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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Waitress Moms, College Snobs, and the Tug-of-War for Populist America

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rick Santorum's "snob" comments just don't make sense. And they won't win Waitress Moms in 2012.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

How will Magistrate Judge Roanne Mann go about creating the Congressional maps that Albany lawmakers failed to agree on by March 12th? What criteria should inform her decision-making? Will she work from previous maps, or start from scratch? To what extent will incumbency be a factor? Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner has some thoughts on the subject.

New York Gaming Association President James Featherstonhaugh on enhanced casino gambling.

Keith Pickett, the Executive Director of the Center for Problem Gambling on enhanced casino gambling and its relationship to problem gambling.

Former Special Counsel to Governor David Paterson, Peter Kiernan shares a look back at some of the political calculations made at the very beginning of the hydrofracking debate in New York State. Kiernan is participating in today’s ‘standing-room only’ Warren Anderson Breakfast conversation on the issue in the Capitol’s Assembly Parlor from 8am – 9am.

And Marina Marcou-O'Malley, Policy Analyst for Alliance for Quality Education and Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, join us with yet another reason why pre-k education should be fully funded.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Individual Mandate Might Sink Obama in Swing States

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The majority of polls show Obama beating Romney and Santorum nationally, but he's not doing nearly as well in the battleground states that will determine this election.

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The Takeaway

Romney Looks to Take Arizona Primary

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

While Mitt Romney may have a hard time in his home state of Michigan, he is expected to win the state of Arizona in today's primary contest. Romney, long believed to be the eventual nominee, has faced stiff resistance for insurgent candidates along the trail. Buzz Conover, reporter for Arizona Public Media in Tuscon, joins The Takeaway to talk about today's primary and how it could help Romney's flailing campaign. 

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It's A Free Country ®

Track: Michigan Primary Returns

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The map on this page shows not only who’s winning in each of the state’s 83 counties, but, using Patchwork Nation, it shows how the candidates are doing in each of Michigan's nine  types of county – from the wealthy Monied Burbs to the Service Worker Center counties. It will fill in with data as the results from the primary comes in.

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It's A Free Country ®

Track: Arizona Primary Returns

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The map on this page shows not only who’s winning in each of the state’s 15 counties, but, using Patchwork Nation, it shows how the candidates are doing in each of Arizona's six types of county – from the Service Worker Centers to the rural agricultural Tractor Country counties. It will fill in with data as the results from the primary comes in.

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The Takeaway

Santorum Robo-Calls Try to Lure Democrats

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Voters in Arizona and Michigan go to the polls today. It's no secret that Michigan,  the state where Mitt Romney grew up,  is a must-win for Romney. Add in the fact that any registered voter is allowed to vote in Michigan's open primary it sounds like Rick Santorum has caught the Democratic bug. In a robocall circulated in Michigan yesterday, Santorum tried to woo the Democrats.

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The Empire

Dozens of rabbis come out against Councilman Fidler in senate special election

Monday, February 27, 2012

A group of 49 rabbis urged followers not to vote for Councilman Lew Fidler in the special election to replace disgraced former senator Carl Kruger. In a letter titled "A Message for the Community", the rabbis detail Fidler's support for same-sex marriage, declaring:

It is therefore considered to be a great Chilul Hashem [desecration of God's law] to vote for or provide funding, campaign assistance, public recognition or any type of campaign support to Mr. Fidler. To do so would amount to being mesiy’ayah ovrei aveirah (abetting transgression of the Torah’s commandments).

Fidler's campaign has released a list of 266 endorsers of his campaign, but the Politicker blog found that"at least a handful of these backers, mostly rabbis, are no longer on board with Mr. Fidler as he campaigns in the heavily Jewish, southern Brooklyn district."

The letter from the rabbis did not go so far as to endorse a vote for Fidler's opponent, Republican David Storobin.

The letter is after the jump. [h/t to the Orthodox Pundit.]

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The Empire

Cuomo reworks pitch for new pension tier

Monday, February 27, 2012

By Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

  (Courtesy of the Governor's office.)

Governor Andrew Cuomo took a step back from his proposal to give new state workers the option of defined contribution 401(k) plan Monday, but the governor says without pension reform, local governments in New York could end up “bankrupt”.

Cuomo told a receptive audience of mayors from around the state that New York’s current pension system is unsustainable and must be changed for future hires.

“If we do not do this, we could literally bankrupt the state of New york,” Cuomo said.

The governor, in his budget proposal, wants a new benefit tier that offers a reduced public pension or a 401k style plan, but he says he’s flexible like “Gumby” on that.

“I’m not saying that ‘this is my plan, you know, it’s my way or the highway’,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo says if lawmakers offer an alternative plan that saves as much money as his plan, then he’s open to talks. The governor says his plan will save $113 billion dollars over future decades.

A spokesman for the state’s largest public workers union, the Civil Service Employees Association, says even without the 401(k) option, Cuomo’s proposed Tier VI benefit plan is too meager.

“The Tier 6 plan represents a 40 percent reduction in benefits, with or without options," CSEA’s Steven Madarasz said in a statement. "That is all about corporate CEOs  driving an agenda that tells future nurses, school bus drivers, highway workers and others to give up hope of  future security."

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The Empire

Federal judges move to draw NY congressional maps

Monday, February 27, 2012

From left, Assemb. Jack McEneny, Sen. Michael Nozzolio and Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

In Brooklyn federal district court today a three-judge panel took a decisive step towards having new congressional lines drawn by an appointed magistrate judge, and not by the legislatively-controlled LATFOR committee.

Led by Circuit Judge Reena Raggi, who spoke almost exclusively for the triumvirate, the panel cited the "utmost urgency" of having congressional lines in place for the primary petitioning period that begins on March 20. The panel of judges instructed a court-appointed federal magistrate, the Honorable Roanne Mann, to retain experts and get public feedback in order to have a proposed set of new congressional boundaries to the court by Monday, March 12.

A public hearing on the court's proposed lines would be held on March 15.

Legislative leaders have up to now been unable to agree upon and present a set of congressional maps to the public. We may get our first glimpse of what the state Assembly and Senate have in mind soon; maps from the parties in the case are due by the end of this week.

But some observers believe the legislature isn't going to give up its power to draw maps that easy.

"I think the chances are that they [the legislature] will get it together and draw the lines," said Jerry Goldfeder, a New York City-based election lawyer. "This is just an extra motivating force."

The question will be whether or not they've run out of time: even if the legislature is able to agree upon a set of maps, they must then get Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign them into law. And even then, the legislature's maps must then be pre-cleared by the Department of Justice, who has up to 60 days to review them.

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It's A Free Country ®

Working White Voters: Misunderstood Political Prize

Monday, February 27, 2012

The richest voters support Republicans, but the richest states support Democrats. White voters without a college degree overwhelmingly favored Republicans in 2008 and 2010, but they’re making up a shrinking share of the electorate.

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The Empire

Latino groups to Cuomo: Veto the legislative lines

Monday, February 27, 2012

In a letter sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo late last week, LatinoJustice and the National Institute for Latino Policy called on the Governor to veto the legislative redistricting lines that were expected to come out this week.

You will be asked to approve and sign off on proposed redistricting maps in the coming days. We ask that you not adopt these proposed districts wholesale without further scrutiny...[W]e firmly believe that the entire Senate plan and parts of the Assembly plan, have been drawn in an attempt to minimize the Latino Communities' impact and potentially violate the Latino communities' ability to elect candidates of their choice.

LatinoJustice is involved in a law suit that's challenging the legislature's progress in and process for drawing new federal and state legislative lines. It helped lead to the hearing being held in Brooklyn today to determine how much a federal court will get involved in the process.

In the letter below, the groups' presidents say the proposed state legislative maps "go out of their way to draw lines that tend to split up well-settled communities and which dilute the voting power of Latinos in certain districts."
LatinoJ Cuomo Letter

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The Empire

Redistricting round-up: McEneny, Silver say no congressional lines this week

Monday, February 27, 2012

It doesn’t look like new congressional lines will be revealed any time soon.

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The Empire

'The Capitol Pressroom' with Susan Arbetter

Monday, February 27, 2012

Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":

Medicaid is one of the primary cost drivers in the state; reforming the system is long overdue. As policy makers explore possible ways to contain costs, they also must balance the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers who depend on services that Medicaid provides. Today on the Capitol Pressroom we discuss the impact that certain state policies have had on two of these groups: people with mental illness and people with developmental disabilities.

Mental Illness
When state psychiatric facilities close, where do the residents go? According to the Mental Illness Policy Organization, too many go to prison. Patricia Baker, Vice President the New York State Public Employees Federation joins us along with DJ Jaffe, the founder of Mental Illness Policy Org to discuss what their respective organizations both consider trends of concern regarding the state's policy of transitioning people with mental illness from state institutions into community-based care.

Developmental Disabilities
Similarly, the state is hoping to close some larger institutions where people with developmental disabilities live. This comes in response to both the cost of care, as well as widely publicized systemic abuses within the system. Albany Law School's Bridgit Burke and Rhonda Frederick of the nonprofit provider Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York will share concerns about the changes being implemented.

“Home” Rulings
Ithaca attorney Helen Slottje, of the Community Environmental Defense Council joins us along with Katherine Nadeau of Environmental Advocates with a pro-home rule perspective on the court decisions in both the Dryden & Middlefield cases.

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

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The Takeaway

The Role of Religion in Politics

Monday, February 27, 2012

On Sunday, during an appearance on ABC News' "This Week," Rick Santorum pushed his socially conservative message to new heights by denouncing the separation of church and state. Specifically, he stated that John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech supporting the split "made [him] want to throw up," and began the turn away from American values. However, some historians assert that the age-old debate over the role of religion in politics is actually quite recent, and only entered public discourse with the rise of the religious right in the late 80s and early 90s.

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The Takeaway

GOP Primary in Arizona

Monday, February 27, 2012

We have both the Arizona and Michigan primaries tomorrow. And while much of the debate is over Romney and Michigan, we'll leave that to the pundits for the time being and focus on Arizona. Often our reporting from that part of the country has been informed by Peter O'Dowd, news director from KJZZ in Arizona. Peter joins us in studio this morning here in New York where he gives us an update on the primary race in his home state.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: GOP Primaries, Oil Prices, EU Stability

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Republican presidential candidates prepare for primary battles in Michigan and Arizona, two states hit particularly hard by the economic crisis. Mitt Romney won the support of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, but will his popularity in Arizona help him rise in the Michigan polls? In economic news, the German parliament prepares for a vote on the Greek bailout package, and while gasoline prices rise, consumers may not be too concerned.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Romney's Burn Rate - Is Mitt Short on Money?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Early losses in Iowa and South Carolina forced the Romney campaign to shift gears while spending millions of dollars to do so.

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The Empire

De Blasio supports the creation of a new Latino congressional seat

Friday, February 24, 2012

In a statement released today, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio threw his support behind the creation of a new Latino-majority congressional district during this year's redistricting process:

New York City rises on the foundation of our rich diversity. The remarkable achievements of Latino New Yorkers are increasingly defining our city's civic life, economy and faith communities.  Our charge, as progressives, is to ensure that the opportunity for a political voice keeps pace.

Our State Legislature has the historic opportunity to create a third Congressional District to affirm the right of the growing Latino community to elect the candidates of its choice, without significant changes to current ‘majority-minority’ Congressional districts.  With attacks on Latino electoral participation growing across the nation, creating a third Latino congressional district here would reaffirm our city's commitment to the American principles of openness, diversity and civic participation.

Creation of this new congressional district is the most appropriate means of ensuring that Latino voting interests are adequately represented in New York's congressional delegation.

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: Will High Gas Prices Hurt Obama's Re-Election Hopes?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Incumbent parties tend to fare poorly in elections when consumers feel like they're paying an arm and a leg at the pump. But it's more complicated than that.

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