Remember Exxon's massive oil spill in Alaska from the Valdez? All because they wanted to save money and not double hull their ships?
Well, here is Exxon's latest assault on America. And it reminds us why the Keystone XL pipeline is just plain a bad idea.
Can we FINALLY move on to more modern, cleaner energy sources than fossil fuels?
Once again blogger Gatemouth (who really is a friend!) seems to be on the warpath against me and other progressives, this time about Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn DA that I have called the most progressive DA in America. Gatemouth seems to feel that the Conservative Party's endorsement of Hynes negates my calling him the most progressive DA in America. But if you look at Charles Hynes's record it is hard to see him as anything BUT the most progressive DA in America given his many effective programs that channel drug offenders to alternative programs to prison. Conservatives are all about prison. Progressives look for effective alternatives to prison. Charles Hynes has been at the forefront of alternatives to prison for decades. So he really IS the most progressive DA in America by just about any standard. Charles Hynes has focused tirelessly on domestic violence, drug rehab, alternatives to prison, etc.
What more could a progressive want in a DA???
n editorial in Thursday's Times profiles ComALERT, the Brooklyn re-entry program founded by District Attorney Charles Hynes. The program, which was started in 1999, helps prevent recidivism through counseling, drug testing, and work and training programs. A recent state-funded study carried out by the DA's office and Bruce Western of Harvard showed that programs like ComALERT are successful in helping former inmates enter the workforce and stay out of jail. As the Times reports,
Hynes has become a national leader in “diversion” strategies. He believes violent criminals belong in jail, but nonviolent offenders and the community at large can best be served by sentences that focus on rehabilitation, education, and prevention. Diverting nonviolent offenders from prison also saves the community money, as rehabilitation, education, and prevention programs cost about half as much as incarceration.
The approach is particularly valuable in addressing the problem of youth crimes. “Juveniles have a 78% recidivism rate within three years,” Hynes told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Mincing no words, he added: “The institution [of juvenile detention facilities in New York], objectively speaking, is an obscenity for the government. They’re ticking time bombs with no reentry skills.”
Sounds progressive to me!
Columbia University did a study that further emphasized the effectiveness of Hynes' alternatives to prison programs (progressive by anyone's standards!).
Additionally the Young Progressive Democrats seem to be on board with Charles Hynes' credentials of pushing some of the most progressive AND EFFECTIVE programs in America.
I have my issues with Hynes particularly in his relative lack of effort against Vito Lopez's corruption, but I don't see how Gatemouth can deny Hynes' fundamental progressive credentials and overall effectiveness as a DA. I don't give a rat's ass what the loser Conservative Party does. They endorse him because he will probably win. I endorse him because he is EFFECTIVE and PROGRESSIVE by any definition of that term when it comes to a DA.
And as for Gatemouth's ongoing jihad against Eric Adams, he seems to feel I am a blind defender of Eric Adams. I have already said that Gatemoth's questions about Adams are valid but I don't really see it as a big issue given that Adams has a good voting record as State Senator, has been a very vocal advocate for progressive causes like marriage equality when it wasn't a given, and is pretty much unopposed for Brooklyn BP so far so I personally don't see much reason to focus on him. But by all means Gatey! Ask about his past! I never said you shouldn't.
I think both of these come down to what these folks are actually ACCOMPLISHING. Both Hynes and Adams may have some less than ideal history behind them...few NYC politicians are any better from what I, coming from cleaner Los Angeles, can see. But when you look at what they have done in their current elected positions, they both seem pretty damned good. So I see no real reason to oppose them. Question them, sure! But who does Gatey support over Hynes or Adams in the upcoming elections, which ultimately is the key question. read more »
Republicans (and Republican wannabe Malcolm Smith) are busted for massive corruption here in New York. From NY1:
Elected officials around the city and state are speaking out and calling for more transparency over the corruption charges against State Senator Malcolm Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran and four other political officials.
Smith and Halloran were arraigned yesterday along with Bronx Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino, Queens Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, and the mayor and deputy mayor of Spring Valley in Rockland County.
All six are accused of taking part in a wide-ranging bribery scheme.
No one entered a plea and all were released on $250,000 bond.
They are due back in court on April 23.
The U.S. Attorney says Smith, a Democrat, was scheming to run for mayor on the GOP line and teamed up with Halloran, a Republican, to bribe Savino and Tabone.
Halloran apparently expected to be rewarded with a top job if Smith was elected mayor.
Smith is also accused of agreeing to steer a half-million dollars in state money to a real estate project in Spring Valley.
So Malcolm Smith decides to run for mayor as a Republican and IMMEDIATELY gets embroiled in bribery and corruption. So damned typical. It seems like you almost HAVE to be corrupt to be a Republican these days.
From the Coffee Party, the progressive answer to the Teabaggers:
“Don’t Do Koch” Campaign Goes National with April Fool the
Koch Brothers: “Don’t Do Koch” on April 1
March 29, 2013—New York City. Big Apple Coffee Party, a local affiliate of Coffee Party USA, has announced the expansion of its “Don’t Do Koch” Campaign, nationally on April 1, 2013.
Beginning in July, 201l, Big Apple Coffee Party has been distributing “Don’t Do Koch” flyers in front of local supermarkets detailing the exploits of the notorious billionaire Koch brothers while suggesting alternatives to Koch brothers’ products.
April Fool the Koch Brothers: “Don’t Do Koch” on April 1 flyering will take place at 10 locations in New York City; plus Laguna Woods, CA; Silver Spring, MD; New Berlin, WI; Pensacola, FL; Pittsburg, KS; Maryville, MO; and Champaign, IL; with new locations being added daily.
The Koch brothers, who were recently rated as being tied as the 6th and 7th richest people in the world, use their wealth to finance climate denial legislation while their company, Koch Industries, is one of the top 10 polluters in this country. The Kochs fund the recently discredited American Legislative Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity, the force behind the Tea Party and efforts to privatize Social Security. The Koch brothers underwrite anti-union politicians who oppose and deny collective bargaining rights for workers.
Coffee Party USA has joined the effort and is making materials available online for people all across the nation who want to volunteer. Participants will be handing out flyers for one hour at either 12 noon or 6 PM on April 1 (and beyond).
April Fool the Koch Brothers: “Don’t Do Koch” on April 1 is a genuine grass roots effort by local activists who want to let the Koch brothers know that undermining democracy will not be supported with the hard-earned money of aware consumers.
For further information call 212-252-2619 or email email@example.com
Last night was the first endorsement meeting of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID). Endorsements in three races were made: Brooklyn District Attorney and two City Council districts, the 33rd and the 39th.
In the 39th City Council race Brad Lander is running unopposed so it was between Lander and "no endorsement." Since CBID recently honored Brad Lander at their annual dinner, it is not surprising that CBID endorsed Lander for his re-election. This was a formality with Lander not making the meeting and no discussion on the endorsement.
In the 33rd City Council race Steve Levin is running unopposed. I was surprised how easily CBID endorsed Levin.
In the case of Lander, the previous differences between the club and the candidate had more to do with a previous CBID president running against Lander when he first ran. One of my main concerns about Lander was his involvement in the large-scale Working Families Party campaign finance fiasco where wrongdoing was clearly found but never prosecuted because the money was returned. This was a scandal that was largely swept under the carpet and WFP has aggressively attacked anyone who mentions it. However, CBID feels that Lander is showing considerable leadership on policy and he has basically won them over and the one scandal, which involved mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio as well, seems to have been successfully forgotten. I just hope Lander will be more careful with WFP and the campaign finance board keeps a better watch on WFP in the future. But as Lander shows himself to be a solid progressive and seems to have hit his stride on the council, CBID seems won over.
By contrast, Steve Levin was chief of staff for that by-word of corruption and sexual harassment, former Party Boss Vito Lopez, during the very time the corruption and sexual harassment were occurring. Levin was not a lowly flunky on Vito Lopez's staff...he was chief of staff. That is a position of some authority and responsibility. Steve Levin was at the heart of a very nasty, corrupt organization under Vito Lopez...yet he has in no way repudiated or sought to correct what happened under his watch. Steve Levin, like Brad Lander, is proving to be excellent on policy. Also like Lander, Levin has hit his stride on the City Council. For this reason CBID seems won over by Steve Levin as well. And yet while Vito Lopez's sexual harassment scandal and his various corruption scandals are still actively matters of discussion, CBID, the most reform-minded club in Brooklyn, didn't even raise the matter. Oddly, Vito Lopez was brought up when discussing the Brooklyn DA's race, but not when discussing the candidacy of Vito Lopez's actual chief of staff while sexual harassment was apparently rampant.
Steve Levin has discussed this issue in private and I am aware of where he stands. But a chief of staff HAS to bear some responsibility for what goes on under his watch and Steve Levin should not, in my mind, be allowed to pretend his connection with Vito Lopez never happened. The opportunity to discuss a "no endorsement" vote was offered at the meeting but no one (to be fair, including myself) took that opportunity. By the time I realized no one was going to speak up the discussion had moved on to the DA's race.
Steve Levin may well be a good guy...and he may well have been insulated from the corruption and thuggishness of the Vito Lopez staff he was chief of. But it is hard to reconcile an effective chief of staff with the level of blindness it would have taken for Steve Levin to be completely ignorant of what was occurring right under his nose. What disturbs me is the fact that Levin has in no way spoken publicly about Vito Lopez or repudiated what went on on his own watch. He wants us all to forget about it and that alone makes me unwilling to let it be swept under the carpet.
Severe wrongdoing was carried out under Steve Levin's watch and he should be willing and prepared to publicly address that and openly repudiate what Vito Lopez did. And CBID should hold his feet to the fire. But last night the name Vito Lopez was not mentioned in connection with former Lopez chief of staff Levin, but was mentioned several times when Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes was discussed.
In the Brooklyn DA's race three candidates spoke. Abe George, current DA Charles Hynes, and Ken Thompson.
The general consensus was Abe George lacked any real experience to run the Brooklyn DA's office. He seems mostly to be an extension of John Kennedy O'Hara's strange vendetta against just about everyone in Brooklyn politics. O"Hara's main target tends to be the very reform Assemblyman Jim Brennan and O'Hara and his backers have spent a great deal of time trying to portray an openly gay member of Brennan's staff as guilty of sexual assault on a woman, something that is so absurd it makes O'Hara and his supporters look ridiculous. Since Jim Brennan, despite some differences when it comes to endorsements over the years, is an ally of CBID's, it is not likely that CBID would endorse O'Hara's ally for DA.
By contrast Ken Thompson was viewed as well experienced and capable. He has worked on several important cases including investigating the David Koresch cult raid for the Clinton Administration and locally prosecuted the case against the police officers who tortured Abner Louima.
However, no matter how CBID's members looked at it, it was hard not to endorse Charles Hynes, the man who has repeatedly been considered the most progressive DA in the country and whose alternatives to prison programs are models for the whole country. Charles Hynes is not the most endearing of people. And he has been justly criticized for turning too much of a blind eye to sexual abuse among the Hasidic communities in Brooklyn. But his overall record on reducing recidivism, taking a liberal approach to drug offenses, prosecuting corruption in Brooklyn politics (even if he has perhaps been too gentile on Vito Lopez!), and in addressing domestic violence in Brooklyn. Both Abe George and Ken Thompson portrayed Charles Hynes as being a poor leader and the Brooklyn DA's office as being rudderless. There were some of us in the audience who could attest to the fact that this is not true. I for one served two weeks on Grand Jury service in the Brooklyn DA's office and saw a very impressive organization clearly led effectively from the top by Charles Hynes. Ken Thompson's platform often focused on issues that had nothing to do with the DA's office: expanding after school programs and ending stop and frisk. Ken Thompson's platform sounded more like John Liu's very progressive platform for mayor rather than a platform appropriate to the DA's office. Both Abe George and Ken Thompson came off as unrealistic and often inaccurate in their criticisms of Hynes.
In the end CBID endorsed Charles Hynes for re-election because whatever his flaws, he runs THE most progressive and one of the most effective DA office in America. In contrast to Steve Levin, who was endorsed with hardly any discussion, the good and bad aspects of Charles Hynes were discussed in detail and overall, contrary to the portrayal made by Abe George and Ken Thompson, the good was seen to far outweigh the bad. I should note that I was not a fan of Charles Hynes back in 2005 when he last had a serious primary challenge, though in that case his main challenger was a lackey of the Clarence Norman machine, John Sampson whose one main plank in his platform seemed to be to get Clarence Norman off the hook for his corruption. Since then I have to admit that the more I learn of Charles Hynes the more I have to admit he seems the man for the job and CBID overwhelmingly agreed despite liking Ken Thompson.