This viral campaign video for a progressive New York Democratic primary challenger cost less than $10K and spread like wildfire

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a community organizer from the Bronx who is challenging New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley for the party nomination; she's a Bernie Sanders-affiliated left-wing Democrat who raised $200,000 to challenge Crowley's $1.6m war-chest. Read the rest

New York high school will use CCTV and facial recognition to enforce discipline

Next year, high schools in Lockport New York will use the "Aegis" CCTV and facial recognition system to track and record the interactions of students suspected of code of conduct violations, keeping a ledger of who speaks to whom, where, and for how long. Read the rest

All aboard the Alabama shit train!

Fact: The only thing that smells worse than your poop is tons of other people's poop. If you don't believe me, take a road trip to the town of Parrish, Alabama. They'll back me up on this one: According to the Associated Press, the citizens of Parrish were forced to endure the stench pouring off a train full of  sewer sludge from New York and New Jersey for close to two months.

It's not unusual for trains full of human waste to pass through the town of 982 people: there's a landfill complex that treats and disposes of the excrement another 20 miles further down the track. Having the train stop in town to share its intoxicating perfume for two months? That's both unreasonable and unusual. It seems that another county in Alabama blocked the train's passage, making it impossible for it to reach its final destination. So, there it sat in Parrish: like a man in the bathroom after a large, questionable meal, full of poop, making everything terrible for everyone. NPR states that the train was stopped near a local park. The odor coming off of it was so bad that little league games had to be cancelled.

After two months of having to put up with the stench ruining the lives of everyone in the town, in mid-April, the Mayor of Parrish was finally able to tell her constituents that it was finally moving on. The town's administration will be looking into passing a series of by-laws to keep similar incidents from happening again. Read the rest

New York judge admits to repeatedly breaking into young woman's home to steal her dirty underwear

Suffolk County District Judge Robert Cicale is facing up to 15 years in prison after he was caught breaking into the home of a neighbor and stealing a 23-year-old woman's dirty underwear; the judge says he was gripped by an "urge," and his lawyer assured the press that his client's "reputation throughout the court is stellar. Every judge, every lawyer respects him." Read the rest

The Manhattan property bubble is bursting

Donald Trump's budget sought to punish blue states by removing income tax deductions for mortgage interest on high-ticket real estate; this was enough to prick the Manhattan property bubble, with co-op and condo sales volume dropping 25% year-on-year for Q1/18; the majority of red ink is in the luxury property market, where Q1 prices fell 15% year-on-year. Read the rest

Machine-learning-based image classifier can tell when the bus and bike-lanes are illegally obstructed

New York's cyclists and bus-riders are certain they're being slowed and endangered by an epidemic of illegal lane-obstructions from delivery vehicles, taxis and Ubers, but policymakers have refused to do anything about it, saying that the evidence is all anaecdotal. Read the rest

Before standing for the Democratic nomination in a NY congressional race, Patrick Ryan was in business spying on union organizers and left-wing activists

Patrick Ryan wants to be the Democratic nominee for New York's 19th district in the Hudson Valley, a Republican seat that Dems hope to flip; he's gone on record stating that he can do the job because of his entrepreneurial success -- but he didn't mention that he built his career at Berico Technologies by pitching a product to help businesses spy on union organizers and left-wing activists, a plan that included spying on left-wing Democrats and planting fake documents in order to discredit labor unions. Read the rest

Million-dollar lotto winner finally can afford a doctor visit, discovers he has terminal cancer and promptly dies

Donald Savastano was a self-employed carpenter eking out a marginal living without retirement savings or health insurance; when he won the $1 million jackpot in New York's "Merry Millionaire" lotto, he could finally afford to see a doctor to check out his long-term sense of unwellness. Read the rest

New York joins Montana in Net Neutrality, bans non-Neutral ISPs from supplying government agencies

Days after Montana Democratic Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order banning ISPs that violate Net Neutrality from supplying state government agencies, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (also a Democrat) has followed suit, with an even stricter executive order. Read the rest

New York cops furious that the union has reduced the number of "get out of jail free" cards they can give to their pals

Every active NYPD cop used to get 30 Patrolmen's Benevolent Association "courtesy cards" from their union per year; now they'll only get 20 (retired cops used to get 20 and now they'll get 10). Read the rest

Racist authoritarians insisted that ending stop-and-frisk would increase violent crime, but the opposite just happened

For years, racist authoritarians in New York City defended the stop-and-frisk program in which primarily black and brown people were repeatedly stopped without any particularized suspicion and forced to turn out their pockets, empty their bags, even strip naked in public on frozen-street corners. Read the rest

Stench of death in village turns out to be hundreds of pounds of rotting moose bits

Argyle, New York. The stench of death descended upon this small upstate village, about halfway between the Hudson and Vermont, earlier this fall. It took until now for locals to find the source: a cache of moose bits...

... strewn just off the road, some parts dragged to nearby parts of a field by predators.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation was called and the agency’s conservation officers were able to find clues that led them to a butcher in Vermont, officials said. That butcher provided information that led officers to an Argyle man

The culprit, Raymond F. Graham, was ticketed for unlawful disposal of solid waste. Read the rest

How killing Net Neutrality irreparably harms public libraries and the communities they serve

New York Public Library president Tony Marx presides over the largest public library system in America, in a city where 2,000,000 people lack broadband internet access, so he understands as well as anyone the way that libraries bridge the digital divide, a divide that gets deeper and more daunting every day, as key services and opportunities move online. Read the rest

Another 80s 'shame' video: A Staten Island Bar Mitzvah celebration in 1988

Remember that "shame" video of the kid getting a Nintendo as a gift in 1988? Well, my former child actor friend Jared Hirsch saw it too and shared his own "shame" video from 1998 with me. His nearly two-hour long submission captures the splendor, joy, and robot sunglasses of his Bar Mitzvah reception on Staten Island.

I asked Jared if he had anything he'd like to say about the video. This is what he wrote back:

In 1988, I was a 13 year old growing up in Staten Island, the curious fifth borough in New York City. As all good young Jewish kids my age, my devoted parents threw me a classic 80s Bar Mitzvah. It was like a wedding, but for horny pre- and just-turned teens. Rented hall, live band, videographer, catered dinner, dancing, games, and all the attention I craved. I remember later that night sitting on their bed, counting all of the savings bonds I was gifted for becoming a man and feeling like a thousandaire. In 10 years, I cashed them and paid for a whole month of college. Behold in all it's transferred from VHS glory, my Bar Mitzvah party. Don't miss the Bar Mitzvah rap at 1hr10min, or my relatives not understanding how a video camera works. Delight in the snazzy renditions of your favorite 70s and 80 party songs. Cringe at the hair. Laugh at me for my overinflated ego, but don't forget that you too were 13 once.

Read the rest

New Yorkers: if you want to vote in the 2018 Democratic primary, you have to register by Oct 13

The New York Democratic primary -- like primaries across the country -- will be a fight for the soul of the Democratic party, between the establishment wing and progressive, Sanders Democrats who want a $15 minimum wage, universal health care, free four-year state colleges, and limits on banks and the finance industry as well as foreign wars. Read the rest

Jared Kushner signed up to vote in New York elections as a woman

Jared Kushner's publicly available New York voter registration records show that the president's son-in-law ticked the "female" box when he signed up in 2009. Read the rest

Gorgeous x-ray area maps show how street-level entrances connect to NYC subway stations

Getting to a subway platform from the street often involves navigating stairs as well as a labyrinth of corridors. Architect Candy Chan created remarkably detailed and accurate diagrams of New York City's noted subway entrances and exits, overlaid with transparent parks and buildings. Read the rest

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