Knicks give us plenty to laugh about in this Garden variety show

“Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Tim Hardaway.” “Tim Hardaway who?” “Tim, is there a Hard-a-way to make a living?” Yes, there isn’t much to do anymore except compose stupid jokes about the Knicks, who blew yet another one on Saturday night to the Pacers, 92-86, gaining a full game on the Sixers and Timberwolves in the Sherman tank lottery race. Phil Jackson has already committed several personnel mistakes, but his biggest one was hiring a coach, Derek Fisher, without a public sense of humor. The Knicks need Casey Stengel to get us through these next two months, and instead they feature the ultimate straight man. Somebody needs to fill the void, play Lou Costello to Fisher’s Bud Abbott. So, courtesy of The News, here’s a Knick stand-up routine, which is more than the Knicks do in the lane: Did you hear? Andrea Bargnani went to a dairy farm the other day, tried to feed some of the animals. Unfortunately, he strained a calf and the poor thing is out for the season. Bada-bing. When the Knicks tell people they’re still selling out, I’m just not sure they really know the meaning of that phrase. I’m thinking the Knicks as constituted right now would be a three seed out West in the NCAA Tournament. They’d be lower, but their strength of schedule is very impressive. Before the game Saturday, Phil Jackson went to the Midtown South Precinct station and asked the police sergeant there to trade someone from the starting perp lineup straight up for Jose Calderon. Police sergeant declined. Said his guys have more steals. The T-shirts shot into the crowd at the Garden land closer to the rim than Lou Amundson’s free throws. God created heaven, earth, sky, stars, creatures and man in six days. If God was on the Knicks, He’d have only four days left on his 10-day contract. Somebody really needs to Continue Reading

New York takes for granted these officers who stand between us and danger

He wanted to execute the two NYPD officers who pulled close in an unmarked car, so a violent, armed career criminal simply opened fire on them, sending a bullet through the head of 25-year-old Officer Brian Moore. The heart rages. Four years on the force, a member of a family with a proud tradition of police service, Moore, along with partner Erik Jansen focused on suspect Demetrius Blackwell after he appeared to adjust an object in his waistband, a classic indication that Blackwell might be carrying a gun. He drew and shot while they, still seated in the car, had little hope of defending themselves. Moore and Jansen showed enormous courage in the very act of approaching Blackwell. Unsure whether he was, in fact, armed, they were at the disadvantage of asking his business while watching for further evidence of criminality. When it came, it came far too fast and far too savagely. NYPD COP CLINGING TO LIFE AFTER BEING SHOT IN QUEENS New York takes for granted that brave, dedicated cops like Brian Moore will unfailingly face danger so that the rest of us will be spared. New York rests easier because the men and women of the NYPD fulfill that mission valiantly every day at risk of life and limb. Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were needlessly killed.  Their valor is all the more remarkable because they serve at a time of unjust vilification, as if they, the keepers of the peace whose crimefighting successes have saved thousands of lives, are an army of oppression. In this atmosphere, it is fair to wonder whether Moore and Jansen might well have been called on the carpet if they had stopped-and-frisked Blackwell and discovered that he was unarmed. Police officers and their loved ones carry on all too aware of the perils of the job. In just the last two weeks, a deranged ex-Marine forced cops into a gun battle in Queens and a mentally ill robbery suspect severely beat two detectives and was fatally Continue Reading

‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ cast pays tribute to Sawyer Sweeten: ‘He is gone from us far too soon’

“Everybody Loves Raymond” star Sawyer Sweeten’s death at only age 19 has been deeply felt by his co-stars. Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton and Doris Roberts were among those expressing their condolences about the young actor’s shocking death. Sweeten was visiting family Thursday in Texas when he died in an apparent suicide. Romano and Heaton played his parents Ray and Debra Barone on the Emmy-award winning sitcom, which ended in 2005 after nine seasons. Sweeten and his twin brother Sullivan portrayed their sons Geoffrey and Michael, with their older sister Madylin playing their TV sister Ally.  "I'm shocked, and terribly saddened, by the news about Sawyer,” Romano said in a statement “He was a wonderful and sweet kid to be around. Just a great energy whenever he was there. My heart breaks for him, his family, and his friends during this very difficult time.” The actor’s TV mom Patricia Heaton took to Twitter to express her grief. “Sawyer Sweeten was a funny and exceptionally bright young man. He is gone from us far too soon,” she wrote. “The entire cast of #EverybodyLovesRaymond is in shock. Prayers for the Sweeten family.” Doris Roberts posted a heartfelt message on her Facebook page about her young co-star. “It is with great sadness that I learned the news that Sawyer Sweeten, who played my grandson ... died at his family's home in Texas,” she wrote. “He was a very sweet young man who will be dearly missed,” she added. “Make sure your loved ones know how much you care about them, and please check in with them if you haven't touched base with them for a while. It's very important to keep in touch.” Sweeten’s sister Madylin similarly urged fans to reach out to loved ones in the wake of the tragedy. "At this time I Continue Reading

Volvo Cars plans to open its first US plant

DETROIT — Volvo Cars is planning to build its first-ever U.S. assembly plant as part of a push to increase sales here. The $500 million plant will be Volvo's first car plant in North America. The Swedish automaker says it has a short list of possible locations but didn't reveal them Monday. The company is expected to announce the location in the next few months. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. Volvo has been owned by Chinese automaker Geely Holding since 2010. It currently has two plants in Europe and two in China. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the decision to open a U.S. plant highlights Volvo's long-term commitment to the U.S. market. "Volvo Cars cannot claim to be a true global car maker without an industrial presence in the U.S.," Samuelsson said in a statement. READ ABOUT RECENT VOLVO MODELS. Volvo has sold cars in the U.S. since 1955, but the brand struggled after its sale to Ford Motor Co. in 1999. Its products got old and couldn't compete with newer rivals from Audi and others. Geely bought Volvo from Ford for $1.8 billion, a fraction of the $6.4 billion Ford had paid to acquire it. Now, Volvo is hoping new vehicles — including the upcoming XC90 SUV, which goes on sale this summer — and a bigger manufacturing footprint will help it double its U.S. sales to 100,000 over the next few years. Sweden's Volvo Group — the former parent of Volvo Cars — already has a manufacturing presence in the U.S. It makes trucks at a plant in Dublin, Virginia, and engines in Hagerstown, Maryland. It also has a U.S. headquarters in North Carolina. But Volvo's car division was separated from that business when it was bought by Ford. Mike Jackson, the head of North American vehicle forecasting for the consulting firm IHS Automotive, said automakers generally want to build cars in the places where they sell them as a hedge against currency fluctuations. Mercedes, Continue Reading

Can’t ‘stress’ this enough: Being President would cause coolest among us to go gray

And, they’re off! The bid to capture the White House in 2016 is officially upon us and it got me to thinking: Is there a more stressful job in the world than being the President of the United States? Most of us go through our daily lives feeling somewhat harried — but running a country and being responsible for over 300 million people? Now, that’s stress. SAMADI: MEN CAN LEARN FROM RITA WILSON'S BREAST CANCER Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Presidential hopeful, and Republicans Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, all have significant political experience, but can they handle the stress that is to come? If you could examine a time-lapse portrait of the men who have held the office from their first year of office to the last, the effects of all that weight are readily evident. As they approached the end of their terms, Bill Clinton and George Bush — and now, Barack Obama as well — had a full head of gray hair and dark circles that stretched almost as far down as their chin. This is no mere illusion; research has shown that stress impacts the president stronger than the average person, aging them twice as fast. It has long been unclear if — or why — stress causes a person’s hair to turn gray. However, recent studies have provided some insight. A 2013 New York University study, published in Nature Medicine, determined that there is a link between the two. The researchers found that hormones produced in response to stress can deplete the melanocyte stem cells that dictate a person’s hair color and skin tone. They found that stress causes the stem cells to leave our hair follicles, leaving hair gray or white — and once it’s gone, it ain’t coming back. There are other factors that contribute to graying hair, including environment and genetics, and now we know that stress can also play a part. Stress is the body’s response to the things that make Continue Reading

Craig James says support of gay marriage by Patriots shows ‘that’s Satan working on us’

Jets fans have long suspected that Satan is calling the shots in New England, and former Patriots running back Craig James has now confirmed their fears. During an interview Friday on Family Research Council president Tony Perkins' radio show, James said he believes the devil himself inspired his former team to sign an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage. "If I were a current player in that locker room and my livelihood depended on me being quiet or losing it because of my belief system, I worry, I wonder," James said. "So, that's Satan working on us." James also claimed the Patriots and other teams risk sparking a locker room "implosion" if they continue to voice support for gay rights. "A locker room is a cohesive deal," James told Perkins. "A locker room is a place where everybody has different belief systems but you just get along. In my opinion, I look forward to seeing now, if management tells you and the coaching staff tells you that you better not say anything about the other side, you talk about implosion in the locker room. I know the believers I was with, my teammates — and there were a lot of believers in that locker room — we wouldn't have been quiet for a moment, we would have spoken up." James, who now works for FRC as Perkins' assistant, has not been shy about sharing his anti-gay views in recent years. When he ran for the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2012, he attacked a rival, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, for attending a gay pride parade. James also declared that gays and lesbians would ultimately "answer to the Lord for their actions." He finished fourth in the nine-candidate Republican primary that year. Many LGBT activists consider FRC a hate group. James was later fired as an analyst by Fox Sports for anti-gay comments he made during the campaign. Despite an increasing acceptance of gay marriage and LGBT Continue Reading

Jews, reject Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim venom: Leviticus teaches us what it’s like to be treated like lepers

She’s back. Under the auspices of something deemed the American Freedom Defense Initiative, the infamous fearmonger Pamela Geller has reasserted provocative hatred onto New York City streets — with new anti-Muslim ads that could appear on city buses. “Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah,” one such ad reads, alongside the image of a young man in a headscarf. It continues: “That’s his Jihad. What’s yours?” Though the advertisements were challenged in court, the Hon. John Koeltl of the U.S. District Court, citing the First Amendment, allowed them. Partly to avoid featuring these ads, the MTA may succeed in changing its policy to bar all future political ads. But whether they ultimately run or not, this hatred has been exposed, and New Yorkers — and the Jewish community in particular — cannot be silent. The news stories about Geller consistently represent her as “pro-Israel,” and by doing so, imply that the unacceptable language and tactics used by Geller — which smear Islam with a broad brush — are centered in the Jewish community. But what she does, what she represents, has no place in a Jewish community that is built on tolerance and understanding. In synagogue this Sabbath, Jews in New York City and around the world read the section of Leviticus that describes the Torah’s response to lepers and leprosy. It resonates — because, for much of Jewish history, we have been kept physically apart from our neighbors. During the Holocaust, the Nazis went beyond making us social outcasts; they systematically slaughtered our people with unspeakable cruelty. Because we know so well what it is like to be outcasts, we must never, through our deeds or words, make others into modern-day lepers. That’s why, last summer, I visited Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem to see two young men who were badly wounded — but not from the Continue Reading

Cabbie who struck and killed Manhattan boy in crosswalk given only traffic ticket by judge, leaving parents outraged: ‘An insult to us and to Cooper’s memory’

The heartbroken parents of a Manhattan boy mowed down in a crosswalk by a careless rookie cabbie were left outraged Monday when a judge let the driver off easy with a traffic ticket. The parents of 9-year-old Cooper Stock said they were denied justice when Koffi Komlani, 54, was allowed to dodge a jail sentence. “It goes without saying that what happened here today does not even begin to bring justice in the death of my son, Cooper Stock,” Dr. Richard Stock and his wife, Dana Lerner, said in a joint statement read at Komlani’s Manhattan Criminal Court hearing. “Giving this man a traffic ticket for killing my son is an insult to us and to Cooper’s memory. Is a life worth nothing more than a traffic ticket?” Cooper was holding his father’s hand on Jan. 10, 2014 as they crossed West End Ave. on the Upper West Side when Komlani’s yellow cab made a left turn and plowed into the child in the crosswalk. An investigation confirmed that Cooper and his dad, a cancer doctor, had the right of way. But Judge Erika Edwards said the tragedy was investigated thoroughly and was “not a crime.” Komlani pleaded guilty to an infraction of failing to exercise due care and causing serious physical injury. His driver’s license was suspended for six months, and he was ordered to pay a $500 fine and complete a driver safety course. He had faced a maximum fine of $750 and 15 days in jail, but the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not ask for the max. The Taxi and Limousine Commission refused to renew Komlani’s hack license when he applied in July. At the time of Cooper’s death, Komlani, who had been a cab driver for less than a year, had a probationary license. Cooper’s furious parents, who did not attend the hearing, were baffled that Komlani’s actions were not deemed criminal. “He made the Continue Reading

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