Note: The first episode shown during the Fourth Quarter 2010 was #543 on September 20, 2010.
Episode #552: Barely A Hot Bath
First Broadcast: 9/27/10
Repeated: 2/7/11; 9/19/11; 1/9/12
The branch of Ben & Jerry's at 41 Third Avenue is now permanently closed! This sets me off as I remember a bunch of other local businesses that are no longer with us, including Pizzeria Uno, St. Marks Pizza, the Continental live shows, Astor Books, the Astor Riviera Cafe, the Astor Place Barnes & Noble, the 21st Street Barnes & Noble, Baby Jake's, Baby Jupiter, The Levy, Texas Rotisserie, Village BBQ, Tower Books, Tower Records, Tower Video, Venus Records, Coliseum Books, Tompkins Square Books, Canal Jean, Unique Clothing Warehouse, Flip Clothing, Antique Boutique, Andy's Chee-Pees, Zozo's, and CBGB, to name a few. Meanwhile, we wonder if Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo really has anything to worry about with Republican candidate Carl Paladino, considering that Cuomo has led in the polls over Paladino by over 40% at one point. Will the news next week be better or worse? I'm afraid to ask.
Episode #553: Negative Effect
First Broadcast: 10/11/10
Spying on NGO's in Pennsylvania; Drug trafficking in Mexico; the editorial in El Diario de Juarez; the feminicidios; Prop 19 in California; MTBE, the WTO, and Canada; and a President who wants the right to assassinate anyone, no questions asked, occupy our episode this week. Do they all have something in common? I'm not sure. But they gave us a lot to talk about.
Episode #554: Good Luck With That
First Broadcast: 10/18/10
UFO's over Manhattan? (Or just balloons?) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce takes money from foreign businesses and then funds attack ads against Democratic candidates for office? Yeah, those both happened. And we talked about them. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.
Episode #555: Staying On Message
First Broadcast: 11/1/10
With an election right around the corner, we talk about the gubernatorial debate, Eliot Spitzer, Mayor Bloomberg's Wall Street friends, and how food stamps are one of the best ways to stimulate the economy. Do we endorse anyone? No. But we sure as hell don't endorse anyone from the Tea Party! That would be more horrifying than anything we saw this Halloween.
Episode #556: Point of a Democracy
First Broadcast: 11/15/10
So, how did your voting go this election day? Did you vote for any winning candidates? Did you run into any problems a la Votescam? Were your voting machines hacked to change votes or play Pac Man? Did any Republicans intimidate you into not voting? Does a larger turnout mean more votes for Democrats? Lots of questions; maybe some answers.
Episode #557: Security Theater
First Broadcast: 11/22/10
Can people fly with dignity without being groped by the TSA? Will travelers opt out of the porn-scanners en masse on Opt Out Day? Will the ACLU be able to end the Morton's Fork of either being dosed with radiation or being felt up by strangers? Will the TSA ever stop touching people's junk, or scaring 3-year-olds? Will anyone listen to what pilots have to say about these scanners? Does Israel have a better way to protect airports? Is all this groping even Constitutional? Will Secretary Napolitano ever listen to what travelers have to say about this? Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.
Episode #558: Magical Realism
First Broadcast: 12/6/10
What have we learned from the diplomatic cables that Wikileaks has released to the world so far? For starters, the United States knew without question that the 2009 coup in Honduras that removed Manuel Zelaya from office was illegal in every sense of the word, but that didn't stop the U.S. from recognizing the new illegitimate government, in opposition to every other member of the Organization of American States. In addition to that: the U.K. promised to protect the U.S. during an inquiry about the causes of the Iraq War; the U.S. pressured Spain to not investigate torture at Guantanamo Bay, and not proceed with a case against U.S. soldiers who were accused of killing a Spanish cameraman in Baghdad; the U.S. ignores history and Arab public opinion in deference to the Israeli government; the U.S. thinks Saudi Arabia is one of the main funders of Al Qaeda; Saudi Arabia wants the U.S. to attack Iran; and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on various ambassadors and officials at the United Nations, including the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. And that's only a fraction of the information released so far! For releasing this information, Amazon has stopped hosting the Wikileaks web site, and Mike Huckabee--idiot at large--wants someone to be executed, even though no less a figure than the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, says that the "consequences for U.S. foreign policy" from these leaks are "fairly modest" at best. To all this, we ask: How are Americans supposed to judge the quality of their government unless they know what their government is doing in their name? What else will we discover about our government in the days to come? Enquiring minds want to know!
Episode #559: Illegal, Unethical, and Immoral
First Broadcast: 12/13/10
Some of those adjectives are being used to describe Wikileaks' role in publishing cables authored by the U.S. diplomatic corps, which are proving to be somewhat embarassing to the United States government. However, those same adjectives could also be used to describe the actions of the U.S. government that are depicted in those cables in the first place. For example: U.S. troops are waging a covert war against alleged terrorists in Yemen, which was being kept secret from both the American and Yemeni public; the U.S. considers Saudi Arabia to be both an ally and the largest source of funding for Al Qaeda and the Taliban; the U.S. knew the 2009 coup in the Honduras was illegal by any definition, but supported the illegitimate coup government anyway; the U.S. pressured Spain to not proceed with a legal case against U.S. soldiers who killed a Spanish journalist in Baghdad in 2003; and the U.S. diplomatic corps was directed by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to spy on foreign diplomats at the United Nations and gather enough personal information on them to make identity theft possible. Now, I ask you: if your government is doing all those things with your tax dollars, things which directly affect the way your country is treated by the governments and people of other countries, don't you, as a citizen of that country, deserve to know what your country is doing in your name and with your money? Put another way: How can you judge the effectiveness of both your nation and your politicians if you don't know what any of them are doing? Obviously, we here at Free New York think all Americans are entitled to know what their country is doing in their name and with their money; but some politicians think enabling Americans to know what's going on somehow amounts to treason. Specifically, Senator Joe Lieberman from Connecticut thinks Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, should be charged with treason (even though Assange is not American, and--as far as I can tell--did not commit treason by any definition in either the Constitution or the U.S. Code), and thinks The New York Times committed "bad citizenship" by using Wikileaks as a source for telling American citizens what their country has been up to. I guess Lieberman has never heard of the phrase, "don't shoot the messenger." P.S.: Here's some information from Wikipedia about extraordinary rendition by the United States. I think I combined the details of the cases of Abu Omar and Maher Arar into one story.