Friday, November 30, 2007


As the Rudy G. accounting scandal continues to grow, insiders have weighed in. This post was written on a New York police forum.

I give a lot of credit here to Bloomberg and the NYC Comptroller Thompson who told Rudy to go @!*# himself 2 yrs ago when he got wind of this coming out in an audit.He tried as he is doing now to bullshit and fugazy them with reasons as to why it had to be done that way. For those in the know that's when this actually popped up and it was referred quietly over to the Department of Investigation. It lanquished there because someone took a call from Rudy's camp to just sit on it. Well someone with integrity there anonymously e-mailed a big envelope to the Politico website and presto guess what popped up yesterday on that website! And I disagree with Lawnmower in Brooklyn- if any Chief from the NYPD is still on the Job who signed off on these illegal vouchers it would be great to see them sweat. This was all to protect the overtime of the Security Detail period! And now it's going to blow up.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Giuliani's Mistress Used N.Y. Police as Taxi Service
November 29, 2007 3:18 PM
Richard Esposito Reports:

Well before it was publicly known he was seeing her, then-married New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided a police driver and city car for his mistress Judith Nathan, former senior city officials tell the Blotter on
"She used the PD as her personal taxi service," said one former city official who worked for Giuliani.
Video: Giuliani Defends His Mayoral Expenses
New York papers reported in 2000 that the city had provided a security detail for Nathan, who became Giuliani's third wife after his divorce from Donna Hanover, who also had her own police security detail at the same time.
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Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage
The former city officials said Giuliani expanded the budget for his security detail at the time. reported yesterday that many of the security expenses were initially billed to obscure city agencies, effectively hiding them from oversight.
The former officials told the extra costs involved overtime and per diem costs for officers traveling with Giuliani to secret weekend rendezvous with Nathan in the fashionable Hamptons resort area on Long Island.

When the New York City comptroller began to question the accounting, Mayor Giuliani's office declined to provide details to city security, officials told today.
"The Comptroller's Office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002 but was informed that due to security concerns the information could not be provided," a spokesperson for the comptroller's office said.

Appearing in public for the first time today, Giuliani told ABC News the accusations he assigned a police security detail to his mistress and helped to hide the expenses in the mammoth New York City budget "a pre-debate hit job." "I'm sorry, but I still don't understand why they filed these expenses the way they did," he said. Former officials close to Giuliani say he had "zero" to do with how the police security expenses for Judith Nathan, who he since married, were accounted in the city budget. The Giuliani campaign said it would also provide a former deputy mayor, Randy Mastro, to respond to the allegations later today.


The Politico's Ben Smith is reporting that former New York Mayor and Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for travel expenses during his tenure as New York Mayor. Politico obtained documents on the brewing scandal via a Freedom of Information Law request.

Giuliani is denying the allegations.

According to the story, Giuliani charged a variety of city agencies, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants, for hundreds of thousands in expenses related to Rudy's travel to the Hamptons. When city auditors questioned the expenses, they were denied information by the mayor's office, citing "security" concerns.

The article stresses the link between the Hamptons trips and the Mayor's extra-marital relationship with Judith Nathan, his current wife. In my view, this is an attempt to "sex up" a story which otherwise poses more questions than it answers. Obviously, further investigation is warranted, and if the "sexy" angle gets it the attention it deserves, so be it. The facts around the dissolution of Rudy's second marriage have already had what impact they're going to have, although it can't be comfortable for Mr. Giuliani to have this in the news while he's trying to woo conservative voters in Iowa.

The use of the lofts agency is an uncomfortable reminder of another sex scandal, former N.Y.C. Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and erstwhile O.J. publisher Judith Regan's dalliances at an apartment that was intended for use by weary police and rescue workers at Ground Zero. With Hizzoner currently polling at 12 percent in Iowa, this cannot be welcome news to the Giuliani camp.

Of course, the greater impact of this story remains to be seen. If city officials continue to investigate this, it could be a major hit to Giuliani's status as the national front-runner.

This could be an important story. It's anybody's guess where an investigation of this will lead. I'll keep you posted.

Update: Anderson Cooper asked Giuliani about this story during the Youtube debate, and Giuliani essentially blamed his cops, saying, "They put in their records...I had nothing to do with their records...they were handled appropriately as far as I know."


Power to the people (with money)
The Glasers—a family of Bronx elevator-equipment moguls—haven't been too big on giving money to political campaigns. In fact, city campaign-finance records show that before this spring, they and their company—G.A.L. Manufacturing in the South Bronx—hadn't given a single dollar to local candidates. Ever.Elevator Diplomacy

So why did the Glasers suddenly drop almost $30,000 into Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion's campaign war chest in May and July? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the city had just agreed to pay the Glasers a whopping $5 million for "air rights" over their East 153rd Street property to make way for the renovation of an old pedestrian bridge to the new Yankee Stadium?

The thing that makes the timing of their contribution even more intriguing is that the same politically connected lawyer involved in the air-rights deal also acted as the middleman in raising those contributions for Carrion.


Here are a few reactions to Rudy's latest "accounting issues".

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How about NYPD Detectives installing a state of the art, no expense spared(NYPD funds) alarm system in his Goomah's residence? Or an NYPD BodyGuard Detail protecting said Goomah?
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Hmmmm I wonder what perp that just got arrested maybe gave up this information I like to know why it was ok for him and his kid to get autographed baseballs from the yankees at the games, but if a cop get a free coffee he looks to hang him?
Anonymous said...
As mayor Rudy G has security and goes to many places. I have seen him on the Hamlet Golf course in Hauppauge, NY a few times. I spoke to his security back in that time period who told me "he was coming back from the Hamptons and enjoyed playing this course and he does this a few time a year". What he does in his personal time is none of our business, IMO. Nor is the line items of funds. Every business divides line items to differant accounts

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


By: Ben Smith
Nov 28, 2007 02:47 PM EST

As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.

The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.

At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”

The Hamptons visits resulted in hotel, gas and other costs for Giuliani’s New York Police Department security detail.

Giuliani’s relationship with Nathan is old news now, and Giuliani regularly asks voters on the campaign trail to forgive his "mistakes."

It’s also impossible to know whether the purpose of all the Hamptons trips was to see Nathan. A Giuliani spokeswoman declined to discuss any aspect of this story, which was explained in detail to her earlier this week.

But the practice of transferring the travel expenses of Giuliani's security detail to the accounts of obscure mayoral offices has never been brought to light, despite behind-the-scenes criticism from the city comptroller weeks after Giuliani left office.

The expenses first surfaced as Giuliani's two terms as mayor of New York drew to a close in 2001, when a city auditor stumbled across something unusual: $34,000 worth of travel expenses buried in the accounts of the New York City Loft Board.

When the city's fiscal monitor asked for an explanation, Giuliani's aides refused, citing "security," said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the city comptroller.

But American Express bills and travel documents obtained by Politico suggest another reason City Hall may have considered the documents sensitive: They detail three summers of visits to Southampton, the Long Island town where Nathan had an apartment.

Auditors "were unable to verify that these expenses were for legitimate or necessary purposes," City Comptroller William Thompson wrote of the expenses from fiscal year 2000, which covers parts of 1999 and 2000.

The letter, whose existence has not been previously reported, was also obtained under the Freedom of Information Law.

Long Island bills

The receipts tally the costs of hotel and gas bills for the police detectives who traveled everywhere with the mayor, according to cover sheets that label them “PD expenses” and travel authorizations that describe the trips.

New York's mayor receives round-the-clock police protection, and there's no suggestion that Giuliani used his detail improperly on these trips.

Many of the receipts are from hotels and gas stations on Long Island, where Giuliani reportedly began visiting Nathan’s Southampton condominium in the summer of 1999, though Giuliani and Nathan have never discussed the beginning of their relationship.

Nathan would go on to become Giuliani’s third wife, but his second marriage was officially intact until the spring of 2000, and City Hall officials at the time responded to questions about his absences by saying he was spending time with his son and playing golf.

The receipts have languished in city files since Giuliani left office, apparently in part because of City Hall's decision to bill police expenses to a range of little-known city offices.

"There is no really good reason to do this except to have nobody know about it," Carol O'Cleireacain, a Brookings Institution senior fellow who was budget director under Giuliani's predecessor, David Dinkins, said of the unusual billing practices.

A Giuliani spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, declined to comment on any aspect of the travel documents or the billing arrangements.

A Giuliani aide who would speak only on the condition of anonymity denied that the unorthodox billing practices were aimed at hiding the expenses, citing "accounting" and noting that they were billed to units of the mayor's office, not to outside city agencies.

The aide declined to discuss Giuliani's visits to Long Island.

The trips themselves were a departure for a mayor who had prided himself on spending every waking moment in the city and on the job, and offer a glimpse into the dramatic and controversial finale to his tenure in office.

Receipts show him in Southampton every weekend in August and the first weekend in September of 2001, before the terror attacks of Sept. 11 disrupted the routines of his city.

Both the travel expenses and the appearance that his office made efforts to conceal them could open Giuliani to criticism that his personal life spilled over into his official duties and his expenses grew in his final years in office.

It is impossible to say which of the 11 Long Island trips indicated by credit card receipts were to visit Nathan and which were for other purposes.

Eight of those trips, however, were not noted on Giuliani's official schedule, which is now available in the city's municipal archive and contains many details of Giuliani's official and unofficial life.

The billing practices, however, drew formal attention on Jan. 24, 2002, when Thompson, the city comptroller, wrote the newly elected mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a confidential letter.

One of his auditors, he wrote, had stumbled upon the unexplained travel expenses during a routine audit of the Loft Board, a tiny branch of city government that regulates certain apartments.

Broadening the inquiry, the comptroller wrote, auditors found similar expenses at a range of other unlikely agencies: $10,054 billed to the Office for People With Disabilities and $29,757 to the Procurement Policy Board.

The next year, yet another obscure department, the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, was billed around $400,000 for travel.

Increasing costs

"The Comptroller's Office made repeated requests for the information in 2001 and 2002 but was informed that, due to security concerns, the information could not be provided," said Simmons. Thompson took office in 2002.

Thompson also warned that travel costs had increased by 151 percent in Giuliani's final fiscal year, to more than $618,000, a number which also includes police security on campaign swings for Giuliani’s abortive 2000 Senate run and trips to Los Angeles by Donna Hanover, who remained Giuliani's wife and the city's official first lady, in the fall of 2000.

Most of that travel also was billed to obscure agencies, though portions — much of it trips to and from Washington by Giuliani deputies — were accounted for more conventionally, with a more visible charge to the mayor's office.

Thompson suggested Bloomberg "review … the cost of mayoralty travel expenses, given your administration's focus on fiscal constraints."

A spokesman for Bloomberg, Stu Loeser, said: "When we received the letter from the comptroller, we referred the matter to the Department of Investigations, as we would in any case like this."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Investigations declined to comment.

The executive director of the Loft Board referred Politico to Bloomberg's office for comment.

The first trip to Southampton appearing in the travel documents runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 1999.

Four police officers spent the night at the Atlantic Utopia Lifestyle Inn, according to an approval request for official out-of-city travel, billing the city $1,016.20.

Giuliani’s private schedule, available from the municipal archive, lists no events on Long Island that day.

The New York Post reported the following year that Giuliani "had long weekend visits with gal pal Judi Nathan at her Southampton, L.I., condo last summer, according to neighbors who said the mayor did little to conceal their relationship.”

The neighbors called their relationship and their time in Nathan's two-bedroom condo overlooking Noyack Bay "an open secret.”

"Several residents of the condo sometimes asked Giuliani's driver and members of his security entourage to turn off their car engines," the Post reported.

That first trip was followed by at least 10 more, according to the travel and credit card documents.

One of those trips, on Aug. 20-21, 1999, included a fundraiser on the evening of the 21st. Giuliani’s four-man detail arrived 24 hours early, billing the city $1,704.43 at the Southampton Inn, according to their approval request.

More trips followed in the summer of 2000, after the mayor's affair with Nathan became public and they were seen together publicly in Southampton. The trips accelerated in the summer of 2001, when he visited Southampton every weekend in August, as well as on Sept. 2.

Many of the trips show expenses only for gas, though his police detail billed the city $1,371.40 for the nights of Aug. 3-4, 2001, at the Village Latch Inn in Southampton.

Giuliani's police detail also spent a night in Palm Beach, Fla., according to the bill for the American Express card under Giuliani's name. The detectives spent $1,714.99 at The Breakers, a sprawling hotel and resort.

There is no indication that Nathan visited Palm Beach. Giuliani's aide did not recall the trip.

The 2001 travel expenses were billed to the Assigned Counsel Administrative Office, a little-known unit of the mayor's office involved in programs that provide lawyers to poor defendants.

None of the 2001 trips to Southampton appear in Giuliani's official schedule. However, the schedule does contain a potential clue to his destination. Before three of them, Giuliani paid a visit to his barber, Carlo Fargnoli, on York Avenue near the mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion.

Politico intern Kate Linthicum contributed to this article.


Youths riot for 3rd night outside Paris
More Rioting in Paris Suburbs After Angry Youths Heighten Worries by Firing Shotguns at Police
Nov 27, 2007 23:18 EST

Youths rampaged for a third night in the tough suburbs north of Paris and violence spread to a southern city late Tuesday as police struggled to contain rioters who have burned cars and buildings and — in an ominous turn — shot at officers.
A senior police union official warned that "urban guerrillas" had joined the unrest, saying the violence was worse than during three weeks of rioting that raged around French cities in 2005, when firearms were rarely used.

Bands of young people set more cars on fire in and around Villiers-le-Bel, the Paris suburb where the latest trouble first erupted, and 22 youths were taken into custody, the regional government said. In the southern city of Toulouse, 20 cars were set ablaze, and fires at two libraries were quickly brought under control, police said.
Despite the renewed violence, France's prime minister said the situation was calmer than the two previous nights. About 1,000 officers patrolled trouble spots in and around Villiers-le-Bel on Tuesday, he said.

The government was striving to keep violence from spreading in what was shaping up as a stern test for new President Nicolas Sarkozy. The unrest showed anger still smolders in France's poor neighborhoods, where many Arabs, blacks and other minorities live largely isolated from the rest of society.

The trigger was the deaths Sunday of two minority teens when their motorscooter collided with a police car in Villiers-le-Bel, a blue-collar town on Paris' northern edge.
Residents claimed the officers left without helping the teens. Prosecutor Marie-Therese de Givry denied that, saying police stayed on the scene until firefighters arrived.
Rioting and arson quickly erupted after the crash. The violence worsened Monday night as it spread from Villiers-le-Bel to other impoverished suburbs north of the French capital. Rioters burned a library, a nursery school and a car dealership and tried to set some buildings on fire by crashing burning cars into them.

Officials have pledged tough punishments for rioters: Eight people were convicted Tuesday in fast-track trials and sentenced to 3-10 months in prison, the regional government said.
Police reinforcements were moved into trouble spots north of Paris on Tuesday. Helicopters flew overhead, shining powerful spotlights into apartment buildings to keep people from leaving their homes.

"The situation is under control," said Denis Joubert, director of public safety for the region surrounding Villiers-le-Bel.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who was briefed by police in Villiers-le-Bel, said things were "much calmer than the previous two nights, but we feel that things are still fragile, and we need a large preventative force on the ground so that what happened last night does not happen again."

Patrice Ribeiro of the Synergie police union said rioters this time included "genuine urban guerrillas," saying the use of firearms — hunting shotguns so far — had added a dangerous dimension.
Police said 82 officers were injured Monday night, 10 of them by buckshot and pellets. Four were seriously wounded, the force said. Police unions said 30 officers were struck by buckshot.
One rioter with a shotgun "was firing off two shots, reloading in a stairwell, coming back out — boom, boom — and firing again," said Gilles Wiart, No. 2 official in the SGP-FO police union.
Youths, many of them Arab and black children of immigrants, again appeared to be lashing out at police and other targets seen to represent a French establishment they feel has left them behind.

"I don't think it's an ethnic problem," Wiart said. "Most of all it is youths who reject all state authority. They attack firefighters, everything that represents the state."
Suspicion of the police runs high among people in the drab housing project where the two teenagers died in the crash. The boys were identified in French media only by their first names, Lakhami, 16, and Mouhsin, 15.

There have long been tensions between France's largely white police force and the ethnic minorities trapped in poor neighborhoods.
Despite decades of problems and heavy state investments to improve housing and create jobs, the depressed projects that ring Paris are a world apart from the tourist attractions of the capital. Police speak of no-go zones where they and firefighters fear to patrol.
"The problem of bad relations between the police and minorities is underestimated," said criminologist Sebastian Roche.

Sarkozy, speaking from China, appealed for calm and called a security meeting with his Cabinet ministers for Wednesday on his return home.
Sarkozy was interior minister, in charge of police, during the riots of 2005 and took a hard line against the violence. He angered many in housing projects when he called delinquents there "scum."

The rioting youths "want Sarkozy — they want him to come and explain" what happened to the two teenage boys, said Linda Beddar, a 40-year-old mother of three in Villiers-le-Bel. Beddar woke Tuesday to find the library across from her house a burned-out shell.
The violence two years ago also started in the suburbs of northern Paris, when two teens were electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police. The government is keen to keep the new violence from spreading.

In Villiers-le-Bel late Monday, arsonists set fire to the municipal library and burned books littered its floor Tuesday. Shops and businesses were also attacked, and more than 70 vehicles were torched, authorities said.
Rioters even rammed burning cars into buildings, trying to set the structures on fire, authorities said. Police reported six arrests.

Several hundred youths organized in small groups led the rioting in Villiers-le-Bel, and incidents were also reported in five other towns north of Paris, the regional government reported.
It refused to give specific figures on injuries among the police, rioters or other civilians, or the numbers of cars and buildings set on fire, saying it feared that doing so would encourage youths to try to wound more officers and destroy more property.


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Air district plans to crack down on eateries' charbroiling of beef Contra Costa Times ^ 11/27/7 Denis Cuff
Posted on 11/27/2007 8:45:06 PM PST by SmithL

"Beef: It's what for dinner," the ads say.
Beef: It's also the target of an air pollution rule proposed to reduce charbroiler emissions from Bay Area restaurants.
The region's nine-county pollution agency said Monday it has revamped a proposed charbroiler pollution rule so emission controls would be required only at restaurants that cook large amounts of beef.

Charbroiling beef produces more fine smoke particles, a health threat to people, than grilling less fatty chicken, shrimp or vegetables, pollution managers say.
"We believe we have a very good proposal that goes after the biggest pollution source from charbroilers, beef," said Jack Broadbent, chief executive officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

One statewide restaurant association still opposes the rule even though the group is less upset now that the revamped proposal would exempt places that charbroil chicken and fish or only small amounts of beef.
"The new proposal is an improvement, but the bottom line is they are still proposing very expensive pollution control technology," said Johnnise Foster Downs, the California Restaurant Association's director of local government affairs.

The district air board will consider the charbroiler rule after a public hearing at 9:45 a.m. Dec. 5 at district headquarters in San Francisco.
Steakhouses and other restaurants would have to install pollution control devices by Jan. 1, 2013, if those businesses met each of two standards for under-fired charbroilers, which have a slotted grill heated from below.

The grills must be 10 square feet or larger, and the restaurants must charbroil at least 800 pounds of beef in a week, according to the new proposal.
A different standard of 400 pounds of beef per week would apply to less polluting, fast-food type charbroilers that cook foods on a conveyor belt heated from both below and above.
Gayle Uilkema, an air board member and a Contra Costa County supervisor, said the new beef-based proposal is fairer and less worrisome to mom-and-pop-type restaurants.

"I don't want to drive small restaurants out of business," she said. "I don't feel it's unfair to focus on beef because it's the biggest emitter of these particles that can affect public health."
The Bay Area fails to meet a tougher new federal health standard for fine particles on 20 to 30 nights a year, the air district said.

The California Restaurant Association, however, called the compliance cost of the rule too high -- an estimated $30,000 to $60,000 per restaurant to install equipment.
Charbroiler pollution is small compared to diesel cars, the group said.
"If it made a huge impact in pollution, I could understand, but charbroilers are not a big source," said Foster Downs.

Commercial charbroiling in the Bay Area emits about 6.9 tons a day of fine particulates and another 1.1 tons a day of smog-forming organic gases, the district estimates.
The proposed rule would produce a 90 percent reduction in fine particle emissions among the highest-polluting beef charbroiling restaurants, according to an air district report.
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which represents 900 Bay Area restaurants, has taken a neutral stand on the rule.

"We feel they listened to our concerns and came up with a reasonable compromise," said Kevin Westlye, executive director of the association.


Election Mis-Information, Hidden Truths and a disputed tally
By Dawn Vargas-Mitchell

Finger pointing, public accusations, charges and, counter charges led up to the November 16th vote in the WBAI Local Station Board elections this month. As a court injunction remains in place, there are no clear winners in the now suspended vote that goes before a State Supreme Court Judge on Thursday. The battle over WBAI radio's Local Station Board elections may very well determine the future of the non-commercial New York station some call the last independent voice on the air.

On November 16th a handful of staff and board members went before a New York State Supreme Court Judge seeking a temporary restraining order that day, following the discovery that thousands of election ballots had not reached potential voters. Those voters in the now disputed election are subscribers to the listener supported station. The order was granted. At issue is the election of the Local Station Board, which is actually a governing panel that has wide and sweeping powers that oversees business and programming at the radio outlet.

Supreme Court Judge Richard P. Braun had ordered the collected ballots sealed and granted the plaintiffs in the case a 'preliminary injunction' that prohibits WBAI and, the parent owner of the station, the Pacifica Network and, other named defendants, from counting the ballots.

At the center of the controversy is a widely held belief that members of the Justice and Unity Coalition, which some consider the dominant faction in the Pacifica system, of making an attempt to steal the election. Rumblings along those lines are also being heard in two California-based Pacifica stations, KPFK and KPFA-FM, which also held elections on the same day.

For those outside of the Pacifica radio sphere, what comes out in the popular press is often a confusing and convoluted picture of the players and groups involved in the spat. Such was the case in a recently published article in the New York-based Gay City News one week before the WBAI election. The strongly worded article by John Riley and Eric Sawyer, which appeared on November 8th, is provocative, thought provoking, angry and, misleading.

The writers contend that voices inside the New York station lead to just two waves of thought, broken down between two factions. There are, in fact, at least five. One WBAI faction is accused, for example, of being homophobic and mis-representing the public on issues important to the Gay and Lesbian community, principally, the matter of HIV and AIDS. They take aim at Gary Null, a former talk show host, who had a highly successful alternative health program on the station for over 20 years. The other is Steve Brown, a former but, highly successful direct mail executive, who currently sits on WBAI's Local Station Board. Brown's wealth, the two suggest, is behind a sinister plot in funding opposition to the Justice and Unity Coalition's (J-U-C) alleged 'Progressive Programming." A link to that article is provided here.

What is left out of the article is that one of the authors, John Riley, is himself a J-U-C sympathizer who also is a member of WBAI's Applicant Review Committee. This grouping of nine members, also known as ARC, conducts evaluation surveys of potential station General Managers and, Program Directors. Riley, a host of OUT FM, the Gay oriented program heard on the station Monday mornings, is also romantically linked to Bob Lederer, an ardent J-U-C supporter. It is a connection that cannot be overlooked.

Lederer, who sits on both the WBAI Local and National Pacifica Boards, is said to be the J-U-C's chief strategist. A close ally of Bernard White, the current WBAI Program Director, Lederer has had a long association with WBAI which dates back to at least 20 years. Seen at every Local Station Board meeting, Lederer is quiet yet calculating. J-U-C opponents have said that he is often the one board member who "stirs the pot" that often leads to breakdowns, chaos and even violent confrontations at local board meetings. When contacted, Lederer declined to comment.

Whether or not the J-U-C is behind the mysterious delay in thousands of Local Station Board ballots is open to question. As reported here last week, however, critics of the J-U-C point to the nearly $6,000.00 dollar post-election bill issued to WBAI for the successful delivery of 15,000 thousand J-U-C campaign fliers during the same period. Many J-U-C opponents told us flatly that they "smell a rat" One is the aforementioned Steve Brown who sent out an E-mail blast that read in part:

"Dear WBAI Supporter -- "Because many WBAI voters did not receive ballots -- and a suspiciously high percentage of them appear to be non-JUC supporters -- WBAI listener and staff members petitioned the court (on Friday, November 16) for a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) to halt the counting of ballots until a means is devised to insure that those who didn't get ballots, and requested replacement ballots, actually get them and can vote. "After reading the petition, the judge agreed to sign the TRO, which ordered all WBAI ballots up to November 15 to be immediately impounded. This TRO forces Pacifica management to comply with the election rules set forth in the Pacifica bylaws regarding counting of the ballots and other election violations that seem designed to prejudice the election in favor of JUC candidates."

Brown is not alone in his anger at what some are calling the hi-jacking of an election. Caught in the middle are the paid staff members at the station who may face pay reductions, or layoffs, as early as Mid-December or January. Fueling that anger and fear is the recent 300 thousand dollar short fall in the last fund raising drive that fell far short, and under, a projection target set by the current Program Director.
Calls to the station by angry subscribers complaining that they have yet to receive Premiums paid for in their contributions in the last fund drive are mounting. Insiders tell us that every division inside WBAI has received dozens of such calls in recent weeks from irate supporters. The recent resignation of Paul Ashby, a popular employee who had a big hand in running the key Premium Division, has hurt morale. Ashby was reportedly unhappy with the addition of two employees in Premiums, who lack the skills for the job and, are known friends and cronies of the Program Director. Bernard White, in a short, pointed, terse and blunt exit letter reportedly said to Ashby that he "wished him well in his new endeavor." Ashby is currently seeking employment.

Whatever way Supreme Court Judge Richard P. Braun rules in the election suit on Thursday, it will not fix the deep seated issues inside of WBAI immediately. In the short term it will produce winners and losers. But critics, subscribers, long-time listeners and donors will continue to debate among themselves whether or not one faction at WBAI radio tried to steal the recent election. Staff and volunteers at KPFK and KPFA-FM will be watching developments closely. The answer, however the court ruling shakes out, promises to shape the sound, staff and direction of the maverick New York radio outlet for years to come.

Updates on the suit and related information can be found at:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


New York Daily News (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) NEW YORK

Before marrying Brooke Astor's only son, Charlene Marshall had just $28 in her checking account when she divorced her first husband, according to court documents obtained by the New York Daily News.

Marshall and soon-to-be-ex-husband Paul Gilbert weren't saving much either: They had only $550 in a savings account. They owned three cars: a 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit, a 1986 Honda Civic and a 1988 Volkswagen Fox. The latter two were still being paid off.They also carried $2,800 in debt on two credit cards.

She was so broke that she had to take out a $7,000 loan just to bankroll her move to New York the loan payments shared by her and Gilbert, according to Maine court records. Her life changed drastically when she wed Anthony Marshall, Astor's son, and some would say Astor's quality-of-life changed for the worse. Anthony Marshall has been accused in a lawsuit by his own son of mistreating Astor, enriching himself and his wife while cutting back on her most basic needs everything from medical care to clothing, even refusing to buy her nonskid socks."It is not so much that Tony is not a nice person, it is being driven by the wife," said a source familiar with the family.

Neither Marshall nor his wife would comment yesterday, but her divorce records in Maine painted a clear picture as to how different her nowprivileged life once was. Charlene Marshall and the Rev. Paul Gilbert were wed in South Carolina on Aug. 24, 1968. They had three children and lived in a church rectory in downtown Northeast Harbor, a humble two-story house with white siding and a front porch. But on Oct. 2, 1989, Marshall moved out of the house, and she filed for divorce three days later, saying there were "marital differences between the parties which are irreconcilable and the marriage has broken down."

Gilbert, who declined to comment, earned $27,000 a year, and Marshall listed her occupation as "housewife."When Marshall moved to New York, she left her three children, Robert, Inness and Arden, with their father. Robert, the youngest, was just shy of his 13th birthday.The divorce was granted Jan. 24, 1990, and Charlene agreed to pay unspecified child support for the youngest two, who were under 18, but the amount was reduced because "of the high costs of living currently facing the wife."

Their biggest asset was a 4.4-acre piece of property they had bought for $200,000 in 1986, according to court records. Charlene later bought out her ex-husband's half and built a three-bedroom home. The property is now worth about $1.1 million.She married Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, after his then-wife, Thelma, divorced him in 1992. Marshall and Charlene met in Northeast Harbor's social circles and wed soon after his divorce. They began hobnobbing with Martha Stewart, who also has a Maine home.

A spotlight was put on the Marshalls' marriage after his son, Philip Marshall, filed suit.It was revealed that Astor signed over a Maine estate valued at $5 million to her son in 2003, and he later signed it over to Charlene, according to court papers. The source familiar with the Astor family also said that a favorite painting of Astor's that used to hang in the library of her Park Ave. apartment was sold within the last five or 10 years, after her son convinced her she was broke. The painting, Childe Hassam's "Flags, Fifth Avenue," was sold to a private buyer."I know that it was a painting that she loved and she sold it for $8 million and she didn't want to.

She was going on the advice of her son," the source said.Anthony Marshall did release a statement of support from Whoopi Goldberg, who once lived in the same building as the Marshalls."These are people for whom I have the deepest respect," Goldberg said. "What I know of this couple does not give me any reason to doubt the ridiculousness of these allegations against them." ___(c) 2006, New York Daily News.Visit the Daily News online at


Village Voice ^ ovember 27, 2007 Wayne Barrett
Posted on 11/27/2007 3:53:44 PM PST by calcowgirl

Giuliani's business contracts tie him to the man who let 9/11's mastermind escape the FBI
Three weeks after 9/11, when the roar of fighter jets still haunted the city's skyline, the emir of gas-rich Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al-Thani, toured Ground Zero. Although a member of the emir's own royal family had harbored the man who would later be identified as the mastermind of the attack—a man named Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, often referred to in intelligence circles by his initials, KSM—al-Thani rushed to New York in its aftermath, offering to make a $3 million donation, principally to the families of its victims.

Rudy Giuliani, apparently unaware of what the FBI and CIA had long known about Qatari links to Al Qaeda, appeared on CNN with al-Thani that night and vouched for the emir when Larry King asked the mayor: "You are a friend of his, are you not?"
"We had a very good meeting yesterday. Very good," said Giuliani, adding that he was "very, very grateful" for al-Thani's generosity. It was no cinch, of course, that Giuliani would take the money: A week later, he famously rejected a $10 million donation from a Saudi prince who advised America that it should "adopt a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause." (Giuliani continues to congratulate himself for that snub on the campaign trail.) Al-Thani waited a month before expressing essentially the same feelings when he returned to New York for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly and stressed how important it was to "distinguish" between the "phenomenon" of 9/11 and "the legitimate struggles" of the Palestinians "to get rid of the yoke of illegitimate occupation and subjugation." Al-Thani then accused Israel of "state terrorism" against the Palestinians.

But there was another reason to think twice about accepting al-Thani's generosity that Giuliani had to have been aware of, even as he heaped praise on the emir. Al Jazeera, the Arabic news network based in Qatar (pronounced "Cutter"), had been all but created by al-Thani, who was its largest shareholder. The Bush administration was so upset with the coverage of Osama bin Laden's pronouncements and the U.S. threats to bomb Afghanistan that Secretary of State Colin Powell met the emir just hours before Giuliani's on-air endorsement and asked him to tone down the state-subsidized channel's Islamist footage and rhetoric.

The six-foot-eight, 350-pound al-Thani, who was pumping about $30 million a year into Al Jazeera at the time, refused Powell's request, citing the need for "a free and credible media." The administration's burgeoning distaste for what it would later brand "Terror TV" was already so palpable that King—hardly a newsman—asked the emir if he would help "spread the word" that the U.S. was "not targeting the average Afghan citizen." Al-Thani ignored the question—right before Giuliani rushed in to praise him again.

In retrospect, Giuliani's embrace of the emir appears peculiar. But it was only a sign of bigger things to come: the launching of a cozy business relationship with terrorist-tolerant Qatar that is inconsistent with the core message of Giuliani's current presidential campaign, namely that his experience and toughness uniquely equip him to protect America from what he tauntingly calls "Islamic terrorists"—an enemy that he always portrays himself as ready to confront, and the Democrats as ready to accommodate.

The contradictory and stunning reality is that Giuliani Partners, the consulting company that has made Giuliani rich, feasts at the Qatar trough, doing business with the ministry run by the very member of the royal family identified in news and government reports as having concealed KSM—the terrorist mastermind who wired funds from Qatar to his nephew Ramzi Yousef prior to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and who also sold the idea of a plane attack on the towers to Osama bin Laden—on his Qatar farm in the mid-1990s.


Abu Dhabi Invests $7.5 Billion in Citigroup
By ROBIN SIDEL November 26, 2007 9:54 p.m.
Citigroup Inc., seeking to restore investor confidence amid massive losses due in credit markets and a lack of permanent leadership, is receiving a $7.5 billion cash infusion from the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government, according to people familiar with the situation.
The investment by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will help rebuild Citigroup's capital levels, which have been eroded by a credit crunch that began in August. Citigroup Chief Executive Charles Prince resigned earlier this month after the bank, which had already written off billions of dollars, was facing as much as $11 billion more in losses.

As a result of the deal, the investment authority known as ADIA will become one of Citigroup's largest shareholders, with a stake of less than 5%, said the people familiar with the matter. The stake will exceed that of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, long known as one of Citigroup's largest shareholders, these people said.

The investment underscores the growing role that Middle Eastern investors are taking outside their home turf. Separately Monday, an investment company owned by Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, bought a stake in Sony Corp. ADIA, which has almost $1 trillion under management, this summer bought a small stake in Apollo Management LP.
In exchange for its investment, ADIA will receive convertible stock in Citigroup yielding 11% annually.

The shares are required to be converted into common stock at a conversion price of a maximum $37.24 a share over a period of time between March 2010 and September 2011.
On Monday, shares of Citigroup fell more than 3% to $30.70 in 4 p.m. composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

ADIA, which is a client of Citigroup, won't have any governance rights in the bank.
Investors have increasingly expressed concerns about Citigroup's "tier 1" capital levels -- a common measure of a bank's capital adequacy -- which for the first time in years fell below its 7.5% target in the third quarter. Although the bank is still considered to be well-capitalized, investors worried that Citigroup would be forced to cut its dividend.

Citigroup officials repeatedly denied that was the case and said it was taking steps to restore the capital levels by the middle of 2008.
Citi, which is the nation's largest bank, as measured by assets, has been under intense pressure for months. Although it is seeking to reduce costs, more cutbacks are likely in coming months. The bank is at risk of more losses due to the credit-market turmoil, leading to widespread concerns that it and other financial institutions will be forced to curtail lending.

Furthermore, Citigroup's U.S. consumer business, which includes retail banking and credit cards, is trailing key rivals like Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Citigroup's board of directors is also in the midst of a high-profile search to replace Mr. Prince. Upon Mr. Prince's resignation, the board named senior advisor Robert Rubin as chairman and also appointed Sir Win Bischoff, chairman of Citi's European operations, as interim chief executive.

Investors, meanwhile, have increasingly soured on the bank's performance. Some have called for a break-up of the financial conglomerate that was formed about a decade ago.
Other financial-services companies also have sought out investors to help them through the credit-market turmoil. This summer, Bank of America took a $2 billion equity stake in Countrywide Financial Corp. after the mortgage lender got caught in a funding crisis. In that deal, Bank of America received nonvoting convertible preferred stock of Countrywide yielding 7.25% annually.

Separately, Bear Stearns Cos. Inc and Citic Securities Co., a Chinese investment bank, last month announced a deal in which each will invest about $1 billion in the other.
Write to Robin Sidel at

Monday, November 26, 2007


November 26, 2007 Giuliani's Culture of Corruption Why did an Israeli billionaire hand $250,000 to Giuliani protégé Bernie Kerik?
by Justin Raimondo

They say he's the only one who can beat the Democrats in '08, the only one who's tough enough to take on Hillary and keep the White House for the GOP, but the truth is quite the opposite. With at least two major scandals brewing under the surface, in addition to his other distinctively un-Republican peccadilloes, Rudy is the candidate with the biggest glass jaw of them all.

The slow-burning fuse of the controversy surrounding the lack of functioning radios for the New York City firemen who suffered such heavy losses on 9/11 has already been lit by the grieving - and angry - families of those who died. The firemen's union is going to harry the Giuliani campaign until the whole, sordid story of how a no-bid contract with Motorola and that company's cozy relationship with Giuliani led to the deaths of so many - the very ones whom Giuliani invokes as key actors in his 9/11 narrative, whose heroism he bathes in as if it would rub off.

The media isn't covering it yet, but the firefighters aren't going to let go of this one: hubrisinvitesnemesis, as the ancient Greeks correctly believed, and in Giuliani's case, it's just a question of when his nemesis is going to appear - before the Republican convention or after.
However, the trial of Bernie Kerik, a former Giuliani protégé charged with 16 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and lying on his federal disclosure forms, has a much shorter fuse and packs much more explosive potential.

The indictment [.pdf] of Kerik, which I wrote about here, was long expected: the one surprise was a count of lying on his financial disclosure forms when he was being vetted for various positions with the federal government. Kerik failed to report a $250,000 "loan" from a mysterious Israeli billionaire, which had been laundered through a Brooklyn businessman. As the indictment puts it:

"On or about June 13, 2003, 'John Doe #7,' a Brooklyn businessman, made a personal loan of $250,000 to Bernard B. Kerik ('the John Doe #7 loan'). As Kerik well knew, John Doe #7 obtained the funds with which to make the loan to Kerik by in turn taking a loan from 'John Doe #8,' a wealthy Israeli industrialist whose companies did business with the federal government."

It turns out that John Doe #8 is Eitan Wertheimer, the richest man in Israel, whose Iscar Metalworking Companies - recently acquired by Warren Buffet for $4 billion - makes precision metal-cutting tools. Iscar maintains a global network of metalworking facilities, from Tefen, Israel, to the U.S., Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, China, India, and Brazil. Wertheimer passed the money to one Shimon Cohen, "John Doe #7," a Brooklyn dealer in marble and stone, who then handed it off, in the form of a "loan," to Kerik.

Dan Janison, writing in Newsday's Spin Cycle blog, puts this train of circumstances into perspective:

"A lingering question: Why would Cohen, described as a pal of Kerik, front the loan for Wertheimer as opposed to a direct transaction? Another question: Where did Kerik, who investigators portray as chronically in search of cash, get the funds to pay back the loan? Wertheimer is described in the indictment as having done business with the federal government."

They knew they were doing something wrong. Why else try to launder the money through Cohen? Wertheimer, as the indictment says, "does business with the federal government": Iscar has government contracts with the Department of Defense. What's interesting, however, is that at the time the "loan" was made, Kerik was being vetted by federal investigators because of his appointment to the post of chief trainer of the Iraqi police - you know, the same police who turned out to be little more than Shi'ite death squads.

In the atmosphere of New York City politics, such "loans" are part of the political culture, i.e., the culture of corruption that flourished under the Giuliani administration. The same sort of shenanigans led to the deaths of all those firemen on 9/11: a sweetheart deal between the city of New York and Motorola, which left the firefighters without working radios on that fateful day.
In the case of Wertheimer's attempted bribery, however, it doesn't look like an ordinary case of venality and corruption. After all, what did Wertheimer think he was getting for his money?

Wertheimer's motive is murky, at best, but his politics are certainly in sync with Giuliani's. He appeared on the same stage with Christian Zionist nut John Hagee at the last AIPAC policy conference, where he touted the success of Iscar as Israel's success story. AIPAC, you'll recall, is currently enmeshed in a messy spy scandal, with the trial of the group's former head honcho, Steve Rosen, and his sidekick, Keith Weissman, scheduled for mid-January. The charge: filching U.S. secrets on Israel's behalf.

And what about Janison's fascinating final question: where did Kerik get the money to pay back the "loan" days after it was discovered by city investigators?

The Kerik-Giuliani-Wertheimer connection goes all the way back to 2001, when Wertheimer was appointed "honorary police commissioner" by Kerik. Among the other honorary appointees was Judith Regan, Kerik's former lover and publisher. Regan is now alleging, in a $100 million lawsuit against her former employers in the Murdoch media conglomerate, that at least two Murdoch executives urged her to "lie and withhold information" from government investigators to "protect Giuliani's presidential ambitions." Fox News, the jewel in the crown of the Murdoch media empire, has not exactly been shy about its partiality for Giuliani.

The Kerik case has all the ingredients of a real courtroom potboiler: money, illicit sex, political corruption, and, quite possibly, an attempt to unduly influence U.S. operations in Iraq on behalf of a foreign power. Perhaps our somnolent press corps will wake up long enough to ask Rudy if he can shed any light on these matters.

Kerik was and is Giuliani's man, no matter how energetically he tries to paddle away from his former pal. The Mayor of 9/11 not only personally lobbied for his protégé's appointment as head of the newly created Department of Homeland Security, he was the chief promoter of the cult of Bernie Kerik, the tough guy from the wrong side of the tracks who made it big. A movie was in the works, and as Kerik cashed that $250,000 check from Cohen, he was riding high. The irony is that his meteoric rise and fall may limn the arc of Giuliani's political career.

Sunday, November 25, 2007



Tis the season to be jolly but how can you if your feet hurt and your back aches. Lugging and tugging those shopping bags. Ah....the aggravation. Well, there's a solution. A new spa in town called RELAX A SSAGE. Located at 1690 Second Ave. on the corner of E.87th. St.

It offers a complete massage with state of the art automatic therapeutic massage beds. The massage combines Oriental and Western therapies. It relieves aches and pains and increases circulation and oxygen flow. The technology addresses 12 acupressure points too.

Best of all is the price. Only $15 for thirty minutes. They are open 7 days a week from 11:30am to 9:00pm. No appointment necessary Call 212-289-4845. There are gift certificates available. The facility is large and spacious with wonderful light. And in addition to it being a Spa, it is also available as an art gallery for artists to display their work. So hang your pictures and get a back rub too! Call 212-289-4845

See video of RELAX A SSAGE SPA at the following link:

Saturday, November 24, 2007


the Queens Courier:

When 38-year-old Joseph Moody moved to Woodside 20 years ago, day laborers waited for work on Roosevelt Avenue just as they do today. However, over time, the atmosphere of the neighborhood has changed, Moody said.“As of late, the last 10 years, it has really been a problem,” he said, referring to men who catcall to women walking by and others who stumble around drunk.“I find them to be a nuisance,” he said. A particular group of a dozen men, who wait at 72nd Street, have clashed with local businesses, said several shop owners and employees who spoke only with condition of anonymity.

“I’ve been begging people to do something,” said one business owner who set up shop along Roosevelt Avenue 20 years ago and now is anxiously awaiting the end of the store’s lease to move to Astoria. The owner claimed that instead of seeking work, some of the men sell drugs and fake Social Security cards, harass women, and even destroy the property of storeowners who have complained about them.“We really feel threatened. Even when the police come, we have to keep it all anonymous,” the owner said.Last month, a graffiti tag, which read, “I’ll kill you,” appeared on the sidewalk in front of local deli, and local shops owners blamed the men who gather on the corner.

“Now we have to walk two blocks down in the cold just to buy a coffee or a gum because we can’t go across the street,” an employee said.“There was a threat made,” said an employee of another store. “If you put that in the newspaper, they are probably going to set the store on fire.”At another business near the intersection of 72nd Street and Roosevelt, the manager said, “They are always loitering there, leaving our entranceway dirty with food and cans.”
Posted by Queens Crapper at 1:33 AM 7 comments Links to this post


Not Enough Parking for Private Jets Going to UN Climate Conference [seriously]Newsbusters ^ Nov 23 2007 Noel Sheppard
Posted on 11/23/2007 4:09:24 PM PST by camerakid400

As climate alarmists from all over the world head to Bali to talk about the sacrifices regular folks have to make to save the planet from global warming, it seems certain media will ignore all the private jets clogging the tiny airport.

As if it’s not enough that the United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held at what NewsBusters reported as "a truly beautiful tropical island paradise," the management of the nearby airport has issued a warning to attendees that they are going to have to park their private jets somewhere else. I kid you not.

As reported by Bali Discovery Tours on November 3 (emphasis added): Tempo Interaktif reports that Angkasa Pura - the management of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas. To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating "parking space" at other airports in Indonesia.

The operational manager for Bali's Airport, Azjar Effendi, says his 3 parking areas can only accommodate 15 planes, which means that some of the jets used by VIP delegations will only be allowed to disembark and embark their planes in Bali with parking provided at airports in Surabaya, Lombok, Jakarta and Makassar. Talk about your really inconvenient truths.
—Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and Associate Editor of NewsBusters.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Dad says Staten Island cops traumatized egg-throwing son

Two New York City cops were charged with child endangerment and unlawful imprisonment Friday for dumping a 14-year-old boy at a Staten Island swamp, police said.
Officers Richard Danese and Thomas Elliassen caught high school freshman Rayshawn Moreno throwing eggs at cars on Halloween and decided to mete out their own punishment, police said.

The 120th Precinct cops packed Rayshawn into their squad car, drove him 2 miles into a neighboring precinct and left him in a desolate area, authorities said. The boy's dad, James Hazel, told the Daily News Thursday that the cops had stripped off the teen's clothes, leaving him in only boxer shorts and socks.

The cops later told supervisors they were only trying to scare the youth and turned around and drove back to find him minutes after dropping him off. But the Port Richmond High School student already had walked to a nearby strip mall and asked a security guard to call his parents for help.

View the press conference at this link:

The two cops, both 28 and on the force for three years, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree unlawful imprisonment, both misdemeanors, authorities said. They were each issued desk appearance tickets and released. The officers have been placed on modified duty.

A source said the cops denied stripping or manhandling Rayshawn. Hazel said he believed the two white cops thought they could pick on a black teen and get away with it. He also said the charges were too lenient.
"We want justice for what my son went through," Hazel said. "A regular citizen would have been charged with kidnapping. The officers should be punished to the full extent of the law.
"My son, he's not taking it well," Hazel added. "He wakes up at night sweating." A lawyer for the officers declined to comment last night.

Our Classy Local Newsman

Why "News" and "Booze" do not go together.


A state senator who opposes Mayor Bloomberg’s Coney Island redevelopment plan claimed victory at the first public hearing on the proposal Monday night, boasting that he was able to shut down the meeting by bussing in hundreds of people to the event.

“Score one for the good guys,” state Sen. Carl Kruger (D–Bensonhurst) shouted to his supporters after the Coney Island Development Corporation hastily canceled the meeting. “We won the ground war. You made a point tonight, and that is that Bloomberg isn’t going to push his Manhattan plans on Brooklyn without hearing from Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay.”

More than 150 people had RSVP’d to attend the scheduled meeting at Coney Island Hospital, where officials from the City Hall-run CIDC planned to show off Bloomberg’s proposal to residents for the first time.
But Kruger was ready. Days before the meeting, he said Bloomberg’s vision was similar to “many failed plans” to revitalize Coney Island considered over the last 50 years and predicted it was “headed for the file cabinet.”

He also raised the central question many are wondering about the mayor’s proposal: How much will it cost to buy out developer Joe Sitt, whose Thor Equities has spent somewhere between $100 and $200 million to buy land in Coney’s amusement zone — land that the mayor now wants to buy, rezone as parkland, and have an outside theme park operator develop as an all-year attraction.
November 21, 2007 Permalink Comments (1)

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Now that the holidays are here, it is time for merrymaking. And as we all know, there are many ways to "make merry". Looks as though we get a pass for Hanukkah.
Is marijuana kosher for Pessah?By SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL

Every Sunday school student knows Pessah for its ban on food that rises, but a growing number of Jews are asking whether the holiday also precludes them from getting high.
Hemp has increasingly been spotted on the list of kitniyot, or legumes, that Ashkenazi Jews abstain from eating during Pessah, according to several influential rabbinical Web sites, including But not everyone agrees that hemp qualifies for the ban, and the debate has led many to question the definition of kitniyot.

While hemp isn't a kitchen staple for most people, hemp oil can be found in a number of hygiene products and in some alternative baked goods. But it's hemp's more notorious cousin, commonly known as marijuana, that has set the sparks flying. As debate over the kitniyot tradition has gathered steam among rabbinic circles, many are looking at hemp as a case in point of why the practice of abstention needs to be reexamined.

The ban on kitniyot during Pessah began because rabbis were concerned that certain legumes would come into contact with the grains forbidden during the holiday. Farmers often grew wheat and rice in adjacent fields, and families frequently stored all of their grains and legumes in the same containers. The kitniyot tradition only applies to Jews of Ashkenazi descent, since Sephardic Jewry never adopted the practice.

Of the dozen rabbis whom The Jerusalem Post questioned on this issue, none offered a conclusive statement about how hemp should be classified for Pessah. As Rabbi Daniel Kohn of Bat Ayin explained, the issue ultimately boils down to an individual decision by each rabbi about whether hemp seeds themselves could be considered edible. If a rabbi decides that the seeds are edible, then hemp - and, by extension, marijuana - would not be considered permissible for Pessah.

Israel's Green Leaf Party ("Aleh Yarok") said it was not taking any chances. Following an inquiry by the Post, a spokeswoman for the party said the group was sending out an e-mail to members warning them about hemp's possible kashrut problems.
"We are warning our people not to eat anything with hemp products if they follow the practice of kitniyot on Pessah," said party spokeswoman Michelle Levine. "We are considering announcing a ban on everything containing hemp just to be on the safe side. We are going with the rabbis on this. People should remove all cannabis and hemp from their homes."
Levine said one of the party's main arguments for cannabis legalization was biblical references to it.

"We would like to ask people... if it's listed as not kosher 'for Pessah,' [doesn't] that mean it must be kosher the rest of the year?" said Levine.
Hemp's tricky Pessah status has caused the first marital rift for Daniel and Sarah, who recently moved to Jerusalem from Chicago. The newlyweds, who asked not to use their last name, said they had just finished their Pessah cleaning when a friend asked them if he could buy the rest of their marijuana.

"We just had no idea what he meant. It turns out he was buying it from a lot of his observant friends so that they wouldn't have it in the house, [like] hametz," said Sarah. "We aren't habitual users, but we certainly smoke in our house, and we really aren't sure what our pipe may have come in contact with. It has caused a big crisis for us."
In the end, the two decided to quietly get rid of the rest of their marijuana (not by selling it to a friend, since it was kitniyot, and not hametz, they explained), and give their home one more cleaning before the holiday.

"There is no problem with hemp clothing, and of course, anything that is taken for medicinal purposes would be fine," said Kohn. "Many would look at it like cottonseed oil. There are a variety of opinions. If one considered it edible, then it is included in kitniyot."
On Monday, the religious court of the Shilo Institute issued a ruling that permits all Jews to consume kitniyot during Pessah. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim wrote the ruling, with Rabbis Yehoshua Buch and Chaim Wasserman co-signing.

The move is seen as a direct attack on the kitniyot tradition, as Bar-Hayim wrote that the current explanations for the custom were "unconvincing."
"Kitniyot is no longer applicable. It's a tradition people keep going because they want to extend a perimeter so far outside the actual law of Torah that they could not possibly violate the actual law," said Dan Sieradski, an editor at who has been at work on a book on Jews and drugs for several years.
"Clearly, you can use hemp in food," he said. "You might mix it into brownies. You aren't going to make bread out of it."



Updated November 18, 2007
WBAI Justice and Unity CampaignA Multi-racial, Anti-racist, Majority-Women Slate ofListener Candidates for the Local Station Board
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PACIFICA ELECTION FALLOUT: More Sleaze from the J-U-C?By Anonymous

Not all is quiet on the WBAI radio front this Thanksgiving, as allegations of election manipulation, and fraud, by the Justice and Unity Coalition (J-U-C,) the dominant faction at the New York station, rise to the surface with the recent discovery of a questionable invoice this week. The invoice calls for the Pacifica station to fork over more than $5, 000.00 thousand dollars to undisclosed parties for a service not authorized by official personnel.

It caught station insiders flat-footed.The ever changing twists and turns at the New York Pacifica Radio outlet, where thousands of ballots failed to reach subscribers last week, now focus on campaign material mailed to thousands of local subscribers, that did reach potential voters. It is alleged that J-U-C members now want the station to pay for their self-serving efforts. It is a questionable and, some say, illegal request that break (s) the rules of the non-commercial station's by-laws.

Other critics say this latest twist smacks of financial skulduggery advanced by a faction hell bent on controlling a radio network. The extraordinary discovery comes on the heels of last week's disputed Local Station Board vote, where at least two thousand blank ballots failed to reach subscribers who would cast their vote in the key election. A surprise bill of over five thousand dollars was issued to the New York station's business office this week, that demanded immediate payment.

The discovery was made by Mitchel Cohen, a member of the WBAI Local Station board and, J-U-C opponent. Cohen, who along with one dozen supporters, filed a suit in Manhattan Civil Court on Monday against the network, that charges election fraud. In the second of two E-mails mailed to concerned listeners and supporters this week, Cohen admitted shock to this recent discovery and issued the following statement:

"Attached is a scanned copy of an invoice to WBAI sent via US Mail to (the) attention of the (WBAI-FM) bookkeeper Yvonne Singh, from Pacifica's mailing house, for mailing the J-U-C flyer.

"It says that 15,294 pieces were mailed for Justice & Unity Campaign. Postage used (amounted to) $5,153.24, and paid by check #1037, with an additional balance due of $1,020.00 dollars for mailing services provided payable by the end of December 2007."

Cohen is not alone in his revulsion of the highly questionable demand for money.

As WBAI officials and staff grapple with a 300 thousand dollar financial short fall from the recent Fund Raising drive, this additional demand for cash, is yet another blow to the station. Proposed salary cuts, even staff lay-offs in the coming New Year, are very real possibilities it is feared. One WBAI staff member, speaking on the condition of anonymity said, "This shit is crazy! Here we have a suspended election, a staff reshuffling, threats on jobs, down over a quarter of a million, a demoralized work force and, these bozos are asking for 6 Grand???!!! What's next?" When told of the comments by the staffer, other employees nodded in agreement. November 29th is what comes next and it now looms large.

That is the date challengers to the disputed station board elections will argue their complaint in Manhattan Civil Court. Cohen and his supporters believe WBAI's dominant J-U-C faction is trying to steal more than an election here with the disclosure of the surprising invoice. His E-mail, continued below, raised key points in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holidays.

Cohen listed a series of concerns that include: Questions:

1) Did WBAI pay for the J-U-C mailing? (Under Network and station By-Laws that) would be illegal.

2) Is WBAI (the) fiscal sponsor for the "Association Center of New York ," which is doing business at WBAI's address?

3) Does the use of the station's premises, resources, (and) personnel by (the) "Association Center of New York" to support one faction (the J-U-C) in the elections to the Local Station Board, constitute a breach of elections rules and, a violation of the law for not-for-profit corporations?

4) Who signed the (WBAI-FM) check?

He went on to propose:

1) (That) There be an immediate investigation to determine how it occurred that $5,153.24 (dollars) was billed to WBAI for postage for the Justice & Unity Campaign mailer, and paid (for) by ( and with) WBAI Check #1037, and that a scanned copy of WBAI Check #1037 be provided to the WBAI Local Station Board (L-S-B) and Pacifica Radio Network Board (P-N-B) and (including the) California Attorney General's office immediately, and

2) Once it is discovered which WBAI personnel or Pacifica national personnel approved payment of the bill for the Justice & UnityCampaign election mailer, those persons' employment and others' involved, will be immediately terminated for cause.

3) That the WBAI LSB and Pacifica prohibit payment of the $1,020.00 balance due to K/P Corporation for "mailing services" for the Justice & Unity mailing, and specifically directs that it not be paid by WBAI or Pacifica or by any funds held or administered for others by WBAI or Pacifica, and

4) That a cart be aired 8 times daily throughout the day so that it may be heard by a broad audience stating that: "The recent Justice & Unity Campaign election flyer was not authorized by WBAI. While members do have the right to use the WBAI mailing list to contact others about the election, they do not have the right to charge the expense to WBAI, and WBAI is prohibited by law from paying for any such mailings.

An investigation is underway to determine how it occurred that the bill for the Justice & Unity election flyer was sent to WBAI, and the amount that has been paid by WBAI for this mailing. Any sums paid by WBAI for this mailing must be immediately repaid to WBAI by the Justice & Unity Campaign."

The strongly worded E-mail notice has caused another buzz among long-time supporters, most of whom remain unaware over details of the political in-fighting behind the scenes. News of the remarkable turn of events over the past six days has not made the pages of New York's main stream press. Even the tabloids have shied away from this local side of the national story while the dust settles.

As a crucial date in Manhattan Civil Court draws near, there is real concern by some at WBAI-FM, that officials inside the non-profit corporation sympathetic to the J-U-C will allow this questionable billing to stand. There are also rumblings at two of Pacifica's West Coast stations, KPFA and KPFK, respectively, that what is taking place at WBAI-FM in New York, is being duplicated there, as well.


Thanksgiving: A Native American View
by Jacqueline Keeler

I celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving.
This may surprise those people who wonder what Native Americans think of this official U.S. celebration of the survival of early arrivals in a European invasion that culminated in the death of 10 to 30 million native people.

Thanksgiving to me has never been about Pilgrims. When I was six, my mother, a woman of the Dineh nation, told my sister and me not to sing "Land of the Pilgrim's pride" in "America the Beautiful." Our people, she said, had been here much longer and taken much better care of the land. We were to sing "Land of the Indian's pride" instead.

I was proud to sing the new lyrics in school, but I sang softly. It was enough for me to know the difference. At six, I felt I had learned something very important. As a child of a Native American family, you are part of a very select group of survivors, and I learned that my family possessed some "inside" knowledge of what really happened when those poor, tired masses came to our homes.

When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock, they were poor and hungry -- half of them died within a few months from disease and hunger. When Squanto, a Wampanoag man, found them, they were in a pitiful state. He spoke English, having traveled to Europe, and took pity on them. Their English crops had failed. The native people fed them through the winter and taught them how to grow their food.

These were not merely "friendly Indians." They had already experienced European slave traders raiding their villages for a hundred years or so, and they were wary -- but it was their way to give freely to those who had nothing. Among many of our peoples, showing that you can give without holding back is the way to earn respect. Among the Dakota, my father's people, they say, when asked to give, "Are we not Dakota and alive?" It was believed that by giving there would be enough for all -- the exact opposite of the system we live in now, which is based on selling, not giving.

To the Pilgrims, and most English and European peoples, the Wampanoags were heathens, and of the Devil. They saw Squanto not as an equal but as an instrument of their God to help his chosen people, themselves.

Since that initial sharing, Native American food has spread around the world. Nearly 70 percent of all crops grown today were originally cultivated by Native American peoples. I sometimes wonder what they ate in Europe before they met us. Spaghetti without tomatoes? Meat and potatoes without potatoes? And at the "first Thanksgiving" the Wampanoags provided most of the food -- and signed a treaty granting Pilgrims the right to the land at Plymouth, the real reason for the first Thanksgiving.

What did the Europeans give in return? Within 20 years European disease and treachery had decimated the Wampanoags. Most diseases then came from animals that Europeans had domesticated. Cowpox from cows led to smallpox, one of the great killers of our people, spread through gifts of blankets used by infected Europeans. Some estimate that diseases accounted for a death toll reaching 90 percent in some Native American communities. By 1623, Mather the elder, a Pilgrim leader, was giving thanks to his God for destroying the heathen savages to make way "for a better growth," meaning his people.

In stories told by the Dakota people, an evil person always keeps his or her heart in a secret place separate from the body. The hero must find that secret place and destroy the heart in order to stop the evil.
I see, in the "First Thanksgiving" story, a hidden Pilgrim heart. The story of that heart is the real tale than needs to be told. What did it hold? Bigotry, hatred, greed, self-righteousness? We have seen the evil that it caused in the 350 years since. Genocide, environmental devastation, poverty, world wars, racism.

Where is the hero who will destroy that heart of evil? I believe it must be each of us. Indeed, when I give thanks this Thursday and I cook my native food, I will be thinking of this hidden heart and how my ancestors survived the evil it caused.
Because if we can survive, with our ability to share and to give intact, then the evil and the good will that met that Thanksgiving day in the land of the Wampanoag will have come full circle.
And the healing can begin.

Jacqueline Keeler, a member of the Dineh Nation and the Yankton Dakota Sioux works with the American Indian Child Resource Center in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in Winds of Change, an American Indian journal.