Ariston Anderson: In the Ever-Evolving Music Industry, Here Are the New Rules for Breaking Through

The music industry in general has been slow in playing catch up to the tools of new media. While record labels and publishers are still fighting to maintain ownership of their properties, there's a whole new world of new media elite who are working to find tools to empower musicians and to build a bridge between the new media and the old media.

Whether it's putting music online for free, working to build an online community, or simply starting a dialogue, the folks seeking out answers are quickly replacing the stagnant ways of old media.

I decided to check out the New Music Seminar in New York City this week to find out just how musicians are becoming empowered.

The mastermind behind the conference, Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Entertainment, started the New Music Seminar in 1980, to discuss the future of the business then.

He founded the conference to reach out to a industry that was historically resistant to change. It served as a forum for young entrepreneurs to launch their businesses and make connections, and it became a model for new conferences like South by Southwest.

Since 2000, music revenues have been steadily decreasing. By next year, for the first time ever, digital revenues are expected to exceed physical sales. By 2013, the breakdown will be 80% digital and 20% physical.

"Change will not come if we wait for a record company," said Silverman. "We are the ones we've been waiting for." The conference aims to teach artists how to make more money and less mistakes. Whether you want to be an artist, promoter, manager, or entrepreneur, here are the new rules to make it in the business:

The future is DIY. Learn how to use affordable tools, but remember it's not all about the tools. It's about your craft. Software won't solve all of your problems.

The best marketing is informed by art, not art that you try and inform. You can't create a viral video; that all depends on the audience. But you can create awareness.

If you're an artist, don't borrow money. You can only maintain creative control by maintaining financial control. The opposite applies if you're on the entrepreneurial side. Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, maxed out a dozen credit cards and owed money to everyone he knew before getting his project off the ground. The best advice he ever received was from his wife: "Don't be self-conscious about being an entrepreneur."

There are a ton of places online to sell your music: Amazon, MySpace, iTunes, and TuneCore for starters. But don't underestimate the power of giving away your music for free. Lil Wayne gave his music away for over a year before releasing his album. He worked first to build a connection with his fanbase before asking for any money.

Fans are the new record label. The business now all depends on the relationship between an artist and their fans, most importantly the uber fans, the ones who buy all the merchandise, go to all the shows, and spread the word about their favorite bands.

The key to staying in touch with your fans is through e-mail, the most important data you'll ever collect. Have a sign-up sheet at every show. Have your audience text their e-mails to a road manager's cell at the end of every show and promise to personally stay in touch. Then you'll have both e-mails and area codes. Build an online community by blasting out webcasts, photoshoots, interviews, and even live streaming concerts.

Engage with fans in a meaningful way, nothing forced or fake. We the Kings launched a weekly webisode series, The Kings Carriage, that has collected over 300 million views. They sold 100,000 albums even before the music was on iTunes.

It's dangerous for an artist to spend time on things that aren't artistic. Build a management team to take care of the tools, marketing, and technology. If you're just starting out, enlist a college music lover to build your brand.

Sign any deal as long as it's short-term if it's going to get you noticed. Otherwise you're not going to be on the radar.

Start local, start tribal. The best band success stories come out of a music scene. The Internet has allowed for tribes to become bigger and bigger. Connect with similar bands doing similar music and go on tour with them. Build your own scene and work to break through together.

Fox News Obsesses About Gates Arrest During Exclusive Gibbs Interview

The White House was hoping that the president's impromptu address of the Skip Gates saga on Friday would effectively sweep the issue under the rug. They didn't get their wish.

The first eight questions for White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during his sit-down with Fox News Sunday centered on Gates' arrests and the comments Barack Obama had made earlier in the week, when he said the Cambridge Police Department had acted stupidly.

Had Gibbs prepared Obama "for a question about Henry Gates' arrest" before that Wednesday night presser, fill-in host Bret Baier wanted to know?

"Did he read the police report beforehand?" he asked as a follow-up.

"Did he determine that he was going to take sides to back his friend to the extent that he did Wednesday night?"

Has he scheduled a time to get a beer with Gates and the arresting officer (which Obama had suggested might happen)?

Does the president still think this was a case of racial profiling?

Did he - Robert Gibbs - suggest during Friday's daily briefing that the Fraternal Order of Police was acting politically when he noted that the group had endorsed John McCain in the 2008 election?

Why bring up the endorsement at all, Baier asked, when Gibbs noted he was just responding to a question of who the Fraternal Order of Police had backed in the election.

And, finally, had the president been compelled to address the Gates issue on Friday because of the news conference held earlier in the day by the Cambridge police officers, in which those officers demanded a presidential apology?

Now, to be certain, Fox News is not the friendliest forum for this administration. And like countless other news outlets, they have been drawn to the racial and political dynamics of the president's involvement in and commentary on the Gates issue. But the White House likely envisioned the Gibbs interview to center on the health care debate. And having that topic come up only as the tenth question of a 15-minute interview (a stimulus question was number nine) can't be what the administration was hoping for. Fortunately for the president, it seems unlikely that the Gates story remains Topic A for discussion past this round of Sunday news programs.

Danny Groner: President Obama’s Intervention Opened Up Flood Gates

I have followed the Henry Louis Gates story pretty closely this week. It has unquestionably intensified over recent days yet, strikingly, without much new information coming out.

This story is bizarre, if not only because it's lasted on the front pages, and on our lips, as long as it has. It's rare to see a story, its discussion and fallout remain constant for a full week after the event took place. As reactions have poured in, from Boston down to Washington D.C., reporters have followed with acute interest ,and columnists with judgments of what it all means for America.

You could read the police report about the incident and Prof. Gates' version of the events as early as Tuesday of this week. But only once President Obama made his comments on Wednesday night did it seem that everyone's opinions had finally cemented. That's also around the time when the story became more complicated and headed into new directions.

Even with Prof. Gates' allegations of racism in America at the time of the incident, this all began as a local story. The first interviews Prof. Gates granted this week were to a Web site he helped found and to, of all people, his daughter. You can argue that this reflects Prof' Gates mistrust for the media or his careful discretion in illustrating his perspective. Moreover, it demonstrates his savviness in maximizing his disciples' potential for exposure and attention. At the very least, Prof. Gates used the vehicles he had access to at that time.

When those interviews took place, though, there was no thought in anyone's mind that by the next evening President Obama would speak publicly about the incident at his national news conference. Nor could Prof. Gates have anticipated that that decision would propel President Obama to the forefront as the first chair in the fight against racial profiling of Cambridge police officers.

But Thursday, the day after President Obama entered the fray, is the day when the reporting went a bit awry. As the Associated Press began to run these sort of stories, Sgt. Crowley tried his hardest to keep the story in perspective, and largely a local one that national eyes were fixated to. Sgt. Crowley didn't speak to the AP, instead talking openly to WBZTV in Boston, his local affiliate. Sgt. Crowley said:

"I think he's way off base wading into a local issue without knowing all the facts, as he himself stated before he made that comment. I don't know what to say about that. I guess a friend of mine would support my position, too."
On that same morning, the Boston Globe ran a positive piece about Sgt. Crowley's contributions to his local community and how those who knew him well believed that the accusations were unwarranted and unjust.

No matter how you view this incident or which side you support, it's clear that some sort of misunderstanding took place between Prof. Gates and the officer. This week, many have framed their arguments and positions around hypothetical situations that could have reversed the course of events: had Sgt. Crowley been black, had Prof. Gates been white, had the witness been more alert. These issues of race are essential components to the story, no doubt. But we've mostly moved on from discussing the facts of the incident and transformed this into an issue of how things could be different. The story in recent days focused on how President Obama faces his first test of race relations. The President's ascent into this already supercharged arena wound up sidetracking the American people from the real divide that had come to light on Ware Street in Cambridge last week.

That is the class divide between the local law enforcement in Cambridge and the Harvard elite who inhabit the area. Buried at the end of an AP story on Thursday was this important tidbit:

Black students and professors at Harvard have complained for years about racial profiling by Cambridge and campus police.
Had this story remained a local one, this bit of information would have been much more valuable in framing our opinions and reactions. It's difficult now to re-imagine where we sat just a few days ago and how we would have digested that news.

By granting interviews to his Web site and to his daughter, Prof. Gates appeared to initially approach this as a smaller, local story, but one that reflected something that represented more to him. Sgt. Crowley, once he spoke up, did pretty much the same thing when he addressed local reporters later on in the week. It was President Obama's intervention, though, that turned all of the frustration and outrage into a national dilemma that would inevitably leave one group of people feeling betrayed, disheartened and unsatisfied. What could have probably been resolved over a beer at a Cambridge pub is now going to be tackled at the White House.

This all reminds me of a time in high school when I got into some trouble and was summoned to the principal's office. I hadn't committed the most heinous of acts, but I'd left another student in tears and looking for justice. While the principal considered my punishment, he said that "This should never have reached me."

Sometimes intervention at the highest level only makes things more heated and divisive. As we look ahead, let's hope that President Obama also takes home his "teaching moment."

Mark Pasetsky: Dancing Down the Aisle Couple: Why GMA Should Pay for the Honeymoon!

Kevin and Jill Heinz's now famous 'Dancing Down Aisle video' - seen by over 5 million people on YouTube - reignited the morning show war between The Today Show and Good Morning America.

CLICK HERE to see the video!

Once GMA learned the couple and their wedding party would be reenacting the famous 'down the aisle dance' on Today, GMA kicked the newlyweds out of their hotel and canceled their airplane tickets, according to the New York Post.

"We figured they'd be happier staying with their whole wedding party on the 'Today' show's tab. It certainly makes us happier," a "GMA" exec told Page Six.

In the end, the Today Show thankfully picked up the tab and covered the associated travel costs - but GMA's actions makes the morning chat fest look awful!

After all, this video is the feel-good video of the year. At CoverAwards, we're receiving numerous positive comments about the video. It makes people feel really good and some have even been brought to tears - of joy!

Why would GMA do anything that can be perceived as negative towards this couple that is clearly bringing happiness to so many people?

As usual - petty competition is the answer.

If GMA producers stepped back for a moment - and thought about who they were kicking out of their hotel - they would realize it was a bonehead move! This isn't Heidi & Spencer! It's an average, newlywed couple thrown into the spotlight - and they are not familiar with the 'booking rules' of morning shows.

I believe GMA owes Kevin and Jill a big fat apology! Perhaps, they should pay for the honeymoon to clear up any misunderstanding!

Thoughts? Sound off below.

Mark Pasetsky is the editorial director for Visit CoverAwards HERE!

Ainsley Earhardt: Guest Hits On Fox News Anchor On Live TV (VIDEO)

Appearing on Fox News, financial analyst Uri Man seemed to be full of kind words for anchor Ainsley Earhardt -- so much so that she ended the segment asking, "Is he hitting on me on live TV? Did that just happen?"


Send us tips! Write us at if you see any newsworthy or notable TV moments. Read more about our media monitoring project here and click here to join the Media Monitors team.

Frank Rich: Most Trusted Man In News Can’t Be “Outsourced To Comedy Central And Jon Stewart”

That's why the past week's debate about whether there could ever again be a father-figure anchor with Cronkite's everyman looks and sonorous delivery is an escapist parlor game. What matters is content, not style. The real question is this: How many of those with similarly exalted perches in the news media today -- and those perches, however diminished, still do exist in the multichannel digital age -- will speak truth to power when the country is on the line? This journalistic responsibility cannot be outsourced to Comedy Central and Jon Stewart.

Henry J. Stern: N.J. Corruption Soup: 5 Rabbis, 3 Mayors, 36 Honorables

Is everybody crooked?

Should we send for Diogenes?

The appalling extent of corruption revealed in the past few days shows us how far we are from clean government, at least in New Jersey. The papers covered it thoroughly, and we will link to their articles before making some observations and asking questions. We don't have the answers, but we know the problem deserves our full attention. Political and religious corruption indicate moral decay, and that is as much a threat to society as the actual crimes committed by the perpetrators who are, of course, presumed innocent.

We begin with the first three paragraphs of the lead story in Friday's New York Times. The headline: 44 CHARGED BY U.S. IN NEW JERSEY CORRUPTION SWEEP. A four-column photograph, above the fold, shows rabbis and others arrested being herded into a bus leaving F.B.I. headquarters in Newark. The well-written and thoroughly researched story is by David M. Halbfinger. We quote:

"A two-year corruption and international money-laundering investigation stretching from the Jersey Shore to Brooklyn to Israel and Switzerland culminated in charges against 44 people on Thursday, including three New Jersey Mayors, two state assemblymen and five rabbis, the authorities said.

"The case began with bank fraud charges against a member of an insular Syrian Jewish enclave centered in a seaside town. But when that man became a federal informant and posed as a crooked real estate developer offering cash bribes to obtain government approvals, it mushroomed into a political scandal that could rival any of the most explosive and sleazy episodes in New Jersey's recent past.

"It was replete with tales of the illegal sales of body parts; of furtive negotiations in diners, parking lots and boiler rooms; of nervous jokes about 'patting down' a man who turned out to indeed be an informant; and, again and again, of the passing of cash - once in a box of Apple Jacks cereal stuffed with $97,000."

The article continues on page A21 with details of the several plots, the dismissal of a member of Governor Corzine's cabinet, and comments by political observers. Other Times stories dealing with the scandal take up all of A20 and the rest of A21.


The Daily News provided extensive coverage of the "dozens busted in FBI sweep." The headline on the wood appropriately exclaimed IS NOTHING SACRED! The sub headline read MASSIVE SCANDAL SCARES RABBIS, LAWMAKERS, MAYORS, AND EVEN A HUMAN ORGAN TRAFFICKER". The articles were spread out over pp 4, 5, 6, and 7, all under the headline RABBIS & MAYORS, KIDNEYS & BRIBES.We begin with an article on page 4 by Adam Lisberg titled MEET THE FLIMFLAMMING INFORMANT BEHIND BUSTS. Lisberg's lede:

"The son of a prominent New Jersey rabbi, Solomon Dwek brought shame on his tight-knit Syrian Jewish community when he was arrested for bank fraud in 2006."

"That pales next to the shocking mission he undertook - exposing his community's top rabbis as a ring of accused money launderers and bringing down nearly two dozen Jersey pols as corrupt."

"For years, Dwek, 36, had his hands in hundreds of real estate deals and get-rich all came tumbling down when he was accused of bouncing a $25 million check."

"He appears to have gone from full-time mini-mogul to a very busy federal snitch after that - even as he filed bankruptcy and was besieged by creditors.

On the same page, Michael Daly, in a column titled HER 7-YEAR QUEST TO END HIS EVIL WORK PAYS OFF, notes the significance of catching the highly experienced trafficker in human organs, Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn. We quote:

"The Brooklyn man arrested yesterday for dealing in black-market kidneys was identified as a major figure in a global human organ ring."

To read more of this frightening account, click on the link in the headline above.

The Daily News' Matthew Lysiak and Carrie Melago summarized the allegations in their article FEDS CHARGE 44 IN PAYOFFS, EVEN ORGAN SELLING! on p5. The lead:

"A developer-turned-snitch brought down mayors, rabbis, and dozens of others in a stunning probe of money laundering, bribery - and trafficking in black-market kidneys and fake Gucci handbags."

"Hundreds of federal agents on both sides of the Hudson River - in Brooklyn and Jersey - raided the homes of 44 suspects targeted in the two-year probe, collaring high-ranking politicians and trusted religious leaders."

"A dozen at a time, the defendants were walked in with wrist and ankle shackles for arraignment in federal court in Newark. Bail was set as high as $3 million."

"Aside from the wide-ranging political ramifications of the arrests in Jersey - shocking even in the ethics-challenged Garden State - the take downs of five rabbis left Jewish communities in Deal, N.J. and Brooklyn reeling."

"Most of the Jewish leaders busted were accused of laundering the snitch's dirty money through their charities, which they also used to mask ill-gotten gains from the sale of fake Gucci and Prada bags."

In an article on p.6, HUDSON COUNTY LONG A NEST OF JERSEY DEVILS, David Saltonstall discusses the problem of Hudson County as a longtime breeding ground for "rotten, corrupt politicians" such as the infamous Frank Hague, mayor of Jersey City, and Billy Musto, mayor of Union City. This page also boasts a collage of some of the perpetrators, their pictures, nominal occupations, and the charges they face..

The Daily News' complete coverage concludes on page 7 with an article by Matthew Lysiak and Adam Lisberg headed SHOCKING BRIBE PROBE HAULS IN DOZENS IN N.J. This story provides more gritty detail about the personal lives of the public figures now accused as criminals before and after the bust. We excerpt these paragraphs:

"The parade of perps shuffling into a Newark courthouse on yesterday like a white-collar chain gang was an astonishing array of public officials, taken down in a huge corruption bust..."

"The corruption probe, which grew out of a money laundering investigation of area rabbis, even reached into Democratic Gov. John Corzine's cabinet... 'The scale of corruption we're seeing as this unfolds is simply outrageous and cannot be tolerated.' Corzine said."

"Prosecutors denied that there was any political motivation behind the massive bust that netted largely Democrats, but is it sure to put Corzine on the defensive."

"The probe began as a fluke when prosecutors working with an indicted developer to catch money-laundering rabbis found a web of corrupt local officials who were willing to help his building projects - for a price, prosecutors charge."

"While some arrested were ... small-time officials, the 26 officials charged included Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez and newly elected Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, a 32-yr-old rising political star accused of taking $25,000 in bribes..."

"The Hoboken pol bragged that 'I could be, uh, indicted, and I'm still gonna win 85 to 95%' in a runoff election, according to court papers."

"Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini [the only woman among the accused] was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion by taking $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions."

"State Assemblymen Daniel Van Pelt and Harvey Smith were also accused of taking payoffs to help the undercover developer get permits and approvals from state officials for building projects"


The headline running across the top of pages 4 and 5 read KOSHER NOSTRA & DIRTY JERSEY; The story on page 5 was written by Jeane MacIntosh, Chuck Bennett and Jon Costantino. The vivid lede:

"Everything was on sale - from politicians to kidneys."

Maggie Haberman's story on page 4 dealt with the political impact of the scandal. The headline; ANOTHER WOUND FOR WEAKENED CORZINE. The lede:

"The sweeping corruption case that ensnared politicians across a swath of New Jersey may claim one more Democratic pol by default - Gov. Jon Corzine, who is already on the ropes in his re-election bid."

The headline at the top of pages 6-7: RABBIS IN MONEY WRINGER. The subhead: Laundered Millions in Synagogue and Charity Scam: Feds The article on pages 6 and 7 was written by Jeane MacIntosh and Chuck Bennett. Their lead:

"The insular Syrian Jewish community was rocked yesterday when its 87-year-old US leader was swept up in a massive money-laundering probe.

"He was among five Brooklyn and New Jersey rabbis charged in a scheme that the feds claim churned 'tens of millions' through nonprofit charities and synagogues they ran."

The story of Solomon Dwek was told by Jeremy Olshan on p6 under the headline STOOLIE'S $50M 'SCAM' RECORD A PERFECT COVER. The lede:

"Nothing about Solomon Dwek was kosher. He appeared to be a respectable businessman - until he deposited bogus checks for more then $50 million.With those kind of criminal credentials, he easily passed himself off as a money-launderer - but he turned out to be a stoolie for the FBI.

The Post was the only paper with an editorial on the subject. It ran on pge 34, under the headline DON'T STOP WITH JERSEY, The editorial began:

"New Jersey regained the title of America's most corrupt state yesterday, thanks to a massive take down of public officials on the take. New York prosecutors must be falling down on the job.

"If they redouble their efforts, the Empire State would sure be back on top in a blink - given the extent of the corruption driving Albany's political culture."...

"Among the political losers was Gov. John Corzine's commissioner of community affairs, Joseph Doria, who was not charged yesterday, but whose office was raided by the IRS and FBI; he resigned hours later." ...

"Much of the investigative work...was conducted on the watch of [Jon Corzine's] GOP opponent, former US Attorney Chris Christie - who surely won't hesitate to remind voters that he successfully prosecuted 130 corrupt officials without losing a single case." ...

"Most important, [Acting US Attorney Ralph Marra] noted, 'with so many profiting off a corrupt system is it any wonder that so few are interested in changing it?' It's a question that should be asked on this side of the Hudson as well."

The first question that comes to mind is whether everyone in New Jersey politics is crooked? The answer to that question is 'No'. However, a good number are.

The situation is comparable to the Middle East, where bribery of public officials is commonplace, and regarded as a necessary cost of doing business, except for the United States government, which has made it a crime to pay a bribe, even if the money is extorted from the American corporation. U.S. firms operating in that part of the world have the choice of leaving the market, paying the bribe up front and committing a crime, or making the payments under a subterfuge and trying to find a way to legitimize what, if done openly, would be criminal.

Those are choices which are faced in the world of business, where the threat can vary from Mafia-style extortion threatening violence, to more sophisticated economic methods of 'interfering with an advantageous relationship,' which is an old tort.

The use of informants to infiltrate criminal organizations is a technique of which we thoroughly approve. That is what brought down a United States Senator, six Members of the House of Representatives a New Jersey and members of the Philadelphia City Council. They were convicted of bribery and conspiracy in the ABSCAM cases back in 1980 and 1981. At that time, a Federal agent pretended to be an oil sheik offering bribes for favorable consideration of his business interests.

Bribery is usually a crime of consent, and one party generally does not turn on the other, unless he is facing imprisonment for other misdeeds, and is seeking a lighter sentence. The police frequently use integrity tests (e.g. found wallets) to test their own officers. People who hold a public trust must behave themselves, or at least refrain from stealing. While such techniques applied to private citizens may raise questions of appropriateness and allocation of resources, the detection and prosecution of dishonest public officials should be a high priority, with appropriately long prison sentences for those convicted. The shame of losing one's office should not be the full penalty for one who betrays the public trust.

In a situation where bribery has become the norm, individuals who take bribes these crimes may not be deviant behavior. Indeed, such conduct may be closer to the norm for their peer group than the honest police officer or elected official. Other vices which appear in the general public as well as uncivil servants:, brutality, racism, dishonesty and sloth. "Qui custodiet ipsa custodies," the Roman poet Juvenal asked 1900 years ago. The question remains timely.

To people empowered to make economic decisions, the stench of New Jersey corruption has a negative impact on such issues as where to build a plant. If a business in New Jersey is held hostage to criminals in public office, required to make campaign contributions or to seek expensive state approvals for minor actions, fewer economic engines are likely to locate there.

The people are supposed to get their say on Election Day. In the race for governor they will express themselves, as they have every four years. Elections for lower offices are murkier. Voters don't know the candidates as well, the districts are subject to gerrymander, and many areas are a lock for one party or the other, so only the primary matters. Independents are generally excluded from voting in the one election in which the real choice among candidates is being made.

All human beings are imperfect, but some are really loathsome. The crowd in New Jersey ranges in degree of evil. We would say the kidney trafficker is the worst. Of course, he would say he extends the life of people who otherwise would have no chance to survive. Let him tell it to the judge.

What can ordinary the people do to fight corrupt public officials? It's difficult. We have 'organized crime' but we don't really have 'organized anti-crime'. We pay police and prosecutors to fight crime, legal aid to defend accused criminals, and judges to referee the contests between attorneys. We are increasingly concerned with defendants' rights and horrified by unjust convictions, which do occur. DNA should be helpful here.

Our society is becoming increasingly non-judgmental, and relativistic in its values. We see things from everyone's point of view, and sometimes lose our own.

We now live in a period comparable in some ways to the latter days of the Roman Empire. Many of us observe what is happening, and yet we are quite unable to affect the result. You can adopt all the ethics codes you can think of, but as long as the government is populated by unethical people, or witless boobs who have no idea what is ethical, you will not have honest and efficient government..

I am troubled by ethical tribunals who are severe with small offenders, but look the other way at major conflicts of interest. It is like the Federal government determining that some businesses are "too big to fail." Actually, that may be true, look at the disaster that followed the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. But it may not be true, because we will never know what would have happened if Lehman Brothers had been saved by Secretary Paulsen, a Goldman Sachs alumnus.

One would like to think that ethical issues are matters of right and wrong, and should not be difficult to resolve. Well. Some are and some aren't. In any case, the Jersey politicians and rabbis do not appear to have engaged in marginally ethical transactions. From the charges, they clearly crossed the line.

The way the FBI - IRS inquiry began :flipping a man who had committed an unrelated crime, seems to be a matter of chance. But maybe that's what law enforcement is: if a cop is at the scene, you get caught. If not, you can get away with the same act. Most likely, you will go out and do it again, so that at some time you will be caught and possibly put away.

It is troubling that people cannot side with law enforcement without being chastised as zealots. And some of them perhaps are. But pro-law enforcement groups are not intellectually respectable in today's society, at least in our neighborhood. That point of view is left to rednecks, crackers, and sheriffs. Heather McDonald has written extensively on the subject, expressing her concerns about whether civic order is being maintained.

New York City's corruption level is relatively moderate to low. But when public money is given to fictional organizations as place holders, and then dispensed as largesse during the entire year, that is simply wrong. And when the Council fails to set rules for or regulate the money it awards to ad hoc community groups, it is asking for trouble. That is what the the Council has received as a result of the greed of a few of its beneficiaries. This is even more applicable to the State of New York, its Legislature, and the member items in its budget.

What it comes down to is this. Some people are honest, some people are complete crooks, some will take money when it is offered, but would not solicit or intimidate. In the Police Department, the two types of takers were known as grass eaters and meat eaters, the grass eaters being more passive, and the meat-eaters the more aggressive. Neither type of conduct is acceptable. Over the years, great progress has been made in this area by strong leadership.

An effective Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) is key to the effort. But the value of this division depends on the competence, industry, and above all integrity of its officers.. There is no magic bullet here, it is a battle that must be fought daily.l

When citizens read of indictments and arrests of public officials, some wonder: How many haven't been caught? There is no reason to believe every crook is out of the State Senate, or the Assembly. Someone could go through the halls with a fly-swatter and find suitable targets.

Many practices we disapprove of are protected by the law. Th legislature is the place where that the laws are made. They do not wish to tighten the rules that affect them. Crimes must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. People who are widely believed to be dishonorable nevertheless hold public office, until a good U.S. Attorney or local District Attorney gets the goods on them.

That doesn't happen too often, which is why the bust is a day to be celebrated.

"Then this is a day of independence
for all the munchkins and their descendants"