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The Takeaway

The Conservative Divide Over the Border Fence

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The extension of border fences has been a hot topic at recent GOP presidential debates. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann has signed a pledge urging the completion of a fence by by 2013. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain also supports a full-border fence, but he backed away from his comments over the weekend that the fence should be "20 feet high, with barbed wire, electrified." Of the nine candidates, only two say they think the fence is a bad idea — Congressman Ron Paul and Texas Governor Rick Perry. But what would it really mean to build a wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico? And do the perspectives the GOP candidates reflect most Republican's views on the fence?

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WNYC News

Occupy Wall Street: From A Blog Post To A Movement

Thursday, October 20, 2011

After more than a month, the cause that started with a protest in New York has gained momentum and spread around the world. That's quite a feat for what began in July as a blog post inspired by the Arab Spring.

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WNYC News

With Romney In Race, Mormon Church Steps Up Ads

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

As former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tries to overcome unease about his religion in his bid for the GOP nomination, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken out billboards and TV ads in 12 new cities. The ads proclaim "I'm a Mormon" and aim to dispel misconceptions about the church.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: How I Learned to Love the Filibuster

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

After the Senate last week defeated President Obama's American Jobs Act through filibuster, the Congressional tactic has come under a lot of criticism. Illinois Senator Richard Durbin said Tuesday that he favors a return to earlier (and tougher) rules, which required dissenting lawmakers hold ...

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The Empire

Patrick Foye in as new head of the Port Authority

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

  (Courtesy of MTA.info)

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced his recommendation to replace Chris Ward, a Paterson appointee, as head of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Transportation Nation has the write up:

Chris Ward’s three and a half year tenure as executive director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has come to an end.   Patrick Foye,  Cuomo aide and former state Economic Development chief, is in.

...

Cuomo announced the appointment in a press release today: “The Port Authority must meet its potential as a major economic engine that plans for the region and attracts business on an international scale. We must also improve its operations and maximize the value out of every dollar spent so that it is financially responsible and respects the tax and toll payers.”

Foye’s most recent job before that was deputy county executive for economic development for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Foye left that job in January after Mangano decided, against Foye’s advice, to sue a state-appointed control board to prevent it from taking over the county’s finances. The county lost the lawsuit.

Foye, a lawyer who worked with Skadden Arps, is a former downstate chairman for New York’s Empire State Development Corporation. Since May 2010, he has sat on the board of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In an interview, MTA board member Mitch Pally said Foye has been active in his role as the appointee from Nassau County in Long Island. “He’s delved into operating details of the system, communication issues with commuters and fare structure,” Pally said.

You can read the entire post here.

One more interesting thing in the notice about Foye's appointment was the governor's desire to move the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Moynihan Station project under the purview of the Port Authority. More, hopefully, on this later.

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It's A Free Country ®

Podcast: 2012 GOP Candidates Sink With Latinos

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In this podcast, Fi2W Executive Producer John Rudolph speaks with La Opinión senior political writer and columnist Pilar Marrero about the first poll measuring how Latino voters are responding to the GOP presidential field. Listen:

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It's A Free Country ®

20 Years Later: Anita Hill and the Justice Thomas Confirmation Hearings

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm a journalist. I'm a reporter. I cover the court. This was my story. I thought it was a credible story but you know, you saw what I saw and I don't think we actually have proof positive. Lots of people have their opinions, but I don't think it's in my interest to actually resolve this based on an opinion as opposed to fact.

Nina Totenberg, NPR's legal affairs correspondent, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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It's A Free Country ®

Anna and the Independent Voter: Maine's Rebellious Streak

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

As the autumn chill begins its descent southward, it's not just the crisp air that's making the rest of the country feel a little like Maine. Here, anti-establishment rebelliousness and economic populism is nothing new. This is the state where Ross Perot came in second in 1992. This year, a deep sense of alienation from Washington political representatives is polishing the independent streak, with some unexpected results.

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The Empire

Cuomo receives award at HuffPo's 'Occupy SoHo'

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update: Photo slideshow added at the bottom.

Occupy Wall St protesters outside the awards ceremony (Colby Hamilton / WNYC)

It was supposed to be a celebratory evening for Governor Andrew Cuomo. The liberal news site The Huffington Post was presenting the governor with its 2011 "Game Changer of the Year" award for his successful campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.

Magazine cover celebrities and newsmakers lined up for pictures on the carpet at the entrance. Glasses of champagne were handed out to hundreds on hand celebrating the governor and 99 other leaders' work on various social, political and business fronts.

During his remarks, Cuomo spoke out against the death penalty, up for a woman's right to choose, and about the inevitable future of legalized same-sex marriage "from coast to coast."

But the other 99 -- the Occupy Wall Street "99 percent" protesters who'd shown up outside -- had a different set of talking point. The crowd of about 150 was mostly young, grungy and remarkably disciplined. They made up chants decrying the governor's support for hydrofracking and refusal to extend taxes on upper income earners.

After some initial back-and-forth with the police, the protesters agreed to move their picket across the street. They were violating a permit the Huffington Post party organizers had for use of the sidewalk.

Shortly after Cuomo's remarks some mid-level celebrity in sequence and high-heels ran into the middle of the street. A gaggle of dutiful photographers followed, flashes blowing. Traffic was forced to stop for the impromptu photo shoot.

The protesters, dimly lit by the cameras, continued to protest the governor who'd already left out the back.

Check out a photo slideshow of the event after the jump.

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The Empire

Comptroller DiNapoli: budget problems ahead

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

From a new report on the state's fiscal condition released today by the Comptroller's office:

Growth in revenue collections in several major categories of taxes is slowing, and at the midpoint of the fiscal year, Personal Income Tax, sales tax, and business taxes are lagging recent projections by $400 million. If these trends continue, the state may need to adjust its revenue projections downward.

This is probably a major part of the problem. From Susanne Craig's post yesterday in the Times DealBook on Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks decreased profits:

New York, the nation’s financial hub, is bracing for the fallout. Wall Street, which accounts for 14 percent of the state’s tax revenue, is expected to lay off an additional 10,000 employees in the area by 2012, bringing total layoffs since 2008 to 32,000, according to a recent report by the New York State Comptroller.

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The Empire

Quinn continues to lead 2013 Democratic field

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wanted to just break this out from the rest of the Quinnipiac results:

Regardless of who else is running, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continues to lead all other rivals with Democratic voters. Among all voters, when added to the equation, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly remains at the top of the heap.

At this point, though, the 2013 polls remain mostly a name recognition game:

  • Police Commissioner Ray Kelly -- 25 percent, with 17 percent of Democrats;
  • City Council Speaker Christine Quinn – 17 percent, with 22 percent of Democrats;
  • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz – 14 percent, with 15 percent of Democrats;
  • City Comptroller John Liu – 10 percent, with 10 percent of Democrats;
  • Former City Comptroller William Thompson – 8 percent, with 9 percent of Democrats;
  • Public Advocate Bill de Blasio – 6 percent, with 7 percent of Democrats;
  • Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer – 5 percent, with 6 percent of Democrats
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The Empire

USS Bloomberg adrift in third term say NY voters

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More than half of respondents in a new Quinnipiac poll say Mayor Bloomberg has lost focus during his third term, which the mayor was able to serve thanks to a controversial overturn of city law. According to the poll, 52 percent of New York City voters polled said the mayor was adrift.

Likewise, the bump in job approval number the mayor received after the tropical storm scare earlier this summer has been erased. The mayor's post-storm job approval high was 52 percent on September 12. It's now fallen back back to near the 45 percent mark it was at on July 27, according to Quinnipiac.

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The Takeaway

Occupy Wall Street and Free Speech

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Does the right to protest include the right to set up camp in downtown Manhattan? When it comes to Occupy Wall Street and protesters in Zuccotti Park, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't think so. "The Constitution doesn’t protect tents," he said at a news conference earlier this week in Queens. "It protects speech and assembly." Mayor Bloomberg also suggested that those exercising a "right to be silent" might be having their rights trampled by the constant noise coming from the demonstrations in their tent city. 

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WNYC News

From 9-9-9 To Immigration: Fact-Checking The GOP's Nevada Debate

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas: PolitiFact offers a reality check on squads some of the candidates' statements from the GOP debate.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: In Last Night's Debate, Mitt Show Kills Hermentum, Shuts Down Perry

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In last night's Republican Debate, which we all anticipated would shine a bright light on Cain - the latest to surge in the ABR (Anyone But Romney) race - Romney took center stage.

-Justin Krebs, It's A Free Country blogger.

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The Takeaway

Republicans Debate Immigration and Other Issues in Las Vegas

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Republican presidential contenders took their latest debate to Las Vegas on Tuesday night, where they discussed immigration, health care, and the economy. The debate was tense at times as Rick Perry tried to regain his momentum, and Mitt Romney defended his Massachusetts health plan. Candidates also briefly weighed in on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Did Herman Cain prove to be a viable opponent to Mitt Romney? And did Rick Perry help his chances, or further sink his campaign?

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It's A Free Country ®

Watch: Republican Presidential Debate from Las Vegas

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The major GOP candidates for president (save for Jon Huntsman) gathered in Las Vegas on Tuesday, October 18th for a televised debate. The It's A Free Country politics team and your fellow WNYC political junkies watched and chatted.

It's A Free Country ®

Five Things to Watch For in the Las Vegas GOP Debate

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Republican candidates will meet yet again this evening in Las Vegas, capping off a marathon of debates that began in early September. The primary landscape looks very different now than it did back then, when Rick Perry was ascendant and 9/9/9 wasn't a catch phrase. Here's what to look for.

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It's A Free Country ®

Explainer: What Ron Paul's Trillion-Dollar Spending Cuts Axe (and What They Don't)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ron Paul wants to slash government spending by $1 trillion, and he doesn't want to waste any time.

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WNYC News

Obama Takes Aim At Republican Jobs Plan

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Throughout his bus tour in the South, the president has pushed his American Jobs Act and hammered at the competing Republican plan. The GOP strategy, which many of the Republican presidential contenders have adopted, relies heavily on lower tax rates, more domestic energy production and fewer government regulations.

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