Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bill de Blasio: A Progressive Mayor for ALL New Yorkers

by Jerry Krase

Bill De Blasio I believe has the best chance among real progressives to win the mayoralty and to take New York City in a different, more hopeful direction. It’s time for New Yorkers to take back THEIR city from those who have used it to enrich themselves at our expense. Bill de Blasio can help us put the Statue of Liberty back on its pedestal in New York politics. Read more about him and this crucial election.

Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bloomberg Shares a Few Secrets of His Success: Be Early, Stay Late and Hold It In

A tossed-off remark on efficiency by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — don’t go to the bathroom so much — stirred no shortage of mockery.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


On the steps of city hall Council Members Brad Lander, Dem. Brooklyn and Margaret Chin, Dem. Manhattan, along with Peter H. Kostmayer, (CEO, CCNYS) , urged all New Yorkers to support their legislation to be introduced this Thursday (8/22/13) to cut plastic bag use in the city by charging a fee to most New Yorkers.

The fee is a 10 cents for each plastic bag. A Bonanza for the big chain of Supermarket
Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Monday, August 19, 2013

End Discriminatory Profiling

New Yorkers want to live in a safe city where all residents are treated with dignity and respect, and where the New York City Police Department under mayor Bloomberg is not above the law. Support Intro #1079 and1080. The City Council must override mayor Bloomberg (The Devil) on their next Council meeting on Thursday, August 22, 2013

Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

The Bane of Four Mayors

Character Study

The Bane of Four Mayors

Dave Sanders for The New York Times
Rafael Martínez Alequin has spent decades reporting, or trying to, from City Hall.

“Just a few more months with the devil,” Rafael Martínez Alequin announced, standing in the middle of City Hall’s Blue Room, which was packed with journalists on Monday waiting for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to arrive.
The Particulars
Name Rafael Martínez Alequin
Age 80
Where He’s From Maricao, Puerto Rico
What He Is Longtime City Hall reporter, gadfly
Telling Detail Mr. Martínez Alequin calls most City Hall reporters “sheep.” He said that armed with soft questions, “they depend on Google and become tools of the Bloomberg machine.”

Mr. Martínez Alequin, 80, was showing off a drawing he had commissioned and posted on his blog, Your Free Press, that portrayed the mayor with devil’s horns.
It elicited some polite smiles. A reporter could be heard discussing Mr. Martínez Alequin’s “cringe-worthy” questions.
This slight man with fine features and wavy silver hair — he was dressed on Monday in slacks and a white guayabera shirt — has been a fixture of the City Hall press corps for 30 years. He is a familiar sight in the scrum of reporters around a politician or, as he was on Monday, in the front of the press gallery in the Blue Room.
Hanging just outside the room were framed likenesses of Mayors Edward I. Koch, David N. Dinkins and Rudolph W. Giuliani, all of whom Mr. Martínez Alequin has tormented with distracting, rambling and provocative questions. Mr. Martínez Alequin says he has a hard time getting Mr. Bloomberg’s attention.
Now on Monday, the mayor appeared, with the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, to speak against a federal judge’s decision that called the Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics a violation of the constitutional rights of minorities.
Mr. Martínez Alequin, who considers himself a champion for the poor and for black and Latino residents, raised his hand almost as a formality as the mayor took questions afterward. Mr. Bloomberg bypassed him.
“You see that? He ignored my question,” Mr. Martínez Alequin said victoriously afterward. “It’s good for my ego that the mayor of New York, one of the richest and most powerful people in the world, is afraid of me.”
As Mr. Kelly exited, he gave Mr. Martínez Alequin an enthusiastic handshake and a cheerful ribbing — “You were terrific!” — and they laughed.
In 2007, the Police Department refused to renew working press credentials for Mr. Martínez Alequin. Mayoral aides then banned him from Blue Room news conferences and stopped sending him the mayor’s daily schedule, he said. The city relented only after Mr. Martínez Alequin filed a federal lawsuit and received support from a group of black and Latino members of the City Council.
At the time, police officials said Mr. Martínez Alequin did not meet the criteria for a press pass because he was a blogger who did not need to cross police lines at breaking news locations. On Thursday, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, Marc La Vorgna, said the action in 2007 showed the difficulty of determining exactly who warrants a press pass, “because anyone with a Twitter handle can break news at this point.”
Without mentioning Mr. Martínez Alequin by name, Mr. La Vorgna wrote in an e-mail, “If you have no employer, no editors and no readers, are you a reporter?”
Mr. Martínez Alequin said he no longer has a desk in the press room, after several reporters complained to officials about him. Now he roams City Hall looking for additions to his blog, usually video posts.
Of other reporters, he said: “They don’t like me because I don’t kiss up to anyone.”
Mr. Martínez Alequin, a resident of the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, lives on Social Security checks and the modest savings he amassed with his wife, Margarita, who died in 2000.
Mr. Martínez Alequin said he grew up in Maricao, Puerto Rico, moved to New York City at age 19 and began to learn English partly from watching Jerry Lewis movies. He began political and civil rights activism, served in the Army during the Korean War, and later protested the Vietnam War and ran for Congress while attending college in upstate New York.
His journalism career began in 1983, when he started an alternative tabloid called The Brooklyn Free Press, a one-man operation that was critical of city officials. It became the New York City Free Press before giving way in 2007 to his blog.
Mr. Martínez Alequin says the need to press politicians about issues that affect the poor outweighs concerns and complaints about his antagonistic antics, pushy manner and off-topic questions.
“I’m here because someone has to report about what will affect the rights of blacks and Latinos,” said Mr. Martínez Alequin, who said he first supported the mayor but soured on him because “he thinks he can buy anything.” The mayor treats him even worse than Mr. Giuliani did, he said, which is saying something. In 2000, Mr. Giuliani, in front of a group of schoolchildren, called Mr. Martínez Alequin a “jerk” and an “embarrassment.”
“At least Rudy took my questions, because he liked an argument,” Mr. Martínez Alequin said.
“Giuliani had a heart, but Bloomberg has cold blood — he acts like a king,” he said.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: August 16, 2013
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to how often Mayor Bloomberg has called on Mr. Martínez Alequin. He has been called on in recent years.

Development Challenges for Africa

The Yale Club of Ghana Conference
“From Success to Significance”
Accra, Ghana
July 19, 2013
by Daniel Rose, Yale ‘51

To the development world, Africa is the future.

The necessary ingredients for healthy and sustainable growth are visible; now private sector entrepreneurial talent—working with and through government—must bring them to fruition.  Small and medium-sized businesses created and led by imaginative and innovative risk-takers with their own funds invested will be the key to that growth.

Although government does not create wealth, along with providing for public safety and social stability it creates the pre-conditions and conducive  atmosphere that permit the private entrepreneurial sector to “do its thing” for the benefit of all.

Necessary public investment, growth-encouraging legislation and social institutions, transparent and appropriate business regulation, competent supervision of effective capital markets, etc. are now immediate goals. The importance of public education is a given. For producers and for consumers, for the growing middle class whose demographics predict it can become the workshop of the world, for imaginative investors and for the creative entrepreneurs who can put those
investments to productive use, for a submerged public yearning for health, education, safety and employment—for all those, Africa’s future should be bright, if it is approached prudently, energetically, imaginatively and competently.

The failures as well as the successes, the boots-on-the-ground experience as well as the theoretical underpinning, of similar efforts elsewhere should provide important lessons for Africa.

Vast sums international groups dissipated in Haiti with little to show for it and the current state of Palestinian refugee camps after receiving billions of dollars of foreign aid should make us reflect on the next steps in Africa’s development.

Our economic gurus’ failure to predict the widespread financial disasters of 2007-8, and their failure to resolve them since should encourage more modesty in a field often characterized by hubris; yet our economic thinking remains largely unchanged.

Bureaucrats love formal economic models—the more like mathematical equations the better—even though in the messy real world they often lead us astray, especially when dealing with economic development.  The late Albert O. Hirschman, a dear friend who was never awarded the Nobel Prize he richly deserved, understood this clearly.  He was a maverick who knew that economics is part art, part science (especially in complex systems) and that on occasion appropriate metaphors may be more instructive than formal models.  While his colleagues were obsessed with “economies of scale” and
conditions of “perfect competition,” Hirschman realized that well-intentioned actions can have unintended adverse consequences, that capital markets can be inadequate for the demands on them, that there can be local cultural barriers to change, and that insufficient local information, skills and entrepreneurial practice must be faced.  While others focused on the “Big Push” from outside, Hirschman believed in local “forward and backward linkages” that could be self-reinforcing.  Others thought of development “from the top down”; Hirschman thought of it “from the bottom up.”

If he were here today, I believe he would enthusiastically endorse government and international focus on improving major infrastructure (with appropriate private involvement, too) but he would also emphasize the pressing need for private investment (and access to loans) by and through local entrepreneurs who have hands-on experience in coping with local obstacles.

This is true of all fields but particularly so of real estate.  Of such development, he would have espoused “smart growth,” with its focus on long term sustainability as well as on short term benefits; on prudent relationships between new development and already existing utilities, infrastructure and public services; on genuine transparency and open public discussion and community and stakeholder involvement in planning discussions; and on the importance of “cost effectiveness” so often missing from development thinking.

Economic growth and urbanization go hand in hand, reinforcing each other as growing employment in services and manufacturing create an urban consumer class involved in finance, health care, higher education and distribution of retail and wholesale consumer goods.  An increase in discretionary spending will be reflected in the purchase of durable consumer goods and a range of services marking the evolution of a modern economy that is more than just a producer of commodities.  The development of a thriving resource sector will stimulate the building of roads, rail and airports around natural resources, as well as investment in power and telecommunications. 

Water and sanitation investments are so crucial as to require a separate discussion not only for economic reasons but for important ramifications in disease prevention and health, primary and secondary education and the freedom it will give women to participate more fully in national life. Production of clean water for those who lack it must be the highest priority.

In Africa today, sound and stable governance and prudent macroeconomic policies are creating an environment in which favorable demographics, infrastructure development, rapid urbanization, consumer growth and new mineral discovery reinforce each other to signal a glowing future, as does the “reverse flow” of a talented, well-trained African diaspora.

If that future is to reduce Africa’s heartbreaking social and economic inequality and remove the grinding poverty of the poorest, several important steps should be taken. Most important of all is a fairer sharing of the benefits of national mineral wealth.

The chief threat Africa faces is the so-called “resource curse” of massive new oil and gas discoveries by which improperly-handled new revenues lead to rapacious corruption, with favored groups becoming rich and the rest of the economy suffering.  To date, no African country has been able to apply its oil and gas revenue fairly for the public benefit.

U.N. officials believe Guinea and DR Congo are Africa’s worst and Ghana the best, but even in Ghana the Auditor General reports that Ghana’s share in some oil and gas companies is not on record, have not been disclosed to the Public Account Committee and have paid no revenue to Ghana.

African public opinion must demand vastly more mineral rights transparency and accountability; an end to “trade mispricing”; country-by-country reporting of sales, profits and taxes; clear reporting of “beneficial ownership”; automatic international tax information exchanges on income gains and property of non-resident entities; and an end to money laundering.

The Washington-based think tank Center for Global Development makes a convincing case for distributing some of the new mineral revenue directly to the public as taxable income, as some countries now do successfully.  Ghana could be a leader in this movement.

Other constructive goals would include the increase in productivity of subsistence farmers by the use of fertilizers, better seed, judicious use of water and by the pooling of small land holdings and equipment so these farmers can compete more effectively with foreign food producers.  The half of Africa’s available piped water now unaccounted for because of leaking pipes and illegal connections by private tanker operators must be recaptured, and all water users should be made to pay their bills.  The tens of billions of dollars leaving Africa illegally each year could be stopped by greater transparency in the financial sector and the use of criminal penalties where indicated.  Widespread tax-evasion must be acknowledged and remedied.  Clarification and simplification of land tenure rights, both of ownership and use, and the simplification of visitors’ visas for both tourists and business travelers are long overdue.  African central bank reserves, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds should be invested in cost-effective infrastructure improvements that offer investors a competitive return while helping society; and Africa’s mineral capital, physical capital, financial capital and human capital should be coordinated and applied for the public good.

Finally, and most importantly, the issue of corruption must be faced frankly and discussed openly.  True transparency and
accountability in the financial system, the legal system and in government operations at all levels would have a positive impact on the continent’s development beyond calculation.  Trust and confidence in the “ground rules” are important factors in sustainable development.

Africa’s true potential can be achieved if Africans so will it.

(Daniel Rose’s talks may be found on


How to Create a Dictatorship

Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)
Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment
19 August 13
ow to turn a democracy into a STASI authoritarian state in 10 easy steps:
  1. Misuse the concept of a Top Secret government document (say, the date of D-Day) and extend classification to trillions of mundane documents a year.

  2. Classify all government crimes and violations of the Constitution as secret

  3. Create a class of 4.5 million privileged individuals, many of them corporate employees, with access to classified documents but allege it is illegal for public to see leaked classified documents

  4. Spy on the public in violation of the Constitution

  5. Classify environmental activists as terrorists while allowing Big Coal and Big Oil to pollute and destroy the planet

  6. Share info gained from NSA spying on public with DEA, FBI, local law enforcement to protect pharmaceuticals & liquor industry from competition from pot, or to protect polluters from activists

  7. Falsify to judges and defense attorneys how allegedly incriminating info was discovered

  8. Lie and deny to Congress you are spying on the public.

  9. Criminalize the revelation of government crimes and spying as Espionage

  10. Further criminalize whistleblowing as "Terrorism", have compradors arrest innocent people, detain them, and confiscate personal effects with no cause or warrant (i.e. David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald)
Presto, what looks like a democracy is really an authoritarian state ruling on its own behalf and that of 2000 corporations, databasing the activities of 312 million innocent citizens and actively helping destroy the planet while forestalling climate activism

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Character Study

The Bane of Four Mayors

Known for his rambling and provocative questions, Rafael Martínez Alequin, a City Hall reporter, has been an irritant to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other mayors.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vote Scott & give ‘Client 9’ the hook

Last Updated: 2:28 AM, August 17, 2013 

Posted: 12:57 AM, August 17, 2013

In a few short weeks, New Yorkers will choose between two candidates for city comptroller in the Democratic primary. One is Scott Stringer, a conventional Manhattan liberal. The other is a completely unhinged Manhattan liberal.
His name is Eliot Spitzer, and for a man who styles himself the “Sheriff of Wall Street,” his real expertise is operating outside the law. As attorney general, he acted like some hick-town bully with a badge and a speed trap. But where it counted — in the courtroom — this sheriff seldom got his man.
Then again, Spitzer’s goals in office have always been less about serving the people’s interest and more about feeding his insatiable ego, his giant ambitions and his basest appetites. This fundamental character flaw, and the dysfunction it bred, brought down his governorship. And these failures, notably his meltdown in office, started long before the public learned of Ashley Dupre or the Emperors Club escort agency.
Spitzer came to office with an approval rating in the 70s — only to see the numbers completely flip in scarcely a year. It was entirely self-inflicted. His governorship read like a script for FX’s “Anger Management,” with Spitzer unable to get along with anyone: not Republicans, not Democrats, not even members of his own staff.
Now he’s seeking to be put in charge of city contracts and $140 billion in pension funds. It is a job that requires a working relationship with the mayor, the City Council and many stakeholders — not to mention the 58 trustees, who are unlikely to react well to a “steamroller.”
But once again, he’s made clear the normal work of that office — say, negotiating better management fees — is beneath him.
“Office is ripe for greater and more exciting use,” he tweets. Translation: Putting me in charge is like going away for the weekend and leaving your teenage son an open liquor cabinet and the keys to a Ferrari.
We would not trust Eliot Spitzer to manage our 401(k), much less take our teenage daughter to the movies — so why should the city trust him with its entire pension fund? If he uses the funds to target Wall Street and punish companies he doesn’t like, the likelihood is that the funds’ returns will suffer. And guess who is on the hook to make up the shortfall? You, Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer.
In an election year where Carlos Danger is competing for mayor, Client 9 felt empowered to jump back in and turn New York into the laughingstock of America — thanks for that, Anthony!
But Anthony Weiner’s weird psychosexual thrill from public humiliation seems honest in comparison to Spitzer, whose version of “contrition” gives off a distinctly Charlie Sheen vibe.

NYCHA tenants should be fingerprinted: Bloomberg

The remarks from the mayor came during a weekly radio appearance on how to keep the city's public housing safe. His comments were immediately slammed by Democratic mayoral candidates, including Bill Thompson, who said 'Just like stop-and-frisk, this is another direct act of treating minorities like criminals.'

Comments (57)

 Mayor Mike Bloomberg insisted during City Hall press conference that the nor-easter was no reason to call evacuations of shore areas, other than medical and nursing facilities for only a fear of losing power. Nov. 7  2012.

Todd Maisel/New York Daily News

City public housing tenants should all be fingerprinted, Mayor Bloomberg said Friday, sparking an uproar from Democratic mayoral hopefuls.

City public housing tenants should all be fingerprinted, Mayor Bloomberg said Friday, sparking an uproar from Democratic mayoral hopefuls.
“What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in," Bloomberg said during his weekly appearance on “The John Gambling Show” on WOR-AM as he spoke about ways to improve safety in public housing.
Within an hour, mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson likened the fingerprinting idea to Bloomberg's stance on stop-and-frisk, and called it "disrespectful" and "disgraceful."
"Just like stop-and-frisk, this is another direct act of treating minorities like criminals,” Thompson, a former city controller, said in a statement. “Mayor Bloomberg wants to make New Yorkers feel like prisoners in their own homes."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday during a radio appearance that tenants of New York City Housing Authority buildings should be fingerprinted to improve safety.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday during a radio appearance that tenants of New York City Housing Authority buildings should be fingerprinted to improve safety.

The candidate, polling third among likely voters behind Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, said his plan for policing New York City Housing Authority buildings includes stepping up police patrols and installing more security cameras.
De Blasio called Bloomberg's fingerprinting idea "outrageous." He also demanded that the mayor apologize to NYCHA residents.
"The mayor's comments that New Yorkers who enter public housing should be fingerprinted is outrageous and insulting, and shows just how out of touch this administration has become," he said in a statement. "Mayor Bloomberg needs to apologize for these remarks."
The fingerprinting comments were slammed by Democratic mayoral hopefuls, such as Bill Thompson, who said they were ‘disrespectful’ to minorities.

Ignard Karel Maria ten Have/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The fingerprinting comments were slammed by Democratic mayoral hopefuls, such as Bill Thompson, who said they were ‘disrespectful’ to minorities.

In his radio remarks, Bloomberg also defended the NYPD’s stop-and frisk policy and said most residents in public housing want a larger police presence. He slammed Manhattan Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin for her ruling earlier this week that stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional.
"What does she know about policing? Absolutely zero," he said of the judge.
“Your safety and the safety of your kids is now in the hands of some woman who does not have the expertise to do it."

Friday, August 16, 2013

Poll Shows New Yorkers Deeply Conflicted Over Bloomberg’s Legacy

Fifty-five percent of New Yorkers surveyed this month said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg cared “some” or “a lot” about the needs and problems of people like themselves.
Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
Fifty-five percent of New Yorkers surveyed this month said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg cared “some” or “a lot” about the needs and problems of people like themselves.
Michael R. Bloomberg’s health initiatives have won over New Yorkers, but the public is less enamored of his overall mayoralty or his handling of education, a New York Times poll found.

Interactive Graphic: New Yorkers’ Views on Their Mayor and His Programs

The latest New York Times Poll asked New Yorkers to take a look back as Michael R. Bloomberg’s three terms as mayor of New York City comes to a close.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Simeon Golar, Who Fought for Public Housing, Dies at 84

A Strategist Is Mourned by the Names He Mentored

Bill Lynch, a potato farmer’s son who became known as the genius behind David N. Dinkins’s mayoral victory, died on Friday.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Debating Live on TV for the First Time, Mayoral Rivals Take Aim at Quinn

Jousting over term limits was among the highlights of the night, and no mention was made of a new poll suggesting that Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, had pulled ahead of Christine C. Quinn in the race.

Poll Finds de Blasio Pulling Ahead in Mayoral Primary

Poll Finds de Blasio Pulling Ahead in Mayoral Primary

A month before the Sept. 10 primary in the New York City mayoral election, Bill de Blasio has passed Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Anthony Weiner admits sexting scandal has hurt Huma's career, but she'll still have a role in potential Hillary campaign

2013 NYC Elections

Democratic mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner acknowledged that his sexting scandal has hurt his wife Huma Abedin's career, but said she will still have a role if Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2016. Meanwhile, a NYC food truck chronicling the scandal has been spotted.

Comments (6)

Anthony Weiner on BuzzFeed Brews with Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith

Anthony Weiner spoke about his wife's career on BuzzFeed Brews.

Anthony Weiner says he’s hurt his wife’s career — but she’ll still have a role if Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2016.
Asked at an event hosted by the online publication BuzzFeed if he knew what his wife, Huma Abedin, would do in a potential Clinton campaign, Weiner said he did but added: “I’m not telling you.”
Weiner's latest texting scandal is painted on the side of an NYC food truck.

Jason Webber / Splash News/Jason Webber / Splash News

Weiner's latest texting scandal is painted on the side of an NYC food truck.

He acknowledged his scandal has hurt her ascendant career in Clintonland. “It’s hurt her professionally, it’s hurt her personally,” he said.
The art on the food truck alludes to Weiner's sexting scandal.

Jason Webber / Splash News/Jason Webber / Splash News

The art on the food truck alludes to Weiner's sexting scandal.

But she’s still sticking with his campaign, he insisted.
“She’s helping out every day,” he said.
Elements of Weiner's scandal, such as his online alias 'Carlos Danger,' are referenced in the art.

Jason Webber / Splash News/Jason Webber / Splash News

Elements of Weiner's scandal, such as his online alias 'Carlos Danger,' are referenced in the art.

As for the Clintons themselves, he said he last spoke to them “months ago.”
Weiner said his busy schedule is cutting into his time for therapy after his serial sexting with women online.
“I see my therapist when I can. It’s tough on the campaign trail,” he said.
“Apparently you never go out of therapy. They have this thing where you just remain in forever,” he said.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Racial Discrimination in Stop-and-Frisk

A federal court rejects unconstitutional overreach by the Bloomberg administration

Bronx Borough President Rubén Diaz Jr. Announces Re-election Campaign

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Political World Marks Bill Lynch's Passing

Bill Lynch, 72, Democratic Strategist in New York,...

Condolences are flooding in with word of the passing of veteran strategist and former Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch, who died Friday afternoon at age 72. Here is a sampling of words from those who mourn him:
bill lynch and david dinkins.jpgFormer President Bill Clinton and Former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton: "Bill Lynch had a heart even bigger than the city he served. Whether he was fighting for working families at AFSCME or running political campaigns or working in City Hall, Bill always put people first. He was a friend to both of us over many years. We admired his integrity and his generosity, including his support for scores of community and philanthropic organizations. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mary and their family. New York has lost a champion and they have lost a loving husband and a devoted father."
Mayor Bloomberg: “Bill Lynch stood at the center of one of our city’s most important moments, the election of David Dinkins as New York City’s first African-American Mayor. He sought to better our city by bringing people together and served as Deputy Mayor because he wanted to make a difference for New Yorkers. He spent his life passionately pursuing his ideals – civil rights and social justice. Many of the most influential political leaders – here in the city and also on the national level – sought his counsel. He lived a remarkable life, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Former Mayor David Dinkins: "Over eight years, four as Manhattan borough president and four as mayor, much that was accomplished was because of Bill Lynch.
"It was he who persuaded me, in 1989, to run for Mayor, and I shall be eternally grateful for that which he helped me accomplish. Bill, who was sometimes referred to as the 'rumpled genius,' was the architect of so much that I’m credited with having accomplished during our administration. He had a genius for connecting people of common interests and goals, and for the political game and behind-the-scenes strategy. He was a genius but, more than that, he was a dear friend and I will miss him dearly."
NYC Controller John Liu: "Bill Lynch is a true friend and mentor to generations of countless mentors, leaders, trailblazers, organizers and activists. Words cannot express the deep grief felt throughout New York, including the Team Liu Family of which Uncle Bill is the patriarch. I would not be where nor who I am today without Bill Lynch."
NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: “Bill Lynch was a giant in New York City politics, and – on a personal level – a mentor and a friend to me for the last 25 years. Sometimes we were on the same side, sometimes we were on opposite sides, but he was always on the side of economic and social justice for New Yorkers. He inspired two generations of activists and public servants to make a difference in this city. He will be sorely missed by many, including Chirlane and myself. Our hearts go out to his entire family.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn: “Today, we mourn the loss of true champion for progressive causes and one of the sharpest minds that New York government and politics has ever seen. Bill Lynch dedicated his life to making New York City a better place. As a Deputy Mayor under Mayor Dinkins, Bill played a critical role in facilitating Nelson Mandela’s historic visit to New York City in 1990.  Bill was a fighter for equality and the embodiment of a New Yorker: tough, smart, and fiercely loyal to the City he loved. Bill was my friend - he was a one of a kind New Yorker, and he will be sorely missed.”
bill lynch windows.jpgManhattan Borough President Scott Stringer: "Bill Lynch was a giant in so many ways, and the news of his passing brings sadness to all of us who knew him, who worked with him and respected his enormous achievements. He was a prominent and historic figure in New York politics, an immensely talented political consultant who guided David Dinkins to victory in his 1989 mayoral race. He built an extraordinary coalition in that campaign, and the ability to forge consensus became a hallmark of his multi-faceted career: He served Mayor Dinkins as Deputy Mayor for Intergovernmental Relations, becoming his chief aide and adviser; he helped bring the Democratic National Convention to New York City in 1992, and he organized the City’s welcome ceremony for Nelson Mandela.  Bill Lynch fought long and hard for racial justice, and he was a tireless champion of the City’s working men and women. We will miss his courage, his intelligence and his commitment to serving the people of New York. Like many, I have lost a dear friend today – and my thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.: "Peggy and I are among the countless New Yorkers who lost a friend, a teacher and a member of our extended family today with the passing of Bill Lynch. Bill worked relentlessly and until his final days to make New York a fairer and more open place. His accomplishments forever changed the landscape of New York for the better, and he will be deeply, deeply missed across our city."
Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright: "New York and the entire nation lost a true virtuoso yesterday, whose impact and legacy will live on for generations. It was Bill who gave me my first job in politics, running the Harlem Office of then-Borough President David Dinkins. Since then, I can recall strategizing with him on most any topic. Bill was also the engineer behind my father's successful campaign for Supreme Court in 1979, of which Harlem, the City of New York and the Black Community is forever grateful. Our friendship withstood many years of politics and I loved him dearly. A brilliant football player, an invaluable mentor and one of the greatest labor organizers that will ever be, Bill Lynch will be missed by many."
Former Controller Bill Thompson: "I lost a friend today. And the city lost a giant. Bill Lynch was a brilliant strategist and thinker - that was unmistakable from the moment he entered a room. And his body of work, including his tireless effort to help elect political leaders across New York City, most memorably David Dinkins, tells his powerful story. But Bill always understood that politics is about people. He didn't just help elect leaders full of heart and vision and know-how, Bill served. He had a deep belief that government could be a tool to improve the lives of New Yorkers. Bill Lynch lived by that belief. No matter what the challenge, he persevered. Even though he left us today, Bill and his voice will continue to guide our city and its people to a better place."
The Rev. Al Sharpton: "National Action Network and I are heartbroken over the passing of Bill Lynch. We lost a brilliant political strategist and the 'Godfather'of the Harlem political establishment. Bill was not only one of the most astute political minds in the country, he was a political father to many and worked with National Action Network for over twenty years on some of the most pertinent issues of our time. Bill believed in mentoring young people and it came easy for him because he believed in putting people and community first and said: 'When you do that, you always win.' Bill Lynch personally mentored countless young strategists who now hold key positions including National Action Network's own National Field Director LaMon Bland. Bill has been a revered advisor to some of the great humanitarians and elected officials of our time."
Bertha Lewis, President, The Black Institute: “I am heartbroken. Today, a great man has passed and I am deeply saddened by the loss of yet another mentor and friend to our community. A lot of what I know about Politics and Organizing, I learned from Bill Lynch. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest political minds of our era, and will forever be known as a giant in politics. He was a legend on the gridiron and on the gritty streets of Harlem and his passing creates a huge chasm in our City and our Nations political fabric. I am honored to have known, learned and worked with him. Bill was a master political architect who was a key link between the Civil Rights Movement and electoral politics. The effects of his genius touched as far as South Africa and its abolishment of Apartheid and the world mourns his passing. The hearts and minds of The Black Institute are with his family and our friends at Bill Lynch Associates.”
Hector Figueroa, President, 32BJ/SEIU: "32BJ joins the many others across the country saddened by the passing of our brother, comrade, and friend Bill Lynch. Our movement lost a singular warrior today. Bill's years of visionary work with labor, political leaders and the black community are unparalleled, and the fruits of his many endeavors will live far beyond him. Bill believed in the transformative powers of democracy and political engagement and was an unwavering champion in the ongoing fight to get unheard voices heard. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones. Bill, we will miss you."
Scott Levenson, The Advance Group: “It is with heartfelt condolences and deep sadness that we mourn the passing of Bill Lynch. He was a mentor, teacher and leader to so many of us. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family and our colleagues at Bill Lynch Associates.”

Eydie Gorme y El Trio Los Panchos

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Emilio's: Ixtapa en Querétaro

Emilio's: Ixtapa en Querétaro

¿Cuántos de ustedes han visitado el restaurante Emilio’s, en Ixtapa? Con sus tradicionales pizzas hechas en horno de piedra y ambiente abierto y fresco, este lugar llegó a Querétaro: hace un año en Juriquilla, y hace 3 semanas en el Centro Histórico, en la calle 5 de mayo. Este lugar se caracteriza por ser un restaurante de cocina italiana “casual”: “no intenta tener la elegancia de los otros restaurantes italianos. Es un lugar para todo género al ser accesible en precios y gustos”, nos cuenta Agustín Aguilera, gerente de operaciones de la nueva sucursal.

Hace 20 años en Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, el lugar fue inaugurado por Hugo Gaona y María Elena Fernández.  Aunque comenzó siendo un restaurante pequeño como para luna de miel, el local fue llenándose más de solicitudes de ansiosos comensales, por lo que se trasladó a Ixtapa y se hizo una ampliación importante. En esta nueva localización, a lo largo de los años el restaurante italiano comenzó a ser famoso tanto por los locales como por los visitantes que frecuentan la playa guerrerense. Estos últimos fueron los que solicitaban a los dueños que se abrieran nuevas sucursales en los diferentes estados de la República. Sin embargo, no fue hasta que Hugo y María Elena vinieron a Querétaro, que se dieron cuenta de que sería una buena ciudad para extender su negocio. Por eso, hace aproximadamente un año abrieron el Emilio’s de Juriquilla. Un día, mientras caminaban por el Centro Histórico de nuestra ciudad vieron una casa en la Avenida 5 de mayo que pensaron que sería un buen lugar para otro restaurante. Esa casa es donde ahora se encuentra la nueva sucursal. Sobre esto, Agustín nos narra que fue un esfuerzo muy grande por parte de los dueños el abrir este nuevo local.

En cuanto a donde está ubicado, Emilio’s “el de Ixtapa” -como reza en la entrada- se encuentra en una casa que data del siglo XVIII y es monumento protegido por el INAH. Por esto mismo, se ha tenido especial cuidado en mantener la esencia histórica, arquitectónica y cultural de la casa, que además le da un toque artesanal que va de acuerdo al concepto. “La gente estaba muy asustada porque pensaron que iba a ser un antro o un bar, pero se alegraron de que fuera un restaurante”, dice Agustín.
No pierdas la oportunidad de tener todo el sabor y el ambiente de Ixtapa aquí mismo en Querétaro. Disfruta de todo el sabor de sus pizzas artesanales hechas en horno de piedra, una buena copa de vino, y la tranquilidad de un lugar fresco y al aire libre. Perfecto lugar para ir con los amigos, al familia y el novio o la novia.

Precio Promedio por Persona: $250 (con copa de vino).
Dirección: Av. 5 de Mayo #92 (un poco más abajo de Doña Urraca).

Pol’s 16G dining tab

Pol’s 16G dining tab
  • Last Updated: 4:34 AM, July 22, 2013
  • Posted: 2:44 AM, July 22, 2013
Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein really knows how to pile on the pork — not to mention the beef, pasta and chicken.
Klein, leader of the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, spent $16,672 in campaign funds dining at posh restaurants with colleagues, staffers, campaign donors and people doing business with the Legislature, a Post review has found.
That’s more than double the $7,633 that Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos spent on wining and dining in the first half of 2013, campaign reports filed with the state Board of Elections show.
Klein chewed the fat with pals at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in upstate Troy near the state capital — spending $2,114 on an end-of-session blowout that was billed in his report as a “conference dinner.”

Shannon DeCelle Jeff Klein
It was the biggest dining bill in Klein’s extensive list of eateries frequented.
But Klein’s favorite eatery by far is Albany’s swank steakhouse Angelo’s 677 Prime, just blocks from the state Capitol. Angelo’s boasts Kobe beef, which costs $15 an ounce and a 400-bottle wine list that charges $2,800 for a Napa red.
Klein had a dozen trips there, including tabs for dinner ”meetings,” feeding staffers and fund-raisers.
The senator also schmoozed at eateries in his Bronx district and Manhattan.
The tab for five meals at Roberto’s on Arthur Avenue in The Bronx came to $780.56. He paid $392.92 for a dinner meeting at The Algonquin hotel in Midtown.
The food bills were a drop in the bucket for Klein, who raised $787,859 in the reporting period and had a campaign balance of $1.353 million.
“These expenses, which include staff dinners, fund-raising meetings, and late nights at the Capitol, represent only 2 percent of the dollars raised this period,” said Klein spokesman Eric Soufer.
Soufer also said out of an abundance of caution, Klein buys the meals, not donors or those with whom he does legislative business.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bananas thrown at Italy's first black minister Cecile Kyenge

By Holly Yan, Lauren Russell and Boriana Milanova, CNN

July 29, 2013 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge -- pictured in June -- is Italy's first black government minister.
Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge -- pictured in June -- is Italy's first black government minister.

  • Cecile Kyenge has been the target of death threats and racist antics
  • She became Italy's first black government minister in April
  • Newspaper editor says the bad economy has contributed to racial tensions
(CNN) -- Racist taunts against Italy's first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, took another ugly turn over the weekend when someone hurled bananas at her during a rally.
Kyenge's appointment as Italy's minister of integration three months ago isn't sitting well with right-wing radicals whose racial slurs and antics have overshadowed her tenure.
The banana incident is just the latest.
It took place Friday in Cervia, where Kyenge was speaking to supporters. A man popped up out of the crowd and launched two bananas toward the podium, Kyenge spokesman Cosimo Torlo said.
The bananas fell short of the stage, landing between the first and second row of spectators.
Giancarlo Mazzuca, chief editor of the daily newspaper Il Giorno, was sitting two chairs away from Kyenge.

Italy's 1st black minister faces racism

"I was able to verify which levels can be reached by human stupidity," he wrote in a column.
Police haven't found the person who hurled the bananas. There will be increased security around the minister, Torlo said.
Kyenge shrugged off the episode -- as she has with the other incidents.
In a Twitter post, she called it a sad waste of food when so many people are dying of hunger.
Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to Italy in the 1980s to study medicine. She became an Italian citizen and is an ophthalmologist in Modena.
While her ascent to a top government position reflects the success of immigrants, it also has stoked nativism.
Ominous mannequins
Just before Kyenge arrived for Friday's rally, a group smeared blood-red paint and anti-immigrant messages onto mannequins.
"Immigration kills," read signs attached to the dummies.
The far-right political group Forza Nuova ("New Force") claimed responsibility for the mannequins.
The scene was also littered with fliers that said Italy's future growth depends on "protecting the Italian identity," according to the ANSA news agency.
Insults from other politicians
Two weeks ago, Italian Sen. Roberto Calderoli likened Kyenge to an orangutan. Calderoli, a member of the anti-immigration Northern League party, made the remarks at a political rally.
"I love animals -- bears and wolves, as everyone knows -- but when I see the pictures of Kyenge, I cannot but think of, even if I'm not saying she is one, the features of an orangutan," he was quoted as saying.
After his comments were published, Calderoli said "if I've offended her, I apologize."
"It was a joke, a comment in a joking way. There was nothing particularly against her," he said. "It was just my impression. ... It is all very well that she be a minister but in her own country. Given that this government needs to govern Italy, I hope that it is done by Italians."
Kyenge responded diplomatically, saying Calderoli "does not need to ask forgiveness to me, but he should rather reflect on the political and institutional role that he carries. It is on this that he needs to make a profound reflection also to then apologize."
She added, "Also, he must go beyond putting everything on a personal level. I think the time has come for us to study the problem of communication."
Death threats
Kyenge has also received death threats before visiting an area where the Northern League is powerful.
A local politician recently said on Facebook that Kyenge should be raped so she can understand the pain felt by victims of crime, which some politicians blame on immigrants.
She's been called a "Congolese monkey," "Zulu" and "the black anti-Italian." One Northern League official said "she seems like a great housekeeper" but "not a government minister."
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta appealed to Northern League leader Roberto Maroni to "close this chapter right away."
Tensions over immigrants
Italy has been experiencing its highest level of unemployment in more than 20 years.
In tough times, some Italians focus their anger on immigrants, Mazzuca, the newspaper editor, told CNN.
"The economic crisis is worsening the situation," he said. "Jobs that until a few years ago wouldn't have even been considered by Italians are now becoming precious."
There have recently been more and more reports of Italians beating foreigners, particularly street vendors, Mazzuca said.
He said doesn't believe that Italians generally are racists and hopes Kyenge will be able to ease racial tensions.
"I really think that Kyenge is the right person in the right place," he said. "As an eye doctor, she is able to see in the distance."

News Analysis: When Politics Catches Up With ‘Portnoy’

Jewish politicians’ sex scandals are raising religious questions that could decide the outcome of races.
August 3, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weiner and Kabbalah

Anthony Weiner's troubled past goes beyond his member.His association with a controversial Rabbi raised eyebrows a few years ago. Weiner took to wearing the familiar Kabbalah bracelet and consulted with Rabbi Yosef Pinto. Pinto is now under house arrest in Israel facing money laundering charges.

June 13, 2011

Sexting Pol Anthony Weiner Follower Of Kabbalah Rabbi

Rabbi Yeshayahu Yosef PintoThe embattled Queens-Brooklyn Democrat is a follower of Rabbi to the Stars Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a self-proclaimed kabbalah scholar who puts death curses on his critics.

Sexting pol Anthony Weiner often seeks counsel with Rabbi to the Stars Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto
BY Reuven Blau • New York Daily News

Rep. Anthony Weiner might want to turn to his rabbi for more than spiritual support.

The embattled Queens-Brooklyn Democrat is a follower of Rabbi to the Stars Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a self-proclaimed kabbalah scholar who puts death curses on his critics.

The 37-year-old Pinto comes from a long line of Moroccan rabbinical royalty, only speaks Hebrew and refuses to meet with women. Weiner regularly stops by his classes and holiday gatherings, sources said.

In return, the rabbi has instructed his wealthy, largely Israeli, followers to hold fund-raisers for the pol, a staunch supporter of Israel and Jewish causes.

The list of Pinto-tied money bundlers includes high-powered lawyer Morris Missry and developers Zina Sapir and Haim Binstock. They held fund-raisers for Weiner that gathered $343,800 for his runs for mayor in 2009 and other elections, records show.

The rabbi grabbed headlines last summer when a picture of LeBron James holding his hand surfaced shortly after the basketball star chose to sign with the Miami Heat. James consulted with the rabbi for business advice.

Weiner also has occasionally attended classes given by the rabbi at his tony upper East Side headquarters on E. 58th St. off Lexington Ave., around the corner from Bloomingdale's.

In their private discussions, "they would talk about Israel," a member of Pinto's inner circle said. "They'd ask [Weiner] why Obama wasn't more supportive."

The Israel-born rabbi is also not immune to bad press. His townhouse is facing foreclosure, a top aide was linked to the porn business and a real estate broker on whom he placed a death curse plunged to his death from the 19th floor of the Jumeirah Essex House last June.

Solomon Obstfeld had rented at least one luxury apartment to the rabbi at a below-market rate, but the two men began feuding over late payments shortly before Obstfeld's sudden death.

Weiner is not the only congressman with deep ties to Rabbi Pinto. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-S.I.) and Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have both met with Pinto multiple times and collected thousands in contributions from the rabbi's followers.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weiner Scandal Puts Clinton Political Machine to the Test

Hillary Clinton's enemies are hoping the debacle in New York City will cast doubt on the potential 2016 presidential candidate — but her allies say she's handled it perfectly

Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin at the Open Government Partnership event in New York
Kevin Lamarque / REUTERS
Then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, in New York City on Sept. 20, 2011
Anthony Weiner’s floundering mayoral candidacy has tested the limits of political forgiveness, the patience of New Yorkers and the imaginations of tabloid headline writers everywhere. But it may also have served as the first test for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her allies as they weigh another run for the White House.
The Weiner drama has not only ensnared one of Clinton’s closest aides, Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin, but also reminded a scandal-weary public of the Clintons’ checkered past. After all, Clinton, whose 2008 campaign was plagued by infighting, finger pointing and worse, is no stranger to political — and sex — scandals. But the potential 2016 presidential candidate, supporters say, has adeptly managed the crisis from afar, distancing herself from Weiner through intermediaries and remaining quietly loyal to his embattled spouse.
“They’ve handled this perfectly so far — supporting Huma and using surrogates to blast Weiner,” says Adam Goldberg, a former special associate counsel to President Bill Clinton who handled the Monica Lewinsky investigation, and founder of crisis-management firm Trident Advisors.
(PHOTOS: Scandal, Storms and Weiner: The Best Political Photos in May)
Republicans are betting that Weiner’s antics will heighten voters’ sense of “Clinton fatigue” — that by 2016 they won’t want to relive eight years of high drama and investigations. But they have also seized on the Weiner affair as an opportunity not just to create a cloud around Hillary Clinton, but also her husband. Both Clintons remain tremendously popular, with the former President playing a potent role on the 2012 campaign trail, even overshadowing President Obama at last year’s Democratic National Convention.
Weiner only helped the GOP’s efforts when he implicitly compared his situation to Bill Clinton’s White House sex scandal. “Weiner’s comparison to Bill might’ve been fair, but it was bad form and bad politics,” says Goldberg. “Fair because what Bill did was so much worse, bad form because of the Clintons’ support for him, and bad politics because he further alienated every Hillary supporter and hurt his wife’s career.”
Clinton-world repaid Weiner with anonymous sniping from the pages of the New York Times to the New York Post, further accelerating his slide in the polls. The Post cited one New York Democrat as saying, “The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging — that Huma is ‘standing by her man’ the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did.” This provoked Weiner to insult his former patrons, further insulating them from his problems. “I am not terribly interested in what people who are not voters in the city of New York have to say,” he said in reference to the Clintons, the New York Daily News reported, a remark greeted with relief by those in Hillary Clinton’s orbit for creating public distance between the two camps.
That distance is now a gulf. The New York Times reported Thursday in great detail that Hillary Clinton’s ferociously loyal spokesman Philippe Reines swore at Weiner when he was informed of his post-resignation explicit communications. Reines then advised Abedin to distance herself from her husband’s campaign, the Times reported.
(MORE: A History Of “Sl#tb*g,” the Latest Unflattering Word Associated With Anthony Weiner)
But Hillary Clinton’s critics have also sought to use Weiner’s scandal as evidence of a broader trend in Clintonian politics. “The Huma-Hillary-Danger saga is déjà vu of some of the worst Clinton-land attributes,” says Tim Miller, executive director of the Republican America Rising PAC. “There’s anonymous leaking and infighting, an addiction to drama, and hunger for power over substance. Hillary’s nowhere on the big-issue debates of the moment but all over the tabloids. Democrats claim they’ve learned their lesson from the scandal-plagued ’90s and drama-soaked 2008 campaign, but the last week has been a replay of both. That doesn’t bode well for 2016.”
Even some Democrats admit that people in the Clintons’ orbit bring a lot of drama to the table. One former Obama campaign aide pointed to the bizarre leak about a Washington, D.C., dinner this week between Reines and Abedin to CNN. The source for the report was apparently deep enough in the inner circle to push back on assertions that the Clintons are “livid” about being compared to Weiner. The Obama aide said that if Hillary Clinton ran, the episode should serve as an example of just the type of process-driven drama to avoid.
Supporters insist Hillary Clinton made the right decision in standing by her trusted staffer. “Being loyal to Huma is important, I think, to show they can stick things like this out and be loyal to good people,” said one top Democratic communicator. “No drama from them here might show they’ve learned from the chaos, throw-people-under-the-bus approach of 2008.”
“As long as Hillary avoids photo ops with Huma in the next couple of months, this won’t affect Hillary’s run at all, and Hillary’s response simply reaffirms the lesson she learned long ago: fight back hard and fast,” Goldberg says. “That said, it’s impossible to see Huma having a high-profile campaign post if she and Weiner are still together — you don’t want people thinking Weiner photos when hearing your message.”
MORE: Anthony Weiner’s Brutal Week