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Foiled

20070509heds_small.jpg • Six men from New Jersey and Philadelphia are charged with a bizarre plot to attack Fort Dix with assault weapons; this time, the Feds seem to have all the necessary goods on the plotters, including tapes of weapons training (in rural Pennsylvania!). [NYT] • A huge chunk of Albany's political elite, from Eliot Spitzer on down, are poised to align themselves with Hillary Clinton in the '08 race. Lieutenant Governor David Patterson, Andrew Cuomo, Shelly Silver, et al are all in; Spitzer will announce from Statehouse steps this noon. [amNY] • Mike Bloomberg is not exactly kind to the city's parkers (who can forget "Stop griping"), but at least he's fair: The mayor's annoyed with municipal workers who whip out government car placards in non-emergency situations, and wants to kill the perk. [NYP] • Noticed a rash of nasty labor disputes at big-name restaurants lately? So has the City Council. A new bill, to be introduced today, would empower the Health Department to crack down on eateries with labor and wage violations. Bring on the (inflatable) rats! [MetroNY] • And, teams of sewer workers — with names like the Tallman Island Turd Surfers and the Bowery Bay Bowl Busters — have competed in the twentieth annual Olympics of Sewage Treatment. The Bowery Boys won and will move on to the state finals. That is all. [NYDN]

Mike '10!

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• Mayor Bloomberg says he may run for governor in 2010. The reasoning: He is allegedly angry at Spitzer for trying to "run the city," so he may as well wrest the state from him. Does this mean people will finally stop bugging Mike to run for president in '08? [NYP] • We told you the Giuliani campaign is going to be filled with moments like this, and, boy, does the man deliver: Just as Rudy got comfortable saying he "hates abortion" on the trail, out pop his donations to Planned Parenthood — six of them, all made while he was mayor. [amNY] • The Daily News drops an interesting statistic: There are 250,820 fugitives currently on the lam in the state of New York. Of course, almost a quarter of them are "various drug offenders," which calls into question our drug laws rather than their lackadaisical enforcement. [NYDN] • In a wire item none of our local papers deemed fit to print, the AP reports a faulty pipe that has spewed millions of gallons of sewage into the Hudson is finally fixed. We knew our Hudson River Raw Tea tasted a little off this past weekend. [WHDH] • And Christopher Hitchens's evening at the Public Library last night, in support of his atheist screed God Is Not Great, was originally billed as a debate with You, the audience (how Web 2.0!). Then how did he end up debating the Reverend Al Sharpton — and, God, why? [Empire Zone/NYT]

Never Fear, Corzine's Here

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• Is New Jersey governor Jon Corzine a superhero? He's back to work today, just a few weeks after breaking a leg, eleven ribs, his collarbone, his sternum, and more in a horrific SUV crash. Three-time acting governor Richard Codey again politely recedes into the background. [WNBC] • Kirsys Rodriguez, a 12-year-old Bronx girl, is in critical condition after catching a bullet in a post-party "dispute": She was trying to flee the gunfire that erupted over somebody's Sidekick. [NYT] • Roger Clemens is back with the Yankees for the rest of 2007, for the discussion-ending $28 million (the Red Sox put up a paltry $18 million). Since the Yanks' starting pitchers have been dropping like flies, he'll start within days. [amNY] • Joseph Oddo, a Virginia-based writer whose pet cause is to draft independent candidates to run for president, ha set his sights on Bloomberg. The Website, DraftMichael.com, handily serves to raise public awareness of, well, Joseph Oddo. [NYS] • And it's not exactly local news, but since Spider-Man has been bugging this city for the last several weeks, the least we can do is report his box office: $148 million for the weekend (a record), $59 million on Friday alone (a record), and $375 million worldwide (a record). Can he go away now? [NYDN]

New Jersey and Stewart Airport, Perfect Together

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• The Port Authority has permission from New Jersey's acting governor to buy or build two new airports outside its normal area of operations. The first one will be Stewart International, 65 miles from New York; next up, Atlantic City? [NYDN] • The plan to open a secular Arabic-studies school in Park Slope is nearly dead in the face of a massive and misguided outcry from parents and media who thought it would be a madrassa; the Sun, for instance, suggested we "break out the torches and surround City Hall to stop this monstrosity." [NYT] • An eBay official is testifying in the Peter Braunstein case to list the items the crazed ex-journalist bid on in preparation for his crimes: firefighter gear, handcuffs, a gas mask, potassium nitrate, a Detroit cop badge, a FDNY sticker, and a camcorder. [WNBC] • A unique surgery healed a Long Island 3-year-old from a case of the permanent giggles doctors dubbed the Joker Face. (It's actually a very rare form of epilepsy, caused by a tumor on the hypothalamus.) [Newsday] • And we're shocked — shocked! — to report an intern scandal in the halls of power. Republican Mike Cole has become the first-ever assemblyman to get officially censured for spending a night in a female intern's apartment. Granted, he was merely watching the NHL playoffs there, with a bunch of other people present, but still. [NYP]

Go West, Young Man

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• Oh, no! Gay-marrying New Paltz mayor Jason West, not yet 30 and the closest the upstate hamlet has to a national celebrity, has been defeated by an ex-ally, 514 to 379. West reportedly alienated the town with a "heavy-handed" governing style. Well, he is a puppeteer by trade. [NYT] • This should keep conspiracy theorists occupied for the next decade: A laptop with "sensitive" 9/11 info, including photos of newly unearthed human remains, has been stolen from a medical examiner's SUV parked next to ground zero. [NYP] • Bloomberg's Spanish is improving. The mayor, whose tenuous grasp of the language was a reliable joke for years, delivered a ten-minute speech in Spanish during his Mexico visit and even took questions. [amNY] • The Daily News catches Con Ed in a bizarre practice: The utility giant is hiring limo drivers to guard electrified grates and manholes. The drivers (sorry, "site-safety personnel") simply park next to the stray-voltage area and sit there, sometimes for days. On it, indeed. [NYDN] • And some New Jersey children tuning in to the Disney Channel were exposed to an accidentally aired bit of hard-core porn this week. The program they thought they'd see? "Handy Manny," about "a bilingual Latino handyman and his talking tools." The cable company, Comcast, had no comment. [WNBC]

Fairest of the Fair, She Is

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• In a turnaround from yesterday, Miss America will testify as a witness in the eleven court cases she helped build by playing a 14-year-old in a televised Long Island sex-sting op. [WNBC] • The Mets fan who used a powerful flashlight to blind a Braves pitcher has been sentenced to fifteen days behind bars — and a lifetime ban from Shea Stadium — after pleading guilty to "interfering with a sporting event." [NYP] • Speaking of the Mets, Citi Field now has its own Daniel Goldstein: One (and perhaps the only) inhabitant of Willets Point's "Iron Triangle," 74-year-old Joe Ardizzone, is refusing to relocate and make way for the stadium. [amNY] • After losing half his blood and breaking a bunch of bones in an SUV crash, New Jersey governor Jon Corzine requested yesterday to be fined for not wearing a seat belt. Today, he is exactly $46 dollars poorer and, presumably, happier. [NYT] • Here's someone who won't be requesting a ticket: A Queens burglary suspect, fleeing from cops in a stolen SUV, rammed into a bus carrying disabled students. Oh, yes, the apartment he burglarized? A police officer's. [NYDN]

Sprung From Cages on Highway 9

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• New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine apologized from a wheelchair for the careless driving that led to his crash. Then he rode home from the hospital, fifteen miles over the speed limit. [NYP] • In the meantime, perennial bridesmaid Richard Codey is easing into his third acting-governor gig in six years — this time, unlike during the McGreevey denouement, without a personal staff and with an elected leader watching over him. [NYT] • Owner Hilly Kristal is having second thoughts about the CBGB-in-Vegas thing, turning down investor after investor because "the focus has to be on new acts, new interesting things." We could certainly use that thinking for, let's see, the last fifteen years of the original CB's. [MetroNY] • After losing two men in a week to freak train accidents, MTA has decided to halt all track work pending a safety review. Workers say that a lack of two-way radios may be to blame. [amNY] • And "as a thank-you to our readers," the Daily News costs 25 cents this week — starting, that is, the exact same day the Post began charging 50 cents again. The extreme-skinflint demographic is theirs! Temporarily! [NYDN]

Subway Worker Killed

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• An MTA worked died yesterday after being hit by the G train at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, the second such incident in one week. His colleague is at Bellevue in stable condition. Worst train in the city. [MetroNY] • The NYPD is using so-called "scarecrows" — unmanned cop cars — to spook drivers into obeying the speed limit on Belt Parkway, L.I.E., and elsewhere. A spokesman was quick to note that the practice is not related to the department's short staffing. [NYDN] • The Upper West Side's Claremont Riding Academy, one of the oldest stables in the country, shut its doors Sunday. There were tears, from mothers more so than from daughters. [NYT] • When we read the headline "New York City Bar Urges Bush Administration to Abandon Restrictions," we were briefly awed by our drinking establishments' political sway. But it was merely our lawyers lobbying the White House to stop placing blame at Guantánamo on, well, lawyers. [WHDH-TV] • Joe Torre's brother Frank, 75, is getting a kidney transplant tomorrow; he had a new heart put in eleven years ago. One of his daughters will be the donor. [NYP]

Bruce Ratner vs. the Homeless, Too

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• 350 residents were ordered out of a homeless shelter after a parapet fell off a Ratner-condemned building next door. Even the dourest pessimists at Develop Don't Destroy didn't think mass displacement at Atlantic Yards would already be an issue. [NYT] • So that's why the City Council wants to ban metal bats: An assistant baseball coach at East Side's Norman Thomas H.S. allegedly went medieval with one, clubbing two kids over the head for cheering on a rival team. [NYDN] • Not a week after a court confirmed activists' right to film cops at protests, the NYPD is asking a judge to give officers back the right to film protesters. Everyone's a damn auteur in this city. [amNY] • Asian American groups are steadily mounting an Imus Redux; CBS Radio is under pressure to can shock jocks "JV and Elvis" for prank-calling a Chinese restaurant with "shlimp flied lice" jokes. Shouldn't we be addressing the larger issue of why prank-calling restaurants is a marketable career option? [MediaChannel] • And Jon Corzine says "I'm the most blessed person who ever lived." Point taken, J.C.: The man is walking and talking two weeks after meeting a guardrail at 91mph. [WNBC]

How Now Dow Jones?

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• The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 13,089 yesterday, leaping past the 13K mark on a 136-point rally — and, no doubt, giving yet another batch of small investors the tragic impression that they, too, can be Jim Cramer. [NYP] • With all the money floating around City Hall (the surplus is now even larger than estimated — $4.4 billion), Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants a tax credit for renters to match Bloomberg's proposed property-tax rebate. The mayor's not sold. [amNY] • Al Gore ("the world's hottest leading man," per Bloomberg's press-conference remarks) is in town to open the Tribeca Film Festival. If he were running for office, last night's gala would sure feel a lot like a Dem fund-raiser. But he's not, so it didn't. [WNBC] • Corzine walks! New Jersey's governor took a few steps for the first time since the car crash that broke half the bones in his body. He also felt up to taking a phone call from … President Bush. [NYT] • And Condi Rice apparently wields major power over New Yorkers' consumer habits. After she endorsed a beef stew at Brooklyn's Sea Tide Gourmet Fish Store (huh?), it's supposedly been flying off the shelves. The story feels planted, but by whom? The store or Condi? [NYDN]

Bloomberg Goes for Mexican

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• The mayor is visiting Tepoztlán, Mexico — the site of the slightly kooky, yet reportedly very effective, cash-for-good-behavior program that he's hoping to implement here. Hey, if it's good for Tepoztlán …NYT] • NYU Student Council president Meredith Dolgin, 21, is in hot water for (a) tampering with elections, (b) using school funds for a personal trip, and (c) getting her own grandmother a paid speaking engagement at the university. [NYP] • We may get to read more by former journalist Peter Braunstein. His journal has been deemed admissible at his trial, and it reportedly contains detailed plans for the costumed kidnapping and assault that made him infamous. [NYDN] • It's not all luxury condos for Brooklyn: A blockwide affordable-housing complex will be built in Fort Greene, the city says. More than 300 apartments of the 434 total units will be subsidized. [amNY] • And, here's an idea how to save Little Italy: high-end Italian boutiques! A neighborhood activist, working with the Medici Foundation, wants Armani, Fendi, et al, to give Mulberry a "Little Milan" tinge. Too bad they're all five blocks away, on West Broadway. [MetroNY]

Council: 2; Mayor: 0

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• The City Council overrode Bloomberg's veto and instituted a ban on metal baseball bats in high schools. And council members did the same with his veto of pedicab restrictions. A two-hitter, if you will. [Bloomberg] • President Bush is in town today for a speech and a photo op at the Harlem Village Academy Charter School, because it's been doing well under the No Child Left Behind act. We're sure the city had nothing to do with the improvement! At any rate, enjoy the gridlock. [amNY] • Historian David Halberstam, Pulitzer-winning legend of New York journalism died in a Bay Area car crash. Halberstam covered the Vietnam war for the Times and went on to write dozens of widely read books on that and other subjects. [WNBC] • The condo-weary Upper West Side is making like the Lower East and mulling a height limit on buildings. Under a proposed plan, all new construction west of the park between 97th and 110th Street would top off at about fourteen stories. [NYDN] • And the Waverly Inn — still not officially opened! — got slapped with 38 points for nine violations by the Health Department, including "mouse activity." We're sure our Grub Street brethren will have more to say, so let us just quickly smile at Mr. Carter's plan for a "Waverly cat" to deal with the mice. [NYT]

Mike Goes Green

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• After a long and suspenseful run-up, Mayor Bloomberg finally revealed his 25-year plan for "the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city." On tap: enclosed highways, more green space, river cleanup — and $8 congestion charge. [NYT] • Four Brooklyn policewoman have filed complaints against three of their superiors for allegedly calling them — you're not going to believe this — "nappy-headed ho's." (As in: "Don't give me no lip before I have to call you [one].") Great: postmodernist slur use. [NYDN] • A Mets fan is pleading not guilty to "interfering with a professional sporting event"; he has allegedly tried to blind two Atlanta Braves players with a flashlight. He's represented by Legal Aid, which can always use a diversion, and faces a year in jail. [WNBC] • Dina Matos McGreevey claims she had learned of her husband's sexuality early on, perhaps by 2000. Also: The Post should really stop calling McGreevey "McG" lest Charlie's Angels director McG sue. [NYP] • And The Producers ended its Broadway run yesterday after 2,502 performances, leaving behind only fond memories. Well, and two movies. [amNY]

Congestion Pricing, Coming Soon to a Midtown Near You!

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• The mayor will use Earth Day to unveil a barrage of housing, transit, and environmental proposals. In the spotlight today: a charge for drivers to enter midtown, a cabbies' dream and car commuters' nightmare. [NYT] • Governor Spitzer is requesting FEMA aid, including disaster unemployment relief, for twelve counties hit hard by the weekend's nor'easter. New York City is in line for some federal funds as well. [WSTM] • Albany, meantime, is proposing the so-called Paw and Claw Tax (on pet food, natch), with the money going toward shelters. The tax would apply to "dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits and birds." Your ferret is now a bargain. [NYS] • Tom Cruise, whom the Post now dubs "the diminutive Scientologist," hit Chelsea (an easy joke there) to raise funds for his questionable sauna-and-vitamins program for 9/11 emergency workers. Reporters were banned. [NYP] • And it took two fumbling attempts for the NYPD scuba team to tow the departed Sludgie the Whale from Gowanus to his final resting place in Jersey City. Deadpanned one detective by way of equivocation, "This was my first whale." [WNBC]

No Good News

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• It pales in comparison to Virginia, but it shouldn't: A disturbed Queens man killed his mother and two others before killing himself. The mother is said to have called the police seven times seeking protection, the last time minutes before her death. [NYDN] • The Virginia Tech gunman addressed his manifesto to "30 Rockefeller Avenue, NY, NY 10102" — and it still made it to NBC: the one package that would probably be better off lost. [NYT] • Oh, great, look who's coming to Manhattan: JCPenney. The company will open a 150,000-square-foot store in the midtown. A Lower East Side branch is surely to follow by, oh, 2012. [CNN Money] • The Times produces a think piece on the New Jersey Governors Who Speed, interviewing a Christie Whitman staffer and Thomas Kean. The consensus is that speeding is "just part of the culture." [NYT] • And the final bummer on a wretched morning: The Gowanus whale is dead. Surprisingly, not from poisoning; the poor thing struck a "rocky ridge." We suspect suicide. [NYP]

Save the Whale, and the Musicians

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• After Jon Corzine recovers — speedily, we hope — we see a lot of PSAs in his future. Not only was the New Jersey governor not wearing a belt at the time of his crash last Thursday, but the car was doing 91 mph. [NYDN] • Cynthia Greenberg, an activist who claims to have been kicked in the head by an NYPD officer at an antiwar rally, will get $150,000. The city is making the case go away after Greenberg threatened to produce videotape. [NYT] • The German Army has fired the instructor who told his soldiers to imagine scary black dudes in the Bronx before squeezing the trigger. Chalk the victory up to the unlikely alliance of YouTube and Bronx beep Adolfo Carrion. [amNY] • As live-music venue closings reach a critical mass, musicians descended on City Hall yesterday to protest. Turns out guitarist Marc Ribot speaks fluent municipal-ese ("that industry brings hundreds of thousands of tourists," etc.). [Metro NY] • And a baby minke whale has made its way into the Gowanus Canal. As of this moment, it's still navigating the filthy waters, and rescue plans are being drawn up; on a related note, is "Fin City" really the best the Post could do? [NYP]

Expensive Habits

20070417heds.jpg • The Times comes out with some shocking numbers about "frequent fliers" — the addicts that keep entering and quitting rehab. The state spends $50 million a year treating just 500 of these patients, some of whom spend 100 nights a year in detox. [NYT] • There's a changing of the guard at ground zero: Governor Spitzer has named two new leaders of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. One is, somewhat fittingly, David Emil, the former owner of Windows on the World. [amNY] • Yes, we're all kinda thinking it, and someone had to be the first, but … Dear Daily News, it might be just a tad — maybe a day or so — early for a cackling op-ed titled "Do you still love those precious guns now, Virginia?" [NYDN] • The three-day nor'easter is going down in weather history. Eight inches of rain fell here in NYC — four times the record for the date; some New Jerseyites had to be evacuated by boat after the Raritan River flooded. [NYP] • And, that silly old couple that traveled to Arizona by yellow cab with their cats, and whose cutesy made-for-TV story we stoically resisted so far, arrived in Sedona. And now they're out of our jurisdiction, so that's that. [Gateway to Sedona]

Après le Deluge

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• Nor'easter weekend scorecard: 400 flights canceled, 1,500 homes left without power on Long Island, and 3,200 National Guard troops dispatched to the flooded areas. [amNY] • New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, injured in a car crash Thursday, remains under sedation at Cooper University Hospital. Corzine broke his left femur, collarbone, sternum, many ribs, and a vertebra. His prospects are good, however, after additional surgery yesterday. [NYT] • Terrible rain and wind didn't stop 200 anti-Ratner activists from making it to a rally protesting planned demolitions at the Atlantic Yards site. The developer is taking out several buildings to create a seven-acre, 1,600-car "temporary" parking lot. [MetroNY] • It's creepy enough that the New York socialite Toni Grossi-Abrams was murdered in Panama and her charred body found in a suitcase. Now the prime suspect in the case is a thrill-seeking Pennsylvania mother whose ex-husband "wouldn't put nothing past her." [NYDN] • And in more Americans-abroad mischief, a Beacon School teacher is in trouble after taking his history class to Cuba for a spring-break trip. Cuba is still illegal for Americans to travel to, of course, and students face a $65,000 fine each. The principal claims, unconvincingly, that she hasn't heard about the trip. [NYP]

Imus Scandal Claims Another Casualty

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• New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is in critical condition, and on a breathing tube, after a serious car crash sustained on his way to moderate Don Imus's meeting with Rutgers basketball players. Early reports say an out-of-control driver caused Corzine's car to swerve and hit a guardrail. Richard Codey is acting governor for the moment. [NYT] • It took a mere day for the other shoe to drop: CBS has fired Don Imus after about 30 years (and countless slurs) on the air. And now the talk-radio world is a safe and happy place again, of course. [NYP] • Turns out New York City is not just a ravenous consumer of bootleg DVDs but also a major factory of them, so videotaping films off the screen, which used to get you fined a measly $250, is now a misdemeanor with jail time attached. [IHT] • More scary housing stats: There have been 554 foreclosure auctions in New York City between January and March, up 56.5 percent from last year's fourth quarter, as folks begin defaulting on loans. [Prime Newswire] • And Governor Schwarzenegger — he of the Hummer fleet — is in New York teaching us about the environment. Okay, fine, California did pass a groundbreaking emission-reduction law and refuses to buy coal-derived electricity. Still: annoying. [NY Metro]

God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

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• Kurt Vonnegut died in Manhattan last night. He was 84 and battling a brain injury after a bad fall, and we won't insult you, or him, with a half-sentence recap of his career. [NYT] • City Comptroller William Thompson is asking the U.S. Attorney General to investigate allegations of Wal-Mart's "chilling and truly outrageous" surveillance of shareholders. Now we're definitely not getting a Wal-Mart. [Reuters] • As expected, MSNBC has killed its simulcast of Don Imus's radio show. The canning, framed in the "we're doing what's right" terms, was an easy call after a whopping nineteen advertisers pulled out. [NYDN] • NYU's wunderkind con artist Hakan Yalincak has been sentenced to 42 months in prison, with a possible deportation to Turkey to look forward to when he's done. Yalincak scammed investors out of $8.8 million through a phony hedge fund. [NYP] • And worried that environmental protests tend to come out "shrill," a group is planning to flood Battery Park this Saturday with a so-called Sea of People — including a fake Blue Men Group and a church congregation dressed as Noah's Ark. Sounds, well, not shrill. [MetroNY]