Archive for December, 2012
Dec 31st - 5:45 pm
In case you’re looking for a distraction while waiting for the ball to drop, here are some headlines to peruse…
Eleventh-hour talks between Senate Majority Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and VP Joe Biden resulted in an agreement to increase marginal income tax rates to 39.6 percent on individual income more than $400,000 and households that earn more than $450,000.
Biden and McConnell reportedly remain stuck on whether and how to stop $110 billion in across-the-board spending cuts in 2013.
President Obama said he would have preferred a so-called grand bargain, and warned Republicans that he’ll continue to push for more tax increases even beyond whatever may be included in this deal, saying:
“If Republicans think I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone, they’ve got another thing coming. That’s not how it’s going to work.”
Chelsea Clinton looked distraught outside New York-Presbyterian Hospital where her mother, 65-year-old Hillary Clinton, is being treated for a blood clot that is located in the vein between the brain and and the skull behind her right ear.
Clinton’s doctors say the clot did not result in any stroke or neurological damage, and she is expected to make a full recovery.
The former First Lady has a history of blood clots. In 1998, a clot was found behind her right knee and she was put on a blood thinner.
NBC News chief science and health correspondent Robert Bazell suggested Clinton’s clot might not really be related to the concussion she suffered earlier this month.
…More speculation here on exactly what’s ailing Clinton and what caused her clot.
The state Senate Democrats have fleshed out their leadership team for 2013.
All but a dozen of New York’s school districts have submitted teacher evaluation plans to the state Education Department.
Assemblyman Joe Morelle is not lobbying Speaker Sheldon Silver for the majority leader gig – the second-highest ranking position in the chamber.
Tomasz Kaczowka, the second firefighter killed during the Christmas Eve ambush in Webster, was laid to rest.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $4 million for a grant program to help local governments find innovative ways to reduce costs and save taxpayer dollars through consolidation and reorganization. (The submission deadline is 4 p.m., March 13).
Amsterdam News Publisher Elinor Tatum dismisses MTA Chairman and potential 2013 NYC mayoral candidate Joe Lhota as a “Giuliani clone.”
Clyde Haberman pens his final NYC column, but hints at a new position to come for him at the New York Times.
New York City welcomed a record 52 million visitors this year, according to Mayor Bloomberg.
A gun control package being negotiated between Cuomo and legislative leaders does not address microstamping, which the Senate Republicans vehemently oppose, and their biggest individual donor – Bloomberg – vehemently supports.
The father of Newtown gunman Adam Lanza has claimed his son’s body.
Dec 31st - 7:25 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the North Country with no public schedule. Looks like it’ll be an Adirondack New Year’s for the governor and his family.
Mayor Bloomberg will be lowering the 2013 New Year’s Eve Ball with the Radio City Rockettes at midnight in Times Square.
The fiscal cliff deadline is almost here, and so far, there’s no final deal.
The Senate is returning to work tonight. Happy New Year!
The two sides are closer, but significant differences remain over two key parts of a deal — the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester and the estate tax.
Republican senators agreed to take Social Security cuts (via the “chained CPI”) off their list of immediate demands. Democrats saw this as progress.
Even beyond the cliff, 2013 could be a year of perpetual crisis in D.C.
The outlook for passage of the Sandy disaster aid bill in the House is not good.
Cuomo reportedly plans a top-to-bottom shake-up of the Empire State Development Corp. early in the new year after concluding it is outdated, ineffective and poorly organized.
President Obama called the Newtown school massacre “the worst day” of his presidency as he reiterated on “Meet the Press” Sunday his determination to sign a gun-control bill into law early in his second term.
Cuomo remains eager to be the first governor in the nation to sign new gun laws since the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook massacre, but it’s unclear if he’ll propose new measures in his State of the State address.
Dec 30th - 5:16 pm
UPDATED: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month.
She is being treated with anticoagulants, according to a spokesman, and will be monitored for the next 48 hours. Doctors will then determine if any further action must be taken.
Last minute talks to avoid the fiscal cliff continue in the US Senate after Senate Republicans backed off their calls for social security cuts through a “chained CPI”. (We interviewed Neal Lane from the AARP, which vehemently opposes this idea, about this a week ago.)
President Obama used his appearance on Meet The Press to pin the blame for the fiscal cliff showdown on Republicans insistence on protecting the rich from tax cuts.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached out to Vice President Joe Biden for help in crafting a deal after talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fell apart this morning.
What to expect in NYC, D.C. and Albany in 2013 – as seen by the NYT Metro section.
The Daily Beast’s Harry Siegel weighs in on the New Yorkers who will shape city politics and culture in the coming year.
The AP’s Mike Gormley writes: “Where once 2013, as was 2012 briefly, a question mark, Cuomo has what aggressive executives secretly crave: Crises to confront” in the form of Superstorm Sandy and the Newtown massacre.
The AR-15, a popular weapon among hunters, has attracted unwanted and negative attention since the Newtown shooting. (Subscription needed).
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and other top Albany Dems have joined the Daily News campaign for better gun control and an assault weapons ban, but Republicans are refusing to sign on. (A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos says he doesn’t sign petitions “as a general rule”).
Since 2007, when Congress limited the ability of family members to lobby their relatives in the House or Senate after the Abramoff scandal, 56 relatives of lawmakers have been paid to influence Congress, a Washington Post analysis found.
Following 54 deaths on the tracks this year, the MTA will reconsider installing sliding doors on some subway platforms to prevent riders from getting killed or injured by trains.
The State Department pushed back hard against a report that Clinton is partying in the Dominican Republican despite her concussion.
The Clintons were the two most popular politicians in the final NBC-Wall Street Journal poll of 2012.
The Retail Council of New York State says store owners are giving the holiday shopping season a “B” grade.
The TU warns local and state officials to take seriously state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s call for enacting “real and meaningful reform of how we prioritize and fund public infrastructure projects” before the next natural disaster strikes.
The US Senate approved $60.4 billion in emergency spending on Friday to pay for recovery efforts in states ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in a 62-32 vote that broke largely along party lines. The measure’s fate in the House remains uncertain.
William Spengler, who killed two firefighters in a Christmas Eve ambush in Webster, said at a parole hearing 20 years ago that he “couldn’t explain” why he had murdered his grandmother and was unsure if he would kill again.
Police arrested Dawn Nguyen, 24, who bought a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle and a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun more than two years ago on Spengler’s behalf because as a felon, he wasn’t permitted to buy or own guns.
In an effort to shutter the U.S. as a modern elephant graveyard, New York regulators are now demanding more proof that intricately carved artwork and fine white jewelry abide by state law.
A handful of South Nyack residents are living in limbo as they await word of the fate of their homes in the Tappan Zee Bridge reconstruction project.
NYC taxpayers will have to foot a tab of more than $1.5 billion because pension-fund investments in 2012 did not perform well, bringing in just 1.37 percent.
Some rural county leaders think they’re not getting their fair share of state economic development funds under Cuomo’s regional council approach.
As the Seneca Niagara Casino marks its tenth anniversary, the city of Niagara Falls is realizing its gamble on the facility didn’t pay off as expected.
Dec 28th - 8:01 pm
Today the Senate has approved a $60.4 billion emergency spending package for Hurricane Sandy recovery that was backed by Democrats.
The 61-33 vote Friday sends the measure to the House, where the bill faces uncertain prospects.
Governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie and Dan Malloy of Connecticut responded by sending a stern letter to every member of the House in hopes the bill will pass before the new year.
Dec 28th - 6:24 pm
Long-serving members of the Assembly packed up their offices today–filled with memorabilia showcasing decades worth of accomplishments in public service. YNN’s Megan Cruz caught up with some of the members from the Capital Region to share their thoughts:
“It’s difficult to take things down, empty desks,” said Assemblyman Ron Canestrari (D-Cohoes)
“I’m seeing my entire professional career pass before me.”
A few floors down from Canestrari, the Assembly Majority Leader, you have Jack McEneny and Bob Reilly.
“When the pictures come down off the walls there’s a reality to it,” McEneny (D-Albany) said.
The three Democrats have traded their seats in the Assembly for seats on an airplane -
The destination: retirement.
Reilly plans to go to a Notre Dame football game next month, Canestrari (D-Colonie) is taking a cruise his first week of retirement and McEneny plans to write, travel and “catch up with the garden.”
While sad to be leaving, all say they know it’s time – Having made a difference in their time in office.
For Canestrari – one example from his 24 years in office: his work with the Watervliet Arsenal Partnership.
“To ensure that that industrial center would be the source of jobs and innovation in the area,” he said.
For Reilly, it was his Salary Fund. In his 8 years, he says he’s donated over a half a million dollars to local charities.
“The Cohoes Community Center, Colonie Senior Services Center, the Youth Center,” said Reilly.
For McEneny, he defines his 20 years in office by how he got to know the people in his district.
Advice he’s given to his successor – Patricia Fahy.
“Craft fairs, little leagues, or some of these very routine things where people are comfortable talking to you, because then they’ll open up and you’ll be a better legislator,” said McEneny.
The three say they have no regrets because they’ve served with integrity. Phil Steck taking over for Reilly, John McDonald for Canestrari.
“It’s time to pass the torch on,” said McEneny.
“We got good competent people replacing us and now they can make their path here.”
Dec 28th - 5:33 pm
Still no “fiscal cliff” deal. President Obama addressed the nation a short time ago to urge Congress to come to a resolution.
It appeared to be good news at first because the meeting with President Obama and Congressional leaders was “very constructive,” and could yield an agreement in the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, stocks plunge as “fiscal” clock ticks down
Can the Senate do away with the filibuster?
A plaid shirt-clad Gov. Andrew Cuomo paid a surprise visit to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise office, and talked about the need to create an anchor event that will draw tourists to Saranac Lake – among other things.
A potential fiscal cliff compromise that would prevent tax increases on household income of $400,000 or below is starting to come together, but it’s far from a done deal.
A limited number of tickets for President Obama’s inaugural ball will be made available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up here for more information.
Mayor Bloomberg urged New Yorkers not to change their commuting habits in the wake of the second subway pushing in a month.
RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson has resigned as co-chair of the Capital Region Economic Development Council. Co-chair Michael Castellana, president of SEFCU, the largest credit union in the Albany, New York area, stepped down in early October. More here and here.
Two WSJers tested the app, using it to ride trains at several stations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. They found a lag time between the app and the boards in stations to be anywhere from a few seconds to a full minute.
The Rockettes will be joining Bloomberg in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers – including VP Joe Biden – a raise.
Another AP political reporter has jumped ship – this time for NBC News.
Although the murder rate is on track to be historically low, major crime in NYC inched up this year. Bloomberg blamed that on the fact that too many iPhones and iPads are being stolen.
A new Rasmussen poll finds that 78 percent of Likely U.S. voters rate the overall quality of the health care they receive as good or excellent, but nearly half expect the system to worsen in the coming years.
Former President George H.W. Bush remains in intensive care at a Houston hospital, but he’s improving. A spokesman says he’s “alert and, as always, in good spirits.”
Sixteen days into the latest public-comment period on the state’s proposed hydrofracking regulations, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has received a total of 837 comments. The period ends Jan. 11.
Log Cabin Republicans of NYS Chairman Gregory T. Angelo has been named interim executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans. He starts his new job Jan. 2.
Brooklyn Strategies President Evan Thies says the Democratic Party “has been taking a dive on gun control for some time now,” in part to win control of the House back in 2006.
Former LG Richard Ravitch thinks the next mayor of NYC isn’t going to have enough cash in 2014 to maintain the level of spending and services New Yorkers are used to and will face multibillion dollar deficits.
E-ZPass holders will be able to use their tags at North Carolina toll facilities starting Jan. 3. E-ZPass is already accepted in 14 states throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. (No link).
Dec 28th - 2:38 pm
In classic Greg Ball fashion, the Hudson Valley Republican State Senator continues his push back against the Journal News with a new nickname.
The newspaper recently published the names and addresses of area permit-carrying gun owners obtained from a Freedom of Information Law request.
“As many of you know, The ‘Urinal’ News (new name, evidently) recently revealed the addresses of homeowners with pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland Counties,” Ball said in a fundraising email to supporters.
“What you may not know, is that many of those listed are retired cops, victims of domestic violence and single moms. Publishing this information on a website provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes.”
In that email, Ball asks supporters to donate in hopes of reaching a $30,000 goal by January 1 due to exhausting his $1 million war chest leading up to the November election.
I assume it will only be a matter of time the CapTon crew gets its own Greg Ball nickname. Keep in mind “Crapital Tonight” is overplayed at this point.
Dec 28th - 2:19 pm
Posted by Mike Whittemore in [...]
Traveling on the Thruway New Year’s Eve? For the 42nd year in a row, the NYS Thruway Authority is offering free coffee and hot tea to travelers at all 27 travel plazas.
“This New Year’s Eve tradition in partnership with Thruway Travel Plaza operators is intended to remind motorists to take breaks to prevent drowsy driving on the Thruway and other roadways,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison.
“Sleepiness and fatigue are major contributors to highway accidents. All motorists should put safety first at all times.”
Dec 28th - 1:55 pm
Congressman-elect Sean Patrick Maloney (D-18th District) is trying to raise $25,000 by midnight on the December 31, saying “Karl Rove and the gang” are already eying his seat in 2014.
“Karl Rove and the gang were beaten back in 2012, but they’re not defeated. And right now, they’ve got an eye on my district,” Maloney told supporters in an email.
“Karl Rove is desperate to avenge the Republican losses this year, so they’re coming after Democrats like me.”
Rove is a FOX News analyst and a high-profile GOP operative, most notably known for running the Super PAC, “American Crossroads.”
Maloney defeated Republican Nan Hayworth in the November 6 elections.
Dec 28th - 1:16 pm
At one point there was Oscar buzz surrounding the hydrofracking-inspired big-screen drama, Promised Land.
However, now that critics have gotten a first look at the movie written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, that buzz appears to be fading.
From the NJ Star-Ledger: “Matt Damon’s new film “Promised Land” starts off on the right foot — and then shoots itself in it.”
From New York Magazine’s Vulture: “It collapses on all fronts, delivering hot-button platitudes and just-add-water character development.”
From the New York Times: “While the film nicely conveys the textures of small-town life in gas regions, its main characters too often border on caricature.”
I’m not one to judge a movie based solely on critic’s opinions and not all the reviews for this flick are unflattering. Given the topic hits so close to home as New York grapples with the idea of approving high-volume hydraulic natural gas drilling it may still be worth a watch. It opens for widespread release on January 4th.