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The (GOP-controlled) Arizona Legislature sent a bill to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer that would allow business owners to turn away gay and lesbian customers, as long as they claim to be doing so in the name of “religion.” How long before they put up the “no gays” sign over the water fountains and restrooms?
Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson had this to say: “When you force me to bake you a cake for your gay wedding, that’s fascism.” You heard right, infringing upon a bigot’s right to deny pastries to homosexuals is “fascism.” Amazing. But not surprising.
The homophobic, ignorant, backwoods supporters of bills that promote hate should look up the name Matthew Shepard. In 1998, University of Wyoming student Shepard was kidnapped, tortured and tied to a prairie fence overnight in freezing temperatures. He died five days after he was finally found. His “crime”? Being gay.
Perhaps we should have two Americas: the Democratic States of America, where civil rights apply to everyone, and Teabagistan, where ignorance, bigotry and racism rule the day.
Democratic reaction to state Sen. Tony Avella’s decision to jump ship and join the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany is officially “disappointment,” but beneath the surface there appears to be anger and a desire for retribution.
Avella, of Bayside, last week joined the now-five-person IDC, which was organized in 2011 and runs the Senate with the Republicans in an unlikely coalition. He indicated he joined in an attempt to pass more legislation and that “at the end of the day, it will be helpful to my district and the Borough of Queens.”
Obamacare is the term used by both the president’s supporters and critics when discussing his signature legislative initiative, the federal Affordable Care Act.
And with the March 31 deadline for those without health insurance to apply without paying a penalty, the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP is pulling out all stops in its effort to get residents of Southeast Queens to sign up.
Maverick Democrat Tony Avella has done it again. The Bayside state senator announced Wednesday he is joining the Independent Democratic Conference in Albany.
Never one to follow the party line, Avella’s move is seen as a plus for him. He is more likely now to be able to move his bills through the Senate.
The lawyer who asked that a case involving his client, Vince Tabone, be delayed, saying it would be unfair to Republican candidates seeking office, has thrown his own hat in the ring to oppose Rep. Steve Israel.
Grant Lally, a Republican from Lloyd Harbor, LI, announced last week that he would oppose Congressman Israel for the 3rd Congressional District seat. The district covers parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties and a section of Queens, including Douglaston, Little Neck, Whitestone and Floral Park.
State Sen. Greg Ball (D-Patterson) slammed Mayor de Blasio’s municipal ID card legislation during a debate with Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) on “Up Close with Diana Williams” on Sunday morning.
The bill, which will be drafted by Dromm — a big advocate for immigration reform — was briefly discussed by the mayor during his State of the City Address two weeks ago.
It’s flu season. One of the last things you want to see is the guy making your sandwich down at the deli coughing and wiping his nose, gloves or no gloves. And yet there’s a decent chance that’s exactly what you’ll see.
One reason is that a small business such as a deli is not as likely as a large corporation to provide its employees with paid sick leave. So many come to work even when they’re unwell, increasing the chances that colds or worse illnesses such as the flu will spread.
It’s February and the city has been socked for weeks by snow, ice and frigid temperatures in the most miserable winter many can remember. At City Hall, a new mayor from a political party that has not held the city’s top office in 20 years has just taken the reins of power, and his honeymoon period when he should be unveiling his ambitious agenda is instead frozen over by the icy weather.
But this is not 2014. Instead it’s 1994 and that new mayor is Rudy Giuliani.
State Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) said he won’t allow a vote on Mayor de Blasio’s request to permit New York City to raise its taxes on residents with incomes over $500,000 a year to fund universal pre-kindergarten in the city.
“This isn’t just a home-rule issue,” Skelos told reporters Monday. “It infected the entire state in terms of revenues, in terms of the finance industry. The last thing we need to see is high earners leave New York State.”
State Sen. Malcolm Smith of Jamaica is entitled to a fair speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He is not entitled to delay the trial over the felony corruption charges he faces until after the voters decide to renominate him or not in a primary.
Yet that’s what’s the senator’s attorney will formally ask a federal judge to do tomorrow. Smith faces conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion charges in a case in which he allegedly sought to run for mayor as a Republican. He was charged almost a year ago, along with five other co-defendants, two of whom have reached plea deals. Naturally Smith doesn’t want the trial to be going on while he’s running for re-election, but it should.
Richmond Hill is one of the older communities in Queens, and got its own high school in 1899, when there were only a few in the borough.
The school was unusual in that it had an astronomy observatory and telescope, built at a cost of $6,000. The first principal was not an administrator but respected mathematician and astronomer Issac Newton Failor (1851-1925). The RHHS yearbook and newsletters were dubbed “The Dome.”
After all of the consternation about the weather and the first Super Bowl ever held in the New York metropolitan area, it was a pretty decent day by early February standards for all except the Denver Broncos. During Super Bowl week, perceptive lead Fox Sports voice Joe Buck told me that the weather was far worse in Dallas last year. He also pointed out that even though New York had a cold week, the conditions were far better than those in Southern cities as Atlanta and New Orleans.
Giants co-owner John Mara is one of the most accessible and likable sports executives you will ever meet. I was surprised that he wandered through the Super Bowl media party without any aides. “Even if you are not a football fan the energy and excitement of the Super Bowl raises the spirits of everyone living in the metropolitan area,” Mara told me. He concurred with my analogy of how even diehard Democrats enjoyed having the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004.
The lawyer for state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) will ask a federal judge to postpone the senator’s federal corruption trial until after this year’s Democratic primary.
In a hearing in federal court in White Plans on Friday morning, Attorney Gerald Shargel told federal Judge Kenneth Karas that he will submit his request to the court in writing on Feb. 7.
The U.S. Senate passed legislation last Thursday that would relieve the flood rate hikes mandated by a 2012 law aimed at stabilizing the finances of the National Flood Insurance Program.
By a vote of 67-32, the Senate approved the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which if made into law would delay the increases in the flood insurance rates mandate under the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, until the Federal Emergency Management Agency does an affordability study to determine how the rate hikes would affect homeowners in food zones. It also would require FEMA to certify that its flood maps are accurate and ensure local levees and other flood control structures are taken into account in the mapping process.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was ceremonially sworn in for his second term Jan. 30 in the packed auditorium at PS 63 in Ozone Park, where he was a student from kindergarten through fourth grade.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and several more of Ulrich’s colleagues to speak at the swearing in, which was conducted by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing in for Justice Augie Agate, who was under the weather. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made an appearance, as did Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Turner, former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and former Councilman Tom Ognibene.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was ceremonially sworn in for his second term Jan. 30 in the packed auditorium at PS 63 in Ozone Park, where he was a student from kindergarten through fourth grade. City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and several more of Ulrich’s colleagues to speak at the swearing in, which was conducted by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing in for Justice Augie Agate, who was under the weather. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made an appearance, as did Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Turner, former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and former Councilman Tom Ognibene. In his speech, Ulrich thanked his family and friends, and recognized his kindergarten teacher, Barbara Martuscello.
A second co-defendant in the federal corruption case against state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and former Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has pleaded guilty.
Joseph Desmaret, former deputy mayor of upstate Spring Valley, admitted to accepting $10,500 to support the sale of village land to an undercover FBI agent who he believed was a developer. He signed the six-page agreement last Tuesday.
Thirteen GOPers attended a rally to protest Gov. Cuomo’s controversial remarks. A press release erred in saying 25 people were present.
Re “Lousy Republicans,” Letters, Jan. 23:
Why would Anthony Pilla think historians would rank the 113th Congress the least productive in history? In five years America’s prestige in the world became extinct, unemployment is chronic, we’re $17 trillion in debt, the middle class is being wiped out and Obamacare will ensure that the United States will be transformed — as promised —from a constitutional democracy into a socialist dictatorship. House Republicans never stopped him from doing anything. No president ever accomplished more.
The House of Representatives was considered by the Founding Fathers to be the People’s House and has the power of the purse in order to control free-wheeling spenders like those in office now. Food stamps were cut $4 billion by Republicans because the Government Accounting Office said cutting waste and fraud would more than cover it. There was no need to raise the debt ceiling, but the House did anyway, by $1.1 trillion.
The loss of $25 billion in the last government shutdown included the salaries of employees who were laid off but got paid for doing nothing anyway.
It only seems like 45 times that Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor voted to repeal Obamacare but is their stupidity really worse, as Pilla believes, than Schumer’s saying Americans were going to get Obamacare whether they like it or not? Or Obama saying “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan,” knowing each time he said it, he lied?
Why would Republicans voting for amnesty for illegal aliens to keep wages low for big business be worse than Democrats who want open borders and amnesty because a huge population of poor, illiterate people dependent on government handouts will vote socialist forever?
Why would Mr. Pilla call the investigations of Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS harassment of people they don’t like “witch hunts”? Real people died real deaths in Benghazi and Mexico.
Americans have traded the freedom and opportunities here for the same false promises that turned into the Gulag in Russia, gas chambers in Hitler’s National Socialism and one child per family in China. What Americans think they’re getting free will cost them more than they ever imagined. Obamacare is only the beginning. It’s the Tea Party’s fault.
The state DREAM Act has been dragged along like a loose shoelace for years as time after time the legislation is not voted through.
This year marks state Sen. Jose Peralta and Assemblyman Francisco Moya’s fourth attempt to pass the act that would provide tuition assistance to undocumented noncitizens applying to college on a needs basis.
In November, Queens voters sent four new members of their City Council delegation to City Hall. They replaced members who had key positions in previous Council sessions.
When the four new lawmakers — Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) — received their committee assignments last week, they all found themselves in different levels of power.
Thirteen people representing various Queens Republican clubs gathered at Borough Hall during the snowstorm on Jan. 22 to protest Gov. Cuomo’s recent anti-conservative remarks.
However, a press release sent out by the Queens Village Republican Club after the event proclaimed that a much bigger protest was held.
It is my opinion that most historians will rank the 113th Congress as the least productive in history. It will even outdo the one that prompted President Truman’s famous remark about that “good for nothing” 80th Republican Congress! Our Congress is truly not the top banana. In all polls, voters gave the 113th only a 9 percent approval rating.
Blame should go equally to both chambers, the Democratic Senate and GOP House. The Senate worked 99 days and the House 117 for the entire year in 2013.
In the Senate, Republicans stalled the approval of 93 presidential nominations. The logjam broke only after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, “Enough is enough!”
Let me briefly focus on the worst chamber, the GOP House of Representatives. These outstanding achievements occurred: 1) The House voted 45 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare to the GOP). 2) They voted to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program over the next 10 years. 3) They for
ced the government to “shut down” for 16 days last October at a cost of $25 billion. 4) They refused to extend benefits to long-time unemployed workers; ‘Takers’ to republicans. 5) Chairman Darrell Isa (R-Caliph.) and his oversight committee held a series of “witch hunts”: fast and furious, Benghazi, IRS vs. Tea Party. Chairman Issa invited “select” folks to his political circus, which resulted in lots of hearsay talk over many days of long hearings.
Last week Ed Konini asked for a clarification of inequality (“The ‘inequality’ canard,” Letters). He asked if a bank teller should be paid the same salary as a doctor. Obviously not. But the CEO of a bank should not make more in a day than a bank teller makes in a year.
Then he asked if a bus driver should earn as much as a pilot. There was a time when wide-body international captains earned $300,000 or more a year. Now? First-year pilots at US Airways would, theoretically, earn a minimum $21,600 a year (If they were hiring). In 2009 Congress was shocked to learn that the co-pilot on the Cogan Air commuter plane that crashed near Buffalo on Feb. 12 earned only $16,000 a year. (The company later said $23,900.) People who transport garbage earn more! The average salary for an MTA bus operator is $46,000. Is that too high? Is a human life worth less than garbage?
Mr. Konini says the Constitution only guarantees equality of opportunity. And he is absolutely right. The average American is not asking for a handout, he wants an even playing field. A chance to earn a decent living and not have to work two or three jobs to provide for his family. According to the
U.S. Labor Department, since 1978 CEO pay went up 725 percent, worker pay went up just 5.7 percent! I hope that helps clarify the definition of inequality. Yet unions are to blame for our economy?
Mr. Konini continues his letter by asking if anyone with an ounce of integrity can clarify which international law authorizes confiscation of private wealth. Ask the CEOs who’ve kept the American worker from earning a decent living wage while lining their pockets with obscene profits. I can’t speak about international laws but I can speak about the universal laws of compassion and fairness and human dignity.
The Pope knows what I’m talking about. The Pope whom Republicans used to hold in high reverence. That is, until he condemned them for their greed.
Mr. Konini continues by saying “no amount of government redistribution can overcome the ultimate poverty of spirit.” I’d like to give him a different viewpoint: “No amount of personal wealth and self righteousness can overcome knowing your fellow man is dying of starvation while you light a cigar with a $100 bill.” He ends his letter with a quote by Alexis de Tocqueville. Here is another one he should consider: “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
Flanked by former City Council candidate Joe Concannon, left, and other angry conservatives, Queens Village Republican Club President Phil Orenstein speaks, on Tuesday, in opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s perceived anti-conservative remarks made last week.