from Point A to Point B, the fear of being hit by a car is considerable, especially when one passes a ghost bike. Therefore as our streets are continually designed more in favor of those that pedal, the more people will be inclined to get on that bike.

At one time Manhattan was full of horses pulling people to and fro. The bumpy streets were not conducive to cars as they became popular a century ago. Yet city planners figured out that smooth roads helped the automobile and usage increased (as anyone can tell that tries to transverse a tunnel during rush hour can attest to). The very same thing can be said about bicycling in the 21st century. Not that we should only focus on bikes, mass transit is crucial as well, but promoting bicycles as a viable transportation alternative is definitely a good thing for us all.