How Desperate is the National Republican Congressional Committee?

Desperate enough to pretend a Tea Party candidate is a Democrat in disguise?  YES:

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions said in a statement that Corwin had to battle “two well-funded Democrats, including one masquerading under the Tea Party name.” The Tea Party is a conservative activist movement.

 Jack Davis, the guy in question, did previously run as a Democrat.  During his most recent attempt to run for office, he ran as a Republican.  Rumors he’s a “fake Tea Party” candidate arose out of a split within the Tea Party organizations of New York, partially over whether to support mainstream Republicans or field their own candidates.

This sort of strategy appears pretty toothless right out of the gate, but one wonders if it would even be allowed out of the attic in a national race.  The split between mainstream Republicans and the Tea Party is deepening, and the likelihood of third party candidates is only going to increase going forward.

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NYPD Police Brutalize Musician, Threaten Crowd

NYPD, as part of a recent crackdown against musicians, arrested a man playing music illegally in a park in Chinatown.  The man, forced face down on the pavement with officers holding him down, displayed a bloodied face.  As of this time it appears he did not resist.  The crowd did voice their opposition quite loudly.  They were rewarded with threats of being maced and threatening movements made by one of the officers.

The video on youtube has been flagged inappropriate, making it harder for people to see, and artificially driving down its view count.

New York City’s Many Fire Trap Apartments

The cold fact is New York City is failing to protect its citizens.  A recent fire ended in tragedy and has helped expose some of the nastier habits of city inspectors.  While the practice of illegal conversions is getting some play in the press, another deadly hazard is not: The combination of gas stoves and insufficient heat.  My first apartment in NYC had almost no heat in the winter.  Exploring on HPD’s site allowed me to see violations and complaints for the past few years.  Every winter – heating issues.  The situation played out the same each time:

  1.  I’d call the city
  2. The city would call the super
  3. The super would pump up the heat
  4. The city would send an inspector
  5. The inspector would find nothing wrong

The first time the inspector came by, the super hadn’t reacted fast enough, and we both confirmed a violation.  Additionally, the inspector informed me the wall by the door to the apartment had been illegally setup, and was a fire hazard.  Subsequent calls to the city revealed no violation had been recorded, and each subsequent visit by an inspector went through the above steps.  Eventually I broke my lease and moved out.  However some of the older residents did not have that luxury – and remain.

I spoke to one such resident – who had been in the apartment for over 20 years (and hence was paying an extremely low rent).  She mentioned the heat issue had been going on every single winter she had spent at the property.  She compensated by turning on her oven and opening the door.  In addition to creating a Carbon Monoxide hazard, a gas oven is an especially problematic source of heat for an apartment.  My former neighbor was convinced the New York Housing Department was corrupt.

As far as I know, the apartment still has heating issues.  Visits to HPD’s site to check up on the property now return NO violations or complaints for the past few years – which I know to be false having provided a few of those complaints myself.  Whether this is the result of corruption, malfeasance, or incompetence the end result is same: New Yorkers needlessly suffering and needlessly at risk.

First They Came for the Muslims

And then they stopped, because we said ENOUGH. You come for the Muslims you come for all of us and we will not stand silently by and just let you:

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has promised to launch a series of investigations of Muslim Americans beginning in February. “I’ve made it clear that I’ll focus the committee on counterterrorism and hold hearings on a wide range of issues, including radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism,” he told Newsday. King has repeatedly said that he only wants to single out “Islamic terrorism” in his hearings on domestic security, and has even claimed that there are “too many mosques in this country.”

This man should not be in public office, he belongs in a museum on pre-World War 2 fearmongering in the leadup to the holocaust.  I say that as a Jew who lost a section of his family to the nazis.  How do you think it started?  Launching investigations into the target community, attacking their patriotism, their honor.  Establishing them as a dangerous other.

This is of course utter bullshit, but what else do we expect coming from a Republican like King?

As of 2006, some 212 Muslim-American soldiers had been awarded Combat Action Ribbons for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and seven had been killed

Remember the attempted Times Square bombing?  I do.  Foiled by a Muslim.

Why does a man slinging bullshit at the entire Muslim community have any responsibilities regarding our security?  Instead of a phobic hate filled lunatic, a sane, intelligent and experienced person ought to be the chairperson of the Homeland Security Committee.  You know, someone who will go after actual terrorists and not spend his time huddled in a corner asking law enforcement to rough up some Muslims for him.  Is that really too much to ask?  While I’m at it – asking for sensible things – why isn’t a prominent politician on the air right now pointing out that Rep King is a nutjob, unqualified for his position, and utterly full of shit?

Today in Stupid Hate Crimes…

Two homophobes were charged with assaulting a gay man… in a gay bar:

Two men have been charged with a hate crime after an attack on a gay man in the bathroom of a historic gay bar in downtown Manhattan early Sunday morning

Could this be as depressingly stupid as we are thinking?

The 34-year old victim, whose name is not being released, was at a urinal inside the Stonewall Inn when one of the defendants allegedly asked him if he was gay, according a news release from the district attorney’s office.

When the victim responded yes, Matthew Francis, 21, allegedly yelled, “Get away from me f—-t. I don’t like gay people.”

How stupid do you have to be to experience surprise at finding a gay guy in a men’s room at a gay bar?  Not that homophobic assholes have been known for their brilliance, but this just sets a new standard.

Thoughts on Spitzer

Theres more than a few ways to take the news that Democratic Governor Spitzer was a client of a prostitution ring.  My immediate reaction was one of disgust with his stupidity, much along August’s lines:

Jesus tap-dancing Christ, are you stupid. Are you really that stupid? Oh my holy titfucking Jesus, you are actually that goddamn stupid. You absolute dick. You complete and total stupid bastard. I mean, good god. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. You are so fucking stupid.

Listen to me. No, look at- I said fucking look at me. Look. At. Me. You. Stupid. Cocknugget. What the fuck were you thinking? Do you have any idea how fucking stupid you are? I just- fuck you, stop looking at me. Goddamn it. You fucking idiot. Holy shit, you are stupid. You are so fucking stupid. You stupid asshole.

For Lindsay’s reasons (emphasis mine):

The fact is, Spitzer is intimately familiar with wiretaps and he has more enemies in the banking industry than any man alive. He should have known better.

It’s a cliche to criticize a politician’s judgement when you’re mad at him but you can’t summon sufficient moral outrage about his behavior. But this time it’s entirely appropriate to raise questions about Spitzer’s fitness to lead on the basis of his colossal hubris.

Regardless of what you think of the morality of paying for sex, and irrespective of whatever understanding Mr. and Mrs. Spitzer might have had… Eliot Spitzer was a self-indulgent fool to think that he could arrange for sex over the telephone and move his money around to cover it! (…in an election year, as the Dems were poised to take back the State Senate, on the heels of the State police intel scandal…)

Spitzer displayed a Nixonian level of hubris. If he thinks the rules don’t apply to him, he shouldn’t be in power.

What I wasn’t thinking, was this (Ezra via Linsday, emphasis mine):

This is sort of the boring take on Spitzer, but what we’re seeing here is not the fall — if indeed he does fall — of a high-flying governor. It’s the final tumble of a crushed reformer. Spitzer, for reasons both structural and personal, has been utterly humbled by Albany. The new capitalism he promised, the age of transparency he spoke of, the national ambitions he harbored — all have broken before the obstacles he faced in the governor’s mansion. When you think of the hype he was getting only a couple years ago, that’s a rather remarkable fact. I don’t care about the prostitution. But the capacity of the system to stand against those who would reform it, and who come into office with a broad mandate to do so, is really quite sobering.

What gets me isn’t the dead on accuracy of Ezra’s words (nor their ironic humility, for his observation is anything but boring).  No, what gets me is why whenever the head of a movement falls the desires of the people who put that leader into power are ignored.  Spitzer’s calls for transparency and corporate responsibility enjoy wide-spread support among the people, in particular in New York.  Yet now that he’s been arrested, the people’s will magically becomes ignorable.

Lindsay is right.  A man who thinks he is above the law has no business being in office, he belongs in jail (cough: Bush).  But something is terribly wrong with our system when the only way to effect change is to elect a human being into office, and we suddenly are forced to forfeit that change as soon as they slip up.  That goes directly against the core principles of what government should be.