Friday, September 30, 2011

Capitol Police React to Onion Satire

Capitol Police were not amused by tweets and an article written by the satirical newspaper The Onion falsely reporting that members of Congress had taken a group of schoolchildren hostage. (Sept. 30)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

JOSE REPORTS: "View from Somewhere" -- A Real Conversation on Immigration


REPORTING FROM NEW ORLEANS -- "A good newspaper," the playwright Arthur Miller once said, "is a nation talking to itself."

Newspapers, of course, don't have the monopoly in facilitating our national conversations, especially in an increasingly myopic, niche-driven, 24-hour news cycle. Still, one of the responsibilities of the news media -- from newspapers, talk radio to television news -- is to examine, fully and deeply, the most challenging and complicated issues we face. But too often we in the media rely on a narrow narrative to explain a complex, multi-layered issue. Take illegal immigration, where the gap between what the public needs to know and what the public actually knows has only gotten wider as undocumented immigrants become more integrated in every fabric of our society. If the dominant narrative of this combustible issue is to be believed, undocumented immigrants are a drain on the struggling U.S. economy, taking away jobs from native workers and posing a threat to American culture and livelihood. It's a familiar story line -- often unchallenged by the many journalists -- that fits into a larger systematic construct that for years has largely defined undocumented immigrants as "the threat," "the foreigner," "the other."

So imagine my surprise when I read Charles Kenny's column in Bloomberg Businessweek in early July, not long after I wrote about my life as an undocumented immigrant for the New York Times Magazine. "Be a Patriot: Hire an Illegal Immigrant," the headline read, and chief among Kenny's arguments was that illegal immigrants are, in fact, "good for the U.S. economy." Kenny spoke with researchers, followed the money and connected dots. He wrote: "What makes the political impasse over immigration particularly frustrating is that hiring an illegal alien is good for the illegal alien, good for the U.S. economy, and good for the country he or she comes from."

In a phone interview, Kenny, a contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek, said that writing about immigration can be "frustrating" and "annoying." When you say you want to write about the positive side of illegal immigration, one reaction is, even if it's true, even if there is a positive, it's politically dead in the water. The other reaction, he said, is that it's taken "as a given" that illegal immigration is bad for low-wage native workers, even though there is research out there that say otherwise. (Interestingly, he used "illegal aliens" and "undocumented immigrants" interchangeably in the article; speaking on the phone, however, he only used the term "undocumented immigrants.")

"Undocumented immigrants make the pie bigger," Kenny added. "In other words, they make our economy bigger. Sure, they are eating some of the pie, but the pie is bigger because of them. The reality is, it's not a zero-sum game."

In interviews with journalists, media observers, policy experts and politicos from both sides of the aisle, an undeniable consensus emerged: the way the media largely frames the conversation around illegal immigration is incomplete and at times glaringly inaccurate, stuck in a simplistic, us-versus-them, black-or-white, conflict-driven narrative, often featuring the same voices making familiar arguments, almost always in the context of a campaign's (or a president's) political calculation.

Case in point: the conventional thinking that immigration is Gov. Rick Perry's Achilles heel. In the past month, most of the high-profile coverage on immigration has focused on Perry -- not exactly on what his support of in-state tuition for undocumented students mean in the larger immigration debate, but told from the perspective of how his position on a single policy within this big issue impacts the Republican primary. Like with many hot-button issues, coverage of immigration is more problem-oriented and less solution-oriented. Extreme opinions take precedence over moderate ones, on an issue that even those who write about it frequently have trouble fully grasping. That's how complex it is. (Angela M. Kelley, of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, a trained lawyer and a veteran of the immigration reform community, told me that "the immigration code is more complex than the tax code." She's right.)

"Look, I've been writing about immigration for awhile, and any time I'm writing about immigration law, as well as I think I know it, I don't know it. I constantly need to remind myself of that," said Tina Griego, a columnist for The Denver Post who writes regularly about immigration. She doesn't write about immigration from the black-or-white perspective; she gravitates towards the gray area, like when she wrote about the case of Jose Raul Cardenas, an undocumented immigrant facing deporting proceedings who's married to an American citizen and is the father to three kids. Like many immigrant households, Cardenas belongs to a mixed-status family that can be divided and separated by a broken immigration system. In the 10 years she's been reporting on immigration, it was Griego's first time sitting inside an immigration court.

"We in the media have failed in providing the basic information about the ins and outs of immigration and immigration law," Griego told me. "But it can still be done."

To be sure, there is insightful and fair reporting done by some journalists, particularly in newspapers, magazines and websites. But fact-based, on-the-ground, nuanced and layered reporting -- like the front-page stories by Richard Marosi in the Los Angeles Times and Damien Cave in the New York Times, respectively, outlining the dramatic drop of Mexicans crossing the U.S. border; like the enterprise reporting by Chris Kirkham in The Huffington Post, which splashed a story on the lucrative business of private detention centers -- takes a back-seat to angry-filled declarations by talking heads on television, particularly on cable news. Whenever a TV show runs a story on immigration, particularly on Fox News, the B roll that's regularly shown to viewers is one of Latinos jumping the fence -- never mind that border security has been ramped up over the past decade and the number of border patrol agents doubled, and never mind that those who do cross the border are most likely to face a 3-day trek of walking through a desert, not simply jumping a fence.

"Television has a huge influence on what people think about immigration. They rely on talking heads, and they like people shouting at each other, so the coverage is very shallow," Carlos Lozano, a veteran editor at the Los Angeles Times, told me. A self-described "point man" in immigration-related stories, he edited Marosi's page-one story.

"What's really frustrating is, despite all the reporting out there, there's still this big misperception that illegal immigration is out of control. This is what you hear from officials in Washington, especially Republican congressional people," Lozano said. "But as any journalist worth his salt knows, apprehensions [along the border] are way down. I believe that we've secured the border -- the reporting, and not just our reporting, backs it up. Illegal immigration, by all numbers, is under control. But you'd think it's an emergency if you watch certain news shows and listen to some talking heads."

And some of those talking heads, interviewed in various news organizations like NPR, PBS and CBS News, include leaders of the anti-immigration reform community made up of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Numbers USA. In recent years, it's difficult to overstate the influence of these three groups, which have collectively become the de-facto conservative counterpoint to any policy and political discussion on immigration reform. All three organizations, as detailed by Jason DeParle in the New York Times earlier this year, were helped started by a little-known doctor named John Tanton, whose personal crusade against growing immigration rates has greatly aided in setting the anti-immigration reform agenda of the past decade. FAIR helped draft Arizona's controversial immigration bill, DeParle reported.

FAIR, CIS and Numbers USA have "played an outsized role in speaking for conservatives. They've had an outsized role in this debate. They've framed the debate in their terms and that's been really unfortunate," Robert Gittelson, a Republican businessman, told me. Frustrated by government inaction on immigration reform, Gittelson teamed up with other business leaders and the who's-who of the Christian Evangelical movement to start Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform 18 months ago. "I am convinced -- and most people are convinced -- that they [FAIR, CIS and Numbers USA] speak for a minority of people in this country. It's very vocal but very organized minority. They've been at this for a long time. They're very entrenched with a lot of heavy-hitters on the Hill."

Gittelson continued: "The conservatives have not been heard from in a positive way in this debate. There are a lot conservatives -- conservatives like George W. Bush, conservatives like Ronald Reagan -- who believe in comprehensive immigration reform." That's partly because, as Gittelson explained, conservatives themselves were slow to realize their stake in reforming the country's immigration laws. But another reason, he said, is that the media, in its desire to present two sides of the immigration reform story, often want to hear from conservatives who are against immigration reform. "It makes for better TV," Gittelson said. "Not every story has two equal sides, and the anti-immigration side has given a disproportionate influence by the media. Conservatives, believe it or not, want a sensible solution to our immigration problem. Immigration reform is not just a political issue. It's a business issue. It's a religious issue."

Immigration is, at bottom, a human story, an issue that is legally, economically and racially charged. It's a story that's broader than the DREAM Act (once a bipartisan bill that's been stalled in Congress for a decade, leaving a generation of kids who grew up in America in limbo), and an issue that concerns all ethnic groups, not just Mexicans (undocumented people come from all over the world, including Europe). Indeed, the immigration issue is a story about a demographically changing America, where the fastest growing racial groups are Latinos and Asians -- most of them born in the country and here legally, but many of them undocumented, all part of the fourth wave of immigration that began in 1965, when the Immigration and Nationality Act, strongly supported by Sen. Ted Kennedy, forever changed the ethnic make-up of our country. It's worth noting that the bill passed a year after the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Immigration is an issue I stayed away from ever since I was 16 years old, when I found out that I was brought to this country without proper papers. It's an issue that I tried to avoid writing about since I was 17, when my reporting career began at the Mountain View Voice, the local weekly paper I first wrote for. I've written more than 600 new stories since then -- and less than 10 of them were directly about or concerning immigration. Immigration is an issue I never squarely faced; it's an issue I never fully and deeply reported on. That changes now.

As I announced early Tuesday afternoon to a roomful of journalists (and student journalists) in a panel at the Excellence in Journalism conference here in New Orleans, I will start reporting on this very personal issue for Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate how we talk about immigration. Some have argued that, since I'm advocating for immigration reform, I'm no longer a journalist in the traditional sense. In a nod to Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University who has consistently criticized journalists for "View from Nowhere" style of reportage, mine will certainly be a "View from Somewhere." At the end of the day, I am what I've always been: a storyteller. The work, as always, will speak for itself. I'm not just interested in stories that reflect positively on undocumented immigrants like me and those who support us; leaving aside the labels of "positive" or "negative," I'm most interested in telling untold, surprising, perhaps even uncomfortable stories. Three years ago, I was on the campaign trail reporting for The Washington Post. Later this fall, I will be back on the trail, reporting on immigration from the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. I am challenging myself to serve the issue well, I told the group, and I also challenge my fellow journalists to rethink and reframe how they cover immigration.

And from where I stand, elevating our country's conversation on immigration means focusing less on the often angry, overheated rhetoric coming from groups such as the Minuteman Project, which calls itself "a multi-ethnic immigration law enforcement advocacy group," and telling more stories of everyday Good Samaritans -- members of what I've been referring to as the 21st century Underground Railroad -- who are aiding undocumented immigrants, may it be a group of faith leaders in Alabama, or a Republican mayor of a small town in Georgia, or educators who are forced, on a daily basis, to address an issue that the federal government has not. The intersecting lives of undocumented and documented Americans have gone largely unexplored. Elevating the conversation means putting numbers in better context. When the Washington Post reported that undocumented immigrants collected $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits last year, they should have pointed out that, according to the non-partisan and non-profit Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, unauthorized workers paid $11.2 billion in local and state taxes last year, and that included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes and $8.4 billion in sales tax. Elevating the conversation means telling the immigration story not just through abstract policy points, but also through tangible human stories. The "me" in "media" is flexing its muscle in an unprecedented way; using YouTube, Twitter and especially Facebook, undocumented immigrants, especially the younger ones, are publicly telling their stories. They're sharing their stories online and offline.

Near the end of the journalism panel, a young man raised his hand to ask a question. He was jittery and seemed nervous. "I'm actually in the same shoes as you are," the student journalist told me in front of the whole room. The room turned quiet. Eyes locked on him.

Later, when the room emptied out, he told me that it was the first time he had "come out" to a roomful of strangers. He was 20 years old and came to the U.S. when he was 9. He's a third year journalism student and, like all undocumented students, he's unsure and fearful for his future. Another dream deferred. Another life in limbo.

Another reminder that if a good newspaper -- a good, responsible news industry -- is indeed a nation talking to itself, then we've got a lot of talking to do.

We're just getting started.

NOTE FROM DEFINE AMERICAN: Are you an avid media consumer who wants to be a part of a crowd-sourcing project that monitors how the media -- from all platforms, national and local -- is reporting on immigration? Do you want to join a small network of reporting fellows who will work with JOSE REPORTS in reporting on immigration? Are you a journalist seeking new ways to report on this issue? Email us at

Pepper-spray videos spark furor as NYPD launches probe of Wall Street protest incidents

Thursday, September 29th 2011, 4:00 AM

Women scream in pain after being pepper-sprayed during Occupy Wall Street demonstration.
Jefferson Siegel for News
Women scream in pain after being pepper-sprayed during Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

The NYPD has launched an investigation into why a police official pepper-sprayed penned-in female Wall Street protesters as video of a second spraying incident also emerged.

A now-infamous online video that went viral around the world shows Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna walking up to two women standing inside a corral of orange netting, shooting pepper spray at their faces and striding quickly away, leaving them on their knees, howling in pain.


A patrolman standing next to the women can be seen in another video of the same moment wiping his eyes and yelling, "He just [expletive] maced us!"

More and more jumpy videos taken at Saturday's protest near Union Square have surfaced.

A new one appeared Wednesday showing Bologna deploying his pepper spray at a videographer moments after the first incident.

The two videos have sparked a growing furor.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Internal Affairs and the Civilian Complaint Review Board will investigate.

He was skeptical the video snippets show the whole story.

"In my experience, proponents of a certain position would show you just what they want to show you," Kelly said. "Hopefully, [probers] will look at the totality of the information that they will gather."

Kelly was more angry that Bologna's personal information was posted online.

"It's a terrible practice, just horrendous," Kelly said. "Try to intimidate, putting the names of children, where children go to school - it's totally inappropriate, despicable."

The frenzy over Saturday's march - in which 87 people were arrested - only emboldened the Occupy Wall Street sit-in continuing in the shadow of the rising Freedom Tower.

The police action fed into an existing us-versus-them mentality and swelled the ranks of the die-hards who have hunkered down in Zuccotti Park since Sept. 17.

"We had no idea what it would become," said Isham Christie, 26, a CUNY graduate student who attended one of the first planning meetings months ago. "You never know if something will come together, but it just did - and it just keeps building."

What started as a small protest against Wall Street excess has morphed into a hyperdemocratic sit-in for social equality.

A minitent city has sprouted amid an ever-evolving mix of passionate civic demonstration, ambiguous social angst and single-minded hatred for Big Money.

The air is redolent of ideological disorganization mixed with the unmistakable smell of unwashed humans.

Men and women wait in an orderly line for free food and water - united by hunger and thirst for social change in America.

Several dozen bed down by night, with a few hundred milling about by day on the plaza at Liberty St. and Broadway.

It is a sophisticated shantytown. There are a library and first-aid station. There are committees for trash clearance, public safety and comfort.

The protest has attracted educated, politically active minds as well as a number of hippies and/or homeless people with varying grasps of the issues.

NYPD officials say they can't break up the sit-in because the plaza is private land open to the public around the clock.

"I want to bring down corporate criminalization," vowed Michael Rodriguez, 24, a Bronx resident who joined up after Saturday's mass arrests.

Cuba Lifts Restrictions on Car Sales

In another sign that Cuba is trying to transform its economy, the government will now allow all citizens to buy and sell cars. (Sept. 28)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What's Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions

September 28, 2011 | ISSUE 47•39

Trying to avoid repeating bad things we did in the past is a good idea, historians say.

WASHINGTON—With the United States facing a daunting array of problems at home and abroad, leading historians courteously reminded the nation Thursday that when making tough choices, it never hurts to stop a moment, take a look at similar situations from the past, and then think about whether the decisions people made back then were good or bad.

According to the historians, by looking at things that have already happened, Americans can learn a lot about which actions made things better versus which actions made things worse, and can then plan their own actions accordingly.

"In the coming weeks and months, people will have to make some really important decisions about some really important issues," Columbia University historian Douglas R. Collins said during a press conference, speaking very slowly and clearly so the nation could follow his words. "And one thing we can do, before making a choice that has permanent consequences for our entire civilization, is check real quick first to see if human beings have ever done anything like it previously, and see if turned out to be a good idea or not."

"It's actually pretty simple: We just have to ask ourselves if people doing the same thing in the past caused something bad to happen," Collins continued. "Did the thing we're thinking of doing make people upset? Did it start a war? If it did, then we might want to think about not doing it."

In addition, Collins carefully explained that if a past decision proved to be favorable—if, for example, it led to increased employment, caused fewer deaths, or made lots of people feel good inside— then the nation should consider following through with the same decision now.

While the new strategy, known as "Look Back Before You Act," has raised concerns among people worried they will have to remember lots of events from long ago, the historians have assured Americans they won't be required to read all the way through thick books or memorize anything.

Instead, citizens have been told they can just find a large-print, illustrated timeline of historical events, place their finger on an important moment, and then look to the right of that point to see what happened afterward, paying especially close attention to whether things got worse or better.

"You know how the economy is not doing so well right now?" Professor Elizabeth Schuller of the University of North Carolina said. "Well, in the 1930s, financial markets—no, wait, I'm sorry. Here: A long, long time ago, way far in the past, certain things happened that were a lot like things now, and they made people hungry and sad."

"How do you feel when you're hungry? Doesn't feel good, does it?" Schuller added. "So, maybe we should avoid doing those things that caused people to feel that way, don't you think?"

Concluding their address, the panel of scholars provided a number of guidelines to help implement the strategy, reminding the nation that the biggest decisions required the most looking back, and stressing the importance of checking the past before one makes a decision, not afterward, when the decision has already been made.

While many citizens have expressed skepticism of the historians' assertions, the majority of Americans have reportedly grasped the concept of noticing bad things from earlier times and trying not to repeat them.

"I get it. If we do something bad that happened before, then the same bad thing could happen again," said Barb Ennis, 48, of Pawtucket, RI. "We don't want history to happen again, unless the thing that happened was good."

"When you think about it, a lot of things have happened already," Ennis added. "That's what history is."

In Washington, several elected officials praised the looking-back-first strategy as a helpful, practical tool with the potential to revolutionize government.

"The things the historians were saying seemed complicated at first, but now it makes sense to me," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who reversed his opposition to oil-drilling safety regulations after checking past events and finding a number of "very, very sad things [he] didn't like." "I just wished they'd told us about this trick before."

Cantaloupe Outbreak Is Deadliest in a Decade

Health officials say as many as 16 people have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade. (Sept. 28)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Obama Taking New Combative Tone on the Road

on Sep 27, 2011 by

With the 2012 campaign picking up steam, President Obama is taking a newly combative tone on the road as he promotes his new jobs bill and takes on GOP rivals. (Sept. 27)

Despite Arrests, Wall Street Protesters March On

Although New York police made dozens of arrests over the weekend, protesters who say that Wall Street greed spurred America's economic downturn, continue to demonstrate in lower Manhattan.

The first part of a wonderful interview with Chris Hedges this morning on the 9th day of the protest on wall street.

The Blind Learn Photography in Mexico City

The blind in Mexico City are learning photography, to share their world and break down barriers. The classes are sponsored by the foundation Ojos Que Sienten, which translates to Eyes that Feel. (Sept. 27)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Parents' Choice Coalition

Parents' Choice Coalition taking a stand against the New York City SEX EDUCATION Mandate. Parents who don't want their children sent to the corner drug store to catalogue condom brands, or to visit the nearest abortion clinic to inquire about its confidentially policy, or to be referred to a sexuality-explicit website.

video (1) by Rafael martínez Alequín
Parents' Choice Coalition answer reporters questions regarding New York City Sex Education Mandate in the city's pubic schools.
Video (2) y Rafael Martínez Alequín

Obama Sells Jobs Plan in Silicon Valley

President Barack Obama appeared at a town hall-style event hosted by the career-focused social networking site LinkedIn to pitch his nearly $450 billion jobs proposal as he travels through California scooping up campaign cash. (Sept. 26)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wall Street protesters cuffed, pepper-sprayed during 'inequality' march

Sunday, September 25th 2011, 4:00 AM

Women screamed in pain after police rounded them up and sprayed them with pepper spray.
Jefferson Siegel for News
Women screamed in pain after police rounded them up and sprayed them with pepper spray.
Dozens of marchers from the Occupy Wall Street demonstration were arrested.
Jefferson Siegel for News
Dozens of marchers from the Occupy Wall Street demonstration were arrested.


(Peaceful protestors are penned in like animals then arrested for not dispersing on Wall Street in New York City. They are using excessive force as well as chemical agents to illegally suppress people's right to protest peacefully. The night before a undercover provocateur was sent in and was trying to start fights with protestors. After he was called out he left and went right to the police line).

Scores of protesters were arrested in Manhattan Saturday as a march against social inequality turned violent.

Hundreds of people carrying banners and chanting "shame, shame" walked between Zuccotti Park, near Wall St., and Union Square calling for changes to a financial system they say unjustly benefits the rich and harms the poor.

At least 80 people were carted away in police vehicles and up to five were hit with pepper spray near 12th St. and Fifth Ave., where tensions became especially high, police and organizers said.

The National Lawyer's Guild, which is providing legal assistance to the protesters, put the number of arrests at 100.

Witnesses said they saw three stunned women collapse on the ground screaming after they were sprayed in the face.

A video posted on YouTube and shows uniformed officers had corralled the women using orange nets when two supervisors made a beeline for the women, and at least one suddenly sprayed the women before turning and quickly walking away.

Footage of other police altercations also circulated online, but it was unclear what caused the dramatic mood shift in an otherwise peaceful demonstration.

"I saw a girl get slammed on the ground. I turned around and started screaming," said Chelsea Elliott, 25, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who said she was sprayed. "I turned around and a cop was coming ... we were on the sidewalk and we weren't doing anything illegal."

Police said 80 protesters were arrested or ticketed at multiple locations for disorderly conduct, blocking traffic and failure to obey a lawful order but the number could rise.

Officials said protesters did not have a permit for the march and one demonstrator was charged with assaulting a police officer, causing a shoulder injury. The NYPD was investigating the use of pepper spray.

"I was shocked because it seemed like one person after another was being brutally tackled, and it wasn't clear why," said Meaghan Linick, 23, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who attended the rally. "I was deeply disturbed to see them throw a man [down] and immediately they were pounding on him. Their arms were going back in the air. I couldn't believe how violent five people needed to be against one unarmed man."

The protesters, joined together under the banner of an organization called Occupy Wall Street, have been stationed in Zuccotti Park since last weekend, attempting to draw attention to what they believe is a dysfunctional economic system that unfairly benefits corporations and the mega-rich.

"The central message is that in this country, there needs to be more conversation about wealth and power," said 23-year-old student Patrick Bruner.

As night fell, those detained were hauled out of vans and buses and into police precincts to be processed.

Hundreds more protesters congregated in Zuccotti Park where for a while another clash with police seemed imminent, but as midnight approached tension eased as die-hards prepared to camp out for the night.With Ashley N. Fleming,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Facebook Really Wants
Video image montage Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, 06/15/09. (image: Media Orchard)
Nicholas Thompson, The New Yorker
Nicholas Thompson writes: "The more our online lives take place on Facebook, the more we depend on the choices of the people who run the company - what they think about privacy, how they think we should be able to organize our friends, what they tell advertisers (and governments) about what we do and what we buy. We'll rely on whom they choose as partners to give us news and music. Real issues are at stake, in other words - not just the size of photos and whether you can poke."

Jon Stewart Mocks 'Helpless' Millionaires Who Say Obama Starting Class Warfare

Jon Stewart Millionaires

This week when President Obama proposed we tax the rich in order to reduce the debt by $4 trillion, he made clear that it's not class warfare, "It's math." But as Jon Stewart discussed on Wednesday night's "Daily Show," conservative millionaires aren't buying it, and if they're going to win the war they'll have to make America sympathize with our nation's "most vulnerable wealthy."

Unlike Stephen Colbert this week, Stewart praised Obama for saying it's more important to save medicare, medical research and education funds than to let tax code loopholes stay open for the mega-rich. He also went after two rich people who oppose the plan in particular: John Fleming, a businessman who owns 33 Subway restaurants (among other things) and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

In Fleming's case, even though he made over $6 million last year, after spouting some questionable math he claimed he was only left with a mere $200,000 a year to "feed his family." Well, hopefully he was watching the show last night, because Stewart turned him on to this great sandwich place where you can get 12 inches of food for $5.

And then there's Bill O'Reilly, who said on his show this week that he'll quit his job if taxes are raised on the rich. Naturally, Stewart was all for this. We're not sure how that's a threat to anyone but O'Reilly.

But perhaps it was "Fox & Friends" who put the plight of the wealthy in the clearest terms with a bar graph showing how millionaires are disappearing from the United States.

"We'd put them on the endangered species list, but we all know how much they hate government regulation," Stewart joked.

Watch the full segment below, especially the end where Stewart's segment slowly devolves into one of those sad Sarah McLachlan commercials, but instead of dogs you're saving James Merriweather Phillips.


God: Human Body Not Designed To Play Football

Sports News

September 24, 2011 |

THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH—The Lord our God, Divine Creator and Ruler of the Universe, made a statement Thursday in which He condemned the practice of human beings playing football, proclaiming He had never intended the body to suffer such punishment.

"O my children, I implore you, look deeply into your hearts, your minds, your extremely fragile and complicated knees—in fact every part of your glorious but mortal bodies—and ask yourselves if I really intended you to collide with one another as hard as you possibly can," God said as He appeared simultaneously to every football fan on earth and to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, declaring that it pained Him to see the human body, the pinnacle of His creation, abused in such a fashion. "Your brief lives are already beset by suffering and pain. Why make it so much harder on yourself with the brutal sport of football?"

"Frankly, the first hint should have been that just to play this game you need to wear a second protective covering over the protective covering that I, in My infinite wisdom, placed around your brain," God added. "Does that make sense to you?"

God's statement came on the heels of a particularly brutal week in the NFL that saw half a dozen players, including Eagles star Michael Vick, suffer concussions, as well as Packers safety Nick Collins going down with a season-ending neck injury. However, God denied that His remarks were made in response to those specific incidents, saying only that He was "greatly displeased" and had "waxed wroth" upon seeing them, as humanity should simply have known better than to play football in skeletons "with all the tensile strength of cheap plywood."

According to the Almighty, the human body is ill-suited to the intense demands of football in almost every way. God noted in particular that the brain is an incredibly complex and delicate mass of sensitive neural jelly, and that because of "certain early-stage design compromises," it is vulnerable to intense tearing and twisting forces upon heavy impact, becoming damaged when it collides against the side of its bone bowl.

"That's when you get concussions, or worse," God noted. "Then there's the spine, which is a masterpiece of flexibility when you guys bother to take care of yourselves but might as well be a stack of cheap glass ashtrays when a 350-pound lineman smashes into it. And the knees? With those ACLs I gave you, you're not even supposed to run unless there's an emergency, let alone make sharp cuts on turf just as a linebacker comes in low from the side."

God also remarked that He was particularly frustrated at having to "just come right out and say this," explaining that He had provided more than enough evidence of football's destructive effects on the body through signs and portents such as Joe Theismann's famous broken leg, Bo Jackson's destroyed hip, and "whatever the hell is wrong with poor Steve Young."

"Look, I know this isn't war, or murder, or the thousands of ways you people find to make your lives more painful and shorter than they should be, but seriously, think about it," God said before His divine presence faded. "Seriously, as magnificent as football is, it won’t help you live a joyful life and celebrate the wonder of creation if all those men die drooling and soiling themselves at age 50."

Commissioner Goodell released a statement Friday morning that read, in part: "The NFL has heard God's concerns and is taking them very seriously. We value the opinions of all our fans and will consider His words very carefully as we continue to enjoy the 2011-2012 NFL season."

NYPD ticket-fixing probe: Grand jury votes to indict 17 cops in scandal that's rocked police dept.

Mike Albans/Daily News

A BRONX grand jury indicted 17 cops yesterday in a massive ticket-fixing scandal that stretched from precinct houses to 1 Police Plaza, sending shock waves through the NYPD.

Grand jurors shook their heads and frowned in disgust as they heard the startling evidence of cops routinely quashing tickets, sources told the Daily News.

The accused officers - including a large number of union delegates - were stunned as they absorbed the reality of their imminent arrests following a two-year probe.

"We knew it was coming, but it's hard to swallow," said one cop close to several of the indicted officers. "When you take this job, you don't ever think you're gonna be on the other end of it."

It was, he said, a "dark day" for the NYPD - and its most sweeping scandal since the Mollen Commission probed crooked cops who robbed drug dealers back in 1992.

The indictments will remain sealed until next week, when the accused officers will be arraigned and the details will emerge, the sources said.

The disgraced cops will get the chance to surrender rather than face humiliating arrests at their homes or stationhouses, the sources told The News.

"They'll have the opportunity to turn themselves in next week," said a source close to the case. "They'll have the weekend to get everything in order."

The probe focused on the city's largest police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, and its delegates and trustees.

More than 500 cops were linked to the scandal, and it was expected dozens of officers beyond those indicted could face some sort of departmental discipline.

The indicted cops face charges that include perjury, bribery, obstruction, grand larceny and official misconduct, the sources said.

The News has reported the cops involved helped cover up an assault charge and a domestic assault case, with one cop even taking profits from drug proceeds.

At least eight union officials were facing charges.

Sgt. Raymond Brickley, one of the early targets of the probe, was caught on a wiretap talking about fixing tickets, sources said. Brickley, assigned to the 42nd Precinct, is an official with the Sergeants Benevolent Association.

Edward Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said word of the indictments was good news.

"Now the truth is going to come out," Mullins said. "When all is said and done, Ray Brickley will be acquitted of the allegations brought against him."

Joseph Anthony and Michael Hernandez, both Bronx trustees of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, were also caught on wiretaps talking about ticket-fixing.

Defense lawyer Tom Puccio, who represents Anthony, declined comment. Hernandez's attorney couldn't be reached. The PBA also had little to say.

"We have not been notified of anything by the Bronx DA's office," PBA spokesman Al O'Leary said. "So we will not comment until we get something official."

Former NYPD spokeswoman Lt. Jennara Everleth, assigned to the Internal Affairs Bureau at Police Headquarters, was caught leaking information about the case on at least one taped phone call.

The grand jury proceedings were conducted in extreme secrecy, but bits of information emerged yesterday as implicated cops worried about the pending grand jury action.

The investigation began with a tip about Officer Jose Ramos of the 40th Precinct, who investigators suspect had ties to a drug dealer, sources and NYPD documents say.

Wiretaps caught Ramos discussing ticket-fixing, and the scandal soon mushroomed. In all, more than two dozen cops were caught on wiretaps. About 50 testified before the grand jury - many of them cutting deals and piercing the fabled blue wall of silence

Analysis: Ticket-fixing scandal is pretty small compared to other bad-cop capers

Saturday, September 24th 2011, 4:00 AM

For shame! Many of New York's "finest" have made some fine messes.
Linda Cataffo/News
For shame! Many of New York's "finest" have made some fine messes.

IN THE CITY that produced "Serpico" and "Prince of the City," the Bronx ticket-fixing mess hasn't quite achieved the cinematic sweep of previous NYPD scandals - at least not yet.

The indictment of 17 cops isn't good news for the department, but it's not as crippling as past corruption cases across its 166-year history.

"As of what we know now, this does not rank with the great scandals of the past," said NYPD historian Tom Reppetto.

"These charges are much, much smaller. What is going to attract the attention is the number of people involved. The headline is '17 Cops Indicted,' and hundreds more are ticket-fixers."

Police scandals date back to the days before Teddy Roosevelt became police commissioner in 1895 - and almost routinely crop up every 20 years, with the last great one in 1992.

When 75th Precinct Officer Michael Dowd was busted, it exposed a crew of corrupt cops who robbed drug dealers for dope and cash - and led to the Mollen Commission.

Back in 1971, Detective Frank Serpico spilled the beans on his crooked co-workers before the Knapp Commission - which found rampant bribery in the NYPD.

Detective Robert Leuci went undercover the same year and exposed 52 rogue cops in the Special Investigation Unit. His work later became the movie, "Prince of the City," which included a character based on prosecutor Tom Puccio. Now a defense lawyer, Puccio represents one of the cops under suspicion in the ticket-fixing case.

More recently, the department was rattled by the Mafia Cops - two veteran NYPD detectives convicted as hit men for the Luchese crime family.

Reppetto warned that further investigation could involve police brass or expose additional wrongdoing.

"Once in a while, you see something in one of these stories that is going to lead somewhere else," the former cop said. "So far, this does not measure up to the past."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton Play the Blues

Wynton Marsalis comes from the worlds of jazz and classical music, and Eric Clapton is a famed rock star, but their recent collaboration wasn't that unusual because they both have something that unifies them: love of the blues. (Sept. 23)

GOP Leadership Slams Senate for Aid Relief Delay

A spending showdown in Congress is prompting a partisan rift so raw that an effort to help disaster victims has become mired in disputes over jobs, the national debt and the other contentious issues. (Sept. 23)

Rick Perry, Mitt Romney Spar Over Social Security During Republican Debate In Florida

Rick Perry pushed back on accusations by Mitt Romney that he supports each state creating its own independent system of Social Security, during the GOP debate Thursday night.

"The bottom line is, we never said we were going to move this back to the states," Perry said.

Rather, he said, state employees and state retirees should have the option to "go off of Social Security." In Romney's home state of Massachusetts, for example, "almost 96 percent of ... people who are on that program, retirees and state people, are off the Social Security program," he said.

Perry appears to be referring to state workers who receive state pensions, and are thus ineligible for Social Security.

He added that people on Social Security right now shouldn't be worried about losing their benefits under his proposal. "We have made a solemn oath to the people of this country that the Social Security program in place today will be there for them," he said.

Here is the transcript of the exchange between Perry and Romney:

GOV. PERRY: Well, let me just say first, for those people that are on Social Security today, for those people that are approaching Social Security, they don't have anything in the world to worry about. We have made a solemn oath to the people of this country that that Social Security program in place today will be there for them. Now, it's not the first time that Mitt's been wrong on some issues before. And the bottom line is, is we never said that we were going to move this back to the states. What we said was we ought to have as one of the options -- the state employees and the state retirees, they being able to go off of the current system onto one that the states would operate themselves. As a matter of fact, in Massachusetts, his home state, almost 96 percent of the people who are on that program, retirees and state people, are off of the Social Security program. So having that option out there to have the states -- Louisiana does it -- almost every state has their state employees and the retirees -- that are options to go off of Social Security. That makes sense. It's an option that we should have.

MS. KELLY: Governor Romney, are you satisfied with that?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, it's different than what the governor put in his book just -- what, six months ago and what you said on your interviews following the book. So I don't know -- there's a Rick Perry out there that's saying that it -- almost to quote, it says that -- that -- that the federal government shouldn't be in the pension business, that it's unconstitutional -- unconstitutional, and it should be returned to the states. So you'd better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that. (Laughter, cheers, applause) Now, my own -- my own view is -- my own view is that we have to make it very, very clear that Social Security is a responsibility of the federal government, not the state governments, that we're going to have one plan, and we're going to make sure that it's fiscally sound and stable. And I'm absolutely committed to keeping Social Security working. I've put in my book that I wrote a couple of years ago a plan for how we can do that to make sure Social Security is stable not just for the next 25 years but for the next 75. Thank you. (Applause.)

GOV. PERRY: And I would like to respond to that.

MS. KELLY: Go ahead, Governor Perry.

GOV. PERRY: Speaking of books and talking about being able to have things in your books and back and forth, your economic adviser talked about "Romneycare" and how that was an absolute bust, and it was exactly what "Obamacare" was all about. As a matter of fact, between books, your hard copy book, you said that it was exactly what the American people needed to have -- that's "Romneycare" -- given to them as you had in Massachusetts. Then in your paperback, you took that line out. (Cheers, applause.) So, speaking of not getting it straight in your book, sir -- (inaudible). (Cheers, applause.)

MS. KELLY: Governor Romney?

GOV. PERRY: (You've/he's ?) got a bad memory.

MR. ROMNEY: Governor Perry? Governor Perry, we were -- we were talking about Social Security, but if you want to talk about health care, I'm happy to do that.

MR. BAIER: We are going to have a round on --

MR. ROMNEY: I actually -- I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. What I said -- actually, when I put my health care plan together -- and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post. He said, is this a plan that if you were president you would put on the nation, have the whole nation adopt it? I said, absolutely not. I said, this is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan. And it's fine for you to retreat from your own words in your own book, but please don't try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book. I stand by what I wrote. I believe in what I did. And I believe that the people -- (bell rings) -- of this country can read my book and see exactly what it is. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.)

Romney, Perry Spar Over Social Security

Face to face in confrontational debate, Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry sarcastically accused each other Thursday night of flip-flopping on Social Security and health care. (Sept. 22)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bill Maher's New Rule For Cat People

When Bill Maher lays down his "New Rules", they're usually about some important or controversial aspect of our government or society -- and this time is no different. This week, Maher's taking on the divide between cat people and dog people. The bottom line? It's about poop.

Check out this exclusive "Real Time" preview below wherein Maher shares his thoughts on one of comedy's oldest tropes, and boils his preference for dog people down to the bathroom habits of both pets. It's pretty important stuff, people.

"Real Time" airs Fridays at 10:00 EST on HBO.

City and State Black, Latino and Asian Caucuses, Community Groups Unite In Support of Attorney General Schneiderman

NYC Council Member Margarita Viverito at a news conference at City Hall, with elected colleagues from the council, and the State Legislature, in support of State Attorney General Schneiderman decision not to sign onto National Bank Settlement

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín
video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Obama Targets Boehner, McConnell on Home Turf

President Barack Obama stood in front of an aging bridge on the turf of the top Republicans on Capitol Hill and called for passage of his $447 billion package in tax cuts, jobless aid and public works projects. (Sept. 22)

Troy Davis executed in Georgia after maintaining innocence until the end

Convicted Georgia cop killer Troy Davis, whose claims of innocence made him a cause célèbre to everyone from ex-President Jimmy Carter to Kim Kardashian, was put to death on Wednesday night.

Davis, 42, was declared dead from lethal injection at 11:08 p.m. in the Georgia death chamber in Jackson after the execution was delayed for four hours to give the U.S. Supreme Court a chance to mull over a Hail Mary defense appeal.

He died within 15 minutes of being given a needle, said correction officials.

Davis, who was black, denied until the very end that he fatally shot white off-duty Savannah cop Mark MacPhail on Aug. 19, 1989.

"I did not have a gun," he told the officer's family, who witnessed the execution.

"I'm not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother," he said lifting his head from where he lay strapped to the gurney.

The condemned man refused to eat the cheeseburger and fries provided for his last meal. He also did not take an anti-anxiety drug offered before the execution or participate in a final prayer.

MacPhail, 27, a former Army Ranger and the married father of two, was moonlighting as a bus station security guard when he was murdered. Prosecutors charged he was shot while trying to stop Davis from pistol-whipping a homeless man.

MacPhail's widow told The Associated Press there was "nothing to rejoice" about.

"I will grieve for the Davis family because now they're going to understand our pain and our hurt," Joan MacPhail-Harris said in a telephone interview.

A jury of seven blacks and five whites convicted Davis and sent him to Death Row in 1991. In the 20 years since his conviction, Davis' execution had been stayed three times.

Seven of nine prosecution witnesses who initially swore seeing him shoot MacPhail recanted their testimony. Several of the witnesses, including one Davis' lawyer suggested was the real killer, said they were coerced by police investigators.

The defendant was also convicted of shooting another man in the face on the same night MacPhail was gunned down.

In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Georgia federal court to review new evidence in the case to determine if it "clearly establishes innocence." The Georgia federal court rejected the new evidence, including affidavits from recanting prosecution witnesses, and upheld the conviction.

Vigils on behalf of the condemned man were held around the world, including one on 125th St. in Harlem that drew more than 200 people.

"The death penalty is not right, especially when the person is innocent," said retired teacher Sheila Zukowsky, 61 of Manhattan. "People think that everyone in America supports the death penalty. We are here to show the world that's not true."

With News Wire Services

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mexican Motorists Witness Gruesome Body Dump

Suspected drug traffickers blocked traffic on a main road and dumped 35 slain victims during rush hour in a Gulf of Mexico city while gunmen stood guard and pointed their weapons at horrified motorists. (Sept. 21)

Obama, at U.N., Defends Stance on Palestinian Bid

President Obama said the only way to achieve the goal was for the Palestinians and Israelis to resume direct negotiations.

Troy Davis, Georgia death row inmate, wants to take lie detector test before execution

Wednesday, September 21st 2011, 10:10 AM

Troy Davis (left) is sentenced to die for killing police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
Georgia Dept. of Corrections; Savannah Police Dept.
Troy Davis (left) is sentenced to die for killing police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
Protesters demonstrate in support of Troy Davis.
Jessica McGowan/Getty
Protesters demonstrate in support of Troy Davis.

A Georgia death row inmate volunteered to take a lie detector test in a desperate last-ditch effort to avoid his Wednesday night execution.

Troy Davis is set to enter the death chamber at 7 p.m., his penalty for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer shot to death after coming to the aid of an assaulted homeless man.

The bid by Davis was part of a flurry of activity to spare him a lethal injection, including a late appeal by his attorneys and protests outside the prison.

Prison officials in Georgia had no immediate response to Davis' polygraph offer, and attorney Stephen Marsh said his clients wouldn't take the test unless authorities agreed to consider the results.

Davis "doesn't want to spend three hours away from his family on what could be the last day of his life if it won't make any difference," Marsh said.

Davis insists he did not commit the heinous murder.

Davis, 42, turned down a last meal to spend the day with friends, family and backers of his bid to win clemency. His case has become an international cause celebre, with advocates through the U.S. and Europe advocating for his life.

His supporters include former FBI director William Sessions, ex-President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI.

The state first planned to execute Davis in July 2007, but Davis has avoided walking the last mile as attorneys argued for his innocence.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Davis a rare opportunity to prove his innocence in the slaying of Mark McPhail - but his lawyers couldn't pull it off.

His conviction was repeatedly upheld by state and federal courts, with prosecutors maintaining all along that the right man was convicted for the murder.

"He has had ample time to prove his innocence," said Joan McPhail-Harris, the slain officer's widow. "And he is not innocent."

Authorities said a smirking Davis pistol-whipped homeless man Larry Young in the parking lot of a Burger King when McPhail came to the injured man's aid - and was then gunned down.

Witnesses identified Davis as the gunman, and shell casings found at the scene were linked to an earlier shooting where Davis was convicted.

His lawyers say seven prosecution witnesses have changed some or all of their testimony since Davis was convicted in 1991.

Cops under the gun in the massive ticket-fixing scandal 'nervous' as grand jury mulls indictments

Wednesday, September 21st 2011, 4:00 AM

Daily News File Photo

Cops under the gun in the massive ticket-fixing scandal were sweating bullets Tuesday as a grand jury started weighing whether to indict them on a slew of corruption charges.

"Guys are nervous," said one officer who is wrapped up in the wide-ranging probe. "It's a bad time to be a cop."

The Bronx jury began deliberating the fates of 17 cops - including at least eight union officials - on charges of perjury, bribery, grand larceny, records tampering and official misconduct. The legal process came to a head yesterday as it emerged that the probe has reached all the way to Police Headquarters.

Lt. Jennara Everleth, a former NYPD spokeswoman, was caught on a wiretap leaking information about the case, sources told the Daily News. And what she said made its way to a union delegate, the sources said. Everleth could not be reached for comment, and police brass had no immediate response last night.


A handful of cops and civilians linked to a suspected Bronx drug dealer also face indictment, as do four cops who swept an assault charge against them under the rug, sources said. Sources said that those facing possible indictment include:

- Officer Jose Ramos, a former union delegate in the Bronx's 40thPrecinct who is suspected of having ties to the alleged dealer, Lee King, and profiting from drug proceeds.

Ramos' involvement with King set off the probe two years ago, leading to revelations of widespread ticket-fixing.

- A sergeant in the 40th Precinct who had links to Ramos.

- At least five Patrolmen's Benevolent Association delegates and three top union officials who helped fix tickets and void arrests.

- Four cops who allegedly beatup a business associate and helped cover it up and one whoquashed any record of a domestic assault on his wife.

- Several cops who fixed tickets, including one who took care of a speeding summons for Yankees bigwig Doug Behar.

Meanwhile, jittery officers expecting to be indicted made last-minute preparations with their families, lawyers and colleagues.

"It's the most difficult thing I've ever gone through," said one cop facing possible indictment for crimes related to fixing summonses. "I'm just ready to get on with my life. What they've put us through is ... disgusting."

A cop close to those facing charges said they were spending time with their families before the indictments came down.

"They know nothing's gonna be the same after that," he said. "There's a new reality you have toadjust to. You just want to spend as much time as possible with people you love."

The probe has dragged on for two years, with Internal Affairs Bureau investigators and prosecutors gathering evidence on the actions of more than 500 cops. Wiretaps on more than two dozen cops, most of them union delegates, also uncovered a range of crimes unrelated to fixing tickets. Most cops are being dealt with in NYPD disciplinary hearings, but the "worst of the worst" had their cases turned over to the Bronx district attorney, a source said.

Most of the indictments will probably come against cops in the 40th, 41st, 45th, 48th and 52nd precincts, all in the Bronx, sources said. The mood at the 40th and 52nd precincts was especially dark yesterday, as cops contemplated their future.

"All we can do is hope they see it the way we saw it - as a professional courtesy," one officer said.

With Alison Gendar and Rocco Parascandola

Deputy Mayor Robert Steel says he resides in New York City, but facts paint a different picture

Wednesday, September 21st 2011, 4:00 AM

Deputy Mayor Robert Steel says he lives in flat on Ninth Ave. in Chelsea, but he was seen in golf attire at Connecticut home he owns.
Norman Y. Lono for News
Deputy Mayor Robert Steel says he lives in flat on Ninth Ave. in Chelsea, but he was seen in golf attire at Connecticut home he owns.

Deputy Mayor Robert Steel insists he lives in the city - but his wife, his Porsche, his Mercedes-Benz, his Lexus and his four yappy dogs all live in Connecticut.

"Where would you rather live if you were a dog?" Steel asked when the Daily News confronted him in the driveway of his extravagant Greenwich mansion. "I'd rather live here."

City law requires all top city officials to live in the city.

Although most major unions have negotiated the right for members to live in the suburbs, Mayor Bloomberg issued an executive order insisting that top officials - except those granted a waiver - reside in the city.

Just 32 employees have been granted that waiver. Steel never requested one.

That means he had 90 days to move to New York after becoming deputy mayor for economic development in August 2010.

The 60-year-old former Goldman Sachs and Wachovia executive was living in a five-bedroom, five-bath, 7,438-square-foot manor - tucked into 7 acres of rolling hills - that he and his wife bought for $5.7 million in 1994, records show.

He began renting a four-bedroom luxury apartment on Ninth Ave. in Chelsea and switched his voter registration to the Manhattan address on Sept. 17, 2010.

A slew of other records put Steel in Connecticut, though:

- The Greenwich clerk's office has dog licenses for four Steel dogs: a Welsh springer spaniel named Duke, a Labrador retriever named Jack and two Yorkshire terriers named Lulu and Charlie.

- The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles counts four luxury cars registered in Greenwich: a 2005 Porsche Cayenne, a 2008 Lexus LS 600, a 2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK 430 and a 2009 Chevy Tahoe JK. Steel renewed three of the registrations after becoming deputy mayor.

- Steel, who was a cabinet undersecretary for President George W. Bush, listed the Connecticut address on several campaign contributions, including two that list his occupation as New York's deputy mayor.

- Steel's wife, Gillian, also listed the Connecticut address on campaign contributions in the past year. She's registered to vote in Connecticut.

- Steel changed his driver's license to the New York address in May - nearly a year after claiming he'd moved to Manhattan. State law requires New Yorkers to update their licenses within 10 days of moving.

Still, he maintains the Chelsea rental is his primary address.

When The News visited his Greenwich mansion last Sunday afternoon, his wife initially told a reporter Steel wasn't home because he was "in New York."

Moments later, he pulled up wearing golf shoes, shorts and a preppie sweater.

He angrily insisted he was just visiting Connecticut. "I can't remember the last time I was here on a weekday," he said.

Asked about the dog licenses, he said the pooches live in Connecticut - but he does not. "Why would I bring my dogs to New York?" he asked repeatedly.

He dismissed questions about the political contributions, saying the campaigns were mistaken.

He said his cars are registered in Connecticut because that's where he uses them, taking a car service into the city - at his own expense.

Like Bloomberg, Steel forgoes the six-figure salary that comes with his job and is paid just $1 a year. He says he files his taxes in New York at "significant" personal cost.

He declined to offer proof. The mayor's office refused to release his tax return.

"I've done everything I'm supposed to do," Steel said.