Note: The first episode shown during the Second Quarter 2010 was #476 on March 22, 2010.
Episode #536: Glenn Blech
First Broadcast: 3/29/10 Audio was overmodulated on feed for TWC channel 67.
A watered-down but still incrementally better Health Care reform bill is signed into law by President Obama. Nevertheless, as Joe Biden said, it's still "a big fucking deal." For example, people can no longer be denied coverage for being sick, children won't be dropped from coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and Medicare recipients will no longer have a gap in their prescription drug coverage. There are some obvious flaws as well, but all the above are good things, right? So, why then are so many people going batshit crazy and acting violent against Democrats as a result? Is terrorism OK as long as the Tea Partiers say so? Maybe they'll all wise up once they realize that improved health care won't being the world to an end, but since so many of them appear to be completely insane, I have my doubts.
Episode #537: That's Why They Call It Due Process
First Broadcast: 4/12/10
St. Vincent's Hospital in the West Village is closing! Where will anyone on the West side between Battery Park and 59th Street go for urgent treatment in the future? Why does President Obama think he has the right to assassinate an American citizen? Does that action put Obama to the right of President Ford? Why would anyone want American troops to stay in Iraq after the revelation of the wholesale murder of two Reuters photographers by American troops in Iraq in 2007? Is it true that, as one soldier in Iraq put it, "The difference between an insurgent and an Iraqi civilian is whether they are dead or alive"? I have too many questions this week.
Episode #538: Rise To The Level of Henchmen
First Broadcast: 4/26/10
If officers in the NYPD knew more martial arts, do you suppose they'd act less like arrogant bouncers and more like mooks? And if the State of Arizona passed a law requiring police to stop anyone who looks like they might be an illegal immigrant and ask for their ID, do you suppose they'd act less like police and more like the Gestapo? Or is it more like the days before the Thirteenth Amendment? Wait, the thing about Arizona actually happened, didn't it?
Episode #539: How Did I Get Here?
First Broadcast: 5/3/10
Chuck D of Public Enemy said this in 1991:
Isn't it odd and unique?Unfortunately, things haven't changed much 19 years later. Arizona, the state which once declared that Martin Luther King, Jr. was unworthy of a holiday, has this year passed a bill into law which allows police there to request the documentation of anyone who police have a "reasonable suspicion" of being an illegal immigrant. What constitutes reasonable suspicion? Well, to paraphrase Keith Olbermann, I wonder how many Danes they'll be stopping to ask for their papers? In any event, if you're going to boycott companies from Arizona as a protest, make sure those companies are actually from Arizona first. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Best Western, and US Airways are from Arizona. AriZona Iced Tea, on the other hand, is from Long Island. In the meantime, feel free to march!
Seein' people smile wild in the heat
'Cause I wanna be free
What's a smilin' fact
When the whole state's racist
Episode #540: In Line For Take Off
First Broadcast: 5/10/10
How did Faisal Shahzad become the (alleged) car bomber in Times Square? How did he go from being "unemployed and bankrupt" to (allegedly) paying cash for a used SUV and a nonstop airline ticket from New York to Dubai? Was he (allegedly) motivated by the promise of money to pay the (alleged) debts incurred from his foreclosed home and his lawsuit with Chase bank? Did he (allegedly) receive funding for the bombing from the Pakistani Taliban? Why did Rush Limbaugh falsely assert that Shahzad was a registered Democrat with "an Obama 2012 bumper sticker" on his car? Why has most of the media ignored the fact that the first person to notice the smoking car in Times Square was a Muslim sidewalk vendor? Why did CBS bury a story about Special Forces and Army Intelligence intercepting a phone call (allegedly) made by Shahzad, as part of the effort to find and arrest him? Why does Senator Joe Lieberman think that revoking someone's citizenship is the answer to this sort of thing? Why does Lieberman think that kind of law can somehow supercede the 14th Amendment to the Constitution? I have almost too many questions this week.
Episode #541: Nine to One
First Broadcast: 5/24/10
We here at Free New York fully support the NYCLU's class-action lawsuit against the NYPD to seal the records of the more than 90% of people who have been stopped and frisked by police and not charged with any crime. There is no reason why the police need to keep a database of hundreds of thousands of innocent people (no charges and/or dismissed charges = innocent), 80% of whom are black or Latino (compared to the 52% of the New York City population who are black and Latino). Are the 3 million incidents of stop-and-frisk a result of police commanders insisting that officers meet arbitrary monthly arrest quotas, as detailed by the Village Voice in at least one Brooklyn precinct? Is this part of the long-term legacy of Giuliani's reign as mayor, when arrests for marijuana possession skyrocketed to 1000% higher than what they were under Koch and Dinkins? So many questions! So little answers!
Episode #542: Dusty Patch of Land
First Broadcast: 6/7/10
So, after the "wrong" party won the elections in Palestine in 2006, Israel instituted a blockade of Gaza as a way of collectively punishing the part of Palestine where Hamas had the greatest amount of control. After almost three years of the blockade--prohibiting many items from kitchen spices to farm animals--a group of peace activists decided to protest this arrangement by delivering several tons worth of humanitarian aid to Gaza via a flotilla of ships, essentially running the blockade in full view of Israel. Israel's response? The IDF boarded the ships by descending from helicopters in the night in international waters. Some of the crew on the ships fought back, defending themselves from an apparent act of piracy. The IDF responded with force, killing 9 of the activists (including one American) and arresting the survivors. Israel's actions received international condemnation, with Turkey recalling its ambassador from Israel, and the United Nations calling for an "impartial" investigation into the killings. The reaction of the United States was muted in contrast--but then again, what could you expect from a nation that wouldn't even condemn Israel for torpedoing an American Naval vessel in 1967, an act which killed 34 people and injured 171 others? After the flotilla attack, an Irish ship named "Rachel Corrie" (a name which the IDF refused to utter when trying to contact the ship) sailed towards Gaza with another package of aid; and the Irish Prime Minister promised "serious consequences" if Israel treated that ship as violently as they treated the others. Perhaps the Irish warning worked; the IDF boarded that ship from the water, and no one died in the act. My question: now that the world's attention is focused on the Israeli blockade more now than before, will Israel finally stop treating Gaza's 1.5 million residents like criminals, and Gaza itself like a prison? That all remains to be seen.
Episode #543: Free Range Cashiers
First Broadcast: 6/14/10
Gone With The Pope has no CGI. The movie version of The A-Team has plenty of it. Totally unrelated to that: City Council members Jessica Lappin and Karen Koslowitz want to pass a bill that would suspend a food truck's vending permit if it received two parking tickets in 12 months, and revoke the permit if the truck received three tickets in the same period! This doesn't sound fair. I mean, if a business's ability to operate is tied to parking tickets received, then shouldn't FedEx and UPS have gone out of business in New York years ago? Finally, a federal appeals court rules that the NYPD doesn't have to release 1800 pages of information about the surveillance it made in 2004 related to the RNC protests that year. What are they afraid of? That we'll remember that over 90% of the people arrested during those protests had their charges either dismissed or acquited? Too late!