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Monserrate Rejoins the Democrats

Monday, June 15, 2009

In Albany, it's still unclear who's in control. Lawmakers continue to await a court decision on whether last week's Republican takeover of the Senate chamber was legal. Today, Queens Senator Hiram Monserrate switched his allegiance back to fellow Democrats, making an even 31 to 31 vote split in the chamber.



Redesigning the Gay Flag

Friday, June 12, 2009

Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen is asking listeners to redesign the gay flag for the 21st century. The design firm Worldstudio is also taking on the assignment and will present its ...


Today in History: Tear Down This Wall

Friday, June 12, 2009

President Ronald Reagan speaking before the Brandenburg Gate.

President Ronald Reagan speaking before the Brandenburg Gate.

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered an address at the Brandenburg Gate. In his speech, he challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ...


Sound Portraits: The First Documentary on Stonewall

Friday, June 12, 2009

Photo by Harvey Wang

Photo by Harvey Wang

This documentary from Sound Portraits, broadcast on the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, is the first documentary - in any medium ...


Tug o' War Continues in the NY Senate

Thursday, June 11, 2009

An appellate court judge has granted State Senate Democrats an injunction that partially blocks the new coalition leadership from taking control. The order blocks Pedro Espada, the dissident Democrat elected Senate president on Monday, from being in line to succeed the governor if he's out of state, or if the ...


The Decemberists Live

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Decemberists joined Soundcheck to perform songs from their latest album, an hour-long, 17-track rock opera, The Hazards of Love. This story of star-crossed lovers and a shape-shifting beast is set to a score that recalls 1960s British folk-pop and bombastic '70s-style prog rock. Led by songwriter Colin Meloy, the quintet is joined today by vocalists Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond.

“Won’t Want for Love (Margaret In The Taiga)”

“The Hazards of Love 2: Wager All”

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Near Riot as NY Senate Holds Brief Session

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Reporter Karen DeWitt reports that it was a near riot in the State Senate chamber in Albany today when Senators Pedro Espada and Dean Skelos finally reconvened under the new Senate leadership. Dewitt says protesters with Citizen Action and ...


Chaos in the State Capitol

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Uncertainty continues to reign in Albany.Doors to the state Senate chamber in Albany were still locked three hours after the Republicans said they would hold their first Senate session. New York Daily News political columnist and blogger Liz Benjamin was there and she joined Amy Eddings to discuss the debacle.

Reporter Karen DeWitt also found chaos at the Senate chamber.

"Hundreds of reporters, lobbyists, onlookers, a crowd of 200-300 people have been gathered outside the main Senate door for over an hour now, waiting for Senator Espada and Senator Skelos to show up as promised. People are getting very restless. The air is bad. People are threatening to faint. It just seems like the government is disintegrating, because no one will tell give us an answer of where they are or what is going on."

Earlier, Senator Malcolm Smith of Queens -- who is still calling himself the senate majority leader -- said he is seeking a court injunction to prevent Republicans from taking power.

Governor Paterson is asking his fellow Democrats to unlock the doors to the Senate chamber, and for senators to hold another vote to decide who will be their leader, Republican Dean Skelos, or Democrat Malcolm Smith.

"I am urging them all to go back to the chamber. They can simply go in and elect the majority leader, and I will work with whomever it is."

Paterson says a do-over is needed because it is unclear whether Monday's vote to restore the GOP to power happened during the session, or after it was gaveled to a close.

Bronx and Queens constituents are being hit with a wave of robocalls criticizing State Senators Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr. for their role in the Republican coup.

In a call, an anonymous young woman says that Monserrate betrayed voters in his district. The 13th District - which he represents - is overwhelmingly Democratic.

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Coup d'Etat, What?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Our Digesting Politics trio plumbs the why and what for of the coup in Albany.

Digesting Politics

A sample of the conversation:

Brian Lehrer: I'm still trying to figure out what this means. To the best of my ability to discern, this ...


Alice Ramsey's Historic Transcontinental Road Trip

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pulling Alice Ramsey's Maxwell auto out of a ditch (Peter Ramsey)

Pulling Alice Ramsey\'s Maxwell auto out of a ditch (Peter Ramsey)

On June 9, 1909, 22 year-old Alice Ramsey became the first woman to drive across the United States unaccompanied by a man. Ramsey departed from Broadway Avenue in New York City and completed her journey in San Francisco. The 3,800-mile trip took 59 days.

A representative of the Maxwell-Briscoe automobile company proposed the transcontinental trip after Ramsey entered a 200-mile endurance drive to Montauk, New York. In a public relations stunt, the company paid all of Ramsey's expenses for the cross-country journey, but for Ramsey, the trip was about more than advertising.

Although three female passengers accompanied Ramsey on her transcontinental journey, she was the only one who knew how to drive. The other passengers were her sisters-in-law, Nettie Powell and Margaret Atwood, as well as a friend, 16-year old Hermine Jahns.

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Senate Coup: Reform or Power Grab?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Senator Pedro Espada

Senator Pedro Espada

One of the dissident Democrats who joined Republicans in yesterday's leadership coup in New York's Senate says the move isn't about returning power to the GOP. Queens Democrat Hiram Monserrate tells WNYC's Brian Lehrer it's about ...

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Senators Krueger and Monserrate on Brian Lehrer

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Senator Monserrate

Senator Monserrate

Liz Krueger, New York State Senator (D-Manhattan, 26th district), and Hiram Monserrate, New York State Senator (D-Queens, 13th district), react to the change in leadership in Albany. Plus: Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union, ...

Comments [1]

Republican Coup in NY Senate

Monday, June 08, 2009

Republicans have retaken control of New York's Senate after two dissident Democrats jumped the aisle in a parliamentary coup. The party-flip of senators Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens gives Republicans a 32-30 edge in the chamber. Within an hour of the overthrow, Republicans named ...

Comments [7]

Today in History: D-Day

Saturday, June 06, 2009

General Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers an address on D-Day invasion in Normandy, France.

“Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force. You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have ...


Today in History: The Marshall Plan

Friday, June 05, 2009

Marshall Plan poster

On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave a speech at Harvard University in which he outlined the Marshall Plan.

'It is logical that the United Nations should do whatever it is able ...


Peregrine Falcon Chicks Born on City Bridges

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Five new Peregrine Falcon chicks have hatched atop the city's bridges this spring
. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the bridges, says that three were born on the Verrazano-Narrows and one each on the Throgs Neck and Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial bridges. They vary in age from three ...


Cleveland's Health Line: A Boost for Transit and for Business?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reported by Dan Moulthrop

As American cities increasingly look to expand their transit options -- but keep costs low -- many planners are looking at Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT. The city of Cleveland, Ohio, launched a BRT, called the Health Line, about six months ago with two promises. The first: better, more efficient public transit on an important city artery. The second promise was more nebulous: that the BRT would provide an economic boost to the city's depressed downtown. In WNYC's look at BRTs around the world, Reporter Dan Moulthrop takes a look at how it's going in Cleveland.

Let's start with the buses.

CALABRESE: The vehicles we use are not buses, they're Rapid Transit Vehicles.

And the difference?

CALABRESE: A couple hundred thousand dollars.

Joe Calabrese is the CEO of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. And, he's really proud of the new BRT system. So proud, he still cherishes last year’s bus-of-the-month calendar from a manufacturer that featured Cleveland’s new vehicle.

CALABRESE: The uniqueness is the rail-like design and the rail-like operation. We really designed, built and are operating this as if it were a rail system. The only difference is that they’re operating on rubber tires.

Cleveland’s Bus Rapid Transit line has been running since last October. Euclid Avenue wasn’t supposed to be serviced by fancy buses. In the early 1990s, city leaders pushed for a surface rail line, but the cost for the four-mile line would have been close to a billion dollars. Like New York, perhaps, only more so, Cleveland couldn’t afford that. So the city leaders put their hope in what they saw as the next best much cheaper thing. And they said—and privately hoped—it would spur the economic development the same way light rail has in Portland, Oregon, and other cities.

The downtown end of Euclid Avenue is lined with tall historic buildings—mostly empty. This part of the city stood in for New York in parts of the movie Spiderman Three. Here, it’s not difficult to understand the need for economic development.

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Today in History: The Five Little Quints

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On May 28, 1934, five identical girls were born to Oliva and Elzire Dionne in Ontario, Canada. The Dionne girls were the first quintuplets to survive infancy. The government determined their parents were unfit to be their guardians and made them wards of the state. They became a ...


Four Councilmembers Endorse Thompson

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All four Democratic candidates for comptroller came to the steps of City Hall to endorse City Comptroller Bill Thompson for mayor. This year's Democratic comptroller contenders are Councilwoman Melinda Katz, Councilman David Yasky, Councilman David Weprin, and Councilman ...


Swine Flu: Two More Deaths, School Status

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with Sesame Street character Elmo at a news conference to encourage families and children to take steps to protect themselves from the H1N1 influenza virus, on May 22, 2009, in Washington, DC. (Getty)

Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with Sesame Street character Elmo at a news conference to encourage families and children to take steps to protect themselves from the H1N1 influenza virus, on May 22, 2009, in Washington, DC. (Getty)

Two more New York City deaths have been linked to swine flu. A 41-year-old Queens woman and a 34-year-old Brooklyn man died over the weekend. Both tested positive for H1N1. But Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden says it’s not yet clear whether the virus caused the death or was a factor.

'Both have died, but the autopsy which gives the details and says whether something else is going on won’t be ready for some time.'

Frieden says both had underlying health conditions, but he would not say what they were, citing patient privacy. He also says the two did not work in schools, where the outbreak has been concentrated. He did not say whether they had any links to school students or staff.

Latest swine flu school closures from the Board of Education

Schools closed Wednesday, May 27

The following schools will be closed on Wednesday, May 27 because they have experienced unusually high levels of influenza-like illness in recent days. All of these schools are closed based on recommendations from the New York City Department of Health.


* PS 58Q - reopening Thursday, May 28
* P9Q's program at PS 58Q - reopening Thursday, May 28
o Please note that the main P9 building in Maspeth is NOT closed. Only the P9 location at PS 58Q is closed.
* P811Q's program at building P822Q - reopening Monday, June 1
o Please note that the P811 program at PS 136Q is NOT closed. Only the location at P822Q is closed.


* PS 160K - reopening Thursday, May 28
* PS/IS 384K - reopening Thursday, May 28
* P53K's program at PS/IS 384K - reopening Thursday, May 28
* PS 231K's program at PS/IS 180K - reopening Monday, June 1
o Please note that PS/IS 180K is NOT closed. Only PS 231K's program there is closed.
* PS 369K - reopening Monday, June 1


* PS 30M - reopening Thursday, May 28
* PS 138M - reopening Thursday, May 28
* Kappa II - reopening Thursday, May 28
* PS 128M - reopening Monday, June 1


* PS 68X - reopening Monday, June 1