Monday, December 31, 2007


While Mayor Bloombito prides himself on being environmentally correct, there is one issue to consider in the Times Square celebration tonight. Although the ball will be green and the LED lights are energy efficient, what about the paper? It takes approximately 12 trees for every ton of paper to be made. If the following article is correct, then more that 480 trees will be sacrificed for the Times Square revelry. Check that out Mr. Mayor.

Sanitation workers poised to sweep 40 tons of party debris
Friday, December 28th 2007, 12:47 PM
Over 40 tons of garbage is expected to be left by New Year's revelers this year in Times Square
After the New Year's Eve ball comes down in Times Square and all the revelers leave, what's left? About 40 tons of party hats, noisemakers, confetti and paper streamers.
A small army of sanitation workers will be deployed to sweep it all up.
The Department of Sanitation says it will have 109 workers, 16 mechanical sweepers, 13 collection trucks, 14 leaf blowers and other street cleaning equipment ready to move in as soon as Times Square is cleared of the hundreds of thousands of merrymakers.
During last year's festivities, the department spent $37,216 to pick up 42 tons


Monserrate, Sabini spar over words
By Jeremy Walsh (Times Ledger)
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A pair of Queens elected officials revived a longtanding feud two weeks ago when City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst) accused a staffer from the office of state Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights) of making disparaging comments about illegal immigration at a Neighborhood Advisory Board meeting.

In a letter to Sabini, Monserrate said Marlene Tapper, a member of Sabini's staff, said the Rainbow Curriculum, a 443-page teachers' bibliography that encourages city teachers to read books on gay and lesbian families in their classrooms "takes away the children's innocence" by exposing them to people of differing sexual orientation. Tapper also said bilingual education is detrimental to immigrant children, and compared illegal immigration to a crime like "stealing bread," Monserrate said.

"Your staffer acted in a most inappropriate manner, was insensitive and made statements that are unnaceptable by any means," Monserrate wrote in a letter to Sabini. "I expect you to take the required appropriate action immediately."In a Dec. 3 letter, Sabini responded to Monserrate's claims."The opinions expressed by our mutual constituent are not representative of mine or my office," he wrote. "Nonetheless, steps have already been taken within the operation of my staff to address this issue."Later, Sabini released a statement highlighting his record of strong support of the rights of immigrants and gays and lesbians."It's a shame that when there are so many important issues facing New Yorkers ... that Councilman Monserrate is spending his time instead on an effort to smear one of my staff members for political gain," he said.Monserrate and Sabini have been at odds since Monserrate endorsed Sabini's rival for the state Senate seat in 2004. Monserrate himself ran against Sabini in 2006, losing by a narrow margin.Monserrate has said he is mulling a 2008 run when Sabini is up for re-election.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


(Dana Rishpy)
As 2007 nears it's end, the saga of three women in Central American countries deserves commentary. Natalee Holloway, an eighteen year old American girl visited Aruba and disappeared. Suspicion still surrounds three suspects, but the case was recently closed.

Eric Volz, an American magazine publisher was recently released from jail in Nicaragua where he served time for allegedly killing his Nicaraguan girlfriend. Many Nicaraguans believe he is guilty.

Dana Rishpy, a 24 year old Israeli remains missing after nine months in Mexico. American principal suspect, Mathew Walshin remains elusive somewhere in California. However, an article in the FORWARD newspaper 12/26/07 details the following:

Answers have been hard to come by in this case. The Mexican federal authorities took the unusual step of opening their own probe a few weeks ago, but only after months of complaints from the Rishpy family about the investigation conducted by the authorities in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, along with a damning exposé of the case in a leading Mexican paper and a direct appeal by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai to Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon.

YFP has followed this case from the inception. Walshin, despite comments from friends and fans is yet to come forward with specific information regarding the night of Dana's disappearance. Steven Warren Miller, who was in his company also remains silent. Now that the President of Mexico has been made aware of the case, perhaps the investigation will take a more thorough turn. And as for Walshin's innocence, Dana's mother states the following:

Dania Rishpy has only one message for Walshin: “If you are innocent, why don’t you just tell us what you know? Why don’t you help us find our daughter?”


Gioia Time in New Hampshire
by Azi Paybarah December 28, 2007 (NY Observer)

Every four years, all of the presidential candidates descend on New Hampshire. And so does City Councilman Eric Gioia.
“I go up every presidential cycle,” Gioia, who worked in the Clinton White House, told me late yesterday. “I was up there for Muskie!” (Joke.)
"‘99 was the first time I was up there,” Gioia explained.
“If you love politics, or you want to believe in a political system, you should knock on doors in New Hampshire,” he said. “There’s just nothing like it. It’s amazing. You run for president the way you run for city council. You actually knock on doors, you speak in town halls, call voters personally.”
And it’s scenic, if you have time for that sort of thing.
“The lake region is actually gorgeous. If you’ve ever been to Lake Laconia? It really is quite beautiful


Rudy Campaign Official: He's The Guy To Chase "The Muslims" Back "To Their Caves"
By Greg Sargent - December 28, 2007, 2:36PM (

This has already gotten some attention, but it deserves a lot more.
The Guardian of London is conducting video documentaries up in New Hampshire. And they did a segment on Rudy in which they got a very off-kilter quote about Muslims from a Rudy campaign official in the state. The Guardian identifies him as John Deady, the co-chair of state Veterans for Rudy.

Deady -- and the key here is that he is a Rudy campaign official -- says that Rudy should be our President because he has what it takes to tackle one of our "most difficult problems," which he identifies as the "rise of the Muslims." Deady adds that we need to "chase them back to their caves" or otherwise "get rid of them."

Here's the quote:
"He's got I believe the knowledge and the judgement to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims, and make no mistake about it, this hasn't happened for a thousand years. These people are very dedicated and they're also very very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or in other words get rid of them."

Now, it's very clear here that this Rudy campaign official, who hasn't yet returned our call, is talking about the rise of Muslims in general, not about terrorists or Islamofascists or what have you. After all, he says that this problem hasn't happened "for a thousand years."
Also note the reference to chasing them "back to their caves," not to mention the outright call for getting "rid" of them -- them being, again, the Muslims.

Any chance the national press will see this as newsworthy?
The Rudy campaign didn't immediately return a request for comment. You can watch the whole video from The Guardian here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


A previous YFP post reported that it was safe for Jesus to return to Bethlehem. However, that has changed. All is not well in his home town.

Priests brawl at Bethlehem birthplace of Jesus

Dec 27 08:34 AM US/Eastern

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Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.

But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.
For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.

A dozen unarmed Palestinian policemen were sent to try to separate the priests, but two of them were also injured in the unholy melee.
"As usual the cleaning of the church afer Christmas is a cause of problems," Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh told AFP, adding that he has offered to help ease tensions.
"For the two years that I have been here everything went more or less calmly," he said. "It's all finished now."

The Church of the Nativity, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards a part of the holy site.
The Church of the Nativity is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born in a stable more than 2,000 years ago after Mary and Joseph were turned away by an inn.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


(Thompson and wife in photo)
Thompson says immigrants deserve some blame for mortgage crisis
Nick JulianoPublished: Monday December 24, 2007

Agrees with voter's assessment that Spanish language is 'sickening'
During what must've been a strenuous day of campaigning in Iowa, GOP candidate Fred Thompson told potential voters at his one-and-only appearance that immigrants deserve some of the blame for the mortgage crisis.
"A lot of them couldn't communicate with the people they were getting the mortgage from," the lagging Republican told an Iowa audience during his "Clear Conservative Choice bus tour," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Thompson's stop in Mason City, Iowa, allowed him to play on Republicans' fears of immigrants and riff on apparent frustration with hearing options in Spanish on recorded phone messages.
Janice Easley, one voter in the audience, was boiling with frustration at having to hear, "Para el español, prensa dos," whenever she called the power company.
"Everything is in Spanish," she said. "It's sickening."

"You are so, so right," Thompson said, calling for English to be made the national language, before placing the blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis on non-English-speakers.
Thompson's anti-immigrant rhetoric -- which apparently wasn't limited just to those people who enter the US illegally -- came as the former Tennessee senator and Law & Order star tried to breathe some life into his lackluster campaign. His attempt to come across as the "true conservative," came just days after the virulently anti-immigrant Tom Tancredo withdrew from the presidential race, and it marked a 180-degree switch from his attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters at a Spanish language debate less than three weeks earlier.

"I think we do share a lot in this country, whether we are Hispanic or not Hispanic," Thompson said at the Univision-sponsored GOP debate Dec. 9. "I think we have some of the same basic values."
For the record, a confluence of negative economic factors, including the burst of the housing bubble, led to the sub-prime mortgage crisis that has shaken the US economy. Language barriers are not widely believed to be among its leading cause

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Some people say that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Some people say that it's a pagan festival, or worshipping the sun, because of the days starting to get longer. Some people say it's a just a good excuse to have a few days off work, binge out and get drunk. Some people say that it's all about showing kindness to those more needy than yourself.I think that Christmas can be all of these things, but it's an intellectual argument, it doesn't really go anywhere, and it's somewhat beside the point.

The point is, many people have a problem. Why? Because, regardless of what they think of all of the above, there's an underlying, rather negative assumption that if you don't celebrate Christmas in the way that you think is proper, then it means you don't love your family. On an intellectual level, you know that's a ludicrous idea, but you still feel it. It doesn't help if times are a bit hard, but even if they aren't, anyone who ever gets depressed, or who has a self-injury habit, or eating disorder, or alcohol or substance addiction problem, is likely to feel completely messed up by this kind of negative thinking.

So I'd like to stress this, the world is NOT going to end if you don't do everything that you think people expect of you at Christmas. You should be doing what you really want to do, have some fun, and do and nothing else.It's unlikely that you'll get into a confrontation with anyone as a result of this. But if you do, just remind them that they're missing the true meaning of Christmas, by thinking the same kind of negative thoughts that you're trying to get away from.

If people still can't be nice to you, it doesn't matter how closely they're related to you, the truth is, they're just not worth your while bothering with. Remember, in the film "But I'm A Cheerleader", both Megan and Graham get disowned by their parents, but it still has a happy ending. But I think you'll find that usually, it won't come to this, everyone will still be happy, and respect and love each other. (Posted by Squidgy )

Monday, December 24, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Bethlehem Declared Safe for Jesus Return

Pilgrims Join Palestinians to Celebrate Christmas Eve in Bethlehem
By Robert Berger Bethlehem24 December 2007
Berger report - Download MP3 (502k) Listen to Berger report
Thousands of pilgrims joined local Palestinians in celebrating Christmas Eve in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. As Robert Berger reports for VOA from Bethlehem, the observances were more cheerful than in previous years.
Palestinian boy and girl scouts paraded through Manger Square in Bethlehem, kicking off Christmas celebrations. Playing drums and bagpipes, they marched past the Church of the Nativity, which is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. Security was tight. Dozens of Palestinian police patrolled the streets, some armed with assault rifles.

Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, center, performs a religious rite as he arrives at the Church of the Nativity, 24 Dec 2007. Then the Latin Patriarch arrived.
Dressed in purple robes, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land is leading a solemn procession into the church of the Nativity. He is followed by priests dressed in white who are chanting the Christmas liturgy. A big crowd is looking on including local Palestinians and pilgrims from around the world.
After staying away for many years because of Israeli-Palestinian violence, pilgrims returned this year.

"It's a more joyful Christmas. We have more tourists, we have more pilgrims coming to the city of Bethlehem, twice as much as last year," said Bethleham Mayor Victor Batarseh to VOA. "All the hotels are booked. I think this Christmas brings more joy to all the citizens of Bethlehem."
The mayor attributes the change to a lull in violence and the revival of the peace process.
Anne Nicholson, from the American state of Alabama, said the Prince of Peace is what Bethlehem is all about.

"My heart is just bursting with joy to be here. Honored, privileged, humbled. I've heard just about every language you can hear spoken today," said Nicholson. "And the common denominator is the love of Christ that has brought people from all over the world to this place, to be in a spot that we know that Christ was born here."
Palestinians complain that Israel's separation barrier ringing Bethlehem has turned the city into a big prison. But on this Christmas, at least, they welcomed in the outside world to celebrate.


YFP is against the war in Iraq. However sometimes goodness comes from bad. There are saints that walk amongst us and here is a story about one of them.

GI Saves Iraqi Boy in Long-Shot Adoption
Posted: 2007-12-23 20:16:19

MAUSTON, Wis. (Dec. 23) - Capt. Scott Southworth knew he'd face violence, political strife and blistering heat when he was deployed to one of Baghdad's most dangerous areas. But he didn't expect Ala'a Eddeen.

Ala'a was 9 years old, strong of will but weak of body — he suffered from cerebral palsy and weighed just 55 pounds. He lived among about 20 kids with physical or mental disabilities at the Mother Teresa orphanage, under the care of nuns who preserved this small oasis in a dangerous place.On Sept. 6, 2003, halfway through his 13-month deployment, Southworth and his military police unit paid a visit to the orphanage. They played and chatted with the children.

Southworth was talking with one little girl when Ala'a dragged his body to the soldier's side.Black haired and brown eyed, Ala'a spoke to the 31-year-old American in the limited English he had learned from the sisters. He recalled the bombs that struck government buildings across the Tigris River."Bomb-Bing! Bomb-Bing!" Ala'a said, raising and lowering his fist."I'm here now. You're fine," the captain said.

Over the next 10 months, the unit returned to the orphanage again and again. The soldiers would race kids in their wheelchairs, sit them in Humvees and help the sisters feed them.To Southworth, Ala'a was like a little brother. But Ala'a — who had longed for a soldier to rescue him — secretly began referring to Southworth as "Baba," Arabic for "Daddy."Then, around Christmas, a sister told Southworth that Ala'a was getting too big. He would have to move to a government-run facility within a year."Best case scenario was that he would stare at a blank wall for the rest of his life," Southworth said.

To this day, he recalls the moment when he resolved that that would not happen."I'll adopt him," he said.———Before Southworth left for Iraq, he was chief of staff for a state representative. He was single, worked long days and squeezed in his service as a national guardsman — military service was a family tradition. His great-great-greatgrandfather served in the Civil War, his grandfather in World War II, his father in Vietnam.The family had lived in the tiny central Wisconsin city of New Lisbon for 150 years.

Scott was raised as an evangelical Christian. He attended law school with a goal of public service, running unsuccessfully for state Assembly at the age of 25. There were so many reasons why he couldn't bring a handicapped Iraqi boy into his world. He had no wife or home. He knew nothing of raising a disabled child. He had little money and planned to run for district attorney in his home county. Just as important, Iraqi law prohibits foreigners from adopting Iraqi children.

Southworth prayed and talked with family and friends. His mother, who had cared for many disabled children, explained the difficulty. She also told him to take one step at a time and let God work. Southworth's decision was cemented in spring 2004, while he and his comrades watched Mel Gibson's film, "The Passion of the Christ." Jesus Christ's sacrifice moved him. He imagined meeting Christ and Ala'a in heaven, where Ala'a asked: "Baba, why didn't you ever come back to get me?""Everything that I came up with as a response I felt ashamed. I wouldn't want to stand in the presence of Jesus and Ala'a and say those things to him."And so, in his last weeks in Iraq, Southworth got approval from Iraq's Minister of Labor to take Ala'a to the United States for medical care.

His parents had filed signatures so he wouldn't miss the cutoff to run for district attorney. He knocked on doors, telling people he wanted to be tough on criminals who committed injustices against children. He never mentioned his intention to adopt Ala'a. He won office, securing a job and an income. Everything seemed to be in place. But when Southworth contacted an immigration attorney, he was told it would be nearly impossible to bring Ala'a to the United States.

Undaunted, Southworth and the attorney started the paperwork to bring Ala'a over on humanitarian parole, used for urgent reasons or significant public benefit. A local doctor, a cerebral palsy expert, a Minneapolis hospital, all said they would provide Ala'a free care. Other letters of support came from a minister, the school district, the lieutenant governor, a congressman, chaplain, a sister at the orphanage and an Iraqi doctor."We crossed political boundaries. We crossed religious boundaries. There was just a massive effort — all on behalf of this little boy who desperately needed people to actually take some action and not just feel sorry for him," Southworth says.

He mailed the packet on Dec. 16, 2004, to the Department of Homeland Security. On New Year's Eve, his cell phone rang. It was Ala'a."What are you doing?" Scott asked him."I was praying,'" Ala'a responded."Well, what were you praying for?""I prayed that you would come to take me to America," Ala'a said. Southworth almost dropped the phone. Ala'a knew nothing of his efforts, and he couldn't tell him yet for fear that the boy might inadvertently tell the wrong person, upending the delicate process. By mid-January, Homeland Security called Southworth's attorney to say it had approved humanitarian parole.

Within three hours, Southworth had plane tickets. He hardly slept as he worked the phones to make arrangements, calling the American embassy, hotels and the orphanage. His Iraqi translator agreed to risk his life to get Ala'a to the embassy to obtain documentation. Like a dream, all the pieces fell into place. Southworth returned to Iraq for the first time since a deployment that left him emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted. His unit had trained Iraqi police from sunup to sundown.

He saw the devastation wrought by two car bombings, and counted dead bodies. Mortar and rocket attacks were routine. Some 20 in his unit were wounded, and one died. He knew that nothing could be taken for granted in Baghdad. So when he saw Ala'a in the airport for the first time since leaving Iraq, he was relieved."He was in my custody then. I could hug him. I could hold him. I could protect him."And forever started."They made it to Wisconsin late Jan. 20, 2005. The next morning, Ala'a awoke to his first sight of snow.

He closed his eyes and grimaced."Baba! Baba! The water is getting all over me!""It's not water, it's snooooow," Southworth told him. Police found Ala'a abandoned on a Baghdad street at around 3 years old. No one knows where he came from. In all his life in Iraq, Ala'a saw a doctor 10 times. He surpassed that in his first six months in the United States. Ala'a's cerebral palsy causes low muscle tone, spastic muscles in the legs, arms and face.

It hinders him when he tries to crawl, walk or grasping objects. He needs a wheelchair to get around, often rests his head on his shoulder and can't easily sit up. Physical therapy has helped him control his head and other muscles. He can now maneuver his way out of his van seat and stabilize his legs on the ground."I'm not the same guy I used to be," he says. He clearly has thrived. At 13, he's doubled his weight to 111 pounds.

Ala'a's condition doesn't affect his mind, although he's still childlike. He wants to be a Spiderman when he grows up. Ala'a's English has improved and he loves music and school, math and reading especially. He gets mad when snow keeps him home, even though it's his second favorite thing, after his father.At first, he didn't want to talk about Iraq. He would grow angry when someone tried to talk to him in Arabic.

But in the fall of 2006, Scott showed Ala'a's classmates an Arabic version of "Sesame Street" and boasted how Ala'a knew two languages and could teach them. Soon he was teaching his aide and his grandmother, LaVone. LaVone is a fixture in Ala'a's life, supporting her son as he juggles his career and fatherhood. One day, she asked Ala'a if he missed his friends in Iraq.Would he like to visit them?Big tears filled his eyes."Well, honey, what's the matter?" asked LaVone."Oh, no, Grandma. No. Baba says that I can come to live with him forever," he pleaded."Oh, no, no," he grandmother said, crying as well. "We would never take you back and leave you there forever.

We want you to be Baba's boy forever."Southworth knew once he got Ala'a out of Iraq, the hardest part would be over. Iraq had bigger problems to deal with than the whereabouts of a single orphan. On June 4, Ala'a officially became Southworth's son. Though he was born in the spring of 1994, they decided to celebrate his birthday as the day they met — Sept. 6. Life has settled into a routine. Father and son have moved into a new house with an intercom system, a chair lift to the basement and toilet handles.

Southworth showers him, brushes his teeth and washes his hands. He has traded in his Chrysler Concorde for a minivan — it was too hard to lift his son out of the car. In October, the Wisconsin's deputy adjunct general gave Southworth, now a major, permission to change units because of Ala'a. His former unit was going to Guantanamo Bay for a one-year deployment, and he didn't want to leave his son behind, at least for now. He hopes one day to marry to his longtime girlfriend and have more children.

He may run for Congress or governor someday — he's already won re-election once, and plans to run again next fall. Not everything is perfect. Ala'a never encountered thunderstorms in Baghdad, and the flash-boom reminds him of bombs. He is starting to get over it, although he still weeps during violent storms. But Ala'a — who picked out his own name, which means to be near God — knows he's where he belongs. Southworth always says Ala'a picked him, not the other way around.

They were brought together, Southworth believes, by a "web of miracles."Ala'a likes to sing Sarah McLachlan's song, "Ordinary Miracle," from "Charlotte's Web," one of his favorite movies. His head and body lean to one side as he sings off-key."It's just another ordinary miracle today. Life is like a gift they say. Wrapped up for you everyday."
2007-12-23 16:09:36

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Now that we are getting down to the final count, YFP has a few absurd gift suggestions. Sadly, they are all real.

(Reload to resurrect)
No. J2K1178
Yay! A baby Jesus doll!
For sale at – no really – for 25 bucks!
The official description calls this nifty little item "a soft vinyl doll that a child can hold, love and take to bed, to give them comfort, knowing that Jesus loves them. A doll they can relate to on their level, a very special doll!"
And the Baby Jesus Doll-makers ain't lying. They really have a Jesus for every child to "relate to," which in this case means relate to racially while snuggling at bedtime. They offer a full range of white, black, and Latino dolls, including one slick model designated as "Dark Hispanic." (Actually, now that I look at our Pedro Martinez-colored babe, I'm not sure whether we selected the African-American or the Dark Hispanic variety.)
A star is painted in the pupil of each baby Jesus doll. And a little message from Jesus comes as part of the package: "I don't talk, I just listen. I don't cry, but please hold me. I don't walk, so please carry me. I love you, please love me. My name is Jesus."
I just added it to my list of crap I want from Dark Hispanic Santa.
Ebay: Diamond Cross for sale
Starting bid:
US $1,000,000.00 (Cross See photo above)

Your maximum bid:
US $
Place Bid >

(Enter US $1,000,000.00 or more)

No payments for 3 months Apply

End time:
4 hours (Dec-23-07 20:15:30 PST)

Shipping costs:
FreeOther (see description)Service to United States(more services)

Ships to:

Item location:
New York City, United States

0 bids

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nationwide Providing Real Bearded Santa Claus Nationwide
Phone: (949) 673-7707 Email: info@santaforhire.comOrange County, California 92663

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------For the price of $11.50 (plus shipping), you too can get this stylish decoration—featuring the warm, cuddly BW bear print logo—and place it reverently on your tree next to Rudolph and Jesus. (See photo of Blackwater Xmas ornament)

What Would Jesus Buy Trailer

see blog post


In April of this year Marvin Franklin, a subway track inspector, was struck and killed by a G train. It quickly came to light that Franklin, who had worked underground for 22 years, was also an accomplished artist. He held an arts degree from FIT and dreamed of opening his own gallery one day, giving the proceeds to the homeless (which he once was, and who were frequent subjects in his sketchbooks).

Franklin's art is now being shown at the Transit Museum, in an exhibition that opened this week and will run through March 30th. The exhibit will include sketches, etchings, watercolors and oil paintings -- offering "a rare insight into the singular and collective moments that inspired the art produced by the artist." His work was often created after his night shifts, which ended at 7am. From the press release: "After work he would get on the F train at Jamaica/179th Street, the end of the line in Queens, sketch book in hand, and draw his fellow passengers all the way to 57th Street in Manhattan where he went to school" (at the Art Students League).

We talked to Sam Goodsell, one of Franklin's friends and fellow artists, who told us "Marvin was a hard working, extremely gifted artist. He always approached his work with a boldness and a fearlessness I've never witnessed before. He never was afraid to take chances with new ideas or approaches.

Working alongside Marvin, from an artist point of view made a positive impact on me. He pushed me to work harder , to see further, and not to be tentative. Last but not least, he made me realize how important it was to sketch! Carry that sketchbook and draw anything, everywhere and everyday. Marvin Franklin was a true art spirit."
The Transit Museum is open Tuesday through Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday Noon to 5pm. (from


This post was found in a blog supported by the orthodox community.

December 22, 2007
Simcha Felder talks about bathroom windows and about his daughter seeing him naked in the shower. Even staunch supporters of NYC Councilman Simcha Felder were baffled by a campaign fundraising speech that he made. According to a source in attendance at a recent fundraising party for Simcha's upcoming Comptroller bid, that was held in someone's home, a flustered Simcha began his address by repeatedly thanking participants for attending and opening their wallet for him and his cause.

Simcha then went on to say how beautiful the home was and that if he could change one thing about it, it would be to put in a window shade in the first floor bathroom. Simcha then went on to relate another bathroom story. Simcha told the captivated audience about the time when he was in middle of taking a shower and his six-year-old daughter, who was three-years-old then had walked in on him.

Simcha descriptively reported, how upon seeing his bare body his daughter had gone into complete shock and began to cry hysterically. Simcha continued, that when his wife came to see what had happened and had realized what had caused the commotion, she began to yell at Simcha for being so careless as to leave the bathroom door unlocked while he was showering. Simcha proudly told his audience that his comeback to his wife's complaint was that his daughter only saw what she would eventually see anyway, so he didn't think it was a big deal. Hey, let's say it all together, Simcha Felder for Comptroller!
Leave Comment ---This article posted by Chaptzem : 8:10 PM6 comments

What Would Jesus Buy Trailer

Overheard in a NYC post office, a woman bitterly complained to the clerk that they were out of religious stamps. "How could this happen during the Xmas holidays, " she growled. Well...because Xmas is no longer a religious holiday. Overly commercialized and overly hyped, not to mention it's historical inaccuracies.

Jesus was a brown skinned Palestinian Jew. Yes folks, Bethlehem is located in the now Palestinian "hood". Melanoma is rare in this hot, sun filled climate since it is populated with curly haired dark people much like those of Jesus' era. Some are Christian and most are Muslim. During the time of Jesus, they were Jewish.

He was born to a teenage mother who was engaged to his father. And historians approximate that birth closer to September than December 25th.

Then, perhaps in the controversy of the facts, herein lies the message. Jesus was a Jew, born in a territory that is now predominantly Muslim. His teachings became the center of Christianity. By default, this allows no margin for religious/political supremacy.

Our struggle is against Corporate America.....not each other.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Posted to Eats And Drinks
Friday, December 21, 2007
Veggie Castle Closing by Christmas
‘Twas a dark week in the kingdom of Veggie Castle – formerly a White Castle converted to a vegetarian eatery on Church Avenue in Flatbush. First because someone got shot in their parking lot Thursday morning. But more importantly (and totally unrelated): They announced their imminent closure after a 10-year run.The demise of this rare vendor of jerk tofu, porridge, elaborate juices and “Ital Jockey” – a brew of sea moss, bee pollen, Chinese herbs and cashews, among other things – shall be felt not only by the nabe’s Rastafarians and Caribbean residents, but by all those herbivores from Park Slope and beyond who have trekked southeastward to sample their steaming buffet that has been called, “a rite of passage” for serious vegetarians.

The end of a 10-year lease is to blame, according to Cindy Bernard, daughter of owner Viburt Bernard. She said the landlord wanted to sell the lot to someone who plans to tear down the building and develop a new commercial space. In the meantime, “distraught” describes the mood among her regulars. “It’s terrible,” said Cody, a 63-year-old resident of East New York who drives down every day for two orders of porridge. “There’s no place like this, for me it’s been tremendous.” Across the street at Brooklyn’s Finest Haircutters, Inc., barber Mark Parris sees Veggie Castle’s closing in the context of rising rents throughout the area. “There are changes goin’ on in this neighborhood,” he said.

“If you’re not holding your own out here, you’re not gonna make it.” Bernard said that there’s still another Veggie Castle on Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill, but the Church Avenue location was the first, and she and her staff have grown attached to the clientele. “We all have a really strong bond with our customers,” she said. “Right now, I’m getting’ tearful.” She then did indeed get tearful. Veggie Castle will be closed by Christmas. 2242 Church Ave. (just east of Flatbush Ave.), 718-703-1275; hours for Sat-Mon. are 10am-10pm


(Photo of Amanda Burden with Charlie Rose)

The Burden of Urban Planning

We'll stop calling Amanda Burden a socialite when she stops using her taxpayer-funded car and driver to transport her bag to the city's planning department!
Amanda Burden is Mayor Bloomberg's new city planning commissioner. Burden comes to her important municipal post with impressive credentials and experience. In a recent "Public Lives" profile in the New York Times, this child of wealth who married well, expressed her frustration with people who dismiss her as a socialite. Burden wants to be taken seriously.

We like Commissioner Burden and sympathize with her problem, but we are compelled to share with our readers a story about the Bloomberg administration's new planning czarina.
A friend of ours on the Upper East Side told us that Burden is impressed with the symbolism of Mayor Bloomberg's decision to ride the subway downtown to work. She's also chosen to ride the rails to the city planning office. So when her taxpayer-funded car and driver swing by her home to pick her up in the morning, she refuses the ride. She takes the subway, but she does allow her driver to shuttle her bag to her office.

When Burden figures out that the plain people who take the subway to work every day usually bring their belongings with them - and don't hand them off to their chauffeurs for a comfy private ride - we'll stop calling her a socialite. The new commissioner should be conscious of the fact that in her new office there are many eyes watching her every move. The special treatment afforded to her high-end accessories has not gone unnoticed. (


Steroid exposé points to Queens
By Dylan Butler and Marc Raimondi
Email to a friendPost a CommentPrinter-friendly
Key witnesses had SJU, Mets ties
SJU alum from Rockaways drops Clemens bombshell
By Dylan Butler (Times Ledger)

Before he was known the world over as the man who testified in the Mitchell Report that superstar pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte took performance-enhancing drugs, Brian McNamee was a standout catcher at Archbishop Molloy HS and St. John’s University, who would follow in his father’s footsteps and become a New York City police officer. That’s the Brian McNamee that Jack Curran remembers. “He played with high energy, he was upbeat,” said the longtime Molloy baseball coach. “He was a real take-charge catcher.”McNamee, a Breezy Point native, played college baseball at St. John’s University from 1986 through 1989 and majored in sports management. “I watched him play in high school and play at St. John’s and he played aggressively,” said St. John’s coach Ed Blankmeyer, who was an assistant coach at Seton Hall at the time. “He played hard and he played with passion. He played the game the right way.”

After college, McNamee joined the NYPD, working his final two years there as an undercover detective before leaving the police force in 1993. He met a fellow St. John’s alum, Tim McCleary, who was the assistant general manager of the New York Yankees, and McNamee was offered a job as the team’s bullpen catcher and batting practice pitcher. McNamee followed McCleary to Toronto, where McCleary was named the Blue Jays assistant general manager in 1997. One year later, McNamee was hired as Toronto’s strength and conditioning coach.

That is where McNamee first met Clemens, who was in his second year with the Blue Jays after 10 stellar seasons with the rival Boston Red Sox. According to McNamee’s testimony to Mitchell’s investigators, Clemens first asked about steroids in June 1998 and later that summer, McNamee said he first injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with steroids. Clemens was traded to the Yankees a year later, and McNamee would soon follow, hired as the Yankees assistant strength and conditioning coach at Clemens’ behest, according to the Mitchell Report.

McNamee, who also served as Clemens and Pettitte’s personal trainer, testified that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Through a statement released by his agent, Clemens denied taking steroids.“I want to state clearly and without qualification: I did not take steroids, human growth hormone or any other banned substances at any time in my baseball career or, in fact, my entire life,” Clemens said. “Those substances represent a dangerous and destructive shortcut that no athlete should ever take.”

Also in 2001, McNamee was a suspect in a sexual battery case at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Yankees stayed during a series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. According to the New York Post, a hotel employee saw McNamee and the unidentified 40-year-old woman, both of whom were naked, engaging in what appeared to be sex while another man, also naked, stood off to the side. The woman was taken to an area hospital where it was determined that she had been given heavy doses of gamma hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as the date rape drug, the Post said. McNamee was never charged in the case, but was dismissed from the Yankees at the end of the 2001 season.

After saying he initially tried to talk Pettitte out of it, McNamee also injected Pettitte with HGH in 2002, when the star lefty was rehabbing from elbow tendinitis, according to the Mitchell Report.“In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow,” Pettitte said in a statement. “I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone.”McNamee’s longtime friend C.J. Nitkowski, a former Red Storm standout and Major Leaguer who is currently pitching in Japan, told the TimesLedger that McNamee is not the steroid pusher the trainer is being painted in published reports throughout the country. “From my experience with him he never pushed or encouraged,” Nitkowski said. “Had I chosen to do it, he would have supported me and made sure I was doing it right.

He believes in his program and believes that the over-the-counter supplements along with the workout program he devised should be enough.”Nitkowski, a 34-year-old from Suffern, N.Y., first met McNamee when the reliever was pitching for the Tigers in 1995. Nitkowski, who had a 10-year career in the Majors pitching for both the Mets and Yankees, also worked out with both Clemens and Pettitte at Clemens’ Houston home on several occasions from 2002 to 2006.

Following the 2001 season, Nitkowski said he asked McNamee about Winstrol, a steroid McNamee used to inject Clemens, according to the Mitchell Report. “He definitely didn’t talk me into it,” Nitkowski said. “I was at a point where I just needed one little push and I would have done it. He didn’t give that push.”In 2005, McNamee was hired by St. John’s University as an adjunct professor and taught sports management classes. He had no involvement with the school’s baseball team because, according to Blankmeyer, there was no room on his staff. And in September 2006 he was let go following the conclusion of his contract. “He was pretty approachable and big on helping students further their careers,”said a former student of McNamee’s, who requested anonymity. “I was rooting that all this wasn’t true.”
©Times Ledger 2007


December 22, 2007Read More: Rudy Giuliani
Rudy revisited Ben Smith (

A quick departure from the hills of Iowa to return to my November 30 story on Rudy Giuliani's unusual accounting for travel, which the Times revisited in a short item and chart yesterday.
The Times graphic didn't cite the Politico piece or contradict its reporting, either on the billing practices, or the questions the City Comptroller raised about them. But I wanted quickly to touch on the difference between the pieces. The reporter, Russ Buettner, focuses on Giuliani's first Hamptons trips (the Times appears to include some official travel here, to go into the weeds) which, were -- unlike later ones -- billed directly to the mayor's office. He speculates that this means that concealing the affair was "not likely" the goal of the accounting. The Times doesn't offer an alternative explanation.

"It's still not clear why Mr. Giuliani's office did that," Buettner writes.
A range of city budget veterans have said the likeliest motive for the unusual billing was some sort of concealment, but neither Russ nor I seem have talked to anyone who could recall the actual decision to use money from obscure agencies to prepay city credit cards. Intent aside, the maneuver covered a period in which travel expenses ballooned and Giuliani had begun spending unusual (for him) amounts of time out of the city for two reasons: his romance and his Senate campaign.

So the facts and the documents are out there; I'm reluctant to jump back into the speculation and argue over the intent of Giuliani's aides. For their part, they declined to explain the practice in the original story, and still haven't explained to our satisfaction or the Times' why they billed obscure offices in the first place.
By Ben Smith 09:34 AM comments (1) post comment permalink
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Friday, December 21, 2007


Blogger News Network

Mitt Romney Lies About Father ‘Marching With Martin Luther King, Jr.’
December 20th, 2007 by Warner Todd Huston
Mitt Romney has been caught in yet another lie. Only yesterday Romney’s claim of not supporting Planned Parenthood abortion mills was abruptly smashed by a photograph surfacing of him at one of their fundraisers in 1994. Today, it’s Romney’s claim that his father “marched with” famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

During his “I’m a Mormona but it doesn’t matter” speech, Mitt Romney claimed he saw his father, George Romney, marching with MLK during a 1968 civil rights march through Grosse Pointe, Michigan. It was a stirring account of the efforts of his father to show that the Romney family have always reached across ecumenical lines.
Only one little problem… it never happened.

Today The Phoenix is reporting that the details of Romney’s claim just don’t match up with reality. What we end up with is just one more wild lie by Mitt Romney who will say anything at all that he thinks will help him win the nomination… even if it isn’t true.
Here’s the details according to The Phoenix.

In the most-watched speech of his political career, speaking on “Faith in America” at College Station, Texas, earlier this month, Mitt Romney evoked the strongest of all symbolic claims to civil-rights credentials: “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.”
He has repeated the claim several times recently, most prominently to Tim Russert on Meet the Press . But, while the late George W. Romney, a four-term governor of Michigan, can lay claim to a strong record on civil rights, the Phoenix can find no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so.

Nor did Mitt Romney ever previously claim that this took place, until long after his father passed away in 1995 — not even when defending accusations of the Mormon church’s discriminatory past during his 1994 Senate campaign.
So, what did the Romney campaign say about the specifics?
Asked about the specifics of George Romney’s march with MLK, Mitt Romney’s campaign told the Phoenix that it took place in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. That jibes with the description proffered by David S. Broder in a Washington Post column written days after Mitt’s College Station speech.

And what do they base this claim on?
Broder, in that column, references a 1967 book he co-authored on the Republican Party, which included a chapter on George Romney. It includes a one-line statement that the senior Romney “has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Detroit.”
OK, but did MLK ever even have a march in Grosse Pointe?

But that account is incorrect. King never marched in Grosse Pointe, according to the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, and had not appeared in the town at all at the time the Broder book was published. “I’m quite certain of that,” says Suzy Berschback, curator of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society. (Border was not immediately available for comment.)
Berschback also believes that George Romney never appeared at a protest, march, or rally in Grosse Pointe. “We’re a small town,” she says. “Governors don’t come here very often, except for fundraisers.”

Ooopsie! It’s all just another Romney lie.
There is also no record of George Romeny himself ever claiming to have marched with MLK.
It gets even worse for Mitt. There was an MLK march after the date the Romney camp claims Gov. George Romney took his stroll with the civil rights leader, but even if the Gov. marched then (and there is absolutely no newspaper or TV accounts that he did) Mitt could never have “seen” his father march because he was in France on a Mormon mission at the time.

And, Mitt Romney would not have known about the event, let alone had a chance to “see” it. He was at that time in the middle of his two-year mission for the Mormon church in Le Havre, France. By his own description and others’, he was cut off from virtually all contact with his family; and at the time, King’s Grosse Pointe appearance was no more than local news.
It all comes down to another Romney lie. After all, as the paper says:

Had George Romney ever marched with Martin Luther King Jr., it almost certainly would have been documented. From the mid-’50s through 1962, Romney was one of the country’s most prominent business leaders — for him to travel South for a civil-rights march would have been remarkable. From January 1963 on, as governor of Michigan and a presumed Presidential candidate, Romney was one of the most visible political figures in the country.
What will it take for Romney supporters to realize that their guy is a liar?
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Posted by Warner Todd Huston on Thursday, December 20th, 2007 at 8:14 am under: All News. Comment Feed (RSS 2.0). Interact: Comment or Trackback.
5 Responses to “Mitt Romney Lies About Father ‘Marching With Martin Luther King, Jr.’”
tim Says: December 20th, 2007 at 11:20 am
Here’s the link that impugns your claims!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Paul Keeps White Supremacist Donation
By BRIAN SKOLOFF Associated Press Writer © 2007 The Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has received a $500 campaign donation from a white supremacist, and the Texas congressman doesn't plan to return it, an aide said Wednesday.
Don Black, of West Palm Beach, recently made the donation, according to campaign filings. He runs a Web site called Stormfront with the motto, "White Pride World Wide." The site welcomes postings to the "Stormfront White Nationalist Community."

"Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and inalienable rights. If someone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to Ron, thinking he can influence Ron in any way, he's wasted his money," Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said. "Ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom.
"And that's $500 less that this guy has to do whatever it is that he does," Benton added.
Black said he supports Paul's stance on ending the war in Iraq, securing America's borders and his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants.

"We know that he's not a white nationalist. He says he isn't and we believe him, but on the issues, there's only one choice," Black said Wednesday.
On his Web site, Black says he has been involved in "the White patriot movement for 30 years."
The Web site LoneStarTimes first reported on Black's donation on Oct. 25.

Ron Paul's Photo-Op with Stormfront
Thu, Dec 20, 2007 at 3:53:50 pm PST
An LGF reader emailed this photograph, showing Ron Paul at the Values Voters Presidential Debate in Fort Lauderdale on September 17, 2007. Immediately to Paul’s left: Don Black, the owner of neo-Nazi hate site Stormfront. If anyone knows who the creepy guy in the hat is, please post a comment.
Update: it’s Derek Black, Don’s son. (See photo above)


A ninth suicide this year raises concern in Chinatown community
By Chi-Zi Chen, World Journal, 2 October 2007. Translated from Chinese by Connie Yik Kong.

On October 1, Wei Min Li, 41, jumped off a motel on Bowery Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown and was pronounced dead before reaching the hospital. He was the ninth reported suicide of a Chinese person in New York City this past year. According to statistics many of the suicides were related to depression. According to sources, the suicide took place at around 9:30 a.m., two days after Li checked into a motel on 101 Bowery Street. Mr. Li fell onto the 2nd floor balcony where residents, hearing the loud noise, looked out to the window and discovered the body.

They quickly called the police. The police from the 5th Precinct and ambulance came to the scene to rescue him and send him to the New York Downtown Hospital, but he didn’t survive. A cousin of the victim told police that Li got his U.S. visa less than one year ago and lived and worked in Washington and Pennsylvania. He reported that already in China Li suffered from depression and had been struggling with it for a long time. When he came to the United States, he continued to seek treatment. Two days ago, Li came to New York to visit his relatives and sisters.

Before the suicide, his cousin said, Li could not sleep for five days. On the night of September 30, he took several sleeping pills and still could not sleep. In the morning, Li said he did not feel good. His cousin offered to buy tickets to send Li back to China, so that he could unite with his family to recover from his depression. While his cousin went out to buy tickets, Li went to the rooftop alone. After his return, the cousin learned what had happened. According to the records, most of the Chinese suicide victims were male, 19 to 74 years old.

According to a statistics released by the Chinese Embassy, the incidence of depression due to a hectic lifestyle, stress and family and marriage pressures increased noticeably in 2006. The victims included students and undocumented immigrants. According to an Asian-American mental health expert, depression is often caused by trauma and stress that happened in the past.

Many depression patients become distrustful of others; however, on the trajectory from depression to suicide, patients exhibit some signs. For example, they send their valuable possession to other people for safekeeping, often talk to themselves and suffer from insomnia. She pointed out that many people think erroneously that people who struggle with depression over a long period of time will not become suicidal because medicine could cure them. She suggested that if you notice signs of suicide attempts, you should call the suicide hotline or 911 immediately.


Slave labour that shames America
Migrant workers chained beaten and forced into debt, exposing the human cost of producing cheap food
By Leonard Doyle in Immokalee, Florida (The UK Independent)
Published: 19 December 2007

Three Florida fruit-pickers, held captive and brutalised by their employer for more than a year, finally broke free of their bonds by punching their way through the ventilator hatch of the van in which they were imprisoned. Once outside, they dashed for freedom.
When they found sanctuary one recent Sunday morning, all bore the marks of heavy beatings to the head and body. One of the pickers had a nasty, untreated knife wound on his arm. Police would learn later that another man had his hands chained behind his back every night to prevent him escaping, leaving his wrists swollen.

The migrants were not only forced to work in sub-human conditions but mistreated and forced into debt. They were locked up at night and had to pay for sub-standard food. If they took a shower with a garden hose or bucket, it cost them $5.
Their story of slavery and abuse in the fruit fields of sub-tropical Florida threatens to lift the lid on some appalling human rights abuses in America today.

Between December and May, Florida produces virtually the entire US crop of field-grown fresh tomatoes. Fruit picked here in the winter months ends up on the shelves of supermarkets and is also served in the country's top restaurants and in tens of thousands of fast-food outlets.
But conditions in the state's fruit-picking industry range from straightforward exploitation to forced labour. Tens of thousands of men, women and children – excluded from the protection of America's employment laws and banned from unionising – work their fingers to the bone for rates of pay which have hardly budged in 30 years.

Until now, even appeals from the former president Jimmy Carter to help raise the wages of fruit-pickers have gone unheeded. However, with Florida looming as a key battleground during the the next presidential election, there is hope that their cause will be raised by the Democratic candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards.

Fruit-pickers, who typically earn about $200 (£100) a week, are part of an unregulated system designed to keep food prices low and the plates of America's overweight families piled high. The migrants, largely Hispanic and with many of them from Mexico, are the last wretched link in a long chain of exploitation and abuse. They are paid 45 cents (22p) for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes collected. A worker has to pick nearly two-and-a-half tons of tomatoes – a near impossibility – in order to reach minimum wage. So bad are their working and living conditions that the US Department of Labour, which is not known for its sympathy to the underdog, has called it "a labour force in considerable distress".

A week after the escapees managed to emerge from the van in which they had been locked up for the night, police discovered that a forced labour operation was supplying fruit-pickers to local growers. Court papers describe how migrant workers were forced into debt and beaten into going to work on farms in Florida, as well as in North and South Carolina. Detectives found another 11 men who were being kept against their will in the grounds of a Florida house shaded by palm trees. The bungalow stood abandoned this week, a Cadillac in the driveway alongside a black and chrome pick-up truck with a cowboy hat on the dashboard. The entire operation was being run by the Navarettes, a family well known in the area.

Also near by was the removals van from which Mariano Lucas, one of the first to escape, punched his way through a ventilation hatch to freedom in the early hours of 18 November. With him were Jose Velasquez, who had bruises on his face and ribs and a cut forearm, and Jose Hari. The men told police they had to relieve themselves inside the van. Other migrant workers were kept in other vehicles and sheds scattered around the garden.

Enslaved by the Navarettes for more than a year, the men had been working in blisteringly hot conditions, sometimes for seven days a week. Despite their hard work, they were mired in debt because of the punitive charges imposed by their employer, who is being held on minor charges while a grand jury investigates his alleged involvement in human trafficking.
The men had to pay to live in the back of vans and for food. Their entire pay cheques went to the Navarettes and they were still in debt. They slept in decrepit sheds and vehicles in a yard littered with rubbish. When one man did not want to go to work because he was sick, he was allegedly pushed and kicked by the Navarettes. "They physically loaded him in the van and made him go to work that day. Cesar, Geovanni and Martin Navarette beat him up and as a result he was bleeding in his mouth," a grand jury was told.

The complaint reveals that the men were forced to pay rent of $20 (£10) a week to sleep in a locked furniture van where they had no option but to urinate and defecate in a corner. They had to pay $50 a week for meals – mostly rice and beans with meat perhaps twice a week if they were lucky. The fruit-pickers' caravans, which they share with up to 15 other men, rent for $2,400 a month – more per square foot than a New York apartment – and are less than 10 minutes' walk from the hiring fair where the men show up before sunrise. At least half those who come looking for work are not taken on.

Florida has a long history of exploiting migrant workers. Farm labourers have no protection under US law and can be fired at will. Conditions have barely changed since 1960 when the journalist Edward R Murrow shocked Americans with Harvest Of Shame, a television broadcast about the bleak and underpaid lives of the workers who put food on their tables. "We used to own our slaves but now we just rent them," Murrow said, in a phrase that still resonates in Immokalee today.

For several years, a campaign has been under way to improve the workers' conditions. After years of talks, a scheme to pay the tomato pickers a penny extra per pound has been signed off by McDonald's, the world's biggest restaurant chain, and by Yum!, which owns 35,000 restaurants including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. But Burger King, which also buys its tomatoes in Immokalee, has so far refused to participate, threatening the entire scheme.

"We see no legal way of paying these workers," said Steve Grover, the vice-president of Burger King. He complained that a local human rights group, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers "has gone after us because we are a known brand". But he added: "At the end of the day, we don't employ the farmworkers so how can we pay them?"

Burger King will not pay the extra penny a pound that the tomato-pickers are demanding he said. "If we agreed to the penny per pound, Burger King would pay about $250,000 annually, or $100 per worker. How does that solve exploitation and poverty?" he asked.
Burger King is not the only buyer digging in its heels. Whole Foods Market, which recently expanded into Britain with a store in London's upmarket suburb of Kensington, has been discovered stocking tomatoes from one of the most notorious Florida sweatshop producers. Whole Foods ignored an appeal by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to pay an extra penny a pound for its tomatoes.

In a statement Whole Foods said it was "committed to supporting and promoting economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agriculture" and supports "the right of all workers to be treated fairly and humanely."
The Democratic candidates for the presidency do not often talk about exploited migrant workers, but there are hints that Barack Obama will visit the Immokalee fruit pickers sometime before Florida's primary election on 5 February.
Jimmy Carter recently joined the campaign to improve the lot of fruit-pickers, appealing to Burger King and the growers "to restore the dignity of Florida's tomato industry". His appeal fell on deaf ears but 100 church groups, including the Catholic bishop of Miami, joined him.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Staff to Weiner: Adios!
Mr. Weiner can be dismissive and blunt with people he disagrees with, and doesn’t forget a perceived slight. (He agreed to talk to The Observer for this piece only reluctantly after registering, through Mr. Caplin, his displeasure with a profile of him published in this newspaper in 2005.) Anthony Weiner’s Long, Long AuditionThat can also extend to his staff. His chief of staff, legislative director and communications director have all quit in the past six months, less than a year before Mr. Weiner will start campaigning in earnest for mayor. One former staffer told The Observer, “He doesn’t listen to his staff and he doesn’t believe in teamwork—and so people leave him.”He doesn't listen to his constituents, either.
Posted by Queens Crapper at 6:50 AM 5 comments Links to this post


Cops on Steroids
Baseball has no monopoly on foul balls. The NYPD's own drug scandal keeps simmering.
by Sean Gardiner
December 18th, 2007 7:46 PM

Over the past 18 months, the NYPD has apparently experienced a rare epidemic in which a cluster of young, muscular cops have suffered a malady that usually strikes men over the age of 60: hypogonadism, or low testosterone.
The Voice has learned that the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office knows of 29 cops and at least 10 NYPD civilian employees—all well under the age of 60—who have received prescriptions for hypogonadism.

The treatment for it just happens to be steroids.
Baseball's steroids scandal has broken wide open with last week's release of former senator George Mitchell's report on players who may have broken the rules of the sport by bulking up. That probe, which currently revolves around New York City, in part because of the alleged involvement of a Mets clubhouse employee, has spilled over from Queens into Brooklyn into the NYPD, where an investigation of steroid use by New York City cops is bubbling under the surface.

How closely the two drug scandals may be linked isn't known, but personal trainer Brian McNamee, who told the Mitchell commission that he injected Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens and other players with steroids, is a former NYPD cop who left the department in 1993 and later embarked on a career as a personal trainer who allegedly injected star athletes with drugs, according to

As for the cop-steroid scandal, when the story first broke in October, NYPD officials repeatedly said that only six officers were believed to be involved. Spokesman Paul Browne has maintained that none of the cops were selling steroids and none will be arrested, though they may face departmental discipline.

Unlike baseball, the NYPD does not test its officers for steroids, but it's a little early for department officials to make sanguine predictions. Brooklyn D.A. Charles "Joe" Hynes's office is still in the middle of its investigation and, according to law-enforcement sources, will present a case to a grand jury sometime within the next several weeks.

Unlike baseball players, the NYPD's cops are forbidden to talk to the press without permission. But people close to the probe, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say that in the probe of cops' steroid use, investigators from the State Department of Health have given the D.A. almost a dozen boxes of records gathered during three raids at Lowen's Pharmacy in Brooklyn. Officials have also seized millions of dollars of human growth hormone (HGH) and steroids from that Bay Ridge pharmacy. The most recent raid was on December 3. Hynes won't comment other than to confirm that there is an investigation.

But sources tell the Voice that one officer bought more than $25,000 worth of steroids in a year, an amount that is impossible to claim as personal use. Cops found to have filed false insurance claims or sold steroids could face the possibility of criminal charges, as could cops who've received prescriptions for steroids unless it's determined that they're for legitimate medical reasons.

But that's just the steroids angle of the investigation. Investigators are still sifting through 4,000 to 5,000 HGH prescriptions filled at Lowen's in the past 18 months. Dr. Harry Fisch, a professor of clinical urology at Columbia University, says there are only two legitimate medical reasons for an adult to be prescribed HGH: to offset the loss of body mass and muscle for people in the advanced stages of AIDS and to treat a rare pituitary condition.

Those HGH records at Lowen's could open up a Pandora's box in the largest police department in the nation. NYPD officials have kept a lid on the steroids angle of the probe—amid grumbling in the ranks. The fact that the two highest-ranking officers caught up in the probe so far—two deputy chiefs, Mike Marino, executive officer of the Brooklyn North patrol, and Jack Trabitz, head of the property-clerk division—were not suspended and appear to have been cleared despite admitting they received prescriptions for testosterone has Patrick Lynch, president of the rank-and-file patrol officers' union, crying "favoritism." Trabitz didn't return calls seeking comment. One cop has told the Voice that Trabitz, who is in his 50s, "looks like he could be a running back in the NFL, he's that big." Marino came forward after his name was leaked to the press. Reportedly, however, he was cleared after being questioned by the Internal Affairs Bureau, which found his prescription to be legitimate.

Marino tells the Voice that he can't comment "because there's some litigation going on around this right now." John Driscoll, outgoing president of the Captains Endowment Association, the union for those with the rank of captain and above, says that that Marino and Trabitz not only voluntarily talked with IAB investigators but also took drug tests and passed them. At this point, Driscoll says, they are "accused of nothing."

Previously published reports didn't detail what Marino's supposed ailment was, but law-enforcement sources tell the Voice that Marino told IAB investigators that in addition to being treated for a low sex drive, he had been prescribed the drug to lose weight.
"That's not a legitimate reason for using anabolic steroids," says Dr. Gary Wadler, author of Drugs and the Athlete and a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency's Prohibited List and Methods Committee. "It's not a weight- reducing drug." Continue
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007


'Newsday,' 'Hoy' Will Pay Feds $15 Million In Circ Fraud -- And Avoid Criminal Charges
By Mark Fitzgerald Published: December 18, 2007 11:55 PM ET

CHICAGO Tribune Co. will pay $15 million to settle a federal criminal fraud investigation into a five-year scheme to artificially inflate the circulations of Newsday and the New York edition of the Spanish-language daily Hoy, U.S. prosecutors in Long Island announced late Tuesday."In light of, among other things, the newspapers' acceptance of responsibility for the fraudulent conduct in which they and their employees engaged, their ongoing cooperation with the government, the newspapers' payment of approximately $83 million in restitution to their advertisers to date, and the implementation of remedial management and internal auditing reforms designed to prevent circulation-reporting fraud from recurring, the government has agreed not to prosecute the newspapers for their participation in the scheme," said the announcement by federal authorities.

The settlement was announced by Benton J. Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Ron Walker, Inspector-in-Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, New York Division; Patricia J. Haynes, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York Field Office; and Lawrence W. Mulvey, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department.

As part of their settlement agreement with the government, Newsday and Hoy admitted that between 2001 and 2004, "senior managers and subordinates systematically inflated paid circulation numbers reported in the newspapers' books and records, under-reported the number of copies of the Newspapers that were returned unsold, and falsely represented to the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) that the inflated numbers were accurate," the feds' announcement said. Prosecutors noted that Tribune had terminated the employees who participated in the fraudulent scheme, including Louis Sito, the founding editor and publisher of Hoy who went on to become Tribune's first vice president for Hispanic media.

Last year, Sito pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud. ABC concluded in 2004 that Newsday had, in the year before, overstated its daily circulation by 16.9% and its Sunday circ by 14.5%. Earlier this year, Tribune sold the New York edition of Hoy to ImpreMedia, publisher of El Diario La Prensa in New York City.
Mark Fitzgerald ( is E&P's editor-at large

Subway Stripper!!! (get ready to be turned on!)

Mayor Bloomberg continues to advocate for congestion pricing. He urges us to take public transportation. He raises the subway fare. YFP asks after viewing the following video...WHY?


Sources tell YFP that Louis Kestenbaum, an associate of Rabbi Weisz is under investigation in regards to the Weisz case. Kestenbaum is a big political supporter of City Councilman David Yassky. (Shown in photo below)

The biggest crook of them all is the known Mafia Thug and Gangster LOUIS a/k/a/ LEZER KESTENBAUM who is behind all this chillul hashem, here is a small example from the Daily News of the bribery that KESTENBAUM is involved:

New York Daily News - Real estate biz boosts Yassky run
The real estate industry is pouring thousands into Councilman David Yassky's congressional campaign , including two controversial developers, the Daily News has learned. Joshua Guttman and the Kestenbaum family are just two of the land barons who have given more than $150,000 to Yassky, according to filings.
Subliminally or subconsciously, these folks probably get more access to Yassky when the phone rings,said Neal Rosenstein, a government reform coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group.

After Guttman's Greenpoint Terminal Market went up in flames in a suspicious fire last week, Yassky returned a $500 contribution. Guttman has denied involvement in the fire, the city's largest since 9/11.
Spokesman Evan Thies denied that developer Louis Kestenbaum’s contributions influenced Yassky.
There is absolutely no link between donations and David governing, said Thies. There are plenty of developers in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights who have given him money and are upset over his stance against their developments. Yassky helped create affordable housing in Brooklyn and was an opponent of DUMBO developer Jed Walenta's 38 Water St. project, which threatened to block views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Thies said.
Guttman and Louis Kestenbaum also have contributed to other politicians including Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, City Councilman Simcha Felder, former presidential candidate Al Gore and former vice presidential candidate Jospeh Lieberman.

Williamsburg preservationists also pointed to the Austin, Nichols & Co. warehouse at 184 Kent Ave., which the City Council voted not to give landmark status to in November. As representative of the district, Yassky was the force behind the nonlandmark vote.
The building is owned by brothers Louis and Moshe Kestenbaum - who in 1991 pleaded guilty to a scheme to sell cosmetics and groceries intended for the former Soviet Union.
Instead, the Kestenbaums and three others were convicted of illegally selling them in the U.S. for a $44 million profit.

In the last two years, Yassky has gotten a total $21,100 from Louis Kestenbaum's son, Joel, and $30,000 from two Kestenbaum business associates.
Yassky officials said he was unaware of the Kestenbaums crimes.
Experiences shows us that when a candidate is receiving hundreds if not thousands of contributions, it is next to impossible to know what each contributor has done years and years ago that might raise a question,said Yassky election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder. We look at all the contribution checks, and we scrutinize them as best we can.
Posted by mafia basher on July 17, 2007 8:45 PM