Friday, August 31, 2007


by Juan Gonzales for the NY Daily News
When the City Council approved the massive Hudson Yards development project in 2005, it gave the Bloomberg administration permission to condemn and acquire several parcels of land on Manhattan’s far West Side.

One of those parcels is a city-owned block along 42nd St.’s Theater Row, between Dyer and 10th Aves. The buildings there would be torn down to facilitate construction of the No. 7 line subway extension and eventually a new station on the site.

But the Council was never told the city had no intention of condemning the site.
The city had quietly decided last fall to sell it to one of this town’s biggest real estate developers, Stephen Ross, for the price of a song: $100,000. If it sounds like a sweet deal, Ross must have thought so: He and his partners, TRM Associates, paid $107 million for the lease rights to the property, and sources say they plan to build a 60-story building there.

Ross, chief executive of the The Related Companies, is a close friend and former business partner of Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff. He bought the site’s lease in early November in a federal bankruptcy court settlement from the partnership that controlled the block for 25 years. Among the small buildings on the block are the former West Side Airlines terminal and two off-Broadway theaters, neither of which produces much rental income.

But the block’s real value is its development potential, thanks to the city’s decision to build a new subway station that will have four escalators and two elevators emptying into it.
On the surface, it smacks of a back-room agreement. The city issued no press releases on its deal with Ross, and the settlement papers weren’t filed with the city Finance Department until Jan. 18 - the night before the Council’s vote. Bloomberg aides said last week that the lease sale was a private transaction, and that City Hall had no favorites.

But according to documents in the bankruptcy case, the Ross group won City Hall’s support as far back as July.

At the time, several developers were feverishly bidding to win control of the site. Theater Row Phase II Associates held the site’s lease but was in bankruptcy and owed the city nearly $14.5 million - making City Hall’s approval a necessity. The Theater Row group, headed by William Condren, had bought the site’s lease in 1980 for just $450,000.

After the sale, the Condren group paid the city $9.5 million to settle its debt, and walked away with a profit of nearly $100 million. One of the developers who competed with Ross for the lease was Robert Gladstone of Madison Equities LLC. His lawyers have charged in court papers that the negotiating process was unfairly skewed in favor of the Ross group.

Madison Equities points to an unpublicized July 22 agreement among the city, Condren and one of the partners in the Ross group, in which the city agreed to back the Ross partnership.
“There was never really a conversation between our side and the city,” a Madison Equities source said last week. David Burger, Condren’s attorney, scoffed at the claim and said Gladstone is a sore loser. As for Bloomberg officials, they insist their only concern from the start was for Condren to pay his debts. They added that the Ross group was the only suitor to agree to provide the city all the easements it needed to build the subway and the new station underneath the site.

“It not only cleared up a longstanding dispute, but it provided the city with money it was owed,” said Michael Sherman, spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corp., and “will allow the No. 7 subway extension to be completed.” But at the Council, all were shocked to learn about the secret sale of a property it had just approved for condemnation.

“It’s very surprising,” said Council's Speaker Christine Quinn, who took part in marathon talks with City Hall over the Hudson Yards plan. “When you don’t make complete disclosures, for any reason, it raises questions.”

Ross recently built the giant Time Warner headquarters at Columbus Circle. His side wouldn’t confirm plans to build a 60-story skyscraper. Jeff Blau, Ross’ second in command, would say only that it will be a “mixed use” commercial and residential structure.

Given the close relationship between Doctoroff, the city’s economic development czar, and Ross, it’s natural to ask if the deputy mayor had anything to do with the transaction. Doctoroff, once a co-owner of the New York Islanders with Ross, did not return calls for comment.

“Neither Doctoroff nor the mayor had anything to do with this,” said one city official involved in the deal. “[Doctoroff] is recused from any decisions involving Ross.
“It was a team decision,” the official said.


On Monday, Labor Day will be celebrated across the country. It is a day to salute "the worker".

While the economy inches toward a recession, the working class struggles on. Amidst the parades and promises of union leaders, a small revolt is taking place in New York City. Chinese and Latino delivery men are striking against their employers. Saigon Grill, Ollies and Flor De Mayo are the targets. They are profiled in an article in New York magazine. Here are some excerpts.

In New York’s expanding service economy, deliverymen occupy a position near the bottom—earning less than doormen, security guards, nannies, maids, tailors, taxi drivers, and trash collectors and working in far more treacherous conditions. They work long hours and cover huge territories, often in inclement weather, dodging perils like potholes, taxi doors, and tow trucks (one of which killed a deliveryman last year)—all the while hoping they don’t get robbed along the way. And they do this for pay that is often less than the minimum wage.
But that may be about to change. Since last fall, some 70 Chinese deliverymen—including Justin and his co-workers at Ollie’s—have filed lawsuits against five Manhattan restaurants. Never before have so many restaurant deliverymen joined together to battle their bosses. It’s the Year of the Chinese Deliverymen—the year they decided to revolt.

For their trouble, the deliverymen say they were paid a sum of money—typically $500 or $600 a month—that often had little relationship to the hours they worked or to the minimum wage. (In their lawsuit, the Saigon Grill deliverymen contend that some of them were paid as little as $1.70 an hour.) The rest of their income came from tips. The deliverymen say that customers usually tip $2 or maybe $3 per order. On a good night, a deliveryman could make $60 in tips. Depending on his base pay, he could earn between $20,000 and $25,000 a year.

The next time it is raining and you order take out, consider the man who brings it to you.



"We will not pay one penny for our First Amendment rights." This was the ANSWER Coalition¹s reply to the threat of having to pay a $10,000 fine if it refuses to tear down 65 posters its placed in Washington D.C., publicizing the Sept. 15 march and rally for peace. Nor does the coalition intend to remove the posters, which the National Park Service contends "deface" government property. The fines come after a campaign led by pro-war FOX News calling for the D.C. government to take action against those putting up the posters.

Similar posters from different commercial and political groups are plastered all around the city but only those calling attention to the peace event have generated official displeasure. The Sept. 15 event is backed by over a score of peace groups and coalitions, but ANSWER is the main organizer.The coalition urges peace supporters to take action by calling William O. Howland Jr., the city Director of Department of Public Works, at (202)673-6833, and DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, at (202) 724-8876, suggesting something like this:

"The government does not fine politicians who put up campaign posters, or commercial and business interests that plaster Washington with posters. It is outrageous that the city, in concert with FOX News, is attempting to suppress the antiwar movement. Stop the harassment. Stop the fines." There is a fascinating, brief video account of the poster affair by a Washington TV station at details about the Sept. 15 action found at and .) The websites also contain a provision for making a contribution to support the Sept. 15 events.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


(story originally published in Motherjones Magazine)
In February, a handsome 26-year-old named Ishmael Beah published A Long Way Gone, a bloody, moving memoir of how he went from being a guerrilla in Sierra Leone to getting adopted by an American woman and finally attending Oberlin College. The New York Times Magazine put him on its cover; Starbucks sponsored his 10-city book tour and prominently displayed his memoir in its outlets. Time sneered that we'd hit the "cultural sweet spot for the African child soldier."

This sudden fascination with photogenic survivors such as Beah seemingly reassures us that Africa's young fighters can be redeemed if only they step forward to share their stories or win the heart of a kindly Westerner. But most former child soldiers remain in the shadows, whether they're in West Africa or Staten Island, home to as many as 8,000 Liberian immigrants, and consequently what might be the largest concentration of child soldiers in the United States.

According to Staten Island community activist Rufus Arkoi, around one-fifth of the hundreds of young refugees he has met while working as a youth counselor and soccer coach were once boy soldiers. "They are reliving in their minds the violence and the roles they played. They think about the craziness they did," he says. "They talk easily to me—we are very friendly. Otherwise, they keep the acts they have committed to themselves."

Take Jonathan, a 20-year-old who lives in the borough's Clifton section. Jonathan joined his grandparents in the United States in 1998, one of thousands of young war refugees who, with the help of aid organizations and the U.S. government, were brought to New York and granted political asylum during and after Liberia's long civil war. He may or may not have fought in the conflict; he won't say. In fact, he doesn't want his real name used because of the stigma of just being a Liberian refugee.

Jonathan has gone from whomever he was as a boy to graduating from high school and getting a reasonably paid job as a loader at a giant retail store. "My dad is in Michigan. My mom is in Africa," he explains as we walk down a cold, bare thoroughfare. Strikingly handsome in a camouflage hoodie, he repeatedly touches the cell phone hanging off his jeans as if it were a talisman. "I help my grandparents," he says. "I give them $100 a week of my pay because I live with them and I'm the only one working." For these reasons, he is viewed as a success story in the Liberian community, although he doesn't feel like it. "Around others, I smile and I act happy," he tells me. "But I am not happy."

Jonathan is clearly struggling to keep from drowning in a flood of bad memories. The trauma remains so intense that when, after some prodding, he finally does talk about the atrocities he witnessed—of men being tied up, guns pointed at people's heads, gunshots like "firecrackers, so bright"—his speech becomes very rapid, almost unintelligibly so. "I've seen horrible things," he says. "I get up in my sleep. As time went on, when I came here, I stopped having those dreams."

Staten island's Liberian immigrants are concentrated in a bleak set of housing projects in the borough's Clifton, Concord, and Stapleton neighborhoods. Swelled by a wave of war refugees in the 1990s, this enclave is now the largest Liberian community outside Liberia. The community is the product of a reverse migration of sorts. What would become the Republic of Liberia was settled by black Americans in the early 19th century as part of a white abolitionist effort to send freed slaves "back to Africa."

In 1989, rebel leader Charles Taylor invaded the country, launching the conflict that would brutalize Liberia for the next 14 years. During the war, government and rebel forces "recruited" 1 out of every 10 children—roughly 20,000 in all. According to Amnesty International, as many as 40 percent of all fighters were under 18. Conscripted into groups such as Taylor's infamous Small Boys Units when they were as young as 10, they were handed Kalashnikovs, sent to fight on the front lines, and forced to commit atrocities such as killing friends and relatives.

The American media paid little attention to oil-poor Liberia's disintegration, except to occasionally portray its young soldiers as an anarchic freak show—drugged; gun-toting; wearing wigs, dresses, and masks; self-christened with noms de guerre such as Sugar Water and Quick to Fire. The Washington Post described a "surreal" and "bizarre" conflict whose cross-dressing teen guerrillas carried "teddy bears or plastic baby dolls in one hand and AK-47s in the other."

For the young Liberians who came of age amid this ferocious fighting, coming to America was an escape, but also an ordeal. The war left many without the education and resources necessary to fit in and succeed, explains Jacob Massaquoi, co-founder of the African Refuge, part of a small nonprofit that provides drop-in counseling for immigrant kids and families. "They have come from a very communal world to a socially isolated one."

Some teens found that the survival skills they'd learned in the bush could help them assimilate—into gang culture. Their reputation for fearlessness preceded them. They smoked marijuana like cigarettes, formed gangs, and acquired new and better guns, Arkoi says.

"Many of the Liberian kids are not being raised by their parents—either they are in foster care or being raised by uncles or grandparents—and the gangs have become like their family," says Sergeant Debbie Edwards, a community affairs liaison for the New York City Police Department. "We want to take these kids back." George, a 15-year-old boy who came here in 1999, says he usually holes up in his aunt's apartment in the Stapleton projects after school to avoid "getting in trouble" with the kids who "stand there all day, dealing." "If I go out, I could get hit by a bullet," he says. "I often hear shooting. There's real fighting—crazy, getting high."

In June 2005, a 20-year-old named Mustafa Fully killed an electrician in a drive-by shooting in front of a local deli. Fully, who some in the community believe was once a child soldier, is now in prison awaiting sentencing for second-degree murder. (Through his lawyer, Fully declined to be interviewed for this story.)

Last Christmas, a party for a large crowd of Liberian youth ended in a fistfight. According to a witness, one angry partyer was restrained as he screamed, "I fought in the war, and no one has the right to tell me what to do!"

The stigma of violence hangs over these young men, particularly among the members of their insular community who, a few years ago, might have been terrorized by the kids who are now their neighbors. "People resent them. They are wicked, people think," Arkoi says. "My wife says, 'Let's move. These are bad kids.' People are scared because of what they did. They don't want to have anything to do with them." Chea Dixon, a 25-year-old security guard who firmly tells me he "never held a gun" in Liberia, says he steers clear of other young men who "don't know the difference between right and wrong." Paradoxically, the community's shared history makes discussing the past harder. "I don't tell people personal things about myself," says George. "I don't know how people are going to react."

Many of the young men I spoke with said simply that they were "in the war," murking up what they may or may not have done—or what was done to them. Not only is telling soldier from victim often impossible, but both groups suffer many of the same problems—growing up amid bloodshed, leaving their families behind at a young age, trading Third World poverty for First World alienation.

George is typical: He was separated from his parents by the war and then placed in refugee camps before being resettled in New York. "Mostly I think about my mother," he says quietly. "I didn't grow up with her. I haven't seen her very much."

Massaquoi says that the former fighters he knows dislike the label "child soldiers"; he insists that they be called "young victims of war." As Jack Saul, a Columbia University psychologist who helped found the African Refuge, explains, "Those who were child soldiers and those who were not were both victims."


Aug. 28 (GIN) – A deportation deadline is fast approaching for some 3,600 Liberians who found sanctuary in the U.S. from a deadly civil war at home.

The Liberians have been living in the U.S. with temporary protected status (TPS), first granted in 1991 with the outbreak of rampant fighting. But with war over and a new government working to rebuild, the U.S. says those on TPS must return home by Oct. 1.

But the West African nation is not ready, say government officials, pointing to an unemployment rate of 85 percent and insufficient basic necessities.

"We don't have the housing for them," says Charles Minor, Liberia's ambassador to the US. "There has been years of destruction of our schools. Teachers have left the country. So we have a very serious problem."

An in a recent development, flash floods cut off running water to a quarter million people in the capital, Monrovia, this week, displacing hundreds of people and destroying or severely damaging homes.

In her personal appeal to Pres. George Bush, President Ellen Sirleaf urged a lifting of the Oct. 1 deadline. “Continuing to provide residency … will allow (Liberians in the U.S.) to continue to contribute not only to American society, but also to Liberian reconstruction," the President wrote.

Staten Island pols......are you listening?


Trooper's gun case retaliation charge cause for concern
Posted by the
Ocean County Observer on 08/22/07

There are some troubling allegations made in a lawsuit filed by a veteran State Trooper against the New Jersey State Police by someone uniquely qualified to know what he is talking about. The trooper who used to be the number two guy in the Firearms Training Unit, Sgt. First Class Robert Betten, claims the State Police could not account for all its guns, and gave some special cops and State Police brass a pass on the requirement that they demonstrate their proficiency with their pistol and shotgun twice a year.

When he tried to fix the problems, the full weight of the State Police bureaucracy landed on him, Betten said.

Among those he claims got a pass on the qualifying test in 2006 was the Superintendent, Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, and the head of the trooper's union, Trooper David Jones. Once Betten blew the whistle on them, they got make-up exams. When he criticized them, he was suddenly no longer in any supervisory position with the Firearms Training Unit. Instead he said he was retaliated against and denied promotions by members of the State Police.

Now he wants a jury to make them pay him for the results of that retaliation, because he said they violated the state's Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which is designed to protect whistleblowers.

There will be no early resolution of his claims and we're sure there is a lot more to the story that will emerge as the suit wends its way through the courts. But the State Police should reassure the public that they know where their guns are, and that those who have them know how to use them.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007


If Fidel Castro were a cat, he would have been reincarnated four times. He has been declared dead by his detractors so many times. This time is no different but with more gusto.

August 24, 2007


My cellphone has not stopped ringing for the past ten minutes. Various sources inform that an announcement will come within the next few minutes from the Cuban government on Cuban TV and media. Stay tuned and we'll see if we've been manipulated once again or if today is the birth date of Cuba's liberty.

Update: Here's the deal and what I know up to now, as of 1500 hours, August 24, 2007:
First, South Florida Law Enforcement is on alert. An EOC (Emergency Operations Center) has been set-up and manned somewhere in Homestead.
Im also told Local and State government agencies have food, bottled water, and other necessities - valued in the millions - stored and/or staged in Homestead at or near the EOC.
I am presently verifying whether Coast Guard and DHS and Border Patrol agencies are on high alert. (Verified 01445)

Local News stations are abuzz, mostly on reports very much like the above, with massive law enforcemnt mobilizations throughout Dade county.
Local emergency medical services notified to be on alert by law enforcement agencies.
Im told - and still awaiting confirmation - that buses in Havana have been recalled to terminals and that Cuban workers have been sent home. (still unconfirmed 1500)

Again, I am loathe to publish the title as I did in this post, but I would be remiss in not telling you all what I know, right now. All of my sources are good but the Cuban government, as we all know, is masterful at controlling media and information and we should not rule out that this and last Friday's "news" have been and are feelers to see what the reactions are here, as well as who reacts within the island. If we've been duped we've been duped. If not, then bust out the champagne.

Once again, these may all be rumor to discredit us and other media sources. All we can do is exactly what we've been doing for quite some time now: wait and see.
More from Killcastro, with sources from within Cuba.

Update 1531: Just got off the phone with a local Congressman's media relations person: Nothing is official, lots of buzz, no confirmation. However, was told something that may make unfortunate sense: the Cuban government has gotten us all riled up only to proudly and snidely display fidel castro in full green fatigues regalia. I know it's difficult right now, for me especially (trust me), but we need to keep our wits about us and trust only that which we can verify.

Update 1630: Server overloaded, going up and down. If server is down, please go to CubanAmericanpundits on the sidebar for further updates.
Posted by Val Prieto at August 24, 2007 02:36 PM

Monday, August 27, 2007


Bovis Lend Lease has been in hot water before:


Sadly, this latest incident probably won't be the last time, either.
This is the company that was also in charge of the renovation of the Tweed Courthouse, which took too long and cost more than expected.
"I think we're going to get what we paid for this time," said Jennifer J. Raab, chairwoman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (at the time). Now it's falling apart.
Hey, guess what? One of the Queens reps on the Landmarks Commission was a senior vice president at Bovis for 14 years who worked on the Tweed Courthouse. She is now executive vice president of design, construction and capital planning for the WTC memorial.

Don't you love all the coziness and deception? Boss Tweed would be proud.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Long before Deutsche Bank burned, the canary sang in the proverbial mine. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation was warned and advised a year earlier that the John Galt Corporation was not worthy of the task to dismantle the building. The following documents reveal the unfolding scenario.

Manhattan Community Board 1 Resolution Demanding that LMDC Not Employ Incompetent Contractors, April 18, 2006 COMMITTEE OF ORIGIN: WTC REDEVELOPMENT (Adopted unanimously) RE: Deutsche Bank Demolition Update (aka 130 Liberty Street)

WHEREAS: The demolition in a densely populated area of the heavily contaminated high-rise building at 130 Liberty Street, poses risks to the workers on the job and to people who live and work in the surrounding area; and the abatement and demolition of 130 Liberty should be carried out only by responsible contractors with the experience and qualifications to do the job safely and effectively; and

WHEREAS: Community Board #1 emphasized in its July 27, 2004 resolution that the safety and well-being of local residents and workers must be given the utmost consideration, and called for full and open consultation among all interested parties involved in the project including members of the community; and

WHEREAS: John Galt Corporation has been contracted by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) for abatement and deconstruction work at 130 Liberty Street; and

WHEREAS: Safeway Environmental was also contracted by LMDC to work at130 Liberty Street WHEREAS: Recently, two workers employed by Safeway and John Galt Corporation, respectively, have suffered serious injuries in the course of their work at the site; and

WHEREAS: The New York Daily News has reported that Safeway and John Galt Corporation have ties to each other, and Safeway has a poor safety record and is barred from bidding on New York City School Construction Authority contracts (NY Daily News article "Mob link eyed in bank demolition," by Greg B. Smith, April 16, 2006.

Subcontractor Alters Demolition Plan of Contaminated Deutsche Bank Building
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 New York Daily News Topic: Economic Development
In a March 20 letter, the EPA noted five unapproved additions to the demolition plan of the Deutsche Bank building by John Galt Co., the subcontractor responsible for the toxic cleanup. The expected cost of the demolition plan has risen to $52million, from $46 million, and the LMDC is being blasted for their poor oversight.

WTC contractor fined $37K

July 10, 8:36 am

The Deutsche Bank Building
OSHA cited contractor John Galt Corp. with 12 safety violations for the contractor's demolition work at 130 Liberty Street, the former Deutsche Bank Building. The citations carry $37,500 in fines. In May, work at the skyscraper was halted after a pipe fell from the building's 35th floor onto a neighboring firehouse. At present, the demolition of 130 Liberty is a year behind schedule and around $16 million over budget. more [NYDN]

And despite the warnings, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff still gave Galt a pass.

“In July 2006, E.D.C. and the developer were made aware that D.O.I. had initiated an investigation of Galt that might delay a background clearance, so the developer instead used the next lowest bidder,” said Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Galt’s work at the Deutsche Bank building, however, went on unaffected. Deputy Mayor Doctoroff said the city’s decision to deny Galt the Bronx contract did not obligate the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to re-examine whether Galt was the right company to be working at ground zero.

It is now time to scrutinize the persons responsible for awarding contracts to questionable companies. The safety of the public and those who protect us is at stake.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


YFP found this interesting item on a police blog. It is not exactly "breaking" news. But it is "interesting" news. Why is this happening?

43 NYPD Police Officers (recruits) Resigned in 24 Hours -
43 of the newest members of the NYPD RESIGNED within 24 hours - NO MENTION IN THE NEWS.......Hey Mikey - the jokes on you!

Friday, August 24, 2007


This press release speaks for itself. In the wake of the Deutsche Bank scaffolding collapse, perhaps Mayor Mike should revisit some of the fine points made in his scaffolding policy.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PR- 044-07February 7, 2007MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES IMPLEMENTATION OF SUSPENDED SCAFFOLD WORKER SAFETY TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS City Aims to Protect Scaffold Workers by Enhancing Enforcement, Worker Outreach and Training$6 Million Investment in Task Force Recommendations Includes Newly-Created Department of Buildings Scaffold Safety Unit

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the first steps in the City's plan to better protect workers on suspended scaffolds based on the recommendations of the Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force convened in November. The Task Force was charged with the development of a strategic plan for enforcement, outreach and training to ensure safety for workers as well as the public. The plan includes new and proactive enforcement tactics, legislative reform, enhanced licensing and training requirements, increased inter-governmental coordination, and an expanded outreach program promoting best practices in multiple languages to the scaffold industry.

The Mayor was joined today by Task Force Co-Chairs Deputy Mayors Carol Robles-Roman and Dan Doctoroff, Department of Buildings Commissioner Patricia J. Lancaster, Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Director Rich Mendelson, Building Trades Employers' Association President Louis Coletti and Project Hospitality/El Centro De Hospitalidad Executive Director Reverend Terry Troia.

"The unprecedented growth in our city is great news for our economy and for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers working in the building trades," said Mayor Bloomberg. "But as the number of construction and maintenance projects in the City has risen, tragically, so too has the number of scaffold accidents. That's why we brought together a team of experts to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure the safety and well-being of those New Yorkers who work hard every day to build a stronger future for our City."

"Today's plan embraces a carefully coordinated and strategic approach by government, industry and community based organizations to ensure that effective enforcement and worker outreach and training mechanisms are in place," said Deputy Mayor Robles Roman. "By strengthening the communication and enforcement efforts between the various levels of government, this plan will guard public and worker safety as the City experiences extraordinary growth and development."

"It is said that timing is everything and these recommendations couldn't come at a better time," said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. "Right now, we are experiencing an unparalleled building boom with tens of thousands of workers in construction jobs building the residential and commercial structures we need. The Task Force set out to work quickly because this is so important, and I'm extremely proud that we were able to meet and submit these recommendations within six weeks. With the implementation of the Task Force recommendations, lives will be saved."
Scaffold Safety Unit

Over the next four years, the City will invest $6 million to implement the Task Force recommendations, with $4 million dedicated to the creation of a Scaffold Safety Unit within the Department of Buildings to ensure greater accountability and oversight. Comprised of a team of inspectors, analysts and legal support, the Scaffold Safety unit will conduct proactive inspections throughout the five boroughs to ensure the safe and lawful use of scaffolding equipment and required safety and training regulations are being followed. In addition, the team will work with state and federal jurisdictions to compile scaffold-related accident data and issue quarterly updates on the progress of the plan.

"Last year, we saw an unprecedented number of fatalities on suspended scaffolds, the majority of which involved the use of an unregulated scaffold type," said Commissioner Lancaster. "Thanks to the Mayor, Deputy Mayors, City Council, and Task Force, we can move to hold responsible parties accountable, which will in turn protect the workers who are maintaining our City."

Legislation to Focus on Notification, Increased Fines and Inspections
To address dangers presented by work on suspended scaffolds, the Mayor's Office has worked with Council Speaker Christine Quinn's Office, as well as City Councilman and Task Force member Erik Martin Dilan, to draft three bills which have been submitted to the Council. The bills would provide the Department of Buildings with enhanced enforcement tools and establish stiffer penalties for contractors and licensed riggers who violate scaffold training and safety procedures.

The first bill would require notification to the Department of Buildings prior to the use or installation of suspended scaffolds hung from C-hooks, which were involved in over 57% of suspended scaffold fatalities in 2006. The bill would also authorize the Department of Buildings to stop work and revoke licenses where unsafe practices are found. To ensure greater public safety, the second bill would increase penalties for the violation of regulations governing licensed riggers and others who supervise suspended scaffolds. The final bill would require daily written inspections by a trained site supervisor rather than by the user of the suspended scaffold as currently required. The new legislation focuses on minimizing risk to the public as well as those who work on suspended scaffolds.

"I am proud to have worked with the Department of Buildings and the many others that took part in the Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force," said Councilman Dilan. "The safety of the workers in this industry is of great concern to the Council and the Administration and I look forward to the passage of this legislative package as soon as possible to facilitate making this line of work as safe as possible."
Intergovernmental Coordination

Implementation of the Task Force recommendations will require an inter-governmental approach. To establish uniform standards and enhance interagency coordination and data sharing, the Department of Buildings, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the New York State Department of Labor will work together to compile comprehensive accident statistics for use in building enhanced enforcement mechanisms, and promote new, unified safety and training standards in languages spoken by workers in the scaffold industry.

The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs will work with the three levels of government to ensure that all written educational materials are in easy-to-understand plain language and are translated into a number of the languages spoken by contractors and construction workers including Spanish, Chinese, Polish, Urdu and Russian. In addition, the agency will collaborate with ethnic media and faith- and community-based organizations serving immigrants to disseminate educational materials.

In November, the Task Force launched a series of public service announcements in partnership with the radio station WADO 1280 AM, the City's largest Spanish-language news talk radio station. The first PSA was recorded in Spanish by Mayor Bloomberg. Today, the second in the series, recorded by Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Guillermo Linares, began airing on WADO 1280.

"Through outreach and our grass-roots campaign, the message is getting out there: the City wants to ensure that every worker helping build this City has a safe work environment," said Commissioner Linares. "We look forward to assisting government agencies and community groups with making training and educational materials easy to understand and providing greater language access for workers and supervisors. Keeping workers and the public out of harm's way is the top priority of this Task Force."

"OSHA is pleased to continue to strengthen its working relationship with the New York City Department of Buildings," said OSHA Area Director Rich Mendelson. "It's important that we use all available tools - both enforcement and compliance assistance - to keep workers safe on the job. The work of the Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force will help further that goal."

The Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force was convened on November 2, 2006 to address the growing concerns of the safety of working on suspended scaffolds following an increased number of accidents and fatalities at worksites in the five boroughs. The Task Force, led by Department of Buildings Commissioner Lancaster, brought together New York City, State and Federal government officials and representatives from community-based organizations, construction trade organizations and CUNY to work aggressively and collaboratively to develop a set of recommendations to improve the system of accountability for enforcement, training, and outreach for those working on suspended scaffolds.

Over the next year, the Department of Buildings will convene quarterly meetings of the Task Force to analyze the effects of the implementation plan and develop additional methods to prevent scaffold-related injuries and fatalities. To view the full Suspended Scaffold Worker Safety Task Force report, "Steps to Safety", go to New Yorkers are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report unsafe conditions at construction sites.
MEDIA CONTACT: Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958Kate Lindquist (Department of Buildings)(212) 566-3473
View the photosWatch the video in 56k or 300k


Republican political consultant Roger Stone has been accused of making threatening calls to the father of New York State Governor, Elliot Spitzer. And although he protests that he was "set up". perhaps he doth protest too much. His denials are reminiscent of another controversy some years ago. It is said that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones....but maybe in this case they should throw this Stone.

By The Associated Press NEW YORK -- Now it's the Republicans' turn to see one of their own in a tabloid sex tale. Roger Stone, a volunteer adviser with Bob Dole's presidential campaign and onetime chairman for Sen. Arlen Specter's short-lived White House bid, yesterday denied allegations that he visited a sex club with his wife and placed X-rated ads on the Internet and in magazines.

The allegations appear in the New York Post, which cited upcoming editions of the supermarket tabloids National Enquirer and Star. "While it is my instinct not to respond to specific allegations against my wife and me, I feel compelled to do so simply by saying that for several years we have been aware of various advertisements placed in publications and on the Internet by a sick and disgruntled individual," Mr. Stone said. He said he believed these actions grew out of his "acrimonious divorce five years ago. We have been aggressive in our efforts to remove this material from various publications and the Internet when we have become aware of them," he said.

The tabloids claim that Mr. Stone and his wife, Nydia, placed messages on an X-rated Internet site and ads in sex magazines seeking male and female partners. They said photographs of a shirtless Stone and his wife in a sexy black lingerie also appeared in one magazine. Said Mr. Stone: "The tabloids offer a published photo of me in an amateur bodybuilding contest in which I competed three years ago and a decade-old photo of my wife from her professional modeling career. "We deny this vile caricature that is being peddled to destroy our lives." The Post quoted Mr. Stone as conceding that the bills for the postings on the Internet site were paid for with his credit card.

He told the newspaper the post office box number listed on the Internet site belonged to him, but had been improperly obtained. In June, Mr. Stone was named to the Dole campaign's "Clinton Accountability Team" of surrogates to help make Mr. Dole's case against the Democratic incumbent. The allegations come two weeks after Dick Morris, an adviser to President Clinton, was forced to resign amid tabloid accusations that he divulged presidential secrets to a prostitute.


Yet another absurdity sponsored by City government. This ban would affect the struggling ethnic food industries in China town, Latino and Indian neighborhoods. City politicians by virtue of their privileged status do not have to consume their meals from containers. The science and studies regarding the environmental impact of Styrofoam are yet to be deemed conclusive. So perhaps the esteemed City Council would better serve it's constituents by limiting their memos and newsletters printed on non recyclable paper and the plastic pens used to sign these bills.

The popular political band wagon of "Green" issues should not be subsidized by the working class and the poor.

Council vs. containers
New York City restaurants and government agencies could soon face a ban on Styrofoam-type fast food containers if the City Council passes a bill introduced yesterday.City Council Bill Would Take Out City's StyrofoamCovered by the ban would be containers created from polystyrene, a petroleum- based material that doesn't decompose or easily compact, causing them to take up significant landfill space. The material can also release toxic chemicals when heated in a microwave, according to a report by an environmental group, Earth Resource Foundation. A component of the material, the chemical styrene, is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


September 24, 2001: In the aftermath of the September 11 plane-bombings of the World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon, Inner City / Finance Watch has prepared a report on bank links to Al Qaeda and other state- and non-state terrorist groups. As to Deutsche Bank, we note that Business Line of August 10, 2001 (distributed through the Financial Times Asia Intelligence Wire) reported that "[i]n the 1980s, at the instance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Internal Political Division of the [Pakistani] Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), headed by Brig (retd) Imtiaz... started a cell for the use of heroin for covert actions.

This cell promoted the cultivation of opium and the extraction of heroin in Pakistan as well as in those parts of Afghanistan under Mujahideen control for being smuggled into the Soviet-controlled areas to get the Soviet troops addicted. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, the ISI's heroin cell started using its network of refineries and smugglers to send heroin to the West and use the money to supplement its legitimate economy....After capturing power on October 12, 1999, Gen Pervez Musharraf had Brig Imtiaz, because of his proximity to Mr Nawaz Sharif, arrested and prosecuted for having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income as an officer of the ISI and the Intelligence Bureau.

He was convicted by a court on July 31, 2001, and jailed for eight years. According to evidence produced in the court by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Brig Imtiaz had foreign exchange bearer certificates worth $20.08 million, a Pakistani rupee account in the Union Bank with a balance of Rs 2.13 billion, a dollar account in Deutsche Bank with a balance of $19.1 million, five residential houses, five commercial units and three shops. This huge wealth was allegedly accumulated by him through heroin smuggling." -Emphasis added

In November 1999, the Federal Reserve granted an approval to Deutsche Bank; in connection with Deutsche Bank's acquisition of Bankers Trust (see below), the Fed purportedly reviewed Deutsche Bank's compliance with law, including Know Your Customer procedures. Deutsche Bank is even represented on the Fed's, OCC and SEC's Working Group on Public Disclosure. We question what "disclosure" the Fed has requested, or Deutsche Bank has provided, of DB's above-reported banking relationship with the Pakistani ISI's Imtiaz, now imprisoned... Click here for the full Report. Also: on September 24 Deutsche Bank announced it had agreed to purchase Zurich's U.S. fund unit Scudder in a $2.5 billion deal...For or with more information, contact us

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES is a group that conducted a survey on parking. More stunningly, in July, 2006, in an NYPD Environmental Impact Statement analyzing the Park Row street closure around One Police Plaza, the NYPD's own surveyors found that 1217 cars parked illegally on the streets around One Police Plaza. Of those, 1012 were private commuter vehicles with city-issued permits. Though it may not be explicit policy, the NYPD's traffic enforcement division essentially operates under the premise that citywide there is a "no hit" policy on vehicles with permits in the window.

Permit abusers talk of the NYPD extending a "courtesy" to agencies to break the law; business owners and Business Improvement Districts relay accounts of local enforcement officers repeatedly refusing to give tickets to permit holders while ticketing non-permit holders parked in their midst.

During the course of the study, every one of Transportation Alternative's 22 surveyors was questioned and asked for ID (two were detained briefly) by law enforcement officers looking out for their own interest and ensuring “courtesy” for others.

While Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to reduce the number of permits on the street, the problem
persists. Transportation Alternatives estimates that over 150,000 drivers have access to free parking in the form of valid government-issued parking permits (including the more than 30,000 NYPD "Self- Enforcement Zone" permits and 75,000 teacher permits). Thousands more illicitly enjoy the same privileges by photocopying permits, or by minting their own. In part because of this parking privilege, census data clearly show that government workers drive to work at two times the rate of private sector

Overview of Results
• Citywide, more than 3 out of every 4 permit holders (77%) used their permits illegally.
• Citywide, the NYPD was responsible for 46% of illegal permit abuse, by far the largest share
from any single agency.
• Of valid permits used illegally at the curbside (i.e. illegally parking at signs with riders
forbidding that particular permit's usage), the NYPD was responsible for 63% of the abuse.
• Of the 369 total citywide violations in this study that caused safety hazards, there were 212
permit holders on sidewalks, 46 blocking fire hydrants, 23 in crosswalks, 22 in bus stops, 8 in
intersections, and 10 in bike lanes. The NYPD led the way with 61% of the total abuses.
• The NYPD were the leading abusers of permits using up meters, with 28% of the total.
• Court Officers were responsible for the majority of fraudulent permits with 54% of the total,
followed by Corrections, Court Clerks, and FDNY. This was in large part due to the
proliferation of union-issued permits for these agencies, which are not legal on New York City
While the recently announced $400,000 Department of Transportation study of parking and permit
abuse in downtown Manhattan is a positive step toward better understanding parking patterns, the
Mayor need not wait for another study to begin upholding the law and reducing the numbers of permits
in circulation. The Mayor and the NYPD should immediately implement the following
recommendations that would ameliorate the problem overnight:
• Enforce the Law
• Take Inventory of Permits and Reduce the Total
• Educate Government Workers to Eliminate the "Culture of Entitlement"
• Update Parking Signage to Reflect the Communities' Needs

So, in the wake of the traffic congestion plan, one can see that this study needs to be considered.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg has outlined the future of New York City in a press conference on Dec. 12. He depicted a population growth from the present 8,000,000 to 9,000,000 in the very near future. We have recently witnessed floods, trees falling and even a tornado. Our sewers and infrastructure are obsolete to a point where millions of dollars of damage is inflicted on New York City properties, not to mention a danger to lives.We’ve outgrown our infrastructure, our schools and hospitals are overflowing and our quality of life is depreciating rapidly.

Yet developers are encouraged to build affordable housing and offered abatement incentives. The new 421-A Property Tax Abatement program would destroy a borough like Queens. Developers are replacing one- and two-family homes with 10-story and higher buildings. Our new aggressive developers would not respect the criteria for these incentives because enforcement does not exist. Developers would take full advantage of this lack of enforcement and abuse the program. They would reap the tax abatement rewards of the program and build massive apartments wherever a vacant lot exists. One- and two-family homes would be torn down and replaced with larger buildings. This already is happening in Queens, in neighborhoods like Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona and Sunnyside.

To further exacerbate the destruction of Queens our roads are in disrepair, our subways are inadequate, traffic is burdened with taxis, legal and gypsies, school buses, airport traffic and commuter automobiles carrying non-city dwellers to work and back home daily by the thousands.

We support three airports, thousands of trucks in our streets supplying 8,000,000 people with the necessities of daily life. We learned this summer that our power plants couldn’t furnish the necessary requirements for our present population. Before new building permits are issued, a thorough study should be completed to insure that the antiquated infrastructure could support the proposed development. Presently along Queens Boulevard dozens of high-rise buildings are in development without taking into account infrastructure or traffic problems. Instead of encouraging additional building in New York City, outlying cities and communities should absorb the population growth currently being attracted to New York City.

A 1-mile stretch along Queens Boulevard, from Broadway to 63rd Drive, is the most overdeveloped and congested in New York City. At present, this mile long area consists of Queens Center Mall including Rockaway Bedding and Target and approximately 15 other stores, Queens Center Mall with JC Penney, Macy’s, and many other smaller stores. On this street are six banks, a Sears Auto Center, St. John’s Hospital. Rego Park Mall consisting of Sears, Marshalls, Bed Bath and Beyond, Circuit City, Old Navy and other smaller stores. A large P.C. Richards and Levitz are also in this area. In addition to the many retail stores and 12 multistoried apartment buildings, there are five, 6-story garages at Macy’s, St. John’s Hospital, Queens Center Mall. These garages attract thousands of cars daily for customer parking and commuter parking.

Presently, there are proposed plans to build two 17-story apartment buildings at the intersection of Broadway and Queens Boulevard.Also planned are two 18-story apartment buildings including retail and commercial stores at a site on Queens Boulevard and 60th Avenue. This overdevelopment of a 1-mile stretch is short sighted and will have a negative impact on traffic, infrastructure, schools and public transportation. At present the Grand Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard subway stations are overburdened to capacity. The communities of Elmhurst and Rego Park will be impacted to limits with all this additional proposed construction.

Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Planning and the Buildings Department must thoroughly study this area and take the necessary steps to rezone and remedy this overly congested area before any additional construction takes place. Automobile traffic is deplorable. Our subway and bus transportation is overwhelmed and the problem is continually getting worse.

Bloomberg’s prediction of future 12-hour rush hours is not an acceptable option for an overpopulated New York City.

Nick Pennachio
member of Community Board 4

(With this letter, Nick may be positioning himself for removal from CB4)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How Moses was a Satmar

How Moses was a Satmar

Gavin Cato (circa 1984August 19, 1991) was an American child of Guyanese descent who was killed by a car driven by a Jewish driver, sparking the Crown Heights Riot. [1]
Seven year-old Cato and his cousin Angela were both struck, but she survived her injuries. Underlying racial tensions in the area and perceived inequality in the way the Jewish driver and Black pedestrians were treated at the scene led to three days of rioting. The driver fled to Israel before being charged, and the rioting led to the death of 29 year old Yankel Rosenbaum hours later.

Time has passed and wounds have healed. Cato's father met with the Rosenbaum family and lamented their losses together. On the anniversary of Gavin Cato's passing, YFP offers a video of a Satmar father trying to convince his son to wear a flat hat, Satmar style. Fathers are they Guyanese or Jewish.


The flooding condition that caused havoc last week was a metaphor for city planning spiraling out of control. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has initiated a full frontal assault on any build able space in New York City. With Dan Doctoroff as his muse, the building construction explosion has not moved in tandem with an aging city infrastructure. There are major water mains throughout the city that were built in the late 1800's. The lack of viable support systems is compounded by a labor shortage to remedy the situation.

For the first time in decades, our available workforce is straining to meet the intense demand for new construction -- from high rise office towers to schools and housing," said Louis J. Coletti, Chairman of the Building Trades Employers' Association (BTEA).
"Many skilled trade workers already are putting in unprecedented amounts of overtime," added Edward J. Malloy, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council. "We need to get young New Yorkers interested in construction careers in order to meet these growing demands as well as to replace current workers who are nearing retirement."

With the exception of the Bronx, every borough in New York City is surrounded by water. As the sea levels continue to rise due to global warming, these mini islands come precariously close to flooding vulnerability. The sewage systems are strained from an increase in population density resultant of the building boom and the ill prepared MTA showed that it's contingency plan needed refurbishing. And although Bloomberg touts "green" as the new buzz word, he has authorized an awful lot of it's removal. Trees that would have provided a proper drainage system have been sacrificed for skyscrapers. To the Mayor's credit, he has taken measures to
replace them but it will take several years for them to mature. Perhaps by that time we will all be in an ark somewhere full of animals.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Adames is a street character who works as a school para professional. He has run for several political offices and lost as many times. He once ran for President of the Dominican Republic. He states that "Someone must fight for the rights for our community." He often appears with a sandwich board when Mayor Michael Bloomberg has public functions.

Often seen as comical and absurd, there are occasional glimpses of truth in his rants. Watch Adames rant at:


Rudy Giuliani claims to have spent more hours at Ground Zero than sources can account for. Once again, the organic Rudy that NYC knows has surfaced in pure form. Hopefully, others will begin to know him too.

Estimate: Giuliani spent 7 percent of time spent by first responders at Ground Zero

Nick JulianoPublished: Friday August 17, 2007
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Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has faced repeated criticism of his apparent attempts to trade on his reputation that grew out of Sept. 11 to propel his presidential campaign.
A new estimate shows Giuliani spent about 7 percent as much time at Ground Zero as did the typical first responder during a three month period after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On Friday the GOP frontrunner faced more harsh words after the New York Times revealed
that Giuliani spent only 29 hours at the smoldering pile of wreckage that was the World Trade Center from mid-September to mid-December 2001.

During those same three months, rescue workers were putting in 12-hour shifts digging through the World Trade Center's wreckage. And Michael J. Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association of New York City, told the Times that officers averaged 400 hours each at the site during that time.

Talking Points Memo's Election Central unearthed comments from Giuliani in 2006.
"I spent as much time here as anyone ... I was here five, six times a day for four months," Giuliani said last September. "I thought of it as living here."
The Times' tally was compiled from records of Giuliani's schedules form Sept. 17 to Dec. 16, 2001 and does not take into account the first six days following the attack, during which Giuliani paid repeated visits to the site.

If Giuliani had paid Ground Zero five or six daily visits for the timeframe covered by the Times, a rough estimate shows each visit would've lasted less than four minutes, on average. However the Times reports Giuliani made 41 appearances at Ground Zero, mostly to give tours to other officials and foreign dignitaries.

In his 2002 book, Leadership, Giuliani recounts visiting Ground Zero on Jan. 1, 2002, just after his successor, Michael Bloomberg, was sworn in.
"I wanted it to be the last place I visited before I left," Giuliani wrote. "I had been there hundreds of times in the three and a half months since the attacks."

Giuliani was criticized earlier this month when he claimed he was "at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers." First responders said the remark was insensitive and untrue. Although Giuliani said a few days later that he misspoke, he still claimed to face health risks because of his exposure to toxic material at Ground Zero.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007


A recent report regarding home grown terrorism was detailed in a press conference at NYC police headquarters. The report revealed nothing more than speculation about the possibility of a potential threat from "terrorist clusters" on the east coast of the United States. Although significant, these reports obscure other local terrorists groups. Cloaked in the veil of main stream ethnicity, they are the unseen enemy, perhaps even more dangerous.

Terrorism: Domestic

Extremist Chatter Praises Eric Rudolph as 'Hero.' New York, NY, June 3, 2003 … In the days since the arrest of domestic terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph in connection with a series of deadly bombing attacks, including the 1996 bombing at the Olympic Games, extremist chatter on the Internet has praised Rudolph as "a hero" and some followers of hate groups are calling for further acts of violence to be modeled after the bombings he is accused of committing. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors extremism and reports its findings to law enforcement and the public, warned that the extremist chatter on Rudolph's arrest is "a dangerous mix" of twisted conspiracy theories about Jews and calls to violence.

"What some hatemongers and extremists are saying is, this person is a hero whose crusade against abortion and the government is noble and praiseworthy," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "What is even more troubling is that some of the chatter is calling for violence or lone-wolf acts to be carried out in Rudolph's name. Others are using the arrest as an excuse to spread twisted conspiracy theories about Jews. As we have seen in the past, this can be a dangerous mix."

Rudolph had connections from childhood to a number of anti-Semitic, racist and anti-government movements or groups, especially Christian Identity such as the North Carolina-based Northpoint Tactical Teams, founded by the now-deceased Nord Davis Jr., and the Missouri-based Church of Israel headed by Dan Gayman. Extremist Chatter Following are some examples of extremist Internet chatter that has been generated by the arrest of Eric Rudolph. These were reactions posted on Internet bulletin boards, Web sites and e-mail lists from May 31 - June 3 (emphasis added):

A posting on the Web site of the Pennsylvania faction of Aryan Nations, the Christian Identity neo-Nazi group, lamented that Rudolph was captured and called him a hero: "Let his enemies gloat, for their days are numbered. There will always be another to fill the shoes of a fallen hero. The enemy has not won and will NEVER win…"

A skinhead from Atlantic City lamented on a neo-Nazi message board that "another good solid white warrier becomes another prisoner of war! We need more lone wolves … WAY MORE!!!"
On a White Revolution message board, "He rid this world of some degenerate scum in a couple of his bombings and made the government spend millions of dollars finding him. That is all that really matters to me…One day all the lies, deceit and the purposeful destruction of the White Race will come back at them ten fold."

One Christian Identity adherent, however, was more pessimistic, at least in the short term, predicting Rudolph's capture signaled the beginning of a round of government persecution. However, he said, "Fire tempers steel. The rubber, as they say, is about to meet the road…Let the end games begin."

A number of white supremacists were not so much concerned about Rudolph as about the attention that Rudolph's arrest was bringing to Christian Identity itself, especially by the "Jewish-controlled media." One post to a Christian Identity e-mail list claimed that "what we are currently witnessing in the controlled mass media is the demonization of anyone who dares to tell the truth about the fifth column government, the Zionist Lobby control of congress and the media, historical accuracy, the major and crucial differences between the races, including the Cainites, God's Law as contained in the Commandments, Statutes and Judgments, the federal reserve, 9-11 and anything else that is wrong with our Edomite [an Identity term for Jews] manipulated society…the message is clear. Shut up, or else!"

A post to the message forum for the white supremacist site Stormfront had similar opinions: "Jews make sure that ONLY those who go against THEIR interests are called Terrorists. Do you actually believe that jews [sic] are fair and honest when they do this? Why could they not have called Eric Rudolph a Freedom Fighter? That at least would not have been a derogotary [sic] term and is closer to the truth, in my opinion, assuming he has done any wrong at all."

A few people posting to extremist Internet message boards after news of Rudolph's arrest spread expressed hesitation at supporting him or even condemned the actions attributed to him. "Terrorism is simply not acceptable," said one poster to the Assault Web forum. However, others in the forum were of a different opinion. Referring to abortions, one poster wrote that "slaughter of the truly innocent demands a response" and if a response "causes 'terror' in those considering this evil act, I have no problem." The police officer killed in the Birmingham blast "earned his fate."

Nonsupporters of Rudolph were quickly taken to task in other forums. One doubter asked readers of Stormfront's message board how they could claim "the jew media" was lying about white supremacists "when they call us terrorists," when all one has to do "is come to this thread and see how this man has somehow become worshipped?" Another reader immediately disagreed. "Erich [sic] Rudolph is definitely a hero," he wrote. "There is nothing wrong with violence." If there were "more Erich [sic] Rudolphs, Timothy McVeighs, Benjamin Smiths and Buford Furrows in America, we'd have a much nicer place to live." Smith and Buford are two white supremacists who went on deadly shooting sprees in the Midwest and California in the summer of 1999.

The Web site of the Army of God, an extreme anti-abortion group, displayed a picture of Emily Lyons, a nurse severely injured in the Birmingham bombing, with the caption: "Babykilling Abortion Nurse Emily Lyons got a taste of her own medicine." "I have had Eric on my daily prayer list since that wondrous day in 1998 before a name was given to the bomber," wrote one supporter to the Army of God. "He will continue to stay there. I hope he escapes to defend children again."

Another post said that what mattered was that he had "the lives of the innocent in mind." Referring to the nurse who was severely injured in the Birmingham blast, the poster, identifying herself only as "Deborah," asked: "How can she live with herself knowing that she helps to kill babies?...I am praying for Eric. They can't seek the death penalty against him, can they? Oh God in heaven, I hope not."

Many of Rudolph's most devoted supporters have been extreme anti-abortion activists; they portray him as someone with the courage to stop what they consider to be mass murder. "Please pray for warrior Eric Rudolph," wrote one poster to the Usenet news group alt.religion.end-times.prophecies shortly after news of Rudolph's arrest was announced, "that our Savior will protect him from this evil government." Backgrounder: Eric Robert Rudolph

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Congressional husband disses council-seeking wife

This is a bit strange:The wife of a powerful Queens congressman says she's running for a local City Council seat - even though her husband is backing her opponent.Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) has made it clear he is supporting his congressional aide, Brian Simon, for the seat being vacated by Leroy Comrie, his wife told the Daily News.But that's not stopping her.Till election do us part!"I'm running," said Simone-Marie Meeks, 46. "It's a done deal. I have declared to run, I have a committee and I am getting ready to raise money."Hey Simone-Marie: dump him.
Posted by Queens Crapper


As Karl Rove makes his exit, one wonders how he lasted so long. Perhaps the following video will provide a clue.

Monday, August 13, 2007


The following is an interesting glimpse into the Orthodox religious community of Brooklyn and the universal travails of growing up.

Shutting down Woodburne hangout was not a good idea. Chinuch experts lament that shutting down the Woodburne hangout may be the cause of the new drugs and drinks parties in homes. They say that by chasing the kids away from the common public hangout, they caused these kids to seek more hidden venues for hanging out.
Leave Comment ---This article posted by Chaptzem : 11:17 PM
As a Catskill resident and a long time observer of frum adults and kids, I am always impressed when the olam wants to keep its kids in jail. There has always been problems. When spouses are left alone all week and . . . When kids are brought up without any hobbies . . . When families choose to vacation in an area without any kosher nightlife for teens and young adults. . . Face it there is nothing that is exciting or even interesting to do on any night in the Catskills. Movies are banned. Watching for owls is boring. Watching for deer and bear . . . What do you expect the kids to do? The first few weeks are okay but then real boredom sets in.Stop coming to the Catskills! Wait till gambling comes in! Will you be able to keep your adults away from the casinos?
Comment Credit ---This article posted by Anonymous : August 12, 2007 7:45 AM

Do you have any sources, or are you just posting what first comes to mind!?
Comment Credit ---This article posted by Skell A. Ton : August 12, 2007 10:27 AM

Not only is this a sad fact, but the "Rabbis" of our generation, that are so worried about 'summer hangouts', need to open their eyes and see that this is far from a seasonal problem.We are the same kids hanging out all winter, ESPECIALLY in Boro Park, MOnsey, and Flatbush, and we have left our devatstated, loving, broken parents, and have formed our own society. WAKE UP, all you 'Rabbi Horowitzes' out there..stop writing your articles and actually DO something to get us back home, or at least stop enabling us to be runaways,as was my case... as is the case with Rabbi Gluck's Areivim organization in Monsey,...Stop training us to be on our own and rebel against society, and try to guide us back in!I laughed at the article in the JP, because I know that, as a kid at risk myself, these "Rabbis" actually help us to go farther away from Yiddishkeit, and be MORE alienated from our families,instead of the other way around. I was given instructions not to talk to my family and to 'take time to understand my anger'which further alienated me from my parents...I was given a job and a place to stay, out of my family home. I made connections with others like me...and there is a HUGE community of us kids out there!!!If these Rabbis really cared about anything but themselves, and I am talking to the Rabbi Glucks of the world, they would help us rejoin our families, instead of keeping us away, and helping us connect to others like ourselves..some with severe emotional problems...We DO hang out all year, some of us aren't even religious anymore...I was lucky and found my way back ON MY OWN, but many kids havent..THANK YOU RABBI GLUCK for almost destroying my will pay in shomayim, no doubt....Adn as far as the 'concern' about this 'summer problem'...all I can say is..WAKE UP!!!Signed, Disenfranchised Youth
Comment Credit ---This article posted by Anonymous : August 12, 2007 3:42 PM


FROM WND'S JERUSALEM BUREAUArafat's doctor: Blood had HIVPersonal physician says deadly virus in body but claims poison killed him
Posted: August 12, 200712:07 p.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein© 2007
Yasser Arafat

TEL AVIV – Yasser Arafat had the deadly HIV virus in his bloodstream when he died, the late PLO leader's personal physician disclosed last night in an interview with the Arab news media.
Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, Arafat's personal physician, began telling Al Jazeera during a live interview he knew that Arafat had HIV in his bloodstream at the time of his death, but the satellite Arabic network immediately cut him off when he made the accusation.
Hours later, a Jordanian news website Amman quoted al-Kurdi as saying someone injected HIV into Arafat's body before he died and that the real cause of the Palestinian leader's death was poison.

Al-Kurdi was Arafat's doctor for 18 years up to a few months before the PLO leader died. He played no role in Arafat's medical care during the final weeks of the Palestinian leader's life and refused to divulge the source of the AIDS information. He claimed the virus was put into Arafat's blood in an effort to blur the traces of poisoning, which he says was the "real" cause of death.
Arafat died Nov. 11, 2004, at a military hospital in Paris. The official cause of death was not released because French law prohibits distribution of medical records to anyone other than immediate family. Arafat's widow, Suha, has refused to divulge any details of his illness.

Al-Kurdi told the Jordanian news website Arafat's sickness and death leave open many questions that should be investigated.
"I would usually be summoned to attend to Arafat immediately, even when all he had was a simple cold," said al-Kurdi.
"But when his medical situation was really deteriorating, they chose not to call me at all," the doctor said.
Al-Kurdi said Suha Arafat refused to allow him to visit Arafat in the private Paris hospital where he was being treated and that he was later denied access to Arafat's body.
He demanded the French government set up a commission of inquiry.

The Palestinian Authority in 2005 obtained a copy of Arafat's medical report as part of an internal investigation into Arafat's death, but the PA never disclosed what it found.
Last month, during an interview, an occasional Arafat confident and well-known terrorist leader stated the confidential medical report released to the PA from the French hospital in which Arafat died revealed the Palestinian leader succumbed to AIDS.
Ahmed Jibril – the infamous, Damascus-based PFLP chief who at times was a close Arafat confidante – said in an interview with Hezbollah's Al-Manar television that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his team told him the French medical report listed AIDS as Arafat's cause of death.

"When Abu Mazen (Abbas) came to Damascus with his team, I asked them: 'What happened to the investigation into the death of Abu Ammar (Arafat)? The Israelis killed him. He was my colleague ever since 1965 and used to sleep at my home. He and I followed the same path.
"Is it conceivable that when (former Lebanese Prime Minister) Rafiq Al-Hariri was killed, all hell broke loose, even though he was just a merchant in Saudi Arabia, who later entered politics, whereas the death of Yasser Arafat, who for 40 years had been carrying his gun from one place to another, is not investigated? Is this conceivable?"

Continued Jibril: "They (Abbas' team) were silent, and then one of them said to me: 'To be honest, the French gave us the medical report that stated that the cause of Abu Ammar's death was AIDS."
Jibril stressed the AIDS information doesn't originate with him but was told to him by Abbas and his team:
"I am not saying this, they did. Now they pretend that they miss Yasser Arafat and complain that [Hamas] entered his house in [Gaza] and so on."

Jibril's PFLP has carried out numerous anti-American and anti-Israeli terror operations. The group is suspected by some of targeting Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988. Jibril is believed to have been behind a massive shipment of weapons to Arafat in 2001 that was seized by Israel and used as part of a campaign to isolate the late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader.
Many senior Palestinian officials claimed in media interviews they are convinced Arafat was poisoned by Israel.

While Arafat was ill and after his death, some publicly speculated he was dying of AIDS.
In his book "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder", radio talk-show host Michael Savage speculated Arafat had died of AIDS. Savage also slammed much of the U.S. news media for its posthumous characterization of Arafat as "innovative" and a "freedom fighter," stating the PLO leader was a notorious terrorist leader.

The homosexual site, which deals regularly with issues related to HIV/AIDS, ran a piece reminding readers that for several years it had been suggested Arafat was bisexual and could have contracted the disease.
"If suggestions that Arafat has AIDS are true, it is doubtful it would be made public," wrote its European bureau chief Malcolm Thornberry.

National Review diarist David Frum suggested in a column Arafat contracted AIDS from homosexual sex with his bodyguards.
Ion Pacepa, who was deputy chief of Romanian foreign intelligence under the Ceausescu regime and who defected to the West in 1978, stated in his memoirs the Romanian government bugged Arafat and had recordings of the Arab leader in orgies with his security detail.
Arafat's wife, Suha, mostly lived abroad and rarely saw her husband.
Teenage boys?

In a WND interview, the National Security Agency's former analyst of Arafat's communications said the U.S. had information indicating the Palestinian leader may have been a homosexual who preyed on teenage boys.
James J. Welsh, who in the early 1970s monitored communications for the NSA related to Arafat's Fatah movement, said, "One of the things we looked for when we were intercepting Fatah communications were messages about Ashbal [Lion cub] members who would be called to Beirut from bases outside of Beirut. The Ashbal were often orphaned or abandoned boys who were brought into the organization, ostensibly to train for later entry into Fedayeen fighter units.

"Arafat always had several of these 13-15 year old boys in his entourage. We figured out that he would often recall several of these boys to Beirut just before he would leave for a trip outside Lebanon. It proved to be a good indicator of Arafat's travel plans. While Arafat did have a regular security detail, many of those thought to be security personnel – the teenage boys – were actually there for other purposes," Welsh said.

Arafat's Fatah and PLO organizations based themselves in Beirut after they were expelled from Jordan in 1970. The terror groups remained in Lebanon until Israel's military operations in the area in 1982.
In response to Welsh's allegations, senior Arafat aide and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told WND the reports are "utter nonsense and don't merit any reaction."

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The annual Dominican Day parade was celebrated with colorful fanfare and the pride of thousands of Dominicans celebrating the island's release from the colonization of Spain. However, one famous Dominican was declared "person non grata" by certain Dominican parade officials.

Guillermo Linares, the NYC Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs was threatened with being forcefully removed by parade officials if he marched with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the head of the parade. The root of the controversy was the belief that Linares had a hand in "dissing" selected Dominican officials by not allowing them in the Mayor's inner circle of the parade. The issue was further complicated by the power structure of the Dominican day parade. One entity claims to be in charge while another says that it is the true representative of policy governing the festival.

Linares has had a long history of political representation in the city of New York. His record of achievement is lackluster to say the least and questionable at best. However, when it came to doing a favor for billionaire Ronald Perelman, Linares was at the ready. The following is an excerpt.

"But now it comes out that McAndrews & Forbes holding company paid Washington Heights Councilman Guillermo Linares (D-L) $10,000 in 1998 to make three trips to the Dominican Republic.
Linares, who just reported the payment to the city's Conflicts of Interest Board, says he was investigating the counterfeiting of Perelman-owned Montecristo cigars.
"The idea was to figure out how to prevent it," Linares told The News' Michael Finnegan yesterday. "My role was simply to help make the appropriate connections."
Linares, the first Dominican elected to public office in the U.S., says the City Council's legal staff cleared the job before he signed on."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


This is a tragic commentary where religion and allegiance to a community supersede protection of the innocent. Where is the outrage? The comments section reveals a story to be told!

BEWARE! - Convicted child molester Yechiel Brauner gets new carYechiel (Jerry) BraunerConvicted Boro-Park child molester Yechiel Brauner was seen driving a new car that is not listed on his offender registry entry. The car is a light blue late 90's model Mercury Grand Marquis with the license plate number BHZ 5385. There is a handicap permit hanging from the rear-view mirror and the back lights of the car are broken and have lens tape on them. Warn your children and teenagers not to accept any rides from the man driving this car.
Leave Comment ---This article posted by Chaptzem : 9:43 AM18 comments

Sunday, August 5, 2007



Dana Rishpy is still missing. The hurricane season will soon begin in Mexico and clues, witnesses, and memories will disappear in the wind. Matthew Walshen and friends who were last seen with Dana have yet to appear or be interviewed by the police.

Their anonymous postings to this blog declared Matthew's innocence. The postings also speculated that Matthew would "soon come forward". Despite his so called innocence, he has not surfaced. And although the messages state that in Mexico, you are guilty until proven innocent.....then what does he believe would point to his guilt?

The Mexican government has closed the case. But for her family, the search for answers continues. The Mayan people, indigenous to the area, believe that everything in nature has a spirit. Trees, flowers. birds, etc. Even though Matthew won't speak, eventually the earth, the water or some one's good spirit will. See and hear Dana in the Suitorz video above.