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Taxis

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This Week, Give Cab Drivers a Little Credit

Cab

If you've ridden in New York taxis for a long time, you're probably already wary of the credit-card machines that have been installed in many of them. The ones that have been in cabs for a couple of years now never really worked, and not handing over cash just feels weird. The Post reveals today that cab drivers are also suspicious of the devices. In fact, many of them would do anything to prevent you from swiping. According to the tabloid, they'd rather just grab your cold, hard cash and will lie about broken machines or fake policies to make sure that's how you pay. The Post doesn't specifically explain why some drivers would rather have you pay them in cash, but the implication that most cabbies are cheats is pretty heavy throughout the piece. The problem is so bad that the head of the Taxi and Limousine Commission himself was once prevented from using a credit card by a deceitful cabbie. The cabbies' union claims that the problem is the equipment, not the drivers. After the jump, some technical advice on what to do to avoid this problem.

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Anderson Cooper, False Populist?

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Last night we cornered Anderson Cooper yet again at a gala at the Museum of Natural History. He was there for the CNN Heroes Awards ceremony. He told us that our lusty coverage of his mondo biceps was one of the only things he read about himself on the Internet this year ("I try not to read anything about myself," he explained, and we didn't ask why). Then we got to chatting about the subway. "I ride the subway every day actually," he told us, explaining that it's the fastest way to get around. "You get to interact with people from all different walks of life in a very short amount of time. So before they actually get annoying, you're off the train." Wow, that's an excellent point, we realized. So what do people ask celebrity (and heir) Anderson Cooper when they see him? "Why are you on the subway?" he said. Wow. Anderson is such a man of the people. Except, wait a minute. We just spotted a post on his blog from yesterday. "So today has been one of those days. I ran out of my apartment after our morning call today and suddenly realized I'd forgotten both my keys and wallet," he blogged from his BlackBerry. "I'm now in a taxi (I borrowed some cash) and am heading to the Museum of Natural History." You have no money and you're late, but you're taking a taxi? That doesn't sound like someone who believes in the power of the subway. —Amy Odell Ready for an inspiring night [CNN] Earlier: Iraq Trips Hamper Anderson's Gym Schedule Related: Anderson loves the subway, but why do you love New York?

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Three Punished for Deutsche Deaths

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• More than a week after the Deutsch Bank blaze killed two firefighters, three FDNY honchos have been reassigned for failing to regularly inspect the building or come up with a plan to fight a fire there. [NYT]

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Two More Hurt at Deutsche Bank

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• Things keep getting worse at the Deutsche Bank building: Yesterday a worker for the sinister John Galt Corporation "lost control" of a forklift on the 23rd floor, from which it tumbled 200 feet to the ground, crashing through the roof of a shed and sending two more firefighters to the hospital. [NYT]

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Cabs of the Future Are Kind Of Nifty

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So we've actually been a little troubled by this whole electronic-doohickey-thingy they're planning to install in cabs, the one that the cabbies group is threatening to strike over. We're not sure we like the idea of a GPS system tracking us, either, and there's nothing more obnoxious than a cheery video playing in the back of a taxi (didn't they try that a few years ago? To universal disdain?). Either way, it'll really be a bitch if the cabbies go on strike. Then yesterday we hopped in a cab and discovered one of the gizmos already installed. (Apparently there are already something like 700 in use, the TLC told us, and more are going in every day. Which would seem to us to sort of moot a September strike, but what do we know?) And we were pleasantly surprised to discover the things are actually pretty cool.

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A Spitzer Stonewall?

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• The Spitzer mess is getting, well, messier. Turns out two of guv’s closest aides, including his chief of staff (who still has his job), stonewalled Cuomo’s probe, which doesn’t quite jibe with Spitzer’s claims of full cooperation. [NYP] • Police-shooting victim Sean Bell’s fiancée and two friends have sued the NYPD for wrongful death, civil-rights violations, false arrest, and emotional distress; the suit names all five officers who were on the scene, including two who were cleared of wrongdoing. [Reuters] • Because more than 24 hours have passed without any agonizing over Bloomberg’s presidential plans and how they might affect the race, you’ll be happy to know he’s registered the domain mike2008.com (while continuing to maintain full deniability). [NYDN] • Shocker: The new MTA budget will call for subway fare and toll increases. We don’t know by how much yet, but they want to raise the revenue by 6.5 percent; do your own worst-case-scenario math. [NYT] • And the city’s cab drivers are finalizing citywide strike plans for September, over those pesky GPS tracking systems the city wants to install in every cab. We think we’ll just stay home. [amNY]

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We're All Going to Die, B-Movie Style

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• A man carrying a rare, lethal, and contagious form of tuberculosis was thrown into an "isolation unit" at Bellevue after jetting to Paris, Prague, and Montreal despite a CDC order not to travel. [NYDN] • Rudy Giuliani celebrated his 63rd birthday the way presidential candidates do — with a bunch of fund-raisers (in Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Brooklyn but, oddly, not Manhattan). September 11 victims' families jeered him at two of the events. [NYP] • After Reuters fetched $17 billion, rumors swirl that Mayor Mike may be putting Bloomberg LP on the block. Of course, that would fit well with the presidential- ambitions theory. A tiny side note: Fox News confuses "eponymous" with "euphonious." [Fox News] • We're familiar with the outrage that Martha Stewart's attempt to trademark "Katonah" caused in the eponymous (watch and learn, Fox News) village, but what about the people the village is named for, Native Americans? Surprise: They're pissed off, too. [NYT] • And, forget that Park Slope brownstone — what you should have invested in ten years ago was a taxi medallion. The price of the thing tripled in the last six years, hitting $600,000 and likely heading for the $1 million mark. [Metro NY]

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