City Council Speaker Christine Quinn laughed off suggestions Thursday that she had purposely scheduled a press conference to rain on an opponent’s endorsement parade–the second time she’s been accused of using the tactic in recent months.
“We should be so well-organized to figure everything out on that level!” said Ms. Quinn, bursting into awkward, raucous laughter when Politicker asked about the timing of her Thursday press conference unveiling a new mobile app for her campaign.
(Her cackle is a particularly well-known response mechanism in city politics.)
The Israel-Palestine conflict once again reached New York’s political scene today as elected officials and other activists gathered to denounce Brooklyn College’s political science department for their controversial decision to sponsor a February forum calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. To say the press conference was heated would be an understatement as it was chocked full of charged rhetoric including multiple references to anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and al-Qaeda.
“Let me tell you, it brings back a lot of memories,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the emcee of today’s denunciation, began. “I studied here towards my B.A. and got my Master’s at Brooklyn College, a lot of very fond memories. I stand here very, very disappointed, … students and the organization [are] holding a lecture next week with two viciously, viciously, anti-Israel [speakers]. And when I say ‘viciously,’ I mean they call for the destruction of the state of Israel. They think Hamas and Hezbollah are good organizations. I would assume they feel the same way about al-Qaeda. These are individuals who are extreme radicals.”
In an announcement surprising many political observers, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre came out swinging against both the media and a host of other entities in the wake of the recent elementary school massacre in Connecticut. In today’s extensive address, Mr. LaPierre further proposed immediately putting an armed security guard in every single school in order to guard students against future shootings. Needless to say, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has become one of the nation’s chief voices against the NRA’s lobbying efforts, was unimpressed.
“The NRA’s Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members, and never has that been so apparent as this morning,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “Their press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe. Leadership is about taking responsibility, especially in times of crisis. Today the NRA’s lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. While they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives – not only in schools, but in our movie theaters, malls, and streets. Enough. As a country, we must rise above special interest politics.”
Earlier this afternoon, community leaders gathered together off Bowery Street in Chinatown to castigate the federal government for their continued investigation of Comptroller John Liu’s fundraising operation. Before the criminal charges were leveled against his campaign treasurer and a top donor, Mr. Liu was a leading candidate for mayor, causing the event’s speakers to surmise there were political motivations behind the allegations. Among those speaking out against the feds were former Rep. Major Owens, who blasted the 18 month-long investigation as “Nixonian,” and former District Leader Virginia Kee, who used even sharper rhetoric by invoking the Holocaust.