Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Gangs of Albany

The Gangs of Albany

To Bruno's (and Albany's) way of thinking, trading on the elective office for big bucks was not a crime because they are top dog in the gang that legalized virtually everything that make time money or brings them power Bruno's Capitol offenses: Former Senate boss is guilty and so is the whole Legislature Bruno is the epitome of a debased political culture that has made Albany a wide-open town for all manner of moneymaking conflicts of interests and double-dealing, short of accepting satchels of cash in the men's room (NYDN)
"The difference between dishonest and honest graft: for dishonest graft one worked solely for one's own interests, while for honest graft one pursued the interests of one's party, one's state, and one's personal interests all together." George Washington Plunkitt

Stronger Laws are Useless Because Enforcers
Appointed by Pols Protect Pols
We need stronger watchdogs that aren't afraid to bite. "The Albany scandals of recent years are rooted in the fact that state watchdogs simply haven't done their jobs. They've refused to take a firm stand on integrity, and been way too cozy with the people they are supposed to be watching. One of the most extraordinary revelations of the Bruno trial is that lawyers for the Legislative Ethics Commission actually advised lawmakers not to send their ethics disclosure filings through the mail, so as to help avoid the possibility of federal mail-fraud charges. Similarly, the state's Public Integrity Commission is controlled by the governor, who appoints the majority of its members, usually from the ranks of friends and former associates. Recent history shows why this doesn't work. The executive director of the commission, a friend of then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, leaked information on the Troopergate probe to administration officials while it was investigating the administration. Beyond Bruno New York's ethics lapdogs." David Grandeau is the former executive director of the New York State Lobbying Commission.

"The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken." Boss Tweed

Dysfunctional Reform Groups Also
"Albany said they pass ethics reforms, and just as Charlie Brown trusted Lucy not to pull the football away, government reformers believe them. Of course, she always pulled it away and Charlie always landed on his butt."NYDN Good Government Albany Leaders are clueless and for the most part are friends with too many Albany legislators. They think any reform is good. What they do not understand they act like the valves on your grandmother pressure cooker, when pols get good government support for reforms filled with loop holes public anger decreases. Only with public anger, throw the bums our will anything change. In 2005 Bruno help pass lobbying and ethic reform with the full support of the good government groups. Some people say back in the old days after the good government leader of that time defended the captain of the Titanic. The said the food was good and the music great.

"I don't care a straw for your newspaper articles, my constituents don't know how to read, but they can't help seeing them damned pictures." Boss Tweed *The Audacity of Bruno's Corruption: Editorial Board Outrage Over the Years Leads Nowhere (True News) * Corrupt Bruno gets convicted (NYP) *** Verdict may finally spur ethics law *** Joseph Bruno's secretary: I handled sideline business (Crains) *** Former NY union big testifies about Bruno ties (Crains) *** Bruno, Former State Leader, Guilty of Corruption (NYT) *** Conviction in Joe Bruno corruption case puts scare in the air for Albany pols *** Bruno guilty Jury finds former Senate leader exploited his office; Bruno says he's 'disappointed'*** A look inside the deliberations, when “every day was intense,” according to one juror. (TU) *** Even Bruno supporters agree that the trial has presented reform advocates with much ammunition. (TU) *** The “honest services” statute gets its own day in court — the Supreme one — today. (TU) *** “In my mind an in my heart, it’s not over til it’s over,” Bruno said. (NY Public Radio) *** The verdict brings Bruno and Eliot Spitzer together again, joining Alan Hevesi on the statewide officials roll call of shame. (DN) *** Larry Littlefield says it's our generation's equivalent of nailing Al Capone for income tax evastion *** Joe Bruno, Eliot Spitzer and Alan Hevesi all part of club of disgraced Albany pols * Sen. Efrain Gonzalez (D-Bronx) * Clarence Norman * Diane Gordon * Guy Velella*** The jury forewoman said it was "very hard" to convict Bruno when he has "done so much for the area." * Joe Bruno Gets His, But Does It Matter? (Huff Post)***Jurors: Guilty Joe Bruno is an 'Honorable Man'(Robbins Village Voice) *** Ex-Sen. Leader Bruno Quits Job After Trial *** Bruno's pension secure, despite corruption convictionsPolitics on the Hudson

He Took Big Bucks To Get State Deals For Those Who Paid (Henry J. Stern) The news from Albany is important. At best, it is a harbinger of the collapse of the regime of greed. At worst, it will make the plotters more careful in their schemes and scare off some of them. . . We cannot help but wonder as to where were all the state investigative agencies during Brunos reign? Or Eliot Spitzers? Or Alan Hevesis? Why did it require the US Attorney? And why wasnt the case brought to trial during the Bush years, or under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales? Just asking.

Planned Evictions of a Neighborhood With the gentrification of both Fort Green and the Brooklyn Navy Yard neighborhoods it was just a matter of time before the two housing complexes separating the two neighborhoods was also gentrified 2 Brooklyn Complexes With a Ghost-Town Feel *** Impatience Grows Over Vacancy Rate in Public Housing

More Welfare for the Rich
First the SEC looks the other way or was purposefully stuff with clueless investigators on Madoff, not the feds are coming to the rescue to investors who should have knon something was up when they kept getting high returns year after year Tax Plan Is Meant to Help Indirect Madoff Investors The proposal aims to provide smaller investors who were victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme the same sorts of tax breaks given to affluent investors *** Less-Rich Victims of Bernie Madoff May Also Get Tax Breaks As Chuck Schumer Burnishes Own Image

How does the NYT Ignore the Corruption Inside DiNapoli's Office? It is unreal how the entire media has not followed up the fact that According to the NYP convicted pension money manager Elliott "Broidy rewarded another official in Hevesi's office by providing a "sham" $380,000 consulting contract to a relative. A NYP source identified the official as former Deputy Comptroller Tom Sanzillo and said the contract went to his brother Frank Sanzillo, a lobbyist at the state Capitol. What would it take for the NYT or some other media reporter as the appointed comptroller about is top aid taking a payoff from a convict? Instead the NYT give up fluff and PR spins from DiNapoli seeking reelection The Times likes state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's call for shared services, but is skeptical local governments will listen Hevesi took swank trips as 'payoffs' (NYP) Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is Not Journalsim From NYT Modest Gains in City Math Scores on Federal Test From NY1 National Test Scores Show Stalled Progress For City Kids From NYP Students make little gain on national math test, despite higher scores on state level From NYDN City Education Dept., teachers clash on whether third, fourth grade math tests results show progress
Inside City Hall Mayor ends DA war *** Mike GOTV team in Mass. appeal *** Roger foe wins TWU *** Mayor stops bashing DA Morgenthau's accounts *** Quinn shrugs off challenge from outspoken Barron *** Toussaint rival John Samuelsen elected president of TWU *** Kappstatter: 'Tis night before Christmas for Bronx pols *** Mayor Vetoes Legislation For Parking Grace Period *** Bloomberg, Liu, Thompson Staffers Dish on Campaign

New York Economic and Competency Melt Down
10% of NYC's low-cost housing seen deep in debt *** Filene's to exit Sixth Ave. basement *** Jobs above all: Wage demands must not scuttle development of the Kingsbridge Armory *** W hotel at Union Square sold at auction*** State cuts put small drugstores in peril Cuts in pharmacy reimbursement rates for five public programs, including Medicaid, could result in druggists losing money on many prescriptions they fill *** St. Vincent's Hospital in NYC lays off 180 *** Homeowners' Bank Accounts Frozen over Second Mortgages - SI Advance*** Pay Frozen at Museum of Modern Art as Investments Shrink by 18% Bloomberg *** INTERVIEW: Incoming New York City comptroller to rein in costs Forbes
Crime, Law and Order Girls see ma slain *** Mayor ends DA war *** Woman Who Made False Rape Charge Is Guilty of Perjury *** Woman Fatally Shot in Front of Children *** Charges Unlikely for Chimp Owner *** DA's office to oppose Plax's bid to enter work release *** Fish biz in reel ugly bias case as feds sue family-run fishmonger *** DIVAS' dreams stolen: Thieves loot nonprofitWhite House Obama's jobs cap *** Pakistan Told to Ratchet Up Fight Against the Taliban *** An Innovation AgendaPresident Obama’s National Economic Council has outlined a straightforward way to revive innovation without the government controlling it (Brooks NYT) *** A Fearful Price The idea that fewer than 1 percent of Americans are being called on to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq is obscene, and all decent people should object (Herbert NYT) *** Obama Suggests Uses for Bailout Fund *** NY division to take lead in Obama's Afghanistan surge *** Obama eyes 'selective' use of $200B excess bailout money *** Cohen: Is Afghanistan worth a single additional life? *** If Congress won’t regulate greenhouse gases, the EPA says it will. (WashPost) *** Finally, U.S. Leads on Global Warming - Derrick Jackson, Boston Globe *** Rule by the Best and the Brightest - William McGurn, Wall Street Journal *** Obama's "No Exit" Strategy - Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post *** Support the President - Fred Kagan & William Kristol, Weekly Standard *** Withdrawal Better Than Half-Effort - Rep. Jason Chaffetz, DC Examiner *** Jobs or Snow Jobs? - Thomas Sowell, RealClearPolitics *** Obama's Jobs, Emissions Pledges Clash - Detroit News *** Gates Makes Surprise Afghanistan Trip: US 'In This Thing To Win' *** Obama Offers Help for Small Businesses *** New Obama plans: 'spend our way out' of downturn (AP) *** McChrystal: 'No silver bullets' for Afghan victory (AP) *** Parsing Obama's Speech on the Economy - Noam Scheiber, New Republic *** Obama Likes Both Sides of an Argument - Kuhnhenn & Woodward, AP *** Obama jobs plan: big ideas, but a big hole to fill in hiring Christian Science MonitorCongress Health bill's abort snag *** It Worked for the BorgiasThe Senate has not fulfilled its promise to bring an end to secret “holds” on legislation as lawmakers continue to anonymously hold up bills and nominations (NYT Ed) *** Prescriptions: Ad Jabs at Lieberman Over 'Public Option' *** A Plea to Congress on Jobless Benefits *** Liberal Senators Press for Expansion of Medicare *** 'Slavery' slur at GOPers Reid raps plan foes *** Baucus Disclosure Highlights Patronage Power *** Tax Plan Is Meant to Help Indirect Madoff Investors *** A compromise “public plan” is beginning to look a lot like a private option, health care advocates suggest. (AP) *** Lower Health Costs = Higher Paychecks - Ezra Klein, Washington Post *** Polls Tell Senate to Try Different Path - Orange County Register *** Senate Prepped to Kill Public Option *** Why Canadians Come to U.S. for Surgery - Ed Morrissey, Hot Air *** Senate rejects abortion amendment to healthcare bill Los Angeles Times

Political Parties Man arrested for throwing tomatoes at Sarah Palin Wall Street Cuban is fumin' Takes on SEC; says no cigar to backing down *** Ben: Rates to stay low *** Citi, Wells looking for BofA TARP treatment *** Feinberg eyeing AIG salary hikes *** Citigroup and Wells trying to repay TARP funds *** Debt Raters Avoid Overhaul After Crisis *** Board to Propose More Flexible Accounting Rules for Banks *** Civil Suit Says Lender Ignored Own Warnings *** Bank of America Executive Under Scrutiny *** Census Finds Rise in Foreign Workers *** Airlines Charging More for That Sought-After Seat *** House Flipping Makes a Comeback *** Banks, U.S. Spar Over TARP ***Lending Squeeze Drags On *** Bernanke Stands Firm on Rates *** Moody's Voices U.S., U.K. Concerns *** Something To Count on in 2010: Taxes Will Go Up - Mark Koba, CNBC *** Stimulus Spending: A Ballad of Lost Hope - Peter Morici, TheStreet.com *** Hedge Funds Win Profit on Chicago Sewer Debt at Public Expense - Bloomberg *** NYSE Floor To Undergo Massive Makeover

Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show *** Europe Praises U.S. Ruling on Greenhouse Gases *** The Endangerment Finding The E.P.A.’s clear authority to regulate greenhouse gases can be used as an important tool if Congress fails to pass legislation to reduce global warming emissions (NYT Ed) *** Dark Side of a Natural Gas Boom *** Goals in Copenhagen Are Tantamount to Suicide - Joel Kotkin, Forbes *** Getting Close in Copenhagen - San Francisco Chronicle
National Senate Panel in N.J. Approves Gay Marriage Bill *** Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts May Decide Bay State's Senate Primary *** U.S. Adds Drones to Fight Smuggling *** N.J. gay marriage bill clears hurdle; full Senate vote next *** It’s primary day in Massachusetts. (Politico) *** Many California legislators are deciding that Sacramento just isn’t that much fun anymore. (LAT) *** The Country is Uneasy - George Will, Newsweek *** Loophole Lets Army Hire Retired Generals - USA Today

International Heavy Toll in 5 Baghdad Attacks *** Japan Puts Forth $80.6 Billion Stimulus Package *** Russia’s Carbon Credits Seen as Barrier to Warming Curb *** Dubai World Is Pressured to Sell Assets *** Dubai World Is Pressured to Sell Assets *** Violence Spreads in Pakistan *** Iran Protesters Take Aim at Regime *** Iraq Delays Elections to March 6 *** Swiss Vote Was About Fear of Extremists - Anne Applebaum, Slate *** Violent Protests in Iran Carry Into Second Day

Media and New Tech
Radio active NPR wants reporter off Fox News *** Google gets real Targets Bing with up to the minute search results *** NY Times buyout count gets to 53 *** Clear Channel gets breather *** NYTimes Co. keeping Worcester paper *** Boxee, a Start-Up, to Offer a Device to Put Web Video on TV *** Universal, Sony and EMI to Start Music Video Site Called Vevo *** Apple confirms purchase of music site Lala.com *** You've got freedom: AOL ends ties with Time Warner *** Google Counters Microsoft *** CNN Invests in Outside.In *** Journalism and Freedom(WSJ) *** Journalism and Freedom - Rupert Murdoch, Wall Street Journal *** Murdoch: From Media Villain to Champion - David Paul Kuhn, RCP *** McClatchy Ad Revenue Down Over 20% In 4Q *** JuJu Chang To Replace Cuomo On "GMA"... But Cuomo Offered Another ABC Job... *** Google Chrome for Mac Web browser reaches beta release *** As The World Turns' To Wrap Up After 54 Years *** New York Times Says Print Ad Decline Moderating *** 'Hulu For Magazines': Publishers Team Up For Digital Newsstand *** Time Inc.'s Squires Reveals Digital Consortium ***Google in Agreement to Animate Times, Post *** Pepsi Ends Tiger Woods Drink *** Les Moonves: Advertisers Now Paying 25% More Than Earlier This Year