Raptors Win their first NBA Title. Gutty decimated Warriors vanquished

Breaking News 4.15.2019

New York Times 6.13.2019

The Toronto Raptors are N.B.A. champions. In a hard-fought game on the road at Oakland’s Oracle Arena, the Raptors beat the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, 114-110, taking advantage of a dynasty forced to close out the series without Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson, both of whom were out with injuries.

The Warriors got one final chance, trailing 111-110, with 9.6 seconds left in the game, but Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer, the team was whistled for a technical foul for calling a timeout when they had none remaining. Kawhi Leonard hit the ensuing free throw to essentially seal the victory. There was a delay as a foul on the final possession for Toronto was sorted out, but the fans in Oakland knew it was over before the final whistle.

Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet led the way offensively in Game 6, making up for a night well below Leonard’s standards.

Golden State’s Thompson led all scorers with 30 points, but he missed the entire fourth quarter with a knee injury.


WSJ sadly sees better times for tenants. Translation. Less $$$ for Landlords

“New York Goes Wild.”

The return of rent control to New York and other acts of insanity.

That is the headline in the Wall Street Journal editorial bemoaning the pending passage of serious tenant rights legislation in New York State. The WSJ op ed bemoaning this state of affairs is printed in its entirety.  

Wall Street Journal 6.13.2019

There’s a lot of ruin in New York, but progressives who control the state and city governments are intent on showing how much. Law by law, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democrats are chipping away at the policies that made New York City livable after decades of decline and returning to the bad old days.

Democrats this week are ramming through rent-control bills that will drive away real-estate investment that they purportedly want to attract millennials and tech jobs. The legislation effectively dictates rents for one million or so rent-regulated apartments and restricts landlords’ ability to evict tenants who don’t pay.

New York Rent Control III 6.11.2019

Former Governor George Pataki in the 1990s signed legislation that began to phase out rent regulation. Landlords were allowed to charge market rates on vacant apartments once rents hit $2,700. As rents gradually rose with inflation, the stock of rent-controlled units would shrink. About 155,000 units have been liberated from regulation, though rents remain restricted on 45% of units.

Democrats plan to end this market glide path. Once a tenant moves out—which doesn’t happen often since folks can pass on the entitlement to friends and relatives—landlords would be required to offer the unit to another tenant at restricted rates. Landlords also couldn’t raise rents by 20% if a tenant moves as allowed under current law.

Nor could they raise rates by more than 2% annually to pay for improvements or evict a nonpaying tenant who “cannot find a similar suitable dwelling in the same neighborhood.” Since landlords would have less incentive to make fixes, more apartments will deteriorate and come to resemble New York City’s squalid public housing.

New York Rent Control IV 6.11.2019.jpg

Democrats typically have renewed state rent-control laws every few years as part of a deal to extend property tax breaks for housing developers. But they now aim to make their rent regulations permanent. The only things certain in New York are high taxes and rent control.

One result will be less housing investment since developers receive tax breaks for building rent-regulated units, which they will now be less inclined to do. Rates will also rise faster on apartments whose rents aren’t restricted—assuming the city keeps adding people and jobs. This is no guarantee as New York City has lost population for two years.

More restaurants are closing and jobs in food services have declined since the state raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Vagrancy and public drug use have increased even in the more affluent areas of Manhattan as the city’s progressives have reversed the policies of Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani.

In other news, state Democrats are trying to drive away more businesses by amending the state’s consumer protection laws that prohibit business conduct that is intentionally “deceptive.” Democrats want to broaden this standard of conduct to “unfair, deceptive or abusive”—however lawyers and courts choose to define it—and to raise statutory damages to $2,000 from $50 per violation.

Progressives are vindicating CEO Jeff Bezos’s decision to pull Amazon’s second headquarters out of New York. Don’t be surprised if other businesses follow.

Appeared in the June 14, 2019, print edition.

Back in the USSR. Moscow cops “detain” 400 press freedom protesters

The Russian government, like its authoritarian counterparts, will crack down vigorously and harshly on those advocating for a free press. The mantra is, “Toe the party line or face severe consequences.”

Deutsche Welle 6.12.2019

Police warned that a march against alleged police framing of a journalist would be illegal. Protesters marched regardless and were met with a heavy response.

Investigative reporter Ivan Golunov was arrested last week on allegedly trumped-up drug charges, but in a rare U-turn by authorities he was released Tuesday following an unusually vocal backlash in Russia and internationally.

Golunov vowed to continue his investigative work into corruption and graft.

Despite his release, witnesses said more than 1,000 people marched through central Moscow Wednesday, calling for police involved in the Golunov incident to be punished and chanting “Russia will be free.”

Monitors in Moscow say more than 400 people have been detained in a crackdown on an unsanctioned march in response to the brief arrest of prominent reporter Ivan Golunov.

Moscow protest Alexei Navalny 6.12.2019

OVD-Info, a group which monitors arrests of opposition figures, said: “More than 400 people had been detained at the march.”

Police in Moscow had earlier put the number detained at 200 and said charges could result in 20 days in jail.

Among those arrested was Alexei Navalny, (pictured above), the most prominent political rival of President Vladimir Putin. Navalny was released after several hours in custody.

German news weekly Der Spiegel reported that one of its producers was also arrested, despite carrying appropriate permits.

Authorities had warned that the demonstration would be deemed illegal.

DW correspondent Emily Sherwin reported that a heavy police presence was in force to send a message.


Landmark Deal Reached on Rent Protections for Tenants in N.Y.

First it was Oregon earlier this year with Statewide Rent Control. Now New York.  I thought California a True Blue State. If it is genuinely True Blue it would follow the lead of its neighbor to the North and sister state on the East Coast.

New York Times 6.11.2019

Newly empowered Democratic leaders in Albany announced a landmark agreement on Tuesday to strengthen New York’s rent laws and tenant protections, seeking to address concern about housing costs that is helping drive the debate over inequality across the nation.

The changes would abolish rules that let building owners deregulate apartments, close a series of loopholes that permit them to raise rents and allow some tenant protections to expand statewide.

The deal was a significant blow to the real estate industry, which contended that the measures would lead to the deterioration of the condition of New York City’s housing. The industry had long been one of the most powerful lobbies in Albany, but it suffered a loss of influence after its Republican allies surrendered control of the State Senate in the November elections.

New York Rent Control II 6.11.2019.jpg

“These reforms give New Yorkers the strongest tenant protections in history,” the Senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and the Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie, said in a joint statement. “For too long, power has been tilted in favor of landlords and these measures finally restore equity and extend protections to tenants across the state.”

The current rent regulations expire on Saturday. The new and strengthened rules would mark a turning point for the 2.4 million people who live in nearly one million rent-regulated apartments in New York City after a decades-long erosion of protections and the loss of tens of thousands of regulated apartments.

The legislation in Albany is far-reaching: While rent regulations are currently restricted largely to New York City and a few other localities, the new package would allow cities and towns statewide to fashion their own regulations, which are meant to keep apartments affordable by limiting rent increases.

It would also make the changes permanent — a major victory for tenant activists who have had to lobby Albany every few years when the old laws expired.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, said he would sign whatever package of rent bills the Legislature passed.

The imminent changes come as New York and other major cities are grappling with a shortage of affordable housing, prompting even Democratic presidential hopefuls to increasingly court renters as a new voting bloc.



Ruthless USA break World Cup record as they hit 13. A World Cup Rout!!!

This team came to play.

Excerpted from Wall Street Journal and The Guardian 6.11.2019

The defending World Cup champions were out for blood and intent on running up the biggest score possible. In that sense, the 13-0 final scoreline – a World Cup record – was perhaps not a surprise. Alex Morgan set a mark of her own, her five goals tied the tournament for the most by one player in a single game.

It was clear what kind of match this would be a few seconds before the whistle blew. The US put seven attacking players on the halfway line while just three defenders hung back with the goalkeeper. Once the game started, those seven US players sprinted past the Thailand midfield toward the goal. The game largely continued like that, with proceedings taking place almost exclusively in the Thailand half.


U.S. players and coach Jill Ellis said they didn’t consider pulling back because they thought to do so would disrespect their opponent. They also noted that goal differential serves as a tiebreaker in deciding where teams place in the group stage.

“A lot of this is about building momentum and so as a coach I don’t find it my job to rein my players in,” Ellis said. “This is what they’ve dreamt about. I respect Thailand, I spoke to some of them afterward and they should keep their heads up. This is part of the growth of the game.”

“We really just came into the game really wanting to showcase ourselves,” Morgan said after the game. “Every goal matters in this tournament and that’s what we were working on.”

It took the Americans 12 minutes to get on the board. Right-back Kelley O’Hara was given space and time to loft a cross to an unmarked Morgan, who easily headed the ball past goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying. For Thailand, it only got worse from there. Rose Lavelle scored eight minutes later with a low drive that Chor Charoenying got a palm to but could not stop. By the end of the massacre, Lavelle and Samantha Mewis had scored two each, Morgan five, while Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, Megan Rapinoe and Mallory Pugh had one each.

The game took on an uncomfortable vibe in the second half as goals came just a few minutes apart and U.S. players jumped and danced on the sideline.

World Cup I 6.11.2019


Up next, the Americans head to Paris where they will take on Chile, who lost to Sweden earlier in the day, on Sunday. The Americans then play Sweden in their final first round match.

Of the 24 teams in the tournament, 16 will qualify for the knockout stage. The two teams finishing first and second in each group and the four best teams among those ranked third will advance.

On Tuesday, fans started the wave started early, when the U.S. had a two-goal lead early in the first half. The crowd of 18,591 at Auguste Delaune Stadium heavily favored the U.S.



Did Warriors management downplay severity of Durant “calf injury”?

UPDATE:  6.11.2019 Warriors Management being questioned for downplaying severity of Kevin Durant’s May 8 “calf injury.”

Watch Warriors GM Bob Myers post game presser. I have rarely seen such raw emotion live on television.

Game Six will be the final game at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Thursday night. Next season the Warriors will move across the Bay to the new Chase Arena.  The final game at Oracle should be emotional and a classic.

Excerpted from New York Times 6.10.2019

TORONTO — A script-defying N.B.A. finals continued Monday night when the Golden State Warriors welcomed Kevin Durant back from a monthlong injury absence, watched in horror as Durant reinjured himself after a storybook start — and then still managed to keep these N.B.A. finals going.

Breaking News 4.15.2019

Durant lasted only 12 minutes in his comeback before reinjuring his lower right leg, but the Warriors managed to pull themselves together after his emotional departure and dig out a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5. That narrowed Toronto’s series lead to three games to two and prevented the Raptors from securing the first championship in the franchise’s 24-year history.

Fighting back tears, Bob Myers, the general manager of the Warriors, said after the game that Durant had sustained an injury to his Achilles’ tendon rather than reinjuring his calf. The extent of the damage will not be known until his M.R.I. on Tuesday, but if the tendon is ruptured Durant could miss much of the 2019-20 season.

Kevin Durant III 6.10.2019.jpg

“I know Kevin takes a lot of hits sometimes, but he just wants to play basketball, and right now he can’t,” Myers said.

Asked after the game to describe his range of emotions, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said he couldn’t and alluded to Durant’s injury.

“I just told the team I didn’t know what to say,” Kerr said. “It’s a bizarre feeling we all have right now. It’s an incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time.”

Kevin Durant I 6.10.2019

Kawhi Leonard scored 10 of his 26 points in a stunning fourth-quarter flurry that erased the last of Golden State’s 14-point lead and appeared to swipe the momentum from the Warriors. But late 3-pointers from Stephen Curry (31 points in the game) and Klay Thompson (26 points) and a huge defensive stop on Toronto’s final possession — when Draymond Green blocked Kyle Lowry’s corner 3-point attempt — enabled Golden State to escape with an improbable victory.

Yet there was grave concern about Durant’s status. He left the arena on crutches and with his right foot in a walking boot in the third quarter, and will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Tuesday — less than three weeks before he is expected to hit the marketplace as one of the most coveted free agents in league history.

Moving up. Brains will prevail in ’20. Elizabeth Warren gains momentum

Senator Warren is the  Candidate who will dismantle Trump and reverse the damage he will have done by the time President Warren takes the oath of office on January 20, 2021.

Excerpted from The Guardian 6.9.2019

The senator’s ‘I have a plan’ mantra has become a rallying cry as she edges her way to the top – but is it enough to get past the roadblocks of Biden and Sanders?

Plan by plan, Elizabeth Warren is making inroads and gaining on her rivals in the 2020 Democratic race to take on Donald Trump.

But despite the burst of momentum, Warren’s path to the nomination has two major roadblocks: Sanders and Biden. Her success will depend on whether she can deliver a one-two punch: replacing Sanders as the progressive standard bearer while building a coalition broad enough to rival Biden.


Warren has pointedly distinguished herself as a capitalist as opposed to a socialist or a democratic socialist, but she has not backed away from a populist platform that embraces sweeping economic reforms.

In her address to the California Democratic party last weekend, Warren rejected appeals for moderation.

“Some say if we all calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses,” she said. “But our country is in a time of crisis. The time for small ideas is over.”

The former Harvard law professor’s policy heavy approach made an impression among activists at the She the People forum in Texas last month and was well-received at the California state party convention earlier this month.

This week a Morning Consult poll saw Warren break into the double digits at 10%, putting her in third place behind Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.


A recent Economist/YouGov poll found Warren was making gains among liberal voters, with Democrats considering the Massachusetts senator for the Democratic presidential nomination in nearly equal measure with Sanders.

Her intense campaigning on a vast swathe of specific issues has achieved viral moments on the internet – even including one woman whom Warren advised on her love life – as well as playing well during recent television events.

At a televised town hall in Indiana this week, Warren listened intently as a woman who voted for Trump in 2016 described her disillusionment – not only with a president who failed to bring back manufacturing jobs as he said he promised but with an entire political system stymied by dysfunction.