"Michelle [Obama] should run to be Bloomberg’s successor. New York Democrats have been casting about for a candidate to run for City Hall when Bloomberg leaves office in 2013. Who better than the First Lady? She already has experience in city government, having worked in Chicago in the early 1990s as an Assistant to the Mayor and an Assistant Commissioner of Housing and Development. Politically, the transition would promise to be smooth: Michelle obviously shares the Mayor’s passion for public health issues; and Bloomberg has generally seen eye-to-eye with the Obama White House when it comes to education policy. And one could fairly expect that a Mayor Obama would be an improvement when it comes to matters of poverty and affordable housing. (Plus, more community gardens!)"

- Cameron Abadi, Michelle Obama For Mayor

Photo courtesy of Times Square Gossip

What do you think about the New York Public Library’s renovation plan?

"Many objectors raise valid concerns: the introduction of wait-periods for newly off-site books, the prioritization of renovation over investment in library staff, the potential harm to the architectural integrity of the building. But some do not raise valid worries: among them, those who fret that the scholars stand to lose even if the masses stand to gain—that creating a circulating library within the research library will diminish the place of scholarship. “[S]cholars are people, too,” wrote historian Edmund Morris in the Timeslast Sunday, “and we are beginning to feel, well, if not threatened, increasingly crowded out.” University of Chicago historian Joan Scott, author of the letter circulated to intellectuals and academics, writes that she fears the NYPL will cease to be “a destination for international as well as American scholars” and instead will become “a busy social center where focused research is no longer the primary goal.”

My main complaint with such concerns is the presumptuous distinction that they draw: the scholars and the others. Libraries—the NYPL in particular—are where people go tobecome scholars. Isn’t a studious thirteen-year-old a scholar? A journalist, who visits the library to immerse herself in some arcane matter? How about a lawyer, chef, or dancer investigating a kink in history that forever altered her profession? Or, for a specific example, consider Alfred Kazin, who composed On Native Ground at the NYPL far before he was established. “[T]he spacious twin reading rooms,” he later wrote, “gave me a sense of the powerful amenity that I craved for my own life, a world of power in which my own people had moved about as strangers.””

- Chloë Schama, Let in the Riffraff: In Praise of the New York Public Library’s Renovation Plan

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Is the NYPD infringing on civil liberties?

"This February, the outcry reached new heights. The Wall Street Journal reported that police stopped and questioned 684,330 people in 2011, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year. Only 9 percent of those stopped were Caucasian.”

-Jill Priluck, Why Mayor Bloomberg’s Equivocations On Civil Liberties No Longer Cut It

Photo Courtesy of the NYCLU

Victory for Occupy Wall Street?

Governor Cuomo reached an agreement today with legislative leaders to raise taxes on New York State’s wealthiest residents as part of a deal to overhaul the tax rates.

The tentative agreement would also cut taxes for the middle class, by creating four new tax brackets and tax rates. The officials said the tax rate changes would generate $1.9 billion in annual revenue for the state.

“This would be lowest tax rate for middle class families in 58 years,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “This job-creating economic plan defies the political gridlock that has paralyzed Washington and shows that we can make government work for the people of this state once again.”

Will other states follow suit and implement a “millionaires tax”? Is this the result of Occupy Wall Street’s focus on income inequality?

Courtesy of the New York Times.

GOP candidate Bob Turner defeated Democrat David Weprin by 6 points last night in the special election to replace ousted Representative Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th Congressional District. TNR’s Assistant Editor Eliza Gray was on hand in Queens to cover the special election. Here’s her take on the run-up to yesterday’s events.

While voters showed fears about overspending, jobs, and the economy, coupled with strong feelings about sparing entitlements like Medicare and Social Security from cuts, Republicans warned that what transpired in yesterday’s election portends just a glimpse of what may come in 2012. The GOP is claiming the special election in New York’s 9th District was a referendum on President Obama’s policies.

At a results party, Weprin refused to concede, promising supporters a “long night” until absentee and paper ballots came in. Democrats had hoped their last second, union-backed efforts would push them over the edge, but the numbers were grim from the start. As the results came in, it was clear Weprin never had a chance to catch up, garnering only 47 percent of the vote (to Turner’s 53) and showing that Weprin’s deficit was too big to overcome, even with a last ditch voter turn-out effort.

So what does this mean for Democrats? Will an unpopular President Obama be a liability for Democrats nationwide in a 2012 general election? There’s plenty of time yet for that to be decided.

Courtesy of Talking Points Memo