When is a bribe not a bribe? NYC mayor says he did no wrong

David B. Caruso, Associated Press Updated 8:59 am, Sunday, February 4, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-3', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 3', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Andres Kudacki, AP Image 1of/3 CaptionClose Image 1 of 3 FILE- In this Jan. 29, 2018 file photo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the "People's State of the Union" event at The Town Hall in New York. De Blasio put his legal troubles behind him a year ago when federal prosecutors said he wouldn't face criminal charges over his campaign fundraising tactics. Recently, new revelations that two businessmen pleaded guilty to making donations that amounted to bribes has led to a renewed round of criticism of the Democrat. less FILE- In this Jan. 29, 2018 file photo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the "People's State of the Union" event at The Town Hall in New York. De Blasio put his legal troubles behind him a year ... more Photo: Andres Kudacki, AP Image 2 of 3 FILE- In this Feb. 1, 2018 file photo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks as he presents his preliminary budget during a news conference at City Hall in New York. De Blasio put his legal troubles behind him a year ago when federal prosecutors said he wouldn't face criminal charges over his campaign fundraising tactics. Recently, new revelations that two businessmen pleaded guilty to making donations that amounted to bribes has led to a renewed round of criticism of the Democrat. less FILE- In this Feb. 1, 2018 file photo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks as he presents his preliminary budget during a news conference at City Hall in New York. De Blasio put his legal troubles behind ... more Continue Reading

Classic Chocolate Chunk Cookies With—Er, What Now?

Posie Harwood, provided by Published 8:00 am, Friday, February 2, 2018 Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Classic Chocolate Chunk Cookies With—Er, What Now? 1 / 1 Back to Gallery A friend of mine owns and runs a small farm out on the North Fork of Long Island, where I live part-time. The local food scene is thriving, and there's a tight-knit network of winemakers, farmers, fishermen, and cheesemongers, which I'm slowly starting to get to know. This farmer, Pete, always has something interesting when I stop by to say hi. He'll offer me a ripe fig from the tree, or a just-picked cherry tomato from the greenhouse, or a few butternut squash sitting around his kitchen. In return, I bring baked goods. Several weeks ago, I got an unusual message from him: I've got some black garlic, the note read, and I baked it into cookie dough. Want to try experimenting with it? Of course I did. LATEST SFGATE VIDEOS Now Playing: Now Playing UCB Police arrest protester in Sproul Plaza Thursday Paul Darwin Picklesimer AFSCME+PROTESTS+FEB.+1%2C+2018 San Francisco Chronicle Camera thief at a house near Dolores Park LotsOfRobots / YouTube Lodi couple marry in 'suspended' wedding ceremony — 400 feet above a Utah canyon Courtesy of Ryan Jenks and Kim Weglin / Video by Scott Rogers from Wingate Motion SF Interim Mayor Mark Farrell meets with Chronicle editorial board San Francisco Chronicle Gray whale comes within 5 feet of divers in Monterey Bay Ben Laboy / Caters News Water Ballet: Smith College lifeguards perform synchronized swimming routine in 1947 San Francisco Chronicle Super blue blood lunar eclipse Douglas Zimmerman, SFGate Fire at Richmond scrap metal facility Courtesy @prosperdave / Twitter LiLou the therapy pig at SFO Courtesy of SFSPCA I must confess that I didn't exactly know what it was. I'd seen it on menus, but I'd never tried it. I learned that black garlic is Continue Reading

Bookends: Eclectic Book Review Club announces season lineup

The Eclectic Book Review Club has announced the schedule of its new season. The club, founded in 1949, brings in local authors to discuss a book. The monthly meetings, which include lunch and the book review, are held at noon at the Field Club, 3615 Woolworth Ave. The cost is $13 per person per month. This season’s lineup starts with Jonis Agee, discussing her most recent book, “The Bones of Paradise,” on Feb. 20. Lydia Kang, an Omaha physician, will discuss her 2017 novel “A Beautiful Poison” on March 20. Meredith Fuller will review her recent book “Quarry” on April 17. And on May 15, Emily Getzschman of the Omaha Public Library will review Kathleen Rooney’s book “Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk.” To reserve a seat, call Rita at 402-553-3147. Reservation deadline is the Monday morning prior to the Tuesday meeting. Nominations now open for High Plains Book Awards The 12th-annual High Plains Book Awards nominations are now open through March 16. Information and nomination forms can be found at www.highplainsbookawards.org. The list of previous winners is also available on the site. The 2018 awards will include 12 book categories: Art & Photography, Children’s Book, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, First Book, Indigenous Writer, Medicine/Science, Nonfiction, Poetry, Short Stories, Woman Writer and Young Adult. Nominated books must have been published for the first time in 2017. Winners will receive a $500 cash prize and will be announced at the awards banquet held in conjunction with the High Plains Book Fest. The 2018 High Plains Book Awards and High Plains Book Fest will take place Oct. 19 to 20. Finalist books in each category will be announced in late May or early June. Winners in each category will be determined by a panel of published writers with connections to the High Plains region. For more info, contact [email protected] Author, former detective will Continue Reading

Bookends: Registration now open for Omaha Public Library speed dating

Omaha Public Library has opened registration for its ninth annual Speed Dating event. The library is calling singles from four age groups for rapid-fire meet-ups that will take place over two days at Main Library, 215 S. 15th St. At the free events, participants will each have 3 minutes to chat with a potential match. If two people mutually indicate interest in each other, they will be given information to schedule a real date on their own. The events have led to more than a few success stories. The first dates will take place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 9. This is open to singles ages 25 to 35, and ages 35 to 45. Speed dating will continue from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 for singles ages 45 to 55, and 56 or older. Parking at Omaha Park One (15th and Douglas Streets) will be validated for speed-dating attendees. Space is limited. Register for a spot at omahalibrary.org. For more info, contact Amy Mather at 402-444-3399 or [email protected] Omaha Public Library staff list their favorite books of 2017 Looking to catch up on some 2017 reading? The Omaha Public Library has a few suggestions. Library staff recently named more than 100 titles that were among their favorites of last year. The picks can be broken down by reading level, category or genre. Check out the list of books at topshelf.omahalibrary.org. Calendar Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Book group: Alternative Book Club, 2 p.m. today, Panera Bread, 17730 West Center Road. Book group: The Droids and Dragons Book Club will discuss “Ringworld” by Larry Niven, 6:30 p.m. Monday, The Bookworm. Workshop: Legend Writers Group, 9 a.m. Wednesday, Legend Comics & Coffee, 5207 Leavenworth St. Workshop: Nebraska Writers Workshop, teen mentoring at 5:30 p.m., adults from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Baright Public Library, 5555 S. 77th St., Ralston. Book group: The Wednesday Bookworms will discuss “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Continue Reading

Rewriting Nature

Darwin’s Delay is by now nearly as famous as Hamlet’s, and involves a similar cast of characters: a family ghost, an unhappy lover, and a lot of men digging up old bones. Although it ends with vindication and fame, rather than with slaughter and self-knowledge, it was resolved by language, too—by inner soliloquy forcing itself out into the world, except that in this case the inner voice had the certainties and the outer one the hesitations. The delay set in between Darwin’s first intimations of his Great Idea, the idea of evolution by natural selection, in the eighteen-thirties (he was already toying with it during his famous voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle), and the publication of “On the Origin of Species,” in 1859. By legend, the two events were in the long run one: Darwin saw the adapted beaks of his many finches, brooded on what they meant, came up with a theory, sought evidence for it, and was prodded into print at last by an unwelcome letter from an obscure naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace, who had managed to arrive at the same idea. It seems to have been more complicated than that. One reason Darwin spent so long getting ready to write his masterpiece without getting it written was that he knew what it would mean for faith and life, and, as Janet Browne’s now standard biography makes plain, he was frightened about being attacked by the powerful and the bigoted. Darwin was not a brave man—had the Inquisition been in place in Britain, he never would have published—but he wasn’t a humble man or a cautious thinker, either. He sensed that his account would end any intellectually credible idea of divine creation, and he wanted to break belief without harming the believer, particularly his wife, Emma, whom he loved devotedly and with whom he had shared, before he sat down to write, a private tragedy that seemed tolerable to her only through faith. The problem he faced was also a rhetorical one: how to Continue Reading

Readers sound off on memorials, morons and monsters

Never forget Walden, N.Y.: It truly made me angry to see that the Newtown, Conn. schools superintendent had the beautiful mural at Newtown High School dedicated to the 26 lives lost on that cold December day covered over with plasterboard (“See no evil,” Feb. 2). Why? Because a few students found it disturbing? The painting was done very tastefully, with nothing offensive about it. Because some students wants to close their eyes to tragedy, we should all change things for them? If we did that, maybe we should not have the Freedom Tower, or the 9/11 memorial. A memorial is just that — a symbol of a horrible tragedy we should never forget, as we keep the fallen in our memories forever. The original painting, made by Sandy Hook Elementary School graduate and then Newtown High School student Lindsey Fuori as a senior year art therapy project, should be restored and returned. Gail P. Ellis Survival of the shrillest Bay Shore, L.I.: I find it very disturbing that a tasteful memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings was removed because some people became uncomfortable with it. Whatever happened to fortitude and endurance? Now we capitulate to any weak soul, removing from their presence anything they can’t handle or find offensive. If a situation makes you uncomfortable, you must figure out why that is so you can rise to the occasion instead of being subjugated by it. The memorial was sweetly done, and if someone found it made them so uncomfortable it had to be painted over , I fear for our society. It will get to a point where everyone will be collapsing from merely being uncomfortable, and there will be no one left with any strength of character to protect those pathetically ill-equipped souls. Darwin got it wrong. Linda Garramone People have the power Bayside: It is time we all stop crying about what’s going on in this country. We give jobs to the people who pass these bills that hurt the working Continue Reading

Benedict Cumberbatch puts celebrity to use illuminating historical wrong in ‘The Imitation Game’

Benedict Cumberbatch broke the hearts of female fans around the world when he went public with his engagement earlier this month. “Cumberbitches,” as they call themselves, clogged the Internet with laments after the British actor placed a sweet, old-fashioned announcement in his hometown paper, the London Times, that he’s marrying longtime girlfriend Sophie Hunter. (Or so he heard, because he steers clear of social media.) But as uncomfortable as Cumberbatch is with having women he’s never met profess their undying love, he doesn’t mind the attention. “I think most of it is good-natured and like anyone who’s ever been in the public eye and kind of revered in a way that I’ve been by these fans, the possession only takes on a sinister quality if the [fan] is really not very secure,” the 38-year-old actor tells The News. “And since the woman I’m engaged to is as much a part of me as anything else in my life, if they like me, by extension they like her.” Plus, there are perks to his popularity. The fame that’s come since his career-making role as the titular detective in BBC’s “Sherlock” and the flood of movies that followed — including “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Fifth Estate,” the Best Picture-winning “12 Years a Slave” and the upcoming “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” — makes for a big soapbox. And that’s given him the chance to use his celebrity to bring attention to a historical wrong with his latest film, “The Imitation Game,” opening Friday. Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the unheralded British mathematician who cracked the Nazis’ Enigma machine code during World War II, only to commit suicide in 1954 after being outed as a homosexual. Of all the parts Cumberbatch has taken in the Continue Reading

Lance Stephenson left him exhausted, but Lincoln’s Dwayne (Tiny) Morton’s ready for his next act

Sitting at his desk on a recent morning in Coney Island, Dwayne (Tiny) Morton looks upset. His students are misbehaving. Some are talking out of turn. Some are passing notes. Looking up from a pile of papers, flanked by a picture of Garfield the Cat that hangs on a nearby wall, the man known for his obscenity-laced tirades on the basketball court does something that might seem out of character. He slaps a tiny silver bell. "You kids are too much into your commercial breaks," Morton says. His students sit up in rapt silence, watching to see what their teacher will do next. Morton says that dealing with seventh graders in his math class at the Shirley Tanyhill School, where he has taught for 14 years, gives him an advantage on the court. "As a middle school teacher, I understand the upbringing of kids," he adds. "You have to understand what you're dealing with before you deal with the kids who are in high school." Getting an early look at the youngsters of Coney Island may give Morton another, more measurable edge. Lance Stephenson, a former star at Lincoln, attended this Pre-K-to-eighth-grade school, and Morton notes that another rising eighth-grade star, Isaiah Whitehead, is a student there now. Whitehead happens to play for the Juice All-Stars, Morton's AAU team, and is rumored to be going to Lincoln next year. "They both have come through here," Morton says with a grin. To his critics, Morton, 39, is a ruthless recruiter of talent, a man who exploits kids for financial gain while stretching the rules of the PSAL. In his 14 years at Lincoln, he has won seven PSAL titles - including an unprecedented four in a row - and three state titles. He sent one player, Sebastian Telfair, directly to the NBA and became one of the few coaches to secure a lucrative deal as a consultant to a shoe company. But spend several days with Morton - watch him in action, at his job and on the court, and talk to his family, his critics and rivals - and a more nuanced Continue Reading

Lincoln embarks on title defense, looks to continue reign

The Lincoln Railsplitters have raised the PSAL championship trophy on the Garden floor in five of the past six seasons. Still, entering the 2007-08 season, they're happy to leave any talk about their being a dynasty to the media. "We're looking at it like nothing we did in the past matters because it's a new season and we're at the same starting point as everyone else," said Railsplitters point guard Darwin (Buddha) Ellis. "We're just as hungry as everybody else and we never get tired of winning." The Railsplitters are seeking their third straight PSAL championship and sixth title in seven years, but they appear to have a healthy appetite for success. Patches of fog clouded the air in Coney Island last week, but during practice inside the Lincoln HS gym, the conditions looked considerably brighter. That's because this year the Railsplitters picked up three transfers from Xaverian, guards Vincent Council and Reggie Davis, and 6-8 center James Padgett, adding to the nucleus of Ellis, forward Justin Greene and Lance Stephenson, a two-time Daily News Player of the Year. Lincoln coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton lists his tentative starting five as Ellis and Council in the backcourt, with Greene, Padgett and Stephenson up front. Davis, Devon (Fatty) McMillan, Khalif Staten and Timothy Flowers all figure to log substantial minutes off the bench. "It's a handful," Morton said of this squad's depth. "We are deeper than last year … yes. Definitely." During the summer, five players left Xaverian and transferred to Boys & Girls and Lincoln. Their relocation provided a hot topic for discussion within New York City basketball circles. Council, Davis and Padgett wound up at Lincoln, while Patrick Jackson and Brandon Romain hopped into Kangaroos jerseys at Boys & Girls, runner-up to Lincoln in the PSAL last year. Romain, who figures to be a go-to scorer for Boys & Girls, didn't waste time setting his sights on the champion; he even singled Continue Reading

The Road to Arizona

FAVORITES PATRIOTS LAST YEAR: 12-4. Playoffs: Lost AFC Championship Game. INCOMING: Tom Brady can spread the field even more now that he has WRs Randy Moss, Donte' Stallworth and Wes Welker. Kyle Brady adds a blocking TE to the mix. The versatile Adalius Thomas should be a perfect fit at OLB. Backup RB Sammy Morris moves over from Miami. OUTGOING: RB Corey Dillon, the Pats' leading rusher last season, retired. WR Reche Caldwell was released. MAIN MAN: Brady is poised for a monster season because of the versatility that surrounds him this year. The Patriots love multiple personnel groupings depending on the defense and the situation. Brady's head is as valuable as his arm. STRENGTHS: Defensive linemen Richard Seymour (who starts the year on PUP), Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren present matchup problems. If anybody can get Moss to toe the line, it's Bill Belichick. WEAKNESSES: There is some age at linebacker and concerns safety, now that Rodney Harrison has been suspended four games for hgh. Franchise-tagged CB Asante Samuel missed most of camp holding out. BOTTOM LINE: The Pats didn't waste time in becoming Super Bowl favorites again. They were only a drive away from returning in '06 and they're certainly a better team now. CHARGERS LAST YEAR: 14-2 Playoffs: Lost divisional round INCOMING: Norv Turner attempts what Marty Schottenheimer couldn't do: win a playoff game. Top pick Craig Davis has speed at WR to stretch the field, and second-round pick Eric Weddle, a hard-hitting safety, has had an impressive camp. OUTGOING: Keenan McCardell, the Chargers' leading wide receiver, signed with the Texans. The linebacking corps lost Donnie Edwards and Randall Godfrey. MAIN MAN: Turner built this offense around LaDainian Tomlinson when he was offensive coordinator during LT's rookie season in 2001. Tomlinson is the best player in the league and if Turner can add a vertical element to the attack, the NFL MVP should repeat his big Continue Reading