It’s been two and a half years since I started working full time for my University here in Beijing, and in that time, the frequency of the Sunday Train dropped from once a week a week with only the occasional missed week, to a few scattered runs during Semester breaks. Back in January 2014, more …
Tag: New York
Apr 19 2016
2016 Primaries: New York Has Its Day
The polls opened in most of southeastern New York at 6 AM and at Noon in the rest of the state due to some antiquated law that no one can rationally explain. NY is a closed primary, so you must be registered as a Democrat or Republican to vote. New voters had until March 25 …
Sep 10 2014
The Primaries Aftermath
The primaries are over and the campaigning for November will now commence. There were no real surprises last night except perhaps for nine term Democratic Representative John Tierney who lost to political newcomer Seth Moulton in the state’s 6th Congressional District.
Tierney is the fourth House incumbent and first Democrat to lose a primary this year.
He joins Republican Reps. Kerry Bentivolio of Michican, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the former majority leader, and Ralph Hall of Texas on the House casualty list.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and his running mate for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, won but not as big as the Cuomo camp would have liked
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) won his primary and will very likely go on to win re-election as governor, but it was an ugly victory. With 98.3 percent of precincts reporting Cuomo took 62.1 percent of the primary vote compared to 34.2 percent for his main opponent Zephyr Teachout, who ran to his left. That may seem like a decent margin but it is actually a very weak performance by historical standards for an incumbent governor.
In Rhode Island, the voters chose a woman and an Asian man to run for the governorship, the time in RI history that there isn’t a white male running.
Democrats chose General Treasurer Gina Raimondo over Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and former Obama administration official Clay Pell. On the Republican side, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung beat businessman Ken Block.
If elected, Raimondo would be the Ocean State’s first woman governor, while Fung would be its first Asian-American governor.
The Democratic race was especially contentious, as Raimondo was sometimes characterized as too sympathetic to Wall Street, due in part to a controversial pension reform plan she helped usher through the state legislature.
Fung, for his part, has had to explain his involvement in a car crash 25 years ago, when he was 18, that resulted in a man’s death. All charges against Fung, who claims he lost consciousness while driving, were eventually dropped.
In New Hampshire, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown secured his spot on the ballot to challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Incumbent Governor Maggie Hassan easily won her primary and will vie to keep her seat out of the hands of Republican businessman Walt Havenstein.
Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakely will face the Republican Charlies Baker in his second try to become governor. He lost to current Gov. Deval Patrick in 2010
The best summation of last night’s results come from Charlie Pierce who wants to talk about the Democrats we don’t like and why:
In Rhode Island, the Democratic nominee for governor is Gina Raimondo, and the national press loves her already because, as state treasurer, she knuckled the public employee unions, and there’s nothing the national press loves more than Democratic politicians who give their most faithful constituents a damn good public rogering.
Analysts were already predicting that if she won in November, Ms. Raimondo could go on to become a national star in the party, showing fellow Democrats that responsible policy is not necessarily bad politics, although organized labor may choose to differ.
Lovely sentence, that. “Responsible policy” set up as the direct opposite of “organized labor.” In praise of a Democratic candidate. And a hint as to who these “analysts” were would be helpful.
Raimondo’s raid on public employee pensions began just about as soon as she was elected state treasurer. And, as Matt Taibbi pointed out in a lengthy Rolling Stone piece, Raimondo was not acting on her own. The “tough choices” she was making, she was making on behalf of people who haven’t made tough choices since they were in diapers. [..]
And then there’s Andrew Cuomo, who is as beholden to the thieves as Raimondo is, but he’s far more of an obvious dick about it. Cuomo won re-nomination last night, albeit not as overwhelmingly as he needed to in order to start booking rooms in Ottumwa for December of 2015. So, as is customary, defeated candidate Zephyr Teachout tried to call Cuomo to congratulate him on his victory.
Apparently, Cuomo kept up the act straight through primary night. He did not hold a victory party (which would have suggested he participated in a primary), and Teachout was reportedly unable to concede to the governor with a phone call, as he wouldn’t give her his number.
What kind of an arrogant jackeen doesn’t give his opponent his phone number? As far as I know, that’s unprecedented in a major political campaign. But the success of Cuomo and Raimondo, and who their friends are, and who they’re beholden to, makes me exceedingly nervous over what may happen on the Wednesday after election day in November. If the Democrats lose disastrously, losing their Senate majority, a bloodbath in the House, I guarantee you that the conventional wisdom of how the party was “dragged too far left” by that liberal lion, Barack Obama, and how it must purge the remnants of the “Occupy” movement in order to court the votes of “independents” and “centrists,” will spring up all over the elite political media like mushrooms after a hard rain; “Analysts” will tell you that Elizabeth Warren’s time is done, and that Gina Raimondo is the future of the Democratic party. And the rich will get richer, which is how it’s supposed to be.
There aren’t any really good choices for New Yorkers or Rhode Islanders.
Sep 09 2014
The Last of the 2014 Primaries Today
Today is Primary Day in five states, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. As with all primaries voter turn out is expected to be low, if not, abysmal. But these elections are even more important than the general election since it gives the members of the individual parties to voice their opinions to the party heads who, for the most part, are out of touch with the general electorate or just willfully ignoring them. This is the vote that makes the bigger difference in the direction the country takes. So, if you are eligible to vote in any of today’s primaries, get your butt to the polls and make your opinion known.
Here is the who’s who for today:
New York: The race for the Democratic nomination for governor and lieutenant governor, a separate line on the ballot in NY, has attracted nationwide attention. It pits incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo and his choice for lieutenant governor, former Representative Kathy Hochul against Fordham law professor, Zephyr Teachout and her running mate, Columbia law professor Tim Wu.
Gov. Cuomo’s refusal to debate Prof. Teachout and his obvious public snubbing her at Saturday’s NYC Labor Day parade then denying he even saw her despite evidence to the contrary, has made this race a news media delight.
What’s one way for a powerful incumbent to deal with an unwelcome primary challenger?
Act like she doesn’t exist.
That’s the model Andrew Cuomo’s campaign has deployed in fending off Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout, who has been running to the Democratic governor’s left.
The strategy was on its most vivid display Saturday when Teachout attempted to greet Cuomo at a New York City parade but was repeatedly boxed out by one of the governor’s aides as Cuomo appeared determined to ignore his opponent.
Teachout’s candidacy is built on the premise that the incumbent is too close to Wall Street and Republican lawmakers — a perhaps difficult tack given Cuomo’s progressive bona fides highlighted by the same-sex marriage law and tough new gun control legislation he pushed through in Albany.
Cuomo is expected to cruise to victory on Tuesday, but Teachout’s candidacy has been a nuisance to the first-term governor.
Cuomo began only this past weekend to campaign actively for re-election, and he suggested to the Washington Post that he could simultaneously be a “liberal Democrat” and a “moderate Democrat.”
Gov, Cuomo’s biggest problems are the federal investigation of his dissolution of his Moreland Commission that was investigating NY state election finance corruption and the fact that he isn’t a Democrat at all. He will likely win.
His running mate, Kathy Hochul, however, may not, which could have some interesting results for November if the governor doesn’t dump Hochul.
Such an action could be needed because a Wu victory would result in a Cuomo/Wu ticket on the Democratic line in the November election but potentially disastrous Cuomo/Hochul tickets on the Working Families, Independence, and Women’s Equality lines, where no primaries are slated.
Under the state Election Law, votes for a Cuomo/Hochul ticket in November would not be added to the tally for the Cuomo/Wu ticket, potentially costing Cuomo hundreds of thousands of votes.
Cuomo would have until Sept. 16 under the election law to swap Wu for Hochul, using a technique that would allow the former Buffalo-area congresswoman and lawyer to be nominated instead for a judgeship, according to an expert on legislative election law.
I love New York.
Massachusetts: Incumbent Governor Deval Patrick (D) decided not the run for a third term. Vying for the Democratic nod are:
Martha Coakley, current MA Attorney General who lost her bid in the 2010 special election for the senate seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy to Republican Scott Brown;
Donald Berwick, a former Obama administration health care official;
Steve Grossman, the MA state treasurer, who was endorsed by the state party, as well as the Boston Globe.
On the Republican side:
Charlie Baker, who won the Republican nomination in 2010, is the former state Secretary of Finance and Administration and the former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care;
Mark Fisher, a businessman aligned with the tea party.
The winners will face three independent candidates in November.
New Hampshire: The Republicans who hope to unseat Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen are:
Scott Brown, former MA senator who lost his bid for a full term to Sen. Elizabeth Warren and moved across the border to NH to try again;
Bob Smith, former US senator;
Jim Rubens, a former state senator.
Hoping to challenge Democratic incumbent Governor Maggie Hassan are:
Andrew Hemingway, a 32-year-old entrepreneur and presidential campaign veteran;
Walt Havenstein, businessman and the frontrunner on the GOP side.
Nov 17 2013
Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart: Tower Record
Let me explain something, deep-dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza. It’s not pizza. It’s a f***ing casserole!
Let me add this, if you can’t pick it up in one hand and have to eat it with a fork, it isn’t pizza.
Rahm Emanuel Sends Jon Stewart And ‘Daily Show’ ‘Deep Dish With Dead Fish’ After Pizza Fight
Apparently dead fish are Rahm Emanuel’s version of an olive branch. [..]
In a nod to one of his most infamous political shenanigans, Chicago’s mayor made sure the deep-dish pies were topped with dead fish (y’ know, anchovies). [..]
Yet as much as the feisty mayor wanted the last word, Stewart and company were having none of it. Their response to Emanuel’s “peace” offering? A Vine video showing a pooch turning his nose up at the delicious pie.
Aug 05 2013
Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Mother Jones and the Children’s Crusade by JayRaye
The Great Philadelphia Textile Strike of 1903
The Central Textile Workers Union of Philadelphia held a meeting the evening of May 27, 1903. A vote was taken and a general strike call was issued. That general strike eventually caused 100,000 textile workers to go out on strike in the Philadelphia area. 16,000 of those were children under the age of 16, some as young as 8 or 9 years of age. The textile industry of the day employed children at a higher rate than any other industry. The number given from the 1900 census was 80,000. In cotton textiles, they made up 13.1% of the work force, and that rate reached 30% in the South.
The Central Textile Workers’ Union issued this statement:
Thirty-six trades, representing 90,000 people, ask the employers to reduce working hours from sixty to fifty-five hours a week. They are willing that wages be reduced accordingly. They strike for lower wages in an effort to get shorter hours.
Three trades, representing 10,000 people, ask for the same reduction in working hours, but, in addition, they ask for the same weekly wages or a slight increase, averaging ten per cent.
The request for shorter hours is made primarily for the sake of the children and women. For six years the organized textile workers of Philadelphia have been trying in vain to persuade the politician-controlled Legislature of Pennsylvania to pass a law which would reduce the working hours of children and women and stop them from doing night work.
Average wages for adults for 60 hours of work were $13. Children working 60 hours(!) got $2.
On Monday June 1st, at least 90,000 textile workers went out on strike in the Philadelphia area. Of the 600 mills in the city, about 550 were idle. Philadelphia now had more workers out on strike than at any other time in her history. Several thousand workers had already been on strike before the textile strike began, including: the carriage and wagon builders, and the carpenters along with others working in the building trades. It appeared that the city would be in for a long hot summer.
By the next day, Tuesday, the strike spread to the hosiery mills, increasing the army of idle workers by 8,000 Most of these were women and children employed in the Kensington district. This class of workers was unorganized, but they decided to join the ranks of the unionist in other branches of the textile trade as they witnessed the magnitude of the fight for a shorter work week. The Manufacturers vowed they would not submit to the union demands even if they had to shut down their factories indefinitely.
Sep 22 2012
This Vigil Needs Your Support
In the wake of 9/11, on Saturday, September 22, 2001, eleven years ago today, my friend Martin Baumgold decided to stand at the Seventh Street Park in Hudson, New York to demonstrate for peace. The world needed to find peace, and he saw that. He’s been at it since. Every week. Every Saturday. People have come to stand with him, and they have gone away. New ones have come and they too have gone away. Usually, there are 3 or 4 or even 5 people standing at the South side of the Seventh Park on Warren Street. Martin is undeterred, he stands anyway. He’s not the leader of a movement; he just hopes that others will stand with him. But even if they don’t, obviously he’s in it for the long haul.
Aug 23 2012
When the Next Crash Comes Remember Which Side You Were On and Learn
Cross posted at our new beta site Voices on the Square and The Stars Hollow Gazette
Yes, another crash is coming. I can’t predict precisely when as that would be a fool’s errand, but much closer than you think. It will probably be after our President is reelected and will care very little what you or I think once he and his treasury push for criminal TBTF banks to bailed out once again. Doctor Doom: the nickname for economist Nouriel Roubini: one of the relatively few outside the mainstream(part of the Got It Right (pdf) project) who predicted the last crash thinks 2013 is a perfect storm for another one which will be even worse and it makes sense.
Despite on theoretical fiscal policy limits with regard to the US, Roubini is absolutely right on the political deadlock with the coming crisis. We wasted our last crisis and that’s something Conservatives have not done whether we’re talking about the stagflation crisis of the 70s or 9/11. There won’t be as many political options this time to prop up the underlying economy in 2013 because Democrats have failed to change the Senate rules because most of them secretly like the way things work or don’t work in Washington. Sadly, if Republicans take over both houses again, they will change the Senate rules as they threatening to do in 2005 and 2006.
Anyway some might still want to scoff at Roubini’s prediction, but that will come back to bite them in the ass. Not even Roubini can predict the exact moment it will happen, but if one knows anything about the history of financial crashes, since the 80s when the 1933 banking reforms passed by FDR started slowly being dismantled, they started happening once again in a 5-7 year time-frame(and even closer than that if you count global stock crashes which count now more than ever since our markets turned dark with OTC derivatives and Information Asymmetry all around); some worse than others as the 2008 bust was on par with 1929 but you get the idea.
- Black Monday (1987)
- Black Wednesday (1992)
- Asian financial crisis (1997)
- Mini-crash (1997)
- Dot-com bubble(2000)
- Economic effects arising from the September 11 attacks (2001)
- Stock market downturn of (2002)
- United States bear market of (2007)
- Global financial crisis (2008)
- European sovereign-debt crisis (2010)
Jul 16 2012
Sunday Train: NEC High Speed Rail for Under $20b
Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence
crossposted from Voices on the Square
One of the transit bloggers that I enjoy reading is Alon Levy who blogs his observations on a variety of transit topics at Pedestrian Observations . Following the important California HSR funding vote in the California State Senate and the excitement leading up to it, I thought I’d like to take a look at the proposed Express HSR system for the states of the Northeast Corridor.
Of the $53b cost of the proposed San Francisco to Los Angeles Express HSR corridor seems hefty ~ and it seems even heftier when it shows the Year of Expenditure headline value of $68b ~ then the proposed Northeast Corridor states Express HSR will seem massive.
However, Alon claims:
Northeast Corridor HSR, 90% Cheaper
In contrast with this extravaganza, it is possible to achieve comparable travel times for about one tenth the cost. The important thing is to build the projects with the most benefit measured in travel time reduced or reliability gained per unit of cost, and also share tracks heavily with commuter rail, using timed overtakes to reduce the required amount of multi-tracking.
This sounds like an intriguing possibility … but is it realistic? Or is it wishful thinking? Follow me below the fold, and then let’s discuss it.
Jun 25 2011
Breaking News: New York Gay Marriage Bill Passes
The New York State Senate has passed the Marriage Equality bill with a
comfortable 36 33 votes in favor and only 26 29 nays. The bill includes protections for religious organizations to be exempt from performing ceremonies, if they choose. There is no residency requirement in NY for a marriage license. Well done, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Gay Marriage Bill Passes In New York: Senate Passes Bill Allowing Same Sex Marriage
Gay couples and proponents of gay rights have a reason to celebrate tonight, as the New York State Senate has passed a bill that allows same sex marriage.
New York will be the sixth, and largest, state in the union to adopt gay marriage. The bill will take effect 30 days after governor Andrew Cuomo signs it into law.
The decision, which passed 33-29, was the culmination of weeks of contentious debate and negotiations between Governor Cuomo and the GOP-controlled Senate. After the bill passed in the Assembly, it was unclear if the bill had secured enough votes to pass in the Senate. When a few notable undecideds joined the cause –including Republican Roy McDonald who famously defended his decision, saying “fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing” — the scale in favor of gay marriage seemed to tip.
Correction: The final vote for passage was 33 to 29. The amendment for the exemption for religious organizations was 36 to 26. h/t to Bruce McF for catching that.