The powerful New York State Assembly Speaker surrendered to the FBI yesterday:
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver used his office to mask millions of dollars in “bribes and kickbacks” as legitimate outside income from two private law firms over more than a decade, according to a bombshell 35-page criminal complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara today.
The five-count complaint on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, and extortion outlines two schemes Mr. Silver used to leverage his official position as the powerful Democratic leader of the Assembly to rake in cash, which he presented as legitimately earned income for representing private clients.
The Times wants him to resign:
In New York’s sleazy political world, where fairly obvious corruption is not just tolerated but encouraged by ethics laws that barely deserve the name, Mr. Silver does not have to relinquish his power even temporarily. That, in fact, is something he should have done two years ago after the disclosure of his role in silencing a sexual harassment complaint against another lawmaker.
Mr. Silver was among those who fought subpoenas from the commission demanding a list of clients and descriptions of services provided for pay, according to the indictment. Within two weeks after Mr. Cuomo shut down the commission, Mr. Bharara took control over its files and unfinished investigations. The case against Mr. Silver could be the first of several against Albany lawmakers. Or as Mr. Bharara hinted on Thursday, “Stay tuned.”
This dramatic turn of events could be the start of a wholesale cleanup of Albany’s appalling political culture, something voters have wished for and deserved for many years. But it’s only a start.
Sullivan has more reactions from around the Web.
Stay tuned indeed.
On Tuesday of this week, Elan Lee, Matthew Inman ("The Oatmeal"), and Shane Small launched a Kickstarter for their new game "Exploding Kittens." As of last night, it's the 22nd-most funded campaign ever with over $3.3m in pledges from over 84,000 backers (including me).
Well done, guys. I'm looking forward to getting my set (with the NSFW pack) sometime this summer.
Inman previously used Kickstarter to fund the Tesla Museum on Long Island. Eat it, Charles Schultz.
The Economist has a new Big Mac Index out today, reflecting the gyrations in currency exchange rates that will (I hope) make my trip to Berlin next month a lot less expensive:
The Economist whipped up the Big Mac index in 1986 as a bun-loving way of explaining currencies’ relative values. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, which posits that over the long run, currencies should adjust so that a basket of identical goods costs the same everywhere. We fill our basket with just one item: the Big Mac, which is made to the same recipe in almost all countries (India’s Maharaja Mac, a chicken sandwich, is an exception). Buying a Big Mac in Denmark, for example, costs $5.38 at market exchange rates compared with $4.79 in America, so our index suggests the Danish krone is 12% overvalued (see chart). No wonder Denmark’s central bank cut rates this week.
On average, Americans abroad get more burger for their buck than they did last summer. Relatively beefy growth in America has helped to fatten the greenback. Elsewhere, however, central bankers are still trying to add sauce to their economies, in part by encouraging their currencies to fall. In Japan, for instance, a belt-busting bond-buying scheme has caused the yen to waste away. The expectation that the European Central Bank would serve up a hearty dose of QE seems to have prompted Switzerland’s stomach-turning scrapping of the franc’s peg to the euro. Last week a Swiss Big Mac cost $6.38, but now it gobbles up $7.54.
Yes, they really super-sized the food and burger puns this year...
Today is the last day the CTA will run 1970s-era trains from the 2400 Series:
With their traverse-style seating, return to sliding doors and bicentennial trim, Chicago Transit Authority’s 2400-series rail cars proved popular with riders when they first debuted in 1976. CTA also got more than their money’s worth from the 200 cars they ordered from Boeing-Vertol, as they were only phased out of use once CTA began adding the Bombardier 5000-series rail cars to its fleet.
Over the next four decades the 2400-series cars provided thousands upon thousands of rides and arguably as many “hobo corner surprises” while the last of the cars were eventually pulled from the Orange and Brown lines. To commemorate their service, CTA is saying C-YA to the 2400 series cars with a fanfare-studded “final ride” Wednesday, Jan. 21. A train of eight 2400-series cars will roll along the tracks in the Loop, on the Brown Line, the North Side Red Line and South Side Green Line, to and from the Ashland/63rd Street station. The cars will be decorated in their original bicentennial detail, follow their original routes and contain interior map and advertising cards from the period when they first launched. CTA also plans on having shuttle bus service to pick up riders to board the trains in the Loop at Washington and Wells.
This doesn't mean a lot outside the city, but for we who take the El often, it's a good thing. The 40-year-old cars will not be missed by the average commuter.
Yep. Pretty dreary today:
At least it's above freezing.
Interesting things to read:
Before reading all of those I need to get a production deployment ready for this weekend. It would help if I were completely certain what's in production right now...
Via Chicagoist, a compilation of Super-8 movies showing Chicago more than 45 years ago:
If you're a frequent flier in the U.S., test your knowledge of terminal layouts. I got 10.
Home in just a couple of hours.
I'm taking a quick trip to New York this weekend so The Daily Parker may be a little quiet. Here's what I'll be reading about on the flights:
One more bug to fix before I can do a test deployment...