In a heavily Democratic town such as ours, you would think that the laws of New York would reflect a population that prefers liberty over tyranny, freedom over oppression and the right to public assembly (as stated in the Bill of Rights). Even if a majority of New Yorkers feel this way, it is apparent that the lawyers for the city of New York do not.
Recently a federal judge issued a ruling for the police department to stop videotaping public gatherings and protests so that people who went out on the streets would not feel intimidated by those that are charged to protect and serve, not protect and spy.
On February 15th, Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. resolved a 35 year class-action lawsuit by threatening to hold the city in contempt if the random videotapings occurred again. Nearly a month later the city's attorneys have started an appeal that claims the judge over-stepped his authority in limiting the police's activities. Their assertion is that in 2003 the city agreed to less restrictive rules because â€œthe N.Y.P.D. never had any intention of agreeing to the incorporation of detailed operational guidelines into the consent decree subjecting itself to contempt for a plethora of potential violations.â€ Basically they find his ruling "an impermissable" order.
The Steamroller is not taking the challenge to his cuts from 1199 S.E.I.U and the Greater New York Hospital Association lightly. On Friday he hit them with the powerpoint presentation and then Sunday went to the NY Post and wrote a great editorial on his plan to reform the health care system in New York. Today he is moving forward by looking for support from the trustees of over 1000 of New York's hospitals. By effectively manuevering around GYNHA and 1199 who represent the hospitals, he is talking directly to those in charge.
The letter starts of by acknowledging that he was once a trustee himself and cares deeply about the state of our health care system. He reiterates that we pay too much into a system that provides far too little for people that deserve decent medical care in New York.
The practice of political back-scratching has been going on for many years now. It should come as no surprise to see it going on in 2007 up in Albany. Governor Spitzer's quest for reform strikes fear into the hearts of legislators that are used to doing business as usual for quite sometime. So when a corrupt Republican gets together with a Democrat who have both been comfortable in the New York State Senate for many years, the motivation for such a move isn't hard to find.
Senator Carl Kruger of Brooklyn was recently appointed to head the Social Service Committee. The position pays Kruger an additional $12,500 a year and affords him the power that a chairman naturally acquires. The question is, why would Joe Bruno appoint a Democrat while the Republicans still hold the majority (albeit a slim one) in the Senate? Let's take a look, shall we?
You might have heard about last week's rat attack at a KFC/Taco Bell down in Greenwich village at 6th Ave. and 4th St. A Fox 5 TV news crew was in the area and saw a horde of rats scurrying around the fast food joint, picking up scraps on the floor and hanging out on the trashcans. For those that get nervous around the little furry creatures, the scene would have sent you running.
[Ed. note: Here's that video.]
What made the story even worse and subsequently gain more attention in the local and even national news (and YouTubed) was that the store was inspected by the health department the day before. The report gave the store good marks with no signs of vermin. The establishment had been cited previously, four times in the last three years but conditions show that there hasn't been much change here. Perhaps rats like the combination of pizza and tacos...but I have seen them eat far worse between the rails in the subway stations.
Sitting in front of your computer screen late at night on Fat Tuesday (going into Wednesday)? While you read the great posts here on TDG, you might want to listen to a full sixteen and a half minutes of great N'Awlins music. In the middle of a what seems to be a deserted neighborhood, Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis got together to support the Musicians' Village and Habitat for Humanity.
Thanks to hmbscully on YouTube! More NOLA jazz on my blog