Streams

Azi Paybarah

author of The Empire blog

Azi Paybarah appears in the following:

State Senator Parker Guilty of Assault on NY Post Photographer

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WNYC

A Brooklyn lawmaker was found guilty of assaulting a newspaper photographer, and could face up to a year in jail.

State Senator Kevin Parker was convicted today of two counts of criminal mischief for the May 2009 assault outside his home against a photographer working for the New York Post.

Comments [1]

Bloomberg and Sharpton Seek Changes to NY Election Rules

Monday, December 06, 2010

WNYC

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.

Comments [2]

Rangel Through Troubles: Defiant, Funny, Defiant

Friday, December 03, 2010

WNYC

Rep. Charlie Rangel wasn't always defiant in the face of allegations he violated Congressional ethics rules. He was sometimes funny, too.

Comments [3]

House Censures Rangel for Ethics Violations

Thursday, December 02, 2010

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.

Comments [2]

Courting Cuomo: How the AG Candidates Tried, and Failed, to Woo Andrew Cuomo

Thursday, December 02, 2010

WNYC

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."

Comment

Rangel Charts His Defense

Monday, November 29, 2010

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.

Comment

As Balloons Are Flattened, Parade-goers Say Thanks

Thursday, November 25, 2010

WNYC

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. 

Comment

Behaving Badly in Congress: A History of Crime and Punishment

Friday, November 19, 2010

WNYC

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:

Comment

Rangel Apologizes for Embarrassing Colleagues, Chief Counsel Recommends Censure

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Updated 3:15pm

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.”

Comment

Ethics Panel Considers Rangel Punishment Today

Thursday, November 18, 2010

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.

Comment

Influencing Steiner

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WNYC

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.

Comments [3]

How to Punish Charlie Rangel: Koch Says Quit, Harlem Pols Laugh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WNYC

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.

Comments [18]

Rangel Found Guilty of 11 Ethics Violations

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WNYC

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.

Comments [2]

Panel: Rangel Guilty of 11 Ethics Violations

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

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.

Comments [1]

Rangel Walks as Ethics Hearing Proceeds

Monday, November 15, 2010

WNYC

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.

Comments [7]

The Critics and Necessary Allies on Cuomo's Transition Team

Monday, November 15, 2010

WNYC

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.

Comments [3]

Ethics Committee Presents Rangel Evidence, Without Rangel

Monday, November 15, 2010

Updated 10:20am

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.

Updated 9:55am

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?" 

Comments [12]

Why One Congressional District Keeps Going to Two Different Parties

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WNYC

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.

Comments [2]

Keith Olbermann Suspended for Political Donations

Friday, November 05, 2010

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.

Comments [38]

GOP Control of Congress Weakens NY Influence

Friday, November 05, 2010

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.

Comments [2]