A short LinkSwarm for a short week…
Posts Tagged ‘New York’
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
Read the whole thing.
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…
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…
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…
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!
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.
“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.”
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