Monday, April 8, 2013

"Tonight Show" and "Got Talent" Coming to NYC

"The Tonight Show" and "America's Got Talent" are coming to NYC.These moves will create jobs in NYC and enhance opportunities for NYC-based stars of the future.

Tonight Show

From AM New York:

Jimmy Fallon will be the next host of "The Tonight Show," which is coming back to New York.

NBC confirmed Wednesday that Jay Leno will end his 22-year tenure as host and pass the torch to Fallon after the network wraps up its coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The network said the show will return to New York, news that excited city and state leaders.
"It's the perfect symbol of incredible comeback we've worked to create in our city's film and television industry," Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The new "Tonight Show" will have a new set at 30 Rock. Leno, 62, and Fallon, 38, joked on their shows about speculation of their respective futures, and continued the wisecracks Wednesday in their statements about the announcement.

"I'm really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow," Fallon said.
"Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you're as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you're the old guy. If you need me, I'll be at the garage," Leno said.

The "Tonight Show" originally filmed in New York until 1972, when Johnny Carson relocated to Burbank, Calif. Bloomberg said it was natural for the show to come back to Gotham because its TV and film industry has been booming over the last decade.

There are 130,000 New Yorkers who work on TV productions, a 30% jump from 10 years ago, according to the mayor.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to extend the state's 30% tax credit for productions that includes a stipulation for major talk shows.

"The original 'Tonight Show' ushered in the modern era of television, broadcast here from New York. It is only fitting that as 'The Tonight Show' returns to our state, it will be headlined by New York's own native son and resident, Jimmy Fallon," Cuomo said.

America's Got Talent

From CNS News:

NBC's "America's Got Talent" is moving from New Jersey to New York City's Radio City Music Hall.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday.

The eighth season of the popular talent competition will air live from the landmark theater twice a week, starting July 23.

The show is relocating from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Cuomo says the move will create more than 500 jobs and generate $100 million each season. New York State recently extended its Film Production Tax Credit to attract television shows to the state.
Supermodel Heidi Klum was recently added to "America's Got Talent" as a judge.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Stop and Frisk Back in the Headlines

Last week, NYC's disgusting Apartheid stop-and-frisk program returned to the headlines as the new police chief endorsed the practice while admitting that he's been a victim of it.  

New Police Chief

Phillip Banks III is the ultimate Uncle. Tom.  He took time last week to endorse the use of stop and frisk tactics in NYC to harass and humiliate people of color in our city. But, he supports the racist approach to policing that Mayor Bloomberg has made the centerpiece of his mayoralty while admitting that the practice victimizes people of color. Phillip Banks III, as a person of color, has actually been victimized by the practice. Yet, he supports the practice fully and wishes to see his fellow New Yorkers suffer from it. 

All of us should have just as much contempt for Phillip Banks III as we do for Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg. In fact, one could argue that Phillip Banks III should be held in the highest contempt because he supports the racist stop-and-frisk program while possessing familiarity with the burden it imposes on law-abiding New Yorkers. Phillip Banks III knows that 90% of stop-and-frisk victims are people of color and that 90% of the stop-and-frisk victims are not even issued a summons. Moreover, Phillip Banks III knows that despite the stop-and-frisk programs avoidance of stops of white New Yorkers, those white New Yorkers who are stopped are twice as likely to have illegal guns or illegal drugs as the people of color who get the attention of the NYPD. 

While Bloomberg and Kelly seem to enjoy the Apartheid system for the control and power it affords them, Phillip Banks III enjoys the practice of actually subjugating his sisters and brothers throughout our great city.

So, Phillip Banks III must resign now. We cannot afford to tolerate the Bloomberg Apartheid a day longer. If Bloomberg, Kelly, and Phillip Banks III won't leave quietly, we must all raise our voices loudly and force them out immediately.

NYPD Inspector General

Predictably, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly opposes independent oversight of the NYPD. As the City Council looks to mandate an Inspector General for the NYPD to investigate police abuses, Ray Kelly states that such an approach would endanger the public. In essence, the public is only safe if the NYPD has unlimited freedom to break laws and violate constitutional freedoms. Of course, he's wrong. We won't be safe until his power is taken away. We'll only be safe when the NYPD is forced to respect the rule of law and reduce their abuse of people of color in our city. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Women and Minority Owned Businesses Left Out of NYC Contracting

New York City awards only 5% of its spending to women- and minority-owned firms, and the city's population has achieved an all-time high.

Rising Certifications

Bloomberg's reign as Mayor has resulted in a growing number of minority-owned and women-owned firms that are certified to earn business from New York City. In fact, the Bloomberg Administration says that more than 3,500 such firms have been granted certification during the Bloomberg Era.

Unfortunately, certification provides only the possibility of earning business from NYC and provides no guarantee of revenue.

Lack of Contracts

Manhattan Borough President (and candidate for NYC Comptroller) Scott Stringer issued statements focusing on the need to turn certifications into city contracts for women-owned and minority-owned firms.
In the last budget year, only 5% of the $10.5 billion the city spent on contracts — for everything from construction projects to paper clips — went to firms owned by minority-group members or women.
“The good news is the city has done a terrific job boosting these certifications,” said Stringer.

“The bad news is we’re still falling short where it counts — which is getting contracts into the hands of the minority- and women-owned businesses.”

Stringer said those businesses complain about often-confusing applications, the lack of notice about contracting opportunities and fees charged by some agencies to view bidding documents.
Large, well-established companies have years of experience navigating the process. But for fledgling businesses — which are more likely to be owned by minority-group members or women — the process can be overwhelming, Stringer said.

“The city is not doing enough to help the businesses navigate the bid process, which remains too complicated and too time consuming,” Stringer said.
In our country's largest city, the lack of revenue for women-owned and minority-owned firms is heartbreaking. Let us hope that the next Mayor makes a priority of bringing these firms into the flow of the spending of our tax dollars.

NYC Population Growth

Our city's population grew significantly since the 2010 Census and now stands at more than 8.3 million.
The city's population has grown by more than 161,500 people since 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated. The increase is more than the entire population of Kansas City, Kan.; Savannah, Ga., or Hartford, Conn.

Mostly, New York City's growth is due to a widening gap between the numbers of births and deaths as life expectancy increases, according to city planners' analysis of the census estimates. But an influx of foreign immigrants in the last two years also played a role by outdistancing the number of New Yorkers who left town.

Brooklyn saw the biggest growth among the city's five boroughs, gaining more than 60,000 residents, as people flocked to a borough increasingly seen as having all the cachet of Manhattan – if not more – with less of the cost.

Manhattan's population growth was second only to Brooklyn, and the luster of Manhattan continues to drive NYC to greater heights.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bloomberg Soda Ban Fizzles Out In Court

Earlier today, a New York State judge invalidated Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large sugary soft drinks.

Judge Tingling Invalidates Bloomberg Soda Ban

From the NY Daily News:

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling Jr. declared the ban “arbitrary and capricious,” agreeing with several soda and business groups that had challenged the prohibition in court.
The ruling was a stinging setback for the mayor, whose administration enacted the regulation in the face of criticism that he was turning the city into a “nanny state.”

The Bloomberg-backed city Board of Health approved the regulation last year, calling it a crucial tool to attack obesity. The rule forbid restaurants and certain other businesses from serving sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces.
In striking down the regulation, Tingling noted that the rule would have applied to all food-serving businesses regulated by the city, such as restaurants and movie theaters — but not to state-regulated establishments, like 7-11 convenience stories.
“The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule. It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city” and because it applies to some sugary drinks but exempts others, the judge said.

 The judge also said that only the City Council, not the Board of Health, had the power to approve the ban.

“One thing not seen in any of the Board of Health’s powers is the authority to limit or ban a legal item under the guide of ‘controlling chronic disease,” the judge wrote.

Because the Board of Health approved it, and not the City Council, the “rule would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it,” the judge said.

Businesses groups that filed the legal challenge hailed the decision. “The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban,” said Chris Gindlesperger, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, one of the plaintiffs.

Matt Greller of the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State said the group was “elated” by the ruling.

“This issue was never about obesity, nor about soda. This was all about power. The court rejected the Mayor’s attempt to unilaterally tell New Yorkers what to drink, and where to drink it. We are pleased that the Court’s decision shows that serious problems like obesity cannot be addressed by the imposition of an arbitrary and porous Mayoral fiat,” he said.

The Bloomberg administration vowed to appeal “as soon as possible.”

“This measure is part of the City’s multi-pronged effort to combat the growing obesity epidemic, which takes the lives of more than 5,000 New Yorkers every year, and we believe the Board of Health has the legal authority – and responsibility – to tackle its leading causes,” said Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo.

Hours before the judge’s ruling, Bloomberg had touted the ban as a national model. “Everybody across this country should do it,” said Bloomberg. And, he suggested, the crusade should not stop there. “In fact, obesity is a problem around the world,” he said. “It’s getting to be as serious if not more so than smoking.” He said tough moves are necessary because the obesity epidemic will “bankrupt” the healthcare system - and, he suggested, because fat people can’t do their jobs as well as those in better shape. He cited an economic hit because of “people who come to work and because they’re overweight just can’t perform as well as people who might be in better shape. Physical activity requires you to be in good shape.”

Bloomberg released new data Monday showing that the neighborhoods where people consume the most sugary drinks also have the highest obesity rates. Most of the neighborhoods are poor.
“If you go back to the 20s, you see these pictures of the old robber barons with their big stomachs out there - that was a sign of success,” Bloomberg said.

“Today those people are doing pilates and running in marathons and triathlons and if you look at where obesity is in the country, it tends to be in the people at the lower end of the economic ladder who don’t have the ability to take care of themselves as well, and if anybody will get helped by this, it’s them.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequester Comes to NYC

Last week, the Sequester began. Now, We look at the impact on New York.

What Is the Sequester?

The federal government has implemented across-the-board spending cuts totaling $85 billion in 2013 and $109.3 billion a year from 2014-2021.

The 2013 sequester includes these items.
  • $42.7 billion in defense cuts (a 7.9 percent cut).
  • $28.7 billion in domestic discretionary cuts (a 5.3 percent cut).
  • $9.9 billion in Medicare cuts (a 2 percent cut).
  • $4 billion in other mandatory cuts (a 5.8 percent cut to nondefense programs, and a 7.8 percent cut to mandatory defense programs).
Here are examples of specific program cuts in 2013.

  • Aircraft purchases by the Air Force and Navy are cut by $3.5 billion.

  • Military operations across the services are cut by about $13.5 billion.
  • Military research is cut by $6.3 billion.
  • The National Institutes of Health get cut by $1.6 billion.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are cut by about $323 million.
  • Border security is cut by about $581 million.
  • Immigration enforcement is cut by about $323 million.
  • Airport security is cut by about $323 million.
  • Head Start gets cut by $406 million, kicking 70,000 kids out of the program.
  • FEMA’s disaster relief budget is cut by $375 million.
  • Public housing support is cut by about $1.94 billion.
  • The FDA is cut by $206 million.
  • NASA gets cut by $970 million.
  • Special education is cut by $840 million.
  • The Energy Department’s program for securing our nukes is cut by $650 million.
  • The National Science Foundation gets cut by about $388 million.
  • The FBI gets cut by $480 million.
  • The federal prison system gets cut by $355 million.
  • State Department diplomatic functions are cut by $650 million.
  • Global health programs are cut by $433 million; the Millenium Challenge Corp. sees a $46 million cut, and USAID a cut of about $291 million.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is cut by $55 million.
  • The SEC is cut by $75.6 million.
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is cut by $2.6 million.
  • The Library of Congress is cut by $31 million.
  • The Patent and Trademark office is cut by $156 million.

  •  New York Impact

    The impact on New York State is not insignificant, and some parts of the budget will face meaningful challenges. As Governor Cuomo has stated, however:
    "Financially it will not be as impactful on the state government as it would be on individuals because it’s more assistance that goes to individuals"
    Education cuts
    The sequester would cut $42.7 million from primary and secondary education in New York. About 590 teachers and aides would lose their jobs and 120 schools would lose funding. Special education would also lose $36.3 million, according to White House numbers. Special education would also lose $36.3 million.

    Meals for senior citizens
    Government-provided meals for senior citizens would see $1,447,000 in cuts in New York.

    Job cuts
    Up to 100,000 workers in the state could lose their jobs due to the sequester, a study from George Mason University estimated.

    Public housing cuts
    The New York City Housing Authority reported that sequestration could lead to a 9 percent loss of funding and a $110 deficit, reducing services by 20 percent.

    Monday, February 25, 2013

    Bloomberg to Blame in Teacher Evaluation Mess

    Mayor Bloomberg is the cause of the $250 million loss and the ongoing teacher evaluation mess that Governor Cuomo is attempting to clean up.

    Cuomo's Proposal

    Last week, Governor Cuomo proposed a solution to the hundreds of millions of dollars of lost educational funding created by the lack of a teacher evaluation program in NYC. Cuomo has proposed that New York State be empowered to impose a teacher evaluation system on NYC if NYC cannot adopt such a program by June 1.

    In New York State, every community must have a teacher evaluation system or forfeit its New York State education funding. Our city has already lost $250 million in state education funding, and there is another nearly $500 million that our city will lose if there is no teacher evaluation system by September of this year.

    What Went Wrong

    Why is our education budget being undermined by lost funds? The answer is that we elected the wrong mayor.

    Mayor Bloomberg did not want to reach agreement with the teachers' union on the evaluation system.

    In a statement that the union president said was “painful to make,” Mulgrew said UFT and Department of Education negotiators had reached a deal overnight on how to structure and execute new teacher evaluations. But when they presented their agreement to Mayor Bloomberg this morning, Mulgrew said, the mayor rejected it.
     Bloomberg, of course, has a different story, but he has admitted that he rejected the deal that the DOE and the teachers' union initially found acceptable.

    Now, we are speeding toward a billion dollars of losses from the Mayor's unwillingness to compromise for the benefit of our city's children. Let us hope that the Governor is successful in fixing the problem by gaining control of it and balanced in the teacher evaluation system he imposes.

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    NAACP Takes on Bloomberg on Stop and Frisk

    The NAACP has called on Mayor Bloomberg to end his stop-and-frisk tyranny.

    NAACP and Stop and Frisk

    Yesterday, the NAACP made news by stating the need for stop-and-frisk to end immediately.
    The head of the NAACP took the pulpit of a Brooklyn church on Sunday to demand that Mayor Bloomberg end the controversial stop-and-frisk program before his term ends.
    “Mayor Bloomberg, I ask you, before you leave, repair the damage you have done,” pleaded NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. Addressing about 100 worshipers at Nazarene Congregational Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Jealous called for New Yorkers to “stand up” and tell the mayor, “There is no place for racial profiling.”
    The Next Mayor

    We will have a new Mayor in January 2014, and the NAACP is determined not to allow the next Mayor to abuse people of color the way that the current Mayor has for so many years.
    As Bloomberg's third, and last, term nears its end in January, Jealous said he expects the city's new mayor to oppose stop-and-frisk tactics, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Democrat announced recently that he's working to help stop the practice.
    If the new mayor doesn't do that, too, Jealous vowed that "we'll do a lot more than march."
    Stop and Frisk

    As we discussed last week, stop-and-frisk has been the topic we've addressed with the greatest frequency and with deepest concern. It is the topic that should be at the top of the agenda for any Mayoral candidate.

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Stop and Frisk Revisted

    Last week, a new set of data regarding stop-and-frisk activity in NYC in 2012 emerged. While much has changed, much has not. 

    Stop and Frisk History

    We have repeatedly urged an end to the unconstitutional, racist, and disgusting Bloomberg stop-and-frisk Apartheid system in NYC.

    Here is what we said in June 2011:

    More than any other issue we have highlighted, we have focused on Mayor Bloomberg's and the NYPD's obsession with stopping innocent people of color in our city.

    In March of this year, we focused on the payments that our city has made using our tax dollars to the victims of stop-and-frisk activity.

    In September of last year, we expressed frustration with the quotas imposed on NYPD officers by their superiors and how those quotas drive the stop-and-frisk abuses.

    In May of last year, we summarized all of our previous blogs regarding the stop-and-frisk outrage and noted, with alarm, that the often cited "fit the description" excuse for the stop-and-frisk abuses were not even the excuses that the NYPD actually lists for the horrible racism that drives their policing philosophy. The NYPD's own excuse for stopping hundreds of thousands of innocent people of color each year is that the stopped individuals were behaving suspiciously. There is no crime reported in the area and no description to fit. The act of being a person of color makes one suspicious to the NYPD, and the NYPD's race-based suspicions turn into stops.

    The Mayor and the NYPD continue to increase their racist tactics and intensify their abuse of communities of color, and non-racist people must stand up and oppose these abuses. If the Mayor will not end these practices, we must demand that the Mayor resign. No police force in our country should be permitted to abuse its citizens of color with such ferocious and racist dedication. We, as residents of the greatest city on our planet, must put an end to it.

    Stop and Frisk Constitutionality

    2012 Stop-and-Frisk Data

    * Cops made 685,724 stops in 2011, compared with 533,042 last year.
    * They used stop-and-frisk to take 780 guns off city streets last year, a 5 percent drop from 2011.
    * A total of 7,137 weapons were confiscated. The number of knives recovered was 4,970, a 15 percent decline from 2011.
    * There were also 1,387 “other” types of weapons recovered last year — a 12 percent drop from 2011.
    * Five percent of the stops last year ended with a summons being issued and 6 percent ended with an arrest, according to the new NYPD numbers. Those numbers are about the same as the 2011 figures.

    The New York Civil Liberties Union, a persistent critic of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, slammed the numbers.

    “These numbers show that the NYPD continues to stop, interrogate and humiliate innocent people far too frequently and that New Yorkers of color continue to bear the brunt of this indignity,” said NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman.
    Lieberman also said guns were found in only .01 percent of stops, calling the figure “an unbelievably poor yield rate for such an intrusive, wasteful and humiliating police action.”

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Remembering Ed Koch

    Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch passed away last week; we remember him today.

    New York Times Obituary

    The New York Times obituary tells the full story of Ed Koch, and it is a must-read summary of an extraordinary life of an extraordinary New Yorker. We will miss Ed Koch.

    Mayor Koch and the Black Community

    While Ed Koch remains larger than life, even in death, he had an uncomfortable relationship with the Black Community in NYC and in the world beyond NYC.

    The New York Times obituary provides insight into the tension:

    The scandals and the scourges of crack cocaine, homelessness and AIDS were compounded by a widening rift between Mr. Koch and black New Yorkers. The mayor traced his contentious relationship with black leaders to his first-term decision to close Sydenham Hospital in Harlem, where, he said, the city was paying too much for inadequate care. He would regret the decision.
    “It was the wrong thing to do,” Mr. Koch, who rarely second-guessed himself, said in 2009. Closing the hospital saved $9 million, he said, but “there was such a psychological attachment to Sydenham, because black doctors couldn’t get into other hospitals — it was the psychological attachment that I violated.”
    Black leaders were also unhappy with Mr. Koch’s decision to purge antipoverty programs and comments he made that they considered insensitive. He said, for example, that busing and racial quotas had done more to divide the races than to achieve integration, and that Jews would be “crazy” to vote for the Rev. Jesse Jackson in his 1988 presidential campaign after Mr. Jackson’s 1984 reference to New York as “Hymietown” and his call for a Palestinian homeland in Israel.
    In a city where minorities had long held grievances against a largely white police force, Mr. Koch’s 1983 appointment of Benjamin Ward as New York’s first black police commissioner hardly appeased critics, and a series of ugly episodes came to symbolize mounting racial troubles.
    In 1984, a white officer with a shotgun killed a black woman, Eleanor Bumpurs, 66, as she was being evicted from her Bronx apartment; he was acquitted. In 1986, a gang of white teenagers assaulted three black men in Howard Beach, Queens, chasing one, Michael Griffith, to his death on a highway. And in 1989, a black youth, Yusuf K. Hawkins, 16, who went to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, to see a used car, was attacked by white youths and shot dead.
    Mr. Hawkins’s death came just a month before Mr. Koch faced Mr. Dinkins, the Manhattan borough president and the only black candidate, in the 1989 Democratic primary. By then, City Hall was lurching from crisis to crisis. The racial divisions, the corruption scandals, the failures to cope with crack and homelessness all contributed to a sense it was time for a change. Mr. Dinkins, pledging to bring the city together again in a “gorgeous mosaic,” narrowly defeated Mr. Koch in the primary and went on to beat Mr. Giuliani, who ran on the Republican and Liberal lines, by a slender margin in the general election.
    “I was defeated because of longevity, not because Yusuf Hawkins was murdered six weeks before the election, although that was a factor,” Mr. Koch wrote in New York magazine. “People get tired of you. So they decided to throw me out. And so help me God, as the numbers were coming in, I said to myself, ‘I’m free at last.’ ”

    Monday, January 28, 2013

    Manhattan in the Spotlight for the 2014 Super Bowl

    Though the Super Bowl in 2014 will be played in New Jersey, the focus of the events and activities associated with the Super Bowl will be Manhattan.

    Super Bowl Boulevard

    Last week, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled Super Bowl Boulevard, a section of Broadway from 34th Street to 44th Street that will be only be for pedestrians for the four days prior to the 2014 Super Bowl.

    As stated in Crain's
    "The ten blocks will be the site of a massive fan event called the NFL Experience, which will offer free activities such as football clinics and competitions, outdoor concerts, player appearances and possibly, according to sources, a toboggan event."

    Key 2014 Super Bowl Events in Manhattan

    The most important events will be held in Manhattan:
    "The media center at the Sheraton New York Times Square, which will accommodate more than 5,000 credentialed members of the media and the media party, which will be held at Chelsea Piers on January 28; The Friday Night Party, known as NFL House, a hospitality center for business partners of the event, will also take place in Manhattan."
     As Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer stated in 2010, "This is gonna set New York City on fire in the best way."

    New Jersey Benefits As Well

    New Jersey will share in the excitement:

    "New Jersey will host both teams as well as Media Day on Jan. 28 and the NFL's Tailgate party at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Feb. 2" in 2014. "The Super Bowl is not a game anymore. It's really a week of events," said Roger Goodell, National Football League commissioner. "We expect hundreds of thousands of people to come to this region for the game. Other folks are here to be entertained."

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Four More Years

    Today, President Obama celebrated his second inauguration.


    As we learned that NYC's own Shaun Donovan would remain in his post as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for another four years and listened to Republican Congressman Pete King call his Republican colleagues "disgraceful," we saw NYC's own Chuck Schumer lead the inauguration ceremony while giving it a decidedly New York flavor.

    "I am using it as an opportunity to highlight the best of New York," said Schumer.


    The choice for the benediction at the inauguration changed in order to address anti-gay remarks made by the original choice for the benediction.

    President Obama's 2013 Inauguration Speech

    The entire inauguration address is available to be read online, and it includes some striking thoughts:
    It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. 
    We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Gov. Cuomo Leads on Gun Control

    Governor Cuomo's State of the State speech included an inspiring statement of support for reducing gun deaths. 

    Cuomo Leads from the Front on Gun Control

    Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State speech included passionate calls for new legislation to reduce gun violence. He spoke about gun deaths in Newtown, Connecticut and demanded that the state legislature “reject the extremists” and “save lives” by sending him "sensible” gun control measures to sign into law. 

    Governor Cuomo's eagerness to bring the “strongest assault-weapons ban in the nation” to New York State is backed up by a desire to impose a ban on high-capacity magazines. “It’s simple -- no one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer and too many people have died already."

    “End the madness now. Pass safe, reasonable gun control in the State of New York. Make this state safer. Save lives. Set an example for the rest of the nation. Let them look at New York and say this is what you can do. This is what you should do."
    Cuomo 2016?

    Some political experts are seeing Cuomo's push for gun control legislation as a move to build support from his left-of-center base in advance of his own re-election fight and perhaps a run at the Presidency in 2016. Cuomo took on unions and disappointed some Democrats by supporting (at least implicitly) the Republicans as they sought to remain in control of the state senate. 

    NRA vs. Cuomo

    The National Rifle Association, of course, opposes Cuomo's call for increased gun control legislation. But, the NRA is wrong about gun control and is particularly wrong on New York State's influence over the rest of the country. While the NRA says that increased gun control in New York will not influence other states, the reality is that New York is indeed a state that can drive national debate. 

    We praise Governor Cuomo for demonstrating the courage to take on the NRA and for having such a clear vision for a safer New York and a safer United States. 

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Bloomberg Takes Anti-NYC Stance on Sandy Relief

    In a disgusting move, Mayor Bloomberg has sought to support the Republican majority in the US House for its decision to block emergency relief for victims of Sandy.

    Sandy Relief Blocked

    Last Tuesday night, as the fiscal cliff vote neared, the US House took the $60 billion Sandy relief bill off the list of bills to get a vote before the end of the 112th Congress. The package had already received the support of the Senate and was assured of a Presidential signature. But, because the 112th Congress didn't pass the bill, it must start over in the 113th, which will, at a minimum, cause major delays. Beyond the delays, the Republicans seem to be planning to significantly reduce size of the package. They belatedly approved less than one-sixth of the amount requested and approved by the Senate and by the relevant House committees.

    While aid after Katrina was just two weeks after the tragedy began, Sandy victims are still waiting for aid more than two months after this latest natural disaster.

    Bloomberg Criticizes Sandy Aid Package

    From Politicker:

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who previously declined to slam House Speaker John Boehner over Congress’ stalled Hurricane Sandy aid, took his argument to the next level this morning and suggested federal lawmakers are partially to blame for the delay in the vote on the package because they insert “things that are totally extraneous” into bills such as this. Although Mr. Bloomberg didn’t specify the extraneous problem items, the legislation has been criticized by Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan for being “packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C.”

    “There’s this ‘Christmas Tree effect’ where legislators put in their favorite bills and tack them onto something. The [Obama] administration does that, that’s why you have an omnibus bill–to force everybody to vote for things that would never stand up in the light of day if they were individual,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “I’m sympathetic. Yelling and screaming at [Mr. Boehner] is just not my style. It may be effective, it may not be. Everybody’s got to make their own decisions. I think the legislative leaders who criticize and those in the Legislature should stop and think, they do exactly the same thing in terms of ladling on things that are totally extraneous but it’s the only way they get them through.”

    Mr. Bloomberg’s relatively subdued stance places him at odds with the overwhelming majority of the politicians in the New York region in recent days, with one exception in the form of Councilman Dan Halloran. But while name-checking several politicians, including Governors Andrew Cuomo and Christie Christie, as well as Congressman Pete King, who “worked hard” on the bill but have subsequently vented loudly at Mr. Boehner, Mr. Bloomberg reiterated that it’s simply not his “style.”

    Bloomberg Opposed Obama Visit After Sandy

    Perhaps we should not be surprised that Mayor Bloomberg is not eager to see the Sandy relief make its way to NYC. He was the only leader in the areas affected by Sandy to state that he did not want the President to visit and survey the damage.