Jay Blotcher and Brook Garrett are as married as two men can be.
On their dining room table, they have laid out the proof: a New York City certificate of domestic partnership from April 2000, a Vermont certificate of civil union from October 2000, an actual marriage license from California in 2008 and -- perhaps the sentimental favorite, if legally the most anemic -- an affidavit of marriage from that euphoric moment in 2004 when nearby New Paltz, N.Y., became the center of the gay marriage movement.
“Euphoric” for whom? For the couples, yes, but evidently for Times reporters as well.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Raymond Hernandez profiled Democrat Kathy Hochul, the winner of the recent special congressional election to fill a seat from a Republican district in New York state, in "Her Inheritance: An Eagerness to Serve."
Praising the Democrat in personal terms the Times rarely if ever uses when discussing a local Republican like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Hernandez hit every Lincolnesque cliche in the "devout Roman Catholic" Hochul’s humble family background, which he painted as a challenge overcome by the candidate.
A few months before Kathy Hochul was born, her family was living in a 31-by-8-foot trailer not far from the hulking Bethlehem Steel plant near Buffalo. When things got a little better, they moved to the second-floor flat of a home in working-class Woodlawn.
The New York Times provided big play to Tuesday’s special congressional election to fill New York's 26th congressional district near Buffalo, a race in which Democrat Kathy Hochul upset Republican Jane Corwin. Reporter Raymond Hernandez was quick to assume this one special race spells bad news for Republican plans to reform Medicare, and their prospects in the national elections 18 months away. But how does the Times typically react when Republicans win special and off-year elections?
Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
Not once did the Times forward an elementary piece of information -- the state’s $10 billion deficit. The word “deficit” did not appear in the story, although the emotionally laded word “pain” appeared three times, including in the headline. One had to look to local coverage for that basic piece of fiscal information. Instead, Kaplan went around soliciting sob stories, from school teachers, to prison guards, to NYC Mayor Bloomberg.
Coming on the heels of an election in which the people clearly rejected the concept of government intrusion, one New York State Assemblyman has decided to introduce legislation calling for… well … more government intrusion.
Meet Michael DenDekker, Democrat from Queens, who recently revealed two measures that would require all bicycles in the state to be registered, inspected, and carry a license plate costing a minimum of $25.
It’s like your car’s license plate, but for your bike.
Two bills recently introduced in the state Assembly would require that all bikes in the state be registered each year and sport a license plate.
The first applies to personal bicycles. The license plate would cost $25 for the first year and $5 each year after.
The second bill would require a $50 license plate fee for commercial bikes. It would also require casualty insurance.
All bikes would have to pass a safety inspection -- including lamp and equipment requirements -- to get the license.
In an interview with Gothamist, DenDekker explained that the two bills were a result of constituent complaints on the difficulty of reporting cyclists who don’t obey traffic laws. He expanded upon his vision, expressing a desire to one day see cameras monitoring bike lanes, holding cyclists accountable for their actions.
One of the largest Muslim organizations in North America is considering plans to build a summer camp on 114 acres of land in the Adirondacks. Via the Albany Times Union:
“The Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim advocacy group based in New York City, hopes to raise money to develop a camp for children and families of all religions on land donated to it last year.”
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), based in Queens, New York, is not devoid of controversy in a history that spans over 40 years, yet there is scant mention of these controversies by the media. The Times Union article states that, “U.S. law enforcement agencies have investigated, but never prosecuted, ICNA for terrorist connections.” And there is coverage of a fundraiser involving speakers having made anti-American statements in the past, which is quickly justified by saying, “the meeting raised money for homeless women.”
But the ICNA has so much more to offer in the way of newsworthiness, including an event involving radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as a link to the presently relevant Muslim Brotherhood.
New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro hyped up on Tuesday the less-than-earth-shattering news that Barbara Bush, one of President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, has made a video in support of gay marriage: “Daughter Of Bush Endorses Gay Marriages.”
Barbaro managed to compare the video Bush made for a gay rights group to such “weighty issues” as the Iraq War:
The Bush dynasty is no stranger to generational conflict: father and son differed over deposing Saddam Hussein, raising taxes and the role of the United Nations.
Now it is father and daughter who find themselves at odds over a weighty issue.
Not content with casting doubt on charges made by New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran, Republican of Queens, of a union-authorized work slowdown during the infamous blizzard that hit Manhattan the day after Christmas, New York Times reporters Russ Buettner and William Rashbaum dove into his personal finances to discredit him in Wednesday’s “Evidence Is Elusive on Charge Of a Blizzard Work Slowdown.”
Given the importance the Times evidently places on the financial situation of the wives of its subjects, one wonders about the paper's casual attitude when one of its own economics reporters, Edmund Andrews, wrote “Busted,” a May 2009 book about his own personal mortgage crisis that denounced greedy banks, yet left out his wife's previous two bankruptcies.
The story rocketed around New York City when streets went uncleared after the Dec. 26 blizzard: Sanitation workers, angry about job reductions, had deliberately staged a work slowdown.
It resulted in wisecracks on “Saturday Night Live,” fiery denunciations of unions on cable news and four criminal investigations.
And it occurred because one man, Councilman Daniel J. Halloran, Republican of Queens, said five city workers had come to his office during the storm and told him they had been explicitly ordered to take part in a slowdown to embarrass Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
From the same organization that gave us the ‘lives touched’ method for calculating stimulus job creation, the Department of Energy (DOE) has now stumbled upon a whole new way to increase employment.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced that they are investigating ‘an uncontrolled spread of radioactive material’ at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna, New York. Elevated radiation levels have been confirmed in the air surrounding the site, as well as the Mohawk River which was deluged with over 600 gallons of radioactive water. The radiation stemmed from an incident in late September when workers attempted to take down a building – building H2 - at the site.
Worse, the DOE failed to notify local officials of the spill, leaving those who rely on their water supply from the Mohawk completely oblivious to the potential health and safety issues.
The Albany Times Union obtained a copy of a report filed by investigators for the DOE, which cited “an atmosphere of fear among the work force not to speak up about issues of concern”. The report reveals the main reason that workers for the Washington Group International (WGI), a private company contracted to clean up the Cold War-era facility, felt pressured to ignore safety issues:
The company was pushing to finish work three months earlier than first planned -- by September 2011 rather than December 2011 -- in order to receive an extra $32 million in federal stimulus funding awarded for the cleanup in April 2009.
To the national establishment press, this appears to be another one of those "It's at the Politico, so we can ignore it" incidents.
Thursday night, before a debate with GOP opponent George Phillips, nine-term New York Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey "had a heated exchange with a local reporter ... that became physical." Quite physical, in fact, to the point where Hinchey "pushed ... (the reporter) backwards into Phillips himself."
Seems like pretty big news, doesn't it? Not based on the results of a Google News search on "Hinchey debate" (not in quotes) done at 8:30 this morning:
Well fancy that: The New York Times has learned what Times Watch has been pointing out for weeks: Not even New Yorkers want a large mosque built two blocks from the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
New York City residents were previously praised by Times reporters like Sheryl Gay Stolberg as better informed and thus more tolerant of the idea of a mosque at Ground Zero than ignorant outsiders.
But a New York Times poll conducted last week showed that New Yorkers don't like the idea of building a mosque near the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks anymore than the rest of the country. In fact, New York City residents (that includes Manhattan and the outer boroughs) oppose it by a 50%-35% margin. Yes, the nationwide opposition to the construction, twice declaimed as a "nativist impulse" by the paper's main political writer Matt Bai, has infected even the tolerant, sophisticated liberals of Manhattan.
Building its story around the poll, reporters Michael Barbaro and Marjorie Connelly reported on last Friday's front page: "New Yorkers Divided Over Islamic Center, Poll Finds." (Actually New Yorkers are more than merely divided but are mostly opposed to the mosque being built near Ground Zero.)
Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who describe themselves as supporters of the project, according to a New York Times poll.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tied together Republican opposition to same-sex marriage, the Ground Zero mosque, and illegal immigration, as he charged that "the Republican method" for electoral success is "hate." The MSNBC host opened the show: "The Republican method for winning elections is hate. Hate somebody. Anybody will do. We have seen it this year with immigrants and now, Muslims. And now, in our fifth story tonight: for the first time, we have a former head of the Republican party confirming that, yes, his party does it. They do it to win and did it in 2004 and 2006 against gay Americans. He said this even though he himself is no longer denying that he, too, is gay."
Without evidence, Olbermann also blamed the stabbing of New York City cab driver Ahmed Sharif on those who oppose construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. Although he later admitted that the mosque was not mentioned by the suspect, the MSNBC host suggested a link as he teased the show:
Mowjood? As Alana Goodman of the Business and Media Institute reported earlier this month, Sharaf Mowjood is a former lobbyist for the Council on American Islamic Relations, an interest group that strongly supports the mosque. Mowjood coauthored a glowing Dec. 9, 2009 article on the mosque with reporter Ralph Blumenthal and also contributed to a sympathetic story by Barnard August 11 about public relations missteps by the mosque sponsors.
Barnard began with an anecdote about a Rauf lecture in Cairo where the imam (with a voice the Times describes as "soft, almost New Agey") was accused by radical Islamists of being an American agent (a story which of course bolsters Rauf's moderate credentials). Barnard seemingly took it as her mission to rebut charges of extremism against Rauf.
In his absence -- he is now on another Middle East speaking tour sponsored by the State Department -- a host of allegations have been floated: that he supports terrorism; that his father, who worked at the behest of the Egyptian government, was a militant; that his publicly expressed views mask stealth extremism. Some charges, the available record suggests, are unsupported. Some are simplifications of his ideas. In any case, calling him a jihadist appears even less credible than calling him a United States agent.
Yesterday Eyeblast.tv went up to New York City to interview people about the proposed Ground Zero mosque. While there, we were able to interview a security guard outside of the mosque location who said he was a long-time friend and follower of the Ground Zero imam.
But reporters Michael Barbaro and Javier Hernandez actually led with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's weepy speech about religious tolerance, falsely asserting that that denying permission to build a 13-story Islamic center topped by a mosque would somehow be "denying the very constitutional rights" that New York City police and firefighters died protecting.
And the Times again insinuated that opposition to the mosque is coming mostly from outsiders, while New Yorkers have gotten on with their lives and don't oppose it -- a half-truth at best, as shown by results of a poll of New Yorkers.
Times reporters were very impressed with the speech. Both Jodi Kantor and Brian Stelter linked to speech coverage on their Twitter feeds, Kantor calling it a "must-read" and Stelter calling it "worth reading."
Here's the Times's lead:
As New York City removed the final hurdle for a controversial mosque near ground zero, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg forcefully defended the project on Tuesday as a symbol of America's religious tolerance and sought to reframe a fiery national debate over the project.
Reporters Ray Rivera, Al Baker, and Janet Roberts combined on a front-page Monday New York Times story questioning the frequency of "stop-and-frisk" policing by the NYPD in high-crime sections of the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn: "A Few Blocks, 4 Years, 52,000 Police Stops." The text box: "Frisk Tactic Draws Questions Where It Is Used Most."
It's a quasi-followup to an overheated May 13 front-page Times story which focused more on the racial aspect of frisking: "City Minorities More Likely To Be Frisked -- Increase in Police Stops Fuels Intense Debate." The shoe leather analysis of that story was performed by the hard-left Center for Constitutional Rights, which the Times identified only as "a nonprofit civil and human rights organization." Monday's story also relied on research from the unlabeled leftists of CCR.
Yet the paper's reporters seem more worried about the frisking "frenzy" than do the residents of the crime-ridden neighborhoods that were the alleged victims of excessive stops and searches.
When night falls, police officers blanket some eight odd blocks of Brownsville, Brooklyn...The officers stop people they think might be carrying guns; they stop and question people who merely enter the public housing project buildings without a key; they ask for identification from, and run warrant checks on, young people halted for riding bicycles on the sidewalk.
It certainly will "fuel intense debate" if the Times has anything to say about it.
But the shoe leather analysis was performed by the hard-left Center for Constitutional Rights, which is never identified ideologically but merely called "a nonprofit civil and human rights organization." Founded in 1966 by left-wing lawyer William Kuntsler, it has represented defendants at Guantanamo Bay, and its president Michael Ratner said in a December 2005 press release: "Every American should be in political rebellion against the criminals now running this country." That would be the Bush administration. Could such a group just possibly have an interest in alleging racial discrimination among the NYPD?
Combining bleeding heart bluster with soak-the-rich envy, Newsweek's Ben Adler savaged liberal billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an April 14 The Gaggle blog post for his green-lighting city homeless shelters to levy a monthly rent on residents who hold down jobs:
Don't complain about your taxes today, they are surely less than the 44 percent of one's income that homeless New Yorkers are about to start paying.
New York City, whose mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is worth an estimated $17.5 billion, has announced that it is going to charge homeless people for staying in city housing shelters.
Adler went on to briefly cite the New York Daily News before snarking that "[a]nyone who has spent a minute in a homeless shelter knows better than to buy the preposterous idea that people who could afford an apartment would rather stay there."
Of course that's an unfair assessment of the argument for charging rent of homeless shelter residents who have jobs. From the Daily News article Adler himself cited (emphasis mine):
Veteran New York Times welfare-beat reporter Jason DeParle took yet another victory lap in his Thursday story on how food stamps are losing their stigma in a piece co-written with Robert Gebeloff: "Once Stigmatized, Food Stamps Find Acceptance."
These same two reporters wrote a national version of the same story with virtually the same headline less than three months ago, which appeared on the front page November 29, 2009: "Food Stamp Use Soars Across U.S., and Stigma Fades." Both stories are apart of the paper's occasional series "The Safety Net."
The triumphal headline and DeParle's accompanying attitude of barely concealed vindication is no surprise, given his long-time opposition to welfare reform, noted most bluntly in a sour and alarmist piece he penned as a Times reporter, opposing the passage of Clinton-era welfare reform in the July 28, 1996 Times Week in Review: "Get a Job -- The New Contract With America's Poor." DeParle warned in that 1996 piece:
Thursday's story came in the aftermath of two big Republican wins in New Jersey and Virginia governors' races. Yet Hulse, echoing liberal wishful thinking, portrayed the special congressional race in upstate New York, where Douglas Hoffman, running on the Conservative ballot, came within a few points of beating the Democrat, as an "embarrassing loss."
Blaming election setbacks on a drop in voter enthusiasm, Congressional Democrats said Wednesday that losses in governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey -- and a striking House win in New York -- should give new urgency to their legislative agenda, including a sweeping health care overhaul.
As they assessed the results, Democratic lawmakers and party strategists said their judgment was that voters remained very uneasy about the economy and did not see Democrats producing on the health, energy and national security changes they promised when voters swept them to power only a year ago.
Republicans portrayed the election outcome as a repudiation of Democratic policies and predicted significant Congressional gains next year despite Tuesday's embarrassing loss in a longtime House Republican stronghold in upstate New York.
The G.O.P. had two big victories yesterday in off-year elections, winning the race for governor in New Jersey and Virginia for the first time since 1997. The New York Times's coverage was dominated by three themes used to explain away the success of Republicans:
The Republicans won by appearing moderate.
The congressional race in upstate New York revealed deep divisions within the G.O.P.
These off-year elections don't mean much anyway (except when Democrats win).
1) Republicans Won by Moderating:
Even after wins by two conservative Republicans, the Times spin was that moderation had prevailed, arguing that both New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie and Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell won by trimming their social conservative stands.
In a Tuesday web post before returns were in, the paper's chief political reporter Adam Nagourney said that even a win by Virginia conservative McDonnell would be a victory for moderation:
In an interview on CNBC's Nov. 3 "Squawk Box," following the announcement of his purchase of Burlington Northern (NYSE:BNI), Buffett was asked to comment on the future of news media, in particular newspapers and business news by "Squawk Box" co-host Becky Quick. Buffett is optimistic on the future of business news.
"Our system has just gotten started," Buffett said. "I mean, we've had a couple of hundred years of progress, but we have not exhausted our potential in this country. America's about business and business in America, you know have gone to greatness hand and hand. So, you do not need to worry about CNBC 10 or 20 or 30 years from now. Business will always be important to the American public."
We've all been witness to the deft handling of the MSM by Andrew Breitbart and the investigative reporters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. Their work has uncovered a level of corruption being perpetrated by members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), heretofore unknown; at least by those who derive their information solely from the likes of Big Media.
However, as diligent members of the conservative community, it is crucial that one keeps an eye out for lower levels of corruption stained by the fingerprints of ACORN. Will your local newspapers be able and willing to connect the dots?
One such scenario involves a massive voter fraud case in upstate New York. The allegations, which were brought to light by the Albany Times Union, involve absentee ballots forged by people associated with the city's Democratic Party for those registered to vote on the Working Families Party (WFP) line in Troy, NY. The ballots not only involve clearly forged signatures, but also, falsifying excuses for not being present on Election Day, and registering individuals who no longer live in the area.
Some interesting items not being covered in the investigative report are the links between the WFP and ACORN, and even certain names mentioned in the article which clearly show ties with the organization.
An article in the Albany Times Union promotes a controversy brewing in local schools in upstate New York. A controversy in that schools are willing to close their doors during Christian and Jewish religious holidays - but not Muslim holidays.
Tucked away within the article is a supporting statement from Jay Worona, counsel for the New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA), in which he promotes a possible alternative to canceling classes. Worona states, "One request we have seen is for a room during Ramadan for students to pray in, and many districts are attempting to provide those."
What the reporter fails to note is that Worona, who apparently is in favor of separate prayer rooms for Muslim students, opposes the inclusion of a display containing the Ten Commandments in New York schools.
Interesting. A prayer room for Muslim students. What happened to the separation of religion and education, church and state? Or did that only apply to the assault on Christianity in our schools, the elimination of nativity scenes, the conversion of labels such as 'Christmas Break' to 'Winter Break', or the deletion of the phrase 'under God' from our Pledge of Allegiance?
Here's an interesting example of government-run health care losing a sense of fiscal common sense. From Channel 2 in Buffalo comes the story of Scott Graham, a man with sickle-cell anemia that causes him stabbing pain.
Graham doesn't have a job, insurance or car. So, when he feels bad, he doesn't call a cab. He calls 911 to have an ambulance drive him to the hospital.
A 2 On Your Side investigation found that from January 2006 to May of this year, Rural Metro Ambulance picked him up 603 times.
Medicaid picked up the tab for each ride, costing taxpayers at least $118,158.
How does the federal government explain this kind of waste in the federal health system? Apparently, the bureaucrats were more interested in finding out who blew the whistle:
2 On Your Side contacted Medicaid to have them look into the number of times Graham used an ambulance. Medicaid appeared more interested in how we got the information, rather than how much it cost taxpayers to pick him up.
Medicaid fraud and abuse costs $60 billion each year nationwide.
Call it an ominous warning, but Fox News Channel afternoon host and ratings sensation Glenn Beck on Wednesday cautioned viewers that government is strengthening its grip of power and is not going to stop at the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Beck declared on his May 6 broadcast the government is out of control, noting that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were a weekly occurrence, including efforts to make the TARP bailout more transparent earlier this year from the Treasury Department.
"We've got a government out of control and I'm telling you, it is up to you to control it," Beck said. "These stories of corruption and abuse of power, I'm going to continue to bring them to you as long as I possibly can, and everybody else on this network is dedicated. But it seems like every week this network is filing another Freedom of Information Act request. Even with all the resources of Fox, the truth still can't be fully exposed without you. I ask you, please - help us. Meet us here every day. Tell all of your friends what you learn here. Spread it. E-mail me. Tell me what I'm missing. We will do the best we can to provide you with the information, but it is a little overwhelming."
Liberal double standards ahoy! The New York Times news pages have virtually ignored the grass-roots "tea party" protests held in various towns across the country opposing Obama's big-spending and supporting free markets. The paper has run not a single story on a protest, even when one happened in the paper's own backyard of Ridgefield, Conn.
By contrast, a much smaller "bus tour" protest organized by a left-wing group of the homes of AIG executives received prominent and sympathetic coverage in the paper's National section, a protest where the media (50) outnumbered the protestors (40).
On Tuesday, Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes took the plunge and covered a genuine "tea party" in Northport, N.Y., a hamlet on Long Island Sound, complete with costumes and wooden crates for the dumping.
The only question is: Why did he bother?
From the start of his signed editorial, "Don't Tread on Them," it's clear Downes considers the movement a patchwork of right-wing kooks, snottily caricaturizing the protestors as silly, lazy, and greedy ("mostly, it was about tax cuts"). The text box: "Long Island patriots strike a blow against tyranny and whatever."
It's enlightening to see what topics New York Times editors find disturbing and newsworthy and which ones they shrug off or ignore.
New York's new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a Democrat who is nonetheless under strong suspicions at the liberal Times for her support of gun rights and her previous representation of a white conservative district. On Friday's front page, she came under fire via a stash of old ammo in a story by Raymond Hernandez and David Kocieniewski. "As New Lawyer, Senator Defended Big Tobacco." Gillibrand is in trouble for defending Big Tobacco as a lawyer representing Philip Morris back in 1996.
The Philip Morris Company did not like to talk about what went on inside its lab in Cologne, Germany, where researchers secretly conducted experiments exploring the effects of cigarette smoking.
So when the Justice Department tried to get its hands on that research in 1996 to prove that tobacco industry executives had lied about the dangers of smoking, the company moved to fend off the effort with the help of a highly regarded young lawyer named Kirsten Rutnik.
Ms. Rutnik, who now goes by her married name, Gillibrand, threw herself into the work. She traveled to Germany at least twice, interviewing the lab's top scientists, whose research showed a connection between smoking and cancer but was kept far from public view.