Law & Order
Occupy Wall Street doesn’t want to be associated with the young West Village couple who were allegedly busted over the weekend with a houseful of explosives, weapons and a bomb-making guide. Morgan Gliedman, 27, and Aaron Greene, 31, were arrested Saturday after police reportedly found seven grams of highly explosive HMTD powder, a flare launcher, a shotgun, ammo, rifle magazines and instructions on making bombs, including a printout entitled “The Terrorist Encyclopedia,” at their home. An early report from the New York Post identified Mr. Greene as an “Occupy Wall Street activist,” but this afternoon the movement’s public relations arm said there is no evidence to support links between Mr. Greene and Occupy.
“There is nothing in the news stories to support a link between OWS and the individual arrested; his name is unfamiliar to many OWS activists,” the statement posted on the Occupy Wall Street Press Relations Working Group page said. “A very large number of people came through Zuccotti Park, and there are countless Occupy-related groups nationwide, so it is very difficult to ascertain if one person participated in anything related to OWS.”
At last year’s New Year’s Eve festivities, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lit up the stage when he shared a smooch with the pop sensation Lady Gaga. This year, however, Mr. Bloomberg will be joined by the Rockettes, Radio City Music Hall’s precision dance group. At his press conference this afternoon trumpeting another record year for New York’s tourism industry, Politicker asked Mr. Bloomberg if he expects tonight’s celebration to top the time he spent with Lady Gaga.
“You know, I don’t–Lady Gaga, she was–I don’t know. I mean, I just–you know, with these six here, what am I supposed to say?” Mr. Bloomberg stammered, gesturing to the Rockettes who joined him for the media availability. The dancers laughed and smiled politely.
The New Times Square
Later tonight, thousands of partiers will flock to Times Square in Manhattan, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be hosting a New Year’s Eve bash. Naturally, security for such an event is a concern, and asked about about the topic at a press conference earlier today, Mr. Bloomberg sternly warned the public to behave themselves.
“Well you can never assure 100 percent everything. I can tell you that on a night like this typically, and I expect it to include tonight, crime is way down…The days in the past when there was chaos have long since gone,” Mr. Bloomberg said before giving an ominous warning to partygoers planning to bring alcohol or drugs to the celebration.
“You come to Times Square, we will check backpacks. You cannot bring alcohol or drugs. Don’t try to do it. You’re not going to get away with it,” said the mayor.
The New York Times took another look at John Catsimatidis, described here as an “ample-bodied, idiosyncratic man who styles himself as a ‘common billionaire.’”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized yesterday for a blood clot.
“The mayor spoke to The Post Friday in a rare year-end chat as he munched on two peanut-butter-filled cracker sandwiches and sipped from a container of coffee in the City Hall ‘bullpen,’” the New York Post reported on one of Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s exit interviews.
In 1995, President George H.W. Bush gave up his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association via an angry open letter in which he expressed his outrage over a fundraising pitch made by current NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre that described federal agents as “jack-booted government thugs” wearing “Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms.” Though President Bush said he was “deeply” offended and asked the organization to “remove my name from your membership list,” seventeen years later, the NRA is still promoting his past association with the group in its online gift shop.
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement this afternoon urging the House of Representatives to quickly approve the White House-backed $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy supplemental aid package. The Senate is expected to vote on the recovery funds today, and Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he is optimistic it will be approved. Getting approval for the aid package from the GOP majority in the House, however, is expected to be more difficult. In his statement, Governor Cuomo urged the House to clear the funds without extended debate.
“The members of the House will be in Washington this weekend and, while a fiscal cliff deal remains elusive, passing the Sandy aid package should not be a matter impacted, much less stalled, by the same partisan contention or parliamentary process,” the governor said. “Our demonstrated need and the House’s past precedent should make this vote a slam dunk.”
New York State has spent nearly $6 million on subsidies and grants for the Remington Arms Co. factory in Illion that may have been the location where the gun used in Newtown was made. Remington moved production of the Bushmaster assault rifles used in the killings to the Illion factory in March of last year. Connecticut State Police have told Politicker they still have not determined precisely when the weapon used in Newtown was made.
Rudy Giuliani has been making calls to Republican officials to discuss his former deputy mayor Joe Lhota’s potential mayoral candidacy.
Whoopi Goldberg, Donna Karan and Deepak Chopra were among the attendees at a fund-raiser for public advocate candidate Reshma Saujani earlier this month.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez didn’t let sexual harassment allegations stop his annual “adults-only” holiday party.
AP political reporter Kasie Hunt is going to NBC News, where she will join the Washington, D.C., bureau as an off-air reporter/producer covering politics.
“She will leverage her considerable experience on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail to contribute editorially across the network’s many platforms,” NBC News announced today.
Mayoral candidate and former comptroller Bill Thompson had harsh words for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn after a report from the Independent Budget Office highlighted issues with the city budget. The report noted “while projected budget gaps may currently appear modest—certainly when compared with gaps faced in some recent years—the next Mayor and City Council are likely to face significant budget challenges,” a situation Mr. Thompson described as Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Quinn rather literally passing the buck.
“Today’s Independent Budget Office report once again confirms that Mayor Bloomberg and his partner in the budget, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, continue to kick the fiscal can down the road and push tough economic decisions into the next mayor’s term,” said Mr. Thompson in his statement.
The Year in Review
The five-year saga involving the General Services Administration and 1 World Trade Center reflects both intractable Washington gridlock and the lurching progress at the building formerly known as the Freedom Tower.
When the GSA , an independent government agency in charge of supplying and managing federal offices, secured a 270,000-square-foot lease at 1 World Trade Center, it pushed the still-rising landmark above 50 percent occupancy.
But along the way there was a dramatic scaling back of lease terms, an angry congressman and a Las Vegas spending spree that nearly torpedoed the transaction.
After the jump, an illustrated guide to the biggest deal of the year.