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The Morning Line

  1. the morning line
    To Run or Not to Run • As Mayor Bloomberg continues to deny that he’s running for president, the Times reports that his top aides have been testing that scenario for the last two years. Just a coincidence! [NYT] • With mere hours left until the legislative session ends, Governor Spitzer is leaning on Shelly Silver to consider congestion pricing. Spitzer’s bold step: to “discuss creating a commission of experts.” Ooh, effective! [NYS] • In Episode 4,387 of the McGreevey soap opera, the ex-gov filed new papers with a New Jersey family court — to dismiss Dina Matos’s charge that his coming-out had traumatized their daughter. [NYP] • Despite some politicians’ calls for a rent freeze, the Rent Guidelines Board has recommended increases “between 2 and 4.5 percent” (in other words, 4.5 percent) on New York’s stabilized apartments. [amNY] • And a guy goes on the lam for violating probation, gets tracked down by U.S. marshals right here in Manhattan, fights the arrest, breaks his arm, and goes to jail. That the guy is a close friend of Bernard Kerik’s shouldn’t be much of a shock. [NYDN]
  2. the morning line
    Mike Bloomberg, Independent • The political world is waking up to a queasy query — is Mike Bloomberg a Ross Perot or a Ralph Nader (or, one hopes, neither)? Of course, the man himself is no help: He still says he’s not running. [NYT] • Rudy Giuliani’s campaign, meanwhile, seems to be aiming squarely at the high-school-hooligan vote. First it comes out he’d been booted off the Iraq Study Group for truancy. Now his former South Carolina campaign chairman has been indicted for — are you ready for this? — selling crack. [NYDN] • If you tried leaving the city last night, you’re, well, probably still here. The three area airports canceled hundreds of flights because of the major thunderstorms blazing from here to the Midwest. [WNBC] • The new city regulation requiring fast-food places to post calorie count on their menus is now not going into effect until the legal fight over it plays out. So far, it’s had the opposite effect — Quizno’s and White Castle deleted all nutritional info from their Websites altogether. [amNY] • And two female marriage-license clerks are allegedly terrorizing Bronx couples by refusing to do their jobs and closing the office early. Maybe they’re stealth Dworkinites. [NYP]
  3. the morning line
    What a Bargain! • Thanks to the limp dollar, New York is now only the fifteenth most expensive city in the world. Moscow (where a luxury bedroom is $4,000 a month), London, and Seoul are the top three. [amNY] • The Post is up in arms over Bloomberg’s pay-to-the-poor incentive program, with experts warning it may cost the city “hundreds of millions.” Those poor get all the breaks. [NYP] • In the wake of the Sean Bell case, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly wants to institute sobriety testing for every cop who shoots someone. (One of Bell’s killers had two beers before the shooting.) [NYDN] • The city has paid a $29,000 settlement to Jill Coccaro, a woman erroneously arrested for going topless. In New York, of course, women have a full, if woefully rarely exercised, right to take off their shirts in public. And yet we can’t dance in bars. [CNN] • And, you think Bush v. Gore was bad? Residents of Potter, an upstate town, accidentally voted to ban alcohol in a ballot mix-up and might soon be forced to go dry. [NYT]
  4. the morning line
    Is This the End of Braunstein?Faux firefighter Peter Braunstein will be sentenced today at noon, and our short citywide nightmare shall be over. Oh, jeez, will he write a book in jail? Clemency! [amNY] • The Matos-vs.-McGreevey matter keeps getting more colorful. Now Dina Matos is claiming her ex-husband is sabotaging not just her book sales but her charity work as well. Fellow fund-raisers snip that she’s “taken her eye off the ball.” [NYP] • The New York State Restaurant Association is suing, mostly on behalf of fast-food franchises like McDonald’s and Burger King, for the right not to disclose calorie count on the menus. They’re crying Big Government. [Crain’s NY] • City Comptroller William Thompson is about to become housing activists’ darling: He thinks the recent property-tax cut should trigger a rent freeze in stabilized apartments. [NYDN] • And Eliot Spitzer is apparently ruining Albany’s nightlife. Not through regulation, mind you; it’s just that his staffers are more coffee-shop people than bar people. Figures. [NYT]
  5. the morning line
    Braunstein Writes Again • This year’s edition of the Puerto Rican Day blowback begins: activists say the police have overreached in their pre-parade gang sweep and wrongly jailed innocent bystanders. [NYDN] • Peter Braunstein dusted off his dormant journalism skills to write a long leniency-seeking letter to the judge: “I implore you, your honor, to [ignore] the venomous tabloid media and its premodern understanding of mental illness.” Hey Pete, “media” is plural. [NYP] • The NYPD premieres a new siren, the Rattler (a low-frequency aural assault) to go with its storied repertoire: the Yelp, the Wail, the Hi-Lo etc. The Times article actually links to the sound samples for each. [NYT] • Wednesday’s weird confluence of NYC critter sightings — a hawk and a kestrel in Manhattan, a lamb tearing through the Broonx — made for the busiest day in Animal Control’s history. [FoxNews] • And, one more squeeze of the Sopranos-ending “controversy”: James Gandolfini admits he has no idea if his character lives or dies. His career is a far more clear-cut case. [AP via amNY]
  6. the morning line
    Shelly Silver Comes to Bury Congestion Pricing • As expected, Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan might come to a halt at Shelly Silver’s Assembly desk. Silver’s steering committee called the idea “unpassable” yesterday. [NYP] • A federal judge has just reversed his own ban on NYPD’s videotaping of protesters. He had previously ruled that the taping must have a “law enforcement purpose” other than political monitoring, which made all kinds of sense to us. [amNY] • JPMorgan Chase will move 6,000 New York City employees downtown, to a new tower on the current Deutsche Bank site. The old we’re-going-to-Connecticut threat worked: The city is showering the company with perks and tax breaks to make the move. [NYDN] • The Times continues its bizarre pattern of subtly torpedoing Barack Obama with nonstories about his acquaintances, this time tying the candidate to a possibly unsavory businessman even as it admits “there is no sign that Mr. Obama … did anything improper.” [NYT] • And police commish Ray Kelly wants $40 million worth of radiation sensors installed around the city, on highways, bridges, tunnels, and so on. Just, you know, in case. [Newsday]
  7. the morning line
    Anything God Can Do, Rudy Can Do Better • Giuliani yesterday unveiled the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, a “Contract with America”–style plan called — we kid you not — “The Twelve Commitments.” Most of it is boilerplate, calling for low taxes, energy independence, security. Best part: America’s Mayor unleashed it during a “speech attended by about 150 people.” Fred Thompson leads in the polls. [NYP]
  8. the morning line
    Puerto Rico, You Lovely Island • The fallout from Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day parade included 208 arrests, a huge increase from last year’s 50 or so. The police insist all but ten of the arrested were “gang members.” [NYT] • First Connecticut was on the brink of legalizing medical marijuana; now New York is, too. The legislation may be heading for the governor’s desk within ten days, and Spitzer, who earlier opposed the idea, now says he’s open to it. [NYDN]
  9. the morning line
    Jersey Boys • So some TV show had its finale last night? Depending on whom you believe, the ending was either terrible (“Chase will have to live with what he did last night,” says Stasi in the Post), simply mediocre (“It didn’t end,” says Bianculli in the News. “It just stopped”), or a near-ideal conclusion to the series (“a perfectly imperfect finish,” according to Heffernan in the Times). We’re just wondering: How many people started calling Time Warner, convinced their cable had gone out? [NYP, NYDN, NYT]
  10. the morning line
    Senators Like Mike • When Bloomberg speaks, Washington listens? The mayor is praising senators for killing an amendment — it would have forbidden the feds to share gun data with local police — he recently ripped to shreds. [NYDN] • It looks like we have a mob war on our hands, with a second Mafia-related hit in three days. First a Gambino capo’s son was attacked; now an alleged Genovese mobster is found executed. Or is it all just an HBO promo? [NYP] • Remember Wall Street West, a Pennsylvania developer’s plan to sell NYC financial firms a kind of giant, high-tech office park as a backup facility? There’s one snag: Nobody’s biting. [NYT] • The city’s slowly getting used to those spindly, War Of the Worlds–like “Sky Watch” surveillance towers. The next question is whether they actually reduce crime. [amNY] • And a Long Island gym teacher was arrested for endangering the welfare of a minor after he duct taped the legs of a student, presumably to teach him some sort of lesson. If we’d known this kind of stuff was actionable, our gym teacher would probably still be in jail. [Newsday]
  11. the morning line
    Green School • Nine New York universities, including Columbia, CUNY, NYU, and Pratt, have signed on to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017. This exceeds Bloomberg’s PlaNYC goals and should, the mayor says, “make a sizable dent” in the city’s carbon footprint. [amNY] • A 15-year-old Connecticut girl who disappeared a year ago was found alive, apparently imprisoned in a secret room of her parents’ acquaintances’ house. [NYP] • Someone is destroying entire print runs, and harassing the editors, of the city’s two Urdu-language weeklies that cater to Pakistani-Americans. This is perhaps an inopportune moment to say it, but how cool is it that we have two Urdu weeklies? [CPJ] • More mayhem: A “strapping” and “burly” (in the Daily News’ oddly swooning description) ex-con prowled the 2 train for a week, stealing iPods and gold jewelry plus kissing and exposing himself to women. [NYDN] • And Frank Gehry is going to design a playground in Battery Park, as a “gift to the city.” Aw, you shouldn’t have! As opposed to Miss Brooklyn, which you really, you know, shouldn’t have. [NYT]
  12. the morning line
    Surrender! • The fourth suspect in the alleged JFK pipeline plot is in custody. At the urging of a friend, Abdel Nur, 57, walked into a police station in Diego Martin, Trinidad, and turned himself in. [NYDN] • More surrenderings! Former assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr. and former State Supreme Court justice Gerald Garson, the main characters in a protracted judgeships-for-sale investigation, were sentenced yesterday. Both men left a Brooklyn courtroom in handcuffs, although Garson eked out a stay of his sentence. [NYT] • Ready for a $3 subway fare? By 2010, warns the Straphangers Campaign, the unlimited MetroCard will likely be $112 or, if the state coughs up some extra MTA cash, $92. But that’s okay, because all our salaries will rise by 50 percent, too — right? Right? [amNY] • Gay marriage: bad for the baby Jesus, great for the economy. A new study by the city comptroller suggests that legalizing same-sex marriage would result in $142 million in economic benefits for NYC. [Crain’s NY] • And Carla Katz, the Jersey union leader who’s also, awkwardly, Governor Corzine’s ex, tells all! In a Post exclusive! To Cindy Adams! Her big revelation: “There’s absolutely nothing I have on Jon.” [NYP]
  13. the morning line
    Maxwell Wheat Will Not Be L.I. Poet Laureate • Nassau County had its first poet laureate all picked out: Maxwell Corydon Wheat Jr. Then they discovered his poem that begins “Males and one woman / Sip coffee mornings in the White House, / Talk of desires about Iraq.” So that’s a no. Good call, incidentally: The poem is beyond awful. [NYT] • Meet Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, a SUNY-Albany nanotech scientist who happens to be the best-remunerated state employee in New York. After last week’s record pay hike, his various salaries add up to an annual windfall of $947,538. Not that anyone’s counting. [NYP] • Nothing like a crazed-insurance-broker yarn: Noel Lauria bought a bow and fired arrows out his UES window, landing a stray one through a neighbor’s terrace door. His explanation to the cops: “I’m turning 40.” [NYDN] • Oh, goody, another “edgy” magician dangling over Times Square. The ingredients in the current mess: a guy named Criss Angel, a glass box, 6,000 pounds of concrete, and a crappy A&E show to promote. Go concrete! [amNY] • And over the weekend, all manner of deformed, tattooed, and hairy freaks played baseball. Also, there was a Coney Island charity game, with the Sideshow By the Seashore performers battling the Cyclone staff. See what we did there? [Metro NY]
  14. the morning line
    The Kennedy Conspiracy • There’s more on the weekend’s big story, the foiled plot to blow up JFK. One angle: The fourth suspect, still at large, could be an Al Qaeda lieutenant with direct ties to bin Laden. [NYP] • Another: The man who led the Feds to the plot was a twice-convicted drug dealer who successfully infiltrated the terror group after being muscled into serving as a government informant. [WNBC] • Rudy Giuliani, seeking to diversify his stoicism-in-the-face-of-tragedy bona fides, stopped by to speak at Montoursville High School, which lost sixteen students aboard TWA 800. The campaign hilariously insists he just popped in for no reason. [amNY] • Gun groups nationwide are casting Bloomberg as their No. 1 enemy, despite his concentration on illegal weapon sales. The NRA (whose site has a breaking-news ticker!) calls the mayor a “billionaire, Boston-grown evangelist for the nanny state.” Boston-grown — now that stings. [NYT] • And OTB wants to put touch-screen terminals into city bars and accept “BlackBerry bets,” convinced it will find a new demographic there. We eagerly await the spectacle of drunken hipsters ironically losing their shirt on their ponies. [NYDN]
  15. the morning line
    Murdoch’s Meeting • Now, finally, inevitably, the Bancroft family has announced it would “consider” selling Dow Jones. The rest is hemming and hedging, but do click through for the most ridiculously villainous photo of Murdoch the Times has ever run. [NYT] • Leroy Comria, a city councilman, has been issued police protection after another councilman’s aide kinda sorta threatened to assassinate him. Why? Because Comria wouldn’t vote to rename a street in honor of Black Nationalist Sonny Carson. [NYP] • While Bloomberg wants to increase the city’s real-estate tax cut from 5 to 8.5 percent, renters are screwed again — looks like the Christine Quinn–proposed $300 refund to the city tenants won’t happen. [NYDN] • Columbia University, squeezed by the AG’s office over an alleged violation of student-loan laws, denies any wrongdoing — but agrees to pay up to a million dollars nonetheless. [amNY] • And, in a possible first, the Hotel Chelsea Blog has inspired a documentary, Living With Legends. The last outpost of bohemia, gentrification, whither New York, blah blah. [WNBC]
  16. the morning line
    The Best of Times Is Now • Mayor Bloomberg is seeking to boost his proposed property-tax cut to as much as 8.5 percent, says the Post. The goal is to roll back a bit of 2003’s infamous 18.5 percent hike, something the City Hall promised to do “in better times.” [NYP] • Ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi got the $16 million account to overhaul the 30-year-old “I Love New York” campaign. (Spitzer says, a bit haughtily, that he won’t appear in the ads.) Let’s hope they do better than Saatchi’s recent Kurt Cobain fiasco. [Crain’s NY] • Mistaking her for an intruder, a New Haven cop opened fire on his own daughter, who was sneaking into the house after a late date. The girl, 18, has a bullet in her thigh. [NYDN] • Railway boozers, rejoice! The proposal to curb the oh-so-European practice of selling alcohol on Metro-North is pretty much kaput in the face of a commuter outcry. [NYT] • That outcry, however? Could have been just drunken babbling. Almost a thousand LIRR and Metro-North passengers got so trashed on the trains last year they needed medical attention; some 287 were ticketed for booze-fueled shenanigans. [Newsday]
  17. the morning line
    We’re All Going to Die, B-Movie Style • 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]
  18. the morning line
    New Jersey and You: Skinnier Together • Channel 7 is back on the air after a Sunday-night fire at its Upper West Side headquarters forced the staff to flee the studio. No victims, but the Live With Regis and Kelly set is kaput. [NYDN] • It doesn’t take extraordinary political perception to guess that Governor Spitzer and the Senate majority leader Joe Bruno hate each other; leave it to the Times, however, to treat it as an odd-couple comedy setup: “Mr. Spitzer’s eyes pierce. Mr. Bruno’s wink.” [NYT] • The Circle Line, which runs ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, has unveiled a noiseless electric vessel complete with a “solar sail.” It will be operational in a year and a half, provided the whole green vogue doesn’t blow over. [AP via WCAX] • New Jersey is launching an Office of Nutrition and Fitness, the nation’s first; the Garden State leads the nation in obese children under 5 (a stunning 17.7 percent). [NYP] • And who’s paying for the slimming of N.J. kids? Well, maybe you: Governor Corzine is considering a tax hike that will put the end to the state’s famously low gas prices and institute more toll roads. [amNY]
  19. the morning line
    Testing, Testing • Eliot Spitzer doesn’t just want DNA samples from all convicts and parolees. He also wants automatic HIV tests for all rape suspects, in a bill that’s dividing Albany, where some Democrats see testing “by virtue of indictment” as a slippery slope. [NYT] • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is quickly turning into a tiny local version of Tom DeLay: First came the strategic purge of a community board, now he’s in hot water for accepting a free cruise on Queen Mary 2 after lobbying Cunard to dock the ship in Red Hook. [NYP] • Accounting assistant could be a pretty lucrative job, provided you’re ready to (a) steal and (b) go to jail. Eileen Koranteng, for instance, parlayed said gig at Riverdale Country School into both a $500,000 windfall and fifteen years behind bars if convicted. • Chuck Schumer has Lyme disease! The senator is receiving treatments after he was bitten by a deer tick in the Hudson Valley. In an odd coincidence — this is not a joke — he’s proposed a $100 million research grant to study the disease. [WNBC] • And in a first that doesn’t bode well for the future of the Postal Service, Saks Fifth Avenue’s shoe department got its own Zip Code: 10222-SHOE. Nice PR move, but we’re not sure Saks is ready to embrace the yo-mama-so-fat- she-has-her-own-Zip-Code jokes. [amNY]
  20. the morning line
    2,750 • The city’s medical examiner has, for the first time, directly tied a death to 9/11 dust, thus making Felicia Dunn-Jones the 2,750th victim of the attack. The decision’s potential impact is, obviously, enormous. [NYDN] • Yesterday’s human chain around Stuy Town, apart from serving up a mini-flashback to Hands Across America, had a specific purpose: to repeal the law that allows landlords to deregulate apartments once the rent hits $2,000. [Metro NY] • The city is closing its high schools for pregnant girls, sixties inventions now beset with “abysmal test scores [and] poor attendance” (in one hair-raising example, a quilting class was being passed off as geometry). [NYT] • After facing suits for a few knee-jerk post-9/11 arrests, the city reached a deal with the New York Civil Liberties Union to stop pestering photographers and filmmakers operating handheld cameras on the street. No permit is now needed. [amNY] • And an infamous distributor of pirated Web content has been sentenced to five years for a real-world crime of, well, blowing up a portable toilet. It’s like when they got Al Capone on tax charges, except not. [NYP]
  21. the morning line
    Purge? • The Times spots an interesting pattern in the turnover pattern at a Brooklyn community board: Each of the five members tossed out this week by Borough President Marty Markowitz was a vocal opponent of Atlantic Yards. [NYT] • A fire broke out at a stable in Chestnut Ridge, about 30 miles north of the city, killing two horses and eight ponies. Yes, eight dead ponies. Good morning to you too. [amNY] • Closing arguments have sounded in the Braunstein case, which went to the jury last night. The defense memorably insisted the hapless kidnapper’s “brain broke,” and the prosecution, well, didn’t really disagree — but still found intent in his actions. [NYDN] • The latest restaurant added to the lawsuit over minimum-wage violations: Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club, which joins the allegedly ultrastingy B.B. King Bar and Grill (wait, are they now just targeting musician-owned places?) and others. [Metro NY] • And five young Long Islanders had to be Tasered at Disney World; after getting caught spitting at patrons, the four teenage siblings and a friend had apparently decided on “jumping a cop” as the optimal next-step strategy. [NYP]
  22. the morning line
    New York’s Racistest? • The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the Fire Department for discriminating against minorities. A complaint filed in Brooklyn alleges that the firefighter recruitment exam is racially weighted and serves to “weed out” blacks and Latinos. [Metro] • We’ve said it should take more than greening your mansion to make it into the news. This qualifies: An abandoned upstate steel mill has reinvented itself as a wind farm, a first for the Rust Belt. [NYT] • Peter Braunstein didn’t just want to kill Anna Wintour: He also spoke of heading down to New Orleans to head up a gang of angry Katrina survivors, according to a shrink. (Braunstein did briefly pretend to be a hurricane victim to get free food and shelter while on the run.) [amNY] • Subway Superman Wesley Autrey left NBC’s Deal or No Deal with $25 after picking the wrong suitcase (the other two held $1 million and $10,000, respectively). No X-ray vision, then. [NYDN] • And there’s some sort of conspiracy afoot among the Post, CBS, Amy Fisher, and Joey Buttafuoco to pretend that there’s some juice left in the Long Island pair’s story — enough, perhaps, to sustain a reality show. Let’s not encourage any of them. [NYP]
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    Five Shots • Another cop’s bullet, another unarmed man dead, another immigrant family demanding justice. An off-duty Manhattan officer apparently killed a Honduran van driver who sideswiped a parked car and tried to leave the scene. An investigation is under way. [amNY] • New York State’s Republican party is beginning to line up behind Rudy Giuliani, on the logic that his candidacy will help the GOP hold the State Senate. One senator says “ethnic Democrats,” i.e. immigrants, will vote Rudy. Yeah, he’s got the Diallo vote all sewn up. [NYT] • Bruce Ratner must be sweatin’ about something: He’s sent out letters to 700 addresses near Atlantic Yards promising residents free ACs and double-paned windows (to minimize construction nuisances). The kicker: Daniel Goldstein got one. [NYP] • The City Council is touting the “undeniable success” of a campaign designed to inform clinics and drugstores that Plan B, an emergency birth-control pill, can be sold over the counter; some 94 percent of surveyed city stores had it available. [WNBC] • And in lesser city initiatives, a Brooklyn assemblyman is aghast after having been hipped to the fact there are hookers on the Internet. Specifically, on Craigslist! You mean all those “18 y.o. bored females” aren’t just, you know, bored? [NYDN]
  24. the morning line
    A Bad Day for Daniel Goldstein* • The key lawsuit seeking to block Atlantic Yards has been dismissed on a technicality. A group of tenants facing eminent-domain relocation failed to convince a judge they weren’t offered comparable housing. [NYP] • Mark Green, the new president and one of the marquee voices of Air America, interviewed Michael Bloomberg for the network’s big relaunch next week; the ex-rivals were reportedly quite chummy, trading bad puns and agreeing on most of Bloomberg’s mayoral policies. [NYT] • This is exactly what the torturously slow dismantling of the Deutsche Bank building was supposed to prevent: A fifteen-foot-long pipe fell 35 stories from the half-stripped skyscraper, plunging into a neighboring firehouse and sending two firefighters to the hospital. [NYDN] • Bail for the domestic-enslaving Long Island couple was set at $2.5 million for the wife and $1 million for the husband; meanwhile, a raid on the mansion is said to have uncovered the instruments of torture, which include knives and a rolling pin. [Newsday] • And, a bomb scare shook up an elementary school in the Putnam County town of Kent after a suspicious and fragrant package was delivered to the building. But not to fear: After a Hazmat team and bomb squad got involved, an X-ray revealed it was twelve pounds of marijuana. [WNBC] * Or maybe not a bad day at all. As explained here, we totally misread this news.
  25. the morning line
    Calling All Magnates • There it is, people, your shot at the history books: Anyone want to build the equivalent of “five Empire State Buildings”? That’s what the Bloomberg administration wants to see over Hudson Yards as it opens the 26-acre, billion-dollar lot — the largest in Manhattan — to developer bids. [NYT] • Yet another previously unknown 9/11 victim was identified Wednesday by pulling DNA off a bone fragment. In all, nine more names have been put to the scant remains in the last two months. [amNY] • The Long Island slavery case is getting progressively more nauseating: Now the millionaire couple’s four children (including an ‘06 Parsons grad) are also eyed as potential contributors to the imprisonment and systematic torture of two Indonesian women. [NYP] • Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is bringing a Spitzer-style lawsuit to computer makers Dell. The company allegedly defrauds its New York customers by touting services that never materialize and hiding 29-percent rates in their “no interest” offers. Dude, not cool. [WNBC] • And, it’s a busy day for police surveillance: Not only do newly released files show the NYPD spying on peace activists, hip-hoppers, bloggers and one city councilman in the run-up to the ‘04 GOP convention, but a police captain was caught on an, uh, extracurricular stakeout: drunkenly videotaping a couple in a motel Jacuzzi. [NYDN]
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    Lifestyles of the Rich • The Sabhnanis, a “perfume mogul” couple, have allegedly kept two Indonesian women as slaves in their Long Island mansion. Both prisoners appear to have been subjected to systematic torture. And now, this photo of Mrs. Sabhnani will haunt our dreams. [NYP] • The perpetrator of last week’s unusually intense clothing-store shoplift, which involved a getaway van and left a security guard near death, is an ex-preppie with Exeter and Yale in his past. The immediate moral falls along the lines of “kids, don’t do drugs.” [NYDN] • Rudy Giuliani juggled a bunch of softball questions in the second Republican debate, somehow managing to clarify his tortured stand on abortion. Best of all, he got to let loose with the I’ve-been-there indignation when a rival suggested a modicum of U.S. culpability for 9/11. [amNY] • Finally, a co-op dispute starring Bono! The board at San Remo, his CPW abode, has banned the use of fireplaces, yet chimney smoke keeps drifting into the Hewsons’ duplex. Somehow, Bono strikes us as a guy who sits in on every co-op board meeting. [NYT] • And, XM Radio suspended its “shock jocks” Opie and Anthony for 30 days for their Laura Bush rape bit. What a pity; we were counting on them for a measured and nuanced Jerry Falwell eulogy. [WNBC]
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    Shoplifters of the World • Shoplifting usually doesn’t get this dramatic: A man and a woman absconded from the Pretty Girl clothing store in Queens, carrying out a heap of dresses and hitting the security guard with their getaway van (he is in critical condition); they remain at large. [amNY] • Bloomberg is in Albany pushing his environmental agenda; wouldn’t you know it, there’s “no apparent sense of urgency” to move on the proposals, and instead everyone just wants to talk about his gubernatorial or presidential run. [NYT] • In the meantime, the Daily News is already making its readers pick Mike’s successor: Police Commissioner Ray Kelly won the poll (with, um, 14 percent of the vote) on what seems like name recognition alone. [NYDN] • According to his rambling diary — sorry, “personal manifesto” — Peter Braunstein was planning to kill Anna Wintour because she wouldn’t return his phone calls. Oddly, if there are any journalists on the jury, this is the one prosecution revelation that may actually misfire. [NYP] • And, for the 4,375th time: Kids, if you’ve done something totally awesome, like spray-painted a church with satanic symbols, don’t brag about it on MySpace. It’s public information, and then the big men from the Hate Crimes Unit will come and arrest you, like they did with four Long Island teens yesterday. [Newsday]
  28. the morning line
    Mike, Trumps, Rudy • No particular surprise here, but it’s still pleasant to report: Despite not actually running, Bloomberg handily topped Giuliani in a Daily News presidential poll. Some 46 percent of New Yorkers pick Mike over Rudy, who gets 29 percent. [NYDN] • Not fans of Bloomberg: the Virginia Citizens Defense League. It’s planning to hold a gun giveaway — in a government building — to raise money for two dealers sued by Bloomie. [WNBC] • New York may start collecting DNA from just about all convicts in all crimes: Eliot Spitzer’s proposing mandatory sampling of all prisoners, parolees, registered sex offenders, and future cons. The program’s also supposed to make exonerating the wrongly jailed a snap. [NYT] • The Post trumpets the “return of the Mafia.” An exclusive story claims that Sicilian mobsters are making a major comeback across the organized-crime landscape, especially with the Gambino brothers out of jail. About 28 Godfather references follow. [NYP] • And, more Trumps! Donald Jr. and his wife Vanessa had a baby girl over the weekend, Kai “It’s Danish” Madison Trump; the Donald, who may not even be done siring his own progeny, thus becomes a grandfather. That is all. [amNY]
  29. the morning line
    Breaches of Etiquette • In another proof that post-9/11 airport security is a lot like pre-9/11 airport security, except with more badges, a passenger van was discovered driving on a JFK runway. The guards apparently simply waved it past the gates. [WNBC] • We’ve gone a full three weeks without being properly outraged by something someone said on the radio. How about a homeless man goaded by “Opie and Anthony” into saying he’d like to rape Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush, and Queen Elizabeth? Will that do? [NYDN] • The Times serves up another “something cool’s about to happen to NYC transit, unless it won’t” item. The tortured peg: Tomorrow, parts of a giant drill will arrive in Newark, which, once assembled, will be used (next year) to dig a tunnel that will connect LIRR to Grand Central. Yay drill! [NYT] • Finally, an animal-torture scandal with Anna Wintour at the center! Apparently, the live peacocks used as decorations at the Met’s Costume Institute gala were “fearing for their lives.” As were half the guests. [NYP] • And, since the very idea of protest is hilarious, hope you enjoyed not one but two “Free Paris Hilton” rallies in Manhattan yesterday. There were eight actual mock-picketers, but “the media turnout was out of control” and “the online support has been tremendous.” We’re sure. [amNY]
  30. the morning line
    It’s Goya For Gioia • Queens Councilman Eric Gioia is living his own version of Supersize Me: as an awareness-raising stunt, he will spend one week on a $28 food budget (the average food-stamp allotment). His strategy: lots of peanut butter and beans. [NYDN] • So, what do we know about the Fort Dix Six? Three of them belonged to an Albanian family (more of a clan, we suppose, with 200 members in the U.S. alone) that owns roofing businesses in New York and New Jersey. The other two, a Palestinian and a Turk, lived in Philly; the sixth man, a self-described Kosovar sniper, remains a mystery. [NYT] • Just as Murdoch’s Dow Jones–related news presence was waning, the mogul comes up with a doozy of an announcement: He will take News Corp. carbon-neutral. For instance, 24 will use biodiesel generators to film its deranged right-wing torture fantasies. No, seriously. [NYP] • Rudy Giuliani won’t comment on Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that all politicians who support abortion rights should be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Which is probably a good idea: Given Rudy’s recent record, not much good comes from his commenting on, well, anything. [amNY] • And, the city’s about to stop its insanely popular subway-themed condom and lubricant giveaway because “it is unclear whether the condoms are reaching target groups.” The Health Department hasn’t ruled out launching a different brand. We suggest the “Old Times Square” theme. [Kaiser Network]
  31. the morning line
    Foiled • 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]
  32. the morning line
    Mike ‘10! • 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]
  33. the morning line
    Never Fear, Corzine’s Here • 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]
  34. the morning line
    New Jersey and Stewart Airport, Perfect Together • 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]
  35. the morning line
    Go West, Young Man • 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]
  36. the morning line
    Fairest of the Fair, She Is • 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]
  37. the morning line
    Sprung From Cages on Highway 9 • 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]
  38. the morning line
    Subway Worker Killed • 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]
  39. the morning line
    Bruce Ratner vs. the Homeless, Too • 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]
  40. the morning line
    How Now Dow Jones? • 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]
  41. the morning line
    Bloomberg Goes for Mexican • 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]
  42. the morning line
    Council: 2; Mayor: 0 • 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]
  43. the morning line
    Mike Goes Green • 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]
  44. the morning line
    Congestion Pricing, Coming Soon to a Midtown Near You! • 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]
  45. the morning line
    No Good News • 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]
  46. the morning line
    Save the Whale, and the Musicians • 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]
  47. the morning line
    Expensive Habits • 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]
  48. the morning line
    Après le Deluge • 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]
  49. the morning line
    Imus Scandal Claims Another Casualty • 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]
  50. the morning line
    God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut • 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. [
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