De Blasio’s Housing Mess
The New York City public housing scandal continues to make news. On top of admissions by the De Blasio administration that the New York City Housing Authority largely ignored federal rules governing lead paint inspections, it now appears that the number of children living in New York City housing with elevated lead levels in their blood since 2012 is not in the 60 range as the mayor and NYCHA officials contended, but more like 800 as the New York Daily News reported over the weekend.
It will be recalled, of course, that the mayor’s lawyers have also conceded in court proceedings that many tenants in New York City public housing projects were not given adequate heat and hot water this past winter.
May we suggest that all of his would have incurred the wrath of unyielding NYC housing inspectors and administrative law judges – and perhaps even criminal court judges – were private landlords involved.
Perhaps it is time for our mayor to curtail his continuing efforts to burnish his credentials as Progressive-in-Chief and focus on the needy and defenseless tenants in the housing stock that are his responsibility.
ACLU Abandons Principle
There were few constants in 20th century American life to rival the American Civil Liberties Union’s vaunted commitment to free speech. “We may not agree with your views but we will defend to the death your right to express them” is a paraphrase that captures its credo. That is, until very recently.
According to a recent eye-opening article in the Wall Street Journal by Wendy Kaminer, a former ACLU board member, it seems that the ACLU has fallen in step with the modern liberal/ progressives calculus which has it that some speech deserves more protection than others. It is not for nothing that new-age liberal college students are in the vanguard of disrupters of speakers that are to the right of their own thinking.
According to a leaked internal memo, the ACLU now has a special place in its organizational heart for “marginalized communities” that would be negatively impacted by certain speech: “Speech that denigrates such groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality.”
So, in determining whether to take on the defense of particular expression, the ACLU will now balance the “impact of the proposed speech and the impact of its suppression.” But more to the point, the memo says the ACLU might well decline to take a free-speech case depending on “the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values.”
What happened to its commitment to free for all?
Antifa Strikes Again
As reported by Fox News, a “freedom rally” in Portland, Oregon, sponsored by the right-wing group Patriot Prayer was cut short on Saturday after it was disrupted by counter-demonstrators from the left-wing group Antifa. Portland police revoked the Patriot Prayer’s march permit after a melee ensued with Antifa tossing eggs, half-empty water bottles and firecrackers.
Antifa is the same organization that disrupted a demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 organized by opponents of plans to tear down statues of historical figures who had supported slavery. On that occasion, President Trump created a firestorm when he suggested that white supremacists had infiltrated the ranks of local organizers of the protest and violence-prone Antifa members had joined with local counter protesters and that both sides contained “good people.”
The president was accused of giving his seal of approval to the white supremacists. Of course, at that time almost nothing was known about the program of disruption – sometimes carried out by armed members – embraced by Antifa. It is very sad that the full story of the depredations of Antifa and the dangers it presents are still not on the public radar screen – especial as the anti-Trump hysteria is becoming increasingly unhinged.