Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Political PARTIES 4 SALE, Organized Crime Politics
Organized Crime Politics
Political PARTIES 4 SALE
While it is illegal for elected officials to sell their votes, it is not illegal for political parties to sell their ballot lines in pay to play schemes
INVITING CORRUPTION: NY'S RISKY THIRD-PARTY RULES – Last week‘s wide ranging indictment against former Liberal Party boss Raymond B. Harding for pay to play with the state’s pension fund, paints a vivid portrait of ballot lines for sale in New York. Minor parties are common in US politics, but few states afford them such an easy path to power as New York does. In the Empire State a minor party can cross-endorse candidates who are also appearing on the Democratic and Republican lines. This third-party backing has become an object of intense desire among Republicans and Democrats, because it can cut down on competition and ensure that an independent candidate doesn't siphon votes away from major-party candidates.
The practice of cross endorsement, which used to be called “fusion ballot” traces back to the post-Civil War era, when political parties both liberal and conservative, from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds joined together to oppose New York City’s powerful Tammany Hall political machine. Fusion candidacies were associated with good government groups and were generally in opposition to the political machine. Today minor parties in the city have not only become the machine, they have become a kind of permanent government, which leaders such as Harding run like a business to make more for themselves and their friends. While common 100 years ago, cross-endorsements have since been eliminated by most states in election law reform efforts. Only five states today permit unlimited party endorsement of a single candidate.
Before the Harding era, the liberal party represented a progressive force in the city for good government that endorsed liberal, anti-machine politicians such as: Mayoral candidates Fiorello H. La Guardia, John Lindsay and Robert Wagner (in his third term); Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson and Senator Robert Kennedy. In 1966 Kennedy took on the political machine and tried to reform the Tammany Hall party system that has existed intact until this very day.
The Liberal Party’s Harding is not the only minor party leader in the city to run his party as a profit making enterprise, they all do:
After delivering the governorship to George Pataki in 1994, Michael R. Long and his Conservative Party were at the high point of their power in the state. Not only did Long broker a deal to have conservative Herb London run for state comptroller rather than enter the Republican primary against then State Senator George Pataki for governor, his party ultimately delivered the winning votes to both the Gubernatorial and Attorney General candidates. In the 1994 race for governor, Mario Cuomo was defeated by 190,000 votes. Long’s Conservative Party line (328,000 voters) gave Pataki his margin of victory. That same year the Conservative Party also gave Republican Dennis Vacco his margin of victory for Attorney General over Democrat Karen Burstein. Long got his rewards from the new governor. According to newspaper reports, his daughter (chief-of-staff to the Lt. Governor) and two of his top party aides were on Pataki’s payroll.
Though not initially conceived as such, the Independence Party through the usurpation of its powers by Dr. Lenora Fulani’s partisans, has become in recent years essentially a sanitized reincarnation of the now defunct, “Cult Like” New Alliance Party (NAP), founded by self-proclaimed mentor and psychotherapist Dr. Fred Newman, in the early 1980’s. The NAP was a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party in New York’s dysfunctional political party structure. It is a scandal and tells you how far the city has fallen in its morals and ethics to have such cultish party leaders playing a major role in who wins office in our city.
This is what the ADL said about the cult NAP:
“In conjunction with his NAP activities, Fred Newman operates a collective of for-profit ventures. Most notorious of these are his therapy centers, at which, it has been charged, Newman administers an unconventional brand of psychiatric treatment that exploits the emotional weaknesses of his clients. Newman also uses these centers to recruit volunteers for NAP. Newman and NAP chair Lenora Fulani have frequently peppered their writings and speeches with Jew-baiting remarks. In a notorious 1985 speech, Newman announced that in response to the Holocaust, Jews became "storm-troopers of decadent capitalism." Newman and Fulani lionize Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, and have defended his hate-filled diatribes against Jews.” *** Newman and Fulani's All Stars Project: Bad for Kids * New Alliance Party / Social Therapy - Cult information from cult ... * Buchanan, Fulani, Perot, and the Reform Party * Inside the New Alliance Party * * New Alliance Party / Social Therapy - Cult information from cult
Clarence Norman, the former head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, is currently in jail for grand larceny and coercion of judicial candidates. CLARENCE SAYS JAIL & FAREWELL - New York Post top Brooklyn Democrat Convicted of Campaign Violations - New York Breaking News: Clarence Norman convicted on all 4 counts The NORMAN CONVICTED. Dem leader is guilty of campaign abuses
Political parties are intended to empower the masses and to give them a means to change their government and its leaders. Instead, political parties in New York have become criminal organizations that have abused their positions and power in order to rip off the very people they are supposed to be serving. While this same public is paying higher taxes and fees because of dysfunction in Albany and the City Council, it is forced to accept a government that services party leaders and the elected officials that pay them protection money to remain in office. Even when they get caught up in corruption as Harding did, because of a “Blue Wall” type silence, elected officials do not rat on other elected officials. It’s funny how the Rev. Al Sharpton will march (and rightfully so) in protest of a cop’s silence in the face of a crime by another cop, but say nothing about the “Elected Officials Wall of Silence,” to stop a corrupt system that is destroying people lives and the greatest city in the world.
True News has been reporting on the corruption caused by the control or ballot access for some time Tammany’s Ballot Control Again and Again. *** True News Reported It First: New York’s Political Mob Wars *** Organized Crime Politics *** Organized Crime Politics Part 1 *** NY' s Leaders Have Lost the Values and Morality that Once Made it the Greatest City in the World *** Campaign Consultant Lobbyists Cause Corruption.
Thompson Clueless 'NO CLUE' THOMPSON PROBES PENSION MESS City Comptroller Bill Thompson yesterday launched a probe into a private-equity firm after he was stung by revelations that an accused pay-for-play political consultant earned fees off deals with Pay to Play Quadrangle Is Facing Questions Over Pension Funds *** Ratting Out Rattner - An Innocent Bribe? Washington Post *** Alan Hevesi Carried a Torch for Robert Torricelli - Robbins *** Cuomo To Probe City Pension Deal (Updated) *** Pension probe: The good, the bad and the connected Flashback The City Council's Big Slush Hush Thanks to the bogus-funding scandal haunting the City Council, we now know the best way to hide a multimillion-dollar sca in a $60 billion budget: Right in plain sight. Speaker Christine Quinn swears she had no idea that sham nonprofit groups got some of the largest budget allocations in an effort to tuck away money for her own later discretionary spending. Ditto Mayor Bloomberg, who snapped nasty with reporters when they pressed him about why his office never noticed anything. Even City Comptroller Bill Thompson, whose job it is to spot these things and who, like Quinn, would like to step into Bloomberg's shoes in a couple of years, somehow missed the scheme entirely After the Horse is Out of the Barn New York’s $122 Billion Quagmire The state should prohibit individuals or businesses that contribute to comptroller candidates from then participating in the investment of the state pension fund, NYT Ed *** Pension fund middlemen are banned by controller Faced with a mushrooming scandal, officials will bar firms from using well-connected middlemen to get business with the state pension fund State Controller Thomas DiNapoli announce *** DiNapoli Bans Pension Fund Middlemen
Tax You Out of New York $185 FEE PLAN KEEPS DRIVERS ON THEIR 'TOWS' Council is considering a bill that would more than double the cost of towing a car from an accident scene *** COLD, HARD CASH FAMED EATERY'S '$2.50 ICE CUBES' *** REPUBLICANS SLAM BRAKES ON SMITH'S TAX-I PLAN *** You're getting screwed either way... From the Daily News:New York's higher property taxes are going to take a bite out of your wallet - even if you don't own property *** Nolan screws kids by being a loyal Silver girl
From the NY Post:An effort to reform the lax state teacher-tenure rules that allow bad-apple educators to stay on the job for years was effectively killed by a low-key politician from Queens *** Staten Island: Small Business Struggle On Hylan Boulevard *** Senate Dems' MTA Bailout Plan Has Taxi Surcharge, Other Fees *** Don't own property? City's new property taxes will still cost you *** Mayor goes to bat for Yanks, Mets over ticket prices *** Queens leads city rise in foreclosure crisis *** Stealing from the taxpayers? *** Bloomberg: Tax The Rich, But Don't Target Them *** The state is charging municipalities more for its pension plan.
ROAD To City Hall OBAMA CALLS MIKE ONE 'OUTSTANDING MAYOR' *** Giuliani and gay marriage: Good for 2010 - or '12? *** DA hopefuls come out in favor of medical marijuana *** Bronx Voters Elect Díaz as New Borough President *** 5% Turnout Diaz Jr. Wins Bronx Borough Presidency Mr. Díaz had 28,301 votes, or 87 percent, to Mr. Ribustello’s 4,081 votes, according to the City Board of Elections *** Ruben Diaz Jr. cruises to victory in Bronx borough president special election - highest ranking Latinos in state politics *** Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who might challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010, hired a new statewide finance director *** There will be a public reading tonight of the play Smoking Bloomberg *** The Mayor Who Ate the Democratic Party
The City BROADWAY BUS AXED *** CENTRAL PARK LOW ON CASH, HIGH ON TRASH *** MISS SUBWAYS' NOSTALGIA TRIP *** NY EYES LOW RENT HIKES More than a million rent-stabilized tenants can expect modest rent hikes this year after the Rent Guidelines Board reported yesterday that landlords' operating costs went up by a mere 4 percent *** MOTHER CHUCKER PARK AVE. LAWYER DITCHES KIDS: COPS *** MACKLOWE'S FT BUILDING TO BE AUCTIONED *** Creditors to reclaim another Macklowe tower *** Religious opposition to Boro President Marty's $64M potato chip From the Daily News: *** Boardwalk without the boards? *** Rise in Manhattan apartment vacancies slows *** The trouble with Larry Silverstein *** Disabled Residents File Elevator Lawsuit Against City *** Tribeca Film Festival To Feature Mix Of Veterans, Newcomers *** Is This Seat Taken? In Front Rows of New Ballparks, Not Yet *** City Plans to Make Older Buildings Refit to Save Energy *** When the City Held Pirates in High Regard *** 2 Get Life Without Parole for Paid Killing in Queens *** 'NOOSE' PROF SUES FOR $200M *** City Tries New Tactic to Convert Catholic Schools to Charter Schools *** Some of the Bright Lights of New York’s Businesses Are Powered by Wind *** Trustees Begin to Parcel Leona Helmsley’s Estate *** Pharmacies Agree to Provide Prescription Data in Many Languages *** Seven green sins of the city *** Top 5 NYC Earth Day events *** Hudson river celebrations this spring and summer *** Dogs get short end of stick in Leona Helmsley's estate disbursement *** Piano Man's donation gives gift of music to Harlem students *** Brooklyn doc offices raided in insurance scam probe *** City won't let Yankees slide on $67G *** Gonzalez: Riverside Church pastor's $600K compensation prompts parishioners' suit *** Councilman who backs Gowanus development opposes Superfund designation *** Mazoltuv Borukhova, Queens mom who had her dentist husband executed, sentenced to life *** The Bloomberg administration hands out cash to poor families for completing tasks such as going to parent-teacher conferences and the doctor. Success isn’t known yet, but families are engaged *** A New Randall's Island Plan *** Tuning Up for Summer Concerts *** Manhattan sees spike in suits by commercial landlords against tenants
Albany PANEL TO RULE ON CHARTER-UNION TUG-OF-WAR *** POL HAS BONE TO PICK BUM-HIP EXCUSE ON TENURE *** REPUBLICANS SLAM BRAKES ON SMITH'S TAX-I PLAN *** SO FAR, IT'S STIMU-LESS Two months after President Obama signed the massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and sent billions of dollars in stimulus aid to Albany, New York has yet to see a single new job *** SMITH'S MTA TRAINWRECK desperate to shun his image as a roadblock, is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks *** MTA ‘taxi tax’ hits practical roadblock Politicians’ last-minute transit-bailout compromise may have hole in it big enough to drive a cab *** NY bill would restrict drug store cigarette sa... *** Senate Democrats Push New MTA Bailout Plan *** Latest Plan for M.T.A. Is Foundering in Albany *** Malcolm's MTA plan might be dead on arrival *** Taxi Industry Puzzled by Logistics of $1 MTA Taxi Surcharge *** DN Editorial: A fraud on the public Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is playing the public for a pack of fools *** Albany reform plan ripped Watchdogs: More to be done *** Regulators Grant Con Edison a $523.4 Million Increase in Delivery Rates *** Legislators propose legislation eliminating the lifetime handgun licenses, requiring renewal every five years *** Gov. David Paterson and Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos meet to discuss the MTA bailout *** The Senate’s plan has two Democratic opponents . *** Paterson said he’d rather have bridge tolls than the Senate’s plan to tax cab rides, auto rentals and more *** Lawmakers may tweak the expanded bottle bill law before it takes effect *** Sen. Marty Golden called the Democrats' plan "an insult" to both upstate and downstate *** Republicans panned the reforms as "window dressing" and refused to support them *** The DN panned the proposed reforms, saying: "Only in Albany would it count as revolutionary that committee members must be present to vote, that panels should hold hearings on major legislation and that basic information about public business should be posted on the Internet." *** Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan insisted: "I'm nobody's puppet," and said a hip replacement - not UFT pressure - caused her to block a measure to study teacher tenure reform *** "With regard to the magnitude of the package, I'm already there. I've been there for weeks," Padavan said. "These other issues have to be flushed out because every day it changes...Because it's a very fluid situation, I don't know what I'm answering yes or no to." *** A plan to look at test scores for teacher tenure has been shelved *** A new bill would end "lifetime" gun licenses. *** Walking Back Parts of the Bottle Bill?
President Obama O'S PEACE STATE-MENT President Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday to pursue the goal of a Palestinian state and pressed both sides to "step back from the abyss." *** STRENGTH'S NEW FACE: WHY OBAMA SCORED OVERSEAS *** President Obama heads to Iowa for Earth Day *** House climate hearings put Obama team on hot seat *** Obama signs service bill, says volunteers needed... *** Freddie Mac Official Found Dead In Apparent Suicide *** Castro: Obama "Misinterpreted Raul's Declarations" *** Albany reform plan ripped Watchdogs: More to be done *** Geithner defends the bank rescue program *** Medicare may become a keystone to a health care reform plan *** The Obama administration and banks are in a showdown over Chrysler’s fate *** Obama skates while Right fumes *** Preparing for years in Afghanistan *** Geithner: Worst trade collapse since WWII *** Obama buys in bulk, saves ... a bit *** Obama eyes stalled trade deals *** Obama, Mideast Leaders to Meet *** Stress-Test Briefings Begin Friday *** Geithner Takes Upbeat Tone *** Banks Lobby to Cut Cost of TARP Exit *** WSJ Opinion: Obama Blames America *** How Obama's Decision Hurt the CIA - David Ignatius, Washington Post ***Obama's Dilemma Grows on Torture Prosecutions - Mark Thompson, Time *** Obama's Foreign Policy Challenge - Henry Kissinger, Washington Post *** Obama: The New Face of Strength - Kirsten Powers, New York Post *** Obama is About to Confront Civil Rights - Jeffrey Rosen, The New Republic *** Obama and the CIA - Wall Street Journal *** Geithner's Speech to the Economic Club of D.C. *** What Does Obama’s Intelligence Director Think of ‘Torture’? *** Transportation Reverses FAA on Bird Strike Data *** POLITICO: WHITE HOUSE DAZED, CONFUSED BY TORTURE DEBATE... ***
CIA's Interrogations Report links CIA to military harsh interrogations *** Unresolved debate in DOJ memos: Does torture work? *** Obama Open to Probe of Bush Officials... *** CIA Confirms Waterboarding Led to Info that Aborted Attack on LA... *** Cheney wants CIA files for memoir... *** In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Their Past Use *** Report Gives New Detail on Approval of Brutal Techniques *** Credit Markets Still Tight, Geithner Says *** WATCH: Diplomat Claims Bush White House Destroyed His Memo Opposing Torture *** Obama's Intelligence Chief: Banned Techniques Yielded 'High Value Information' *** Press Reduces Torture Investigations Into Partisan Warfare *** Cheney gets hosed on waterboarding Officials are reacting angrily to Dick Cheney's claim that waterboarding the 9/11 mastermind was a success *** U.S. officials slam Cheney's boast *** Obama opens door to prosecution regarding torture *** Memo: Harsh techniques got results *** Cheney: Memos released for Dems *** How Bush Approved Torture *** Interrogation Views Spread Via Bush Aides *** It's Not Enough to Admit Torture - Des Moines Register *** Feinstein: Torture Prosecutions Not Out - Video *** Memos: Harsh Tactics Readied Before Approval
Congress Congress rejuvenates Clinton-era police program *** RFK Jr. supports Gillibrand *** Founder of Minutemen will announce challenge to John McCain in GOP Senate Primary... *** Lawmaker Denies Effort for Lobbyists ***Another Republican Backpedals After Belittling Limbaugh Pay to Play AIG, Chase, Citi Each Spent $1 Million To Lobby Government *** GM spent $2.8 mil on lobbying while surviving on govt. loans *** Bailed-out banks are using their considerable influence to dilute pro-consumer legislation to help refinance mortgages and reduce credit card rates *** Crimes suspected in 20 bailout cases *** As Other Republicans Give Up on the 20th, Tedisco Says He Remains 'Hopeful' *** Harman calls out NSA *** GOP grapples with climate confusion *** Pelosi: Climate bill will pass in House ***This Earth Day, educate one another *** Congressman 'The Rock'? *** McCain faces 2010 primary *** A climate bill by Earth Day 2010? *** Dem bogeymen: Cheney, Gingrich *** Low-tech Senate slow rolls disclosures *** Franken, Coleman press aides carry on *** Dodd presidential campaign sees red *** Will 'Outrage' change the game? *** Ignoring McCain, Senate Confirms Hill *** Vito Fossella Finds New Job at Hedge fund *** Retired Taxation & Finance worker charged with ID theft *** Democrats Push For Comprehensive Energy Plan - Kyle Trygstad, RCP *** Rep. Harman Defends Herself on MSNBC - MSNBC *** Ranking the Senators on Partisanship - The Ris Brothers, Political Machine *** Feinstein and the Foreclosures - David Freddoso, The Corner *** Pelosi knew NSA had listened to Harman phone calls... *** Democrats Consider Bypassing G.O.P. on Health Care Plan *** The Caucus: Pelosi Now Recalls Harman Wiretap
National High court hears reverse discrimination arguments *** 'I CAN CLONE A HUMAN BEING' *** NH DEM PARTY CHAIR: Tax protestors 'an unhinged mob'... *** An Effort to Save a City by Shrinking It leaders in Flint, Mich. *** Swimming Without a Suit
America needs to invest money and energy into schools with a sense of urgency that the economic and moral stakes demand, Friedman, NYT *** Accountability in Schools Stimulus money meant for disadvantaged schoolchildren won’t get to the students for whom it is intended unless the Department of Education holds schools to transparent accounting practices *** Teen to Supreme Court: School's search stripped me of dignity *** Court Hears Case Over Hiring, Race *** Military to Focus on Cybersecurity *** A Comeback for the Minuteman? - Marin Cogan, The Plank *** Report: Poor Latinos in South being exploited *** Miss California, thanks for honesty *** As Housing Market Dips, More in U.S. Are Staying Put *** Dropout Rate Improving in Some Cities
International SOMALI PIRATE IN PRIVA-TEARS *** Analysis: Clinton making no waves as top diplomat *** Judge Rules Purported Pirate Will Be Tried As Adult *** South Africans Vote, Expecting Few Big Changes *** Pentagon Commander Visits Afghanistan *** Naval Show to Feature Submarines From China *** I.M.F. Puts Bank Losses From Global Financial Crisis at $4.1 Trillion *** Court Rejects Plan to Privatize Hong Kong Phone Company *** Hope and Caution on Chinese Economy *** Japanese Exports Fell in March ***
In China, G.M. Remains a Driving Force *** Troubled Polish Port City Can’t Wait for Euro *** A Workers’ Paradise Found Off Japan’s Coast *** Little Room to Maneuver on Budget for Britain *** Taliban extend their grip in Pakistan *** Somali pirate's smile turns to tears; he could face life *** Cubans give “dramatically high” support to Obama *** Castro Cools U.S.-Cuba Relations *** Zuma Expects Big Win in South Africa *** U.K. Budget Revealed *** U.K. Fails to Charge Terror Suspects *** South Africans Go to Polls *** Maternal Ties: Pakistan, Family and a Changing Society *** Do the Palestinians Really Want a State? - Robert Kaplan, The Atlantic *** Senate Confirms Christopher Hill as Ambassador to Iraq - The Hill *** U.S. Might Not Try Pro-Israel Lobbyists - Washington Post *** Canada's Feuding Conservatives - Paul Wells, Maclean's *** Taliban claims victory near Islamabad *** Clinton: 'Imperative' toStop Iranian Nuke Program *** Iran Issue Linked to Palestinians *** In Bolivia, Keeping Kids and Mothers Together — in Prison *** The Chinese Navy: How Big a Threat to the U.S.? *** Japan Pays Foreign Workers to Go Home
Wall Street Mess POOR BAILOUT WIFE: I CAN'T FLAUNT MY $$ WALL STREETER'S WHINE *** 38G SNARES MADOFF MET TIX *** THE INFLUENCE GAME: Insurers eye new regulator *** Cheers, worries greet financial sector's seesawing *** Yahoo! Profit Drops 78%, Slashes 700 Jobs *** TIM CALMS WATCHDOGS Geithner assured congressional watchdogs yesterday that banks have enough cash to stay in business but face more struggles from toxic paper and a flood of consumer loans going *** SHAREHOLDERS' MEETING AT CITI SURE AIN'T PRETTY *** LATEST CHRYSLER PLAN KO'D *** INSIDER TRADER RAIDING SIEBERT DRAWS PROBES *** HOLDER WANTS LEWIS' EXIT *** KIRK'S MIRAGE MAY DISAPPEAR: EYEING SALE TO HOLD OFF ICAHN *** Shoppers cut back, zero in on sales *** BoNY Mellon 1Q profit falls 57%, cuts dividend... *** Debtholders vs. U.S. Over Chrysler Deal *** Profit Dropped 74% in Quarter for Volkswagen *** Yahoo Posts Earnings Decline; Plans to Cut Work Force *** Citi Directors Face Angry, Coffee-Less Shareholders *** Hilton Hotels Is Subpoenaed in Espionage Case *** Caterpillar’s Quarterly Loss Was Its First in 17 Years *** Breakingviews.com: Is the Crisis Over? It Depends. *** AP: "Stress Tests" Tougher On Regional Banks *** Investors blast, then reelect chiefs
Citigroup shareholders *** Smart, clean-cut Markoff gave off 'creepy vibe' *** Internet was Markoff's ugly domain - and his undoing *** The TARP watchdog warns that the government’s plan to help banks shed toxic assets is vulnerable to abuse *** TARP Banks Still Lobbying *** Recession linked to more abortions, vasectomies... *** Morgan Stanley Posts Loss, Cuts Dividend *** Wachovia Deal Boosts Wells Fargo *** Banks Reject U.S. Terms For Cutting Chrysler Debt *** Jenkins: GM Is Becoming a Royal Debacle *** Will Crony Capitalism Produce Strong Growth? - Larry Kudlow, RCP *** Lawmakers Consider Limiting the Size of Banks - Bloomberg *** Top GE exec says economic crisis resetting capitalism... *** The Looming Crisis in Commercial Real Estate
Media $1.3B DEBT RATTLE: CASH-STARVED TIMES EFFECTIVELY HAS $34M LEFT IN BANK *** Times Co. Reports Loss of $74 Million *** NY Times Handing Out Exec Bonuses While Cutting Employee Salaries *** Times CEO Rewarded for a Great Year*** Sen. Kerry aims to rescue newspapers; Calls for hearings on BOSTON GLOBE... *** Idea of the Day: E-Book as Gutenberg’s Bible *** MediaRevealed: Washingtonian Photoshopped Shirtless Obama *** New Guinea Tribe Sues The New Yorker For $10M Over Article *** Twitter Traffic Soars On Ashton Kutcher, Oprah Buzz *** Clear Channel Planning To Revamp Debt Load *** Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer makes an appearance on the “Real Housewives of NYC.” *** Rod Blagojevich will not be a reality tv star, after all *** Recession kills off wildlife magazine Wildlife Conservation magazine said this week that its May/June issue would be the 112-year-old publication's last *** Chicago Tribune Lays Off 53 Newsroom Staffers *** Rachel Maddow Ratings Decline: March Her Lowest Month Since Starting Show