Sexual harasser and former Brooklyn Democratic Party head Vito Lopez vowed on Friday to remain in the New York State Assembly until the June 20 end of the current session, despite Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver's urging him resign immediately over his long history of icky behavior. But Lopez has now told the New York Post that he intends to step down at the beginning of next week. "Everything will end Monday," announced the Assemblyman, citing "the sake" of his family, close friends, and his health as his reasons for leaving. "I want to make it clear that this is not an admission of wrongdoing on my part, have not admitted to wrongdoing, and I do feel I was denied an opportunity for due process in the investigations that took place," he said. However, having realized that his expulsion was inevitable, he concluded, "Why should I try and hold out for another 3 1/2 weeks?" Lopez also said he might abandon his plans to run for City Council, which hopefully means that we won't have to hear from him ever again.
Even though Mayor Bloomberg thinks the city might find itself without a mayor come January 1 thanks to potential voting-machine snafus, he promised this morning that he will not stay on for a fourth term regardless. "I will not be mayor, no matter what happens," Bloomberg said. (Unless that's what you guys want?)
Providing his first response to news reports that a cell-phone video shows him smoking crack, Toronto mayor Rob Ford told reporters assembled outside his home this morning, "Absolutely not true. I don't — it's ridiculous." Ford added, "Another Toronto Star ..." before trailing off and getting into his car. Later, outside his office, Ford continued to try to frame the scandal as merely some kind of Toronto Star conspiracy, even though Gawker has also seen the tape, and also says it shows Ford smoking crack.
As the investigative phase of the Obama presidency commences in earnest, Republicans are promising that their overriding goal is to proceed cautiously and let the facts speak for themselves. “We have stuff here that’s real, so you don’t need the distraction of politics to give people an excuse to say we’re being silly,” a House Republican leadership aide involved in the investigations tells Politico. “Everyone is keenly aware of the overreach risk.” Likewise, Charles Boustany Jr., who is helping lead the IRS investigation on the House Ways and Means Committee, tells the New York Times, “I’m being very cautious not to overplay my hand.”
Many Americans awoke this morning to discover that (a) the mayor of Toronto is a guy named Rob Ford, and (b) Rob Ford smokes crack. Gawker reported last night that a cell-phone video clearly showing Ford lighting up a crack pipe — which was supposedly filmed within the last six months, while he was mayor — was being shopped around for six figures. Gawker's John Cook saw the video in person with his own two eyes, as did two reporters from the Toronto Star. Ford's lawyer calls the video "false and defamatory" and asks, hilariously, “How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking?”
If you didn't know anything at all about Rob Ford, the revelation that he smoked crack on video might come as an absolute shock. Marion Barry aside, this is not something that mayors do. But if you were familiar with Ford, you might not even be that surprised. For the uninitiated, here are the twenty most important things to know about Rob Ford.
House Republicans have been meeting to figure out their next strategy on the debt ceiling. The last time, if you recall, President Obama insisted he would not pay a ransom in order to get the House Republicans to do something they agreed had to be done to avert financial catastrophe. They managed to save face by lifting the debt ceiling and attaching a requirement that the Senate pass a formal budget rather than just continue previous budgets. At the time, Republicans hailed this as a great victory, which would force Senate Democrats to negotiate a budget on favorable terms for the GOP.
But Republicans have since figured out that regular order is actually really bad for them, forcing them to openly advocate unpopular policy priorities on taxes and spending, and have been trying desperately to stall to prevent the very thing they once demanded. Now as they contemplate the next debt-ceiling hike, nobody in the party is even pretending that they won anything by making Senate Democrats draw up a formal budget. (“They say they will not simply roll over again, as they did in January,” reports the Washington Post.)
It seems that Anthony Weiner's newly hired campaign manager has gotten right to work: NBC New York reports that the former congressman spent a portion of Thursday morning "shooting a campaign-style video" on the stoop of his parents' Park Slope home "with a camera crew, several handlers, and wife Huma by his side." (As NBC helpfully pointed out, the house is where Weiner both launched and ended his 2005 bid for mayor.) Unfortunately, the production was interrupted when Weiner's people noticed NBC's cameras attempting to ruin what little surprise remains in the inevitable announcement of his mayoral campaign, which is expected as early as next week. In addition to still shots of the stoop-sitting scene, the news team managed to capture some grainy footage of an annoyed-looking Weiner and another guy "peering awkwardly around the parked cars" before they "pack up and split faster than you can say, 'I'm Anthony Weiner and I approve this message.'" They were probably going to record that part inside, anyway.
The offensive lineman posted the above photo to Instagram yesterday with the message "Audit this." It's not clear from the photo whether Mathis was actually peeing (there is no evident stream of urine) or just pretending. Either way, he is now the front-runner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
Who are these Umbrella Marines I've been hearing about since a few minutes ago?
During a Rose Garden press conference with the prime minister of Turkey this afternoon, it began to rain heavily, at which point President Obama requested the assistance of two nearby umbrella-wielding Marines.
That seems like kind of an awkward request — did Obama make any sort-of-jokes to lighten the mood at all?
Yes, he made about three sort-of-jokes: "Why don't we get a couple of Marines — they're gonna look good next to us. Just 'cuz I — I've got a change of suits, but I don't know about our prime minister. There we go. [Gestures to press, which did not get Umbrella Marines.] You guys I'm sorry about."
This sounds like it would be an interesting video clip to watch. Is there video of this incident?
Deep behind a tangle of denial and rebranding initiatives, a GOP resuscitation plan emerges.By Frank Rich
When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.By Jason Zengerle
Jon Favreau’s most enduring riffs.
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For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.By Ezra Klein
Mother Jones Jan. 15, 2013
Our debt dysfunction began with the Constitution, funded Manifest Destiny, and makes the trillion dollar coin look tame.By Tim Murphy
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Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.By Steve Kornacki
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After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.By John Heilemann
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Obama drew progressive ire from day one.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008
How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.By Jeff Coplon