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New York City Commuter Train Derails In Brooklyn, Injuring 37

NEW YORK (Reuters) – At least 37 people have suffered non-life-threatening injuries in a New York City commuter train derailment on Wednesday during peak morning commuting hours, city officials said.

Dozens of emergency crews swarmed Atlantic Terminal in the borough of Brooklyn after the Long Island Railroad train went off the tracks at about 8:30 a.m. local time inside the busy transportation hub, the New York City Fire Department said.

The nature of the injuries was not immediately known, and the incident was under investigation, police Detective Ahmed Nasser said.

Police and firefighters, some holding stretchers, could be seen entering the terminal as emergency vehicles blocked traffic.

Commuters, meanwhile, described a frightening and chaotic scene on social media.

“People flying everywhere,” Serena Janae, who said she was a passenger on the derailed train, wrote on Facebook.

The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration said it was sending investigators to the scene.

Atlantic Terminal, which also connects commuters to nine city subway lines, is one of New York’s busiest stations.

(Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus, David Shepardson and Jonathan Oatis; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Lisa Von Ahn)

IMAGE: Emergency vehicles gather at the Atlantic Avenue Terminal after a commuter train derailed during the Wednesday morning commute, in New York, U.S., January 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Oatis

Why Hillary And Bernie’s New York Debate Was The Most Aggressive Clash Yet

This article is reposted with permission from Alternet. 

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton showed their most surly and aggressive sides yet in Thursday’s debate before next week’s delegate-rich New York primary, underscoring sizeable differences in two distinctly different visions for America.

Neither held back with criticizing inconsistencies or citing shortcomings in each’s stances on more than a dozen issues—underscoring that New Yorkers will be choosing between very different aspirations and theories of change on Tuesday. Their decision will be crucial, because 291 delegates are at stake, and the resulting allocation could alter perceptions about the strength of Hillary’s candidacy, despite her large delegate lead over Sanders.

Seen broadly, the candidates resurrected the sparring seen in recent weeks. They argued over who best would rein in Wall Street and stop corporate excesses, who had the better record on gun control, how far the minimum wage should be raised, how best to combat climate change and get off fossil fuels, when regime change abroad was warranted, how best to deal with bellicose Israeli responses to terrorist threats, and more. Clinton is far more incremental and focused on using or improving existing laws, while Sanders rejects that status quo and seeks deeper structural change. But below the specifics, which people following the race know, lies a more fundamental question.

As Sanders declared when the pair sparred over whether or not America should have a single-payer health care system—Medicare for all—or, as Clinton countered, build on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, “We are not a country that has the courage to stand up to big money.” That core notion by Sanders—that the political system cannot advance the interests of average Americans when elected representatives buckle to pressure to protect the machinery of wealth—was a sharp dividing line between the candidates.

Sanders said the problem with Clinton not releasing transcripts of her six-figure speeches to Wall Street investment banks was not what she said or didn’t say, per se, but that it compromised her ability to stand up to powerful banking interests. As a result, on issue after issue, Sanders said that she would not go far enough to give Americans the change and results they seek. While he wanted a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, she wanted it to be $12 in some places—but higher in others. While he wanted to force American industry to respond to climate change like the U.S. did in World War II and drastically restructure the economy, she said that natural gas fracking was a stepping stone from a dependence on coal and nuclear energy to solar and other renewables. While he said people making more than $118,500 in incomes should be taxed to extend and expand Social Security benefits, she said there were other ways to achieve that goal and get money to the neediest beneficiaries.

“It’s always a little bit challenging,” a clearly exasperated Clinton said as they were arguing over Social Security remedies. “When you don’t agree with Senator Sanders, you are a member of the establishment.” To which he immediately replied, grumbling, “Yes, you are a member of the establishment.”

For her part, Clinton repeatedly said that Sanders was doing a wonderful job naming the issues that needed addressing, but that she, not he, actually knew how to get the job done. From her opening remarks, she repeatedly stressed that theme. She helped get money for New York City to rebuild after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She got medical help for the first responders who were injured in rescuing others. She helped bring new jobs to upstate New York. She believed in protecting all kinds of rights—not just economic but civil rights, gender rights, reproductive rights, and tearing down needless barriers. She derided legislation that he prouded touted, saying that it was going nowhere in Congress, and most of all rejected his assertion that wealthy donors would compromise her ability to enact bold progressive reforms.

“He can’t come up with any example because there is no example,” Clinton said, after the moderator asked Sanders to prove her Wall Street supporters tilted her stance on an issue. “It is always important. It may be inconvenient, but it is always important to get the facts straight.”

As the debate neared the end of its second hour, both candidates said that they expected to win the nomination. And again, the way they spoke about the future of the Democratic Party was telling and centered around the impact that big money plays in politics and governing. Clinton reminded the audience she has won millions more votes than anyone else so far this year—including Sanders and Donald Trump, and she said that it will be very important for the party to come together behind its eventual nominee. As hard as that sounds, she said that she did exactly that in 2008 after losing the nomination to Obama.

Sanders, however, defended his candidacy as a Democrat, and countered that he will open the party to millions of young people—under age 45—who have been drawn to his campaign and have funded it with donations averaging $27. “The way we are doing it in this campaign… that is he future of the Democratic Party I want to see.”


Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Late Night Roundup: The Prize Is Right

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the woman who made news this week on the legendary game show The Price is Right, when she won a treadmill — which was a bit of an awkward moment, as she uses a wheelchair. But don’t worry, she’s been a great sport about all of it — and Kimmel ha another great prize for her.

The Nightly Show contributor Mike Yard welcomed Hillary Clinton’s campaign to the great borough of Brooklyn, to get some advice from the locals on how she can fit in: Clothes, hair, nails, food — and tattoos.

The Nightly Show
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Jon Stewart highlighted all the wonderful corruption scandals going on in his home region, from Bridgegate in New Jersey to the indictments in the New York State Senate.

David Letterman marked a key milestone as he heads toward retirement: He officially gave his two weeks’ notice.

Hillary Clinton Bases Campaign Headquarters In Brooklyn Neighborhood

By Tina Susman and Vera Haller, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

NEW YORK — Clinton, meet Clinton.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, that is, the presidential contender whose decision to base her campaign headquarters in a building abutting Clinton Street has stirred some excitement in a place that prides itself on being as cool as an artisanal cucumber: Brooklyn.

“The road to the White House is clearly paved through our borough,” Carlo A. Scissura, the president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, crowed after news spread that the Clinton campaign had rented space across the East River from Manhattan.

Scissura called Brooklyn the obvious place for an aspiring president to set up shop, saying it boasts a diverse population and “cool points no other city can match.”

But the neighborhood where Clinton’s campaign is centered, Brooklyn Heights, is more haute than hip, with leafy streets lined with historic brownstones, clusters of camera-toting tourists and a riverside promenade offering spectacular views of Manhattan.

And the building in which Clinton’s headquarters is based is a sterile-looking high-rise that is also home to the Morgan Stanley investment firm and to the offices of Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and President Barack Obama’s choice as the next attorney general.

Still, any time a presidential candidate moves into the neighborhood, it’s bound to lead to speculation as to why he or she chose the spot.

On “Inside City Hall,” a political talk show on the local all-news station NY1, pundits this month debated whether the choice was based on convenience or on a misguided attempt to appeal to the plaid-shirted, goateed crowd.

The Democrats speculated that the choice was practical, not political.

“She did sign a lease in the least cool and least hip part of Brooklyn,” said Risa Heller, a PR executive who served as communications director under two previous New York governors. “I live there, I know. There is nothing going on. Nothing.”

But Heller called it a “super convenient spot” because of its proximity to Manhattan, just over the Brooklyn Bridge or via several subway lines serving the neighborhood.

The Republicans on the show suggested Clinton was dipping her toe into Brooklyn rather than choosing an office building in midtown or lower Manhattan, where much of the city’s commerce is based, because she wanted to seem hipper than she is, without venturing too deep into the borough.

Brooklyn Heights, they said, would not fool anyone, even if Lena Dunham and Bjork call it home.

“She’s not cool and hip, as she was trying to make the signing of a Brooklyn Heights office space seem,” Susan Del Percio, a Republican strategist, said of Clinton. Del Percio said the Brooklyn office would not hurt Clinton, but she said it also would not help show voters who she is and what she stands for.

“She has to offer up something substantial,” Del Percio said.

Whatever her reasons, Clinton is in a neighborhood accustomed to famous faces, where actors who live here or whose shows shoot on the picturesque streets are regulars in cafes and stores.

That should allow Clinton to wander the streets relatively ignored should she decide to take in sights that include the former homes of Truman Capote, Arthur Miller and W.H. Auden, or the Plymouth Church, where Henry Ward Beecher preached and where fleeing slaves sought refuge.

Residents picking up vegetables and baked goods at the neighborhood’s farmers market last weekend were generally blase about the arrival of a presidential campaign.

“How much do you actually see candidates when they’re running a national campaign?” asked Amanda Sutphin, 44, an archaeologist for the city of New York who lives in Brooklyn Heights. “They’re always traveling.”

Her friend, Elisa Arce, 46, of nearby Carroll Gardens, who works in banking, also predicted little impact on neighborhood life besides the addition of television news trucks, which had already arrived.

“We’ll see a lot more journalists,” she said with a laugh. “We’ll definitely get a lot more media attention.”

Residents had their own theories about why Clinton chose Brooklyn Heights. Another farmers market shopper, Daniel Wheir, 43, a television editor, said the location makes sense from a geographical perspective. The Clintons live in a northern suburb, Chappaqua, former President Bill Clinton has an office in Harlem in northern Manhattan and now, with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Brooklyn, “they’ve got New York covered,” he said.

Wheir also noted that Brooklyn Heights is just across the East River from the city’s financial center and its potential donors. “I’m sure its proximity to Wall Street is enticing,” he said.

Brooklyn Heights is known for its neighborly atmosphere, which was on display as residents with children and dogs in tow filled the sidewalks.

If Clinton were in the mood to mingle with her neighbors or shop for her baby granddaughter, she might wander a couple of blocks to the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, a nonprofit started in 1854 that carries everything from children’s clothes to scented soaps handcrafted by women and sold on consignment.

If she does, she’ll find an unabashed fan, manager Elizabeth Rueckerl-Betteil, whose customers have included Bjork, the Icelandic singer.

“I may actually have to change my party affiliation for her,” Rueckerl-Betteil, a Republican, said of Clinton. “I would do it. I think she’s great. She’s a very strong woman in a man’s world.”

As she spoke, Rueckerl-Betteil showed off the soft stuffed animals and toddler’s clothes she thought the would-be president might pick for her granddaughter. She speculated about the good, or the bad, of having a presidential candidate in the neighborhood while stroking a pink spotted toy giraffe.

On one hand, Rueckerl-Betteil and a couple of volunteers working the cash register said it would be nice to draw more business to the neighborhood. On the other hand, they agreed it’s possible to have too much of a good thing if it makes life harder for locals.

Some residents welcomed the opportunities the campaign may bring. Jim West, 60, a puppeteer who lives in Brooklyn Heights, is a Clinton supporter who said he would look into volunteering since the campaign was so close. “We’re thrilled. We’re really looking forward to the next year and a half,” he said.

The Packer Collegiate Institute, a private school with 1,030 students from preschool through Grade 12, also perceived benefits.

“It presents a really good opportunity for politically interested kids to become engaged in the campaign,” said Bruce Dennis, the headmaster. “If anyone needed further affirmation that Brooklyn is the center of the universe, this is it.”

One thing everyone can agree on is that Clinton the candidate hopes to fare better than Clinton the man for whom Clinton Street was named. That would be DeWitt Clinton, a New York mayor and governor who failed in his 1812 bid to become president.

Photo: 1 Pierrpont Plaza via Facebook