Where Was Mike? CBS's Marcia Kramer Digs in Her Heels to Find Out

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There's no surer sign of big political trouble than to have CBS TV's Marcia Kramer on your case, and this week it is Mike Bloomberg's long-awaited turn on the receiving end. Bloomberg promptly proved he's feeling the heat by getting all prickly and calling Kramer -- a prominent City Hall presence for decades -- "Miss" and trying unsuccessfully to head her off at the pass.

The moment came Monday as Kramer put the mayor on the spot during his press availability, demanding that he tell a wondering city why he needs to keep his weekend whereabouts secret. The question, long pondered by reporters, has at last caught on with politicians in the wake of Bloomberg's absence in the lead-up to last month's blizzard. Queens councilman Peter Vallone Jr. has introduced a bill to compel the mayor to let us know when he's out of town, and who's in charge when he's away.

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John Ross, 1938-2011, Beat Poet, Revolutionary Journalist

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John Ross -- beat-era poet and revolution-championing journalist -- died this week in Mexico of liver cancer. He was 72 --- or was it 73? The Associated Press says the former, Counterpunch's Frank Bardacke, another veteran of the Bay Area left, says the latter. Whatever, the age matters less than the life lived, and Ross got the most out of whatever years he had.

He was mainly a West Coast phenomenon these past few decades, but Ross's roots were here in the Village where he was a true child of the early beat era. But even if the name is new to you, John Ross's passing is worth noting if only to confirm that these marvelous characters once walked the earth, and their kind is not likely to pass this way again.

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Bronx Corruption Bust: Assemblyman Peter Rivera Ally Charged

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Bronx Assemblyman Peter Rivera
Another politically-connected Bronx figure was charged with corruption today, and the case of not-for-profit big David Griffiths could serve as Exhibit One under the heading "Reporters Gets Action."

Griffiths, 65, surrendered this morning to federal authorities after being charged with lying to a grand jury probing his Bronx non-profit group.

The group isn't identified in the 21-page complaint released by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara today. Neither is Griffith's powerful political backer, who is described only as a lawyer-assemblyman who steered more than $1.2 million in state funds to Griffith's group to fix up a building that was never used.

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Carolyn McCarthy Preps New Gun Control Bill; Pro-Glockers Up in Arms

LI rep Carolyn McCarthy
There's nothing like knowing there are crazed gunmen out there with elected officials squarely in their sites to focus political attentions. Which is why it will be interesting to see if official Washington has a stronger reaction to a planned political assassination with a semi-automatic weapon -- which is what the FBI says Tucson terror Jared Loughner had in mind Saturday with his .9 millimeter Glock -- than it has had in the past to your standard murderous mayhem.

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Mike Bloomberg Hits Third-Term Poll Wall, Still Mum on Pre-Blizzard Whereabouts

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Every political pundit gave Mike Bloomberg the same look-out as soon as he said he wanted four more years as mayor: Be careful what you wish for; third terms can be killers.

The killing has begun. Today's latest Marist poll shows Bloomberg's approval rating at 37 percent, down 13 points from October, a tumble prompted by dithering during a blizzard and his pick of a no-background millionaire to run the city's education system.

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Queens Pol Tony Seminerio, 75, Dies in a Federal Pen

Former Queens assemblyman Tony Seminerio died today in a federal prison hospital in North Carolina where he was serving out the six-year fraud sentence he received in February. Seminerio, 75, had long been in poor health. Prior to his sentencing by federal Judge Naomi Buchwald for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs from clients seeking Albany favors, Seminerio had told the court that his ailments included coronary artery disease, hypertension, and morbid obesity.

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Democratic Rebels Stage New State Senate Breakaway

The new Albany legislative session opens this morning with yet another rebellion in the ranks. This one comes from a quartet of Democratic state senators who announced this morning, with plenty of tough words, that they're moving away from their party's minority to form an "independent caucus" that will go its own way in upcoming leadership votes.

The foursome are Jeff Klein of the Bronx, who broke with Democratic leader John Sampson a few days ago, resigning the number two post as deputy leader; Diane Savino (Staten Island); David Carlucci, freshman from Rockland County, and David Valesky (Syracuse-Rome).

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Attica Prison Uprising '71 -- Another Voice Heard From

Liz Fink
As this paper's late great photographer, Fred McDarrah, used to say when cornered by readers angry over something they disliked in its pages, "The Voice is many voices." This is why Clark Whelton's article blaming leftists for the bloodiest prison siege in American history -- "Attica: The Death of '60s Radicalism" -- ran in its September 16, 1971 issue three days after troopers stormed the prison, and presumably why it was reprinted Friday on the Voice's Web page.

But as a New Yorker who still gets a twinge of rage when the name "Attica" surfaces, it's worth mentioning that there were other voices in that week's paper, and many others in the months and years following, trying to understand the riot, and the spasm of death that followed Governor Nelson Rockefeller's order to retake the prison.

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No-Secrets Cuomo Administration Quickly Spills Some to Post

One of the most promising lines in our new governor's inauguration speech was his pledge "to lift the veil of secrecy" now surrounding Albany. This heavy lift began this morning with twin revelations from Andrew Cuomo's administration to that veil-lifting tabloid, the New York Post.

First, we have Fred Dicker's insider report on how Cuomo squelched state police protection for outgoing gov David Paterson. The report says "severe behind-the-scenes tensions between Cuomo's aides and [former top state cop John] Melville...were resolved Saturday with a decision to end Paterson's protection."

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Steve Rattner Agrees to Pay $10M in State Pension Fund Scandal Settlement With Cuomo

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A pre-New Year's Eve deal has been cut between investment big Steven Rattner and outgoing Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to settle charges stemming from Rattner's role in the state pension fund scandal.

Rattner, who served as auto czar for President Obama and investment adviser to Mayor Bloomberg, will pay $10 million to the state and agree to a five-year ban on any dealings with the state pension funds.

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