Saturday, June 30, 2007


The immigration bill struggles along. A victim of debate and political opportunism. But elsewhere in the world, people are resolving their differences.

O’Bama’s Irish Roots?

DUBLIN, Ireland, June 29, 2007

Ireland elected its first black mayor Thursday, the latest sign of how rapid immigration is changing this once all-white nation. Rotimi Adebari, a Nigerian who arrived in Ireland seven years ago as an asylum-seeker, was elected unopposed to lead the council of Portlaoise, a bustling commuter town west of Dublin. Adebari, 43, who has been an independent politician on Portlaoise Town Council since 2004, was backed by both the right-wing Fine Gael party and left-wing Sinn Fein. Adebari, who planned a post-election party Friday at the new parish hall in Portlaoise, called it "a great honour to become the No. 1 citizen of the town."

Less than a decade ago, a black person in Ireland risked being stared at, so rare was the sight of visitors from different racial backgrounds. But Ireland has absorbed more than 30,000 asylum seekers - particularly from Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria - since the mid-1990s, a wave attracted by Ireland's booming economy and its relatively lax immigration rules. These days, West African entrepreneurs run shops in urban Dublin and other Irish towns and cities, and social activists like Adebari are encouraging the newcomers to integrate into their communities.

"I got involved in the community and I volunteered. It gave me the opportunity to meet people firsthand and they got to know me," Adebari said. "We all have to make an effort to reach out to one another." Adebari traveled to Ireland with his wife and two boys in 2000 and claimed asylum on the basis of religious persecution, citing bloody clashes between Christians and Muslims in his homeland. His application was rejected because of insufficient evidence he had personally suffered persecution, but he gained residency because his third child, another boy, was born in Ireland.

Asylum-seekers flocked to Ireland in part to gain European Union citizenship on the basis of having a child born in the country. Ireland in 2004 stopped granting citizenship to foreign parents of an Irish-born child, a law that had been unique in Europe. Adebari said he had trouble finding work at first - in part because of an Irish law that bars people from working while they are seeking asylum. So he volunteered at a local tennis club, helped found a lobbying group for unemployed people in Portlaoise and ran for office, winning a council seat on his first try in 2004.

Since then he's finished a master's degree in intercultural studies at Dublin City University, founded a consultancy advising authorities and immigrant groups on how to work together, and hosts a weekly radio show on his local station, Midlands FM. "I want to encourage immigrants to be a force in their communities, to engage with their communities," he said. "People will get to know you. Their perception of you will change just like that. That's what happened to me."

Monday, June 25, 2007


A previous YFP post entitled Bloomberg's Gas Congestion, was misleading. The car in the video is that of City Council speaker, Christine Quinn. Readers attributed it to Mayor Bloomberg. YFP apologizes for the misunderstanding.

However, that does not let Mayor Bloomberg off the hook. He travels in a small fleet of large blimp mobile style suvs. And for all of his accolades regarding energy efficiency and a more "green" conscious NYC, his motorcade doesn't do much for the ozone layer.

The picture on this page, above, shows perhaps what he should be driving if he wants status, safety and fuel efficiency. The video clip displaying Bloomberg's blimpmobiles speaks for itself.


Rudy Giuliani may have ducked the lightining around the CNN studios in a previous debate. But, he did not fare as well with the wrath of a Catholic bishop. The following article is from Catholic News.

CNA: Bishop replies to Giuliani solicitation with scathing letter criticizing Catholic candidate’sbortion stance


Catholic News Agency (
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CNA) – Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence received an invitation in the mail recently from Rudy Giuliani, inviting the Catholic leaders to a fundraising dinner for his U.S. presidential campaign.

But Bishop Tobin did more than just politely decline. Instead of sending a non-descript RSVP to inform Giuliani that he would not attend, the prelate wrote him a scathing letter to turn down his offer. According to the official newspaper of the Providence Diocese, Rhode Island Catholic, Bishop Tobin was already greatly “distressed” before he received the invitation to the fundraiser and was planning on writing about the matter already.

“But then I received an invitation to attend a fundraising luncheon for presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, and that absolutely confirmed my decision,” he explained. Bishop Tobin said he felt he needed to write a response. “I have no idea why I received an invitation to Giuliani’s fundraiser. I don’t know the [former] mayor; I’ve never met him. I try to avoid partisan politics. But most of all, I would never support a candidate who supports legalized abortion.”

The bishop said the politician’s “public proclamations on abortion are pathetic and confusing. Even worse, they’re hypocritical.” Giuliani previously provided explanations of his position on abortion stating that he had two pillars of belief. “One is I believe abortion is wrong. I think it is morally wrong. … The second pillar that guides my thinking … where [people of good faith] come to different conclusions about this, about something so very, very personal, I believe you have to respect their viewpoint.”

Reacting to this statement, Bishop Tobin wrote, “Rudy’s explanation is a classic expression of the position on abortion we’ve heard from weak-kneed politicians so frequently in recent years: “I’m personally opposed to but don’t want to impose my views on other people.”
“The incongruity of that position has been exposed many times now. As I’ve asked previously, would we let any politician get away with the same pathetic cop-out on other issues: ‘I’m personally opposed to … racial discrimination, sexual abuse, prostitution, drug abuse, polygamy, incest … but don’t want to impose my beliefs on others?’”

Bishop Tobin also addressed the issue of how politicians’ decisions in the public sphere affect their relationship with the Catholic Church. “Rudy’s preposterous position is compounded by the fact that he professes to be a Catholic. As Catholics, we are called, indeed required, to be pro-life, to cherish and protect human life as a precious gift of God from the moment of conception until the time of natural death. As a leader, as a public official, Rudy Giuliani has a special obligation in that regard,” said Bishop Tobin. In the invitation for the event, mention was made of having a photo taken with Giuliani for $1,500.

Referring to this offer, Bishop Tobin told the organizers, “I won’t be attending the fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani. If Rudy wants to see me, he’ll have to arrange an appointment at my office. We’ll talk about his position on abortion. And if he wants a photo [of me], it will cost him $1,500 as a donation for the pro-life work of the church.”

Bishop Tobin’s letter was raised during the June 5 Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. Moderator Wolf Blitzer from CNN asked Giuliani about Bishop Tobin’s criticism of his position on abortion.

Just as Giuliani attempted to answer, lightning struck the building and caused problems to the sound system. When the former mayor tried to answer the question a second time, lightning struck the building again accompanied by a loud clap of thunder. When the other two candidates heard the thunder a second time they both slowly and quietly backed away from Giuliani. Making light of the situation, Giuliani quipped, "Look, for someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that's happening right now."


Mayor Michael Bloomberg marched in step to the annual Gay Parade in New York City. Bloomberg, a longtime supporter of gay rights sported a bright pink sweater matching the equally bright hue of city council speaker Christine Quinn. The speaker's name has become synonymous with Bloomberg's as of late. She is being groomed as his successor when his term expires. Bloomberg would not take any heat from the press or his sweater. He removed it, and his obligation to the fourth estate. The day was a time for walking, talking and gawking. Watch clips of this wonderful parade at:

Sunday, June 24, 2007


On June 22, (Friday), approximately a dozen people graced the steps of city hall to announce a drive to collect 15,000 signatures asking the mayor to run for president as an Independent. However, the coordinator for the petition drive, Frank Morano, forgot to tell the members of the media present that he is on the City Council payroll. He works for the newly minted Staten Island Republican Council Member , Vincent Ignizio. As far as one knows, Friday is a working day. Was Mr. Morano working for the mayor or for the City Council?

View the press conference at:


The NYPD RANT is a message board for police. It is predominantly racist and misogynist. However, occasionally a set of facts will present themselves and needs to be published for consideration. Truth comes in all forms folks. Here is a recent post from the RANT.

Registered UserPosts: 543(6/24/07 0:20)Reply
3 weeks and 5 dead so far at the 023 but crime is low..LOL
Funny how everyone on the inside knows things are bad but those on the outside are conned into believing that everything is hunky dory. Although I have been out of the loop for over a year I will confess that I too had started become one of those who believed that everything was going good. That was true till my good friend at the 23Pct called me to educate me on matters that go untold to the general public.

He reminded me of the numbers game that went on in crime analysis and how the true Kool aid drinkers labored hard and diligently for the C.O especially when CONN-STAT approached. He reminded me how charges on complaints would suddenly get downgraded and how complainants were called and harassed to change their stories. He further reminded me how some complaints would out right disappear or just get held over till the next round of Conn-Stat. My good friend took it upon himself to educate me of matters that the media did not care to broadcast or just did not pay much attention to.

Here are just a few of the facts the general public was not aware of regarding Spanish Harlem or Upper Cobble Hill as the Realtors are now calling it. The following persons were dispatched via numerous bullets in the course of 3 weeks. It took only 21 days to kill 5 citizens of Spanish Harlem. That is unusually hight but the Mayor nor the media seems to care that the days of the CRACK WARS are quickly returning. These are the incidents that took the lives of these supposedly great law abiding citizens:

1. Armed mugger killed via a well placed bullet to the back of the skull by another fine citizen after the deceased tried to mug the perpatrator of a hand gun. You are no to smart when you try to rip off a gun smuggler.

2. A drug dealing midget and his upstanding cohort were dispatched via a small posse of gun totting individuals who filled each dead individual with 9 bullets each. Seems to me that a small firing squad was dispatched to get rid of the small problem(pun intended).

3. 2 gun totting shining stars of the Shommburg development on 110 street and 5th avenue were dispatched in a hail of bullets when they took a small verbal dispute to the next level. 2 other upstanding skells were wounded as well. Thank god no officers were hurt.These are just those individuals that have died in this neck of the woods.

I don't want to shock the media but there have been a huge amount of incidents involving gun play in the confines of the 23pct that never go reported or just flat out get played down or made to disappear. My good friend told me of one incident that occurred on fathers day in which a group of thugs did a drive by on a homie that was standing on 20 feet from the 023 pct. My buddy informed me that over 10 shots were fired and numerous holes were made on the pct facade. He even stated that the C.O, whose windows face the very street in which the drive by occurred, dove under his desk after the gun fire erupted.

All this sounds shocking to me now but what is is more shocking is that the media did not pick up on this and that I was told that "NO" 61 was generated over this incident. You heard correct...a freaking drive by hit happens in front of the 023 precinct and no 61 is taken because no one was hit by the rounds. WHAT THE FVCK IS THAT ALL ABOUT!!!!!!! I could not believe my ears but another friend from my old command confirmed he incident and its final outcome.

One thing is for sure................CRIME IS UP AND CONN-STAT CAN NO LONGER HIDE THE FACTS(The dead bodies are piling up and they are unavoidable).GET READY FOR THE RETURN OF THE 80's when the Crack Wars gripped this city in a vise like choke hold.THANK YOU MR. MAYOR...AND THAN YOU POPEYE.


While Bloomberg promotes the congestion tax, perhaps he should promote a raise for cops. They will be very busy checking traffic and registration stickers. According to the Chaptzem blog, a ring counterfeiting registration stickers has seemingly operated under the radar.

BEWARE - If your vehicle was registered in Pennsylvania you may have a fake registration sticker. New York City Police are looking for cars with Pennsylvania plates that have a fake registration sticker. Apparently one of the DMV convenience service places in the Yiddishe area in Pennsylvania has been taking people's money and instead of registering their vehicle has been giving them fake registration stickers. New York City Police are set on busting this ring and are arresting anyone that has such a sticker. One such Yingerman was arrested with his wife present while driving his car with the fake sticker. The car was also towed off and impounded.

Leave Comment ---This article posted by Chaptzem : 9:38 AM


The D.A. of Quintana Roo, Mexico has invited 15 American FBI agents to Cancun next week for a seminar on sexual crimes against minors. The agents will instruct Mexican authorities on crimes such as sexual tourism involving minors, rape, and interviewing techniques.

D.A., Bello Melchor Rodriguez Carrillo, has been the subject of criticism involving his handling of the case of missing Israeli tourist, Dana Rishpy. In an attempt to shift the burden of the search away from Mexico, Carrillo floated a rumour of her sighting in Belize and the Honduras. Thereafter, disparaging statements were made regarding the expense of the search operation and the "gall" of her alleged frivolity. And despite his posturing as the "Bagdhad Bello" of Cancun, Dana never returned from her presumed adventure in the Honduras.

So, as of this week, the search for Dana will continue in Tulum and the Riviera Maya area in general. Carrillo will not be allowed to close the case as he wished . The wheels of Mexican justice turn slowly. But this time.......the world is watching.

Despite the public relations attempt by Carrillo, the underbelly of Cancun is alive and well. Click on:

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Armstrong Williams is a conservative Black talk show host and a third generation Republican. If that isn't bad enough, he sits to the right on the Republican agenda. A proponent of racial profiling, he practically personifies a walking oxymoron. His ignorance of Islamic terrorists is more lamentable than shocking.


Belgrade, 9 May (AKI) - The arrest of four ethnic Albanians, a Jordanian and a Turk in the United States on Tuesday on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack at the United States army base in Fort Dix, New Jersey, confirms the existence of a "white Al-Qaeda", Balkan terrorism expert Darko Trifunovic told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Wednesday. Trifunovic said the arrests showed "white Al-Qaeda at work." He compared the Fort Dix plot to a February attack in Salt Lake City when a Bosnian Muslim youth, Sulejman Talovic went on a shopping mall shooting rampage. Six people including Talovic were killed another four were injured in the attack.Trifunovic, a professor at Belgrade University's Faculty of Security Studies, was the first to develop a theory of “white Al-Qaeda”, which he said was introduced to the Balkans during 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia when thousands of 'mujahadeen' from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims.

Many mujahadeen have remained in the country, and are believed to been indoctrinating local youths with radical Islam and even operating terrorist training camps, Trifunovic said, quoting western and Balkans intelligence sources. Al-Qaeda has adopted a new tactics of using white European youths for terrorist attacks, “because of their non-Arabic appearance,” Trifunovic told AKI. "The strategy is to indoctrinate or poison the hearts and minds of youngsters to psyche them up for the future terror operations," Trifunovic said. "And that is exactly what is now happening in the United States,” he added.

The US authorities arrested three ethnic Albanian brothers from Serbia’s breakaway Kosovo province, Sain, Elvir and Dritan Duka, another ethnic Albanian, Agron Abdulahu, a Jordanian, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, and Serdar Tatar, a Turk. Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, New Jersey, said the suspects "were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible". Drewniak described the group as “Islamist militants from the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East,” who apparently had no ties to international terrorist organisations, but were organised on a local level.Several of the suspects said they were ready to kill and die ''in the name of Allah,'' according to court papers.

The defendants, all men in their 20s, reportedly include a pizza deliveryman suspected of using his job to scout out Fort Dix, three builders and taxi-driver. They were arrested while trying to buy AK-47 assault weapons and M-16s from an informant, authorities said. Many Balkan terrorism experts have been warning for years that Al-Qaeda had active cells in Muslim-majority Kosovo and a training camp in the village of Ropotovo. Kosovo has been under United Nations control 1999, when NATO airstrikes drove Serbian forces out of the province amid ethnic fighting and allegations of gross human rights abuses.

International officials have ignored the warnings and minimised the danger Al-Qaeda poses, according to Balkan analysts. In a joint NATO-Bulgarian report in March 2005, the head of Bulgarian state security Kirco Kirov cited Kosovo as a "direct source of regional instability and a hub for international terrorism." The report called for joint action by all European countries. The US authorities said that Abdulahu was a sharp shooter in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) before fleeing to the US. Fort Dix is a training ground for American soldiers and reservists before they are sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in 1999 it served as a shelter for thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo.

Serb immigrants’ web sites noted that US officials carefully avoided identifying the four ethnic Albanians as such, calling them only "Islamic militants from former Yugoslavia." A commentator on the SerbBlog said that Washington, which backs independence for Kosovo, is embarrassed by the discovery of the Fort Dix plot, "because the truth might mess up the PR for Kosovo Albanians getting to rip off a piece of Serbia to create their own country - a move that has the full support of the US State Department."

Belgrade military analyst Zoran Dragisic said the Fort Dix plot “once again shows that Islamist terrorism is highly organised - from Kosovo to America - and the US intelligence services know this very well." Dragsic expressed doubt, however, that the latest incident would change the American stance on Kosovo, “because Washington doesn’t change its positions easily."

As for Armstrong Williams....he should take heed to the theme song from the hit show "Cops".
"What ya gonna do when they come for you bad boy, bad boy...."

Watch Armstong rant in his video:


Forget the congestion tax. If Mayor Mike Bloomberg can enforce this law, he will garner votes from every party affiliate.

Keep it down: New York City noise regulations going into effect
Email this story
Printer friendly format
Associated Press Writer

June 22, 2007, 12:24 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- On a busy street corner in Manhattan, a cabbie lays on the horn as he struggles through rush hour traffic. A few blocks away, sirens blare as an ambulance races down the street. In the subway below, train screech to a piercing halt and an amateur dance troupe blasts hip-hop music on the platform.New York can be earsplitting.

But city officials say Gotham is about to get a little quieter when new regulations governing the loudness of jack-hammers, barking dogs, bar music and other auditory menaces take effect July 1. Even Mr. Softee will have to keep it down _ the ice-cream chain must now stop playing its omnipresent jingle when the trucks are stopped in residential areas.From wary bartenders to construction workers and dog lovers, New Yorkers are bracing for stricter rules about just how loud the city can be, and are wondering whether it's really possible to reduce the noise level.

"Last time I checked, this is New York," said Erik Foss, who owns the bar and gallery Lit in Manhattan's East Village. "I don't know how you make it quiet around here. It wouldn't be New York if it were silent."Noise-related calls to the city's 311 hot line have been increasing steadily the past few years and are the top complaint, said Emily Lloyd, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, which handles noise complaints. Noise calls this weekend alone were a record with 4,942 inquiries. In 2005 there were 38,660 noise-related calls, followed by 41,856 in 2006.

The main gripes were construction during the day, and barking dogs and loud air conditioners topped the list in later hours.On top of the irritation, noise is also bad for your health. The Environmental Protection Agency says people shouldn't be consistently exposed to decibel levels of more than 75. Heavy city traffic is regularly 85, an ambulance siren is 120, and the subway averages in the 90s."Noise is so pervasive in the city that people don't even realize it's happening," said Robyn Gershon, a Columbia University professor at the Mailman School of Public Health. "But it affects your health; it has a cardiovascular impact, causes sleep deprivation ... plus you can go deaf," Gershon said.The new noise code is the result of revisions made in 2005 _ the first time it was changed in more than three decades. Business owners, labor unions and nightclubs initially balked at the idea, but changed their tune as a final plan was worked out that they agreed was reasonable.

The old noise code relied on a way of measuring noise that was generally considered convoluted and too subjective. Essentially, an officer could ticket if the noise was unreasonable to a person of "normal sensibility."Officials will now use a "plainly audible" standard for bars and clubs, which means if a cop or an environmental protection enforcement agent is able to hear it 15 feet from the source, they can issue a ticket.It's still subjective, but city officials say it's a more common-sense standard that will hopefully result in fewer tickets, fewer arguments and less noise.

Also under the new regulations, a first-time offense, which costs from $3,200 to $8,000, can be waived if a bar or club submits a plan to muffle the noise."Really, I think it allows the nightclub to continue to be a great place to hear good music. It's just, the music has to stay in the club," Lloyd said.Most police precincts also have devices to measure noise, but officers often lack the time to work with calibrating the devices. If the noise complaint is persistent, DEP officials will take decibel measurements with a high-tech device that also measures bass, which bugs a lot of sleeping New Yorkers.Construction is a little tricker, because it's loud by nature. Under the new code, companies will be required to submit a noise-mitigation plan on any development project. That way, builders can plan ahead and include in their bids the cost of keeping noise down.

A first offense citation is between $875 and $1,400."We know they are always worried about keeping costs down," Lloyd said. "Hopefully this puts everyone at a level playing field."Loren Riegelhaupt, spokesman for Forest City Ratner Companies, the company behind the massive Atlantic Yards project that includes a new Brooklyn arena for the NBA's Nets, said keeping the sound down is good business."As part of construction you have to mitigate noise measures, and we'll do everything we're asked to do," he said. As part of the plan to stifle construction noise around the Atlantic Yards project, the company is buying double-pained windows and quiet air conditioners for about 700 nearby neighbors to help offset sound.

In some years, barking dogs were the most prevalent noise complaint, especially in the outer boroughs. A violation was issued if the barking became "unreasonable." The new code states an owner can be fined between $75 and $175 for a first offense if a dog barks for more than 10 minutes during the day, and more than five minutes at night.And there's never been a case that Lloyd can think of where Fido had to go.

Other parts of the code limit trucks and city vehicles, which have to be quieter in residential neighborhoods. That includes Mr. Softee, which can't play the jingle when it is stopped, but can when it is moving."New York is never going to be a really silent place," Lloyd said. "It's something that people have to get used to, and we can't turn New York City into Grover's Corners. We're trying to help create a good balance."Erik Foss, whose bar and gallery is in the middle of a residential neighborhood, says he already takes precautions to keep sound down, including soundproof curtains against the windows and a new sound system that allows him to set maximum levels which can't be changed by DJs or bartenders. And since he owns the building, he gives the upstairs renters a discount."We really are part of the community, and they know it," he said. "But the community isn't supposed to be a super-clean, quiet, suburban yuppiedome”

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Michael Bloomberg may be emphatic about traffic congestion tax, but he may have to employ a collection agency to enforce it.

US embassy owes Pnds 1.5 m for London congestion charges
Posted June 21st, 2007 by Tarique

London : US diplomatic staff in London have run up debts of nearly Pnds 1.5 million (Dlrs 3 m) through the refusal by the American embassy to accept congestion charges for the use of the city's roads, according to new figures.

In a written parliamentary statement published Thursday, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett revealed that the US topped the list of embassies refusing the pay the charge with 15,150 outstanding fines totaling Pnds 1,484,765 by April 3, 2007.

The second highest was the Nigerian Embassy owing nearly 700,000, followed by the Sudanese Embassy with Pnds 546,000 and the Japanese Embassy with Pnds 386,000.
The US embassy is in a long-running dispute with the Greater London Authority, insisting that the road toll is a tax and is claiming diplomatic privilege not to pay the fees that were introduced in February 2003 to ease London's traffic problems.

The figures also show that the US mission owes a further 60 outstanding fines amounting to Pnds 5,210 relating to unpaid parking and minor traffic violations.
Beckett said that there was a total of 5,484 outstanding parking and other traffic violation fines incurred by diplomatic missions in the UK last year that were valued at over half a million pounds.

Top of the unpaid parking violations was Saudi Arabia, with debts of Pnds 29,620, followed by China with Pnds 25,630, Sudan with Pnds 23,550 and Egypt with Pnds 20,065.
Figures released also showed that there had been 48 serious offenses allegedly committed by diplomats who were entitled to claim diplomatic immunity since 2002, whose cases were drawn to the attention of the Foreign Offices.

The majority of the offenses related to driving under the influence of alcohol, but cases also included one murder, possession of an offensive weapon, bribery, a rape and several indecent assaults including against children.
Top of the list was staff from Kazakhstan with six alleged offenses, followed by Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and South Africa with five each.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Mayor Michael Bloomberg surprised everyone by his announcement to leave the Republican party. It was an open secret that Mayor Mike has presidential aspirations but his announcement in California this week took some unaware. Some say that his timing was calculated as an announcement on the installment plan. He is allegedly gearing the public for his official declaration. Bloomberg's political posture in the last year has alluded to a national plan. His new religion of the environment has certainly turned heads and attracted admirers. Enough to place him in the good graces of Al Gore and other "greens".

Now what does all this mean. Well....the permutations are many. Bloomberg if he runs, has the potential to siphon votes from both parties. There are a number of disaffected people out there who are not satisfied with any of the candidates. Another question that has to be contemplated is if he will finish his term as mayor. Even though he states that he will, destiny has a way of rearranging the future.

Bloomberg is an accountant by trade. Methodical and pragmatic. He will measure his steps toward a potential presidential candidacy with precision. His cryptic change of party is the first in a sequence of Bloomberg methodology. If he gets a favorable return on his investment in this political switch, watch for more Bloombito Bombs. Remember, this is how the guy became a billionaire. Watch Mikey play the press at:

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a Traffic Congestion tax as a means of limiting cars coming into New York City. In addition to being a tax upon the working class, it is also counter productive. His pol pals who endorsed the tax at a recent news conference have yet to review their own efforts of improving traffic congestion and the environment.

Bloomberg, Christine Quinn and Adolfo Carrion are all chauffeured in luxury suvs. The effect of these vehicles on the environment has long been established. Several administrations ago, Sam Schwartz, now known as "Gridlock Sam" was transportation commissioner. Schwartz rode his bicycle to work. That was before the environmental movement and Bloomberg's blimp mobiles.

Sam knew the value of conservation before it became popular. Perhaps all should take a lesson from his wisdom.

Fuel Data For Chevy SUV

Fuel Tank Capacity: 31 gal.

EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway)
Automatic: : 15 mpg / 20 mpg

Range in Miles: (City/Highway)
Automatic: 465 mi. / 620 mi.

Bloomberg Takes SUV Motorcade to Green Car Event
Reprint Information

It's not easy going green.

Just ask New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He arrived at a green car initiative on Thursday at the American Museum of Natural History in a small motorcade of fuel-guzzling sport utility vehicles. After the event, the mayor told Reuters part of his trip was by subway.
"We drove here from 86th Street," Bloomberg said, indicating his motorcade. Nice try Mike!

NY resistant to congestion charge By Matthew Wells for BBC News Online in New York

More than half of New York City's politicians are urging mayor Mike Bloomberg to rule out any attempt to bring in London-style congestion charge. The plea from city council members based in the two biggest commuter boroughs - Brooklyn and Queens - is based entirely on a recent retail survey by the London Chamber of Commerce. Just under half of the UK capital's respondents said the £5 ($8) congestion charge had hurt their business, with over a quarter saying that they were considering relocating outside the zone.

Three-quarters of the businesses surveyed, added that the charge had not led to improved productivity -indicating that less congested roads don't necessarily lead to more efficient trade. The negative impact cited by the chamber of commerce, was gratefully received on this side of the Atlantic, by politicians who are anxious to stop a fiscally-challenged mayor from imposing more tolls and taxes on their voters.

Watch the politicians roll at:

Saturday, June 16, 2007


The uniqueness of baseball is not only the sport itself but those who play it. Our interest in the game makes us aware of the different cultures and countries from where the players originate. El Duque highlights Cuba, Hadeki profiles Japan and Melky Cabrera makes us aware of Haina, Santo Domingo. Haina is one of the most toxic places in the world. Little has been written about it. But much is to be learned. Only hours away from the American shore, it has the highest level of lead contamination in the world.

Potentially affected people: 85,000

Type of pollutants: Lead.

Lead Emissions from SmelterSite description: This highly populated area known as Bajos de Haina is severely contaminated with lead from a closed down automobile battery recycling smelter. The Dominican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, since its creation in 2000, has identified Haina as a national hotspot of significant concern. Various studies have found alarming lead levels in the Haina community, with blood and soil levels several orders of magnitude over regular limits. The contamination is caused by the past industrial operations of the nearby Metaloxa battery plant. Although the company has moved to a new site (which is contaminating a new neighborhood, albeit less populous), the contamination still remains.
Child standing on battery casingThe most common symptom of Haina’s pollution is lead poisoning, which affects children's health and development. Kaul tested children near the auto battery recycling plant in Haina. When the plant closed in March 1997, 116 children were surveyed, and again in August 1997, 146 children were surveyed. Mean blood lead concentrations were 71 µg/dL (range: 9–234 µg/dL) in March and 32 µg/dL (range: 6–130 µg/dL) in August. The study revealed that at least 28% of the children required immediate treatment and that 5% had lead levels >79 µg/dL. Only 9% of these children were under the WHO recommended 9 µg/dL for maximum concentration. The children were also at risk for severe neurologic consequences at the time of the study.

Another study released by the Chemical Institute of Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) found lead levels in inhabitants over 100 parts per million (ppm), whereas "normal" levels in children are considered to be 10 ppm and for adults 20 ppm. Birth deformities, eye damage, learning and personality disorders, and in some cases, death from lead poisoning have also been reported at a higher than normal rate due to contamination caused by the past operations of the battery plant.

Cleanup Activity: In early planning stages, with Blacksmith Institute advice and support.


Note: This site is included in the Top Ten as an example of lead battery re-processing facilities. These factories can be found in many major third world cities, and often leave a legacy of lead poisoning in their host communities. Haina is the most severely polluted site of this kind known to Blacksmith Institute.

J. Caravanos, R. Fuller. “Polluted Places—Initial Site Assessment”. Blacksmith Institute. (2006) February 22.

B. Kaul, R. S. Sandhu, C Depratt, and F Reyes. “Follow-up screening of lead-poisoned children near an auto battery recycling plant, Haina, Dominican Republic”. Environmental Health Perspectives. (1999). 107 (11)

“Industrial Waste Minimization in the low Haina River Basin”


Jerusalem Post Raising Funds for Rudy Giuliani?The Jerusalem Post (via e-mail) 6-12-07 Rudy Giuliani/Jerusalem Post
Posted on 06/12/2007 7:36:45 AM PDT by TitansAFC

Dear Friend,
As a longtime friend and staunch supporter of Israel during my entire public life, I want to share with you my deep concern for the Jewish state and ask for your support as I campaign to become the next President of the United States.

We are at a crucial moment in history. We are once again at a point where the free world's resolve in fighting evil is being tested.
In the 1990's, we had the blinders on with regard to Islamic terrorism. Coddling terrorists-even applauding for winning the Nobel Peace prize as was done with Yasser Arafat-is a policy we cannot return to.

Yet, these blinders are still worn by some people who wish to lead our country.
In neither of their debates did the Democrats mention Islamic fundamentalist terrorists and the threat they pose to our country. One candidate has even said that the global war on terror is nothing but a bumper sticker slogan. It makes the point that I've been making over and over again - that the Democrats, or at least some of them, are in denial.

I promise you that if elected President, I will make sure this country remains on offense against terrorism. But I need your help and support to get there. Will you consider giving $1,000, $500, $250, $100 or $50 to my campaign?

Israel and the United States share common values. We cherish freedom, democracy, and human life. Our shared values have attracted common enemies. The terrorists Israel is fighting are the same terrorists America is fighting, and we must continue to fight them together.
Last week Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced that the world would soon witness the destruction of Israel. This 2008 presidential campaign will determine how we deal with statements like these and the madmen who make them.
I stand by Israel and I'll never embrace a terrorist like Arafat, a tyrant like Ahmadinejad, or a party like Hamas.

Will you join me and support my campaign for President so we can continue to work together? Your contribution of $1,000, $500, $250, $100 or $50 will go a long way in helping us to ensure victory.

Please consider signing up for my email list as well. Doing so will keep you up to date on the latest news from my campaign.
A Giuliani administration won't accept business as usual. We will stay strong amidst the threats of tyrants and we will stay on offense against the terrorists.

Sincerely, Rudy Giuliani

The dogs of war have bitten Rudolph Giuliani. His strident rhetoric does nothing to encourage dialogue. The stronger the boasts, the greater the reserve of the opposition. Israelis grow weary of sending their children to fight. Muslims grow weary of desperation. The conclusion of this refusal to negotiate is in the following graphic video. WARNING! Not for the squeamish.


Here is the latest from a Cancun discussion forum. The information is based on testimony from an inn keeper and unknown others. Dana Rishpy is yet to materialize.

Search in:
All forumsCancun, Mexico forums
Report: Missing Israeli Tourist Believed in Honduras
In a Little Cafe... Joined: Feb 2003 Forum posts: 5,492 (7599988)
More about Dangers...

Posted on: 7:50 am, June 14, 2007

Local Cancun Papers are reporting that Mexican Authorities with cooperation from the Belize government now believe that missing Israeli tourist Dana Rishpy is alive and in Honduras with an American sought for questioning in her disappearance. The papers state that Mexican officials were allowed to cross into Belize and have located people and a hotel operator whom are claiming and have identified that Rishpy recently stayed there before heading towards Honduras.
The Israeli woman has been the subject of an international investigation after disappearing two months ago from the Tulum region of the Mexican Caribbean.

Cozumel Joined: Oct 2003 Forum posts: 6,138 (7600032)
for Cozumel
More about RobertSDF...
Posted on: 7:55 am, June 14, 2007


Just read that this morning. Must be a relief for the local officials who waited so long to start an investigation. Now looks like the pressure is off them.

Pittsburgh Joined: May 2005 Forum posts: 1,599 (7600269)
More about ttcl1...
Posted on: 8:18 am, June 14, 2007


Do they think this is a kidnapping or possibly a "whirlwind" affair?

Cozumel Joined: Oct 2003 Forum posts: 6,138 (7600321)
for Cozumel
Posted on: 8:22 am, June 14, 2007


As for me, I would doubt its a kidnapping. But just my opinion. But , as I said, must be a tremendous relief to Mexican authorities, who never really did much investigation until Israel got involved and put the case in the international press.

columbus ohio Joined: Oct 2004 Forum posts: 2,478 (7603666)

Posted on: 12:25 pm, June 14, 2007


I hope that it`s true and that she is in no danger. I have thought about her a lot lately. Hopefully she will eventually contact her family and let them know she is OK

nyc Joined: Feb 2006 Forum posts: 872 (7603727)

Posted on: 12:30 pm, June 14, 2007


I hope it's true and all those that jump the gun and started badmouthing Mexico would learn their lesson,if it is true and she eloped,i hope the authorities would do something and teach her a lesson.


The hack attack has been defeated. The video links have been restored. You can now look forward to even better videos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then compute the math on a five minute video. Que sigua la lucha! (May the struggle continue)

Friday, June 15, 2007


The link to selected videos has been "mysteriously" disabled. We are working on restoring it. In the interim, you can access YFP video by going to the Google Video search box. Type in the subject matter of the blog topic and the video will appear. The show WILL go on folks!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Last week, YFP received an anonymous post in response to an article titled, "New Evidence in the Dana Rishpy Case". Anonymous indicated that YFP misrepresented the facts. YFP would like to state the following:

To Anonymous:

Thank you for your interest in the Rishpy case. YFP is not attempting to indict Matthew Walshen in it's reporting. And yes, there are discrepancies in the Mexican newspaper reports of the Rishpy incident. For example, there are several variations of his name i.e. Wilson, Wilshin, Wilshing, Walshen. There are also several discrepancies as you indicated regarding his "abandoned" car. However, there are also discrepancies in regards to your account of Matthew's involvement.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "NEW EVIDENCE IN RISHPY CASE": It is also your responsibility as a "citizen journalist" to check facts before you spread the same unsubstantiated slander that Por Esto and the other local papers "report".

1)His last name is not Wilson (it is Walshen) and he is NOT the same person mentioned in the report linked above about a gang/drug bust.

2)His truck was not found "abandoned", it was found in front of the house he rented, where everyone in town knew he lived. The police broke the window to the truck to search it. He also bought the truck 3 WEEKS after Dana went missing and 3 WEEKS after he had contacted her parents to tell them she had disappeared.

3)He contacted her sister and her parents when she never showed up at the cabana they were sharing. He has been in contact with them and told them everything he knows. They have his full correct name, phone number, and email if they want to contact him for further questioning.

4)In the time between when he contacted her family and reported that she had not come back to the cabanas for her stuff, and the time when the cops showed up in Tulum looking for him, he was in the local grocery store every day, riding his bike around, talking and meeting with all kinds of people. He was very visible and clearly not hiding. He rented an apartment 50 steps from the main road in town and was seen in broad daylight in the main shopping center on a daily basis.

It is not yet known what happened to Dana, and everyone in this very small town feels very sorry for her and her family. We all hope she is found soon. Matthew should come forward and I think he will soon, but people should also remember that there is a very different legal system here, where the burden of proof is on the accused. Just because someone is wanted for questioning does not mean they are guilty or have even been charged, and it is certainly not responsible or fair to try him in the press as you seem to want to do here. Posted by Anonymous to Your Free Press at June 7, 2007 3:20 PM

YFP Response:

1. He did not contact Dana's sister.

2. He contacted Dana's parents 7 days after she was missing. She failed to return to her cabin

between March 30 and March 31st. Matthew called her parents on April 7th.

3. Dana and Matthew did NOT share a cabana. They only met on the same day that she


4. YFP is not making a judgment concerning Matthew's involvement. He and his supporters

are welcome to use this forum to express their views. We sincerely want to hear his side

of the story. That is only fair!

Dana Rishpy is still missing. It has been two months now. Matthew Walshen is missing also.

His friends are concerned for him. Dana's family keeps vigil. Someone out there has the answer.

You know who you are. Write us.......

See Dana's photos at

Click on Dana's video at:

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Mismanaging of Funding of the Ryan White Act, by Puerto Rican Government

“The tragedy of life saving medications not being delivered to people with HIV/ AIDS because of government mismanagement, as has been demonstrated in numerous governmental reports and news articles, is inexcusable. We cannot speak for activists in Puerto Rico, but we can demonstrate our support for their demands” said Rosa Colón from Unid@s Dandole Cara al SIDA: New York Chapter.

“Puerto Rican activists are demanding that the Commonwealth and San Juan governments distribute federal funds for AIDS through independent credible third party organizations. They are also seeking an infusion of emergency funds from the Puerto Rican and San Juan Governments to address the current life or death reality. Finally they are requesting Congressional oversight hearing and fact-finding as to what has gone so wrong in the way the Commonwealth and San Juan government are delivering health care services to people living with HIV / AIDS and what corrective action should be taken,” said Dennis deLeon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS.

The poor health conditions in Puerto Rico are causing people with AIDS who have lived in the island to move to the United States. “I was force to move to New York to receive AIDS medications and medical services. With so many medications that can prolong life, it really upsets me that my sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico have to live in a situation, which will lead to shorter lives. Why do they have to leave to live?” said Mr. Menendez, a patient from Puerto Rico. “If we don’t take care of the health care system in Puerto Rico we will then have to take care of our people here as demonstrated by the number of people that United Bronx Parents has flown in from Puerto Rico” said Lorraine Montenegro, Executive Director of United Bronx Parents Inc.

(Puerto Rico has a death due to AIDS of 16.4 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 4.9 per 100,000).
Click on video at:


Charles Hynes has always been a friend of the community. Click on to view the undercover video of this operation.


Brooklyn, June 7, 2007 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the arrest of 11 people charged with running illegal drug operations in Crown Heights. The investigation began in the summer of 2006, when community leaders, at a routine meeting with District Attorney Hynes, expressed outrage over the armed, organized drug dealers terrorizing their neighborhood.

“The responsibility of the District Attorney is to keep Brooklyn safe, and that starts with every block and street corner in every neighborhood,” said District Attorney Hynes. “When the residents of Crown Heights came to me to say that drug dealing was a problem on their streets, my office responded immediately, by coordinating with the NYPD to launch an investigation. I’d like to thank NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the NYPD for their help and hard work on this case.”

A joint investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD uncovered several independently operating drug gangs dealing narcotics at multiple locations throughout the section of Crown Heights surrounding the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Extensive video surveillance showed one dealer weighing out cocaine on a scale and another drug dealer using binoculars to monitor the block for police activity.
In addition to counter surveillance, the highly organized drug dealers used techniques such as changing clothes frequently to disguise their appearances and purposely neglecting to repair rotting and broken floor boards in drug stash houses, hoping to injure police in the event of a raid. While executing a search warrant, a KCDA Detective Investigator fell six feet through a damaged floor and broke her arm.

Last week, KCDA Detective Investigators executed 10 search warrants, and made 11 arrests. Detectives recovered three guns with ammunition, 600 grams of cocaine, six pounds of marijuana, pills, drug cutting agents, six scales, hundreds of bags for packaging, binoculars and radios for counter surveillance, and more than $17,000 in cash. This comes in addition to 700 grams of cocaine and two pounds of marijuana purchased by undercover agents, over the course of the investigation.

Those arrested range in age from 23 to 67 and face charges including Conspiracy in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree. They have all been arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court with bail packages ranging from $50,000 to $750,000. The top charges, Conspiracy in the First Degree and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, are both Class A1 Felonies which carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

KCDA Detective Investigators Kevin McAleese, John Beale, Edwin Murphy and Bill Pettie; Supervising Detective Investigators Jim Russell and Joe Piraino; Deputy Chief Al Lombardo; Assistant Chief Investigators George Terra and Jerry Zino; and Chief Investigator Joe Ponzi worked on the case for the District Attorney’s Office.

NYPD Sgt. Steve Talvi 77, Sgt. Frank Guarino of the Gang Division, 77th Precinct Deputy Inspector John Cosgrove, Inspector Robert Boyce of the Gang Division, Chief Michael Marino, Executive Officer Patrol Borough Brooklyn North worked on the case. Chief Gerald Nelson is Commanding Officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North.
Assistant District Attorneys Maria Barrera and Lawrence Oh are prosecuting the case. Suzanne Corhan is Chief of the Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau.
Contact: Jonah Bruno 718-250-2300
back to top

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Well....we almost had it right. In a previous post called the FRED EFFECT, we told you about the mellow Rudy. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it is his staff that needs a review.
Lepacek and Rudkowski were with Sabrina Rivera when she questioned Giuliani about WTC at the City Island campaign breakfast. See previous post titled the FRED EFFECT.

Aaron Dykes & Alex Jones / Jones Report June 5, 2007
Manchester, NH - Freelance reporter Matt Lepacek,
reporting for, was arrested for asking a
question to one of Giuliani's staff members in a press
conference. The press secretary identified the New
York based reporter as having previously asked
Giuliani about his prior knowledge of WTC building
collapses and ordered New Hampshire state police to
arrest him.

Jason Bermas, reporting for Infowars and America:
Freedom to Fascism, confirmed Lepacek had official CNN
press credentials for the Republican debate. However,
his camera was seized by staff members who shut off
the camera, according to Luke Rudkowski, also a
freelance Infowars reporter on the scene. He said
police physically assaulted both reporters after
Rudkowski objected that they were official members of
the press and that nothing illegal had taken place.
Police reportedly damaged the Infowars-owned camera in
the process.

Reporters were questioning Giuliani staff members on a
variety of issues, including his apparent ignorance of
the 9/11 Commission Report, according to Bermas. The
staff members accused the reporters of Ron Paul
partisanship, which press denied. It was at this point
that Lepacek, who was streaming a live report, asked a
staff member about Giuliani's statement to Peter
Jennings that he was told beforehand that the WTC
buildings would collapse.

Giuliani's press secretary then called over New
Hampshire state police, fingering Lepacek.
Though CNN staff members tried to persuade police not
to arrest the accredited reporter-- in violation of
the First Amendment, Lepacek was taken to jail. The
police station told that Lepacek is
being charged with felony criminal trespass.
Lepacek did receive one phone call in jail which he
used to contact reporter Luke Rudkowski. According to
Rudkowski, Lepacek was scared because he had been told
he may be transferred to a secret detention facility
because state police were also considering charges of
espionage against him-- due to a webcam Lepacek was
using to broadcast live at the event. State police
considered it to be a hidden camera, which led to
discussion of "espionage."

Wearing a webcam at a press event is not an act of
espionage. Alex Jones, who was watching the live feed,
witnessed Lepacek announce that he was wearing a
camera connected to a laptop that was transmitting the
press conference live at approximately 9:20 EST. When
Lepacek announced that he was broadcasting live,
Giuliani staff members responded by getting upset at
his questions and ordering his arrest.
Freedom to Fascism reporter Samuel Ettaro was also
dragged out after asking a question on Giuliani's ties
with Cintra and Macquerie, two foreign contractors
involved with the contentious Trans-Texas Corridor
under development in Texas.

The entire incident took place in a large press
auditorium, apart from the debate stages where
authorized media were able to question candidates and
their handlers.

Since when do campaign operatives have the power to
order state police to arrest someone on false charges
or arbitrate who has the right to conduct journalism,
a right guarded by the Constitution?
A warning to the press-- if candidates or police don't
like your questions, you could be arrested for
trespassing and even espionage in the new Orwellian

The state police in Goffstown, New Hampshire, where
the arrest was made, confirmed that Lepacek is in
custody on charges of criminal trespass. Police said
information on who filed the trespass complaint was
not yet available and would be filed in the police

It is clear from talking to multiple eyewitnesses, as
well as the live webcam, that there could not have
been a complainant who originated police action,
because it happened spontaneously. The police need to
be very careful about violating the Bill of Rights and
falsely charging someone with a felony crime. This
constitutes extreme official oppression and is a total
violation of the reporter's civil rights. It would
have been bad enough if the reporter would have just
been thrown out, but to arrest him when he had a valid
press pass and CNN protested his arrest is an outrage.
The arrest-- which clearly violated the First
Amendment-- was recorded from two separate camera
angles, including a live feed recorded remotely-- so
the episode is on record in the event that police
destroy or lose tapes seized from Lepacek in attempt
to obfuscate the facts of the incident.

If you doubt that police would assault reporters,
seize video equipment and act on political orders,
then consider the experience Alex Jones had when Texas
state troopers arrested him for asking George W. Bush
a question during a press conference while he was

Reporters Matt Lepacek and Luke Rudkowski, both
members of , as well as freelance
reporters for, have also been previously
accused-- falsely-- of being terrorists with bombs
and have undergone multiple episodes of harassment
during peaceful demonstrations and attempts at
exercising the right of free press .

UPDATE : Comments on both the message
board and Digg! report that indeed live audio
continued to feed from inside the police vehicle after
video was shut off by police. The live feed captured
the incident and arrest, but previous reports could
not confirm that the live report continued after
police confiscated the camera.


Friday, June 8, 2007


THE NYC OTB approved the hiring of former Senator Alphonse D’mato as a lobbyist for $15,000 a month. What a joke. They already have a lobbyist; they are an arm of NYC and they do not have enough cash to pay their current liabilities. Why does an affiliate organization of NYC have to hire an outside lobbyist to get things done in Albany. It is a sorry state of affairs when an organization set up by the government to benefit the government needs an outside lobbyist to get the government to approve changes to keep them from going bankrupt.

This Mayor has money for any development large or small (Atlantic yards, the #7 train, Yankee and Shea Stadium) but no money to give police officers a decent wage or to provide tax relief for the hundreds of thousand NYC residents who pay income tax to NYC but are exempt from taxes by NYS and the federal government. How can this be you ask? This is because the City is the stingiest when offering the benefits of the earned income tax credit to its constituents. As a result those with low income are exempt from federal and state taxes but must pay a tax to NYC. Tax breaks for millionaire developers but tax bills for poor people. The Earned Income tax Credit is known as the largest anti-poverty program ever in the U.S but NYC can offer no more than 5% of the credit for its residents that qualify. And how about the seniors who own homes and must pay property taxes but only have fixed incomes (social security)? Their property taxes are going up because assessments are going up not to mention the 18.5% tax increase Bloomberg added four years ago and yet the City squirrels away billions of dollars in case something bad happens and our seniors have less to live on.

It is obvious to me the Billionaire Mayor has total disregard for the poor.


After being exiled in April from Mayor Bloombergs news conference at the Blue Room in City Hall, Rafael Martinez Alequin was allowed to be present at a recent news conference. However, the billionaire mayor ignored him totally. He took no questions. Michael Bloomberg is not only the Mayor of New York City, but also he is also a media magnate. He practices censorship, like the Soviet Union, Iraq, and many other dictators around the world that get annoyed when journalists ask probing questions.

This is not only an issue that affects this writer, but an issue that must be dealt with in the twenty-first century. With the advent of the Internet, there are many journalist that are constantly informing the public about issues that pertain to government and politics. When the rights of one journalist are denied, they are denied to all. Watch Bloomberg ignore Alequin's questions at the following news conference:

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Participatory Nature of OhmyNews

Citizen reporters passionately committed to social change

by Ronda Hauben

Featured Writer, OhmyNews International

The following is a talk Ronda Hauben gave at the 57th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in San Francisco about OhmyNews on May 26, 2007.

Today I want to describe the creation and significance of OhmyNews as a model for a new form of journalism, for a journalism that is appropriate for the 21st century, a journalism that has been made possible by the Internet and the netizens.

I plan to present three different examples of OhmyNews (OMN) related experiences and then draw together their implications, toward understanding the participatory experience provided by OhmyNews.

As a featured writer for OhmyNews International (OMNI) I recently covered the 50th anniversary dinner in New York City of the Korea Society. One of the speakers at the dinner was Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill. He explained the problem of $25 million in funds of North Korean money being frozen as part of a U.S. Treasury Department proceeding against a bank in Macau, China, the Banco Delta Asia (BDA). This is a problem holding up the implementation of the six-party agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Hill committed himself to work on this problem until it was solved.

There were several Korean journalists covering the event for their
publications. They were particularly interested in what Hill said, but
Hill's talk in itself didn't seem to represent a newsworthy event.

In the next few days, however, it appeared that an important story was developing.

In the process of trying to unravel the unfolding developments I found one news organization that did a story about the legitimate activity the bank had engaged in for North Korea. The news organization was the McClatchy Newspapers. I also found links to some documents refuting the Treasury Department's charges.

I now had the documents in the case. The U.S. government's findings gave no specific evidence of wrong doing on the part of the bank. The bank's statements and refutation gave significant documentation refuting charges of illegal activity on the part of the bank. The refutation also made the case that there were political motives for the allegations rather than actual illegal activity on the part of the bank. The U.S. government had targeted a small Macau bank to scare the many banks in China. "To kill the chicken to scare the monkeys," as the government document explained, quoting an old Chinese proverb.

At last I had the news peg for the story. I wrote an article, submitting it around 5 a.m. my time to OMNI, using the software OMNI provides for submitting articles. By noon the next day, my story appeared on OMNI. (2) That was May 18.

Also on May 18, the Wall Street Journal carried an Op Ed by the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. The article scolded the U.S. government for agreeing to return the $25 million to North Korea.

Both of these articles with their opposing points of view could be found on the Internet by May 19 by those doing a google news search on the subject.

I wanted to share this experience here today in order to put the focus of the rest of my remarks about the Korean OMN, the English OMNI and the theme of citizen participation into an appropriate context.

OMN grew out of the experience of its founder Mr. Oh Yeon-ho and the vision he had for transforming the South Korean news landscape. For over 10 years, from 1988 until 1999, Oh was a journalist for an alternative South Korean magazine, the Monthly Mal. One experience Oh uses to help explain the impetus for OhmyNews is when he did a significant story which uncovered the facts about a massacre of South Korean civilians by U.S. soldiers that had taken place during the Korean War. Oh published his expose in 1994. The story had little impact. In 1999, however, some Associated Press (AP) reporters did a similar story. The AP story was picked up by much of the South Korean mainstream news media and treated like a breaking news event. The AP reporters won a Pulitzer Prize for the story.

Mr. Oh realized it is not enough to break a news story. What is judged as news in South Korea (and similarly in the U.S. I may add) is more dependent on the nature of the news organization reporting the news than on the newsworthiness of the story itself. Mr. Oh set out to change this situation by starting OhmyNews.

His goal was to transform the news environment in South Korea which at the time was 80 percent conservative and 20 percent progressive into an environment that was 50 percent conservative and 50 percent progressive. His objective was for the quality of the news to determine its coverage, rather than the finances of the organization publishing the story.

Mr. Oh describes how he recognized that the desire of netizens in South Korea for political change in Korea was reflected in the campaign for the presidency of a candidate who was not part of the political mainstream. Oh was determined to give this story the political coverage it merited. OhmyNews was the means to achieve this goal. The conservative mainstream press was hostile to Roh Moo-hyun. Never in the past had someone won the presidency without the support of the conservative mainstream press. Nevertheless Roh Moo-hyun won a surprising victory in December 2002 due to the active election campaigning for him by netizens and OhmyNews. Mr. Oh describes how when the election was over, reporters from the conservative mainstream press called him and other OhmyNews reporters and congratulated them for having made the victory possible.

In his book "The Rights of Man", Thomas Paine explains the problem of creating a government that will be democratic. The essence of democracy, Paine explains, is that the sovereignty of a nation lies in its people, not in the government officials. Democracy requires the participation of the people and also observation and control over a government by its citizens. The process of creating a constitution is to create the compact of the people that will be the basis for determining and overseeing the actions of government officials. Paine describes this lesson as the gift of the American revolution of 1776 and the French revolution of 1789.

We are looking at the same problem over 200 years later. It has become clear that the existence of a constitution is not adequate as a means for citizens to exercise their control over government officials. A peoples' or citizens' press is also needed as a means of exercising some of the desired control of citizens over their government.

A problem that has developed is that mainstream media organizations as Mr. Oh found in South Korea, often don't fulfill this important function of the press. Fortunately, there are many citizens today who feel the need for control over the abuse of power by government officials. These citizens are eager to participate in carrying out the role of the press as a watchdog over government officials.

In 2000 Mr. Oh was able to start the Korean language OhmyNews with a small staff of four reporters. By welcoming citizen reporters to write for OhmyNews, he was able to augment the content of the newspaper so it could be much broader than the limited finances and meager resources would have otherwise made possible. The staff has since grown as have the number of citizen reporters participating in OhmyNews.

There's a lot more I would like to be able to say about OhmyNews if I had more time. While OhmyNews (OMN) is published in Korean, an English edition called OhmyNews International (OMNI) is available so those who cannot read and write in Korean but who want to know more about OhmyNews can participate and in this manner, learn more about the concepts and practice of citizen journalism as developed by OhmyNews.

Citizen journalism as pioneered by OMN is the continuation of what Michael Hauben described as one of the gifts of the Internet. He wrote that the Internet "gives the power of the reporter to the netizen."(3)

Mr. Oh's vision and practice in creating and developing the Korean OMN is an attempt to give the power of the news media to the citizen, making it possible for news stories citizens uncover to get the needed support and distribution so as to be able to impact the policy agenda and decision making processes of the government.

In this context, OMNI gives citizens and journalists from countries around the world a taste of what it could mean if they had an OMN in their countries. Its intent is to be a catalyst for the creation and spread of other OhmyNews-like sites in other countries besides South Korea and then to support the collaboration among these diverse OMN-like sites. (There is already a version of OhmyNews in Japan.)

There is not yet an OMN in the U.S. So my story about the connection of the U.S. government's policy toward China and the U.S. government actions against the Macau bank is not yet likely to be able to impact how the mainstream news in the U.S. frames the story with North Korea and the six-party talks. But the need for a U.S. model of OMN becomes all the more urgent when one participates in OMNI and thus has the experience of exploring the potential of what it will make possible.

To sum up, Mr. Oh, describing citizen journalism at the OMNI forum in South Korea last July said:(4)

"Though we are an open platform accessible to everyone, not everyone can write a news story. Only those reporters who are passionately committed to social change and reporting make our project possible. The main reason that citizen journalism has not grown and spread more rapidly is the difficult task of finding and organizing these passionate citizen reporters in waiting."

Monday, June 4, 2007


Chief Michael Collins

Commanding Officer Public Information Division

NYC Police Department

1 Police Plaza

New York, New York 10038

Dear Mr. Collins:

We are writing on behalf of Rafael Martinez-Alequin to request a hearing before the Commanding Officer of the Public Information Division to challenge the Police Department’s denial of Mr. Martinez’s application for a Working Press Card. The grounds for the hearing are 1) the denial was arbitrary and capricious and 2) the requirements for obtaining a Press Card are unconstitutional.

Mr. Martinez-Alequin is the publisher and editor of The New York City Free Press a publication that provides readers with diverse opinions on issues related to poverty, racial and ethnic issues. In his capacity as editor/publisher of this publication, Martinez-Alequin has applied for, and has been granted, a Working Press Card since the early 1990s. Last year when Martinez applied for a Working Press Card the NYPD issued him a Press Identification Card without an explanation. Although the application that he submitted this year was virtually identical to those which he submitted in the past, Mr. Martinez was denied a press card this year.

The denial of Mr. Martinez-Alequin’s application was arbitrary and capricious:

On May 22, 2007, Martinez-Alequin received a form letter from Lieutenant Whyte stating that his application for a Press Card had been denied. The letter offered three reasons which failed to justify the denial. As such, the denial is arbitrary and capricious. In addition, the proffered reasons are possibly a pretext for an unconstitutional censoring of Mr. Martinez-Alequin’s probing questions and subsequent provocative analyses.

The first reason offered for the denial is that the application “Failed to establish that applicant is a full-time employee of a news gathering organization covering spot or breaking news events on a regular basis.” While it is true that the application doesn’t establish that Martinez-Alequin is a full-time employee of the type of organization described above, that alone is not enough to deny him a Working press card. Title 38, Chapter 11 of the Rules & Regulations of the City of New York, allows for those other than full-time employees of news gathering organizations to also qualify for a Working Press Card. It reads, “Newspersons (such as freelancers), not otherwise eligible for a Working Press Card, who demonstrate a need to cover the above-described spot or breaking news events on a regular and routine basis will be eligible for a Working Press Card.” Thus the first stated reason can not actually stand as justification for the denial of the Working Press Card.

The second reason offered for the denial is that the application “Failed to establish a demonstrable need to cover spot or breaking news events on a regular and routine basis.” Since Mr. Martinez has never been employed by a news gathering organization covering spot or breaking news events, we can assume that the issuance of previous press cards was based on a finding that he fell into the category of a newsperson (such as freelancers). As someone not employed by a large media organization he had the onerous task of showing that he needed to have access to these news stories in addition to proving that he actually was producing news stories. The standard for determining need is not defined in the statute. But in Martinez-Alequin’s applications prior to 2006, the NYPD apparently found that he established a need for a Working Press Card. Since the focus of his publication, and the content of his applications have remained unchanged, it can be assumed that a denial based on a failure to demonstrate need on this one occasion is arbitrary and capricious.

The third reason stated focuses on the procedural requirements of the application process. Again, Mr. Martinez-Alequin submitted the same material he has submitted on previous occasions. The application included a letter written by Martinez-Alequin, on his own behalf as a self-employed newsperson, on Free Press stationary introducing three tear sheets of applicable articles as required by 38 RCNY § 11-01. Thus, Mr. Martinez-Alequin has met the procedural requirements and this reason cannot justify the denial of his application.

Mr. Martinez-Alequin firmly believes that the denial of his application, as not justified by the above reasons, is the direct consequence of the questions he has raised at press conferences. If this is so, the denial is not only arbitrary and capricious and the reasons pretextual, but the government has engaged in unconstitutional retaliatory actions in response to Martinez’s protected exercise of his First Amendment rights.

It is important to note that this year the NYPD failed to offer Mr. Martinez a Press Identification Card in the alternative of a Working Press Card. A Press Identification Card is an official ID but one that does not allow journalists to cross police lines in emergency situations. Since Martinez submitted an identical application to the one submitted last year it is difficult to understand why he was denied a Press Identification Card this year.

The requirements for Press Cards are unconstitutional.

The NYPD offers two types of press cards as described above. The system for allocating these cards is unconstitutional in that it allows for too much unfettered discretion on the part of the NYPD and permits police to deny cards to journalists with viewpoints that are controversial, unpopular, or particularly disagreeable to the NYPD. The First Amendment was established specifically to prevent such situations from occurring. Moreover, the lack of standards for issuing the cards runs afoul of protected Due Process rights.

In order to qualify for a Working Press Card, journalists must prove that they either work for an organization that covers “robbery scenes, fires, homicides, train wrecks, bombings, plane crashes, where there are established police or fire lines at the scene” or they must show that they are freelance reporters with a demonstrated need for access to breaking news. The card then allows for these journalists to cross police lines.

There is no established standard to determine whether a freelance newsperson has demonstrated a need to cross police lines in order to qualify for Working Press Card. As explained earlier, Martinez was granted a Working Press Card prior to 2006 after the NYPD presumably determined he demonstrated a need and then denied his virtually identical application in 2007 while the focus of his publication remained unaltered. There are numerous examples of the arbitrary issuance of Working Press Cards where reporters who need access to breaking events are denied in favor those who don’t. Such a discrepancy indicates that, in practice, there is no definable standard. The nonsensical allocation of these cards constitutes a viewpoint based restriction on free speech.

There is an additional danger in allowing the police to determine which reporters are entitled to witness their performance in emergency situations and which reporters should not be admitted. The public relies on the press to monitor the actions of its law enforcement agencies in order to ensure that those with the most power do not abuse their mandate.

The NYPD offers a different and inferior card, the Press Identification Card, to media organizations that do not cover ground-breaking news events. The Press Identification Card is limited to individuals who are employed by “legitimate” news organizations. Where the Working Press Card is issued to all who work for organizations with the means to cover emergency events without scrutiny over the organization’s legitimacy, those lacking the resources to cover such stories are forced to prove their legitimacy to the NYPD. The lack of standards as to what constitutes legitimacy again raises issues of its unconstitutionality for due process/vagueness reasons.

By granting Mr. Martinez a Press Identification Card last year the NYPD determined that his publication was legitimate. If The New York City Free Press was legitimate in 2006, and has remained unchanged, there are no grounds for denying his card this year and the failure to issue the Press Identification Card was arbitrary and capricious and unconstitutional.

The legitimacy of a news organization cannot be based on its revenue or its circulation. Nor should those producing commercially viable and favorable news be given credence over organizations that subsist without advertising revenue. By requiring those that do not work for large media organizations with the financial means to cover ground-breaking stories to establish their legitimacy, the NYPD is engaging in viewpoint based restrictions.

Where reporters and journalists are divided into classes of those who cover breaking news and those who do not and offered benefits based on this divide, the result is an unconstitutional form of viewpoint-based regulations that rewards the large and mainstream publications over the small independent entities.

Further, it seems the NYPD is basing its determination of legitimacy on the type of medium it chooses to deliver its message. By stating, for example, that those that work for online news sources are less legitimate than those that print or televise their stories, the government is engaging in unconstitutional content based restrictions. The fact that an article is published in the form of a blog as opposed to printed publication is not relevant with regard to the protection it is entitled by the First Amendment. Indeed both Congress and state courts have moved to ensure that the guarantees of a free press extended to journalists who publish on the internet. Sincerely,

Norman Siegel Steven J. Hyman Rachel Nicotra McLauglin & Stern,

LLP260 Madison AvenueNew York, NY 10016(212) 448-1100

Click on Rafael's Rant at the following: