Michael Bloomberg and allies unveiled a slate of changes to state election laws that they say will make it easier to vote and help boost New York out of 47th place in the nation for the percentage of voter turnout.
Notably, in attendance was the Rev. Al Shaprton, who said the state was in the "dark ages" when it came to rules allowing citizens to vote. Shaprton's support here is important, since his absence from another Bloomberg initiative—the creation of non-partisan elections—helped kill it.
Among the changes the Bloomberg-Sharpton coalition are seeking include offering "no-excuse" absentee ballots, the creation of an early voting period, extending the deadline to register for or switch enrollment in a political party, and allowing ballots to be filled out outside of the polling station where they are deposited.
Rep. Charlie Rangel wasn't always defiant in the face of allegations he violated Congressional ethics rules. He was sometimes funny, too.
Rep. Charlie Rangel was censured for violating 11 congressional ethics rules, the first time the House of Representatives took such a harsh step against one of their own, in decades. After failing to get the punishment downgraded, the House overwhelmingly voted to punish the Harlem Democrat 333 to 79 with a censure.
Andrew Cuomo could have gotten the attorney general candidate he wanted, if only he had endorsed her.
That's the lesson from the post-election roundtable hosted by the New School yesterday, where aides to the six attorney general campaigns discussed their campaigns.
Blake Zeff, who worked on the winning campaign of Eric Schneiderman said they had internal polling numbers showing what the impact of a Cuomo endorsement would be on the race. "I would say somewhat hyperbolically, the poll showed us specifically that if Kathleen Rice got the Cuomo endorsement that we were done," he said. "She had so many advantages to begin with, the money not being the least, that [endorsement] would be nearly fatal to us."
Congressman Charlie Rangel is circulating a ten-point chart to colleagues, explaining why he shouldn't receive one of the harshest punishments for violating 11 Congressional ethics rules. It's part of the last-minute defense Rangel wants to deliver before the full House votes on the fate of the 20-term Harlem lawmaker.
Watching Spiderman, Horton and Buzz Lightyear balloons float along the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade route is only part of the spectacle parade-goers were enjoying. After traveling from Herald Square to the Upper West Side, dozens of balloons were lowered to street level, and flattened.
When Rep. Charlie Rangel took to the House floor on August 10, proclaiming his innocence amid a growing ethics probe, he told his colleagues, “If I was you, I may want me to go away too. I am not going away!”
When Congress formally censures Rangel, he won’t be able to.
House rules say “a ‘censure’ is a formal vote by the majority of Members present and voting on a resolution disapproving a Member’s conduct, with generally the additional requirement that the Member stand at the ‘well’ of the House chamber to receive a verbal rebuke and reading of the censure resolution by the Speaker of the House.”
Incorporating a public element to one’s punishment is not entirely new (just ask Marie Antoinette or The Scarlet Letter's Hester Prynne). But its purpose here is not entirely retributive. According to Congressional records, the other aim is to restore the public’s confidence after it has been weakened (or at least called into question) by a member’s behavior. Punishable offenses range from payroll fraud (Rep. Charles Diggs in 1979) to fighting in the Senate chambers (Senators Benjamin Tilman and John McLaurin in 1902).
Here’s a breakdown of Congressional violations since the creation of the House Ethics Committee 43 years ago, and how Rangel’s violations compare:
Nearly in tears, Rep. Charlie Rangel asked members of the ethics panel to treat him fairly.
“What the press has done to me, my family and my community is unfair,” said Rangel, saying news outlets will continue to call him a “crook.”
Rangel, never one to hold back his thoughts, said, “I thank you for this awkward opportunity to express myself.”
Rep. Charlie Rangel is expected to appear in person when the ethics panel reconvenes today at noon to decide what punishment the 20-term lawmaker should face for violating 11 congressional ethics rules.
While asking for leniency, Rangel remains defiant. "I knew in my heart that I did nothing corrupt nor seel my office or votes," Rangel said in a statement this morning. "How can 40 witnesses, 30,000 pages of transcripts, over 550 exhibits measure against my forty years of service and commitment to this Body I love so much?"
After a majority of Ethics Panel members recommend a punishment, it will be forwarded to the full House of Representatives to vote on the matter. How serious a punishment Rangel faces is unclear.
Right now, there is only one person who can block Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial nominee from actually getting the job of running the nation’s largest school system: David Steiner.
As commissioner of the state Department of Education, Steiner will decide whether to grant “a waiver” to Bloomberg’s pick Cathie Black, since she does not have the requisite work or education background for the job. Black, a magazine publisher until Bloomberg offered her the job “out of left field,” did not attend public school, and sent her children to boarding school in another state.
The only question now is how to punish Rep. Charlie Rangel.
The facts against the veteran lawmaker in his two-year-old ethics probe were never in dispute. More than five hundred pieces of evidence were accepted without objection by a bipartisan panel who, on Tuesday, found Rangel guilty of violating 11 different Congressional ethics rules.
But now, a complete lack of consensus has broken out about what to do with the facts about Rangel.
Rep. Charlie Rangel was found guilty of 11 ethical violations by a bipartisan Congressional panel who will now determine what punishment to recommend to the full House for an up or down vote.
A House ethics panel has found Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel guilty on 11 counts of breaking House ethics rules. The eight-member ethics panel sat as judge and jury on Rangel's conduct. The 80-year-old congressman was charged with 13 counts of financial and fundraising wrongdoing.
After spending more than $1 million on legal bills, Rep. Charles Rangel told members of the House Ethics committee looking into charges that he violated Congressional ethics rules that he can no longer afford to retain his legal team. He also complained about Congressional rules barring lawmakers from accepting pro-bono services. Then, he excused himself and walked out.
On Sunday, governor-elect Andrew Cuomo announced the latest round of members to his transition committee, the advisory panel that will help decide whom Cuomo brings into his administration as he seeks to "clean up" one of the country's most dysfunctional state capitals.
The headline from the weekend's announcement was the inclusion of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., on one of those transition committees. Kennedy is known as much for his work on environmental issues as he is for hailing from one of the most celebrated political families in American history. More importunely, he is also the brother of Cuomo's ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy, with whom the Governor-elect has three daughters. In 2003, the couple had a particularly nasty divorce, with accusations of her infidelity splashed across tabloid pages for weeks.
The presence of Kennedy's name on the transition committee, carries a powerful, and unmistakeable message: Cuomo is suppressing whatever old and personal feuds may exist in order to find the most talented personnel.
But transition committees have, in the past, proven ideal opportunities for presenting politically optimal visuals, while not always demonstrating deep or insightful decision-making.
The Ethics Committee has denied Rangel's request for a delay and is continuing with the presentation of evidence even without Rangel in the hearing room. "No conclusions as to the facts of this matter can be drawn by the fact that Mr. Rangel has decided not to part in this hearing," said chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Ca). More than 500 pieces of evidence against Congressman Rangel are expected to be presented this morning.
A defiant Rep. Rangel defended himself in front of a committee of his peers and announced his intention to walk out before they agreed to consider delaying the proceedings in a closed door session.
At issue is Rangel's request that the hearing be postponed until he could raise money to hire a lawyer. He said lawyers offered to
represent him for free, but they feared such work would be considered a gift, something banned under current House rules.
"How far does this go" asked Rangel, "because we don't have time?"
On election night last Tuesday, the Associated Press declared Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop of eastern Long Island the winner over Republican challenger, Randy Altschuler, 51 to 49 percent. By the weekend, a review of ballots reversed that, with Altschuler leading Bishop by more than 300 votes.
That sudden switch over who controls the first Congressional district is, in some ways, what's been happening in the district for years.
The first Congressional district encompasses two extreme ends of the economic spectrum, even by New York standards. On one end is the tony playground for New York's wealthiest — the Hamptons — complete with celebrity-filled night clubs and beach-front mansions populated by out-of-town politicians looking to raise seed money for national campaigns.
But that's not where you'll find the voters in the district.
Joel Meares, assistant editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, will be discussing the Olbermann suspension on the Brian Lehrer Show Monday, November 8th at 11:20am.
UPDATE: In a statement on Sunday night, NBC president, Phil Griffin said “After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.”
MSNBC has suspended news anchor Keith Olbermann for donating to three Democratic candidates this election cycle, one of the latest examples of the dangerous territories stars in opinion journalism are finding themselves.
Olbermann acknowledged the donations after they were reported by Politico Friday Morning. Olbermann, as host of MSNBC’s Countdown, fiercely denounced rivals at Fox News when their organization donated more than a million dollars to the Republican Governor’s Association.
The Republican takeover of the House of Representatives will mean a "vast decline in the influence of New York" congress members, says Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker.
From how Pres. Obama's party lost control of the House to why Sarah Palin isn't going away in 2012, listen as WNYC's Brian Lehrer, Andrea Bernstein, Bob Hennelly and Azi Paybarah chew over the election results in this 2010 swan song edition of Digesting Politics.