Saturday, September 29, 2012

Opinion »

Editorial Appreciation
A Publisher and Projectionist
A personal reminiscence of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the man who led The New York Times for 34 years

San Francisco’s New Archbishop Worries Gay Catholics

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, who will be installed on Thursday as the leader of the San Francisco Archdiocese, led the fight against same-sex marriage in California.
Buried in Debt, Fishermen Blame Spain’s Policies
Falling fish stocks, rising costs and an economic downturn have devastated much of Spain’s coastal economy.

Insurance Company Celebrates 50 Billionth Fucking Over Of Customer

September 27, 2012 | ISSUE 48•39 | More News
Cigna representatives greet the company’s 50 billionth fucked-over customer at his front door.

CANTON, OH—Overjoyed Cigna executives celebrated the health insurer’s 50 billionth fucking over of a customer Thursday, personally surprising 56-year-old spinal trauma victim Clyde Gershon with champagne, confetti, and hundreds of multicolored balloons as they denied his most recent disability claim.
The wheelchair-bound Gershon, who has required an expensive regimen of pills and physical therapy since a 2010 car crash, was greeted at his front door by cheering, party-hat-wearing members of Cigna’s senior management, who posed for pictures while presenting him with an oversized cardboard “Claim Denied!” letter explaining that he was judged fit to return to work and would lose all coverage at the end of the month.
“We did it! We’ve completely and utterly fucked over a customer for the 50 billionth time," exclaimed CEO David Cordani, drawing a vibrant round of applause as Gershon, gaunt and dejected, stared blankly off into the distance. “Ruining this many lives is an accomplishment no one ever could have dreamed of back in 1982 when Cigna was founded. And today, I can proudly say we have not only achieved it, but inflicted an incalculable amount of mental anguish along the way.”
“So congratulations, Mr. Gershon, you poor son of a bitch,” he continued, raising a flute of Dom Perigno. “On behalf of myself and the rest of our 30,600 employees, I hope you find some other way to pay for your medical care, because you are now royally fucked!”
According to sources, Cigna has been preparing to commemorate the 50-billion milestone since late April, when its “Big Board”—an electronic ticker counting the number of customers the company has savagely fucked over—passed 49,500,000,000 after the insurer postponed coverage of an unemployed father’s kidney transplant for the fourth time, forcing his family to accumulate mounds and mounds of debt to pay for dialysis.
Excitement continued to grow throughout the summer as eager employees began refusing claims for procedures the company had previously covered by saying that they “hadn’t been coded right,” which accelerated its march towards 50 billion by an additional 200,000 fucking-overs per day.
“In my 13 years helping this company prevent sick people from getting the health care they need, there has never been a more exciting—or lucrative—time to work here,” said Cigna’s executive vice president Mark Boxer, celebrating at the office with the national accounts team, which took turns swinging at a cancer-patient shaped piñata. “Under my watch, we’ve fucked so many people over that I received a 25 percent raise last year, putting my annual salary at close to $20 million dollars and really motivating me to stick it to our customers like never before.”
By the 49,975,000,000 mark, a party atmosphere reportedly began to engulf Cigna’s Bloomfield, CT headquarters. Claims processors would reportedly fuck patients over first by waiting weeks to pay their medical providers, and then by sending them the wrong amount. Gleeful telephone operators fucked over customers by openly hanging up on the ones who had called to protest being fucked over.
In the days leading up to 50,000,000,000, sources said, customers were getting a “full fucking over from every direction.”
"Once we got within striking distance of 50 [billion], we thought, wouldn't it be cool if we made the big one an event? You know, really fuck over some pitiful fuck in true theatrical fashion," CFO Ralph Nicoletti said. “And since we keep such detailed records of exactly whom we fuck over and how, it was easy to locate Mr. Gershon and really make sure we devastated him in a way that was worthy of such a momentous occasion.”
“He turned out to be the perfect choice, too, because it ends up we’ve fucked him and his family over thousands of times before,” he continued. “It’s always nice to fuck over our most loyal customers.”
Speaking to reporters on Gershon’s front yard, Nicoletti reiterated that despite reaching the long sought-after goal of 50 billion, the company was still as committed as ever to fucking more and more people over.
“We’re not going to stop fucking people over any time soon,” said Nicoletti, adding that he hoped to get to 75 billion by the holidays, which he described as truly the most fun and fulfilling time to fuck somebody over. “It just goes back to the promise we make to every one of our customers: You turn to Cigna for protection in times of ill health, and we’ll be there to totally fuck you over.”
More News

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger | 1926 - 2012

Publisher Who Transformed The Times for New Era

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger in 1992, the year he relinquished the position of publisher to his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.  The portrait in the background is of his grandfather, Adolph S. Ochs, who bought The New York Times in 1896.
Burk Uzzle for The New York Times
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger in 1992, the year he relinquished the position of publisher to his son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.  The portrait in the background is of his grandfather, Adolph S. Ochs, who bought The New York Times in 1896.
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger guided The Times and its parent company through a period of expansion and change on a scale not seen since the newspaper’s founding

Cooperation Is Cited as Lobbyist in Bribery Case Is Sentenced to 3 Months

The judge who sentenced Richard J. Lipsky, who had been secretly assisting federal investigators, said Mr. Lipsky deserved “substantial credit for his cooperation.”

Friday, September 28, 2012

Puerto Rican artist takes on colonialism & oppression in a new solo show at Longwood Art Gallery in Bronx 

"Puerto Rico in its Labyrinth" runs through Dec. 8

The exhibit PUERTO RICO IN ITS LABYRINTH Chronicles of a Country and a World in Crisis features the works of José Buscaglia, including this piece titled “Let Them Be Satisfied with the Leftovers.”

Courtesy Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture

The exhibit PUERTO RICO IN ITS LABYRINTH Chronicles of a Country and a World in Crisis features the works of José Buscaglia, including this piece titled “Let Them Be Satisfied with the Leftovers.”

If nothing else, the new exhibit now open at Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos will get you talking.
“Puerto Rico in its Labyrinth: Chronicles of a Country and a World in Crisis” showcases the works of José Buscaglia and tackles such weighty topics as colonialism in Puerto Rico and oppression in the Caribbean, the Americas and Africa.
The exhibit at the Mott Haven gallery features Buscaglia’s paintings, sculptures and writings.
“The colors are stunning, but then you start reading the narrative that accompanies the works. They’re almost like essays, and it’s all so impactful,” said Wallace Edgecombe, director of Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture.
In the piece, “Let Them Be Satisfied with the Leftovers,” Buscaglia depicts politicians carving up and devouring Puerto Rico.
In another piece, the artist takes on Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
Also on view is “Plaza de la Identidad: Public Art Under House Arrest,” an installation of a public art project commissioned by the Puerto Rican legislature in 2003. The work was deemed too nationalistic for display and until recently was kept in storage.
The Bronx gallery will show models of the piece which includes three female forms representing Puerto Rico’s African, Spanish and Taino heritage; a 53-foot relief depicting the history of Puerto Rico; and an omphalo stone, a repository that will house samples of soil and water from various parts of the island.
“Buscaglia is very nationalistic and it comes out in his work,” Edgecombe said. “Even people who don’t agree with him should see the show. He’s a voice to be heard.”
“Puerto Rico in its Labyrinth: Chronicles of a Country and a World in Crisis” will remain on display through Dec. 8.
An opening reception with Buscaglia is set for Oct. 3 at the gallery, 450 Grand Concourse. To learn more, visit
n Beethoven in the Bronx
St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble will perform a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at Pregones Theater, 575 Walton Ave.
The program will include Beethoven’s “Septet” and “John’s Book of Alleged Dances” by American composer John Adams.
The event will also feature a food drive to benefit City Harvest. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations to the performance.
To learn more, visit
n Poetry in Nature
The Elisa Contemporary Art gallery presents a new exhibit, “Poetic Landscapes,” featuring the artwork of Marie Danielle Leblanc and Sharon Gordon.
Both artists take a colorful and abstract look at nature in a series of oil and acrylic paintings.
“Poetic Landscapes” opens Saturday and will run through Nov. 11 at the Gallery, 5622 Mosholu Ave. in Riverdale.
To learn more, visit

Hundreds Rally at City Hall to Demand an End to Discriminatory Stop-and-Frisk Policing and Call for NYPD Reform


Udi Ofer, Advocacy Director NYCL union oversees policy Campaigns to advance and defend civil liberties and Civil Rights. Speak at a rally at City Hall to call for an end to discriminatory Stop-and-Frisk policing and NYPD reform.


Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

September 27, 2012 —  Several hundred New Yorkers, elected officials – together with civil rights, community and labor leaders – rallied at City Hall today in support of a legislative package of police reforms, known as the Community Safety Act.
New Yorkers of all backgrounds, including people of color, immigrant, LGBT, Muslim, and homeless New Yorkers, descended on City Hall to speak out against discriminatory policing and advocate that the City Council pass the pending bills.
“New Yorkers are tired of waiting for justice and reforms,” said Yul-san Liem, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform. “Our communities are standing up to reject discriminatory policing like stop-and-frisk abuses, surveillance of Muslim communities, and the lack of police accountability that have continued for too long. The Community Safety Act represents reforms our city’s police department needs, and the City Council must pass these bills.”
The rally outside of City Hall was organized by Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and preceded meetings with council members where New Yorkers illustrated the damage that discriminatory policing and lack of police oversight has on their communities. Dozens of advocacy and community organizations participated in the rally calling for an end to discriminatory policing and more effective accountability and oversight for the NYPD.
At the rally, CPR announced that all four bills of the Community Safety Act had received sponsorship by a majority of members of the City Council. The campaign also announced the endorsement of the Community Safety Act legislative package by over 50 organizations from throughout the city.
On Monday, the City Council announced that a hearing on the bills would be held on October 10 at City Hall, followed by field hearings on stop-and-frisk practices in Brooklyn and Queens later in the month.
The Community Safety Act consists of four bills:
  • Intro 799 that protects New Yorkers against unlawful searches that those subjected to stop-and-frisk often experience. These illegal searches have contributed significantly to the explosion of low-level marijuana arrests, primarily among black and Latino youth, despite the state’s 1977 decriminalization of private possession in small quantities.
  • Intro 800 that creates a strong ban on profiling by the NYPD and expands protections against profiling based on age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, housing status, language and disability, in addition to race, religion or ethnicity.
  • Intro 801 that requires NYPD officers to identify themselves and explain their actions.
  • Intro 881 that establishes an Inspector General for the NYPD to provide independent oversight.
“Even when I have tried to exercise the rights I knew I had, there was no way of ensuring they were respected in reality – during one stop, the cop’s only response was to call me a ‘faggot’ while conducting a search over my objection.” said Mitchell Mora, a 23 year old Latino youth leader, “know your rights” educator, and researcher with Streetwise and Safe. “The Community Safety Act is critical to counteract the many ways in which LGBTQ youth of color are policed -- whether we are being told, like I was, to empty our pockets, open up a bag or purse, or submit to a ‘gender check’ without any legal basis.”
“This practice of stopping, frisking and intimidating kids really angers me,” said Brooklyn resident Justin Rosado, 17, a student and member of Make the Road New York. “I am a kid who follows the rules, goes to school every day, and spends my free time trying to make my community a better place. But none of that matters because I am young and Latino.”
“I’m rallying for police reform with CPR on September 27 to make the NYPD accountable for their negative actions, and to stop the harassment of the homeless by the NYPD,” said Raul Rodriguez, a member of Picture the Homeless.
“We believe the NYPD’s discriminatory practices are an attack on people of African descent,” said Tsedey Betru, a member of the New York chapter of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. “We stand in solidarity with all New Yorkers affected by these practices to pass the Community Safety Act, so that our communities are safe from crime and immoral policing.”
“The Community Safety Act, which is backed by an ever-growing coalition of broad-based support, is an important series of reforms that will help lead to better policing and safer streets for all,” stated Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn). “I am proud to be a prime sponsor of this legislation and even prouder to join my colleagues today in calling for greater NYPD accountability and the passage of these bills. I firmly believe that we can achieve better policing and safer streets in our city simultaneously.”
The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk abuses are just one example of systemic discriminatory policing that targets certain New Yorkers, based on their race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, housing status, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation.
Organizers and supporters of the day of advocacy and campaign to pass the Community Safety Act pointed to the fact that the Bloomberg administration’s use of stop-and-frisk and other discriminatory policing practices constitute a widespread violation of the civil and human rights of New Yorkers, and fail to keep communities safe from violence. They also highlighted other legally dubious practices and patterns by the NYPD that have occurred under the Bloomberg administration without accountability and resolution.
During the Bloomberg administration, the NYPD has made more than 4 million stops of New Yorkers, with nearly 90 percent of stops resulting in no summons or arrest. Black and Latino New Yorkers make up approximately 85 percent of the stops. Stops often result in unlawful searches, unwarranted arrests and charges, and abusive, humiliating treatment of those New Yorkers subjected to them.
LGBT New Yorkers, the homeless, Muslims, public housing residents and many others have also been subjected to similar profiling and abuses at the hands of the police department.
Meanwhile, a lack of effective oversight but also other systemic practices – like quota systems and the manipulation of crime statistics – have allowed these abuses to continue. The perpetuation of these harmful policies and practices contribute to a police department that is less and less accountable to the taxpayers of New York City that it is responsible for serving and protecting.
None of these practices have helped protect New Yorkers, as gun violence remains at nearly the same levels as when Mayor Bloomberg first entered office.
The rally served as a rejection of illegal, discriminatory policing, and put forth an affirmative vision of police reforms that would help make our city safer, promote civil rights and justice, and improve the NYPD by restoring integrity and trust in the police department.
“Stop and frisk makes youth of color feel like we’re criminals and not welcome in our own city,” said Alfredo Carrasquillo of VOCAL-NY. “It also drives the number one arrest in this city, which is possession of small amounts of marijuana, and fuels the school to prison pipeline as a result.”
“I’ve been a victim of these racist ‘stop and frisk’ tactics since before there was a name for it,” said Steve Kohut, a Justice Committee organizer. “Now it breaks my heart to know that I’m going to have to sit my son down and tell him that, like myself, chances are he will be searched, groped, stripped, and maybe even beaten by the cops, just because he’s Latino.”
“The Community Safety Act will bring much needed reforms to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk and related practices,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Collectively, these bills would ensure that the NYPD is held accountable when it abuses its power. This, in turn, will improve police-community relations and lead to a better NYPD for all.”
“Young people in many neighborhoods have come to expect that they will be stopped and searched on their way to school, when hanging out with their friends, and even inside their own apartment buildings,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vincent Warren. “The transparency, oversight, and accountability provided by the Community Safety Act will be a critical step towards preventing these kinds of abuses.”
“Stop-and-frisk is the biggest racial profiling program in the country. It must be stopped,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Stop-and-frisk is illegal, unethical, ineffective, and gives license for officers to harass and intimidate innocent black and brown youth. Our children should not have to fear both the robbers and the cops.”
“This past summer, tens of thousands of New Yorkers from all walks of life marched in silence and solidarity for justice in our communities,” said George Gresham, President, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “The package of legislation before the New York City Council, known as the Community Safety Act, would enact reforms needed to improve public accountability and trust with the NYPD. We applaud City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for calling public hearings on the legislation and we urge swift passage of these important reforms.”
“National Action Network support efforts to pass legislation that will enforce police accountability and community relations and we are proud to stand with Communities United for Police Reform in support of the passage of the Community Safety Act,” said Tamika D. Mallory, Executive Director of National Action Network.
“The police department must not ignore the concerns of the community about racial profiling and unlawful searches and real legislation must be passed to ensure a safer New York for everyone,” said Kyle Bragg, Vice President of 32BJ. “New Yorkers should be able to walk down the street without fear of being stopped, frisked and arrested. Police tactics that indiscriminately target people who are young, Latino, Black or appear to be immigrants strike fear into the heart of immigrant communities and working-class neighborhoods, undermining the community trust essential to effective policing. We demand an end to these systematic violations of our rights.”
“Everyday at The Bronx Defenders, we meet clients and Bronx community members who have been unfairly stopped, illegally searched, and mistreated by the police,” said Robin Steinberg, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders. “In the West Bronx, police use force during stops at the highest rate in the city. We are fighting for the Community Safety Act to increase NYPD accountability and make New York City safer for all of us.”
“For too long, ‘stop and frisk’ and other discriminatory police tactics have made too many New Yorkers feel unsafe in our own neighborhoods,” said Brittny Saunders, Senior Staff Attorney for Immigrant and Civil Rights, The Center for Popular Democracy. “Today, we gather to demand safety and respect for all New Yorkers. The Council has a powerful opportunity to show how local leaders can work with communities to find to solve a problem that’s critically important to the future of this city and so many across the country.”
“Many people are unaware that they can refuse to consent to a search by the NYPD; this lack of knowledge results in thousands of unlawful marijuana arrests every year,” said Kassandra Frederique, policy coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The Community Safety Act creates more transparent police practices that will reduce thousands of unlawful arrests, creating safer and healthier communities.”
“The job of the NYPD is to protect our communities not to target them,” said Marie Pierre Chair of NYCC Board, Chair Brownsville Chapter. “Every New Yorker wants to be safe in their neighborhood but when young people of color don't have the freedom to walk the streets without harassment—that’s not safety. The NYPD needs to find effective policies that don't rely on racial profiling to protect our communities.”

Joseph J. Lhota
Ángel Franco/The New York Times
Joseph J. Lhota

M.T.A. Chief, in Public Clash, Calls Board Member a Liar

METRO NEWS BRIEFS: NEW YORK; Deputy Mayor Admits Shoving a Reporter

Published: March 02, 2000
A reporter, Rafael Martinez Alequin, 66, whose self-published newspaper The Free Press is often critical of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, said that Deputy Mayor Joseph J. Lhota hit him in the chest outside City Hall yesterday and referred to him with an ethnic slur. Mr. Lhota acknowledged shoving him but denied using a remark derogatory to Latinos. He said the incident had begun as he talked to a colleague yesterday outside City Hall and Mr. Alequin insisted on speaking to him. The unidentified colleague walked away just before the altercation began.''He interrupted me and shoved me and I shoved him back,'' Mr. Lhota said.


The comments by the chairman, Joseph J. Lhota, to Charles G. Moerdler came during a discussion over a proposal to change the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s meeting calendar.

M.T.A. Amends Rules After Pro-Israel Ads Draw Controversy

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board barred ads that could “incite or provoke violence.”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

NAACP claims discriminatory admission practices at city's elite high schools

Group accuses city of barring black and Latino students from 'best public schools'

 Scene at Stuyvesant High School where another arson fire occurred this morning.There have been 11 other arson fires in the School..An note was left by the arsonist toiday.students returning after being evacuated.

Michael Schwartz for New York Daily News

The NAACP alleges schools like Stuyvesant High School have discriminatory admission practices. Only 1 percent of students at Stuy High are African American.

The NAACP has filed a bombshell complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging discriminatory admission practices at the city’s elite high schools.
In a blistering document delivered to the feds Thursday morning, the NAACP accused the city of barring black and Latino students from eight of its “best public schools,” including Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, where only 1% of students are black. “Black and Latino students don’t see opportunity at places like Stuyvesant because of the admissions process,” said NAACP attorney Rachel Kleinman. “It’s not fair and it’s bad policy.”
The city’s Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is the only method that is used to judge students for admission to the eight elite high schools.
The NAACP believes the grueling exam is unfair to black and Latino students because they are denied admission “at rates far higher than other racial groups.” Nearly 31% of white students and 35% of Asian students who take the test are offered seats at the top schools, compared with just 5% of black students and 6.7% of Latinos.
The NAACP doesn’t specify how the test discriminates against blacks and Latinos, but Kleinman said those students may lack tutoring and other resources. Education officials hit back against the NAACP’s complaint, arguing the test is color-blind.
“We want all of our students to have opportunities to prepare for the test,” said agency spokeswoman Deidrea Miller.
For years, black and Latino students have struggled to gain admission to the city’s top institutions, including Brooklyn Technical High School and the Bronx High School of Science. Just 7% of students in the specialized high schools are black, although black students account for 28% of overall enrollment in city schools.
Asian and white students, who account for about 31% of the city’s overall student body, occupy more than 85% of the seats in the elite high schools.
The U.S. Department of Education will review the complaint and, if needed, work with the city to change policies — a process that may require new state legislation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Father’s Bribery Case Hangs Over Daughter’s House Bid

Assemblywoman Grace Meng is favored to win a Congressional seat in a heavily Democratic Queens district, but the corruption case against her father has cast a shadow over her campaign.

Anticipating Fallout From Lobbyist’s Legal Cooperation

With the revelation that Richard J. Lipsky, convicted of bribery, was assisting federal authorities, officials in Albany and New York City wondered what new scandal might emerge.

‘Mexican Mitt’ Romney can’t shake the fake in face-off with Latino TV  

Despite stacked crowd and ‘tan‘ his campaign stumbling in pursuit of Hispanic votes

Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 1:21 PM

 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney responds to question from Univision interviewers Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas.


“Fake tan. Fake fans. Really sad.”
That’s how a Facebook friend described Mitt Romney’s (“I wish I were Latino”) latest Hispanic misadventures.
The posting was referring to last week’s Univision interview with an unnaturally tanned Republican candidate, which led many to believe that Romney was wearing dark makeup to “identify” with Latinos. After all, as everybody knows, all Latinos have a swarthy complexion.
Univision has denied this really happened, but looking at “before” and “after” photos of a Mitt eager to ingratiate himself with Hispanic voters — who overwhelmingly favor Obama — the suspicion remains.
The interview, a two-part series titled “Conozca a los candidatos” (Meet the candidates), took place at the University of Miami. It aired on Wednesday and on Thursday it was President Obama’s turn to submit to probing questions from Univision anchors María Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos.
But Romney’s campaign stumbled against an unexpected obstacle. By all accounts, even after pleading with every conservative group on campus, the Republican hopeful couldn’t find enough sympathetic students to fill the auditorium, as had been agreed between the network and the candidates.
This may come as a surprise to the TV audience who were treated to a room brimming with boisterous Romney supporters who cheered his every word and booed practically every question from Salinas and Ramos. Such a rousing response was, to say the least, a rather rare spectacle, since the GOP standard bearer usually generates as much fervor in his audiences as a dentist’s drill.
So when Salinas declared after the interviews that Romney’s campaign had threatened to “reschedule” if it wasn’t allowed to bus in activists and supporters to fill the many empty chairs at the auditorium, the audience’s enthusiasm was revealed to be as much of a fake as Romney’s strange orange glow.
“We were a little bit thrown because it was supposed to be a TV show, it wasn’t a rally…It was a little bit of disrespect for us,” Salinas said in an interview with BuzzFeed.
More than a little bit, I would say, and it didn’t end there. Actually “Mexican Mitt” himself threatened to walk out minutes before the interview was to begin.
The reason? Ramos had said at the opening of the program that the GOP candidate had given Univision only 35 minutes, while the President had agreed to a full hour the next night. A testy Romney did not appreciate this fact being made public and demanded the introduction be re-taped or he would not go on stage.
“It was a very awkward moment, believe me,” Salinas told BuzzFeed in what could have been the understatement of the year.
“Last week’s forum was the perfect example of Romney’s Latino outreach strategy: ‘cherry-pick Latino supporters, have them cheer loud enough to drown out Romney’s vacuous responses, and declare victory after the fact,” said Frank Sharry, America’s Voice executive director.
A strategy that hasn’t helped him one bit with Hispanics. They have not forgotten Romney’s extreme anti-immigration stance during the primaries, his anti-labor agenda and his intention to gut Medicare in the name of balancing the budget while vowing to preserve tax cuts and all kinds of privileges for those who, like him, possess insane oodles of money.
According to the latest impreMedia/Latino Decisions tracking poll, Obama now leads Romney 69%-24% and enthusiasm for going to the polls is growing among Latino voters. Not good news for Republicans and one more proof that, contrary to what the Romney campaign seems to believe, Latino voters are not stupid.
“Fake tan. Fake fans. Really sad.”

Mayor Bloomberg gives $75,000 to PAC created by four dissident Senate Democrats

Billionaire mayor also donates $1 million to Senate Republican Campaign Committee

 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces plans for the new, state-of-the-art healthcare facility and nursing school in the Manhattan's Upper Eastside.

Mariela Lombard for New York Daily News

Mayor Bloomberg poured $75,000 into a political action committee created by Senate Democrats Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci.

ALBANY — Sensing a potential shift in the state Senate power structure, Mayor Bloomberg pumped $75,000 into a political action committee created by four dissident Democrats who formed their own independent caucus.
But Bloomberg hasn’t given up his longstanding support of the Senate Republicans. He donated a whopping $1 million to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee — the single largest contribution ever made to the Senate GOP. That brings Hizzoner’s total contributions to the Senate Republicans to $3.3 million since 2000.
Both donations are bad news for cash-strapped Senate Democrats as they try to reclaim the majority this fall.
While the hefty donation to the Senate GOP was surprising only in its size, the contribution to the four-member Independent Democratic Caucus is perhaps most telling, insiders say.
A Bloomberg source said the mayor decided to bankroll the renegade faction both because its members support legislation important to the mayor and because he sees the foursome as rising political force in Albany.
The source said the mayor thinks the four — Sens. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), David Valesky (D-Syracuse) and David Carlucci (D-Rockland) — could act as kingmakers by swinging control of the Senate.
Republicans, who have a 33-29 edge in the Senate, have worked closely with the four for the past two years. But if Democrats pick up the three votes they need to regain the majority, the four could swing the power back to the GOP if their needs aren’t met.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On the following three videos elected officials along with community leaders call for reforms to curb discriminatory Stop-and-Frisk Policing.

Coalition of Latina/o elected officials and Community and labor leaders today (Sept. 24) announced its support for a legislative package of police reforms— known as the Community Safety Act— and called for all New Yorkers to stand up against discriminatory policing by participating in a major advocacy day on the afternoon Thursday, (Sept. 27) hundred of New Yorkers will participate in a rally outside of New York City Hall

Video by Rafael  Martínez Alequín (Sept. 24-2012)

Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín (Sept. 24-2012)

Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín (Sept. 24-2012)

Convicted Lobbyist Aids U.S. in Inquiry

Richard J. Lipsky, a lobbyist convicted of bribing former State Senator Carl Kruger, is asking a judge for leniency when he is sentenced.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Espada takes a ‘walk’

Remains free after Soundview bail ‘violation’

  • Last Updated: 1:14 AM, September 22, 2012
  • Posted: 12:55 AM, September 22, 2012
Pedro Espada Jr. is free — for now.
A Brooklyn federal judge yesterday declined to lock up the disgraced ex-state senator, saying more time is needed to decide whether Espada violated his bail when he got a massive payout from the same Bronx nonprofit he robbed blind.
Judge Frederic Block told prosecutors and Espada’s lawyer that he wants to see more evidence, in writing, from both sides before making a ruling. He set an Oct. 5 deadline.
Prosecutors had demanded that Block revoke Espada’s bail and toss him in the slammer, claiming he violated Block’s order not to be “directly involved” in the affairs of Soundview Healthcare Network, Espada’s now-defunct nonprofit.
‘BILK’ MONEY: Pedro Espada Jr. and wife Connie arrive at Brooklyn federal court yesterday, where a judge allowed him to remain free on bail — for now.
Paul Martinka
‘BILK’ MONEY: Pedro Espada Jr. and wife Connie arrive at Brooklyn federal court yesterday, where a judge allowed him to remain free on bail — for now.
Espada is awaiting sentencing after being convicted in May for bilking nearly half a million dollars from Soundview.
Prosecutors alleged that, since late June, Espada and son Pedro Gautier Espada again looted Soundview — siphoning $600,000 from the sale of assets and keeping more than $300,000 of it for themselves. Nearly half went to papa Espada.
“The government . . . has to convince me there has been a violation of this [bail] language,” Block said yesterday.
Espada Jr.’s lawyer argued in court that the judge did not make it a condition of the shamed pol’s $750,000 bail that he couldn’t receive payments from Soundview.
“Nor was there any prohibition on Mr. Espada’s family members continuing to operate or be involved with Soundview,” lawyer Susan Necheles contended.
She said the payouts were approved by Soundview’s board, noting, “The board chose to pay these creditors above other creditors.”
Prosecutors noted that the board is run by Espada’s son Alejandro — who cut the controversial checks — and said there is “very strong circumstantial evidence” that Espada Jr. continued to be involved in Soundview’s affairs.
When the judge suggested that the board’s actions may have been “legitimate,” Assistant US Attorney Carolyn Pokorny blasted, “It makes no sense for the board to give out $144,000 to the man convicted of stealing [from the nonprofit].”
She called Espada Jr.’s argument “bizarre and illogical” and noted that Soundview owes piles of cash — estimated at more than $3 million — to creditors and the IRS.
“Almost no one would rather pay the IRS. Most anyone would want to give the check to Espada,” Necheles shot back.
Espada Jr., accompanied by his wife and Pedro Gautier — but without his usual entourage of bodyguards and supporters — was defiant outside court.
“We regard this as a win,” he said. “They came to court with a bag of lies. And thanks to Justice Block, we’re going home with a victory today.”
He declined to answer questions about the Soundview payout.
Pedro Gautier faces an upcoming trial on embezzlement and tax charges. His brother Alejandro is also under investigation.
The US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn is asking a federal judge to revoke bail and lock up Espada, who was convicted earlier this year of using his Soundview Health Care Center as his personal slush fund. Judge Frederick Block told the prosecutors and Espada's lawyer that he wants to see more evidence, in writing, from both sides before making a ruling.  He added "I agreed with you that this have an odor". He ordered the defense and prosecutors to present their evidence by  next Friday, September 28.
Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín (Sept.21-2012)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hoping to Replace Mayor, and Taking Him to Court

Likely candidates for the 2013 Democratic primary are vying for attention and to demonstrate how much they differ with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, by suing him.

Lock ’em up

Last Updated: 11:25 PM, September 19, 2012
Posted: September 20, 2012

It takes quite a lot to be Albany’s most appallingly shameless crook.
But former state Sen. Pedro Espada has just clinched the title.
Espada was convicted last May of stealing at least $480,000 from his Bronx health clinic. Federal prosecutors yesterday disclosed that he then looted its remaining assets and pocketed the dough.
All while he awaits sentencing for his conviction and two other criminal trials.
Oh, and he wants a publicly paid lawyer.
The feds have asked that Espada’s $750,000 bail be revoked — now.
Sounds about right.
Espada was convicted of using his Soundview Healthcare Network as a bank; he’ll likely do time, and he must make restitution.
Pedro Espada, Jr.
But after his conviction — when the judge forbade Espada from having any involvement in Soundview as a condition of remaining free — the one-time Senate majority leader simply stole more money.
Just weeks after the guilty verdict, Espada’s son Alejandro — who’d succeeded him as Soundview’s CEO — sold the facility’s assets for $600,000. Alejandro then doled out more than $350,000 — to himself, his brother (who’s also facing trial), his father and others.
All this despite owing private creditors $2 million and the IRS $1 million.
In short, said prosecutors, Espada is continuing what he was convicted of in the first place: “taking Soundview’s money for his and his family’s benefit.”
If that isn’t enough to earn Pedro Espada a stint in the Crossbar Hotel, what is?

Mitt Romney jokes about unskilled Latinos welcomed to 'stay for the rest of your lives' not amusing to Hispanic voters

How dare you! say hardworking immigrants, after GOP candidate's tape slamming the 'dependent' 47% of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney receives a standing ovation as he speaks at a fundraiser in Sarasota, Florida, on September 20, 2012.   AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMMNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages


Mitt Romney's numbers among Latino voters were already low before he made what one immigrant citizen called 'disgusting' remarks about Hispanics in recently revealed tape.

Mitt Romney went on the Univision Spanish-language network Wednesday, hoping to improve his dismal polling numbers among Hispanics — the fastest-growing segment of the country’s electorate.
He did so only days after his now notorious “47%” tape was revealed.
The tape where Romney told wealthy donor friends he’s already written off half of Americans — “those people,” he said, who pay no federal taxes and “believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
In that tape, Romney also disparaged low-income immigrants and joked it would be easier to capture the White House if his grandparents had been Mexican.
Juana Velez, who came to this country from the Dominican Republic 25 years ago, didn’t catch Romney on Univision. She was too busy doing her own clean up. Busy doing what she’s done for the past 10 years — cleaning rooms at the Westin Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
But Velez has heard all about the Romney tape.
“He’s disgusting,” she said. “I’ve always worked for a living. Never been on welfare. My husband served in Iraq. I’m a U.S. citizen. We own our own home and we’ve raised four children here. How dare he talk about us like that?”
Which is why the latest Pew Center poll on the presidential contest should come as no surprise.
President Obama’s already huge edge over Romney among Hispanics just keeps getting bigger, according to Pew. Among registered Latinos, it now stands at 69% to 24%. It’s even wider among “likely voters,” at 72% to 22%.
To put that in perspective, George W. Bush garnered a healthy 46% of the Latino vote when he won re election in 2004. Even John McCain managed 31% of vote in his losing bid against Obama in 2008.
Romney’s paltry share becomes even more ominous when you consider that just 9.7 million Latinos voted in 2008. Most experts are predicting around 12.5 million Hispanics will cast ballots this election.
Romney devoted a lot of time during all those primary debates earlier this year convincing the Republican Party’s right wing that he would be the toughest guy on immigration. Did he think Latinos weren’t paying attention?
In Wednesday’s Univision forum, news anchors Maria Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos asked Romney about his statements back then favoring “self-deportation” for undocumented immigrants. They repeatedly asked if he would revoke President Obama’s policy of granting temporary legal status to 1.7 million young Latinos brought to the country illegally by their parents.
Romney dodged those questions, only promising a “permanent solution” to the immigration problem, without any specifics, except to concede that, “if a student does so well that he gets an advanced degree, I’d staple a green card to their diplomas.”
Amazingly, in a portion of the notorious Florida tape that has gotten little attention, Romney used similar language to urge an immigration policy skewed to highly educated foreigners, while at the same time mocking poor immigrants.
“I’d like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, “Come to America, we want you here,” Romney said. “Instead, we make it hard for people who get educated here or elsewhere to make this their home. Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you’re welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life.”
The wealthy donors, who paid $50,000 a plate to hear Romney that night, can be heard laughing.
Well, hotel worker Juana Velez doesn’t have a doctorate, but she’ll be voting in November. Like millions of other Latinos, Velez has heard enough from Romney already, and she’s not in a laughing mood.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the expansion of the NYCitizenship program to the New York City public school system.
video by Rafael Martínez Alequín (Sept. 20-2012)

Jimmy Carter's grandson, James Carter 4th, is man who unearthed Mitt Romney's '47 percent of Americans dependent upon government' video

Freelance researcher trolled internet and found clip that has damaged Romney campaign

 James Carter is pictured in front of his Atlanta home, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (Daily News Photo/John Amis)

John Amis for New York Daily News

Freelance researcher James Carter 4th, former President Jimmy Carter's grandson, is the one who unearthed video of Mitt Romney claiming that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on the government.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Former President Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter's grandson was tired of hearing the ex-President used as GOP punchline — and his act of revenge has hobbled Mitt Romney’s campaign.
In an odd twist of fate and history, it was James Carter 4th who unearthed the secret video of Romney at a Florida fund-raiser in which the Republican nominee demeaned the “47%” of Americans who are “dependent upon the government, who believe that they are victims.”
Carter, a freelance researcher, had been trolling the Internet for damaging videos and quickly realized the fund-raiser clip was his chance to get even with Romney for assaults on his family.
“I’ve gotten a lot of Twitter messages from people supporting me and saying that it’s poetic justice that it was a Carter that uncovered this,” the younger Carter told The Associated Press. “I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly.”
Jimmy Carter reveled in the discovery. “James: This is extraordinary,” the former President emailed his grandson. “Congratulations! Papa.”
The younger Carter, a 35-year-old left-leaning political researcher who lives in Atlanta, said he did not receive any payment from the Obama campaign or any political organization for his Internet sleuthing.
The self-proclaimed “partisan Democrat” said he was doing a standard sweep of YouTube — searching terms like ‘Republicans’ and ‘Romney’ — when he discovered the clip on a YouTube channel called “Anne Onymous.” He realized that there might be more than just the brief snippet that was posted online.

Mother Jones Video/AP

Scene from the now-infamous video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking at a May fund-raiser. James Carter discovered a clip on YouTube and brought the video to nationwide attention.

“I’ve been searching for clips on Republicans for a long time, almost every day,” Carter told reporters. “I just do it for fun.”
Carter used Twitter to contact the person who posted the video and began a negotiation with the group that made the secret recording.
Eventually, he persuaded the owner to anonymously hand over the video to Mother Jones magazine, which posted the entire film — and rocked the presidential campaign.
His Twitter profile lists him as unemployed — but that should soon change.
He has received several job offers this week, including from the online news site The Huffington Post and the Ohio Democratic Party, according to reports.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ex-Sen. Espada Jr. helped himself to one last payday by taking money from sale of Bx. clinic: court papers

Last Updated: 1:57 PM, September 19, 2012
Posted: 11:49 AM, September 19, 2012

Disgraced former State Sen. Pedro Espada helped himself to one more big payday, selling off tattered remains of his Bronx health clinic and pocketing the dough, prosecutors said in court papers unsealed today.
The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn is asking a federal judge to revoke bail and lock up Espada, who was convicted earlier this year of using his Soundview Health Center as his personal slush fund.
Brooklyn federal judge Frederic Block ordered everyone to court for a hearing on Friday.
Following Espada’s May 14 conviction, state and federal authorities moved in and prevented the disgraced pol and his family from operating the clinic, which served poor patients in the south Bronx.
Chad Rachman/New York Post
Former New York Sen. Pedro Espada
Espada’s family then secretly sold medical equipment, other assets and rights to Soundview’s lease on White Plains Road to a new operator, the Institute for Family Health, for $600,000, prosecutors said.
That’s when pol’s son Alejandro Espada took out more than $350,000 and doled it out to to himself, his dad, brother Pedro Gautier Espada and other accounts close to the family, according to federal prosecutors.
"The defendant has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to follow the court’s rulings, and, as a result, the Court should revoke the defendant’s bail and remand him into custody,” wrote Assistant US Attorney Todd Kaminsky.
A defense lawyer for Espada could not be immediately reached for comment.
The allegedly looted dough was intricately spread through several accounts, feds said:
--Soundview Management Enterprises, Sen. Espada’s janitorial company that cleaned the clinic, allegedly received $104,000 on June 29 -- even though the cleaning firm hasn’t worked at the Bronx clinic for the past two years.
Less than a week later, Sen. Espada allegedly took out $50,000 cash from Soundview Management Enterprises and made out a $45,000 cashier’s check to his wife. Espada’s wife then deposited that draft into her own bank account and withdrew the same amount of cash
--Sen. Pedro Espada, sons Pedro Gautier and Alejandro got $40,000, $42,045 and $38,000, respectively, from the big sale.
--Soundview Health Group, a shell company under family control, got $81,500. Judge Block issued an order yesterday, freezing all funds that came from Soundview Health Group.
--Sen. Espada’s former defense lawyer, Susan Necheles, also allegedly got $50,000 from the big, final sale.
“These transactions appear designed to hide the defendant’s assets from the court,” Kaminsky wrote.
Feds said they still haven’t accounted for all $600,000 and believe the family has pocket the loot though several accounts: "At present, records show that the defendant has no more than a few thousand dollars maintained in any single bank account."
Feds claim the shady money transaction violates terms of Pedro Espana’s bail, which bar him from any involvement with Soundview.
Espada is on the hook for court-ordered restitution expected to be set at $500,000, $2 million to judgement creditors and $1 million to the IRS in unpaid payroll taxes. No funds from this allegedly crooked sale went to pay those debts, prosecutors said.
Espada is free on bail, pending his appeal on the May 14 convictions. He’s awaiting retrial on federal charges that hung in front of Brooklyn jurors in May.
Pedro Espada and son Pedro Gautier Espada are both fighting tax fraud charges in another matter that’s set for trial in Manhattan federal court.
Additional reporting by David K. Li

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