Quick hits


The Obama administration is suggesting a voluntary ban on lobbyists serving on 915 Federal Advisory Committees which consult with federal agencies on government policy. The lobbyists, one of whom helped write the legislation which created the Committees when he was a Republican Senate staffer, are not happy about that. They say that no-one else but them understands how the government works. That may actually be the point.

The Mayor said in the released version of his address this week that he’s still committed to scheduled public works projects. Judging by his address, 20% of his commitment is to the Atlantic Yards project.

The Brooklyn Family Justice Center has launched a reading and literacy program for the children of domestic abuse victims.

An AirTrain from the Jamaica Station of the LIRR lost two of its doors just before its first run after routine maintenance on Friday. A PA spokeswoman confirmed that the MTA was investigating why the problem was not caught when the train went through a routine computerized safety check following its return to service. Earlier in the week, the Times waxed nostalgic for the AirTrain’s predecessor Train to the Plane and its naggingly memorable jingle.

Lest we forget that humans are a sad and fallen race, the International Federation for the Red Cross and Crescent societies warns that East Africa’s albinos are targets of a lucrative underground market in what some people apparently believe to be lucky albino body parts which has claimed 58 lives in the last two years.

Mark Pittman of Bloomberg News, one of the few financial reporters who foresaw or had the nerve to write about the coming crisis in US mortgages, died Wednesday in Yonkers. Pittman’s e-mail tag when he died contained a link to this picture.

Bentley White, the Jamaica resident who was shot over the weekend for a flat-screen TV his assailants left on the sidewalk when it wouldn’t fit in their car, said that the robbers were lucky that his son was the one who wrestled the gun that shot him away from them, because “if I had gotten the gun, I would have shot all three of them.”

The Bergen Record has a detailed history of psycho radio host/blogger Hal Turner’s long history of reporting on his white supremacist friends to the FBI. Turner is on trial for calling for the death of politicians and judges whose actions he disapproved of. Turner has subpoenaed former US Attorney and current Governor-elect Chris Christie, who he says promised that he would not be prosecuted for “being an agent provocateur” on the air.