Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Daily News Screws Anthony Weiner

Yesterday that fine paper known as the New York Daily News published an interview with Anthony Weiner conducted by DN columnist Denis Hamill.

That interview made news itself when it seemed from the transcription that Weiner was evading a question Hamill asked on whether Weiner was currently sexting with any strangers he met over the Internets.

Here is the passage in question as posted yesterday by the Daily News:

Q. There is no one you are sexting now?
A. You can quibble about beginnings, middles and ends but what we're talking about is over a year ago.

That interview set off a 36 hour media frenzy as almost every political reporter in the city followed Weiner around trying to get him to say whether he was sexting with anyone at the current time.

It turns out, however, that the geniuses at the Daily News transcribed that interview Q&A wrong.

According to Politico, here is how the audio Q&A went:

Hamill: "And it was over a year ago? There’s been nothing else?"
Weiner: "I mean, oh yeah, all that stuff is behind me. You can quibble about you know, beginnings, middles and ends, but it was basically a year ago."

Wow - that's a big difference from what the DN first posted yesterday.  From this exchange, it's obvious that Weiner is NOT evading the question and is unequivocally saying he is not sexting with any and hasn't for around a year or so.

The Daily News, being the quality paper it is, went with a front page apology to Weiner, begging his forgiveness for setting off that 36 hour media frenzy and...

Nah, just kidding - the scum at the DN went with a little note at the bottom of the interview:

On Wednesday, the Daily News posted a "clarification" at the bottom of Hamill's interview: "In an interview with Anthony Weiner in Tuesday’s paper, a question posed to the mayoral candidate and his answer were transcribed incorrectly," it read. "A question about sexting should have ended with: 'There’s been nothing else?' Weiner’s answer was: 'I mean, oh yeah, all that stuff is behind me. You can quibble about beginnings, middles and ends, but it was basically a year ago.'”

Classic DN - smear somebody either purposely or through a careless mistake, then basically ignore the whole thing by putting up a "clarification" that nobody will see.

I've been beating up on Weiner for a while now and did so after the DN interview appeared yesterday morning.

Let me take this opportunity to retract this post -given the new realities around the interview, it's wrong.

I want to take responsibility for my words.

Shame the DN doesn't do the same.

Barbara Morgan Had Previous Profane Tirade She Claimed Was "Off The Record"

Barbara Morgan, Anthony Weiner's communications director, claimed her profanity-laced tirade about a former campaign intern was supposed to be "off the record." 

Politicker reports this is not the first time Ms. Morgan has claimed a profanity-laced tirade was "off the record":

Barbara Morgan, the mouthpiece for Mr. Weiner’s embattled mayoral campaign, appears to have disputed a Friday New York Post account that had her berating a reporter by asking, “Do you even fucking know how Facebook works?”

That line was eventually removed from the article, but many excerpts and countless tweets of the quote remain elsewhere. A Post story today may shed some light on what happened, however.

“Last week, an incensed Morgan called Post reporters and editors and unleashed several expletive-laden rants on Weiner’s behalf,” the paper reports. “She later said her curse-filled diatribes were ‘off the record.’”

It seems Ms. Morgan has a potty mouth, can't seem to control it and then, when quoted, takes back what she said.

Using the kind of language Barbara Morgan likes to throw around, she is "full of shit."

She needs to take responsibility for her words.

In a sense, though, she is the perfect communications director for Anthony Weiner - he doesn't take responsibility for his words either.

Anthony Weiner Won't Fire Foul-Mouthed Communications Director, Barbara Morgan

As expected, Anthony Weiner, still running his scandal-plagued campaign for mayor, is standing by his foul-mouthed communications director, Barbara Morgan:

In an interview with TPM that she says she thought was "off the record," Morgan called a former intern for the Weiner campaign who went public about the "thin resumes" of the people working for Weiner a "fucking slutbag," a "cunt," and "a fucking twat" who should "see if you ever get a job in this town again.”

Today, Morgan put up a picture of a "swear jar" on her Twitter account and said she had to make good for the bad language.

With Morgan continuing to work for the Weiner campaign, the universe has apparently rendered punishment.

Could there be much worse than trying to flack for a politician who has been counted lying 68 times in one 8 minute stretch?

Seven Dirty Words The Weiner Campaign Wants You To Forget You Heard

Ah, if George Carlin were only here to enjoy the festivities.

So the seven dirty words the Weiner campaign wants you to forget are: Bitch, fucking twat, cunt, slutbag and Barbara Morgan.

Okay, not really those last two - but the first five are definitely on the list.

Weiner only has one public appearance today - later on tonight in Rockaway Beach.

You can bet the Barbara Morgan "slutbag" episode will still be on the list of questions journalists will be asking Weiner.

Gawker reports that what really set Weiner communications director Barbara Morgan off was the jab former campaign intern, Olivia Nuzzi, gave Morgan over her "thin resume."

“And then like she had the fucking balls to like trash me in the paper. And be like, ‘His communications director was last the press secretary of the Department of Education in New Jersey,” Morgan said. “You know what? Fuck you, you little cunt. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her.”

The NY Times reports that reporters in general had thought Morgan had been doing a pretty good job in the thankless role of press flacking for Weiner's scandalized campaign - until news of her  "unleashing a barrage of expletives that would be unusual even in an off-the-record conversation" went public.

The NY Times article says it is unclear if Morgan will be fired for the episode.

I can't imagine she will be.

I mean, who can Weiner get to replace Barbara Morgan other than, maybe, Olivia Nuzzi?

At any rate, I do think George Carlin would find it interesting that the profanity Morgan aimed at Nuzzi tended toward misogynistic barbs and insults.

Why not "asshole"?

Why not "shithead"?

Why not "fucking piece of shit"?

Nope - Morgan went with "slutbag," "cunt," "bitch," and "fucking twat."

She did stick a "balls" in there for good measure, but most of her language leaned in a misogynistic direction.

The language we use, the profanity we use, says an awful lot about us as people.

What do you think the seven dirty words Morgan used about Nuzzi says about her?

Wall Street Democrat Reshma Saujani Can't Scrub Away Her Wall Street Past

Reshma Suajani, a former hedge fund lawyer and DFER-backed candidate for Congress (Carolyn Maloney beat her handily a few years back in a primary), wants you to think she's progressive Democrat.

She used to hawk around her hedge fund connections and talk about how important Wall Street was to the health of the city, but that was before she decided running for public advocate was her next career move.

Now she wants you to forget she has connections to the hedge fund crooks on Wall Street and believe that she's a progressive Democrat out to protect the people while her opponents are tainted by their connections to wealth, power, privilege and the status quo.

As such, she launched an attack against one of her opponents in the race, Dan Squadron, calling him "Trust Fund Dan" because he was born into a wealthy family and inherited a trust fund from his father.

So far so good, right - Saujani's framing her opponent as a child of privilege who is tainted by his wealth while trying to get voters to overlook her Wall Street past.

But that's where the story gets complicated:

In what had been a low-key race for New York City public advocate, Reshma Saujani's campaign has begun to attack her rival, Brooklyn state Sen. Daniel Squadron, by calling him "Trust Fund Dan," to imply that he has been the beneficiary of money earned by his late father, Howard Squadron, a prominent media attorney whose clients included Rupert Murdoch.

In fact, the story of that money had a very sad ending, according to Mr. Squadron, 33, who said it was lost in 2008 in Bernie Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme.

In the 1980s, the elder Squadron and his wife, Anne, became one of Mr. Madoff's early investors, and were friends with the now-disgraced fraudster.

When Mr. Squadron was 22, his father died, leaving a savings account for Mr. Squadron and 18 other family members, including Anne and his four older siblings. In December 2008, according to Mr. Squadron, that savings vanished: It had been invested with Mr. Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme financially devastated a number of families and nonprofits, especially in New York's Jewish community.

"Like so many others, my family and I were victims of Madoff. I—and all of us—lost virtually everything that my late father had left for us," Mr. Squadron wrote in a statement to The Insider.
Indeed, a 2009 article in Forbes recounts how Mr. Squadron's mother, Anne, had to sell her Manhattan apartment after Mr. Madoff's Ponzi scheme collapsed. She was also sued by fellow family members because the account was worthless.

Mr. Squadron, who grew up in Riverdale, an upscale Bronx neighborhood, has had advantages in life, including a Yale education. His grandfather had immigrated via Ellis Island, and his father grew up in the Bronx and went to the elite Bronx High School of Science and the once-prestigious City College before making a small fortune in the legal field.

Informed of Mr. Squadron's Madoff story, Ms. Saujani's campaign doubled down, saying that Mr. Squadron was simply "whining" and that a lawsuit shows that Mr. Squadron's family made more through Mr. Madoff than it lost. Her campaign noted that Mr. Squadron and the 18 relatives are named in a complex "clawback" lawsuit filed by a Madoff bankruptcy trustee, who has launched some 1,000 similar cases. The suit states that the Squadron family invested $10.8 million in Mr. Madoff's fund and received $11.8 million in "fictitious profits," and that some of that money should go to Madoff victims who suffered a net loss. Mr. Squadron and his family, who have not been accused of any wrongdoing, differ with the trustee's accounting.

The trustee's case has not been resolved, but Ms. Saujani's campaign took issue with Mr. Squadron's tale of woe.

"Trust Fund Dan is not a victim of Bernie Madoff, but a beneficiary," a said Saujani spokesman. "Irving Picard, the trustee for the real victims, has rejected Squadron's poverty routine as totally bogus. The money he claims to have lost is chump change compared to the millions in fictitious profits he made before the scam was exposed."

"Now Trust Fund Dan is whining and fighting in court to avoid paying the true victims of the Ponzi scheme. Only someone from incredible privilege whose Dad was close personal friends with Bernie Madoff would have the audacity to plead poverty after making millions off so many ruined lives," he continued.

The attacks from Ms. Saujani's campaign may be designed, in part, to blunt any attacks against her own history working as a hedge fund lawyer on Wall Street. Ms. Saujani touted that history in her 2010 run for Congress against Upper East Side Rep. Carolyn Maloney, but this year is seeking to position herself as a progressive. Mr. Squadron's campaign said that her campaign's statements were insensitive.

"Ms. Saujani has a long history of misleading and mean-spirited personal attacks against progressive Democrats who get results, so we're unsurprised by her campaign's latest outburst," a Squadron spokeswoman fired back in a statement. "Attacking a candidate's deceased father is, for Ms. Saujani, as predictable as it is inappropriate. Our campaign won't stoop to her level. Ms. Saujani should practice what she preaches, release her household's tax returns, and stop the mudslinging." (Ms. Saujani has released some of her own tax returns but not any of her husband's.)

Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James and Staten Island's Cathy Guerriero are also in the race for the Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to victory in the November general election.

Leaving aside the efficacy of the Saujani campaign's attacks on Squadron, let's take a look at the hypocrisy they're engaging in by launching these attacks.

Alex Pareene reported on the Saujani campaign back in April on Salon and noted how she conveniently forgot to mention her career on Wall Street working for some very scummy firms:

Oddly, her campaign biography doesn’t mention anything about Saujani’s career, which, before she began running for things, was spent working for Wall Street. Tom Robbins got Saujani to give up her closely guarded résumé in 2010. Saujani has worked at one prestigious law firm and three hedge funds. At the law firm, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Saujani defended securities fraud cases. She worked for two years as an affiliate of the Carlyle Group, Carlyle-Blue Wave Partners Management, that invested in mortgage-backed securities. Then she went to Fortress Investment, a fund that “was revealed to own a subprime mortgage lender that foreclosed on New Orleans homeowners who fell behind on their payments after Hurricane Katrina.”

Saujani's campaign vanity edited Hedge Fundie Reshma's Wikipedia page to remove any evidence of her working on Wall Street and even removed how badly she lost to Carolyn Maloney in the 2010 primary she waged against the Congresswoman (81%-19%).

But all that information is back and, helpful person that I am, let me put it here for you:

Saujani worked at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where she defended securities fraud cases,[9] and on a pro bono basis handled asylum cases.[10] In 2005, she joined the investment firm Carret Asset Management.[10] After Saujani left Carret, its principal owner, financier Hassan Nemazee, was convicted on felony charges relating to bank fraud carried out over the course of several years at Carret, including during Saujani's time at Carret; she later told the news media that she had had no knowledge of any illicit conduct at Carret.[10][11] Subsequently, she joined Blue Wave Partners Management, a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group, the global alternative asset management firm specializing in private equity with a wide variety of investments ranging from defense contractors to nursing homes. She was an associate general counsel at Blue Wave, which invested in mortgage-backed securities; it was closed in the aftermath of the 2008 market collapse.[9] Immediately prior to running for Congress, Saujani was a deputy general counsel at Fortress Investment Group,[12] which had previously gained notoriety after it was reported that Fortress had invested some of its assets in subprime mortgage lenders who had foreclosed on the homes of Hurricane Katrina victims in the Gulf Coast.[13]

Her Wikipedia page also notes the vanity editing her campaign did of her Wikipedia entry:

In January 2013, Saujani's Wikipedia page was heavily edited to remove traces of Saujani working for Wall Street firms such as hedge funds. Her campaign admitted to this,[28] arguing they did it because they disagreed with the stated facts.[29]

So here we have Wall Street Democrat Reshma Saujani, once supported by the hedge fundies at the Democrats for Education Reform, once proudly running for Congress as the candidate who was “running on my Wall Street record, not from it," now attacking Dan Squadron as the Wall Street crook.

That takes some chutzpah, doesn't it?

Well, we'll just have to make sure that Hedge Fundie Reshma's proud Wall Street past isn't forgotten as she runs away from her record and tries to fool people into thinking she's something she isn't - namely a progressive Democrat who will look out for the little guy.

Reshma Saujani is one of the more despicable people in politics in this city.

Her attacks on Squadron as a Wall Street crook tied to Madoff while Saujani herself worked for Wall Street firms that helped bring about the 2008 collapse and foreclosed on Hurricane Katrina victims is just the latest example of that.

No matter how many times her campaign tries to scrub her Wikipedia page, they won't be able to scrub the taint off Reshma Saujani herself.

Meet Barbara Morgan, Anthony Weiner's Foul-Mouthed Communications Director

As I posted last night, Anthony Weiner's spokesperson, Barbara Morgan (a former DOE employee who worked for Joel Klein) went on an epic rampage yesterday to TPM, ripping a former intern for the Weiner campaign in a profanity-laced rant that would make a marine blush.

The New York Daily News has more on Morgan's tirade today:

Anthony Weiner's communications director trashed a former campaign intern Tuesday in a shocking, profane rant published by a news blog.

Barbara Morgan said Tuesday night that she thought she was “off the record” when she repeatedly called Olivia Nuzzi a “slutbag,” “t--t” and “little c---.”

Morgan was reacting to a column Nuzzi wrote Tuesday exclusively for the Daily News. The college student wrote that some Weiner staffers signed on to the sexting scandal-starred Democrat’s campaign because they thought it might help them land future work with Hillary Clinton.

Nuzzi wrote that there were “a lot of short résumés” among campaign staffers and said Weiner mistakenly called her and several other interns “Monica.”

It was the particular jab on staffers’ job credentials that particularly riled Morgan up.

“You know what? F--- you, you little c--t. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her,” Morgan ripped back to Talking Points Memo Tuesday while calling Nuzzi a “f---ing slutbag" who repeatedly didn't show up during her four weeks as an intern.

"Of those twenty days, she missed probably five because she would just like not show up and not tell me she wasn’t going to be there," she told the blog. "She sucked. She like wasn't good at setting up events. She was clearly there because she wanted to be seen."

Only adding fuel to the fire was seeing Nuzzi's front-page spread with the Daily News  one she sarcastically complimented as a "nice f---ing glamour shot."“I’m dealing with like stupid f---ing interns who make it on to the cover of the Daily News even though they signed [non-disclosure agreements] and/or they proceeded to trash me,” Morgan told TPM. “And by the way, I tried to fire her, but she begged to come back and I gave her a second chance.”

Another day, another crisis for the Weiner campaign.

Morgan, who used to work for Joel Klein at the DOE and obviously knows her way around profanity, misogyny and employee abuse from her tenure with Klein, ought to be fired for this episode.

But Weiner can't fire her because no one else will take her place.

On the flip side of that equation, after Morgan's work for the disaster that is the Weiner campaign and now her 15 minutes of fame calling a former intern a "fucking slutbag," a "twat," and a "cunt," Morgan may not be on anybody else's short list for a job either.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weiner's Spokesperson Calls Former Intern A "Slutbag" And "Bitch" In An Interview With TPM

In case you missed the latest Weiner news this morning, the Daily News interviewed a former intern for the Weiner campaign who told some stories about what a lame person Anthony Weiner is and how amateur his operation is.

Considering the kind of news the Weiner campaign has been dealing with lately, the intern interview with the Daily News was pretty tame and not all that damaging to Weiner's candidacy.

Until tonight, that is:

Anthony Weiner’s spokeswoman, Barbara Morgan, issued an apology tonight after a profanity-laced interview with Talking Points Memo, in which she described a former campaign intern as a fame hungry “bitch” and “slutbag” who “sucked” at her job.

Ms. Morgan said that she believed the conversation, in which she also threatened to sue the young woman, was off the record.

“In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation,” Ms. Morgan said in a statement. “It was wrong and I am very sorry, which is what I said tonight when I called and emailed Olivia to apologize.”

Ms. Morgan’s tirade came following a piece in the Daily News today, in which the former intern, Olivia Nuzzi, panned the campaign, reporting that many staffers had only joined to curry favor with Mr. Weiner’s wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. She’d also dissed Ms. Morgan and other staffers’ “short résumés.”


Ms. Nuzzi declined to comment on Ms. Morgan’s comments or apology, but changed her description on Twitter to read, “Slutbag, twat and cunt. Writer for NSFWCORP.” Politicker has reached out to TPM for comment and will update when we receive a response.

Per Norm Scott, Barbara Morgan, Weiner's spokesperson, used to work for Joel Klein at the NYCDOE.

Maybe that's where she learned to talk about fellow colleagues using that kind of language.

At any rate, the wheels are coming off the Weiner campaign and it really looks like it won't be long now before he knocks off completely.

Politcker reported earlier that Weiner is getting more and more agitated as the days go on and he's forced to run gauntlets of journalists and photographers at every campaign stop and forum.

Tonight there were twice as many press people as attendees for a forum on disabled issues. 

Politicker reports that Weiner was chased into the building, up and down stairs, through hallways and into the auditorium by press people, shouting questions and taking photos throughout the tumult. 

Once the forum started, Weiner got beaten up by a member of the audience over his Congressional record:

 After briefly discussing his plan for 2,000 wheelchair-accessible cabs and taxi stands in every zip code, Mr. Weiner, looking drained, was confronted by Philip Bennett, 57, a home care worker from Brooklyn.

“Mr. Weiner, when you were my congressman, you pledged your active co-sponsorship of a law to allow people with disabilities to live in their own homes rather than nursing homes,” said Mr. Bennett, referring to the Community Choice Act, which Mr. Weiner quickly indicated he recognized.

“One year later,” continued Mr. Bennett, “you withdrew your sponsorship. You claimed you had something better. You didn’t tell me what it was. And no one on your staff knew what it was, Mr. Weiner.”

And then came an oft-repeated question: “Frankly, I have to ask: How can I trust you?”

Mr. Weiner, who spent much of his time between answers siting with his feet crossed at the ankles, his hands in his pockets and slumped in his chair, said he wasn’t sure what had happened to the bill, and immediately changed the subject, touting his plans for a single-payer healthcare system for New York City, the money it would save, and denouncing recent hospital closures. His was the only campaign, he argued, talking about such bold reforms.

But the answer was entirely unsatisfying for Mr. Bennett, who said he suffers from an “invisible” emotional disability.

“He knew exactly what the Community Choice Act is,” he told Politicker bitterly after Mr. Weiner had left the stage. “We worked long and hard about it … And then told me that he had this pie-in-the-sky idea of some other legislation that was better than the Community Choice Act.”

“Never happened,” he said of the bill, which would guarantee people eligible for nursing homes the option of receiving nursing care at home instead. The bill remains stalled in Congress to this day.

Then the forum was over and Weiner ran the press gauntlet again, ignoring the questions yelled at him as he dashed for his campaign SUV.

Weiner used to enjoy his time on the campaign trail and the schtick he got to do at candidate forums, standing up and gesturing while he talked about issues.

Now he's spending most of his time avoiding the press and getting beaten up by voters.

I know the conventional wisdom is that Weiner is going to stay in this campaign no matter what because he has nothing to lose, but unless the vibe along the campaign trail changes, I don't see how Weiner can keep this up without spontaneously combusting.

With many press outlets picking up the story today that Weiner evaded a question from Daily News columnist Denis Hamill on whether he was sexting anyone at the current time and now the "slutbag" story involving his spokesperson, I suspect tomorrow isn't going to get any better for him on the campaign trail.

We'll just have to see if he wants to continue to play head clown in the three ring media circus for the next 40 days.

Bill De Blasio Hits Bill Thompson Over Stop And Frisk

Public Advocate Bill De Blasio received the endorsement of Harry Belafonte today and took the opportunity to hit Bill Thompson for the stop and frisk speech he gave a couple of days ago:

Mr. de Blasio also took a whack at rival Bill Thompson, the only African-American candidate in the race, for his impassioned speech last Sunday criticizing stop-and-frisk as racial profiling while simultaneously opposing the City Council’s controversial bill to strengthen the city’s racial profiling laws.

“Racial profiling happened in Florida. Racial profiling is happening here. It’s unacceptable in both places,” Mr. de Blasio told Politicker, his voice rising. “The incidents were different, but the reality is the same. If you believe that then take the next step and be in favor of a ban on racial profiling.”

According to Politicker, De Blasio spoke to one of his largest crowds of the campaign today, a crowd that began to chant "Hypocrite! Hypocrite!" at Bill Thompson when De Blasio talked about Thompson's stop and frisk speech.

De Blasio was also endorsed by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, but Belafonte was the star of this show:

“I am pleased and honored to stand before you today endorsing Bill de Blasio for the next mayor of the City of New York,” Ms. Clarke, who is of Jamaican descent, declared. “Bill de Blasio literally stands tall in this race among peers for the mayor of the city of New York.”

“We are on the side of Bill de Blasio,” Mr. Belafonte added, referring to the batch of de Blasio supporters waving signs behind them. “We encourage all of our citizens to pay attention and put him in as our next mayor."

De Blasio went on MSNBC's Morning Joe today to get some national exposure and as Politicker notes, received good notices at both Salon and in the NY Times.  There was also a positive article about his family in the Daily News yesterday.

With de Blasio getting some good press, with his poll numbers looking up, with some high profile endorsements rolling in and with his crowd numbers growing, Bill De Blasio is starting to look like the real thing.

It was great to see the crowd chant  "Hypocrite! Hypocrite!" at Bill Thompson when Thompson's name was mentioned.

That's exactly what that Trayvon Martin/stop and frisk speech was - a desperate, hypocritical move by candidate looking to shore up his support in the black community.

If he cared about these issues, he would have been out there talking about them before Sunday.

UFT Gives Finger To Rank And File Membership With Its New Bill Thompson Ad

Yeah, I mean literally - look:

Now take a closer look:

See what I mean?

Now it's possible the guy in the ad is simply adjusting his sunglasses rather than giving the middle finger, but really, if you're the UFT and you're looking for a photograph to use for an Educators for Thompson ad (or whatever they're calling their front group for Thompson), is this the one you go with?

In an ironic twist, given what an awful comptroller Bill Thompson was, given the work he has done for the labor-busting Kurron Shares of America, given his hiring of teacher bashing Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch to co-chair his campaign, given his stance that teachers shouldn't get the 4% raises every other city worker got back in 2009, given that crooked Al D'amato is one of his biggest supporters and Mayor Bloomberg steered $43 million to $51 million to Thompson's wife's museum at the very time he was running a lackluster campaign against Bloomberg for mayor, I think this ad photo expresses perfectly what the UFT has done to its rank and file membership by endorsing Bill Thompson for mayor.

It's Mikey Mulgrew's way of saying "@#$% you!" to the membership.

More will follow for teachers if Bill Thompson wins his race to be mayor.

Bloomberg Loses Soda Ban Appeal

I'm going to celebrate with a Big Gulp:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It looks like supersized sugary drinks in New York City are staying on the menu.

In a unanimous opinion, an appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision Tuesday, saying the Board of Health’s plan to put a 16-ounce limit on sugary drinks was an illegal overreach of executive power.
The four-judge panel of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division said the Board of Health was acting too much like a legislative body when it created the ban and said it didn’t believe sugary drinks were “inherently harmful.”


The judges also said the board appeared to have created much of the new rules on political or economic considerations, rather than health concerns.

Bloomberg said he planned to appeal the appeal and, if that didn't work, buy off legislators with his PAC money.

Okay, I made up the last part about buying off legislators with his PAC money, but since that's what he's been doing on the gun control and education reform issues, there's no reason to think he won't try to do the same with the soda ban nonsense.

But for now, he has lost on this issue.

And now, on to my Big Gulp - although I prefer club soda to anything else...

Bill Thompson - Political Hack And Walking Conflict Of Interest

With the Anthony Weiner poll plummet made official by yesterday's Quinnipiac poll release (Weiner dropped to fourth in the race; 53% of New Yorkers say he should drop out), I am starting to turn my attention back to the candidate whose policies I can live with who will be most effective at taking on Christine Quinn in a runoff.

The Marist poll from last week and yesterday's Quinnipiac poll release show us that the two candidates with a good chance to make the runoff against Quinn are Bill Thompson, the former NYC comptroller, and Bill de Blasio, the current Public Advocate.

The NY Times took a look at what both candidates were up to yesterday:

On Monday, in the midday heat, Mr. Thompson and Mr. de Blasio held bread-and-butter campaign events aimed at important bases of support — for Mr. Thompson, minority voters, and for Mr. de Blasio, middle-class liberals. 

Mr. Thompson’s appearance came a day after he delivered a forceful speech in which he criticized the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, asserting that the city’s policing tactics were rooted in the same racial stereotyping that had led George Zimmerman to confront Trayvon Martin in Florida. 

Mr. Thompson was flanked by Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a Bronx Democrat, and Assemblyman Karim Camara, a Brooklyn Democrat who is the pastor of the church at which Mr. Thompson delivered his head-turning speech on Sunday. 

“Today I feel compelled to speak in the same vein, because the rules of our criminal justice system are failing young people and families, especially in our communities of color,” Mr. Thompson said before lamenting that New York and North Carolina are the only states that treat 16-year-old defendants as adults

Around the same time, Mr. de Blasio received the endorsement of Tenants PAC, a group that works to elect candidates who will fight rent increases and preserve the supply of rent-stabilized and rent-controlled housing. Standing on the corner of 16th Street and First Avenue, Mr. de Blasio said that under his mayoralty, every major development would be required to have affordable housing on or near the site. 

“Last time I checked, it wasn’t the real estate industry’s town, and we were just living in it,” Mr. de Blasio said, in remarks punctuated by applause and shouts of “That’s right!” from the two dozen tenants gathered, who were holding “De Blasio for Mayor” signs. 

Earlier in the day, Mr. de Blasio had been in Brooklyn, where he put forth a plan to coordinate spending among small Brooklyn hospitals, in order to save the financially troubled Long Island College Hospital, which has been scheduled to close. At the tenants’ event, he brought up that fight to take a veiled dig at Ms. Quinn, whom some downtown residents accuse of not doing enough to save St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan in Greenwich Village. The hospital closed in 2010.

“We lost health care, we got condos,” he said. “That’s not the future of this city.”

Thompson's "race relations" speech, which came weeks after the Trayvon Martin verdict and only after polls showed him slumping with black voters, seems less like a "bread and butter" issue that Thompson feels passionate about (as he claimed in his speech) and more like a cynical attempt to shore up black community support.

That cynicism was not lost on Jumanne Williams:

Councilman Jumaane Williams explained mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson‘s race relations speech by musing about his poll numbers among black voters. “I think he originally felt that certain segments of the population were going to go with him automatically. He started looking at polls and seeing that wasn’t happening,” he said. “Thompson’s trying to have it both ways without putting any skin in the game.”

Police backers of Thompson saw the speech as a cynical ploy as well:

That rhetoric didn't trouble cop unions chiefs who have backed Thompson.

“The reality is I think Bill Thompson continues to be the most realistic and reasonable of all the candidates and in the end it is campaign rhetoric,” said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association.

Roy Richter, who is the president of the NYPD’s Captains Endowment Association, likewise said he was not fazed.

“Bill Thompson wants to bring people to policing,” Richter said. “That’s good for the city and good for the NYPD.”

And the Daily News editorial page called him out for his "clearly shifting and heating rhetoric," where once Thompson refused to "pin" the NYPD with racial bias for its stop and frisk tactics, now Thompson compares the policy and the NYPD to George Zimmermann, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, and concludes:

Thompson is drawing 22% support among African-American Democratic likely primary voters, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll. That’s a couple of points behind sexting liar Anthony Weiner and about tied with Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

With blacks so evenly divided, Quinn topped the pack with 27% of the support among all voters, while Thompson (20%) and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (21%) were essentially tied in the critical competition for second place — and a spot in a runoff primary.

Based on Thompson’s clearly shifting and heating rhetoric, the distressing conclusion is that he is saying what he thinks he must in order to, at least, stay in the hunt.

Thompson's policy pivot is typical of his political hackery, wherein he speaks words that sound nice and progressive but actually do little to address the concerns he's raising and, indeed, do more to reassure his reactionary backers that he's only (wink, wink, nod, nod) saying stuff he has to in order to get elected.

We've seen this kind of thing before on other issues like education, where Thompson talks a good game about changing Bloomberg's education policies but then, when you take a closer look at his policy proposals, you notice they're not all that different than the one's we currently have under Bloomberg.

Given that Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch is Thompson's campaign co-chair, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that his education policies are quite corporate education friendly, and given that Al D'amato is a big supporter, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Thompson's "law and order" policies are police-friendly to say the least.

And then there are the stories about Thompson's unsavory business connections, courtesy of Wayne Barrett:
In late June, Al Sharpton and four citywide candidates—Bill DeBlasio, John Liu, Scott Stringer and Letitia James—led a demonstration in Bill Thompson’s home territory, the Bed Stuy section of Brooklyn, where he lived all his life until 2004. They were protesting the mismanagement of Interfaith Medical Center, the last remaining hospital serving the neighborhood. Interfaith had filed for bankruptcy months earlier and was still run by managers from the company, Kurron Shares of America, that had led the death march.
Had Thompson come, he would have been protesting against his own one-time business associates.  In 2010 and 2011, as the hospital plunged toward bankruptcy, Thompson was serving as a paid member of the advisory board of a Kurron sister company, working intimately with the owner – a man named Corbett Price who’d been his friend since the 1990s and whose family, employees and firm have donated nearly $20,000 to Thompson campaigns, starting with his first race in 2001.

During that time, Kurron and Price have cut a trail of financial and medical mismanagement, run-ins with regulators and public controversies – not least repeated clashes with healthcare unions – up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

So Thompson’s paid ties to Kurron – during a period when he was planning a second run for the mayor’s office after his near-victory over Michael Bloomberg in 2009 – raise important questions about his attentiveness to detail, his judgment and his choice of associates.


The extent of the relationship would be more apparent if Thompson joined his fellow Democratic candidates for mayor by fulfilling a pledge to make public his tax returns. Early this year, he released his 2012 tax returns, but he has refused to release his 2010 and 2011 filings, which would list his Kurron earnings. He is the only Democratic candidate for mayor who’s only released a single year’s return, even while Scott Stringer is making repeated demands that fellow comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer make five years’ returns public.

In 2012, Thompson appeared on NY1 and host Errol Louis, pointing out that all his opponents had already released their returns for years, asked why he was the only one who hadn’t. A smiling Thompson replied that he would “probably release all four years of them next year, in a campaign year,” rather than “deal with things one at a time.” Over a week of daily calls to Thompson's headquarters, press officer John Collins repeatedly promised them, at one point even describing how they could be viewed at the campaign office. In the end, the campaign never supplied them.

The de Blasio campaign has called once again for Thompson to release his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, but so far Thompson has not done so.

It does seem like he is hiding something, perhaps how much Kurron paid him.

And just how bad is Kurron Shares of America that Thompson refuses to release the tax returns showing how much he was paid by them?

Pretty damned bad, as Wayne Barrett explains:

Ties to Kurron are hardly something the average office-seeker would brag about.

WNYC asked an intern new to New York to do a Google search of Kurron to see how quickly she hit negatives. It took a minute. In three minutes, she read an abstract that “criticized Kurron for reducing medical care” at Interfaith and “later earning a surplus of $8.6 million.”

Within 12 minutes, she reached the first Google result about Price’s anti-labor record – a story that led to a deluge going back to 1985, when he started in the healthcare management business with the Hospital Corporation of America, a national fixture in the field. His layoffs in Maryland of 650 workers at the Prince George’s Hospital Center, the county hospital, sparked the union animosity that rails him to this day. In 1989, he left HCA and won a personal contract to run the huge, publicly-owned and privately-managed Maryland facility, but was fired within months, collecting three years of full CEO pay. That’s when he created Kurron, incorporating it in Maryland in 1990.

He tried twice to return to Prince George’s—seeking to buy it in 2003 , and failing that seeking a big consulting contract then and again in 2007 and igniting controversy each time. When county officials withheld millions in subsidies in 2003 that were due the hospital unless they hired Price, the hospital management went to the state attorney general, who conducted a six-month probe of the politicians’ demands before concluding there was no crime. In 2007, when county officials repeated the same public demand for a Price contract in exchange for releasing committed millions of county aid, The Washington Post wondered why Price met such vocal opposition and answered its own question: “Why? Because he has several decades of history tangling with the hospital workers.” A top Maryland union leader, Quincey Gamble, branded him a “slash and burn” villain; the county executive said to favor Price is now in jail, convicted on unrelated corruption charges.

Price’s company and his son donated $9,900 to Thompson’s mayoral campaign in 2007, at the same moment that the Washington-Baltimore press corps covering his Prince George’s County machinations was reporting that Price had “left 1,200 pink slips in his wake,” “enraged union members,” and “hurt” patient care.

 The union hostility continues to this day. Just a few months ago, New York’s hospital workers union, Local 1199, joined the New York State Nursing Association in briefs filed in the Interfaith bankruptcy case objecting to Kurron’s latest contract there and charging that Price was a shadow manager consuming grand fees without even visiting hospitals where he was listed as CEO. At the time, Thompson was aggressively seeking 1199’s mayoral endorsement, which he ultimately did not get. But he has received the backing of many city unions, including the United Federation of Teachers.

But the shadow over Kurron hardly ends there. The New York State Department of Health cancelled Kurron’s contract with Interfaith, pictured left, in April, after sending four blistering letters to the company, including charges that bonuses paid to Kurron executives were “contrary to law” and contending that “the reasonableness” of Kurron’s overall fees could not be determined. At the time of Interfaith’s bankruptcy filing, its liabilities exceeded its assets by $200 million after nearly 20 years of Kurron management. The demise wasn’t just financial; a court-appointed patient care ombudsman found the hospital’s emergency department “more chaotic and disorganized” than others he’d observed, noting that “there did not appear to be a coherent process of triage and patient management.”

This week, the health department rejected a reorganization plan proposed by Interfaith’s current managers – a team of former Kurron executives stripped first of Price and then of a long-time Kurron executive, Luis Hernandez, who quit the day of the June protest, a departure that one protest organizer, Robert Cornegy, credited to “pressure from the community.” The state now has asked Interfaith to submit a plan for its closure – part of a dramatic consolidation of healthcare services in Brooklyn that has nearby Long Island Community Hospital almost emptied.

While the collapse of Interfaith culminated after Thompson left Kurron’s advisory board, but the road to bankruptcy – marked by gaping operational deficits – was being paved through his tenure. Also on his watch, in November 2010, Episcopal Health Services terminated the company’s two-decade-old contact to manage St. John’s Hospital in Far Rockaway, disturbed by Price’s efforts to close the obstetrics unit in a low-income neighborhood in a cost-cutting maneuver and also supported by state officials. Soon after, in February 2011, Kurron’s biggest contracts – $14.6 million in politically-wired deals in tiny Bermuda – were abruptly terminated by the government 18 months before they expired amid a flurry of public condemnations.

Price’s champion there, Premier Ewart Brown, awash in corruption allegations, had just stepped down, and the new leader of Brown’s PLP party decided to kill one of the most expansive deals arranged by her own party, an extraordinary event in Bermuda’s hyper-partisan politics.

Pretty dirty stuff - yet Thompson was happy to take money from Kurron Shares of America and, so far at least, hide just how much he took.

Again, typical behavior from hack Thompson, as a brief look at Thompson's record of comptroller will show.

The NY Daily News reported that Thompson refused to audit the CityTime project despite obvious signs that something was really, really wrong with it:

A New York City councilwoman who led the charge against the fraud-bloated CityTime contract wrote to then-Controller William Thompson in 2009 asking him to audit the program.

A newly revealed March 2, 2009, letter shows Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn) voiced her concerns about CityTime’s growing cost and potential for fraud, but Thompson did nothing.
“During this period of severe economic hardship, the public needs to know if their taxpayer dollars are being well spent,” James wrote to Thompson.

James — who grilled city officials about CityTime in a 2008 hearing — asked Thompson to contact her office about past CityTime audits and any “scheduled” for the future.

Sources say Thompson did not respond in writing. Later that year, James — who’s now a candidate for public advocate — supported Thompson’s bid for mayor.

As the Daily News revealed July 1, Thompson was repeatedly warned about CityTime by members of his staff but never took action.

Back in 2010, Wayne Barrett reported on Thompson's "damning" connection to Michael Bloomberg that may have had something to do with his refusal to audit Bloomberg's CityTime project:

It starts with a single, unsettling fact: The mayor has directed or triggered between $43 million and $51 million in public and personal subsidies into a museum project led by Thompson's current wife and longtime companion, Elsie McCabe-Thompson, dumping $2 million of additional city funding into it as late as September 30, in the middle of the mayoral campaign.

Thompson was so involved with his wife's Museum for African Art that he may have violated the city charter by using his office to solicit state and city funding for its grand new home now under construction, with marble floors and walls, at the end of Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and 109th Street. While the project sounds admirable, the museum has attracted this funding at a time when it is little more than an office in a warehouse in Long Island City, with no permanent art collection of its own, no gallery, no accreditation from the American Association of Museums or the Association of African American Museums, and no connection or history with Harlem. It is so out of compliance with state legal requirements for museums that the best it could do, after weeks of Voice questioning, was shake "a letter of existence" out of education department officials, which it misrepresented as a "letter of good standing." Other outstanding African-American museums in the city, like the fully accredited Studio Museum of Harlem, which has a 1,600-object permanent collection and, unlike McCabe-Thompson's, has trained 90 artists-in-residence, receive a fraction of the public assistance showered on this monument to political connections.

The Voice has identified four city and state sources who say Thompson spoke to them on behalf of the project, a potential violation of Conflict of Interest Board (COIB) decisions that have resulted in fines when low-level city officials use their position to benefit their girlfriends or wives. While Thompson declined to answer questions about these contacts, a museum spokeswoman, Jeanne Collins, e-mailed that McCabe-Thompson was "unaware of any conversations" her husband may have had on the museum's behalf with individuals with "whom Ms. McCabe-Thompson did not have prior contact." Thompson "did not introduce the museum or Ms. McCabe-Thompson to any new funders," Collins said, never denying that Thompson pushed for funding the museum had already sought, as the Voice confirmed. In addition to Thompson's contacts, McCabe-Thompson noted in an application for funding from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer that she was "the fiancée" of the city comptroller, volunteering it as a form of disclosure. In fact, a Page Six item in the Post on June 6, 2006, announced that the "elegant" Elsie and the "smitten" Billy were dating, a story that Thompson advisers say they planted, making sure, not incidentally, that any possible funder out of the loop got the news.

Beyond Thompson's interventions on behalf of the museum, his office had to register its capital funding agreements and city contracts. Thompson's spokesman insisted that its contract unit only certified the project once, in March 2008, without any involvement at the top of the office. The spokesman insisted it was "approved as a matter of course," though the Bloomberg administration's Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which is shepherding the museum project and is convinced of its merits, says the comptroller "has sent back some funding agreement packages with questions or requests for more information." This project—which defaulted on or skirted several critical EDC deadlines, in addition to its questionable licensing status with the state—invited questions, but Thompson's office rubberstamped it. The city charter explicitly requires that capital projects receive the comptroller's approval, and he issues the directives that govern projects like this. His office even reviews the contracts for the museum's operating grants.

Thompson's explanation for how he handled this conflict raises as many thorny issues as it resolves. He supplied a previously undisclosed memo to the Voice dated March 14, 2005, indicating that he'd recused himself on "all matters" related to the museum. He asked his top deputy, Gayle Horwitz, who had worked with him since he became Board of Education president in 1996, to handle it. Since Thompson had only left his wife, Sylvia Kinard, in late 2004, his recusal just a few months after the break-up suggests what his friends say, but Thompson has never conceded—namely, that he left Kinard to move in with McCabe, who did not become McCabe-Thompson until September 2008. Thompson told the Post during the campaign that "there was nothing between us until I filed for divorce," which he did on April 26, 2005, a claim belied by his earlier recusal. Kinard called McCabe-Thompson "The Hoverer," telling the Post she was invited by Thompson to their 1999 wedding and was "always around" during their marriage. Others have said that even before McCabe-Thompson took over the museum in September 1997, she was actively lobbying then–Board of Education president Thompson on behalf of the technology-training company where she worked. She was one of the first to contribute to his comptroller campaign in 1999.

In one more strange twist, the mayoral wannabe remained registered at the Brooklyn home that Kinard lived in for years after he left, though McCabe-Thompson's neighbors on West 97th Street say that his city car and police vehicles were parked morning after morning outside her door since 2005. Mono Cleaners, around the corner from her condo building, gave us tickets for the suits and shirts on McCabe's account that he picked up and dropped off there for years.

This is the kind of behavior that would get a teacher fined tens of thousands of dollars for conflict of interest or rubber-roomed, but Bill Thompson is a walking conflict of interest with lots of friends in high places - including Mike Bloomberg - so nothing bad has happened to him.

Indeed, Bill Thompson has prospered by that connection to Bloomberg, as Barrett noted in his 2010 piece:

The Bloomberg administration quickly got the message. Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff had been a critic of the project, according to a former EDC official who attended a meeting that included him and McCabe-Thompson. "Doctoroff didn't want to delay development of the site," recalled Barbara Resnicow, a senior vice president at the corporation who dealt with "the skepticism about it" at the top of the agency from 2002 through 2004. EDC had agreed in the late '90s, when Rudy Giuliani was mayor, to sell four city-owned parcels on the current site to the museum. But five or six years later, this prime property was still vacant and appeared to be going nowhere. "I have a clear memory," says Resnicow. "Doctoroff was very negative about the project." But, starting in 2005, the city's attitude suddenly shifted. It wasn't just that the McCabe/Thompson connection started to surface then, it was that Thompson's relationship with City Hall was simultaneously undergoing an overhaul.

In 2004, Thompson decided not to run against Bloomberg in the 2005 election, a race he had toyed with briefly. Instead, Thompson endorsed Democrat Fernando Ferrer, but became so helpful to Bloomberg that his foot-in-each-camp dexterity was mocked in news accounts. When Thompson made his endorsement that August, he was asked to name three specific things Ferrer would do as mayor that Bloomberg hadn't, and he demurred, forcing the reporter to see if he could name one or two. "You'd have to ask Freddy the question," said Thompson, who had gone out of his way to praise Bloomberg the day before the press conference and the day before that. Ferrer raised questions about the rising reading and math scores that Bloomberg was trumpeting, and Thompson told reporters he had no intention of auditing school achievement claims, saving that for his own campaign in 2009. In fact, during the 2005 campaign, Thompson did not host a single press conference revealing a critical audit of any Bloomberg agency. The Bloomberg camp understood that Democrat Thompson had no choice but to endorse Democrat Ferrer, especially since he was trying to build an alliance with Latinos for his own planned 2009 run, but a Thompson political adviser now acknowledges that the mayor "was quite happy" with Thompson's 2005 performance.

So, no doubt, was Elsie. The city increased its annual operating grant for the museum from $62,700 to $417,800 in the budget adopted that June. The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) says the hike was a "one-time commitment from the mayor and the City Council," coinciding with the calls to Shaw and Miller (Miller's father was a Thompson appointee on the New York Public Library board). In fact, although the 2005 grant was the museum's largest ever, its operating subsidy remained at $192,000 the next year and continues at roughly that level, three times its pre-2005 average.

The day after Thompson's lukewarm endorsement of Ferrer, EDC's executive committee approved the discounted sale of the four city-owned parcels to the museum. Thompson joined Bloomberg at a press conference announcing a minority-hiring program shortly before the election, and two days after Bloomberg crushed Ferrer, the full EDC board approved the property sale to the museum for $200,000 less than the appraised price. The ultimate discount was far greater since EDC stuck with its 2005 appraisal when the sale finally closed in 2007, though it had the legal right to update it, a substantial potential savings for the museum and its condo partners, who are building lavish apartments overlooking the park 14 stories above the three-story museum.

To reiterate, Bloomberg steered between $43 million and $51 million to Thompson's wife's museum, including $2 million in city money during Thompson's inept campaign against Bloomberg in 2009 and $700,000 of his own money - after Bill Thompson conveniently failed to audit the "biggest theft in the history of the City of New York", the CityTime project, and otherwise acted as a very Bloomberg-friendly city comptroller.

As Arsenio Hall used to say, things that make you go hmmmm...

Barret concludes:

The city charter was rewritten in 1989 to enhance mayoral power. It is the soul of the city and depends upon an independent comptroller and Council as the constitutional counterpoints to mayoral excess. Yet that is hardly what we've had in Bloomberg's first two terms. He has driven this project so far that the public funding, including the state grants he sparked, exceed by far the $38 million cost of the museum's core construction. There is no way for us to know if the city's museum largesse was a motive for Thompson's obsequious oversight of the Bloomberg era, or simply a consequence of the intertwine between them. He was no doubt more mayoral understudy than overseer. There is also no way to know if the Council's museum generosity had anything to do with why Thompson never noticed its bogus slush-fund budget documents, or even audited its discretionary expenditures after the scandal blew. Bloomberg can smell an edge on the ground from the private plane he used to fly Thompson to ball games in, and he's milked this one for years, perhaps all the way to re-election. Quinn might have exploited it, too, though she says she's usually "the last to know" gossip like who Thompson was dating.

Bill Thompson, the city's newly discovered media hero, seems so understated and reassuring that he deflects attention from the mess his private life has always been. He took a favorable mortgage and credit line in 2008 from a bank his office had done billions in business with, getting a letter from the bank saying the transaction was proper rather than doing what thousands of low-level city employees do every year, seek an opinion from the Conflict of Interest Board. When he worked as an investment banker in the '90s, he failed to take key securities tests six times in three years, operated without a license, and broke a half-dozen securities regulations. No one has noticed, amid Andrew Cuomo's pension fund prosecutions, that Thompson was functioning in the '90s as an unlicensed placement agent, before anyone knew what that was and before comptrollers like him started banning them from their offices.

Read the entire Barrett piece from 2010 and you'll see why Bill Thompson should not win your vote if you're a progressive looking for a change from Bloomberg or an honest steward of New York City following the Bloomberg years.

The connections Thompson has to Kurron Shares of America, Bloomberg, Tisch, and D'amato, the conflicts of interest Thompson has had throughout his career, the calls he has made to his friends in high places for personal favors, his wretched tenure as city comptroller, and his cynical pivot on stop and frisk are some very good reasons why Thompson should not win your vote.

He is a political hack extraordinaire, quite literally a walking conflict of interest who has used his political connections to enrich himself and help his wife's professional interests.

That my union, the United Federation of Teachers, saw fit to endorse this hack and crook for mayor speaks much to the expediency and hackery of the UFT leadership.

I, however, will not be endorsing Bill Thompson for mayor.

I'll take a look at the other potential ABQ ("Anybody But Quinn") candidate, Bill de Blasio,in the near future.

My prime prerequisite for an Anybody But Quinn candidate is that the candidate should be at least one step up from Christine Quinn on the ethics scale.

Quite frankly, Bill Thompson is not that candidate.

After a closer look at Thompson's political record and associations, he is no less a crook and a hack than Quinn herself.

And to be honest, I'm not so sure he isn't worse than Quinn.

Weiner Still Not Answering Sexting Questions Directly (RETRACTED - SEE NOTE)

Denis Hamill interviews Anthony Weiner in the NY Daily News:

Q. There is no one you are sexting now?
A. You can quibble about beginnings, middles and ends but what we're talking about is over a year ago.

A direct answer would be "No, Denis, I am not sexting with anyone now.  I haven't sexted with anybody for ______(amount of time.)"

Weiner doesn't respond like that.

He evades the meat of the question - "You can quibble with beginnings, middles and ends..."


Hey, Anthony, it's a yes or no question.

"There is no one you are sexting now?"

"Nope, no one I'm sexting with now, Denis."

That's answering the question directly.

Weiner's response makes me think he's still hiding something here.

UPDATED NOTE: Here's why this post is being retracted:

Yesterday that fine paper known as the New York Daily News published an interview with Anthony Weiner conducted by DN columnist Denis Hamill.

That interview made news itself when it seemed from the transcription that Weiner was evading a question Hamill asked on whether Weiner was currently sexting with any strangers he met over the Internets.

Here is the passage in question as posted yesterday by the Daily News:

Q. There is no one you are sexting now?
A. You can quibble about beginnings, middles and ends but what we're talking about is over a year ago.

That interview set off a 36 hour media frenzy as almost every political reporter in the city followed Weiner around trying to get him to say whether he was sexting with anyone at the current time.

It turns out, however, that the geniuses at the Daily News transcribed that interview Q&A wrong.

According to Politico, here is how the audio Q&A went:

Hamill: "And it was over a year ago? There’s been nothing else?"
Weiner: "I mean, oh yeah, all that stuff is behind me. You can quibble about you know, beginnings, middles and ends, but it was basically a year ago."

Wow - that's a big difference from what the DN first posted yesterday.  From this exchange, it's obvious that Weiner is NOT evading the question and is unequivocally saying he is not sexting with any and hasn't for around a year or so.

The Daily News, being the quality paper it is, went with a front page apology to Weiner, begging his forgiveness for setting off that 36 hour media frenzy and...

Nah, just kidding - the scum at the DN went with a little note at the bottom of the interview:

On Wednesday, the Daily News posted a "clarification" at the bottom of Hamill's interview: "In an interview with Anthony Weiner in Tuesday’s paper, a question posed to the mayoral candidate and his answer were transcribed incorrectly," it read. "A question about sexting should have ended with: 'There’s been nothing else?' Weiner’s answer was: 'I mean, oh yeah, all that stuff is behind me. You can quibble about beginnings, middles and ends, but it was basically a year ago.'”

Classic DN - smear somebody either purposely or through a careless mistake, then basically ignore the whole thing by putting up a "clarification" that nobody will see.

I've been beating up on Weiner for a while now and did so after the DN interview appeared yesterday morning.

Let me take this opportunity to retract this post -given the new realities around the interview, it's wrong.

Shame the DN doesn't do the same.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Now We Know What Tony Bennett Means By "No Excuses!"

Another education reformer exposed as a cheater and a liar - Chiefs For Change chief, Tony Bennett:

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."

"They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief lobbyist.

The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive. A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere.

GOP donor's charter school is getting a "C" instead of an "A" on its school report card?

"No problem!" says Chief For Change chief Tony Bennett, "we'll change the formula and make sure that donor - who's given over $2.8 million since 1998 - gets his A"!

The change in formula still doesn't get the school an A?

"No problem!" says Chief For Change chief Tony Bennett, "we'll just change the formula again and make sure it's an A!"

I'd say this story is unbelievable, except that it's not.

Another education reform "hero" exposed as a crook and a liar.

Rhee and Bennett - Chiefs For Cheating.

New Quinnipiac Poll Shows Continued Strength For Bill De Blasio

I'm less interested in what this poll shows about Weiner or Quinn than what it shows about De Blasio - he could make the runoff against Quinn:

More than half of likely Democratic primary voters say they've seen enough of Anthony Weiner, according to a new Quinnpiac poll out today. 

BRAWL NEW LOGO.jpgBy a 53%-40% margin, voters say Weiner should get out of the mayor's race, the survey says.

“With six weeks to go, anything can happen, but it looks like former Congressman Anthony Weiner may have sexted himself right out of the race for New York City mayor,” said Quinnpiac's Maurice Carroll. “And with Weiner in free-fall, it begins to look like a three-way race again.”

As of now, Quinnipiac reports, "City Council Speaker Christine Quinn leads the Democratic pack with 27%, with 21% for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, 20% for former Comptroller William Thompson, six percent for Comptroller John Liu and two percent for former Council member Sal Albanese, the poll finds. Seven percent of likely Democratic primary voters remain undecided."

This is the second poll in a row showing De Blasio surging to second place.

His growth in support looks for a real and we now have a three candidate race - Quinn, Thompson, and De Blasio.

It still looks like Quinn will be one of the candidates to make the runoff and Thompson and De Blasio will be fighting it out for the second slot.

Quinnipiac polled Thompson/Quinn in a runoff and found Thompson beating her by 10 points.

They didn't poll De Blasio/Quinn in a runoff, but Quinn's negatives are quite high and she likely would have a battle on her hands if she faced De Blasio in the runoff.

These are great poll numbers if you're an ABQ and ABW person - Weiner continues to plummet in the race and Quinn, while gaining some support, is going to have to face a runoff and she is not positioned well to come out of that a winner.

Anthony Weiner Grows Camera-Shy

NY1 reports that Weiner wouldn't let the press cover his talk to a Brooklyn church congregation on Sunday, making journalists wait outside until his speech was over.

Weiner used to covet all the press coverage he could get, but after getting beat up in the press all last week by both journalists and voters (especially this one), suddenly Weiner is getting camera-shy.

Ironic, no?

In other Weiner news, the Clintons turned against both Anthony and Hillary's adopted step-daughter Huma and the Democratic Party establishment called for Weiner to drop out of the race, with one prominent Dem consultant saying he's "a waste of space."


Weiner told reporters yesterday that he will not drop out of the race and said more volunteers are coming forward to join his campaign even as news broke that his campaign manager quit over the sexting scandal redux.

With the Clintons turning on him, he will not be able to raise any big money for his campaign.

He has no institutional support among the professional political class, no union support.

His GOTV operation will be amateur at best.

Now he has no campaign manager.

The Weiner campaign seems to consist of Anthony, Huma, their one year old son and a few masochist volunteers.

Meanwhile sexting scandal news continues to break every day, forcing Weiner to stay on the defensive (the latest two examples are here and here.)

These are not auspicious signs that he can turn this around any time soon.

It's true that Weiner's name will be on the ballot no matter what he does because it's too late to take it off before the primary.

But for all effective purposes, whether he stays in or not, Weiner's finished.

That he wouldn't let the press cover his talk to a Sunday church congregation is just the latest sign of that.

Cuomo's Moreland Commission Executive Director Sued 17 Times For Election Violations

On the plus side, I guess she knows what the criminals are doing because she's a criminal herself:

The executive director of Gov. Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission was sued 17 times by the state Board of Elections — an agency her panel is now charged with investigating.

Cuomo’s commission is set to focus on the influence of campaign contributions on government and compliance with election and lobbying laws.

From 2001 to 2009, commission executive director Regina Calcaterra was treasurer of Women PAC, which gave money to city candidates who supported women’s issues.

In 2002, Calcaterra was first sued twice in her role as the political action committee’s treasurer by the Board of Elections for failing to file two required financial disclosures. She received a $144 fine that she paid.

She subsequently was sued another 15 times for missing additional filing deadlines, with a judge backing the state at least nine times. The other cases were dropped because the state couldn’t serve her papers informing her of the lawsuits.

Calcaterra sources say she was unaware of the judgments until 2009 because the legal papers were not delivered to her directly--instead going to people and addresses with no associations to her.

They say she had believed the PAC was closed in 2003. A letter sent to the Board of Elections seems to back up the contention.

But Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said the needed paperwork to close the PAC campaign account was never filed, which meant Calcaterra was required to make the filings. He also said Calcaterra filed notice that the PAC would not be raising or spending money in the 2004 election cycle — an odd move if she thought the PAC had been closed.

Conklin said that Calcaterra also called the Board of Elections in 2006 to talk about closing down the PAC — proof she knew it was still open — but never followed up.

Calcaterra next contacted the board in 2009, a year before she tried to run for state Senate as a Democrat in Suffolk County. A deal was quickly cut in which the state waived close to $5,400 in fines after she agreed to make up the PAC’s missed filings. The PAC account was then closed.

“This PAC had penalties levied against it, which were later waived, because the (Board of Elections) was not aware that we had filed to shut it down years earlier and that it was completely dormant with a near zero account balance,” Calcaterra said. “As soon as I became aware of administrative issues with the PAC I rectified them and the PAC paid a $100 fine.”

Conklin replied that “there were misunderstandings on both sides.”

This isn't the first time members of the Moreland Anti-Corruption Commission put together by Sheriff Cuomo have been accused of corruption themselves. 

Cuomo has put at least five people on this 25 member commission who have broken election laws.

Cuomo put this commission together to "restore public confidence" in state government by rooting out corruption and election violations.

Anybody with any hope that this commission will expose wrongdoing and corruption should disabuse themselves of that.

Cuomo hired crooks to mete out "justice".

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pearson Owns Public Education In NY State

Here's a quote of the day:

“If Pearson is writing the tests for the children and writing the tests for the teachers and writing the textbooks, isn’t it Pearson that owns our public education, and not our Regents and not our commissioner of education and not the people that we have entrusted to make these serious decisions?” -- Willa Powell, a Rochester school board member 

Will the attorney general's investigation of former NYSED Commissioner David Steiner for accepting largesse from Pearson before handing them a multi-year testing contract ever be completed?

It seems Pearson really does own public education in NY State - as well as many state officials...

Bill Thompson Gives Speech Comparing Trayvon Martin Killing To Stop And Frisk, Fails To Mention NYPD Shootings

From Daily Politics:

The only black candidate for mayor said Sunday Trayvon Martin was killed because he was black - and the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy is driven by the same kind of bias. 
“Trayvon Martin did die because he was black. Of that there is no doubt,” ex-City Controller Bill Thompson told the congregation at Abundant Life Church in Brooklyn, saying that regardless of legal merits of George Zimmerman’s acquittal, “George Zimmerman was suspicious of Trayvon because he was young and because he was black.” 
He turned the issue into his most forceful attack to date on the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy.
“Here in New York City, we've institutionalized Mr. Zimmerman’s suspicion with a policy that all but requires our police officers to treat young black and Latino men with suspicion, to stop them and frisk them because of the color of their skin,” he said, charging young men of color “are profiled, as Trayvon was profiled. If our government profiles people because of skin plot and treats them as potential criminals, how can we expect citizens to do any less?"
Thompson said his natural instinct is to steer clear of the topic of race.
He has taken a moderate stand on stop and frisk compared to some of his Democratic rivals, criticizing it as abusive and calling for an overhaul but opposing its abolition as well as bills to create an NYPD inspector general and allow people to sue over racial profiling.
But in an unusually passionate speech for the typically subdued candidate, he said he felt compelled to speak out after the not guilty verdict in Martin’s killing, “after a jury of our peers declared the killing of an innocent black youth to not be a crime."
He said the verdict prompted tough conversations between children and parents, “especially those of us like me with young black sons.”
“I do not believe our government can fully stop racism, but I do believe we must constantly look to see how it may enable it, even unintentionally,” he said. “So we must ask ourselves, when fear of young black men ends in deadly violence against the innocent, has our government perpetuated that fear by targeting people of color with suspicion?”
Let me know when Thompson feels "passionate" enough to connect Trayvon Martin's tragic death to the tragic deaths of young black men shot and killed by the NYPD here in NYC and call for the NYPD to stop killing black men for crimes like having a hand in a waistband or trying to flush dope down the toilet.
Somebody said in a comment on another post here at Perdido Street School that they could never vote for Bill Thompson because he is the ultimate hack.
I think there is something to that.
Even in this supposed "passionate" speech which Thompson gives about an issue he says he cares a lot about, he takes the hack route and softballs his criticism against the NYPD.
Here's a part of the speech Thompson conveniently left out:
Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman because Martin was black, there is no doubt about that.
Kimani Gray was killed by the NYPD because he was black, there is no doubt about that.

Ramarley Graham was killed by the NYPD because he was black, there is no doubt about that.

Just as George Zimmerman targeted Trayvon Martin because of his race, ultimately killing him with impunity and walking away a free man from the crime, the NYPD targets black men in this city every day and every so often, they too ultimately kill one with impunity, as has happened in both the Graham and Gray cases.

See - you can connect the Trayvon tragedy to the NYPD's killing of black men in this city.
Thompson should be taking a stand on these NYPD tragedies instead of giving a speech on stop and frisk that he's had poll tested to death for a couple of weeks before he had the guts to go public with it. 
He has been trying to thread the needle on stop and frisk and NYPD police brutality for the entire campaign.
But you can't thread the needle on this issue.
You just can't.
Trayvon's killing was a tragedy and an outrage.
But so were the murders of Ramarley Graham and Kimani Gray.
POSTSCRIPT: And don't get me started on Thompson's aggrandizing Obama's Trayvon speech.  
I'm sure it hasn't occurred to a hack like Thompson, but given Obama's drone bomb killing track record killing men of color, Obama is, in the words of Cornell West, "a global George Zimmerman."