Category Archives: New York

New York Special Election: Jane Corwin Will Make a Difference by Gregory Hilton

It was a sad day for conservatives in 1989 when then Rep. Donald Lukens (R-OH) was involved in a sex scandal, but new leaders emerged. The Congressman’s former legislative assistant is now Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) and the man who defeated Lukens in the 1990 GOP primary is now Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Continue reading

Reapportionment: Mapping The New Congressional Districts by Gregory Hilton

New York has lost two seats and it is likely there will be some combination of the districts of Democratic Reps. Joseph Crowley, Carolyn Maloney and Gary Ackerman. The last time New York had 27 House seats was in the early 1820s, when the chamber had 181 seats. The two upstate districts with the heaviest population losses are in the western part of the state and are represented by Democratic Reps. Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter. With a Democratic Governor and state Assembly and a GOP Senate, expect each party to lose a district.


Yesterday’s release of the Census Bureau data allows the 2012 Congressional reapportionment process to begin. Drawing the new maps will be the subject of considerable speculation for the next six months. The GOP will gain at least six seats, and they are practically assured of pickups in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Also, several vulnerable Republicans will see favorable territory added to their districts.
The liberal Huffingtom Post does not agree with this assessment. Their current headline article is “Reapportionment Not Necessarily Good News for Republicans” by Robert Creamer. He is the same author who wrote their analysis explaining why Democrats would keep control of the House. Continue reading

New York City Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg Disagree on Ground Zero Mosque by Gregory Hilton

The proposed “Mega Mosque” at the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan received a green light on Tuesday when the New York City Planning Commission voted not to extend the landmark status on the present building at 45-47 Park Place.
It is the former Burlington Coat Factory. The Commission voted unanimously and said there was nothing distinctive about the 152 year old building. That means the owners can tear down the present structure and replace it with a $100 million 15 story Islamic community center and mosque.
The mosque has generated considerable controversy and the present Mayor of New York City and his predecessor represent opposing camps in the controversy. Rudy Giuliani was in office from 1994 until December 31, 2001.
He is often described as “America’s Mayor” and was the incumbent at the time of the 9/11 attack. Giuliani was Time magazine’s 2001 “Person of the Year,” and for several months in 2007, he was the front running GOP presidential candidate. He has given several interviews in opposition to the mosque and says:

It’s a mosque backed by an imam who has a record of support for causes that were sympathetic with terrorism. Come on! We’re gonna allow that at ground zero? This is a desecration. Nobody would allow something like that at Pearl Harbor. Let’s have some respect for who died there and why they died there. Let’s not put this off on some kind of politically correct theory.

I mean, they died there because of Islamic extremist terrorism. They are our enemy, we can say that, the world will not end when we say that. And the reality is, it will not and should not insult any decent Muslim because decent Muslims should be as opposed to Islamic extremism as you and I are.

CBS and NBC both refused to air a “Kill the Ground Zero Mosque” television ad. Giuliani’s viewpoint is supported by the Anti-Defamation League, former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Palin issued a plea to “Peace-seeking Muslims, please understand, the Ground Zero mosque is an unnecessary provocation. It stabs hearts. Please reject it in interest of healing.” She went on to say the 9/11 attack caused “catastrophic pain” and the “Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.”

Incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg has an opposing view. Yesterday the Mayor was joined by 10 religious leaders who welcomed the mosque, and Bloomberg said:

We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That’s life. And it’s part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11, 2001.

The simple fact is, this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship, and the government has no right whatsoever to deny that right. And if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Rangel Trial Will Focus on Corporate Favors From Tax Committee, Former Chairman Sought $30 Million Donations by Gregory Hilton

February 2009, the President and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) are shown in the East Room of the White House. In the center is the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA). This was Rangel's highpoint. The next month he would lose his Chairmanship of the most influential committee on Capitol Hill.


The House Ethics Committee yesterday released an in-depth report on its 21-month investigation into the financial dealings of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). Rangel is the former Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and the report describes how he used that role to request contributions of $30 million a piece from many of the nations top corporations. The recipient was his vanity project at City College of New York (CCNY) which was intended to be similar to a presidential library. Continue reading

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch Blasts Obama’s Treatment of Israel by Gregory Hilton

Obama’s abysmal attitude toward the State of Israel and his humiliating treatment of Netanyahu is shocking. There is grave doubt among supporters of Israel that Obama can be counted on to do what presidents before him did — protect our ally, Israel. . . Supporters of Israel who gave their votes to candidate Obama — 78 percent of the Jewish community did — believing he would provide the same support as John McCain, this is the time to speak out and tell the President of your disappointment in him. It seems to me particularly appropriate to do so on the eve of the Passover.
“It is one thing to disagree with certain policies of the Israeli government. It is quite another to treat Israel and its prime minister as pariahs, which only emboldens Israel’s enemies and makes the prospect of peace even more remote. — Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch

The New York Post approved of the former Mayor’s statements and said “Koch is absolutely right. Obama and Clinton intentionally treated Netanyahu like dirt, then made sure the world knew. It wasn’t just bad manners. It was flashing a green light for Israel’s enemies. By broadcasting his wavering support, Obama made it more likely there will be a new war.
“He also undermines efforts to get Iran to stop its nuclear program and makes it more likely Israel will undertake military action. Yet Koch didn’t just criticize American policy. He went after Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and his rubberstamp, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), among others, for not standing up to the president. He elaborated during my call. ‘It’s their silence,’ Koch said to me yesterday. ‘I can’t figure out where they are. Take Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). You’d think he’d be jumping up and down. But there’s nothing.'”
“Ed Koch is on fire. Here are a few of the bombshells he dropped yesterday. President Obama ‘wants to make Israel a pariah state.’ Hillary Clinton is a ‘disappointment’ and didn’t deserve the standing ovation she got from a leading Jewish group.
“Sen. Chuck Schumer has been silent on America’s tilt toward the Palestinians because he is ‘afraid of Obama.’ Anything else? Only that Clinton won’t answer his letters when he asks directly whether the United States is prepared to defend Israel from Iran.
“And Obama isn’t neutral in the Mideast. He’s pro-Arab.”
The New York Post also said: “It is odd but true: The fact that most Jews in Congress are Democrats is proving to be a liability to Israel.
“Silence is not a virtue. There is an obvious split in the administration, with Obama and Clinton the pro-Arab hawks, and Vice President Joe Biden and adviser Dennis Ross advocating a more Israel-friendly policy.
“The time to influence the outcome is now, with reasoned arguments — in public. That’s how critics would challenge a Republican president making the same mistake.
“Later, Sen. Schumer’s office issued a one-sentence statement in response to my request. It signals he will go public if his private efforts fail to change Obama’s policy:
‘If the administration continues along this line, everyone in the New York delegation will have no choice but to speak out.’
“Remember that promise. Koch certainly will.”

On the Comeback Trail: My Home Town Has a Message for the Nation by Gregory Hilton

Can you hear us now? Four special elections on Tuesday resulted in a net gain of two seats for the Republican Party in the New York State Assembly. These were minor elections on a national scale, but they have a major message. Independent voters are continuing to cross over in large numbers to the GOP.
My hometown of Armonk is within the 89th Assembly District, and Democrats outspent Republicans by a 3 to 1 ratio and they have a massive registration advantage. Democrats have held this seat for 17 years, and their candidate was endorsed by the district’s dominant newspaper.
The new GOP Assemblyman, Robert Castelli, was elected with a 55 to 45 percent margin. Castelli ran in this same district in 2004 when there was no incumbent and was defeated by a 59 to 41 percent margin. His 14 percent gain was almost entirely from independents.
Democrats still have a veto-proof majority in Albany, and Castelli did not win because of charisma. He emphasized that suburban Westchester is the highest-taxed county in the nation, and his opponent had voted for higher taxes.
The message in this district is common throughout Blue America, and the candidate said it best: “One-party government in Albany has given us record deficits, unconscionable taxes, massive job losses and a population that is fleeing our state. . . High taxes are driving hard working families out of New York, and raising taxes in difficult economic times is not a path to prosperity. . . Skyrocketing health care costs, overburdening regulations, and high corporate taxes are also driving small businesses out of the state.”
He also made it clear that one of his top targets is public employee unions. New York’s Triborough Amendment means there is unchecked salary increases and no effective collective bargaining with public employees. Unions have no incentive to offer concessions or to bargain in good faith because all the benefits they want are already locked in. New York is the only state in the nation to have such a contract this beneficial to public employees.
Last November high taxes, burdensome regulations and public employee contracts were key reasons the GOP elected County Executives in both Westchester and Nassau Counties. The change is coming.

The Rust Belt Deathfest by Gregory Hilton

‘Fastest Dying Cities’ Meet for a Lively Talk by Douglas Belkin, Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125011106498326993.html

Last year, Forbes.com used long-term trends of unemployment, population loss and economic output to devise a list of “America’s Fastest Dying Cities.” The cities include Cleveland, Dayton, Canton and Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit and Flint, MI; Buffalo, Scranton, Springfield, MA and Charleston, WV. They all realize manufacturing is not going to come back to save them.
These cities have natural resources, hardworking people, underutilized infrastructure, and land for expansion, but you can see the decline everywhere and the housing markets and crime are awful. What they also have in common is rejecting the obvious path to a turnaround. All of them are over-taxed and over-regulated with a one party political system which has led to heavy patronage and incompetence in local government. They all have several common denominators. Among them bad local political choices, lack of regional cooperation, and no vision to diversify 20-30 years ago. They are also controlled by unions which promoted policies destroying manufacturing jobs. Decades of anti-business policies have resulted in a migration of good jobs.
The companies that stayed in these cities saw their market share evaporate, as their ability to fend off foreign or non-union competitors waned. Union workforces became increasingly less productive as measured against hourly throughput. Now the laws of economics are holding true. Union leaders horribly failed their membership by not emphasizing productivity.
The leaders of these dying cities are meeting now but their problems have been around for a long time. For example, Detroit never recovered from its 1967 riots. I hope they will look at themselves to come up with an answer but I am skeptical.
This letter was published in Forbes: “I’ve lived in Flint, MI my entire life and I just recently began working at a GM factory. With the exception of a few people my co-workers are the laziest and most negative people I’ve ever seen. From what I’ve heard from the GM workers all my life and what I’ve recently seen first hand, the workers themselves have played NO SMALL PART in what’s happened to the automotive industry here.”
These observations were supported in a letter I received from Norina Mooney of California’s Silicon Valley; “As a member of the SEIU labor union I agree with you. Most union workers are lazy. They are complacent in their jobs but they know they will never be fired. I work for a government agency and I am the exception to the rule. Most workers do not go out of their way to do anything. I makes me so irritated but I guess I was placed there for a reason.”

A Presidential Visit to NYC’s Belasco Theater: Remembering the History of Lafayette Square by Gregory Hilton

Actress Bette Davis serves cake at the Stage Door Canteen in 1943. The Canteen was located in the Belasco Theater on Lafayette Square, across from the White House.

Actress Bette Davis serves cake at the Stage Door Canteen in 1943. The Canteen was located in the Belasco Theater on Lafayette Square, across from the White House.


A Presidential Visit to NYC’s Belasco Theater: Remembering the History of Lafayette Square by Gregory Hilton–
Last night the President and Mrs. Obama had another “Date Night.” This time they visited New York City’s Belasco Theater, and because of the cost, the Republican National Committee criticized the outing. The Obama’s traveled in a small Gulfstream V jet rather than a Boeing 747. I am not joining the critics and the strong marital bond between the Obama’s is refreshing after some of the scandals of the past.
The Obama’s may not realize that for 70 years another Belasco Theater and its predecessor could be clearly seen from the front door of the White House. I first learned about the building in David Brinkley’s book “Washington Goes to War.” The six story structure was demolished in 1964 but it had an important role in DC history since its construction in 1895 as the Lafayette Square Opera House. Over the next fifty years, performers including Sarah Bernhardt, Al Jolsen, Will Rogers, Enrico Caruso, Ethel Barrymore, Katherine Hepburn and Helen Hays would grace its stage. It was the main venue for opera, plays, and ballet at the turn of the 20th century in Washington. In 1906, the Opera House became the Belasco Theater, one of the only venues in Washington to present African American acts to desegregated audiences.
The building had a soaring facade, with Ionic columns framing the main entrance on Madison Place. The auditorium could seat about 1800, and it included three balconies and thirty boxes. Live performances ended in the early years of the Depression, and by 1935 it was converted to a movie house specializing in foreign films. After America’s entry into WW II, the Belasco was reopened as the Stage Door Canteen for the entertainment of servicemen. Admission was limited to enlisted men and non-commissioned officers. The canteen offered servicemen nights of dancing, entertainment, food and nonalcoholic drinks, and even opportunities to hobnob with celebrities and lawmakers. Though the canteen served food to the servicemen free of charge, someone had to pay for it.
DC residents responded generously to appeals for aid. Bette Davis said volunteering at the canteen was one of the “few accomplishments in my life that I am sincerely proud of.” One of the many praiseworthy qualities of the canteen was its egalitarian credo. They were open to all servicemen of Allied nations, and segregation had no place in them.
By November 1945, Stage Door Canteens were operating in eight US cities and London and Paris. Together, they entertained and fed 11 million Allied servicemen. With the war over it was closed at the start of 1946, but it would re-open during the Korean War, when it was known as the Lafayette Square Club, again as a venue for entertaining servicemen.
The Belasco Theater was torn down in 1964 and the site is now the U.S. Court of Claims Building

The Belasco Theater was torn down in 1964 and the site is now the U.S. Court of Claims building


In the early 60s, with the reconstruction of Lafayette Square, many of the Belasco’s neighbors were razed, until finally, in 1964, the Belasco itself was torn down to make way for the new US Court of Claims Building.
Before it was a theater: the Rodgers House
The theater was built in 1896 on the site of the 1830s Rodgers House, which was one of Washington’s more famous 19th century residences before its demolition in 1894. The land was owned by Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky who ran for President three times. He traded it to Commodore John Rodgers who constructed a 30 room house in 1831. It was rented by Attorney General Roger Taney, who later served for 28 years as the Chief Justice of the United States. President James Polk was a resident while the White House was being restored.
The building was later a fashionable boarding house and was known as the Washington Club. It was also famously the site of the 1859 shooting of Phillip Barton Kelly, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was the son of Francis Scott Key, and he was killed by Congressman Daniel Sickles. Sickles shot Key, who had been having an affair with his wife, in full view of pedestrians and the White House. The case and subsequent trial of Sickles drew national media attention, further cementing the Square’s image as a neighborhood unlike any other in the country. One of Sickles’ attorneys was Edwin Stanton who would later serve as Secretary of War in the Lincoln Administration.
In a landmark decision, Sickles was acquitted of murder, based on his plea of temporary insanity, which was the first successful use of this defense. Sickles became a general during the Civil War, fought at the battle of Gettysburg and had his right leg blown off by a cannon ball. He had the presence of mind to tell the medical corpsmen to preserve the leg which they did and it can be seen at the Walter Reed Medical Museum in Washington.
After the fateful day in 1859 the Washington Club closed and the next occupant was Secretary of State William Seward of the incoming Lincoln Administration. A former governor of New York, Seward had campaigned for the Republican nomination in 1860 but lost out to Lincoln who promptly offered him the State position. Lincoln constantly visited Seward in his house to seek his advice on the progress of the war. On April 14, 1865 the Rodger’s House again witnessed violence as the site of the attempted assassination of Seward by Lewis Payne, a conspirator with John Wilkes Booth in the Lincoln assassination plot. Payne was hung in the courtyard of Fort McNair in July 1865. Seward survived and in 1867 in the parlor of his home he completed the negotiations for the purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million.
The last person to occupy the house before it became a theater was Secretary of State James Blaine in the Benjamin Harrison administration. He leased the house in 1889 but tragedy struck again when first his son and then his daughter died in the house within a year. Blaine soon after became ill, resigned and then died in the house in January 1893.

NYC Terror Plot Demonstrates Value of the Patriot Act by Gregory Hilton

usa-patriot1
The arrest of four men in New York earlier this week for planning to bomb synagogues and shoot down military aircraft underscores the progress the U.S. intelligence community has made. The videotapes show the four men were enthusiastic participants in this plot. It does appear that the head Imam of the Masjid Al-Ikhlas mosque and others need to explain their actions. They were aware of offers of $25,000 payments to commit terrorism and they did nothing.
“It’s hard to imagine a more chilling plot. These were people who were eager to bring death to Jews, and they are extremely violent men,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder. FBI Special Agent Robert Fuller said, “The information provided by the informant during the course of this and other investigations has proven to be accurate and reliable and has been corroborated by other evidence.” NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “I think we should walk away from this feeling better and safer about New York than ever before.”
Many stories such as this have appeared since 9/11. Potential terrorists are now in custody because the USA Patriot Act has been successful. Because of this legislation for the first time the FBI and the CIA can work together. Various federal law enforcement agencies are now collecting and sharing information, and they have gained access to information and communications of terrorists that was not possible in the past.
Before the Patriot Act, the FBI and the CIA were prohibited from communicating. The legislation enabled the monitoring of conversations among multiple terror suspects more quickly and efficiently. It was necessary because terrorists often discontinue their phones lines or change cell phones frequently.
It gave law enforcement agencies permission to listen in on any phone being used by a terror suspect. Prior to the Patriot Act’s passage in October 2001, law enforcement could wiretap only a landline — and authorities needed to acquire separate court approvals for every phone line they tapped. The Patriot Act recognizes modern technology, and blackberries and disposable cell phones are no longer safe for them. Voicemail can be accessed through a search warrant rather than a court order.
In March of this year FBI director Robert Mueller said the Patriot Act was “exceptionally helpful.”
As recognized in the Declaration of Independence, the first responsibility of government is to preserve the lives and liberty of the people. Within the boundaries of the Constitution, the Patriot Act has been an enormous success in stopping the people who want to kill Americans on U.S. soil.
Instead of providing a single example of the Patriot Act being misused, opponents make frightening, unsubstantiated claims that the Patriot Act is a virtual roll back of the First Amendment.

Left Wing Rhetoric Has Been Far Worse Than Limbaugh by Gregory Hilton

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Addresses the 2009 CPAC Conference

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Addresses the 2009 CPAC Conference


Rush Limbaugh’s anti-Obama rhetoric at yesterday CPAC conference was over the top, but the other side makes the same mistake. Far too many people avoid facts or a calm explanation of their viewpoint. They instead try to destroy another person’s character. There are people like this in both political parties and they little interest in compromising for the good of our nation.
Examples of this are easy to compile. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) gleefully said every 100 deaths in Iraq equaled another seat for the Democrats in Congress. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) called Bush a “loser” and said our troops “have lost in Iraq.” He also called the surge a failure BEFORE it even get started.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) called Osama Bin Laden a ‘freedom fighter’ and claimed he was more popular in Afghanistan because he “built schools, roads and hospitals.” She said we were the ones killing Afghani people and not Al Qaeda.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) compared American behavior at Guantanamo Bay to that of “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings.”
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) said Abu Gharaid, where no one died, was “just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed.”
Sen. Bob Byrd (D-WV) said the American guards at Guantanamo were “no better than and no different than the Nazi concentration camp guards.” Not even one death had been reported at Guantanamo at the time of remark.
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said there was no difference between “The American flag and the Confederate swastika”. Former Sen. John Glenn (D-OH) said “It’s the old Hitler business.” Garrison Keillor called our guards “Brownshirts in pinstripes.” Linda Ronstadt described them as “A new bunch of Hitlers,” and Al Gore used the phrase “Digital Brownshirts”.
This rhetoric is not constructive, and Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s have no relation with a democratic United States and our humane military.
When Mohammed al-Qahtani, the suspected 20th hijacker of September 11, 2001, was experiencing chest and head pains he was given a CAT scan and put on a heart monitor. A radiologist was flown to Cuba for consultation, and an operation was scheduled right away. The Nazi’s did not do that.
The most unfortunate thing about the quotes I selected is that they were all from Al Jazeera broadcasts on both their English and Arabic news site. They were used to inflame our opponents in the Middle East. As far as political rhetoric is concerned, so much of the debate today involves personal destruction.
I know little about Michelle Malkin but she is in the political arena and it is fine to disagree with her viewpoint. I would not call her, or any other person, a pig. A liberal pundit did that today. I do not believe politicians are windbags, and practically all of them have good motives. I will disagree with lawmakers, but I will not question their intelligence if they are on the other side.
I sincerely admire many liberal lawmakers who disagree with me, and I would never say their election was an “insult to the human race.” That quote is from the same pundit. I address these lawmakers in a civil tone and with respect for the position they hold.