Monthly Archives: January 2017

Now President Trump has created a new reality show

President Trump held a press conference on Thursday afternoon. In the doing he created a new reality show that Americans are just going to love over the next four years.

The name of the show? Beat the Press. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “beat” in several ways, but the two most relevant here are “to strike forcefully” and “to overcome, as in a contest;defeat.” The President did both at his press conference.

There he stood, Trump in the lion’s den as it were. Calmly, methodically he called on reporters all over what the President and his staff see as the hostile media landscape. There was CNN’s Jim Acosta, sharply reprimanded weeks ago at a presser by the then president-elect, now recognized and engaged in a back and forth. (Full disclosure, I am a CNN contributor. As a former Reagan aide these Trump/Acosta matches seem increasingly to remind of President Reagan’s famous duels with ABC’s Sam Donaldson. They are definitely “get the popcorn” moments.) There was a scolding for Jake Turx, Ami Magazine’s White House Correspondent, who seemed to be suggesting that Trump was anti-Semitic. Turx later said Trump’s impression was not true, that he was merely trying to get the President’s thoughts on a rash of anti-Semitic bomb threats and other actions. Be that as it may, Trump would have none of it.

And so it went.

As it wound down, speaking directly to the CNN coverage he sees as biased but really addressing the larger issue of media bias he said: “…the public sees it. They see it. They see it’s not fair.” The President is correct about the public’s view of the media writ large. As was noted by a Gallup poll released last September in the middle of the presidential campaign confidence in media fairness had “dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history…”.

Make no mistake. President Trump is one of the savviest media watchers ever to occupy the Oval Office. Raised both personally and professionally in New York City, the media capital of not just America but the world, he has played the media for decades as if he were a world class violinist working his equally world class Stradivarius.

The real question here is not “how did he do?” The answer to that is simple. His critics hated his performance and his supporters will love it.

Answer? The President is famously a watcher of the newscasts. He saw the headlines. His antagonists had ignited a media firestorm with hot if vague stories about shadowy Russian dealings with his campaign and turmoil in the White House. There were leaks of classified material.

The instinctive fighter and counter-puncher in Trump had him quite instinctively doing what he always does— take the fight directly to his opponent of the moment. This time the opponent wasn’t “Low Energy Jeb” Bush or “Little Marco” Rubio or “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz or “Crooked Hillary” Clinton. This time— and not for the first time — the opponent was the media itself.

Thus Trump walked calmly into the East Room of the White House, looked his opponents straight in the eye – and let them have it. Launching Beat the Press, a brand new reality show starring President Donald Trump and the White House press corps.. And unlike the ups and downs of television shows dependent on nightly ratings?

This time the star and his new show have an iron clad four-year contract.

News Mayor de Blasio to cut off city’s use of nonprofit

Eight months ago the city signed a $16 million contract with a nonprofit that had been cited repeatedly for housing the homeless in decrepit apartments and hotels.

On Thursday Mayor de Blasio pulled the plug, announcing that in the coming months, the city will phase out its use of Bushwick Economic Development Corp.

In Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, BEDCO houses hundreds of homeless families and single adults in 11 hotels and 33 so-called “cluster sites,” private apartment buildings notorious for scandalous conditions.

De Blasio had criticized both programs before he was elected mayor but was forced to expand the use of both as the shelter census rose from 53,000 in January 2014 to 60,000 this week.

The city will move the all the homeless individuals now living in these hotels and apartments to either permanent housing or other hotels and cluster sites not run by BEDCO.

BEDCO Director Frank Boswell did not return calls.

The nonprofit, which receives tens of millions of taxpayer dollars each year from the city and state, was one of several groups DHS paid to house the homeless.

In March 2015, the city Department of Investigation cited several of those groups — including BEDCO — for routinely placing families in squalid apartments with dozens of housing, building and health code violations.

At one BEDCO building on E. 174th St. in the Bronx, DOI found a large dead rat that had been lying in the lobby for days.

At the time, DOI criticized the city’s habit of repeatedly retaining the groups on an “emergency” basis without actual contracts. That gave the city little leverage to demand the groups remedy horrendous living conditions.

BEDCO also placed families in the Bronx building where two infants were scalded to death in December due to a faulty radiator. A tenant at the building told the News she’d reported a busted radiator in her apartment to BEDCO, but no one came to fix it.

The BEDCO announcement came three days after the mayor was criticized for saying nothing about the homeless crisis during his rambling 65-minute State of the City address Monday night.

The decision to cut off BEDCO is part of a de Blasio promise made last year to eliminate all “cluster sites” by 2018. He’s also vowed to end the use of hotels, but without a specific deadline.

The cut-off also represents an abrupt about-face. Just eight months ago, DHS renewed two BEDCO contracts, including a $2.2 million contract that was to continue through June and a $16.8 million contract that was to continue into 2020.

The nonprofit currently has 12 contracts with DHS, most of which expire this year. It also manages eight traditional shelters, and the city says it will review those contracts as well within the next 90 days.

On Thursday Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks said the city is taking multiple steps to make sure homeless families get safe and healthy lodging.

Last year, Banks said, the city eliminated 10,000 code violations in shelters and “cluster sites,” and will stop using these apartments and hotels as soon as possible.

“As part of the 90-day review of homeless services, we are aggressively reforming decades-old policies and practices, including ending relationships with providers who have had a history of serious shelter conditions or other issues,” Banks said.

Jets needs to cut Darrelle Revis For Some Reason

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) reacts after intercepting the ball during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Darrelle Revis played two-hand touch for 17 weeks before finally getting physical.

The aging, contact-averse cornerback’s alleged involvement in a sketchy after-hours street fight on the South Side of Pittsburgh last weekend should prompt the Jets to make the most sensible decision: Cut this guy now before he embarrasses you more.

Revis’ play this season hovered between disgraceful and pathetic, but he crossed over into an altogether different realm with his alleged behavior in the wee hours of the night a few days ago.

Revis could face a litany of charges, including robbery, terroristic threats, conspiracy and aggravated assault resulting from an ugly incident that the Jets must distance themselves from in a hurry.

According to a statement released by the Pittsburgh Police Department Thursday night, Revis was involved in an altercation on Sunday around 2:30 a.m. that resulted in two men losing consciousness after being punched on a street corner.

One of the men who recognized the seven-time Pro Bowler “began recording the interaction on his cell phone and continued to follow Revis,” according to the police statement, before Revis “snatched the cell phone away and attempted to delete the video.”

Revis threw the phone into the street before an argument ensued, according to the statement. Another man came to “assist” Revis before the other two men “state that they were punched.”

The police statement reveals that “witnesses state the two were unconscious for about 10 minutes” and “the Officers viewed the cellphone video and confirmed that the person was Revis.”

Revis’ attorney Blaine Jones told KDKA-TV that his client was assaulted by five men (shockingly, none were wide receivers) before the cornerback suffered injuries that required medical attention.

If it wasn’t bad enough that Revis embarrassed the organization with his half-hearted effort and awful production on fall Sundays last season, this is a stain that the organization simply doesn’t need.

It would be annoying enough to deal with if Revis, you know, were actually still any good. Now that he’s become an overpaid liability, the choice to sign the divorce the papers shouldn’t be difficult. Cut the cord. Arrivederci. Sayonara

Revis was a delusional, excuse-making mess in the second year of his blockbuster five-year, $70 million deal, playing like a disinterested wealthy man counting his money.

His propensity to shy away from contact was the soundtrack of his season. His lack of commitment – he came to training camp overweight despite collecting those checks from Woody Johnson – was inexcusable. His fading skills might have been understandable if not for his pathetic effort.

At times, it seemed as if Revis either purposely shied away from contact or actually believed that NFL rule makers had turned this sport into two-hand touch. Either way, he was ineffective.

He bristled at criticism, refusing to admit what everyone blessed with the gift of eyesight plainly knew: His skills were eroding at a rapid pace.

Todd Bowles, assistant coaches and players were left to make excuses for the erstwhile difference maker. He just had a few hiccups, they contended with a straight face. He’s still a game-changer, they pleaded with their fingers crossed behind their backs.

Darrelle Revis gets first INT of year, future with Jets uncertain

By the end of the season, Revis was dropping hints about a position change to safety as if that would cure his aversion to contact and inconsistent effort. Thankfully for the Jets, only $6 million of the $39 million fully guaranteed in his mega deal remains.

If the Jets were contemplating asking Revis to slice his $13 million base salary to $6 million (to cut his $15.3 million salary cap charge in 2017 in half), these latest developments in Western Pennsylvania should change their thinking.

Eat the money. Get rid of him. The poor saps who sign Revis will likely pay him the veteran minimum for 2017, so the Jets would be on the hook for about $5 million due to off-set language in his contract.

Cut your losses. The reunion didn’t work out. It was fun while it lasted.

The Revis circus will go on, but that doesn’t mean that the Jets should be a part of it. Jones admitted in a Thursday night news conference that Revis would surrender to police if/when he’s charged.

“He’s not going to run from a warrant,” Jones said.

Revis, who will turn 32 this summer, also will face league discipline if the charges stick.

“We’ve spoken to Darrelle,” a Jets spokesperson said. “We’re aware of the incident. We’ll have no further comment.”

News GOP oversight chairman wants charges against Hillary Clinton

The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has refused Democratic requests to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving President Trump, is seeking criminal charges against a former State Department employee who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday asking him to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist who helped establish Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state.

Pagliano did not comply with two subpoenas ordering him to appear before the oversight panel. The GOP-led committee later voted to hold him in contempt of Congress.

Earlier this month, Chaffetz met with Trump at the White House and agreed not to discuss oversight. He has rebuffed calls for his panel to look into Trump’s businesses and possible conflicts.

Chaffetz said in a statement that allowing Pagliano’s conduct “to go unaddressed would gravely harm Congress’ ability to conduct oversight.”

Pagliano refused to answer questions in 2015 from a House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. He later spoke to the FBI under immunity, telling the bureau there were no successful security breaches of the home-brew server, located at Clinton’s home in suburban New York City. Pagliano said he was aware of many failed login attempts that he described as “brute force attacks.”

The email issue shadowed Clinton’s candidacy for president, and Republicans were steadfast in focusing on her use of a private server for government business, with several high-profile hearings leading up to the election.

Chaffetz and other Republicans cast Clinton as reckless with U.S. national security by insisting on using private communications systems at potentially greater risk of being penetrated by Chinese and Russian hackers. But Democrats insist the sole purpose of the Benghazi hearings — and a separate inquiry by Chaffetz — was to undermine Clinton’s presidential bid.

She lost to Trump despite winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

FBI Director James Comey announced last July that the FBI was not recommending charges against Clinton in the email case, although he characterized her actions as “extremely careless,” a remark that Democrats condemned as unnecessary editorializing. Then, just 11 days before the Nov. 8 election, Comey advised Congress that new emails potentially connected to the case had been discovered and would need to be reviewed. A follow-up letter nine days later said the email review had done nothing to change the FBI’s original conclusion.

Many Democrats and Clinton herself have suggested that Comey’s actions so close to the election likely affected the outcome.