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The Morning Line

  1. the morning line
    WMD Found — in Midtown • A soda-size can of phosgene, the deadly chemical Saddam used to kill countless Kurds in the eighties, was discovered stashed away in a U.N. office yesterday, but no one has any idea how it got there after weapons inspectors brought it back from Iraq in the mid-nineties. Reassuring. [NYT]
  2. the morning line
    Pills, Pols, and Oprah • Eight percent of the city’s sexually active teens report using the pill, as opposed to 18 percent nationwide, a city Health Department survey finds, with girls from the South Bronx nearly twice as likely as the nation’s average to have unprotected sex. [1010wins]
  3. the morning line
    Fall in to the Gap • The New York region has the nation’s widest gap between rich and poor, new Census figures show, with the richest fifth of Manhattanites earning $351,333 a year to the poorest fifth’s $8,855. We expect the revolution imminently. [NYT]
  4. the morning line
    Three Punished for Deutsche Deaths • 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]
  5. the morning line
    Gonzales’s Resignation Will Affect Us Somehow, We’re Sure • Oh, boy. We know this isn’t Gotham-specific, but Attorney General Albert Gonzales, after months of pressure to resign in the face of possible perjury charges, has finally done so. Adios, Bushito (as they used to call him Texas). [Newsday]
  6. the morning line
    Two More Hurt at Deutsche Bank • 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. [
  7. the morning line
    Stone QuitsGOP consultant Roger Stone resigned his job with the state Republican Party over that call to Pa Spitzer, but he still maintains — busted alibi and all — that Democratic operatives may have just broken into his house and made the call from his phone while using some kind of high-tech device to impersonate his voice. Ya-huh. [NYT]
  8. the morning line
    Standpipe Cut • As Robert Morgenthau’s office starts a criminal investigation of the Deutsche Bank blaze that killed two firefighters, it turns out that the faulty standpipe had been deliberately cut — and recently. [NYP]
  9. the morning line
    Murder at Deutsche Bank? • The deaths of two firefighters in the Deutsche Bank blaze this weekend may be classified as homicides — and it could be negligent contractors, who disabled a critical standpipe, and chain-smoking Eastern European immigrants, who started the fire, who are accused of murdering them. [NYP]
  10. the morning line
    Ground Zero Claims Two More • Two firefighters died Saturday in a blaze in the abandoned Deutsche Bank building adjacent to ground zero. The pair “walked into a horror show,” as Spitzer put it, when they met a maze of protective polyurethane sheets that may have made the fire harder to fight. [amNY]
  11. the morning line
    Joe Bruno, Eliot Spitzer Ruin It for Everybody • One actual result of Troopergate (Brunogate? Spitzergate?): The State Ethics Commission passed a new rule preventing officials from using state aircraft unless the primary purpose of their trip is state business and requiring reimbursement for those parts that are not. [NYT]
  12. the morning line
    The Islamofascist Handbook • To aid in terrorism surveillance, the NYPD has released a jihadi version of The Preppy Handbook, detailing how average Muslim schlubs morph into Islamic terrorists. Grow a beard, renounce booze and broads, play paintball war games, dis the U.S. a lot — you know the drill. [NYDN]
  13. the morning line
    Bus Stop • Sure, the Feds promised Bloomberg $354 million for his traffic-reduction plan (if he can get the city and state to pass it), but that dough’s mainly to put up new bus depots. Of the roughly $200 mil needed to charge drivers entering Manhattan, Uncle Sam’s promised only $10 million. [NYT]
  14. the morning line
    Here We Go Again: Mike to Get His Traffic Money, If Albany Agrees • The Feds are expected to announce today that, yes indeed, they’ll shell out the big bucks necessary for Bloomberg to execute his congestion-pricing dream plan — if Albany passes it first, that is. [NYT]
  15. the morning line
    Std Clr of Clsg Dors, Pls • In the wake of the Great Subway Flood, city-council members are demanding that the MTA spend some $300 million to provide cell service on subway platforms — so that the transit agency can send riders jumbled, unintelligible text messages in the event of delays. [Metro NY]
  16. the morning line
    Sheriff Andy? • Andrew Cuomo, getting a feel for this whole crusading-A.G. thing, is asking the legislature to grant his office broad jurisdiction and subpoena powers. Our new awesome conspiracy theory: He gets the state GOP to empower him by promising them Spitzer’s head — and then subpoenas Bruno! [NYS]
  17. the morning line
    Brooklyn Cyclone, Confirmed • Bay Ridge is cleaning up after, well, a tornado. There’s even a Red Cross shelter set up, with about 30 families in it; more than twenty homes are deemed uninhabitable. [amNY]
  18. the morning line
    756* • Juror Bloomberg is back at his day job — and he’s brokered a deal with Albany that will require more developers in more neighborhoods to include low-income housing in their projects. Spitzer’s likely to sign. [NYT]
  19. the morning line
    Death at NYU • The daughter of two prominent NYU professors was discovered dead in a university-owned apartment in Washington Square Village. If it’s a homicide, expect it on Law & Order when the new season starts. [amNY]
  20. the morning line
    Follow the E-mail • The Post, in another damning Spitzer exclusive (it’s almost as if someone well connected in Albany hated the governor!), claims the administration is hiding a trove of private scandal-related e-mails, which Attorney General Cuomo, lacking subpoena power, didn’t get. [NYP]
  21. the morning line
    Partly Cooked • Something to ponder during your commute: The most recent federal survey rated the upkeep of the Brooklyn Bridge lower than its collapsed Minneapolis counterpart. [NYDN]
  22. the morning line
    Eliot Spitzer Has Reached Acceptance • The Albany County D.A., P. David Soares, announced yesterday that he will review Cuomo’s findings regarding use of state police by the governor’s office. Spitzer, sounding more Zen by the minute: “I welcome it, I accept it.” [amNY]
  23. the morning line
    He Wants You to Want Him to Testify • Spitzer on testifying under oath about his noninvolvement in the Joe Bruno surveillance: “I’m happy to, going to, look forward to it.” Anything else? “I’d love to.” [NYP]
  24. the morning line
    What Can Brown Do for You? • Try following this: Spitzer’s office said no to a Republican proposal to grant Andrew Cuomo special-prosecutor powers so that Cuomo could better stick it to Spitzer. Yeah. [NYDN]
  25. the morning line
    Privileged Spitzer • While A.G. Andrew Cuomo was investigating him, Eliot Spitzer gagged two aides by quickly designating them “special counsels” — which bestowed lawyer-client privilege on their internal chats. Clever, and ever so slightly nauseating. [NYP]
  26. the morning line
    Mr. Ethics, Meet the Ethics Board • The newest chapter in the fast-developing Spitzer scandal: The State Ethics Commission, which definitely has subpoena power, has joined the State Senate in requesting the documents from the Bruno investigation. Not looking good. [amNY]
  27. the morning line
    Bruno’s Turn • With the Spitzer camp circling the wagons, it’s Joe Bruno’s hour, and he’s taking full advantage of it: The State Senate leader called for multiple investigations into the administration, vowing, “This is not going to go away.” [NYP]
  28. the morning line
    A Spitzer Stonewall? • 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]
  29. the morning line
    And on Day 204, Everything Changed Back • Governor Spitzer has dismissed one top aide and suspended another for (a) essentially spying on Joe Bruno and (b) concocting a cover-up for it. But what did Spitzer know, and when did he know it? [NYT] • In the meantime, Bruno’s vacation is ruined anyway: The Legislature has agreed to reconvene on Thursday to begin discussing a “compromise” on congestion pricing. [NYDN] • The so-called YouTube debate on CNN last night wasn’t just an exercise in cross-branding; it delivered some full-on madness, including a talking snowman grilling Hillary Clinton on climate change and a Second Amendment question from a man holding a gun. [NYP] • Eighteen years after pleading guilty to sex crimes — and then denying his guilt, and then having a movie made about him — convicted child molester Jesse Friedman may be vindicated. A new hearing will introduce evidence that police may have tampered with a young accuser. [amNY] • And, Newt Gingrich says Mike Bloomberg’s “entire basis of survival is paying $91 a vote” in 2005. Remind us what Newt Gingrich’s basis for survival is again? [NYS]
  30. the morning line
    How Now Dow Jones? • Thirty or so Bancrofts are converging on a Boston Hilton today to discuss whether they’d like some more money. (Actually, spread across the clan, the estimated $500 million in profit a Dow Jones sale would bring doesn’t sound like a staggering amount.) [NYT] • Councilman and former Black Panther Charles Barron (he of the “Sonny Carson” avenue-renaming idea Bloomberg called “the worst ever”) announced he’s running to replace Marty Markowitz as the Brooklyn beep. Should be a lively campaign, as they say. [NYP] • In rapper-arrest news, Lil Wayne and Ja Rule have been picked up on separate (!) gun-possession charges in busts an hour apart. [WNBC] • Midtown businesses that lost money to last week’s steam-pipe blast will not see a red cent from Con Ed — not even restaurants that lost their supplies to spoilage when the power was cut. Some are threatening to sue. [NYDN] • And the Yankees beat the Devil Rays 21-4 last night, which both tabs agree puts the team in the “21 Club.” Yuk yuk yuk. [NYDN, NYP]
  31. the morning line
    Behold the Power of Crumbling Infrastructure • Families of 9/11 victims are upset — are the families of 9/11 victims ever not upset? — because the city plans to commemorate the attacks’ sixth anniversary in the small Zuccotti park. Instead of, you know, in the middle of a giant construction site. [amNY]
  32. the morning line
    And in Non-Explosion News... • As if last night’s man-made horrors weren’t enough, here’s one from Mother Nature: A tornado touched down in Islip Terrace, uprooting trees and ripping up a law office, as two storms pummeled Long Island at the same time. [WNBC] • Some Wall Street Journal employees answer phones by drawling “News Corporation” in an Australian accent. [NYT] • Congress is refusing to pass a “routine resolution” honoring the New York Archdiocese because it mentions scandal-tainted Cardinal Edward Egan by name. Honorable, we guess. Remind us why Congress is honoring archdioceses in the first place? [NYP] • Al Sharpton, who led the drive to get Don Imus fired, will have no problem with his nemesis’ return to the airwaves: “He has a right to make a living.” So does the Rev, who clearly needs new material. [amNY] • And mazel tov to Mark Malkoff, who visited every Starbucks in Manhattan — there are 171 — in 24 hours. Bad news: Dude’s an “aspiring filmmaker” and, naturally, filmed the journey. [NYDN]
  33. the morning line
    Can’t We Just Blame Everyone? • With Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan dead, the finger-pointing begins in earnest. Mayor Mike decries Albany’s lack of “guts” while state officials accuse the mayor of springing a fully formed proposal on them at the last possible moment. [NYT]
  34. the morning line
    Stalled Traffic • After all that, Albany shelved Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing idea, letting the federal-funding deadline pass without the issue even coming to a vote. Expect a new traffic-reducing proposal, nothing like Bloomberg’s, later in the year. [NYT]
  35. the morning line
    Traffic Jam • It’s down to the wire — the deadline for the legislature to approve Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan is today — and the still-unbowed mayor is pulling out all stops: Yesterday, he campaigned for it in three churches, fer chrissakes. [NYT]
  36. the morning line
    Hell No, He Won’t Go • A Bronx soldier and his wife have been charged with conspiracy, among other things, for allegedly getting a hit man to shoot him in the leg so he’d avoid another tour in Iraq. The wife did the actual hiring. [NYDN] • Miss New Jersey is off the hook after her blackmail pictures, an utterly innocuous batch of clothed party posing, came out; the same hypocritical prudes that judged her swimsuit have “closely examined and debated the photos during a tension-filled meeting” and deemed them okay. [NYP] • Ballsy PR gimmicks, part one: Piaggio, the U.S. importer of Vespa scooters, paid for two months of free Vespa parking at 48 spaces throughout Manhattan. Until September 30, scooter owners are the most privileged drivers in the city. [NYT] • Ballsy PR gimmicks, part two: Producers of My First Time, an Off Broadway play, are letting virgins in free. Should you decide to take advantage, a hypnotist working the line determines if you’re telling the truth — although a Broadway-show T-shirt should probably suffice. [AP via Newsday] • And, the “beloved” Magnolia Bakery has reopened after a brief closure — or, as West Villagers who remember life before their neighborhood became a Sex and the City candy land would call it, respite. [amNY]
  37. the morning line
    Thrice-Married Catholic Not Considered So Religious • Only 13 percent of responders think Rudy Giuliani is “of strong religious faith,” according to a Time poll — and that’s lower than Hillary’s number (15 percent). But he once wanted to close down an art exhibit for blasphemy! [NYP] • “The very character of the Northeast is at stake” if greenhouse gases aren’t reduced, a new study warns. Poised to vanish: Long Island lobsters and New York apples. What will thrive: smog, pollen, and floods. And, clearly, Claritin sales. [NYT] • An L.A.-to-London flight was diverted to JFK this morning because of a “suspicious passenger.” Michael Chertoff’s gut told him it was a harmless misunderstanding. [WNBC] • Shelly Silver still won’t agree to bring the Assembly to the table for congestion-pricing talks — even as the desperate Mayor Bloomberg says he’ll fly to Albany tomorrow. By now, we’re just looking forward to Monday, when this mess will be over. [NYDN] • And, starting today, the MTA adds a “Mets express” to its 7 line: a one-stop service from midtown to Shea. It’s just for an hour on game days, but funny thing: If they did it year-round, Willets Point might actually be habitable. [amNY]
  38. the morning line
    Traffic Jam • The Feds are insistent on their Monday deadline for approval of Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan, the mayor says, and Shelly Silver’s Assembly doesn’t even have plans to reconvene to discuss it. Poor Mike. [NYT]
  39. the morning line
    It’s Not Easy Being a Steamroller • Eliot Spitzer admits to the Times that his feud with Joe Bruno has become “ugly” and “eclipse[d] all discussion of policy and legislation.” Plus, all the personal attacks are upsetting Mrs. Spitzer, who now regrets her husband didn’t go into real estate. [NYT] • The city is opening 290 “cooling centers” to help New Yorkers beat the heat; “I don’t care how strong you are, you should take some precautions,” Mayor Bloomberg declared, sounding even more like a testy grandmother than usual. [amNY] • Now this is getting interesting: The Department of Transportation under Janette Sadik-Khan is trying to hire Danish planner Jan Gehl as a consultant (as Daily Intel reported two weeks ago), and now word is that his proposals include banning cars from Times Square. [NYDN] • At the Phil Spector trial, the judge has allowed in a piece of blockbuster testimony from the producer’s bodyguard — who says he’s heard Spector say “all women should be shot in the head.” [WNBC] • And a Manhattan psychologist, William Swan, is accused of groping a prospective assistant during an interview and showing her porn to boost her “assertiveness.” In an apparent triumph, she’s now assertive enough to sue and go to the press. [NYP]
  40. the morning line
    Just Say No • Hidden among other traffic-reducing measures in New York’s application for federal congestion-pricing funds is a doozy: Just Stay Home. One of the proposed changes is “telecommuting as a travel demand management strategy.” [Metro NY] • The Post, firmly on Joe’s side in the Bruno-Spitzer battle, reports that Spitzer’s aides pretty much begged anyone with a badge to investigate the state senator (including, unsuccessfully, “at least one New York City D.A.” — how many of those do we have?). [NYP] • Despite “experts” insisting that the Bancroft-Murdoch deal is done, the Dow Jones board will be meeting with Ron Burkle today. In the meantime, Journal defections start: A top editor is moving to Business Week. [NYT] • The first week the new noise regulations were in effect prove one thing: We’re a city of nasty little tattletales. The top complaint to 311 — almost half of the calls — concerned not construction clatter or Mister Softee but noisy neighbors. [NYDN] • And here’s a free mobile service that puts Google Maps to shame. Should you ever find yourself lost in the Manhattan grid with nowhere to relieve yourself, mizpee.com will send you the address of the “closest, cleanest” restroom. You know, in case you lose the ability to walk into a hotel lobby on your own. [NYDN]
  41. the morning line
    The Thrilla in Albany • The battle royale between Joe Bruno and Eliot Spitzer — and maybe, a little bit, the Albany Times Union — continues to heat up. Now the embattled State Senate majority leader says he’ll activate a senate committee to investigate the guv — and start issuing subpoenas. [NYP] • Another week, another power outage: About 2,500 Upper East Siders lost their electricity again last night, this time after an underground fire. Blacking out 10021 twice in ten days can’t be good for business. [Reuters] • Turns out that while he was preparing to decamp the GOP, Mike Bloomberg was privately bombarding the state Republicans with messages of support — including pledges to back some Dem-targeted senators’$2 2008 campaigns. Now that’s triangulation. [NYT] • The new noise regulations have barely gone into effect, and already dozens of businesses have been busted — including a Mister Softee truck caught blasting the jingle in a residential area. [amNY] • And the Statue of Liberty is increasingly unlikely to make it onto the modern “seven wonders of the world” list currently being compiled. As the massive poll draws to a close with over 90 million votes cast, the poor green thing is languishing at the bottom, with the likes of the Kremlin and Stonehenge. [NYDN]
  42. the morning line
    Rudy’s in the Money (Sorta) • Rudy Giuliani came out on top in the second round of Republican fund-raising, becoming the only GOP candidate to raise more dough in the second quarter of 2007 ($17 million) than in the first ($16 million). For comparison’s sake, Barack Obama took in $31 million over the same period. [NYDN]
  43. the morning line
    Fireworks, Pools, Booze — Not Terror — Will Kill You Tomorrow • There’s no reason to fear terror attacks on the Fourth of July, the mayor is insisting; the threat of terror, he says, is nothing compared to the dangers of unguarded beaches and pools. “Don’t let the kids play with fireworks. Don’t drink and drive,” he advised. Oh, also, the NYPD is on its highest alert. [NYDN]
  44. the morning line
    Safe • Crime is drastically down so far this year, with the city on track to set a record in 2007: the fewest murders since the police began keeping track in the sixties. An NYU prof credits an NYPD program that sends crowds of rookie cops to bad neighborhoods — and those rookie cops would be the ones they’re now paying $25k. [NYDN] • Is Joe Bruno the Alan Hevesi of the sky? The state’s top Republican is under investigation for allegedly steering state contracts to associates; now Spitzer is threatening to look into Bruno’s use of state aircraft — and police escorts — to fly to fund-raisers in New York City. [NYP] • Those new New York City condoms hit 100 of New York’s 325 senior centers last week. The remaining 225 centers — save for seven apparently run by prudes — will get their rubbers this week, along with pamphlets on HIV prevention. [NYP] • Bloomberg’s new noise code went into effect yesterday. See, isn’t the city nice and quiet now? [NYT] • And A-Rod’s wife wore a tank top to yesterday’s game bearing the words “Fuck You” on the back. Perhaps it would have been better to convey this message at home? [NYP]
  45. the morning line
    Bloomberg Calling • People are receiving anonymous, computerized telephone polls asking if they’d support a Bloomberg run for the presidency if he spent $1 billion of his own money on it. When asked if the poll was conducted by Bloomberg, aides in his office refused to confirm or deny it. How very diabolical! [NYDN]
  46. the morning line
    When the Lights Go Down in the City • Yesterday’s power outage lasted for less than an hour, but it closed down subway lines and affected about 385,000 people on the East Side and the Bronx. Con Ed doesn’t know what caused it, and the mayor, naturally, shrugged it off as a “minor inconvenience.” [NYP]
  47. the morning line
    Rent! • The Rent Guidelines Board last night split the difference between a tenants’ proposal and one from landlords and settled on renewal increases of 3 and 5 percent for one- and two-year leases, respectively, in rent-stabilized apartments. Both sides, predictably enough, railed against the decision. [NYP]
  48. the morning line
    Going Your Way, Slowly • Breaking news! After a comprehensive study, the MTA can now tell you that numbered subway lines are overcrowded, and that Lex lines often run behind schedule. (Who knew?) Apparently there’s nothing officials can really do about it, as those lines are already operating at capacity.
  49. the morning line
    No Congestion Pricing, But... • So Mayor Mike struck out on his congestion-pricing deal as Albany ended the legislative session. But while that plan got all the attention, Bloomberg got a slew of other projects passed: a child-care tax credit, a corporate tax slash, and more state funds for public housing. Huh. [NYP] • Dozens of pissed-off New Yorkers are being bussed to D.C. for a congressional hearing about the Feds’ performance monitoring air quality at ground zero. Jerry Nadler will be the congressman first to grill ex–EPA head Christine Todd Whitman. [amNY] • What Sunday’s pride parade may have lacked in middle-aged, middle-class gays, it more than made up for in a newly prominent demographic: religious groups. Jews, Roman Catholics, Buddhists, and others came dangerously close, in the words of a reveler, to “hijacking the parade.” [WCBS] • The weekend brought a mass gang arrest in Bushwick — 32 kids, the youngest 13 years old, collared on their way to attend a murdered friend’s wake. The gang is supposedly an offshoot of the Bloods, colorfully dubbed the Pretty Boy Family. [NYT] • And now that Fred Thompson seems to be a viable presidential candidate, let’s get all our political advice from Law & Order cast members. Sam Waterston — a.k.a. A.D.A. Jack McCoy — is also the face of the libertarian-flavored online movement Unity08, and he’s ready to vote Bloomberg. [NYDN]
  50. the morning line
    Interpretations • Bill Clinton chimes in on the Bloomberg party switch, and he’s all smiles about it: “I suppose he just couldn’t bear to be in the Republican Party anymore,” and he won’t affect Hillary’s margins. [NYP] • The grad student who drove journalist David Halberstam to his death in a car crash will be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter: The accident happened when he made an illegal turn. [amNY] • Jason Giambi finally admitted to steroid use. He will now meet with MLB steroid czar George Mitchell, thus becoming the only current player to cooperate with the probe. [NYDN] • The Haywards — a wealthy Native American family, who built the Foxwoods casino — say they’re being “shunned” and “pushed out” of the 800-person Connecticut tribe. Which makes them the Trumps of the Pequot. [NYT] • And the city credits its “hard-hitting” TV ads (starring Ronaldo the Hole-in-the-Throat Guy) with reducing the local smoking rates to a historic low. Could be that. Or could be the fact that you can’t smoke anywhere. [NY Metro]
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