Angry New Yorker

Saturday, January 29, 2005
Congratulations to the People of Iraq on their Historic Election

For the first time in a thousand years of despotism, the People of Iraq are heading to the polls to bravely cast their vote and set Iraq on the path to a new representative government.

We support and applaud you during these difficult times and in accomplishing this amazing middle east milestone.

- The men and women at The Angry New Yorker.

We also highly recommend renting Voices of Iraq, available at, which is an excellent look at the average Iraqi and their views toward America and Saddam.

Friday, January 28, 2005
Whew! Glad Rumsfeld Dodged the Bullet Here... and people wonder why international law is considered a joke.
German prosecutor may drop war crimes case against Rumsfeld
Jeannie Shawl at 2:19 PM

German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported Friday that German federal prosecutor Kay Nehm will not pursue war crimes charges against US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile], but German officials are saying that a decision has not yet been made. Criminal charges have been filed against Rumsfeld and other senior officials on behalf of four Iraqi citizens. Rumsfeld is accused of being responsible for the torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. Tagesspiegel reports that Nehm can only pursue the charges in the complaint [English translation, PDF, Center for Constitutional Rights backgrounder] if Germans were suspected of committing crimes or were the victims of crimes. AFP has more.

No comment necessary:
Proficiency in English Decreases Over a Decade (1/19/2005)
The number of New York adults who have a problem speaking English increased by 30 percent between 1990 and 2000, to more than 1.5 million throughout the city, according to figures released by the city yesterday. That amounts to more than one in four adult New Yorkers, and officials said more recent figures show no sign of a decline.

The City Council Continues Its Unbroken Pandering Streak

Demonstrating once again that the city council, led by Gifford Miller looking out for number one first, foremost and forever, panders to any group imagining itself slighted or neglected in NYC, the council put out a news release earlier this week, on Jan. 25, entitled "WOMEN AND MINORITIES ARE NOT GETTING THEIR FAIR SHARE OF CITY CONTRACTS - Study Finds Gaping Disparities In Awarding of City Contracts, Council Will Push For Changes in Current Contract Procurement Practices." The entire press release is available as a PDF here and the 295-page, $1 million report that is the subject of the release, City of New York Disparity Study, (hereinafter "Study"), is available as a PDF here.

Pause a moment to consider the press release's title and how much it reveals about NYC liberal politics. First, there's the matter-of-fact statement that a business is entitled to a "fair share" of city contracts simply because its owned by either a woman (which last time we checked was most definitely not a minority) or a minority.

But if there's any doubt as to what Miller & Co. are saying, this paragraph on the first page of the three-page press release, dispells all confusion:
“New York City has been too wrong for too long. They’ve been practicing a type of segregation that would warm the heart of arch segregationists of the past. This study [ed. note - "City of New York Disparity Study", available as PDF here] will go a long way to end this great crime against the people of New York City,” said James Sanders, Jr., [Councilman and] Chairman of the Economic Development Committee. “Behind these sterile statistics lie dreams deferred, job possibilities people may have had and hope denied. Our job at the Council is to make sure that New York City stays the eternal City of hope. I call upon the Mayor not to quibble with the statistics, but to join us to end this great crime.”
Excuse me? Sanders, who is black, is pandering to his constituency in District 31. But he's not alone. Others jump onto to the panderwagon:
“It is clear from this report that all New Yorkers are not given their fair share when it comes to City contracts. The City must aggressively do what it can to address the disparity in the issuing of City contracts when it comes to minority- and women-owned businesses,” said [Council member, District 16] Helen Foster Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. “In order to correct these disparities the leadership of City government will have to make a commitment to resolving the problem.”
The bulk of the remaining two pages consist of other politicans jumping onto the panderwagon with such blitherings as "[t]his study demonstrates just how far we have to go before the City can claim it’s really on the side of promoting business and opportunity among all New Yorkers,” and "[]i]t is no secret that African American and Hispanic men and women in New York City have been underrepresented in the work force.”

Perhaps the statement that comes closest to some objective truth, however, is
“Women and minority business owners deserve and should rightly expect that the opportunity to do business with this City will be decided fairly and impartially. Not based on the color of your skin or who you play golf with, but whether your business is competent and able to do the job.
Council Member Yvette Clarke has one thing right. Getting a contract should be based on skills and ability, NOT one's skin color. Funny, though, as Council Member Yvette Clarke then goes on to demand legislation that would make skin color a basis for getting a contract. No one noticed the irony before the release went out, however. And, of course, she wants a new "institution or office" set up to oversee this.
"I am calling for my colleagues in the City Council to immediately pass legislation— and for the Mayor to agree with—that creates a permanent institution or office that ensures that the essence of the Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise program is integrated into all facets of the City's economic development environment, including the Department of Business Services, the Economic Development Corporation and NYC & CO,” added Council Member Clarke."
The press release then offers legal rational for such a proposed program, stating
Under two US Supreme Court decisions, a city can put such an affirmative action program in place, if a disparity study, such as this one, demonstrates that MWBEs have not been awarded their fair share of contracts (See City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. [1989] and Adarand v. Pena [1995].)
Hmmm... what do these cases actually say? Well, Adarand was all over the place, as the syllabus for the case notes:
O'CONNOR, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion with respect to Parts I, II, III-A, III-B, III-D, and IV, which was for the Court except insofar as it might be inconsistent with the views expressed in the concurrence of SCALIA, J., and an opinion with respect to Part III-C. Parts I, II, III-A, III-B, III-D, and IV of that opinion were joined by REHNQUIST, C. J., and KENNEDY and THOMAS, JJ., and by SCALIA, J., to the extent heretofore indicated; and Part III-C was joined by KENNEDY, J. SCALIA, J., and THOMAS, J., filed opinions concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, J., joined. SOUTER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG and BREYER, JJ., joined. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BREYER, J., joined.
Not exactly a crystal clear position from the Supremes on this... but at the same week that Miller & Co. are pushing for special preferences for women and minority-owned business enterprises (aka W/MBEs), he criticizes the Mayor's budget because "NYC has lost 200,000 private sector jobs under this Mayor." Excuse me, Mr. Miller, it's the anti-business, anti-competitive, regulate-everything legislation passed constantly and regularly by the city council that bears major responsibility for the city's ongoing job erosion.

The study itself, although less incendiary than the city council's press release, does laughably contain a section titled "Good Old Boy’s Network", Study at 9-20, and surprise, surprise cites unions as part of the problem:
"Trade unions were also reported as barriers for M/WBEs in New York. Trade unions both train and place apprentices in jobs. In the construction industries, many companies use trade unions as their principal employment agencies. Contractors inform the union of the number of personnel and trades required for a particular job, and the unions, in turn, notify their members about openings. This procedure is significant in terms of the difficulties faced by minorities entering the craft unions because it sets up multiple barriers to employment. First, individuals must be apprenticed and allowed to gain the experience required for journeyman status. Then they must be admitted to the union. As a union member they must be referred out of the union hall when jobs are available. Then, they must be selected by the construction company for regular work. Unions are therefore able to exercise substantial control over the industry’s labor supply, thus determining if and how minorities and women participate in the marketplace. Therefore, many M/WBEs expressed their reluctance to joining them."
Study at 9-61

Unions, the source of the left's power and glory, are "barriers for M/WBEs in New York"? How can that be? (insert sarcasm here). The report considers Caucasian female business enterprise owner to be disadvantaged in this city. So, in short, everyone EXCEPT for Caucasian males are disadvantaged apparently in New York City.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Jolting Judges - Goofy Guido Calabrese At It Again

For those unfamiliar with Federal Practice procedure today's McDonald's case, Pelman v. McDonald's Corp., No. 03-9010, available here, and discussed below, highlights a major problem with our bare notice pleading system, which I argue has lead to a public confidence erosion in our legal system, not to mention the extortion-like shakedowns that occur because companies will settle rather than head into expensive discovery. (And contrary to those who believe Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 11 sanctions forestall this situation, I rather doubt it). As for explaination of the "goofy" appellation, I'm firmly anti-Judge Calabrese after his blatantly hostile and anti-Boy Scouts position in an opinion he contributed to last year.

From here.
Part of Parents' Obesity Suit Against McDonalds Revived
Mark Hamblett
New York Law Journal

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday reinstated claims made by the parents that McDonald's violated a section of New York state's Consumer Protection Act by engaging in deceptive advertising over the health benefits of its fast food.

Southern District of New York Judge Robert W. Sweet in 2003 dismissed an amended complaint brought in a putative class action against the fast food giant under New York General Business Law §350 and §349.

A three-judge panel, in a brief opinion written by Southern District Judge Jed Rakoff, sitting by designation, said the lower court erred in dismissing the claim under §349.

The reason, Rakoff wrote, was that §349, which makes it unlawful to commit deceptive acts or practices does not "require proof of actual reliance" on the deceptive statements.

The case, Pelman v. McDonald's Corp., 03-9010, drew national attention when it was first filed. Some critics lashed out at the plaintiffs for blaming McDonald's for the eating habits of their own children, seeing the suit as an example of a culture of litigation and victimhood.

The complaint alleged that McDonald's created the false impression that its food was part of a healthy lifestyle and nutritionally beneficial. It charged that McDonald's failed to disclose adequately that its food additives and its processing techniques were less healthy than represented. The complaint accused McDonald's of representing that it would provide nutritional information to New York customers, but then failing to do so at a number of restaurants in the state.

The plaintiffs' children had eaten at McDonald's between three and five time a week between 1987 and 2002 and, allegedly because of McDonald's deception, did not know that its food could cause their obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high-blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.

* * *
At the 2nd Circuit, Rakoff said Sweet was correct to dismiss the claims under §350 of the General Business Law, which prohibits false advertising because the plaintiffs had failed to properly plead reliance on the advertising. But the court said the pleading standards for allegations under §349 were easier, and the plaintiffs had met them.

Rakoff wrote that "because §349 extends well beyond common-law fraud to cover a broad range of deceptive practices ... and because a private action under §349 does not require proof of the same essential elements (such as reliance) as common-law fraud, an action under §349 is not subject to the pleading-with-particularity requirements" of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) "but need only meet the bare-bones notice-pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)."

While Sweet recognized that §349 does not require proof of reliance, he still dismissed the claim because of a lack of causal connection between the food and the injuries, saying the complaint did not answer such questions as "What else did the plaintiffs eat?" and "How much did they exercise?" and "Is there a family history of the diseases which are alleged to have been caused by McDonald's products?"

Rakoff said these were questions for discovery, rather than "what is required to satisfy the limited pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)." Judges Amalya Kearse and Guido Calabresi joined in the opinion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
No way to run a railroad

Has it come to this? A country that put a man on the moon in less than a decade, that built the empire state building in 18 months, that repaired torpedoed and bombed aircraft carriers in weeks (leading to a U.S. win at Midway, the decisive battle in the Pacific theatre), can't fix damage from a small fire in the subway in less than FIVE years? I'm sickened. If we've been reduced to this spavined and pathetic condition than the forces of mediocrity and excuse have won here.

"Angry Riders Face Years Of Problems On A, C Lines
JANUARY 25TH, 2005

Commuters who use the A and C subway lines are confused and angry, facing years of disruptions after a crippling fire on Sunday.

The C train has been suspended indefinitely, and the A line is only running at 30-40 percent of normal capacity, meaning wait times can be much longer than usual. The disruptions, which affect nearly half a million riders, are also causing overcrowding on other lines.

“I think it's disastrous,” said a straphanger at the Ocean Avenue station in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. “There are many of us who have to go to work at a set time, and this way it's inconveniencing us. They don't even understand the situation. I think it needs to be solved as soon as possible.”

Investigators believe the fire, at the Chambers Street station in Manhattan, was started by a homeless man trying to keep warm during the blizzard. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the blaze spread to a small room housing the intricate system of electric signal controls for the A and C lines.

“The signals are basically knocked out really at the station and just south of the station,” said New York City Transit President Lawrence Reuter. “But you know, just like when you crimp your garden hose, once you've crimped the garden hose in any one spot, only so much water can go through it. It's the same thing with the trains."

The damage to the custom equipment, which is necessary to safely space out trains along the tracks, could take three to five years and millions of dollars to repair, Reuter said.

* * *
Another transit official, however, said it could only be a matter of months until A train service is close to normal.

In the meantime, the C train effectively does not existed, replaced by the V train in Brooklyn but with no substitution in Manhattan.

Absolutely ridiculous.

UPDATE: Thanks goodness! Someone slapped some sense into the moribund MTA, which after spewing forth with its insane prediction, above, that repairing this damage would take 3-5 years, has now re-evaluated and said it should take only 6-9 months. We'll see if they can meet this new timeframe.
A And C Lines To Take Months, Not Years, To Fix
JANUARY 26TH, 2005

It’s rare to find a straphanger happy to lose subway service for months, but that’s good news for riders on the A and C lines. After initially saying repairs to a signal system damaged by fire could take three to five years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday scaled back the estimate to six to nine months.

Transit officials say they have found enough existing switches and other equipment to replace what was burned in Sunday’s fire, which was apparently started by a homeless man. But the signal room, near the Chambers Street station in Lower Manhattan, will still not be completely rebuilt for several years.

Monday, January 24, 2005
Oh, just great...

We think immigration levels are way, way too high. And as New York City is the destination for 20% of all immigrants (legal and illegal) to the U.S., it's completely changed and changing New York. From today's NY Times...

Record Immigration Is Changing the Face of New York's

The immigrants who remade New York in the 1990's are now indelibly shaping its future, according to new city figures showing that 6 in 10 babies born in the city since 2000 have at least one foreign-born parent. The foreign-born groups growing fastest through immigration, including Mexicans, Guyanese and Bangladeshis, also have among the highest birthrates, the figures show.

Even for a city with a storied immigrant past, the sheer size and
diversity of the present foreign-born population is greater than ever before, according to the most detailed and sweeping portrait of immigrant New York ever to be issued by the City Planning Department. Demographers counted 2.9 million immigrant residents in 2000 and estimate the current number is at least 3.2 million, a record high.

The report, to be released today as a 265-page book called "The Newest New Yorkers 2000: Immigrant New York in the New Millennium," offers a comprehensive look at the foreign-born residents who have transformed the city's neighborhoods, schools and businesses, bringing sari shops to Queens, halal pizza to Brooklyn and Ghanaian preachers to the Bronx. Unlike earlier city reports that dealt only with legal immigrants recorded by federal authorities, this analysis tries to capture legal, illegal and temporary residents alike, combining census information, city housing surveys and vital statistics to offer a fine-grained topography of a global resettlement unmatched by any other

Read the entire thing here. We'll link to the full report as soon as we can find it.

Miller, Bloomberg Perform Kabuki in Albany

Henry Stern, a former NYC Parks Commissioner, whose thoughts and opinions we've come to value here at Angry New Yorker, weighs in today's kabuki theatre by Bloomberg and Miller up in Albany. We're deeply opposed to Miller's brand of "sound and fury signifying nothing" brand of legislative action. Essentially, if you say the sky is blue, Miller's immediately inclination is to argue it's green.

Mayor, Speaker Go to Albany to Seek Aid,Miller Assails Bloomberg
While Testifying. Will That Persuade Anyone to Help NYC?
By Henry J. Stern

January 24, 2005

Today Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Speaker Gifford Miller testified before the Joint Fiscal Committees in Albany. For the text of the mayor's testimony, click Mayor. For the text of the speaker's testimony, click Speaker.

Both men felt that New York City has not received sufficient financial aid from the state, and would now have greater difficulty in balancing its budget for fiscal year 2006. Last week, the Council passed and the mayor signed legislation postponing by eleven days the deadline for the mayor to submit a preliminary budget to the City Council. The new date is this Thursday, January 27. Clearly, the Legislature will make no budget decisions by then, which means that Governor Pataki's budget, submitted January 18, will provide the parameters that will underlie the city's budget.

In an interview Sunday in the Daily News, headlined "Giff on the Warpath", Speaker Miller said, "The governor, once again, proposed a budget that fails to meet the needs of New Yorkers in New York City." He then turned his attention to Mayor Bloomberg, and said, "It's time for the leadership of this city to step up and fight. After three years of the mayor going up and saying nice things about the governor's intentions, it's had no effect on the bottom line." Mayor Bloomberg responded: "This is not a fight. This is trying to work with everybody and to get the best we can for New York City," he told WCBS-TV. "You do a lot better when you work collaboratively, rather than you walk up and try to pick a fight."
The mayor went on to criticize the governor's budget in some detail, but without invective.

In the three years of his term, the mayor has generally made a point of not antagonizing people he is trying to persuade to be helpful to the city. He has denounced the Dolans of Cablevision, but honeyed words would not soothe the
feelings of subsidized monopolists threatened with competition from a proposed
stadium. Whether it is good for the city or not, it is certainly not good for the Dolans. It is unlikely that the speaker's verbal belligerence will result in additional funds for the city, unless he has the power to intimidate the Albany leadership. There is, so far, not a scintilla of fact to indicate that he strikes fear in the hearts of Joseph Bruno, who is 75, Sheldon Silver, 60, or any other legislator of any age, party or gender. If there be elected officials in Albany who will give the city more money because the
younger speaker huffed and puffed, we would certainly like to know who they are,
and examine their thought processes.

Nonetheless, the speaker has a supporting role in expressing his party's distress over the budget, which he generally performed well. But when he says, "This is the fourth time I've appeared before you to talk about the governor's budget. And, frankly, I'm tired of appearing before this committee every year and asking you to do the job that New York City's mayor ought to be doing," we appreciate his frankness, but frankly, if he is this tired at 35, what will he be next year, when he will be 36, and if he happens to be elected mayor, will have to return to the committee to ask for money for the city. [ed. note - we will do everything in our power to see that Miller, should be decide to run for mayor, is defeated.] And who else will there be for him to denounce?

As we reported above, we have linked to both the mayor's and the speaker's testimony today before the committee. You can read or scan the 4906 words of the mayor's testimony, and the 1199 words in the speaker's remarks, and judge them as if you were a faculty member reading students' papers, looking at both essays on the basis of substance, rhetoric and likelihood to persuade the committee, because
that is the stated purpose of giving testimony.

To some extent, all this pleading is somewhat unrealistic, because the supplicants do not provide the committee with guidance as to where the money can be found to pay for the increased assistance they want. Neither reductions for other agencies or localities nor additional taxes are proposed by those seeking more state funds.

With New York State state facing a deficit twice as large as the city's, it should be clear that there is no pot of gold for the petitioners to take with them down the Hudson to Emerald City. That is another reason for courtesy by the witnesses. Whatever the city gets will have to plucked from other potential uses and constituencies. That is more likely to happen if there is a feeling of mutual respect between the parties. When the speaker denounces the mayor and the governor in his testimony, doesn't every legislator feel that, when the moment is opportune, they too will feel his hot breath. What is the reason for this slash and burn attitude toward other elected officials. The speaker has been most reserved in his judgment of
someone who is within his jurisdiction, Councilmember Alan Jennings. Where
is the fiery rhetoric there?

Look, the city doesn't get a fair deal from the state. It hasn't for years, despite the efforts of many decent mayors. One reason is that the smartest legislators represent rubes and burbs. The city legislators, when not beating people up, having sex with their staff, double-billing for trips to Albany, and taking bribes from contractors, are either busy running for higher office, concerned with their lucrative law practices in which they protect the economic interests of their employers, in bed with the unions and businesses who have graced their fund-raisers for decades, or just worn out by
the futility of their positions in a state run by three men in a room. (Note: quite a few are decent, honest and hard-working; they know who they are.)

We hope the new [procedural] rules [for the State Assembly and Senate] will
make some difference in the way business is conducted. At this time the Assembly appears more receptive to change than the Senate, which is a credit to the speaker and his practical instincts. But as long as legislators leap like trained seals at the command of their leaders, and know that they will risk their committee chairmanships, their lulus and their cars by independence, things will be much the same as they are.. That is one reason people turn to the judiciary, who are men and women supposed to be above the partisan fray. But a court obsessed by big government, mandating expenses without a method of paying for them, frightened by goo-goos, bamboozled by professional activists into believing that money is the principal problem in education, simply keeps in place the delusions of the 1960's. That is when many of them went to law school and fell under the spell of the moment, while deciding to work 'within the system' to effect change. Now they are in power, and some of them don't seem to have learned much after law school.

If the judges want to change the rotten system that controls our state government, let them go after gerrymandering, the invidious form of districting that makes each legislator certain of re-election as long as he is a pawn of the leadership. [ed. note - Angry New Yorker is on record as believing that gerrymandering is the number one cause of the current legislature we have now.] Let them prescribe standards of fairness and ethics in state government, instead of assuming unto themselves the basic power of the legislature, the power to tax and to allocate revenues. Give
us a break, oh wise ones. The reason we have gone on so long is that one
problem leads to another.

We have quoted Samuel Johnson and Ponsonby that in time of war, truth is
the first casualty. But the problem goes beyond that, some of our officials wouldn't tell the truth, even if they knew it (although many do not) in time of peace. Mary McCarthy wrote of someone. "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'." Leona Helmsley said of someone: "I wouldn't believe him if his tongue were notarized." We will not name the people these ladies described; that is not the point we are trying to make. But if you are inordinately curious, that's why God made
Google. Isn't it wonderful how relatively well most of us are doing regardless of the inadequacies, real or imagined, of our federal, state and city governments? Not to mention errors and injustices committed by capitalists, labor bosses, academics, mass media, bloggers and others. That's why we should be thankful that we live in a free country. And wouldn't it be nice if everyone on the planet, of any or no religion, would be able to enjoy the blessings we take for granted.

The Gathering Education Cabal Prepares to Storm Gotham

Sol Stern has an excellent new essay over at Barron's Online, entitled "They
Never Learn". What don't they learn about? Read the entire thing here, or for a peek, here's an excerpt:
They Never Learn
By Sol Stern
Barron’s Online, January 24, 2005

The United States Now Spends almost a half-trillion dollars yearly on its public schools. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on a per-pupil basis, we allocate significantly more money to K-12 education than any other industrialized nation. Yet the performance of American students on international achievement tests remains close to the bottom among OECD countries.

Such depressing results should ring alarm bells and force some recognition that what ails American education has little to do with money. Alas, local politicians, education officials and even some business leaders are in denial about the implications of these international comparisons and continue to complain that there's not enough money being spent on the nation's schools.
* * *
This march of judicial folly has reached New York, with trumpets blaring. The current New York City education budget per pupil is higher than the average for every state in the union, as well as for every other urban school district but one -- Washington, D.C.'s.

Nevertheless, a three-judge panel in the remedy phase of the 10-year-old case known as Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York has ruled that New York City's public schools are entitled to an additional $5.6 billion in operational aid from the state, plus another $9 billion in new capital funds. If the decision is upheld and the state pays up, the city's education budget will reach at least $20 billion within four years, for an average per-pupil expenditure of more than $18,000 annually.
Utterly amazing isn't it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


  • Governor George E. Pataki's 2005 Budget Address was broadcasted live worldwide on the Internet, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18th.
  • To read Governor Pataki's 2005 Budget Address now, click here. To read the speech in Adobe Acrobat click here.

UPDATE: The budget is actually growing under Pataki by 5.4%. Didn't our smiling Governor mention something about cuts? Where are the cuts? The NYS budget's now $106 billion dollars, up from roughly $8 billion in the late '70s. Unbelievable! See also from NY Post, Jan. 18 issue:

Crushing N.Y.

GOV. Pataki unveiled his new $106 billion budget yesterday — proposing to
hike state spending by nearly 3 percent over last year's level, and a whopping
16 percent over the "no growth" budget he proposed two years ago. He wants to
spend $4 billion more than the state government will take in — so he'll have to
hike the wine tax, among other things, to make ends meet. Why?

He has to feed New York's voracious budget monster: Medicaid.

As ever, the state's luxurious charity health-care program is the sickest
part of New York's chronically ill budget. Pataki long ago sold himself to
the health-care unions to reap election endorsements. For years, he's let
unrestrained Medicaid growth infect the rest of the budget.
Suddenly, the
governor is willing to admit that Medicaid is "crushing taxpayers." Yesterday,
he offered a modest proposal to pare the program's escalating growth — but his
ideas are a few billion dollars short of real cuts and a few years late in

Pataki's proposed Medicaid "cut" — much lamented in the press before
yesterday's budget speech — is pennies. Pataki wants to "cut" a billion dollars
by not hiking spending as much as the unions want him to. To Albany's
mathematicians, that's a cut. But taxpayers will still shell out $31
billion this year on Medicaid — up from $30 billion last year. Add local tax dollars, and every New Yorker — man, woman and child —
must fork over $2,300. Pataki is right to note that "if
left unchecked, Medicaid costs could consume more than half of our entire state
budget" — and to tell lawmakers that "we cannot allow this to happen."
it will likely happen, anyway — because he is too squeamish to do the dirty
Sure, Pataki proposed to gently rein in Medicaid growth with vague
"cost-containment" measures:

  • tinker with formulas used to reimburse hospitals, and he wants to dole out
    expensive prescription drugs more carefully.
  • eliminate high-priced services — like podiatry and clinical psychology — for
    some adults.
  • provide cheaper coverage to some families covered under the state's "Family
    Health Plus" plan.

But these efforts — even if Pataki can push them through the profligate
Legislature — would save just $828 million. And buried in Pataki's budget is the
news that he expects Medicaid rolls to keep rising by 11 percent over the next
few years — from 3.6 million people now to 4 million in 2008. That's not reform
— that's more spending.
* * *
Pataki is kicking all those problems into
the future. But he is keeping the state's "temporary" sales tax on clothing — so
he has no compunction about asking one struggling New York mother to scrimp more
to buy clothes for her kids so that someone else can receive free health care.
* * *
And while Pataki is happy to force state taxpayers to ease the
burden for local politicians, he wants the federal government to bear an even
greater share. In his budget speech, Pataki exhorted New York's Democratic
congressional delegation to lobby the Bush administration to hike federal
Medicaid payments to New York.

But this is just accounting gimmickry: Federal, state or local — we're all
taxpayers. Pataki only muddied the real issue with his half-measures yesterday.
He must ask: Are voters aware that their budget is under unsustainable strain
because New York's healthcare unions have declared that free or cheap health
care under Medicaid is an unalienable right for nearly 20 percent of New York's

Look up your representative here - and send them an e-mail, fax or phone call saying you're sick and tired of things and you're not going to take it anymore. Or call Gen. Tommy Franks and petition him for regime change in New York State. [ed. note - we're only half kidding.]

UPDATE: Here's more... today's editorial in The New York Post sums things up well.


New Yorkers yesterday were treated to Gov. Pataki's annual exercise in
fiscal fantasy — that is, the constitutionally required presentation of his
January spending plan for the coming year.
* * *
Yesterday, the gov's press release read, "Budget Keeps Spending Growth Below Inflation." It said the bottom line — a monstrous $106 billion — is up just 2.4 percent, which is in line with inflation. But "state funds" — the amount Albany actually funds from its own tax revenues — grows by $3.5 billion, or 5.4 percent.
* * *
Inflation is up roughly 27 percent since Pataki took office in 1995; New
York's budget is up almost 70 percent.
In any event, the governor's new plan
must be approved by state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (who, in turn, pretty much take orders from union bosses and special interests).
The chances they'll go along with Pataki, particularly on Medicaid "reform" and school aid, are, say, zero to nil. Remember, two years ago Bruno and Silver ignored Pataki altogether and essentially passed their own budget — overriding more than 100 of his vetoes. The budget for this fiscal year (which ends in some two months) still has loose ends. So anyone who thinks '05-'06 outlays will resemble anything Pataki proposed yesterday is in for a surprise.
To be sure, Pataki lobbed a few worthy suggestions, along with some real losers, into the debate. On the upside, there are:

* Some minor Medicaid cost-containment measures.
* A plan to speed up the elimination of income-tax surcharges.
* Hikes in school aid that, while still reckless, are far
better than the crazy amounts sought by the school cartel.

On the downside, the gov would:
* Hike sales tax on low-cost clothes.
* Raise various obscure taxes and fees.
* Boost Albany's reliance on gambling.
* Launch a host of unaffordable new spending initiatives and tax credits.

History suggests that little of the good will survive, and the bad will only get worse, once lawmakers get into the act. Why's that? Because Bruno and Silver have no interest at all in fiscal prudence.

Read the entire thing here.

Just Going Through The motions...

See me sign. Watch me sign with gusto. Watch this legislation do nothing. Run, Mayor, run! But seriously, can someone explain how, under any circumstances, this is going to prevent anything?

Mayor Signs Stricter Gun Control Legislation
JANUARY 19TH, 2005

Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed four new gun-control measures into law on Tuesday. The new laws make it harder for teenagers and criminals to get into the hands on assault rifles and increase the penalties for weapons violations.

The provisions include increasing fines from $10,000 to $25,000; raising the minimum age to apply for an assault weapon from 18 to 21; and increasing the liability for gun manufacturers for death or injury caused by their weapons. The legislation also limits people to buying one rifle or shotgun in the city every 90 days.

Monday, January 17, 2005
NYS Tries to Tax Everything, Everywhere, Everyday... ;-)

Well, not quite, but does anyone doubt that there is any money, anywhere that NYS and NYC wouldn't try to tax if it could? New York's spend-crazed governor and legislature realize they're rapidly running out of people & companies to squeeze as well as no new revenue streams and gimmicks, so now they'd like to tax the entire income of anyone who works in NYS for any amount of time, regardless of where they actually live. Think we're kidding? We're NOT. Submitted for your disgust:


N.Y. Argues It Can Tax All of an Out-of-State Worker?s Income

The outcome in a case being considered by New York?s highest court will affect the tax bills of telecommuters who work for companies in that state, and it could have a ripple effect reaching into other states.

Tennessee resident Thomas L. Huckaby mounted his challenge after New York began taxing him on 100 percent of his income, even though he spends just 25 percent of his time working at his employer?s office in the Empire State.

In oral arguments last week, Huckaby?s lawyer asked the New York Court of Appeals to ditch its "convenience-of-the-employer" test. New York?s test demands that out-of-state workers for New York employers allocate income between their home state and New York only for work that the employer requires be done outside of New York.

Huckaby appealed after the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court upheld the state?s tax rule. Huckaby v. New York State Division of Tax Appeals, 776 N.Y.S.2d 125 (2004) [available here -].

Huckaby?s case potentially impacts anyone who spends time, even a minimal amount, working for an employer based in New York. At stake is upwards of $100 million in tax revenue for the state.

Most states apply a "physical presence" rule in which income tax is allocated based on where the income was earned. While New York is one of only a few states that use the convenience-of-the-employer test, the case, coupled with the state high court?s decision in an earlier case on similar issues, could set standards elsewhere as cash-starved states look for ways to increase revenue.
* * *
The New York Court of Appeals upheld the convenience-of-the-employer test in Zelinsky v. Tax Appeals Tribunal, 769 N.Y.S.2d 464 (2003), available at, saying the test was developed in part to keep commuters from trying to avoid paying New York?s income tax when they purport to do a fraction of their work from home. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court denied cert in Zelinsky.

Amazing isn't it? Read the entire article As always, NY's answer is never "let's figure out how to cut spending", but rather, "let figure out how and who else we can shakedown and squeeze." It'd almost be funny if it wasn't so truly pathetic and maddening.

Fellow New Yorkers! Let's rise up! All we have to lose is our current governor and legislature. (and that's not saying much).

Blatant Discrimination or Merely Self-Selection?

One of our staff here recently applied to the top 100 of NYC's law firms. During this grueling process he noticed that of these 100 firms, the human resources & recruiting contact was a woman in 99 out of the 100 firms. Every single one of these firms makes a major point of promoting their "diversity" and hiring of woman (despite that woman make up more than 50% of all law students) and attendance at BLSA (Black Law Students of America) career meetings..

Query: Is this fact that law firm HR depts. are overwhelmingly populated by women indicative of discrimination in HR departments against men, or merely self-selection by woman to pursue HR positions?

The only reason we even mention this is that some people WOULD actually consider this discrimination. After all, since 49% of human resources positions aren't held by men, ergo there is a disparate impact and therefore discrimination at work here. Right? Poppy-cock!

Friday, January 14, 2005
According to Bloomberg, Online Buyers Are "cheating" New York City Out of Tax Money?

Bloomberg proves again that he's gone over to the dark side. Our mayor's always been overly fond of stating "it's the lore [law]" this and "the lore [law] requires me" to do that, giving the impression, false as it is, that the law is immutable, and fixed and can't be either challenged or modified. Err... that's not the way it works in a representative republic, Mr. Mayor.

But now Bloomberg & Co. have begun acting like cartoon bullies on the Simpson's who hold Milhouse and Bart up in the air by their ankles and shake to see what falls out. Having already gone after all the low-hanging tax fruit the City's now essentially digging under the couch cushions and shaking down anyone they can, particularly now people who buy things online to take advantage of lower tax rates in other.

Hey, Mayor, how's this for a novel idea: spend within your means.

City Seeks Back Taxes For Cigarettes Sold Online
JANUARY 13TH, 2005

The city is ordering smokers who bought cigarettes over the Internet to pay back taxes.
The city's Finance Department has mailed a letter to some 2,300 city residents whose names were obtained in a court ruling against a website that sold the cigarettes.

* * *
Companies that ship orders out of state do not collect sales taxes, but technically customers are still responsible for paying the tax in their home state when they file their returns.

The letters warned the smokers that they would be penalized up $100 for each carton purchased online if they failed to pay the taxes.

* * *
In 2002, New York City increased the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 8 cents to $1.50. Combined with a similar state tax increase, the average price of a pack jumped to $7.50, leading many New Yorkers to buy from the Internet or on Indian reservations to avoid taxes.



C-SPAN's broadcast yesterday of a discussion between Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer on "Whether Foreign Court Decisions Should Impact American Constitution Law" was interesting, and will be available online as C-SPAN shortly. While I didn't heard anything groundbreaking -- both Justices reiterated their already well-known previous positions -- I'm definitely in the agreement with Scalia on both the approach to, and the effect of foreign law (not to be confused with international law) on U.S. domestic law. J. Breyer sounded reasonable, as he usually does, but I, along with for instance the folks at Powerline, were something alarmed by by several of his statements, which while offhand remarks no doubt belie a deeper approach. To whit, from Powerline:

Today, the Associated Press reports on a televised debate between Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Stephen Breyer on this topic. Justice Scalia argued that it is "arrogant" for American judges to mold the Constitution to fit their concept of enlightened world-wide opinion. But Justice Breyer was breathtakingly candid about the role that he thinks foreign countries should play in dictating American law:

Breyer responded that international opinion can be relevant in determining fundamental freedoms in a more global society.

"U.S. law is not handed down from on high even at the U.S. Supreme Court," he said. "The law emerges from a conversation with judges, lawyers, professors and law students. ... It's what I call opening your eyes as to what's going on elsewhere."

I'm not sure I would have believed that if I hadn't read it: "The law emerges from a conversation with judges, lawyers, professors and law students." No mention of the language of the Constitution; no mention of statutes enacted by Congress or the state legislatures; no mention of American customs, traditions, or popular opinion. Do you think this an extreme view? It is, of course, but the Associated Press doesn't think so. Its article calls Scalia a "conservative" justice, but does not label Breyer. His view is, from the AP's perspective, the mainstream one. (A personal note--Justice Breyer was my honors thesis adviser in law school. I did not view him, then, as an extremist; on the contrary, he was one of a handful of professors who introduced me to free market economics. But no Supreme Court justice has ever moved to the right after being appointed; not in my lifetime, anyway.)

This discussion starkly illuminates the battle that will be fought over the Supreme Court during the next four years. The newspapers and television networks will tell you that President Bush's nominees, who will uphold the sovereignty of the United States and will decide cases based on our Constitution and statutes, and not some other countries', are "extreme." No one will suggest that those holding the opposite view--that American law should be decided by Europeans, Africans and Asians--are out of the meanstream.

The stakes could not possibly be higher.

UPDATE: Howard Bashman wrote to point out that he has a link to the Scalia/Breyer debate on his site. Watch it, and see for yourself.

: Professor Kenneth Anderson, who was one of the organizers of the debate, takes exception to Powerline's view of Justice Breyer's comments, arguing Breyer was quoted out of full context by AP. Having watched the entire debate I don't think they misquoted so much as they didn't - and obviously how could they? - provide Breyer's full range of comments that provided some needed context. I admire Justice Breyer's opinions generally, even though I happen to think he's wrong on many items, this issue in particular, but when I agree I tend to agree with him 100%.
Professor Anderson is no fan of Breyer's position on international law, by the way, and on his War and Just War Theory Blog, has posted a long exposition of Breyer's position and Powerline's critique of the Scalia-Breyer debate, available here. Anderson states:

Justice Breyer was speaking in a very specific exchange with Justice Scalia about the narrowly judicial act of interpreting legal texts, and it is quite unfair to take that remark about who participates directly in the process of interpreting legal texts that have already been informed by constitutional and legislative and other democratic institutions - judges, lawyers, law students (and it was obvious to the live audience that he included students as a courtesy to the audience of law students) - as being somehow antidemocratic. He was just noting the fact that legal materials, once they have been created through various democratic mechanisms, then become subject to interpretation by the interactions of lawyers and judges. It was nothing more insidious than that. A much better summary of the event is in Charles Lane's Friday front-page Washington Post article.

I yield to no one - not even Hindrocket - in my opposition to the drawing of foreign law into US constitutional adjudication. I have a long multi-post discussion on this blog outlining the issues and critiquing Justice Breyer's views, beginning here. I have a Harvard Law Review piece coming out in February that severely criticizes Justice Breyer's position, and asking him, among other things, why, if he is willing to cite cool, progressive European law, he does not also cite Shari'a law. . . .
* * *
Justice Breyer's real problem in the debate showed in his repeated assertion that this was not a big deal, it was no different from citing Blackstone or other extrajudicial materials - Shakespeare, the Bible, whatever. His answer to his critics who rightly wonder where the practice stops is disturbingly and, I would say, entirely ad hoc.
Read the entire thing here.

See also MSNBC's ridiculously snide article by Tom Curry, Justices debate use of foreign precedents, here, which for some unfathomable reason is subtitled In joust with Breyer, Scalia offers possible confirmation preview. Huh? What?

Thursday, January 13, 2005
NGO Moonbat of the Day Award Goes to... Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch, an NGO that's unaccountable, that bears no responsibility for accomplishing anything, but which has an infinite capacity for carping and complaining. Today these once stalwart watchdogs decided to, like many in the NGO moonbat minions, again portray U.S. as the problem and not the solution.

Of course, the BBC (about as left as it gets in the U.K.) immediate runs with the story -- with a frontpage webstory entitled, U.S. 'erodes' global human rights, with only those so tiny ' ' marks around erodes to indicate that, hey, gentle reader, this isn't absolute fact, but merely one moonbat's opinion. The BBC leads off with the statement that:

Human Rights Watch says the US can no longer claim to defend human rights abroad if it practises abuses itself.

Oh, boo hoo. The U.S. defend more rights around the world, with more results, with more freaking people alive and well because of us than ANYONE else. Period. And frankly, it's tripe like this report that boldens our enemies by releasing the gray corroding fog of moral relativism into the air.
HRW's vapidity is self-evident when you compare our actions on the world scale with other countries statements AND actions. To paraphrase GhostBusters, when the crap hits the fan, who you gonna call? The answer is inevitably the United States. You can call the U.N.; go ahead - but you'd better have eight years to spare while they go through their keystone cop routine and try to get organized. You can call the E.U. -- and if you need trade sanctions, they're capable. Need anything else, especially half-way around the world and Jacques and Gerhard can't really do much for. China? Puleez. India? Ahem? Any Arab tinpot despot?

Download PDF - ISBN 1564323315 January 2005

Dear well-meaning friends at the HRW: you aren't helping. It's a very scary world out there, and lands in the middle of nowhere, where the rule of law means little more than a slogan, like "quality is job one", don't need people like Mr. Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, whose bio, here, indicates he should really know better, to actually compare the effects of a real genocide in Darfur to Abu Ghraib, by spouting such drivel as:

"The U.S. government’s use of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq poses a different kind of challenge: not because the scale of the abuse is as large as Darfur, but because the abuser is so powerful. When most governments breach international human rights and humanitarian law, they commit a violation. The breach is condemned or prosecuted, but the rule remains firm. Yet when a government as dominant and influential as the United States openly defies that law and seeks to justify its defiance, it also undermines the law itself and invites others to do the same. The U.S. government’s deliberate and continuing use of “coercive interrogation”— its acceptance and deployment of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment—has had this insidious effect, well beyond the consequences of an ordinary abuser. That unlawful conduct has also undermined Washington’s much-needed credibility as a proponent of human rights and a leader of the campaign against terrorism. In the midst of a seeming epidemic of suicide bombings, beheadings, and other attacks on civilians and noncombatants—all affronts to the most basic human rights
values—Washington’s weakened moral authority is felt acutely." [full item available here].

Outside of blatant inaccuracies in your statement, Mr. Roth (i.e. "[the U.S.'s] acceptance and deployment of torture") riddle me this: what will be acutely felt in and by the rest of the world if a nuclear bomb goes off in, say, New York or San Francisco? I dare say there will be a whole lot more shaking going on at that point and you, and all of us, will have much bigger things to worry about than whether Washington's "moral authority" has weakened.

UPDATE:Dennis Boyles over at the National Review's always on target EuroPress Review, blasts HRW as well. Read the entire thing here. My favorite quote is:
[I]f HRW was sincerely interested in any "betrayal of human rights principles" it wouldn't be doing its gratuitous Yank-bash-for-cash thing for the millionth time. It would be over in Turtle Bay whipping Kofi Annan and the U.N., because wherever there are blue helmets, there's hell to pay. No place is this more true than in the U.N.'s biggest "humanitarian" mission, MUNOC, the fiasco in eastern Congo, where, as yet another BBC report notes, "UN peacekeepers working in DR Congo sexually abused girls as young as 13."

Those who dislike America's role in Iraq never propose an alternative solution, except to let the U.N. take care of it all somehow. But haven't the Iraqis suffered enough? It would be kinder to return the country to Saddam than to give it to Annan. The apparent corruption of the U.N. is simply staggering.

UPDATE II: Diplomad lauches a cannonade at HRW's feeble bleethings as well, noting:
HRW also shows the confusion that liberal advocates of multilateral military action have when it comes to the use of power by the USA. These advocates want the USA only to use its power in defense of the objectives that the advocates want. Any other use, is illegitimate.
Read the entire thing here. Frankly,I don't know how Roth ever was picked to be a prosecutor in the S.D.N.Y. as his apparently grasp of logic principles not only defies reality, but our comprehension.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
The Diplomad Weighs in Again

One of our now favorite blogs these days is The Diplomad, created by some mostly Republican State Department field personnel around the world, primarily in the east. I was going to comment on this fatuous N.Y. Times article, For Honduras and Iran, World's Aid Evaporated, myself, but the good folk at The Diplomad already did it perfectly:

The Evil of Good? Thinking About Unintended Consequences

The Chief Diplomad is sitting in an airport. Tired. Glad to be returning to my usual corner of the Far Abroad. I ran across this NY Times article titled "For Honduras and Iran, World's Aid Evaporated" by Ginger Thompson and Nazila Fathi. In many ways it's a usual NYT product: lots of cutesy, lazy, historically inaccurate statements casually tossed out such as,

Central America, as a battlefield of the cold war, has long been accustomed to foreign occupation. But the people of Honduras had never seen anything like the military operations that arrived to bring aid after Hurricane Mitch.

What does that mean, "accustomed to foreign occupation?" When during the Cold War was Central America occupied? But my friends, for a moment disregard the liberal weirdness and read the whole thing. Here are bits and pieces,
Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
The Mayor Launches Into Stand-Up Comedy

Photo of Mayor Bloomberg
Photo: 2004 State of the City Address

2005 "State of the City" Address
Jan. 11, 2005 - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg delivered the 2005 State of the City Address at Hostos Community College, in the Bronx.
arrowRead the address

But seriously, although the Mayor did a pretty good job in this address, compared to Pataki's anemic State of the State, there was certainly enough comedy here, such as the line that Bloomberg "cut City spending by more than $3 billion" -- really? I'd like to see those cuts listed, Mayor.

And for the love of God, why do politicans feel a need to lapse into Spanish, as if that somehow "connects" them to the many Hispanics here? I'd feel rather insulted, actually, if the President, Governor or Mayor felt he needed to lapse into my ancestral language -- it's like a pat on the head to a small boy. But the mayor went ahead and did it anyway:

His name is Tomas Vallejo. He’s a mail clerk at John Jay College. With the help of our administration’s down payment assistance program, he just bought his first home in Cypress Hills.

Tomas, bienvenidos al sueño Americano.

And what about this piece of prime pablum:

Every New Yorker deserves a good home – and that includes the one out of every 20 New Yorkers who live in public housing.
Oh? So, even if you're a lazy, no-goodnick, with no job skills, can't read English, have a drug problem, beat your wife and kids, and your body odor could kill a horse you deserve a good home simply because you're on this earth? Spare me the socialist tripe, Mayor.

UPDATE: Steven Malanga takes Bloomberg to the woodshed for a severe paddling in his essay in the New York Post, Off and Running, (Jan. 12, 2005) available here. He's dead on, my comments above that "the Mayor did a pretty good job in this address" was only meant to highlight how absolutely atrocious the Governor's State of the State address was.
Malanga's observation that

His agenda sounded like that of any number of big city mayors — especially those of a generation ago — who mistakenly think that government is the key to expanding opportunity for citizens.
is blistering. Bloomberg's gone over and drunk the Koolaid, and Malange notes further:

Except for a brief reference to his plans for another homeowners tax rebate, in yesterday's speech Bloomberg made no mention of any efforts to restrain or cut the city's job-smothering taxes. While enunciating his grand plans for government-subsidized housing and other projects, he made no reference to the city's yawning budget deficit or its soaring spending, which will have a far greater effect on New York's business environment than any job-training programs or city-sponsored diversity efforts.

[A]s the mayor — now an all-too-typical-sounding municipal politician — heads into his re-election campaign amid approval ratings that are stubbornly stuck under 50 percent, maybe he should remember what got him elected in the first place. Otherwise, it might be a very long campaign season for the former businessman-turned-mayor.

UPDATE II: Andrea Peyser takes Blooomberg to task, too, in HE'D BE A GREAT MAYOR - OF FANTASYLAND, available here. The money quote:

The man who three years ago sold himself as the city's savior, only to betray even his most ardent fans with punishing tax hikes is now trying to sell us the fantasy that he's fixed everything worth fixing around here.

I would love to visit this gorgeous oasis called New York. In halting and occasionally mangled terms, he painted a picture of this city as a land where public schools are all but fixed, businesses are free to flourish, and — get this — you will get a tax break.
* * *
If the mayor was honest he would have said something like this:

"I'm sorry. I screwed up by bringing back the sales tax on clothing under $110 — I don't own any, you see. And now Albany likes that money. I'm sorry I was too busy sucking up to Gov. Pataki during his re-election bid. Now it's too late to demand he give this city some of our tax money back, maybe impose a commuter tax.

"I'm sorry I'm such a wimp I couldn't squeeze a dollar from the unions.

"But hey — if you don't re-elect me, I give you this three-word curse: Mayor Freddy Ferrer.

Monday, January 10, 2005
The Winter 2005 issue of City Journal is out!

City Journal Winter 2005.

Winter 2005.

A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by The Manhattan Institute, edited by Myron Magnet.

Brian C. Anderson
On Campus, Conservatives Talk Back
The liberal stranglehold on academe is starting to slip.

Heather Mac Donald
How to Interrogate Terrorists
Don’t believe the charges. American troops treat terrorists with Geneva-convention politeness—perhaps too much so.

Victor Davis Hanson
Postmodern War
Weaker enemies have learned to use our strengths against us. This time, they’ll lose.

Peter Huber & Mark P. Mills
Why the U.S. Needs More Nuclear Power
It’s cheap, clean, safe—and doesn’t depend on Arabia.

Kay S. Hymowitz
Capitalists on Steroids
Though exaggerated, shows like The Apprentice reflect America’s can-do response to globalism’s competitive challenge.

Steven Malanga
The Real Engine of Blue America
There are no Blue states—only Blue cities, where tax eaters rule.

Nicole Gelinas
Corporate America’s New Stealth Raiders
Union-dominated public-pension funds seek to control the boardroom.

Steven Malanga
The Empire State’s Quickest Route to Reform
It’s time for someone to wield the power of New York’s governorship for the public interest.

E. J. McMahon
New York Crime Hits a Tipping Point
City Journal’s Quality-of-Life Index shows that less crime leads to fewer prisoners.


Theodore Dalrymple
The Specters Haunting Dresden


In Prospect


Tyrannous Taxation
Play Balco!
Fulfilling Israel’s Promise
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
New York Revitalizes U.S. Policing
Health-Care Ills

Theodore Dalrymple
Oh, to be in England
A Murderess’s Tale



Steven E. Moore
Stafford Diarist
Winning Hearts and Minds?

Ticking time-bomb, iceberg over the horizon, pick your metaphoric poison... the result's the same

The growing pension and fixed expenses portions of NYS and NYC budgets is a ticking time-bomb that no politician spouting feel-good, "bold" predictions for a sunny future can avoid. While we know everyone lives on illusion as long as they can afford it, we can't afford it in NY any longer. And any "bold" initiatives aren't going to come from our politicians here. See
Start the revolution
A fiscal expert says New York needs radical reform: Abolish public pensions

Arnold Schwarzenegger just proposed it for California. Michigan has had it since 1997. Florida has had an optional version since 2000. It's time for New York to join the revolution and adopt the same kind of 401(k) retirement plan that is almost universal in the private sector for its future civil servants.

The idea may come as an initial shock to the unions, but in fact it would offer benefits to workers and taxpayers alike.

Over the last five years, New York City's annual pension contribution for municipal workers has risen an incredible $2.6 billion. Another $700 million pension hike is expected in Mayor Bloomberg's preliminary budget for fiscal 2006.
Read the entire article here in today's New York Daily News newspaper, here.

Friday, January 07, 2005
Reform in NYS? Can it Be?

We'll see... Take a gander at this article: Michael Cooper, In Radical Shift for Assembly, to Vote, They Must Show Up, N.Y. Times, Jan. 7, 2005, available here.

Thanks for nothing Vicente Fox! Time to mine the Mexican border?

Although the left, and President Bush for some inexplicable reason, portray Mexican President Vicente Fox as a good friend on our southern border, the curtain has finally been pulled back to reveal the truth: The Mexican government is not acting in our best interests and Presidente Fox is not acting in good faith towards America.

This straightforward conclusion can no longer be avoided by those who've willfully ignored Mexico's blatant ongoing push of its impoverished north across the border. How so? Because of a 32-page illustrated booklet, distributed by the Mexican government, entitled Guide for the Mexican Migrant, that is essentially a how-to manual for successfully crossing into the U.S. illegally with further tips for how, once here, to how to avoid detention. See Laurence Iliff, Mexico offers tips for crossing border in comic book, The Seattle Times, Jan. 7, 2005, available here; James C. McKinley, Jr., A Mexican Manual for Illegal Migrants Upsets Some in U.S., N.Y. Times, Jan. 6, 2005 (observing "1.5 million copies of the guide were printed and distributed throughout the country in December"), available here.

Those on the left, and President Bush, portray these illegal aliens as smiling, happy-go-lucky, honest, hard-working people just struggling to get ahead, feed their families, and reach the American Dream. No doubt many are. But a shocking number of those crossing the border illegally quickly resort to crime here. See, e.g., Heather McDonald, The Immigrant Gang Plague, City Journal (Summer 2004) (observing Hispanic gang violence is spreading across the country), available at; see also Dept. of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, 2003 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, at 3, Sept. 1, 2004 (stating in 2003 "[m]ore than 79,000 criminal aliens were removed; [with] Mexico lead[ing] all countries of nationality with more than 62,500(79 percent) [of the criminal aliens]."), available at See generally Donald L. Barlett & James B. Steele, Who Left the Door Open?, Time Magazine, Sept. 20, 2003 (detailing myths held by left regarding illegal immigration), available here; Heather MacDonald, Get Serious About Immigration Enforcement, The Dallas Morning News, Dec. 30, 2004 (noting "lackluster" approach to stemming illegal immigration), available here.

And as New York City is one of the prime destinations for illegals coming into the U.S., it's past time that the do-gooder members of the Senate and House stopped pulling punches with Mexico. So, what about it Senator Schumer? Senator Clinton? What are your "master plans"?

Take your pick, then, democrats: either we have a realistic, honest assessment, and then a curtailment on illegal immigration, or it's time to considering planting a million of these on the borders -- north and south. See, e.g., Jill Stewart, Mexico, U.S. ignore illegal immigration, L.A. Daily, Dec. 25, 2004 (stating Mexico ignores illegal immigration problem), available here.

UPDATE: A downloadable PDF scan of the booklet is now available, here, and a color Spanish version is online at But can someone tell me what the heck the picture at left, below, in the booklet is conveying? That's some busty Consulare employee there on page 10. And what is she wearing? It looks like a purple spandex full bodysuit? "Casual Friday" must mean something completely different south of the border.

For those who still speak only the King's English, An english translation is available at where you can learn that the booklet offers pearls of wisdom to those planning an illegal break-in to the U.S., such as "[i]f the police enters your house or apartment, do not resist, but ask to see a search warrant. It's better to cooperate and ask to speak to the nearest Mexican Consulate."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
The New Year Starts With a Bang

But first, Happy New Year! Our feverish NYC City Council is starting the new year off with a bang, with the introduction by Speaker Gifford Miller of Intro. 365, the Gun Industry Responsibility Act, here, sponsored by democrat councilman David Yassky. from Brooklyn -- next door to radical councilman Charles Barron.

Unfortunately, this legislation is sadly par for the course, as the NY City Council frequently confuses itself with a statewide or national legislature. After all, what else could explain why Speaker Miller recently introduce a "resolution that calls on [House] Speaker Hastert to allow the Federal Intelligence Reform Bill to be voted on by Congress and to pass NYC provisions immediately"? Hmmm... silly us. We thought calling for such action was why New Yorkers elect two Senators and numerous House congressmen. Who knew the lowly NY City Council was responsible for such matters of import?

But like so many other NY City Council laws, Intro. 365 is unconstitutional or ultra vires because it attempts to regulate both the national commerce by gun dealers and national marketing by manufacturers of guns from the council's lofty downtown Manhattan ivory tower. According to the press release "[t]he bill creates a code of conduct for the dealers and manufacturers, and makes it possible to hold them financially liable to a victim of gun violence or their family." The bill also provides that:
[a] gun dealer will be liable for any injuries or death if the dealer fails to follow responsible sales practices such as selling only from a storefront location and not from a home, automobile or gun show, selling only one gun per individual within a 30-day period, and maintaining records of all sales. A gun manufacturer will be liable if the manufacturer sold a weapon to a dealer, knowing the dealer had sold twenty or more crime guns during any 12-month period in the preceding five years.
What a crock of crap. Federal courts don't take kindly to such local attempts to regulate to national behavior. Miller surely knows that. Others in the council know it, too. So expect another costly legal defeat for the City Council, paid for, as always of course, by the NYC taxpayer.

But sarcasm aside, Miller doesn't care about you; he doesn't care about the economic health of New York City; he doesn't care about the legal expenses of challenging this odious bit of Potemkin legislation; he doesn't care about actually introducing legislation that might truly have an impact to New Yorkers. He cares about his upcoming bid for mayor. Whatever looks and sounds good for him is what will happen by day's end. End of story.

And we're willing to put our money where our mouths are. Any takers? We'll bet anyone $100 that Intro. 365 is either overturned, pre-empted, or found unconstitutional as violative of the dormant commerce clause. In short, it won't accomplish anything of substance but the garnering of more press time for Mr. Miller. Surprise?

Council To Pass Some Of Nation's Toughest Gun Laws
After an internal battle erupted between Speaker Gifford Miller and his colleagues, the City Council Wednesday is still expected to pass legislation making gunmakers liable if one of their weapons is used to commit a crime in the city.

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