Thursday, November 28, 2013

Required Reading On Economic Development Policy


"It's wrong to take money from taxpayers and hand it to millionaires and billionaires," said Arthur Rolnick, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota who has studied the public cost of professional sports stadiums. "If you try to justify it on economic development, the arguments dissolve pretty fast. The public would be much better off if they invested in things that would improve the quality of life, like roads and bridges, education and lowering crime." $9.7 Billion Building or renovating the 30 Major League Baseball parks cost taxpayers a total of $9.7 billion as of 2010, including construction, land acquisition, infrastructure, foregone taxes and other factors, according to Judith Grant Long, a professor of urban planning at Harvard University and author of the 2012 book "Public-Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities." According to Long's data, that ranged from $681 million at Miller Park in Milwaukee, completed in 2001, to $33 million at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, where a 1996 renovation was mostly privately financed.
Via Atrios, who as usual has the right take.  Focus more on making a city a better place to live and work. Focus on quality of life improvements. There are actually plenty of mega projects that can do that - the Big Dig or new transit lines come to mind. But new stadiums?  Terrible economic development projects by any rational measure. 

But somehow politicians everywhere keep going back to that well.
Shared from the Digg iPhone app:
"It's wrong to take money from taxpayers and hand it to millionaires and billionaires," said Arthur Rolnick, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota who has studied the public cost of professional sports stadiums. "If you try to justify it on economic development, the arguments dissolve pretty fast. The public would be much better off if they invested in things that would improve the quality of life, like roads and bridges, education and lowering crime." $9.7 Billion Building or renovating the 30 Major League Baseball parks cost taxpayers a total of $9.7 billion as of 2010, including construction, land acquisition, infrastructure, foregone taxes and other factors, according to Judith Grant Long, a professor of urban planning at Harvard University and author of the 2012 book "Public-Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities." According to Long's data, that ranged from $681 million at Miller Park in Milwaukee, completed in 2001, to $33 million at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, where a 1996 renovation was mostly privately financed.


Bloomberg's Final "Balanced Budget" Is A Sham


Is Bloomberg's Balanced Budget a Gift or a Curse for De Blasio?
Smoke and mirrors, designed to set up unfavorable press coverage/set the terms of the debate for the incoming deBlasio administration. 

It's a gift, in the sense that the Trojan Horse was a gift, or a time bomb left on your doorstep is a gift.
"One of the fun and frustrating things about government budget numbers is that they're endlessly spinnable. Last week, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he was leaving his successor a balanced budget. Critics pounced: It's easy to balance a budget when you let all the union contracts expire! Bloomberg parried: If the next mayor wants to grant retroactive raises, fine, let him knock the budget out of balance. Critics: There's no money set aside for future raises, either! Bloomberg: Sure there is — after three years of zero increase in base pay, they could have a generous 1.25 percent boost."
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Happy Thanksgiving!

We've got a lot to be thankful for. It's been a great year and I'm
more hopeful for the near future than I have been in several years.
Wishing you a healthy, happy and safe Thanksgiving, and kits and lots
of pie.

http://rankings.gawker.com/pies-ranked-1471188678/1471380088/@maxread?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+gawker%2Ffull+%28Gawker%29

NB: Gawkers pie rankings are objectively wrong :) Pumpkin Pie reigns
supreme in Gary's world, followed by Grandma's apple pie. But other
than that, and a more generous ranking for coconut custard pie, the
general gist is sound.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Joe Lieberman Continues To Be The Worst

There's always someone around you who will call
A terrible human being and a terrible pick for VP.  I'm sure Al Gore regrets that decision every day of his life.
"A lot of what's gone wrong with American politics the last 25 years can be seen in the story of Joe Lieberman. He gets into Congress by running to the right of one of the last of the moderate Republican Senators. Then he wanks about video games and Hollywood and music, becomes a Sunday morning green room fav, and then a disastrously bad VP candidate. Loses a primary to a dirty hippy but prevails in the general because we're a right-center nation. Heralded in both the Village and the right-wing blogosphere as the last honest man. Now, he's lobbying for Libyan politicians, after swearing he'd never lobby. A few years ago, I stopped using the words "whore" and "pimp" to describe political activities because doing so is unfair to people who work in the sex industry."
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Dumb Things Finance People Say

These are terrific. I actively avoid financial television such as
CNBC as it is overwhelmingly bullshit and riddled with smarmy Ayn Rand
worshippers and rightwing shills. Nevertheless, anyone who reads about finance or economics will repeatedly come across these idiotic cliches.
1. "They don't have any debt except for a mortgage and student loans."
OK. And I'm vegan except for bacon-wrapped steak.
2. "Earnings were positive before one-time charges."
This is Wall Street's equivalent of, "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln,
how was the play?"

National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation

Funny, I always thought Gerald Ford was the first president to pardon a turkey.  Zing!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Thanksgiving_Turkey_Presentation


Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Opponents of Congestion Pricing Use False Populism

You Know What's Fundamentally Regressive? NYC's Current Toll System
Read the linked analysis.  Brodsky's opposition to congestion pricing in 2009 and the Sam Schwartz plan now is based on the same fake populism.  He was wrong then, and he's wrong now.  It's a disingenuous argument.

The other thing the author gets right: don't expect any real movement in this until after the 2014 elections. But it's a good plan whose time has come.
"It's telling that Brodsky imagines his working-class stiff as "the guy driving the '97 Chevy." It's not "the guy riding the R train" or "the gal transferring from the Q60 to the M15." Transit commuters far outnumber car commuters in NYC and earn, on average, far less, but they never figured into his message."
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Knockout Game Is Not A Fad Or A Trend

Knocking out the knockout game
I started to write a post similar to this last night but we had guests and I scrapped it.  Happy to see that I can outsource to digby. 

The media hype is bullshit.
by digby 
 One of the recurring themes in American life is the idea that violent mobs of young black men are on the rampage killing decent white people. It comes up over…
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Monday, November 25, 2013

Failure of Leadership: Bush and the Neocons Spectacular Iran Failures

Heckuva job Bushie: The wasted decade
Worst president in history. No other even comes close.  The Iranians extended multiple olive branches, and Bush's answer was to lump them into a catchy but vapid catchphrase.
Heckuva job Bushie by digby This piece over at Bill Moyers has links to all the good stuff around the web about the Iran deal if you need to get up to speed. It led me to this important post by Daf…
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Digg.com: Three Convicted In Brazen CityTime Fraud Scandal

Three Convicted In Brazen CityTime Fraud Scandal
If only we had elected a billionaire Republican businessman mayor, this sort of thing never would have happened. Oh, wait …

Think about the scale of this fraud (which was really downplayed by the Bloomberg-bought media) the next time you hear of some penny ante fraud. This was a $600+ MILLION ripoff. That's insane.
Ah, CityTime . The corruption connected to the Bloomberg-endorsed city automated payroll project, which was supposed to cost $63 million but ended up costing $700 million and is considered a bigger sc…
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Digg.com: Three Hundred Inmates Released Thanks to Chemist Who Faked Evidence

Three Hundred Inmates Released Thanks to Chemist Who Faked Evidence
I have worked with people like this. At first you think, holy cow, how is this person just blowing me out of the water?  And then you realize, oh my god, they're not actually doing any of the work!  Fortunately the stakes were not this high, and the person(s) fired much more quickly. 

Really stunning the first time you run into that kind of … I don't know what to call it. Malpractice in my field, certainly, but there's got to be some kind if DSM term for that kind of pathological behavior.
Following the release of more than 300 inmates, Annie Dookhan, a Massachusetts state chemist who used to "process" drug samples almost three times as quickly as her colleagues , pled guilty Friday to …
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Right-wing Grifter Berates Cyclist For Reporting Van In Bike Lane

Exactly the kind of guy you'd expect to be running a right wing,
climate change denying "think tank", aka wingnut welfare fund.

Weekend Subway Service Advisories

Weekend work affecting 15 subway lines
The local:
F:  From 11:15 p.m. Friday, November 22 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 25, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the M Line from Roosevelt Avenue to 47th-50th Sts due to station work at Lexington Avenue-63rd Street for the Second Avenue Subway Project.  

F:  From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 22 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 25, Queens-bound F trains run express from Church Avenue to Smith-9th Sts due to work on the Church Avenue Interlocking.  

G:  From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 22 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 25, Queens-bound G trains run express from Church Avenue to Smith-9th Sts due to work on the Church Avenue Interlocking.

And the bigger picture:


Friday, November 22, 2013

MagLev Proposal: Why Not California?

Would love for someone to explain to me why California's planned HSR is not a better place for the Japanese to demonstrate their technology.  I'm all for true HSR and have been dreaming of maglev trains literally since I was a kid . . . but this proposal as noted has fatal problems.
The New York Times reported Monday that Japan, desperate to export its magnetic-levitation (maglev) technology, has offered to pay for 40 miles of a 300-mile per hour maglev train from Washington, DC to Baltimore, a route that would conveniently give lawmakers an eight-minute trip to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. A mix of public and private funds raised by The Northeast Maglev company (TNEM) would be used to build the rest of the route to New York. If lawmakers bite, residents of the Northeast Corridor could someday zip between Washington and New York in an hour flat.. . . .Should the privately-owned maglev succeed, it would sap Amtrak’s high-speed Acela Northeast Corridor, the agency’s major source of revenue for maintaining the rest of the country’s less populated but still indispensable routes. Without the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak would never be able to maintain even the barebones service it currently offers across the Midwest, the West, and the South. TNEM chairman Wayne Rogers made clear to Politico that the company does not plan to collaborate with Amtrak, but compete. “Right now, this is a privately led venture,” Rogers said. “If we looked at it like airlines, I don’t think that, you know, JetBlue would be saying United Airlines has a seat at their table.”
I'd actually love to see Amtrak proposing something along these lines . . . but this proposal, for a private company (with majority public funding!) to basically gut Amtrak's Northeast Corridor ridership . . . is a potential money pit of graft.

Is grifting the only industry we have left?

Court Rejects City’s Motion to Toss Out Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

Court Rejects City's Motion to Toss Out Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

As I said at the time, Joe Lhota was desperately, embarrassingly grasping at straws when he trumpeted the Scheindlin removal.  Joe should consider suing his old campaign team for false light defamation for destroying his public image.  He'd lose, but still have better odds than he did in November. 
Back in August, U.S. District Court judge Shira Scheindlin  ruled stop-and-frisk unconstitutional and ordered the NYPD to reform the practice. However, the changes Scheindlin called for were placed on…

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/11/court-wont-vacate-stop-and-frisk-ruling.html

- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app
Want more stories like this? Check out Digg Reader →



Typos courtesy of my iPhone

160 Imlay Adaptive Reuse: The Condo-ing

Sweet Jesus, the views from this place.
Brownstoner has the renderings and details for the condo project at the former New York Dock building at 160 Imlay Street.  While the site is remote and the surroundings still industrial, over the long term this area has a lot of potential.  I'd give it better than even odds that 20-25 years from now Brooklyn Bridge Park will extend down this far . . . although if it does, I'd give it 99% odds that their will be new buildings between this one and the harbor.

Krugman: Expand Social Security

Today, however, workers who have any retirement plan at all generally have defined-contribution plans — basically, 401(k)'s — in which employers put money into a tax-sheltered account that's supposed to end up big enough to retire on. The trouble is that at this point it's clear that the shift to 401(k)'s was a gigantic failure. Employers took advantage of the switch to surreptitiously cut benefits; investment returns have been far lower than workers were told to expect; and, to be fair, many people haven't managed their money wisely. As a result, we're looking at a looming retirement crisis, with tens of millions of Americans facing a sharp decline in living standards at the end of their working lives. For many, the only thing protecting them from abject penury will be Social Security. Aren't you glad we didn't privatize the program? So there's a strong case for expanding, not contracting, Social Security. Yes, this would cost money, and it would require additional taxes — a suggestion that will horrify the fiscal scolds, who have been insisting that if we raise taxes at all, the proceeds must go to deficit reduction, not to making our lives better. But the fiscal scolds have been wrong about everything, and it's time to start thinking outside their box.
It's the only sensible choice, no matter how much money Pete Peterson spends to convince you down is up.  Via Atrios, whowas pushing this viewpoint for years before it was cool.
Today, however, workers who have any retirement plan at all generally have defined-contribution plans — basically, 401(k)'s — in which employers put money into a tax-sheltered account that's supposed to end up big enough to retire on. The trouble is that at this point it's clear that the shift to 401(k)'s was a gigantic failure. Employers took advantage of the switch to surreptitiously cut benefits; investment returns have been far lower than workers were told to expect; and, to be fair, many people haven't managed their money wisely. As a result, we're looking at a looming retirement crisis, with tens of millions of Americans facing a sharp decline in living standards at the end of their working lives. For many, the only thing protecting them from abject penury will be Social Security. Aren't you glad we didn't privatize the program? So there's a strong case for expanding, not contracting, Social Security. Yes, this would cost money, and it would require additional taxes — a suggestion that will horrify the fiscal scolds, who have been insisting that if we raise taxes at all, the proceeds must go to deficit reduction, not to making our lives better. But the fiscal scolds have been wrong about everything, and it's time to start thinking outside their box.




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mike Allen & THE POLITICO: Shameless Shills For The Right Wing and Anyone Else With Cash


Erik Wemple documents in detail how Mike Allen, hoarder-in-chief at THE POLITICO, gives extremely fa
I avoid The Politico at all costs, because it is a garbage site run, funded and edited by right wing shills masquerading as a straight news outlet.  And frankly, there's just plenty of better product out there.
Erik Wemple documents in detail how Mike Allen, hoarder -in-chief at THE POLITICO, gives extremely favorable editorial coverage to companies that advertise in his "Playbook" newsletter. Mike Allen, ho…

Harry Reid Just Made Senate History

Not eliminating the filibuster . . . but eliminating some filibusters.  It's a good start and will put an end to a lot of Republican obstructionism . . . at least with respect to appointments.  The House GOP majority can still obstruct every bit of legislation all by themselves.
After the Senate again failed to move Patricia Millett's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid challenged the ruling of the chair that 60 votes would be needed.
The Senate then voted, by simple majority, to disapprove of the ruling of the chair. Very few Democrats—Sens. Pryor, Levin, and Manchin—joined Republicans to vote to preserve the 60-vote rule. Reid had 52 Democratic votes (including his own) to support the change.
As of today, executive and judicial nominees--excluding Supreme Court nominations--can be approved by a simple, 51-vote majority.
Shame on Carl Levin for defending the wretched institution of the filibuster.  (I expect more from Levin than Pryor or Manchin.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Metaphor For His Party: Coke-Busted GOP Congressman Just Voted to Drug-Test Food Stamp Users

Coke-Busted GOP Congressman Just Voted to Drug-Test Food Stamp Users
Liars, jerks and hypocrites all.
Trey Radel (R-Fla.), the freshman member of Congress arrested for cocaine possession late last month, backed a GOP plan to make food-stamp recipients pee in cups to prove they were drug-free and hence…
- - -

Atrios: Bullshit Jobs

Bullshit Jobs
Some food for thought in the two linked articles.  There are major structural issues in our economy that must be addressed. 
(1) our industrial policy is terrible 
(2) the wealth/income inequality is terrible
(3) automation and productivity improvements have eliminated the need for many productive jobs permanently
(4) a possible majority people of people now spend there entire working lives on meaningless, unproductive work
The "service economy" has always been weirdly circular. Ian Welsh put it this way last Thursday: It's crazy....(R)adical is saying why do we distribute surplus through jobs? All right, why do you nee…

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Journal Square Megaproject Moving Forward

1840 residential units plus commercial that won't be built over a farm or forest in a state that has seen 30 years of rampant sprawl. 

After all these years, I still go to my dentist located by Journal Square in Jersey City.  It's a depressed area loaded with surface parking lots and underdeveloped property . . . that is immediately adjacent to the Journal Square PATH station, which provides fast, 24-hour service into Manhattan and Newark.  In short, it's one of the best sites in New Jersey for dense, transit oriented development.  Last week when I was out there I noticed that two of the parking lots showed signs of digging, and a dilapidated wood frame house had been demolished.  And here's why:
The proposed development, to be located at the top of Magnolia Avenue, just east of the Port Authority transportation hub, will include a 54-story tower with 540 units; a 70-story tower with 700 units; and a 60-story tower with 600 units. The developer is KRE Group, headed by Murray Kushner.
Construction on the first tower is expected to begin later this year and take three years to complete. The final tower is expected to be complete in 2029.
I can't speak to the merits of the tax incentive package; this being Hudson County, I can't assume its a good deal for the public.  What I do know is that this is an excellent site for this type of development, and is likely to be followed by more development around the hub.  And that's a good thing.

Bill Bratton Endorses deBlasio Street Safety Plan, Goal of Zero Fatalities

Very interesting.  I'm encouraged to think that we might see a real cultural change in policing the streets of New York.  Most of us are far more likely to be injured by unsafe drivers than we are violent criminals.  We ought to be policing both.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton endorsed Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries, during an appearance today at a panel discussion presented by Transportation Alternatives and NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio campaigned on Vision Zero – the goal of eliminating traffic deaths in New York City by 2024. 
“The time for this issue has come,” Bratton said in opening remarks at “Closing the Enforcement Gap to Save Lives on NYC Streets,” a panel discussion on the traffic safety agenda for the next mayor and police commissioner. Bratton’s message to the NYPD and New York City residents: "You do not have to accept the status quo." 
 Noting that the number of pedestrian fatalities has fallen in recent years, Bratton said, “There is an increasing opportunity for even further gains, moving towards Mayor de Blasio's goal of zero fatalities.” 
T.A. Executive Director Paul Steely White said the city still has a long way to go to reach Vision Zero. “Hundreds of New Yorkers are still dying in traffic each year, and thousands more are being seriously, grievously injured. Being struck by a car or truck is still the leading cause of preventable death for New York City children. New Yorkers are living in fear,” White said. 
This is the low hanging fruit for reducing senseless deaths in our city.  There are a lot of gains to be made here if we have the right message from the top.

Inez Dickens Still Thinks She's Running For Speaker

Inez Dickens Says She Can Still Be Council Speaker
I don't have any inside information, but I think she's got a better chance of riding a unicorn into the council chamber than being elected speaker.
"Inez Dickens this evening said she's still in the running to become the next speaker of the City Council and directed some rare blows at her ally, current Speaker Christine Quinn."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gowanus Whole Foods Opens Next Month?

Gowanus Whole Foods Announces Opening Date
Wow. After all these years the endgame came up fast.
Brooklyn's much hyped first Whole Foods has been dangled in front of us like an organic heirloom tomato since 2006 and the grocer has finally announced its opening date. Mark your calendars for Tuesda…

Elizabeth Warren: Expand Social Security

By planting a flag on the need to expand Social Security, Warren may have just added this issue to the pantheon of preoccupations that are driving those who want to see the party embrace a more economically populist posture going forward. Liberal bloggers such as Atrios and liberal groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, have been pushing for a Social Security expansion, arguing that Democratic priorities should be centered on the idea that declining pensions and wages (and savings) are undermining retirement security, and that the party should above all stand against undermining the social insurance system.
Nice to have some high profile voices finally on board with this (excellent) idea.  The discussion has shifted way too far to the right.  We need Democrats at the national level that will stand up and speak some simple truths.  Elizabeth Warren is one of them.


The Worst People In The World

A Cleveland Wal-Mart store is holding a food drive — for its own employees. "Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner," reads a sign accompanied by several plastic bins.
The Walton heirs.  You won't find a more ruthless gaggle of billionaires this side of the Koch Bros.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Freebird

Freebird Books on Columbia Street.
The sign proved to be an irresistible lure.

Weekend work affecting 15 subway lines :: Second Ave. Sagas

The local:


From 11:15 p.m. Friday, November 15 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 18, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the M Line from Roosevelt Avenue to 47th-50th Sts due to station work at Lexington Avenue-63rd Street for the Second Avenue Subway Project.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 15 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 18, Queens-bound F trains run express from Church Avenue to Smith-9th Sts due to work on the Church Avenue Interlocking.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 15 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 18, Queens-bound G trains run express from Church Avenue to Smith-9th Sts due to work on the Church Avenue Interlocking.

And the big picture:



Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fix The Debt Are Shills For Right-wing Monster In Human Skin Pete Peterson

Fix the Debt caught astroturfing
Stop and wonder, just for a moment, how much of the news product you have consumed in any form over the last 20-30 years that has been bought and paid for by Pete Peterson through one of his myriad shell companies, astroturf groups and shill foundations.  Pete Peterson will not rest until he has stolen the retirements of every man, woman and child in America.  And when he dies, his son and minions will keep trying to steal it, and keep spending millions to fool Americans into giving it away without a fight.
"Oh heck. I wonder if this might mean that their so-called millennial "I want all my elderly relatives to move in with me when they can no longer work" program might be a bit overblown? As in, it might be just a silly front group created with Pete Peterson money and it has no real members."
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

James, Lander, Other Pols Demand Faster Building of Affordable Housing at Atlantic Yards

Pols Demand Faster Building of Affordable Housing at Atlantic Yards

Will be interesting to see how the dynamic for this and other projects change with a new administration and a very different city council. 

A group of 10 Brooklyn politicians are asking Atlantic Yards' new backer, Greenland Group, to speed up delivery of 2,500 affordable apartments in exchange for their approval of Greenland taking a 70 p…

http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/11/pols-demand-faster-building-of-affordable-housing-at-atlantic-yards/

- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app
Want more stories like this? Check out Digg Reader →



Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Frank Rich On Lara Logan's Benghazi Hoax, 2016 Presidential Race and More

Frank Rich on the National Circus: CBS's Benghazi Report Was a Hoax, Not a Mistake
I was originally going to share this just for the Benghazi hoax analysis, but the excerpt below caught my eye and it's absolutely correct. We need to make sure it's the Democratic Party that takes the populist route.  The Rubinite faction could sink the entire party if they control the messaging.
"I don't accept some of the premises here, and like all speculation about 2016, it's so hypothetical that we will only look back and laugh at all of it in a few years. If we assume that Hillary Clinton is indeed running in 2016 — itself not certain — we can't have a horse-race narrative in 2013 unless there's some Democrat who could oppose her as Obama did in 2008. But who? No one believes it will be Joe Biden. Andrew Cuomo can't challenge her. Who does that leave on the Democratic bench to make this a contest? Well, why not draft Elizabeth Warren to thicken the plot? She's an enormously appealing, whip-smart champion of populist ideas, from serious banking-financial-regulatory reform to the full spectrum of issues pertaining to economic inequality, that have been slighted (or worse) by the Lawrence Summers–Robert Rubin–Wall Street culture that has dominated policy-making in both the Bill Clinton and Obama administrations. But does Warren show any signs of (or even passing interest in) running for president? No. Could a Massachusetts liberal be an effective national candidate? Probably not. Still, let's hope she does run if only, as everyone says, to galvanize an overdue economic debate. But in truth, that debate is going to come whether Warren runs or not: Populism is just as hot a force, albeit with different parameters, in the GOP base as it is among Democrats. The bigger story of American politics to come has less to do with the presidential horse race than with a pattern that has emerged steadily since the 2008 financial meltdown: The economic grievances that fueled Occupy Wall Street and the tea party are two sides of the same coin, and someone in one party or the other is going to figure out how to harness that crossover political constituency."

- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

George Washington Bridge Traffic Jam Began With Phone Call From Christie Lackey


Early on the morning of Sept. 9, an official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appeared at the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge and looked out over a traffic jam he helped create, according to people familiar with the matter.The official, according to these people, was David Wildstein, who was hired in 2010 as the authority's director of interstate capital projects by an appointee of Gov. Chris Christie.

Services For Alfred Chiodo, Former Tish James Staffer and Stalwart Supporter of Safer Streets, Thursday November 14

I have heard from a great many people who admired Alfred's tireless work on behalf of the community and livable streets in particular. He will be missed. 

A Celebration of The Life of Alfred Anthony Chiodo


Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew

The family of Mr. Alfred Chiodo and the Office of Council Member Letitia James would like to express heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of support at this difficult time. 

In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider donating to one of the following organizations Alfred held in high regard—

Transportation Alternatives

Rainbow Heights Club
(Heights Hill Mental Health Service CAB)
Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals
Attn: NYCFCI
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite R290



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gambling Our Way To Prosperity


Christie's Economic Development Successes
If only NY could get in on this hot economic development action. Oh wait, we just voted for it. 
:shakes head sadly:

Next year: magic beanstalk beans.  And yeah, I flagrantly stole the "Gambling Our Way To Prosperity" meme from Atrios. 
Gambling his way to prosperity. ATLANTIC CITY — Six months after exiting bankruptcy court, Atlantic City's newest casino may be up for sale — or headed back to bankruptcy. reminder: Kevin DeSanctis,…
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Shield Journalism, Not Media Companies


Why "Members of the News Media" Should Welcome a Shield for the Act of Journalism
The two are not mutually exclusive, of course, but they aren't synonyms either. And it's the journalism that deserves protection, not the corporate entity.
While I absolutely agree that, say, AP's editors should have had their phone records protected as they contemplated withholding the UndieBomb 2.0 story after the White House request (those records were included in the subpoena) — that is, as they engaged in a journalistic role. That would protect any discussions they had with sources or other experts to challenge the government's claim about damage, for example. But the communications of a Tim Russert being pressured after the fact about a critical story by the Vice President's Chief of Staff should not be protected. Nor should WaPo CEO Katharine Weymouth's discussions with huge donors like Pete Peterson or potential salon sponsors. While I suspect DOJ sees real benefit in protecting these cocktail weenie means of pressure on news media (as do, undoubtedly, some of the executives involved), I see no journalistic reason to do so. Moreover, in an era where WaPo is really a testing firm with a journalistic rump and NBC is really the TV content wing of a cable supplier, should we really be protecting the "news media" with no limits? (Bloomberg, I think, presents the most fascinating question here, particularly given their recent spying on users of Bloomberg terminals; where does the journalistic protection for companies that primarily provide privatized information begin and end?) But even within the scope of Friday's guidelines, there's a reason the members of the news media should favor protecting the act of journalism rather than membership in news media. That's because two of the most important passages in the new News Media Policies refer to newsgathering activities as a further modification to its otherwise consistent discussion of members of the news media. The phrase appears in what amounts to a mission statement describing why this issue is important.
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Yet Another Dispatch From Post-racial America

Cobb GOP chairman concerned about (those) people coming to... | Jay Bookman | <a href="http://www.ajc.com">www.ajc.com</a>
To Georgia Republicans, baseball is as American as casual racism and apple pie. 

Libertarian Charlatans - Rand Paul Edition

You'll take away my tranfats when you dig them out of my cold, clogged arteries
Rand Paul is nothing but a corporate huckster.  Caveat emptor, voters.
"Apparently he thinks you can't make doughnuts without trans fats. I think that's going to come as a surprise to Krispy Kreme. Or anyone who's ever eaten real doughnuts made with real ingredients. He's all upset about the nanny state in this piece, but keep in mind who he sees as the truly aggrieved party: the major food industry manufacturers who want to keep poisoning people with cheap, chemical ingredients that are killing them. In fact, Paul would defend their right to put arsenic in the food supply on exactly the same basis that he defends the right to put trans fats in the doughnuts. Libertarian economics can be summed up in one phrase: Caveat emptor, suckers"

- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

"Conventional Views"

Conventional Views
Richard Cohen, the noted asshole, misogynist, war apologist, and recent discoverer of the horrors of slavery opines on the conventional (totally not racist) viewpoint.  This is what passes for a "liberal" columnist in the Washington Post.
"People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children."
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Monday, November 11, 2013

More Brooklyn Bridge Park Starting Saturday 11/16

Brooklyn Bridge Park: Pier 3/4 Uplands open on Saturday
And now I know where I'm taking the kids Saturday.  Great!
The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy has announced the next expansion of the Park.  The new addition, opening on November 16th at 10 AM will include new lawns, a connecting pathway/bikeway between Pier 1 and Piers 5/6, a granite terrace area, and the sound attenuating hill providing a buffer from the noise of the BQE.
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Need To Scrape Some Bill Keller From My Shoe

More Laughs from Bill Keller
I barely have words to describe the contempt I have for Bill Keller.
Keller apparently has no shame--well, we knew this before, given his embrace of Judy Miller,  and many attempts to defend his hawkishness on Iraq.  And this new column just happens to appear a day after a widely-acclaimed piece by the paper's public editor revealed Keller (again) as a spineless tool for holding, almost forever,  the James Risen piece in 2004 that revealed the Bush team's illegal eavesdropping.   Just a weeksago Keller wanted to bomb Syria first and ask questions later--advice fortunately scorned by the "underwater" President, and now we have those chem weapons on the way out, plus an opening with Iran.   
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The "Liberal" New York Times Hid Details Of Illegal Bush Spying Until AFTER 2004 Election

"The whole confluence was pretty remarkable," Mr. Lichtblau told me. Although he strongly believed, and still does, that the story should have run when it was first ready — the fall of 2004 — he sees the historical context as a major reason that it did not. So does Bill Keller, then the executive editor, who — on the recommendation of the Washington bureau chief at the time, Philip Taubman — decided against running the original story. "Three years after 9/11, we, as a country, were still under the influence of that trauma, and we, as a newspaper, were not immune," Mr. Keller said. "It was not a kind of patriotic rapture. It was an acute sense that the world was a dangerous place." Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the N.S.A. and later the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told me in an interview that he argued strenuously against publication, right up until the moment when The Times decided to go ahead. His rationale: "That this effort was designed to intercept threatening communication" and to prevent another terrorist attack. In the end, The Times published the story with a couple of guns held to its head: First, the knowledge that the information in the article was also contained in a book by Mr. Risen, "State of War," whose publication date was bearing down like a freight train. Second, at the end, the word of a possible injunction against publishing, Mr. Risen said, provided a final push: "It was like a lightning bolt." (Mr. Hayden said that would not have happened: "Prior restraint was never in the cards.")
Yeah, this is old news. But if you still harbor any doubt that Bill Keller and "Pinch" Sulzberger are a couple of scumbags who have never had your interests at heart, read the Public Editor's column revisiting this sorry affair

These men are directly personally responsible for the reelection of George W. Bush.
"The whole confluence was pretty remarkable," Mr. Lichtblau told me. Although he strongly believed, and still does, that the story should have run when it was first ready — the fall of 2004 — he sees the historical context as a major reason that it did not. So does Bill Keller, then the executive editor, who — on the recommendation of the Washington bureau chief at the time, Philip Taubman — decided against running the original story. "Three years after 9/11, we, as a country, were still under the influence of that trauma, and we, as a newspaper, were not immune," Mr. Keller said. "It was not a kind of patriotic rapture. It was an acute sense that the world was a dangerous place." Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the N.S.A. and later the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told me in an interview that he argued strenuously against publication, right up until the moment when The Times decided to go ahead. His rationale: "That this effort was designed to intercept threatening communication" and to prevent another terrorist attack. In the end, The Times published the story with a couple of guns held to its head: First, the knowledge that the information in the article was also contained in a book by Mr. Risen, "State of War," whose publication date was bearing down like a freight train. Second, at the end, the word of a possible injunction against publishing, Mr. Risen said, provided a final push: "It was like a lightning bolt." (Mr. Hayden said that would not have happened: "Prior restraint was never in the cards.")


Coming in June: Service increases on eight lines :: Second Ave. Sagas

Among the additions: a tiny improvement in F train service coming next June. One more round trip per day.  We'll take it!

The MTA dropped their latest board committee materials this afternoon, and buried in the 281-page Transit Committee pdf is word of a service increase due to arrive in June. Already, the MTA has announced plans to increase G and M train service, and now we learn that the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, E, F and L lines will see modest bumps in service as well.


Weekend work affecting 14 subway lines :: Second Ave. Sagas

The local:


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 8 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 11, Jamaica-bound F trains are rerouted via the A line from Jay Street-MetroTech to West 4th Street due to a Sandy-related structural survey.


From 9:45 p.m. Friday, November 8 to 5 a.m. Monday, November 11, Jamaica-bound F trains are rerouted via the M Line from 47th-50th Sts to Queens Plaza due to station work at Lexington Avenue-63rd Street for the Second Avenue Subway Project.

And the bigger picture:



Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Friday, November 8, 2013

Parents of Slain Child To Mayor-elect deBlasio: Prioritize Street Safety

Losing your child to a careless driver is a pain I can't even imagine.  And it happens way more often than we should be willing to accept.  The Queens couple who recently lost their three-year-old daughter took to the Op-Ed pages of the Daily News today to wring some change from their tragedy:
There were 274 traffic fatalities citywide in 2012, including 148 pedestrians killed by vehicles.
While some people might think it’s unrealistic to try to drive this number down to zero, that’s not so. This is a morally necessary and achievable goal that every family in New York needs our mayor to pursue. In fact, we hope the mayor-elect won’t wait until he takes office on Jan. 1, but will immediately begin to work toward this goal.
Statistics show that most crashes are caused by drivers who are breaking the law. The leading cause of fatal crashes is speeding, and the leading factor in crashes that cause injury is failure to yield to pedestrians.
Drivers routinely violate the laws on speeding and pedestrian right-of-way for a very simple reason: The NYPD does not prioritize their enforcement. To start, de Blasio must appoint a police commissioner who understands the urgent need to deter reckless driving, and who has a plan to do so.
We are also going to be watching carefully as de Blasio chooses a transportation commissioner to take over from Janette Sadik-Khan.
During Mayor Bloomberg’s three terms, fatal traffic crashes have dropped by more than 30%. That’s largely a testament to Sadik-Khan’s leadership on designing safer streets.
Street-safety innovations like pedestrian plazas, protected bike lanes, neighborhood slow zones and speeding enforcement cameras have all been signature achievements of this administration.
In recent months, in fact, the city has ramped up these efforts — putting speed cameras in place around select schools and new speed bumps in neighborhoods across the city.
Now we need a transportation commissioner who will spread these safety features beyond the handful of neighborhoods where they’ve been put in place so far. Citywide implementation would go a long way toward the goal of greater equity that de Blasio spoke of so often during the campaign.

I urge you to read the whole thing.  I do have high hopes for street safety improvements in the deBlasio administration.  After early missteps, Bloomberg's appointment of Sadik-Khan to head up DOT led to a golden age for street safety improvements in NYC.  But we can still do better.  There is much work to be done, and we need the cooperation of not just DOT but also NYPD if we're going to end the bloodshed on our streets and sidewalks.

End The Filibuster

What's at Stake in Senate Nuclear Showdown
The history of the filibuster is a history of disgraceful abuse.  End it now and let the chips fall where they may.
"Senate Republicans have at times offered the rationale that they oppose nominations because they deem the current judges on the court underworked. Democrats dispute that factually, and in any case, it's laughable on its face. Republicans urgently favored filling every vacancy when their party held the presidency. Even if it were somehow true that the necessary number of judges to handle the court's work had declined since George W. Bush left office, nobody actually believes that keeping judges busy ought to be the first-order principle of the nominations fight. The first-order principle has always been that presidents get the ability to choose at least somewhat ideologically congenial nominees to federal judgeships. Earlier this year, in the face of similar (and similarly unusual) blockade tactics against executive branch appointments, Democrats threatened to abolish the filibuster, and Republicans temporarily lifted the blockade."
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Brazen SUNY Too Cute By Half

COBBLE HILL: State says its second LICH ambulance ban will be lifted today
Sure, an unfortunate coincidence.  Good luck selling that to the judge.
"The State University of New York said it did not shut down ambulance service at Long Island College Hospital on Wednesday night and throughout Thursday — it just gave it a break. The university, which operates the hospital and has been trying to shut it down since February, is forbidden by a court order from stopping ambulance service to the 155-year-old Cobble Hill institution, but on Wednesday night it did just that. A spokesman for the state said that it was forced to turn away emergency vehicles because of a lack of available doctors but will restore service today "as long as the facility is adequately staffed.""
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

RIP Alfred Chiodo, Staffer For Tish James

Letitia James Staffer Found Hanged in His Apartment
I "knew" Alfred in the professional sense, that is through the Community Board and civic events.  He struck me as a quiet, thoughtful and decent person.
"Tragedy struck the office of new Public Advocate Letitia James as one of her senior staff was found hanged to death in his Crown Heights apartment Thursday. According to the New York Post, police found Alfred Chiodo's body after his coworkers asked them to check on him after he missed a few days of work."
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reclaiming Urban Waterways

Reclaiming Rivers: The Latest Trend in Urban Design
Interesting article about evolving approaches to urban rivers.  And topical with our own City riddled with water features.
River reclamation projects have proven to be unparalleled catalysts for urban renewal, spurring the creation of functional and beautiful community spaces. The San Antonio Riverwalk is Texas' second most visited attraction (after the Alamo), and completely revitalized the once small city. Chicago's river/riverwalk restoration project took off in the early 2000s, and was such a success that a second phase of renovation is about to begin.  On a slightly smaller scale, Yonkers, a city in upstate New York, recently saw just this happen when it rehabilitated its Saw Mill River, which runs through the city center. The meticulously planned project, which took over a decade to be completed, has transformed an old parking lot (which covered the river) into a vibrant and dynamic public park. It's become wildly popular with residents, and boasts a number of educational exhibits to educate the public on the area and river's history. 
- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app

Say Goodbye To Deadly, Disgusting Trans Fats

The move concluded three decades of battles by public health advocates against artificial trans fats, which occur when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. The long-lasting fats became popular in frying and baking and in household items like margarine, and were cheaper than animal fat, like butter. But over the years, scientific evidence has shown they are worse than any other fat for health because they raise the levels of so-called bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of good cholesterol. In 2006, an F.D.A. rule went into effect requiring that artificial trans fats be listed on food labels, a shift that prompted many large producers to eliminate them. A year earlier, New York City told restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats in cooking. Many major chains like McDonalds, found substitutes, and eliminated trans fats.
Via Atrios, who rightly points out that margarine was heavily marketed as the "healthy" alternative to butter.  I remember those days well. And while the dangers have been obvious for years, the FDA has dragged its feet.  Kudos to Bloomberg for moving faster on trans fats than the Feds.  And kudos to whomever at FDA decided to finally do the right thing.

Shared from the Digg iPhone app:
The move concluded three decades of battles by public health advocates against artificial trans fats, which occur when liquid oil is treated with hydrogen gas and made solid. The long-lasting fats became popular in frying and baking and in household items like margarine, and were cheaper than animal fat, like butter. But over the years, scientific evidence has shown they are worse than any other fat for health because they raise the levels of so-called bad cholesterol and can lower the levels of good cholesterol. In 2006, an F.D.A. rule went into effect requiring that artificial trans fats be listed on food labels, a shift that prompted many large producers to eliminate them. A year earlier, New York City told restaurants to stop using artificial trans fats in cooking. Many major chains like McDonalds, found substitutes, and eliminated trans fats.



Typos courtesy of my iPhone

Defending Judge Scheindlin On Stop And Frisk

Lawyers Rally In Defense Of Judge Removed From Stop & Frisk Case

I thought the appellate panel's removal of a Judge Scheindlin was draconian and unusual.  Glad to some pushback on it. 
"A team of distinguished attorneys has filed a legal brief on behalf of the federal judge who was removed from the stop and frisk cases last week. The attorneys, led by the head of NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, Burt Neuborne, claim in the filing [PDF] that federal Judge Shira Schneidlin's ousting by a panel of Second Circuit judges was "an affront to the values underlying the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of procedural due process of law." The three appellate judges who removed Judge Scheindlin—John Walker Jr., José Cabranes, and Barrington Parker Jr.—pointed to comments she made in the press as proof of her "bias" against the City and the NYPD in the stop and frisk case. They also claimed that comments she made to an attorney in 2007—comments that other attorneys and legal experts have categorized as appropriate and routine—constituted judicial misconduct. "I thought when I saw the order that procedural fairness required that she at least have an opportunity to defend herself. I reached out to her and offered my services pro bono, and she accepted," Neuborne told the Times."

http://gothamist.com/2013/11/07/attorneys_defend_judge_removed_in_s.php

- - -
Shared from the Digg iPhone app