Monday, April 30, 2007

Wal-Mart, Mini-Mart

The NY Post is reporting this morning that the Walmonster, frustrated in its efforts to penetrate urban markets like NYC, is looking to try a different tack, and is considering smaller, "Neighborhood Markets." The attraction of the smaller market is that it would give the mega retailer more flexibility and a greater revenue stream because of the higher per square footage return that smaller urban stores can generate.

As far as we're concerned, if Wal-Mart wants to come into the neighborhood and operate on the city's commercial strips it will remove an important argument that has been used against the company-that it drains business out of local neighborhoods and increases auto-dependent shopping. It remains to be seen, however, whether Wal-Mart will actually embark on this totally new business direction.

In the meantime, we continue to oppose all of the Walmonster's efforts and don't really anticipate that this new approach will gain any traction. It reminds us of the "Costco Fresh" format that that other box store mega-retailer tried to introduce into NYC at the end of the nineties. That innovation, as the current Wal-Mart fantasy will also, turned stale pretty fast.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Violating New Yorkers: Render Unto Caesar

A while ago we told the story of a parking ticket we had received after parking in a spot under a sign that clearly indicated that the spot was legal. We also indicated that around fifty yards west of the sign, there was another one that indicated that the area in question was temporarily off limits because of construction. Well, the verdict is now in and, surprise boys and girls, but your truly has been adjudicated Guilty!

The decision rendered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, no sorry, one David Caesar (all hail Caesar!) says the following: "one authorized sign anywhere on a block, which is the area of sidewalk between one intersection and the next, shall be sufficient notice of the restriction(s) in effect on that block." Nothing is said here about the existence of a completely contradictory sign that clearly permits parking.

The great Caesar than goes on to note that the photo submitted "does not show the block at the time issuer wrote the summons ( and the issuer indicated that there was a temporary sign posted). Guilty" Aside from the fact that no one could possibly take a picture at the time the issuer wrote it, unless they were actually present at the time, the moron judge fails to indicate that the sign I was parked under clearly indicated that there was no parking from 6am until 6pm-and the ticket indicated that the violation occurred at some time after 7pm.

So now, according to the head kangaroo, parking under a sign and following its posted restrictions to the letter, is not enough to exculpate you if...well if you are just any poor shlub who is the object of the built-in bias and unfairness that runs through the city's entire system of fines and violations.

This is precisely why we have been arguing for the better part of two decades that increasing the authority of the DCA over the city's small businesses is simply a license to abuse hard working store owners. The judge and jury status that exemplifies the adjudication of parking violations is hardly the model of fairness that anyone should want to have applied to store owners.

Business owners and residents are basically hapless siting ducks when it comes to all of these procedures, and we're hopeful that the next mayor will look to overhaul the entire system. It's an issue that will surely resonate with the voters.

Paper of Wreckage Recommends? Abstinance!

With the release of the North Carolina AG's full report on the Duke3 case it is now irrefutable-the entire fiasco was a hoax from the get go. As DIW observes this morning, this was a hoax that was "perpetrated by a mentally unstable accusing witness, an unscrupulous district attorney, and a few other key figures willing to compromise their professional ethics to keep the fraud alive." And, of course, with the official paper of wreckage as the audience clack.

The release of the AG's report would have been the perfect time for the NY Times to finally weigh in, not only on the hoax itself, but on the mindset that led so many, including some key figures at the paper, to rush to judgement. Instead, the lead editorial in this morning Times is on-abstinence. In an ironic twist, the lamentable Duff Wilson's report in today's paper (Not prominently featured of course) is titled, "'Credibility Issues' Undid Duke Case..." As it will also undo what's left of the Times' own reputation.

The paper's continued silence, and its perverse editorial priorities, should lead any discerning reader to, "Just say No," when it comes to relying on this formerly respectable paper for reliable news and opinion. After all. when a senior Al-Qaeda leader is reported captured, and the NY Times fails to even mention that he was the mastermind behind the London bombing, as well as a former general in Saddam Hussein's army (too busy telling its readers the prison where this scum was being held), then we know that "all the news that fits," really refers to the paper's skewed ideological bias.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thompson Praises Bloomberg's Budget

In today's NY Times, the paper details the mayor's new budget and the NY Post outlines some responses from city council members, many of whom want to see is the city can reduce the tax burden and send some money back to the tax payers. As David Yassky pointed out, the surplus is over $6 billion because of debt service and, "We should be returning some of that to the tax payers." Finance chair David Weprin agreed.

The mayor, however, continues to argue that this is not a fiscally prudent course, and inexplicably Comptroller Thompson agrees. He told the Times, "In times of prosperity, we must take steps so we don't have to return to New Yorkers to ask them to dip into their pockets when times are bad." So, let's get this straight. After taking whopping tax increases from the city's residents and businesses we shouldn't look to return any of their money, because? Well, we might have to raise taxes again if times are tough.

Is this as nonsensical as it sounds? You bet it is. The people's money should be returned and a concentrated effort should be launched to reduce the size of city government. Now that's a "greening" of New York all of us should agree on. If the taxes are lowered and economic productivity is increased we will continue to see higher tax revenues along with lower tax rates.

This is the win-win situation that Bill Thompson, as the city's fiscal watchdog, should understand. The fact that he doesn't, doesn't bode well for New York should he be able to succeed the mayor in 2009.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Surpluses and Minuses

As the NY Sun editorializes this morning, the question of what to do about the huge $4 billion plus city surplus is bound to be a bone of contention between the mayor and the city council. The Sun's focus, however, is on the salutary impact of cutting taxes. The paper believes, and we tend to agree, that record surpluses do come on the heels of tax cutting policies.

In addition, as the Sun points out, the city is still on the top of the list when it comes to taxing its citizens and businesses. This is not the kind of platform that will make for an attractive national campaign, should the mayor decide that he wants to spend his money tilting at windmills.

In spite of this, the mayor appears ready to horde the surplus in anticipation of future rainy days. Incongruously, Mayor Mike talked about the dangers of "throwing caution to the wind," and mentioned something about "wine, women and song," that was directed at the idea of returning more of the people's money than he feels is prudent. Since when is it profligate to return the people's money back to them?

Our view has always been that the rainy day dodge should be applied, not to the city's future fortunes, but to its beleaguered tax payers. Lowering taxes and increasing investment and business productivity goes hand-in-hand. You'd think that a businessman would get this.

Lessons Not Learned: Who Will Educate the Educators?

In an insightful column in today's NY Post Craig Charney, a polling executive, makes a compelling case for the use of Atlantic Yards as a model of how to develop grass roots support for a development project. Charney notes that, "broad support for Atlantic Yards didn't just happen. Listening and reaching out to a range of public and private actors insured that the project won the backing it needed."

As he goes on to point out, the FCRC was "willing to listen and make concessions-to a variety of interests that developers often ignore or outright oppose." And in addition, the developer brought in "some of New York's top political and marketing pros." The fact that FCRC brought us into this struggle, indicates the perceptiveness of people like Bruce Bender and Scott Cantone who understood that to develop grass roots support you need to have folks who understand the organizing that needs to be done at that level.

Of course, the grass roots support needs to be buttressed by a creative negotiation with community forces that leads up to the crafting of a community benefits agreement that can be seen as a foundation for generating even wider local and city wide support. This was done, and the end result was, in the view of one of the project's strongest critics, "terrific and creative commitments."

What was terrific in the AY CBA? The setting aside of 2,250 units of affordable housing, half of the project's total, and the insuring that a good percentage of the work on the development would be done by minority and woman contractors. All of which makes Charney see this project as, "an example of how to make big development projects work." And he then proceeds to focus on the Columbia expansion effort.

Will the university and its great minds be able to learn the lessons of Atlantic Yards? Charney thinks that it must and points out that Columbia is already "working with the West Harlem Local Development Corporation to negotiate a similar community-benefits agreement to govern its plans for West Harlem."

On the contrary, the the grass roots efforts for the two projects are grossly disparate. Whereas Ratner and crew really went to develop local support, the university is looking to build a faux effort through the use of its political muscle. The West Harlem LDC is a prime example of this ersatz effort, and resembles more of a Potemkin Village than a real representation of West Harlem's interests. What local group would hire one of the city's leading real estate attorneys pro bono to represent its interests, someone who has never sided with local groups in any land use battle?

So far the LDC has exhibited no real local fortitude and is beset with a fifth column that is looking to make a deal at the expense of real community interests. Which is why there has been no affordable demand put forward to Columbia-or any housing demand at all for a university that wants to develop all 18 acres without a single apartment for local residents (at the same time it is evicting around 400 low income local people). In fact, the LDC doesn't seem capable of forwarding any concrete proposal, since it seems to lack any clear sense of direction.

In conclusion, Charney remarks that, "While developers must listen and deal more to make such projects succeed, the rewards will more than compensate for what they lose in control." But it really all depends on the project. As we saw in Related's theft of the Bronx Terminal Market, developers can still get over without any real concessions if there aren't any elected officials willing to stand strong for local interests.

Where the Columbia expansion plan stands in all of this is still uncertain. The initial actions of the university, however, don't give real promise for the kind of enlightened self interest that FCRC exhibited in Brooklyn. It appears that Columbia is looking to appear good, rather than to be good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Food Policy Focus

The DMI blog, a perspective that we often have our disagreements with, has a post today on the issue of access to healthy food in low income neighborhoods. While we might disagree with the observation- "Far too often, the neighborhoods where the working poor live gets the short end of the stick when it comes to many of the services so many take for granted...The problem is especially clear in the struggles of people in low-income communities to get access to healthy foods."-we do agree that a policy of incentivizing the building of more supermarkets makes some good sense.

In particular, DMI points to the Fresh Food Financing Initiative that was a brainchild of the Food Trust out of Philadelphia, and the Healthy Food Retail Innovations Fund, a bil that is being considered by the California legislature. New York City and New York State need to develop this kind of a strategy in order to not only improve food access, but to also encourage minority entrepreneurship, since so many of the neighborhoods in question do have store owners who reflect the neighborhood's demographics.

The city has created a new food policy czar at the behest of Speaker Quinn, and the development of a city food policy needs to include a strong economic development piece; along with incentives to encourage the stocking of healthier food options. As we have commented before, an important component of this policy thrust should be the inclusion of a creative marking initiative in low income communities. This is precisely what the Health Corps is looking to do; bring the young people into the equation as promoters of healthier eating alternatives.

Mexican Hat Dance

We we're a bit bemused in yesterday's post about the mayor's poverty quest to Mexico. It is hard for us to believe that a program implemented in one of the hemisphere's poorest and politically dysfunctional countries could serve as an exemplar for New York. A more detailed discussion of the Mexican effort can be found in Ray Rivera's good piece in today's NY Times.

It turns out that the Mexican program, called Opportunidades, has been lauded by the World Bank. Boy, that makes us feel a lot better about all of this. As it turns out the effort down south has been implemented primarily in rural areas and only recently has the Mexican government expanded it into smaller cities.

One of the government's worries is that the program does not insure that anyone will get a job. The founder of the program describes it as an effort to "improve human capital; it is not a job-creation program." Still, the human capital aspects are important if they are able to truly change consciousness. We're back it seems to the old culture of poverty argument, and whether the cash nexus can be used as a lever to change the hearts and minds of the under class.

We believe that it does all begin with instilling the proper attitudes to succeed. That being said, however, we're extremely skeptical that a large bureaucratic government effort will be able to accomplish this daunting task. The old saw-"We're the government and we're here to help you"-comes to mind in contemplating this grand scheme.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hola Mejico, Ayuda Por Favor!

Does anyone else think that it is a bit disconcerting for the mayor to go to Mexico to get public policy advice? And on a poverty program, no less. We thought that that country's best program for uplifting the poor was the spurring of the mass exodus up north-to a country where real opportunity exists.

More Taxes Please

In its continuing clarion call for higher taxes, the DMI's Amy Traub does a post on their website yesterday that sites a number of polls indicating that there is "growing support for progressive taxation," and that "two thirds of Americans believe wealth should be more evenly distributed."

Leaving aside the methodological accuracy of the polls she sites, it would be instructive to examine the consequence of following the ideological path that the DMI recommends. In the first place, what we have seen time and time again, is that the definition of what constitutes the wealthy is extremely malleable. So much so, that many of those who might respond favorably to a poll question on redistribution would be shocked to find, a little ways down the road, that they had somehow managed to also find their way into the wealthy category.

We've already seen this with the Alternate Minimum Tax, a measure designed to insure that very wealthy folks didn't get away with not paying any tax at all. This tax, originally limited to a few hundred thousand tax payers, is now applicable to millions, with no discernible limits as more and more people fall within the parameters of the ATM.

These tax debates, when fought out in the heat of a political campaign, generally don't end up benefiting the tax hikers, as old Walter Mondale will tell you. In addition, the policy consequences of following the Drum roll are, in our view quite grave. It will lead to bigger government and less economic productivity.

And if you don't believe us just take a look at, let's say, France, where the GDP has fallen as the state has expanded. Beware of the Statists and their tax raising acolytes. The money you save may be your own.

Harvey: The Ghost Of Integrity

In the continuing silence of the NY Times about the consequences of abuse of prosecutorial authority in the Duke3 case, we may have to take a different tack In the latest installment of KC Johnson's DIW blog he reprints portions of an e-mail that he received from the paper's sports columnist, one Harvey Araton.

THe last time we appreciated anything Araton had to say, he was covering the Knicks for the NY Daily News. From his discourse on the Duke situation it is clear that his hoop observations represented the zenith of his professional abilities. Back in March of last year Araton had chastised the Duke women's lacrosse team for its show of armband solidarity with their male counterparts. Now, a year later, the jockhead, intelligentsia wannabe, refuses to apologize for his maladroit opinions.

Which leads us to believe that, as far as the NY Times is concerned, silence really is golden. From Calumny Calame to Hoops Araton the entire Times integrity edifice is being eaten away by politically correct and unrepentant termites.

The final word on this corrupt mindset should be from graduating Duke Chronicle columnist Steven Miller who asked his readers whether the Duke situation might have been different "if Collin, Reade and David had been black students, accused of raping a white girl..." Miller then went on to go through the entire scenario with the races reversed. What we know for certain, and we agree with Miller here, is that not only wouldn't the case have lasted more than a week, but the politicians who are invisible on the current Durham case would have been holding candle light vigils along with the exonerated black athletes.

So, for the Times, mum's the word and the people who are concerned with double standards in this country should probably breathe a sigh of relief. Thank god for the alternative sources of more credible information and opinion. And as for Harvey, "Play Ball," that's the limit of your professional field of competance.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The NY Times and Alberto Gonzales, Perfect Together

We missed Byron Calame's white wash of the NY Times' coverage of the Duke3. The public editor, reminiscent of the performance of Richard Nixon's press secretaries (Ron Nessen any one?), lamely defended the paper's performance over the past year in regards to this explosive case. We're not going to go into great detail on this because little that we say could improve on the wrap-up done by Durham-in-Wonderland's KC Johnson.

All we know is that it is now day eleven of the Times' editorial silence and that glaring failure merely compounds the paper's biased and unprofessional coverage of the case. Imagine if the feeble minded Calame was brought before a Senate committee hearing to explain these failures? A real newspaper would be raking him over the coals for his pitiful performance in rationalizing his employer's egregious mistakes, mistakes that enabled the slandering of innocent kids to continue.

Oh yes, we missed the calumny from Calame because we can't seem to find any way to justify wasting $3.50 on pulp fiction. The Times actions reminds us of the story of the man who fell out of the twelfth story window. When he passed the third floor someone looked out and asked: "How are you doing?" His reply: "So far, so good."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Malling the Mayor

We just too ka look at the transportation and air quality components of the mayor's magnum opus, PlaNYC. With all of the intricate analysis of various scenarios, there is not a single word about the continues malling of the city through the development of box stores and suburban style shopping centers.

Frankly, we're not surprised. Given the fact that Deputy Dan and his bossom buddy Steve Ross of the Related Companies have been jacking up the car trips in this city for the past five years with auto-dependent malls, it is hardly a surprise to see a plan, touted as an effort in sustainable development, fail to mention this mall phenomenon. Once again, when it comes to self-aggrandizement, these folks are past masters of the art. The fact that they can do in in the middle of all of this grand posturing is a testament to their droit du seignior mindset.

Gateway Estates and Wal-Mart: Challenge to "Sustainable Development"

The proposed expansion of the original Gateway Estates Mall in East New York received a bit of public attention last week when the Brooklyn Courier reported that Wal-Mart was a potential tenant of the expanded retail space. As noteworthy and objectionable as this possibility may be, it occludes the sleeziness of the way in which the Related Companies has proceeded in this entire venture.

The original 1996 development that was approved, stipulated that 2,385 units of new housing was to be built with the financing to come from proceeds of the huge adjacent retail mall. Subsequently, the Related Companies bought the commercial component, leaving the residential piece totally in limbo. Related, when asked about the residential development, stated that it had nothing to do with any residential development.

Now, over a decade later, and with the Gateway Mall generating millions of dollars in profits for Related, an huge expansion is in land use review. The new project, with a greatly expanded box store component, now pledges that the housing units that were never built as promised, will be included in the expansion; but the financing will be done exclusively with public funds.

This has got to be one of the great bait and switches of all time (Where's DCA when you need it?). Not only that, it also needs to be pointed out that Related, a recognized "favored nation" in this city, was awarded the Gateway expansion without the benefit of any competitive bidding. A reward for the failure to fulfill the original housing pledge perhaps?

What's even worse is the fact that an analysis of the original traffic study will show that, surprise, surprise, it severely underestimated the number of cars that the mall would generate, a failure that the current DEIS proudly replicates. The current project will double the amount of traffic on the Belt as well as on local roads, the equivalent of approximately seven Wal-Mart super centers.

Which brings us to the mayor's about face on carbon dioxide emissions, and the concomitant need to reduce traffic in the city. The expanded Gateway development will generate approximately 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, violating the mayor's commitment to reduce these emissions by 30% by 2030.

Similarly the city's gift to Related of the Bronx Terminal Market will create another auto dependent mall that hurts local shopping areas and increases CO2 emissions, in the part of the city known as "asthma alley." This has been the pattern of economic development throughout the mayor's first five years so it is just a bit glaring to witness the public Al Goring of Mike Bloomberg.

If the mayor is really serious he would, Wal-Mart or no Wal-Mart, stop the Gateway development in its track, and greatly revise the projected malling of Willets Point. Mayor Mike needs to figure out that the nurturing of neighborhood business needs to be part of any sustainable development for the year 2030.

Day Ten: Times' Lockjaw Continues

As the Times' shameful silence continues on the attempt at legal lynching of the Duke3, there is a wonderful cartoon in the Charlotte Observer that asks the question: "If the lacrosse players are innocent, who's guilty?" In the cartoon there is a Blue Devil logo surrounding a caracature of Mike Nifing garbed in real devil attire.

And while Nifong deserves satanic first billing, it is certainly far from unfair to say that the paper of wreckage deserves a supporting actor award for its poor coverage and subsequent editorial silence. The Times had no problem excoriating Don Imus, but hasn't the menschlichkeit to make Nifong, who arguably has done far greater damage to racial comity in his abuse of power, the target of its editorial scorn.

Maybe the paper is waiting to get permission from the reverend al, since it appears that, on issues of racial injustice, the msm can't proceed without the charlatan's seal of approval. In any case, we're not surprised, just as we're not surprised that this shadow of its former self has had nothing to say about the King Amendment or the Nat Turner trip to Cuba controversy.

If stockholders aren't empowered to wrest control of this newspaper from its current owner, than it's only a matter of time before the folks realize that the emperor has no clothes. As far as our $500 a year is concerned, we have better uses for the money.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More Congestion

The more we think about the congestion pricing idea that more we are bemused by the fact that Mike Bloomberg is about to become its major cheer leader. His continued lack of sensitivity to the small business and outer borough residents concerns only makes the incongruity even more stark. What emerges from all this, and Sewall Chan details some of this in yesterday's NY Times (thanks to Azi for the link), is the incredible arrogance and elitism that the mayor exhibits more and more of as he comes closer to his political exit.

It's bad enough that Mayor Mike continues to demonstrate a big government Nanny mentality on public health issues, it is worse when he shows little sensitivity to the rising cost of government and his insistence that New Yorkers pony up for it. The fact remains that this mayor has done nothing to innovate how government services are delivered, nor has he found any significant way to reduce the size and scope of the municipal bureaucracy.

Of course, in order to be able reduce government's size, this mayor would first need to believe that it was an important thing that was needed to be done. He simply doesn't believe it. Bloomberg, starting with absolutely no real policy vision aside from further self-aggrandizement, comes from the Rockerfeller-Lindsay tradition that has an altogether benign
view of the expansive role of government.

We look forward to the political divide that will form around his grand planning scheme. We anticipate that the debate that follows will further erode the good will that the mayor has manged to maintain, in spite of the haughty statements and school policy failures that have characterized his second term.

Congestive Traffic Failure

According to yesterday's NY Times, the mayor is poised to announce a massive planning initiative, titled PlaNYC, that will supposedly transform the city and help to make it "a healthier city for our children and grandchildren." As one breathlessly awaits the unveiling, we are reminded of the Yiddish expression, "Man plans, and God laughs." In this case, however, we think that the laughing will be restrained, perhaps only released after all of the forces that will array against the hubris come together to defeat it.

At least we hope so, because we really have no faith in any plan that was put together by the team of Blooomberg and Doctoroff. In fact, the team and its plan, designed for its putative environmental benefits, has a vaudevillian flavor when we consider just how much the current administration has done to make the city safe for Related and its auto-dependent box store mania.

Certainly no one at city hall had the brilliant idea that encouraging more local, neighborhood shopping, activity that would diminish the auto-driven shopping center-centric approach of Deputy Dan's real estate soul mates. In fact, the PlaNYC can be seen as a total rebuke of the mayor's first five and a half years of economic development policy. And the plan's acceptance, a real long shot from our perspective, would mean that the next three or four mayors would be locked into reversing the entire Blomberg economic development opus.

Which brings us to the congestion pricing scheme. Not only will the mayor be charging motorists an additional $8 to come into the CBD, he will also surcharge delivery trucks. Now if the concept is to reduce traffic, than the levy on deliveries can only be seen as a tax on small businesses, since so many of the delivery businesses are manufacturing and distribution firms from the outer boroughs. If they are to stay in business than they must pay the toll, and they won't be looking to find ways to replicate the Berlin airlift. Hence a tax, and not an environmental benefit.

The mayor, demonstrating his usual hauteur-after all this is the same guy who described the $260 million a year "bodega tax" as a "minor economic issue"-bristles at the description of the $8 fee as a tax. He goes on to tell the NY Daily News that, "Using economics to influence public behavior is something that this country is built on...It's called capitalism."

Well, not really. No matter what kind of linguistic contortions you perform, this is still called a tax. Something that the government is built on, but not in any normally understood sense a contributor to the economic growth of this country's fabulous economic system. It is what Bloomberg described, in a different context, as a costly and"burdensome regulation."

And why aren't we surprised at the collusion of the machers in all of this? The permanent government, feeding at the mayoral trough, will be lined up with feed bags after their conspicuous cheer leading at Monday's announcement. Wonder where the small business folks will be? Hunkering down and trying to figure out how they're going to pay for this grand scheme.

Cooked by Incompetants

In a fascinating story in this morning's NY Times the paper reports on the saga of the chef/owner of the prestigious Brasserie La Cote Basque. As part of the Department of Health blitzkrieg the restaurant was shut down on March the 8th and, because chef Jean-Jacques Rachou has remained bitter and despondent, the place remains shuttered and its 40 employees are out of work. The eatery is also losing an estimated $100,000 a week in sales.

Ah yes, but the city's health is protected, isn't it? What a Croque! What we have is the normal venal intrusion of the city, bumped on the steroid injection of wounded pride, and resulting in an incredible loss of economic activity to the city. That is because this elite eatery is only one of hundreds of less swanky places that have withered, and lost business, under the assault of the DOH over the past few months-restaurants that the Times is less likely to take notice of.

One thing that struck us in the piece, nicely done by Eric Konigsberg, was the depiction of the department's point system, a protocol that has been developed to rack up the revenue stream for this out-of-control agency. As the Times points out, the restaurant had been cited for 13 health code violations; "Many of them were minor-'Choking first aid poster not conspicuously displayed in dining area,' for example, and some cutting boards were noted to be 'badly worn'-but they added up to 80 points." 28 points is failing.

In a climate of hysteria, the points system is a license to abuse the restaurants in the city. Under normal conditions it is used to extort money for the bureaucratic behemoth down at Worth Street. Under the current climatee of fear, it is a terrorist outfit. The entire enterprise, supposedly geared for the protection of health, is operating to make this city an unhealthier place to do business in.

In fact, with the upcoming calorie labeling and trans fat ban, this unhealthy climate is exacerbated, making the Blomberg administration the worst administration for small businesses in this city for at least the thirty years we have been observing the political scene here. The upcoming proposal to tax delivery trucks coming into the CBD only highlights this abysmal record even more. Here's hoping that the upcoming crop of mayoral candidates exhibit a greater sensitivity to enhancing the productivity of this vital business sector.

Day Nine for the NY Times: Really, Don't Bother

The Times continues its display of arrogant silence on the Duke3 and, since its been nine days since Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnarty and Dave Evans were exonerated, it really makes no sense for these putzes to do more to try to get enshrined in the second edition of Jackie Mason's new book. They should keep their silence and continue with their irrelevant pontificating on weightier subjects of great portent. Pinch me when they wake up.

Friday, April 20, 2007

As the Worm Turners

As we have commented already, we feel that the Little Red School House's trip to Cuba, led by the intrepid Che Turner, was ill advised on a number of levels. Out biggest beef is not that the kids went and broke the law, although this fact in some profound way is emblematic of the Beacon School's entire mindset, but more importantly that the trip was led by an individual who appears to be more of a proselytizer than a teacher interested in getting kids to think critically.

Now we here that Congressman Fossela is reaching out to the school in order to see if it is wiling to have their students meet with a former political prisoner of Castro. This is all to the good. Young students do need to be exposed to a variety of different perspectives, but in a way that doesn't seek to impose any one of these views as sacrosanct. The key thing is to get the kids to think.

Which is where my biggest problem lies with the Turner affair. From everything that I've read, Mr. Turner has a particular point of view, one that appears to be highly critical of his own government and decidedly less so of the workings of the island paradise. For teachers like Turner, critical thinking is learning to be critical of the essence of the American political and economic systems. What's always missing with these kinds of folks is any real critical thought, the kind that involves some degree of self-criticism. The righteousness, and self-righteousness, drips from their pores. It is decidedly a poor mindset from which to really teach critical thinking.

All of which is underscored by a rather sad comment that was posted anonymously on this website by an apparent student of the Beacon School. Taking issue with my critical observations about Turner this student said:
"You know I dont give a rats ass what the new york post or sun say because I have Nat Turner as a taecher. I have learned a lot from him about the truths about America's digusting government and many other fact that many other teachers wouldn't have the balls to teach about so FUCK THE NEW YORK POST AND THE SUN"

What a sad commentary indeed. Is this student's comments representative of the "learning" that is taking place in the Beacon School? Nothing could do more to dramatize my earlier concerns about the pedagogy in play in Turner's classroom. A full investigation needs to be done about the intellectual fitness of Turner to teach, rather than propagandize, high school students.

Sonny No More

The effort to have Sonny Carson' name memorialized on this city's streets was derailed yesterday at the City Council's Parks Committe hearing. Kudos to Speaker Quinn for her swift action in this case.

Imams in the Crosshairs

In what is likely to be the first salvo in an upcoming mayoral bid, John Catsimatidis, the CEO of the Red Apple Group has placed a full page ad in the NY Post today attacking the John Doe lawsuit filled by the "Six Imams on a Plane." The ad rightfully calls for the passage of the King amendment, a bill that would immunize bystanders who report suspicious behavior to authorities.

The ad was cited this morning in a Washington Times story and focuses attention on the fact that out of the entire NYC Congressional delegation, only Anthony Weiner, acting to protect New York's security, voted in the bill's favor. What in heaven's name was the rest of the delegation thinking? And what will Senators Schumer and Clinton do when the issue is sent to the Senate for consideration?

Catsimatidis is calling on the City Council to pass Hiram Monseratte's resolution of support and Senator Carl Kruger has introduced a resolution supporting the King amendment in the NYS Senate. So far, the city's three Republican council members have indicated that they were likely to support the reso and Councilman Mike Nelson told us to count him in as well. The resolution will likely be discussed at the next council meeting in two weeks, which gives ample time for the rest of the body to join in support of the city's safety.

One last piece. In response to the furor, the WT reports that CAIR, the genesis behind all of this skulduggery, is claiming that the lawsuit does not target people who simply report suspicious behavior, but only "those who have knowingly made false reports..."

Of course, this is all disingenuous, because separating the false reports from the "good faith" ones can only be determined in court depositions, and only after the targets have gone to a great deal of expense to defend their actions. All of us who are concerned with making this country safer should be supporting the Peter King's legislation.

NY Times, Tawana Brawley and Chrystal Mangum

It is now day eight and the NY Times remains silent on the Duke3 while it continues to hyperventilate over the lamentable Alberto Gonzales. The lockjaw down on 43rd Street stands sin sharp contrast to the paper's vigilance on a similar hoax in New York twenty years ago. In 1987, the Times unleashed its considerable resources to determine that Tawana Brawley had perpetrated a hoax when she claimed that three white men had abducted and raped her.

Now circle back to the present and take a hard look at the paper's behavior with Chrystal Mangum and Mike Nifong down in Durham over the past year. Unlike in the Brawley case, where the Times unleashed an armada of good experienced reporters whose work on the case played a significant role in unmasking the Brawley fiction, in the Duke hoax the Times assigned a reporter to this controversial case who was best left covering the fun and games on the sports page.

Duff Wilson was clearly out of his depth and, as a result, embarrassed himself and his employer in August with a 5,600 word whitewash of Nifong's prosecutorial abuse. In doing this, Wilson and the Times became part of the politically correct amen chorus on the Duke campus that led the lynch mob's rush to convict the three students before any evidence of a crime was even in.

Unlike the Times' original Tawana team, Duff Wilson will not be writing any best seller about the Duke case. The only decent thing left for the paper of wreckage to do, is to write the damn mea culpa, finally stand up for the things that liberals are supposed to stand up for-you know, due process, innocent until proven guilty, the rights of the accused over the abuse of state power-and if they don't than we'll know just how far the institution has fallen; farther than the revenues that the red ink stained wretches are witnessing today.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Looking for the John Doe, Re, Mi

The furor over the John Doe lawsuit and particularly on its attack on the concerned bystanders to the antics of imams who, in our view, were clearly spoiling for the fight, is starting to heat up. As the NY Sun reports today (and as Azi over at the Observer pointed out last night), mayoral wannabe John Catsimatidis has taken out a full page ad in City Hall newspaper supporting the King amendment, legislation that would immunize security-minded whistle blowers.

Another mayoral contender, Congressman Anthony Weiner has also taken up the fight, and he was the only Democratic congressman in the city to support the King amendment. Not to be outdone, City Councilman Hiram Monseratte is planning to introduce a resolution of support for the King legislation, an action that will certainly force a number of reluctant folks to take sides down at city hall.

The issue, however, should be crystal clear for all New York law makers. The safety of the city depends on the vigilance of all of our citizens, and if they are cowed into silence and inaction because of the fear of being sued, then we are all put at greater risk. Every city council member should support the Monseratte resolution.

Waiting for Nat Turner's Confessions

The controversy surrounding the peculiar educational philosophy of the Beacon School's Nat Turner continues to seethe, aided and abetted by what defenders of the school-ironically doting the "I's" and crossing the "T's" of the critics point, labe as right wing propaganda. As one commenter to my earlier post advised me: " should really stop trusting bullshit right wing papers like the post and sun..."

Ah yes, the fascists are coming, the fascists are coming. A new wave of McCarthyism is threatening to emerge and end the valuable contributions of one Nat Turner to the development of a new "progressive" pedagogy. Our view is that if folks want to support "The Little Red School House" they should pony up their own money and not stick their grubby little hands into the public till.

All of which is underscored by Dave Andreatta' piece in today's NY Post on the subject. What got us was one blog comment that was posted on one of the school's forums: "Don't lash out at people with your pro-American opinions and expect people to stay quiet." Indeed, the vanguard of the tenured revolution will strike back and exile you to ...Staten Island.

Of course, the response was from an anonymous commentator who is so proud of his anti-American views that he must cloak them in anonymity. Beacon is a sewer of propagandistic swill that needs to be drained. Don't mis-educate the young in the name of your imaginary revolution and expect the rest of us to sit back. Come out of the closet and identify yourselves, defend your views, and let's see how it all turns out, comrades.

Day Seven: The Sounds of Silence

In what amounts to unintended irony the Times has an editorial today that is titled, "The Silence of Politicians." Nothing, of course, on the Duke3 rape hoax, which could turn out to be the biggest case of prosecutorial misconduct in the country's history. The editorial was about one of the paper's pet shibboleths, the need for stricter gun laws after what happened at Va Tech this week.

Instead it is the Times that continues to shoot itself and its fading reputation in the foot. Imagine being more concerned about the possibility of misconduct by the US Attorney General, than the actual misconduct that the Times itself did its best to cover up in its August airbrushing of Nifong's abuse of power.

Is the railroading of three innocent college kids any less egregious because of their race and class status? Apparently in the editorial offices of the Times, the demographics of this case insures that "The Sounds of Silence" will continue to chime in at the old grey mare.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fight Over Sonny Carson

The NY Sun is reporting today that there may be a city council fight brewing over the naming of a street in Brooklyn after the racist Sonny Carson. As we have said here before, if Don Imus is to be removed from the public airways for a racist comment than there is no way that racism should be memorialized on the street signs of New York.

The Times, "They Aren't A-Changin'"

Day seven and the esteemed editors of the formerly respected NY Times have not bothered to opine about the Duke3. With a declining readership and hemorrhaging revenue, the paper apparently feels that it can hunker down with its ideological soul mates by sticking with the meta narrative on race and gender that is so much more satisfying than any of the facts. Oh, we forgot, facts are a "masculine construct" that is used to oppress the less powerful.

And if some innocents are slandered in the process? So what, as long as the larger truth of the persistence of racism and sexism can be underscored. In this, the paper threatens to transform itself into the soul mate of the late Bill Kuntsler who, on commenting about the obvious lies of Tawana Brawley, told the world that it really didn't matter-her story was "apocryphal."


The issue over the unauthorized school trip to Cuba that we commented on yesterday, is now the subject of two editorials, in the New York Post as well as the NY Sun. In what has become shockingly predictable the Times has lockjaw on the subject, which is probably a good thing since we can't expect that the paper would have anything sensible to say on the subject.

The larger point here, at least for us, is that the motivation behind the trip is not educational in the traditional sense. If it were, it would not be done under the aegis of someone who apparently believes in the revolutionary myths that are symbolized by the posters that adorn the classroom walls of teacher Nat Turner. In particular, the Che Guevera poster is especially noxious, given this killer's violent history and philosophy.

Which brings us to the larger issue here, the transformation of public classrooms into tendentious hotbeds of politically-inspired propaganda. It is one thing for college classrooms to be transformed, bad enough that is; it is quite another for ideologically hot-wired information to be passed of as education in public secondary schools to impressionable young people by teachers who lack the requisite knowledge or judgement.

Turner's teaching should now be fully scrutinized and if he is using a high school classroom as a political bully pulpit he should be warned to desist. If he persists then he should be fired. Perhaps he'd like to see first hand how idyllic that island paradise is with a one way ticket to Cuba. We have no doubt it would really be educational.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Immigrants and Invidiousness

In today's DMI blog, there is a commentary from Elana Levin on the NY Times story from yesterday about the fact that many illegal immigrants are lining up to pay their taxes. The emphasis in the Times story was on the fact that many of these illegals were looking to document their working presence in this country by paying taxes, in anticipation that any amnesty provision would require the payment of back taxes.

Now we are in the forefront of the defense of immigrant entrepreneurs in NYC, and we've never made any effort to try to ascertain their immigration status, we simply admired their hard work and drive. That being said, Levin would have been on firmer ground if she had given greater emphasis to the self-interest of those lining up to pay.

The reality here is that the immigrants were looking for two things: (1) to legalize their status so they can enjoy the fruits of this country; and (2) get a refund that is in all likelihood badly needed income. To conflate all of this with the underlying patriotism of the group is a bit too much. And the self-interested activity here shouldn't be the final word on the best immigration policy for the country. After all, for all of the great many hard-working illegals, there are too many criminals and freeloaders that aren't doing anything positive in this country.

Therefore, what we need is a policy to better discern the the contributors among those wanting to settle here. This can only be done if we secure the boarders and develop a program to vet those who would like to stay here on a permanent basis.

This is all a legitimate debate, but Levin can't resist trying to create some kind of invidious comparison between the "patriotic" illegals, and those "rich tax dodgers" that are avoiding paying their fair share. Levin ends here post saying: As one immigrant interviewed in today's Times piece said 'I feel it's my responsibility to pay.' If only corporations could be convinced to feel the same."

Whoa! Doesn't Levin realize, even in her obvious envy of the wealthy job-creating class, that it is the corporations, large and small, that are the economic engines that provide the employment opportunities for the illegals that she strives so mightily to romanticize? Doesn't she realize that the corporations, and their wealthy founders, are the reason that all of these illegals aren't clamoring to come in to, let's say, Cuba?

Lost in all of this is the fact that, as the NY Post points out today, that the wealthiest 1% of this country pay over 37% of all the taxes, and the top 40% pays 99,1% of the taxes. As someone in that catagory I guess I can consider myself very patriotic. I'd feel more so, however, if I could keep more of my own money, invest it prudently and watch as it grows, along with the economy that this investment fuels.

Cuba Si, Turner No

In what amounts to a caricature of all that is wrong with much of public education today, we have the case of a teacher named Nathan Turner (Nat Turner?) who, because he doesn't believe that he has to follow the laws of this country, took his students on a trip to Cuba. From what we've been reading in the NY Sun, Mr. Turner has his classroom festooned with radical posters and probably believes that he alone is avoiding the mis-education of our young that so characterizes standard pedagogy.

What Turner's behavior symbolizes is the politicization of the classroom, a phenomenon that stems from the nature of the graduate school mis-education that goes on in the ED schools and is aided and abetted by the ideological predilections of the country's teacher unions. What results is the kind of proselytizing that really has no place in the classroom at any level.

If a private school decides that it wants to teach history from a basically ant-American perspective that's one thing. If the public schools, however, are to be staffed with faux revolutionaries who don't think that the laws of the country are legitimate than it is incumbent on the city to act swiftly to remove this cancer.

The issue is not whether the trip would be educational. Former councilwoman Moskowitz told the Times this morning that it is important to even go to countries where human rights violations are occuring so as to beter understand the situation. That sounds good, but when the trip is led by someone with an obvious pro-Castro bent than the education is likely to focus on invidious comparisons with the "inferior" capitalist system. Maybe the Fidelistas have a gig lined up for Turner, perhaps helping Joanne Chesimard write her memoirs.

NY Times Day Six: Paper of Wreckage

We're now on day six of the Times' shameful silence on the Duke rape hoax. What possibly could these folks be waiting for? An indecent interval that would allow the paper to distance itself from some of the culpability in what Tom Sowell calls, "A Gutless Lynch Mob?"

The Times has to shoulder some of the blame here because of its woefully inadequate coverage of the episode, a shortcoming that has to be traced back to the ideological blinders that has seeped out of its predictable editorial page right into the news coverage. As Sowell points out, the perfect storm of race, class and gender was just too juicy for the bien pensants to pass up on.

The exoneration of the students, two of whom are from this area and whose parents are probably long-time readers of the paper, is just the right opportunity for the paper to underscore the journalistic importance of following the facts and not pet theories. It would also be the time for the Times to reiterate its position, elaborated in its editorial on the African-American man released from a Georgia jail after eighteen years of false imprisonment, on the need to cautiously evaluate the accusations of rape.

All of this is important because of the need to be vigilant about the occasions when rape has occurred and the perpetrators of this heinous act need to be righteously brought to justice. In the case of the Duke3, however, it is almost too late for the Times to do the right thing. Maybe the editors can get the intrepid Bob Herbert to do the proper post mortem, after all he is the right man to somehow link all of this to Katrina and George Bush.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Newsweek Reports

In a continued example of good follow-up reporting, Newsweek details the night that the Duke lacrosse team ran afoul of the fevered mind of one Chrystal Mangum. The magazine, that originally had put the pictures of Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnarty on its cover, has redeemed itself by reporting on the unraveling of this miscarriage of justice.

What emerges in this piece is how tawdry and uneventful the evening in question actually was. Was the entire idea of hiring strippers in poor taste? Of course it was, but if that's an indictable offense than a lot of young men and woman on campuses all over the country should be brought in for booking immediately. From the Newsweek story, the biggest crime committed that night seems to have been the fact that the guys paid the two dancers an $800 fee for five minutes of desultory dancing.

But it's the aftermath that is still inexplicable to us. Having nothing to hide, the 46 members of the team volunteered to come in and talk to the police and take lie detector tests. Nifong turned them down flat. All willingly, unlike the usual Law and Order reluctance on the part of the guilty suspect, provided DNA sample to the police. In spite of all this, Nifong told the world that he had "no doubt" that a sexual assault had taken place.

What happened after this is well chronicled, but the Newsweek example, rushing in with breathless recklessness only to turn around, on reflection, with sober re-evaluation, is one that the NY Times would be wise to follow. It would also make sense for Hillary to speak up on this issue, and demonstrate the kind of good political instincts that got Bill elected. In both cases we're far from sanguine that this will happen.

CUNY Initiative on Weak Ground

The mayor and CUNY chancellor, Matthew Goldstein, have announced a new initiative to create a Center for Economic Opportunity for the institution's six community colleges. Before anyone examines the program itself, it is imperative for the City Council to bring the leadership of these community colleges in to evaluate the extent to which they are properly constituted to execute the program's mandates.

The idea behind the program is to create a "cohort" to help those students who have to work (which is almost all of them) juggle their myriad responsibilities. As Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs said, "...the cohort model provides a cooperative and supportive environment that makes this possible."

All of which sounds good but overlooks the fact that these colleges, staffed through nepotism and political contracts, are woefully lacking in the staffing ability to effectively manage this initiative. Academic counseling and "mentoring" can't be done well if the student development faculty lacks the requisite education and skill.

Take a look at the credentials in these counseling departments and you will find that, for the most part, the staff doesn't have the proper background to get this job done right, and without the skills, we may end up with a wasteful project that looks good at first blush but ends up peeing money down the drain.

The reason for our concern is that we've had an up close and personal look at one of the community schools and what we have seen is frightening. The utter lack of concern for the students' well-being was palpable and the so-called student retention efforts were a joke. In fact at this school, and we hope that it is not representative of all six, there was a conscious effort to move away from counseling- as in trying to deal with the students' diverse variety of personal issues, and toward simple academic advising. Without the counseling component all of this will fall flat and the money will be wasted.

Which we predict it will unless the City Counsel does the appropriate oversight and insures that the support staffs at the college are properly trained and have the right credentials. What will be required here is a sea change in attitudes: from the Tap and Pell Grant processing mentality that exists now, to the development of a genuine concern for the students themselves.

Day Five: No Redemption in Sight

It is now day five and the paper of record remains silent on the attempt to railroad three Duke lacrosse players for their unforgivable race and class status. KC Johnson blogs on the Times' role in the case this morning and titles his post: "Redeeming the Times."

From our view here it would be hard to see how the paper could manage even a modicum of redemption, short of doing the kind of soul-searching it did after the Jason Blair fiasco. As Newsweek reports in this week's issue, the Duff Wilson story in August, the one where he claimed that there was a "body of evidence" that gave credence to the DA's crusade, gave Mike Nifong a boost.

Compare the silence of the paper with his sustained outrage over the "politicizing" of justice with the flap over the US Attorneys. Here there is no evidence of any underlying crime but the need to go after the Bush administration drives a continual barrage of front page coverage. Imagine if Mike Nifong had been a Bush appointee.

On the Duke case-editorial silence and no attempt to determine how one DA could undertake such an obstruction of justice with the active support and encouragement of academic schmucks and their media sycophants. The one redeeming reporter at the Times is its suburban columnist Peter Applebome who did his second decent piece on the subject in ye$terday's paper. The rest of the bunch deserve all of our opprobrium for the rank hypocrisy that creates a stench all up and down 43rd Street.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Day Four: NY Times Remains Silent

We're still awaiting that Times editorial about the gross miscarriage of justice down at Durham. We just know that the paper, when it finally gets around to setting the record straight, will point out that the three accused young men were excoriated precisely because of their race and class. They will go on to say that this happened because there are too many people who believe that the presumption of innocence is trumped by a jaundiced, ideological view of American society.

Or perhaps it won't go exactly like that, since the paper isn't really big on exhaustive self-criticism. It will probably go more like what we saw from the paper's ideological soul mates at the sister Boston Globe. The Globe, in what can only be characterized as re-victimization, told its readers the following" Three members of the Duke lacrosse team may have been louts, but all evidence suggests that they were not rapists."

Yet it was the rush to pigeonhole these Dukies as moral reprobates, a view that the Globe can't seem to leave alone, that paved the way for the malicious prosecution that followed. In contrast we have the response of Jemele Hill, an African-American female reporter for ESPN. Hill simply said: "I'm sorry." She did so because she said that true contrition should not be accompanied by rationalization of any kind.

The NY Times has a lot to be sorry for. Its Duff Wilson story in August should be put up for the Walter Duranty Pulitzer prize for dishonest reporting. The question remains why the paper couldn't do the kind of investigative reporting that the 60 Minutes people did, since that kind of real journalism would have easily exposed the entire hoax.

A few months ago the Times did an editorial on the release of a man from a Georgia prison for a false rape conviction, a conviction that was overturned because of DNA evidence. What a wonderful opportunity to weigh-in on the Duke travesty, since the editorial made so much about the need to better investigate rape allegations.

Instead we got, and continue to get, silence. If only George Bush and Alberto Gonzales could be worked into the narrative, we would be reviewing the fourth day of breathless front page stories and accompanying editorials. So we wait for the paper to finally chime in on all of this, days after its sanctimony about Don Imus. Imus' fall was a big piece of public redemption for the Rutgers women, a Times mea culpa, one that encompasses the entire shameless MSM performance in all of this, would at least provide a decent modicum of relief for the slander that the Duke men were forced to endure.

Friday, April 13, 2007


On the same day that Don Imus gets fired for racial insensitivity the City Council is asked to approve the naming of a street in Bed-Stuy after the infamous Sonny Carson. As the NY Daily News reports this morning, this is not siting well with Council Speaker Quinn. As she told the paper, Carson has a "clear history of statements saying he was anti-white."

Not only that. What Sonny had said, when accused of being anti-Semitic, was that he hated all white people not just the Jews. For those of us old enough to remember Carson, along with Vann, had played the key roles in fomenting the anti-Semitic response to the 1968 teachers strike (one that we also opposed as a teacher at the time). Carson also played a racist role in the boycott of a Korean deli that led to the demise of Mayor Dinkins. Carson was a determined enemy of immigrant entrepreneurs in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Now we have disagreed with a number of the Speaker's initiatives but as far as Sonny Carson goes, she is right on target and she needs to make this a policy issue for the council. If racism isn't to be tolerated on the airwaves than it shouldn't be memorialized on the streets of this city. Calling Al Sharpton!

No Times Like the Present

Day two after the exoneration of the Duke lacrosse case, and all we have is editorial silence from the self-described paper of record. When the paper ran a fair story on calorie posting, the Times came out the very next day with a scathing denunciation of those of us who feel that the proposal is idiotic. Yet on an issue that the paper itself stooped to new journalistic lows, not only in its news stories but also in its sports columns, not a word the next day and certainly no mea culpas from the self-righteous, politically correct blatherers.

Oh yes, we did have a long front page article on the exoneration yesterday from Duff Wilson, the same reporter who disgraced the paper in August witha 6,000 word miasma of innuendo that manged to keep suspicion alive with unseen "evidence." In yesterday's piece the Duffer avoided any reference to his earlier journalistic malpractice, and went ahead blithely with a piece that underscored the scathing remarks of AG Cooper, words that highlighted the rogue prosecutorial actions of the disgraced Nifong.

In his remarks Cooper emphasized that there were a lot of people who owed the boys apologies. Duff Wilson sits right near the top of the list and he should be joined by his equally disgraceful colleagues from the sports page-Harvey Araton and Serena Roberts. In August, as KC Johnson and Andrea Peyser have pointed out, Wilson had told the Times readers that evidence only the Times was privileged to see established that, although there were some holes in Nifong's case , "there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to bring the matter to a jury."

If in August there was a "body of evidence," but today, according to AG Cooper there is "an overwhelming lack of other evidence," where did Duff's evidence go? Maybe we'll find it with the Iraqi WMDs? And if it doesn't exist, why hasn't the Times corrected this deliberate attempt to inculpate innocent Duke athletes? And lastly, why hasn't the paper fired Wilson and ordered Araton and Roberts to apologize for their slandering of the innocent?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Slanderous Convictions

Now that the Reverend Al Sharpton has succeeded in removing Don Imus from his radio gig, can we step back a bit and muse over the fact that the media accedes to the Javert-like prosecutorial role of a convicted slanderer like Sharpton. Let's not forget that in 2004 when this miscreant was actually running for president, and collecting as much as he could in order to aid and abet his sub rosa opulent lifestyle, he appeared on the Tim Russert show and refused to apologize for having accused Steven Pagones of being a rapist.

After his conviction, the slippery reverend shucked and ducked as much as he could to avoid paying the slandered Pagones. Yet, in the morally questionable environment that the media operates, and the double standards that it uses when dealing with Sharpton's behavior, it is okay for him to act as the prosecuting attorney for slanderous comments made by others.

And let's not forget the role that both Sharpton and Jackson played in suborning the presumption of innocence in the Duke hoax. When Big Al appeared on the Bill O'Reilly show a year ago he said the following: "...and I know that this DA is probably not one who is crazy. He would not have proceeded if he did not feel that he could convict."

So when it comes to white defendants Brother Al, along with the despicable NAACP chapter in North Carolina, is willing to throw aside everything that they have said about run away grand juries and prosecutorial excess, as long as there are white folks in the docket. All of the notions of due process that the great Professor Coleman at Duke Law School teaches (with the attentive Matt Lipsky in his spring class), are discarded because of the distortion of a mandatory racially charged narrative.

Sharpton, however, didn't stop there, he went on to tell O'Reilly that he applauded all of the "potbangers" who came out to "stand up for the girl." Not really, Al. They came out to condemn the three Duke students as rapists, put their pictures on posters, and in some cases called for their castration. So now that we know that Chrystal Mangum was bringing a false charge and slandering these kids, with Rev Al as one of the cheer leaders, can we expect this hypocrite to stand up and apologize for the rush to judgement that he was part of?

And can we expect the media chorus, led by the deplorable Duff Wilson of the NY Times, Nancy Disgraced of Court TV, and Wendy Murphy from the planet Pluto, to turn the spotlight on the racial hucksters? No, they will allow Mike Nifing to be pilloried so that attention can be deflected from the disgraceful media performance in this whole mater.

Frieden's War

In the past six weeks the offensive against the city's restaurants has taken the form of open warfare. As the NY Post reports this morning, the period since the infamous Taco Bell rat scandal has seen the city shutter 220 local eateries, a move that NYSRA's Chuck Hunt says has cost the industry millions.

This open warfare, however, hides the fact that, for at least a year now, the DOH under Dr. Tom Frieden has initiated a series of anti-business measures- launched under a public health guise. The trans fat ban, which will necessitate the switch to soy bean based oils, has seen the cost of this alternative oil skyrocket by over 50% since the fall, an increase that will be sure to go higher as corn comes into greater demand for use in the manufacture of ethanol.

On top of this the agency's social experiment on calorie posting will cost the city's fast food outlets around $46 million on compliance costs, as these businesses are forced to retrofit their menus and menu boards. These anti-business measures themselves are in addition to the department's cash-crazed enforcement policies that already hit up the locals for close to $30 million dollars a year.

The one measure that could save the restaurants money, and improve the public health- legalizing food waste disposers, was shot down by the city because of concerns with DEP compliance costs (those kinds of compliance costs the bureaucrats comprehend). So we are back to the fact that this administration, and its enablers at the council, have absolutely zero interest in making the neighborhood businesses in the city more efficient and economically productive.

Mike Bloomberg, a man who has created an empire that employs thousands, lacks even a cursory concern for smaller entrepreneurs. We wouldn't expect that elected officials who have never worked in the private sector, and who have never created a single job that the tax payers hadn't ponied up for, would get that these kinds of policies are not good for the city. The mayor, crossing the globe and inveighing against "burdensome regulations" on the financial industry, should know better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

News 4 Monsey

On WNBC's New 4 New York telecast today at 6:00 pm, the station's Kendra Farn covers the controversy over the building of a Wal-Mart Supercenter on Route 59 in Monsey. Farn covers both sides of the issue fairly and credits the Alliance for leading the opposition to the project.

What is particularly significant is the way that Farn focuses in on the dangerous and crowded traffic conditions on 59 and, quoting KenHasset for the Alliance, describes these conditions as an "unmitigable disaster," Interestingly, even the person that Farn interviews who likes the idea of a Supercenter, told the reporter, that "this was not a good site" for it, something that we have been harping on all year.