Posts Tagged ‘New York’

This Week in Democratic Party Corruption

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

It’s been a big week for Democratic Party corruption.

First, Democratic Speaker of New York’s Sheldon Silver was convicted of all the corruption charges against him:

“The Democratic speaker of the state Assembly for more than 20 years, Mr. Silver was found guilty by a 12-person federal jury in Manhattan of four counts of honest-services fraud, two counts of extortion and one count of money laundering.”

More on Silver from Steve Malanga of City Journal:

For years, New York State has ranked among the most litigation-friendly places in America. (Those unlucky enough to get caught up in the state’s civil justice system call it “Sue” York.) Lawsuit reform has bypassed New York largely because one of the state’s most powerful politicians, former assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, was himself a plaintiff’s attorney who benefited from the system he helped create. Over the years, Silver not only blocked attempts to change unique features of New York’s civil justice system, but he also appointed other trial lawyers to key legislative positions, including on the crucial Assembly Judiciary Committee. So it’s not shocking that when Silver himself finally fell from grace, the case revolved around state grants Silver arranged to a cancer researcher, who then referred mesothelioma patients back to the former speaker’s law firm so that they could become clients in the lucrative asbestos-litigation business.

Snip.

Silver thought the people’s money was his money. For years, he helped lead a regime in which legislators from both parties received millions of dollars to distribute as “earmarks”—money handed out directly by elected officials to favored organizations outside of the state’s regular contracting or granting process. The New York Times dubbed Silver the “king of earmarks” because he used them as a way of exercising power over members of his political caucus. In doing so, Silver was accountable to no one. He handed out millions of dollars of state money, for instance, to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, an organization run by William Rapfogel, the husband of Silver’s longtime chief of staff. Judy Rapfogel sat in on meetings about funding for her husband’s group, according to press accounts. In 2013, William pled guilty to stealing some $3 million over a nearly 20-year period from the largely government-funded Met Council. He served 14 months of a 3- to 10-year sentence in an upstate prison and recently entered a supervised work-release program.

In New York, the earmark process is so corrupt that politicians can create their own nonprofits and then finance them with taxpayer money—a remarkably blatant display of conflict-of-interest.

Meanwhile, in Rahm Emmanual’s Chicago:

THERE’S been a cover-up in Chicago. The city’s leaders have now brought charges against a police officer, Jason Van Dyke, for the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. But for more than a year, Chicago officials delayed the criminal process, and might well have postponed prosecution indefinitely, had it not been for a state court forcing their hand.

They prevented the public from viewing crucial incriminating evidence — first one police car’s dashboard camera video; now, we learn, five such videos in total. And these senior officials turned a blind eye to the fact that 86 minutes of other video surveillance footage of the crime scene was unaccountably missing.

Snip.

The video of a police shooting like this in Chicago could have buried Mr. Emanuel’s chances for re-election. And it would likely have ended the career of the police superintendent, Garry F. McCarthy.

And so the wheels of justice virtually ground to a halt. Mayor Emanuel refused to make the dash-cam video public, going to court to prevent its release. The city argued that releasing the video would taint the investigation of the case, but even the attorney general of Illinois urged the city to make it available.

Then the city waited until April 15 — one week after Mr. Emanuel was re-elected — to get final approval of a pre-emptive $5 million settlement with Mr. McDonald’s family, a settlement that had been substantially agreed upon weeks earlier. Still, the city’s lawyers made sure to include a clause that kept the dash-cam video confidential.

Compared to those scandals, allegations of garden variety marital infidelity with a lobbyist by Texas Democratic State Senator Carlos Uresti is relatively small peanuts… (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

TPPF: Why the Texas Model Supports Prosperity

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

I could roll this up into the next California vs. Texas update, but I thought this Texas Public Policy Foundation paper by Vance Ginn on why Texas’ low tax, low regulation model generates prosperity was meaty enough to be worth a separate post.

The Texas model has been touted as an approach to governance that other states and Washington, D.C. would be wise to follow. This approach promotes individual freedom through lower taxes and spending, less regulation, fewer frivolous lawsuits, and reduced federal government interference. Does this Texas restatement of the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” actually promote freedom, prosperity, and jobs when compared to the largest states and U.S. averages?

To answer this question, this paper (in most cases) compares various measures in California, Texas, New York, and Florida—the states with the largest populations and economic output—and U.S. averages during the last 15 years. Five fiscal measures of economic freedom and government intervention for these states show that Texas generally leads the pack as the most free with the least government intrusion. Eight measures of the labor market indicate that Texas provides the best opportunities to find a job. Five measures of income distribution and poverty show that Texas leads in most categories with a more equal income distribution and less poverty despite fewer redistributionary policies than these large states, particularly California and New York.

Though a mere 15 pages, the paper offers up an in-depth survey of various economic metrics and studies, where Texas repeatedly comes out on top, and New York and California repeatedly come in last and second-to-last.

A few more tidbits:

  • In a “Soft Tyranny Index” (measuring state government bureaucracy, state spending, income tax, and tax burden) “Texas ranks first with the least government intrusion, Florida 17th, California 49th, and New York 50th.”
  • “Texas outpaces the rest of the U.S. in nonfarm job creation since December 2007.”
  • “Texas’ distribution of income is more equal compared with other large states.”
  • Read the whole thing.

    George Pataki Climbs Into the Clown Car

    Thursday, May 28th, 2015

    Former New York Governor George Pataki has launched his Republican presidential bid, because why the hell not? The answer to a question no one asked, Pataki fills a much-needed void in the field. Evidently he didn’t want Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina hogging the Jon Huntsman Memorial Campaign Futility trophy without a fight.

    Pataki was a moderately successful New York governor, especially when compared to governors whose names end in “-omo”. But the Republican Party base is suspicious of northern establishment moderates even in the best of times, and Pataki’s position on gun control alone is enough to disqualify him from winning the Presidential nomination.

    In 2012 there were enough GOP candidates to field a baseball team. In 2016 it looks like there will be enough to fill both sides of a football team…

    Guns Roundup for June 12, 2014

    Thursday, June 12th, 2014

    It’s been a while since I did a roundup of gun news, so here it is. Just don’t be surprised if you read some of this on gunny blogs weeks ago…

  • Obama praises “Australia’s gun laws.” Which is to say, the total confiscation of all firearms from law-abiding citizens.
  • So how much “safer” has New York’s gun-grabbing SAFE act made New York City?

    In the last month alone, 129 people were shot, according to the latest CompStat figures, or 43.3 percent more than for the same period last year.

    Since January, there has been an overall 13.2 percent increase in shooting victims, while 10.2 percent fewer guns have been recovered compared to 2013.

    Of course, some of that is probably due to the work of new Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio…

  • Oklahoma’s House and Senate successfully override governor Mary Fallin’s veto of a bill establishing a 15 day denial window for local law enforcement to turn down approval of certain NFA-regulated firearms and accessories (silencers, suppressors, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, machine guns, etc.), after which approval becomes automatic. Why a Republican governor tried to veto a popular pro-Second Amendment bill (which passed 39-0 in the Senate and 86-3 House, which puts Fallin to the left of many state Democrats) in a deep red state is a deep mystery…
  • CNN admits it got played by the lying liars at Everytown for Gun Safety, who produced a map of “school shootings,” 80% of which were easily debunked as bogus. (Hat tip: Alphecca.)
  • George Soros-funded Moms Demand Action demands Tulsa Chipolte kick out the Oklahoma Open Carry group. The result?

    The manager refused to kick out OKOCA and even gave them free drinks. MDA activists then proceeded to take pictures of the gun owners and attempted to portray them as intimidating and threatening. The management wasn’t having any of it; he threw Moms Demand Action out of his store!

  • How did I miss this? The son of infamous Philadelphia abortion doctor (and now convicted felon) Kermit Gosnell “shot several times” by a homeowner during an “alleged home invasion.” Gosnell family values…
  • Why does the sheriff of an Indiana county with a population of 13,124 need a 60,000 pound mine-resistant MRAP vehicle? (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • School shooting stopped by good guy with a gun. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • Why Civil Rights and Gun Rights Are Inseparable. This is a review of Nicholas Johnson’s Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms.
  • The NRA says, in effect, “Hey, cool it with the Open Carry hi-jinks.”
  • Target considering a gun ban. Contact links there to let them know this is a bad idea…
  • Armed Cincinnati homeowner confronts three home invaders. Result: All three arrested, one with life-threatening injuries. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes…
  • Probably the saddest story you’ll read all year. Seriously. We’re talking industrial strength sad here. Click with caution. (Hat tip Dwight.)
  • Debunking the latest over-hyped bullet.
  • How Not to Commit the Perfect Murder

    Sunday, April 13th, 2014

    Here’s a pro-top for aspiring murderers: If you want to bump off your wife, don’t talk over murder methods with all the other paramedics you work with.

    Despite which, it still took seven years to indict and convict the guy.

    “Superstorm Sandy? I say ‘Super Lobbyist Profits!'”

    Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

    “Good afternoon, and welcome to the Lipsky Extreme Lobbying Seminar. And by ‘Extreme,’ I mean both our proven seminar methods and the profits you’ll be raking in after you get out of here.”

    “Is that why we’re wearing the shock collars?”

    “Got it in one! Immediate, painful correction is necessary for maximum learning in minimum time. You’ll learn more here in three hours than three years of law school. Now, on to the topic at hand: Emergency funding bills. Today’s example: the relief bill for Superstorm Sandy. Now, let me ask you bright boys and girls a question: What should go in an emergency relief bill. Mr. Smith?”

    “Uh, emergency relief for victims of AGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

    “Sorry, Mr. Smith, but Mr. Shock Collar says you’re mistaken. Anyone else? Mr. Dewey?”

    “Whatever a lobbyist client pays for?”

    “Ding ding ding! Correct on all counts! Now, can someone give me an example of an ideal item to put in an emergency spending bill? Mr. Smith?”

    “Uh, $5 million for emergency power generAGGHHHHHHHHHH!”

    “Sadly, it appears that Mr. Smith is a slow learner. Ms. Cheathum?”

    “$150 million for Alaskan fisheries?”

    “Correct! Mr. Howe?”

    “$188 million for Amtrack?”

    “Excellent! Mr Smith?”

    “$20 million for tearing down flood damaged AGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH! Why does learning have to be so painful???”

    “Pain is just stupidity leaving the body. Mr. Solitary?”

    “$600 million for a global warming slush fund?”

    “Brilliant! That’s thinking big! Mr. Smith, care to give it one last try?”

    “$188 million for hurricane cleanAGGGHHHHHHHHHH I mean tunnels! Random tunnels!”

    “I’m glad to see that my proven learning methods have finally gotten through to Mr. Smith. Class dismissed.”

    More Gun Control Follies Fallout

    Monday, December 24th, 2012

    The tide of “you must enact liberal knee-jerk gun control legislation now!” editorials from the usual suspects in the MSM seems to have ebbed for now, but the fallout from the Sandy Hook spree continues. Here’s a roundup of some of the more interesting and informative

  • You need to read this entire piece by Larry Correia, but this is one of the most important takeaways: “The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5”
  • Gun-control loving Chicago suffers 3-20 Sandy Hooks this year.
  • Yesterday: Liberals call conservatives “crazy” and “paranoid” for thinking that liberals want to take away their guns. Today: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calls for mandatory confiscation of certain types of guns. (Hat tip: Alphecca)
  • The number of crimes committed by Texas concealed handgun License (CHL) holders is incredibly small.
  • How small? “Since 1996, when the law took effect, there have been 852,271 convictions of Texans under the 125 gun related offenses prohibited under state law, everything from Class A felonies like murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated rape, to relatively minor offenses like carrying a weapon in a prohibited place. Of those convictions, only 1,972 of them were of individuals who were licensed to carry a concealed handgun at the time of the offense, or roughly .19%.”
  • There’s a Texas school district where teacher’s are armed. Want to guess the number of shootings they’ve had?
  • Stacy McCain asks: “Why should the foolishness of Nancy Lanza and the evil acts of her son automatically impose limitations on people who are neither foolish nor evil?”
  • Why gun control can’t stop spree killings.
  • Some insightful commentary on the NRA from Sebastian: “You go to war with the NRA and the Wayne LaPierre you have, not the NRA and Wayne LaPierre you want. And we are going to war. We are arrayed against the entire left-wing apparatus, and they mean to extract their pint of blood.”
  • Advice on just how to write your congressman. (Hat tip: View from the Porch.)
  • This guy has some serious questions about the media timeline for the Sandy Hook shooting, but then ruins his credibility with 9/11 truther crap. I know that a lot of early reporting on shooting sprees in wrong (for example, almost all initial reports say that “police are looking for a second shooter,” who almost invariably doesn’t exist), but I do remember that all the early reports said the shooter used two handguns, but at some point that switched to all of his spree being conducted with the .223 rifle.
  • LinkSwarm for March 13, 2012

    Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

    A bunch of news popping up, including some from the Middle East:

  • Here’s the actual Dewhurst denial of the Tony Podesta/Democratic fundraising story.
  • A left-wing Irish documentary maker sets out to make a documentary about the plight of the Palestinians, but gets waylayed by those annoying facts, and instead decides to tell both sides of the story. Guess what? His friends aren’t interested. “The problem began when I resolved to come back with a film that showed both sides of the coin. Actually there are many more than two. Which is why my film is called Forty Shades of Grey. But only one side was wanted back in Dublin. My peers expected me to come back with an attack on Israel. No grey areas were acceptable.”
  • Israel and Hamas declare a ceasefire after four days of fighting. Honestly, maybe because I was traveling, or because I no longer feel the need to consult MSM news sources on a daily basis, I was actually unaware that there was slightly more violence than usual in the Middle East. The fact that Hamas cried uncle after a mere four days, despite the fact that Israel set it off by giving Hamas leader Zuhair al-Qaissi an express ticket to paradise, tells you that they must really have been getting their asses kicked by the IDF. Maybe Zuhair al-Qaissi really was important, or possibly Iran and Syria have had their hands too full to dole out the Qassam rockets with their customary generosity.
  • Speaking of Syria, Michael Totten talks to Andrew Tabler about what it’s like under the Assad regime in Syria, as covered in Tabler’s new book In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington’s Battle with Syria.
  • That whole “force Catholics to pay for contraception” deal? Turns out it’s not working out so well for Obama.
  • Eric Holder seems desperate to let illegal aliens vote.
  • Good evening, I’m Chevy Chase for Weekend Update. California is still screwed. So is New York. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
  • Forget TVs and car radios: The hot item for thieves these days is bottles of Tide.
  • LinkSwarm for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

    A few quick links:

  • Liberals are racists.
  • Big-spending Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez recalled from office by an almost 9-1 ratio. Alvarez was a RINO that acted like a full-bore Democrat, hiking property taxes and giving big pay raises to unionized public employees. (hat tip: Dwight.)
  • In New York, unions protect state employees who sexually abuse the mentally handicapped, even when they know they’re guilty. “That’s our job.”
  • A word on the media’s amazingly poor understanding of nuclear reactors.
  • My latest update on the Sendai earthquake/tsunami in Japan.
  • New York vs. Texas

    Sunday, December 26th, 2010

    Guess which one is the better place to live?

    When the Internet economy allows an increasing number of people to live anywhere, low costs win. Texans spend 8.4% of income on state and local taxes compared with 11.7% for New Yorkers. Dollars that would rent a fifth-floor walk-up in New York City instead can buy a small ranch and maybe even acreage in Texas’ suburbs, where prairie begs to be paved for another Applebee’s.
    Texas creates jobs like a fiend, in part because businesses large and small have no worry of obstacles such as plaintiff-friendly courts, consumer-friendly regulators or oversight-friendly lawmakers. Pro-business isn’t just a mantra; they put it in the water.

    Oil and gas still play a huge role here, but are increasingly overshadowed by technology, medical and defense jobs. Texas has more Fortune 500 company headquarters than New York.