Little Caesars


After Sept. 11, the father was reminded that Gotti had, years before, ordered one of his underlings shot to death in the garage under the World Trade Center.

--Daily News (New York), June 11

With the events of Sept. 11 and the death of John Gotti, however, it's not a bad idea to keep in mind who the Gotti-style gangsters really are.

--The Deseret News, June 12

Compared with the heroes of Sept. 11, [Giuliani] suggested, the Mafia don was a failure.

--Daily News (New York), June 13

"The death of John Gotti is probably the saddest day to me since Sept. 11," said Carmine Romeo, a retiree who has lived in the area for 18 years.

--The New York Times, June 11

But after that cockroach, "Sammy Bull" Gravano, a man who confessed to 18 murders -- and Gotti was never convicted on one -- I realize why the feds screw things up like Sept. 11.

--Steve Dunleavy, The New York Post, June 11

"They should be proud of themselves," one of the guys said. "They chased all the Gottis. So they don't watch the World Trade Center that got a lot of people killed."

--Jimmy Breslin, Newsday, June 6

Barbara Ivory, born and raised in Maspeth, said, "We have terrorists like that sheik who has three rooms and a fax machine, and we do this over these years to John Gotti." Her friend Carmella Maffettone said, "I wish they had let John Gotti go after al Qaeda -- maybe we would've gotten results."

--Steve Dunleavy, The New York Post, June 14

"[Gotti-sponsored July 4th celebrations were] something you looked forward to every summer," said Alfonso Purpura, 37. "They wasted all their time videotaping him. They could have been videotaping terrorists."

--Daily News (New York), June 11


HERE'S A SUPER BOWL COMMERCIAL we'd like to see, done in the spirit of those TV ads linking pot smoking to support for terrorism:

Image 1: Businessman writing check labeled "Campaign To Elect George Bush": "I helped kill 600 Californians last year."

Image 2: Pleasant Woman, wearing Bush-Cheney button, in front of voting booth: "I helped sabotage the war against pediatric asthma."

Titles on black: Soft money supported lung disease. If you vote Republican, you might too.

If this scenario seems a little over the top, consider the one proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency last week -- a script that has more in common with a disaster film than an oversight agency. Under the EPA's new guidelines for its "new source review" program, power companies will be able to expand their electricity-generating facilities without having to upgrade their pollution controls, as is now the law under the 1970 Clean Air Act. (The new guidelines would allow companies to use their "dirtiest" operating year within the last 10 as a baseline against which they can be favorably judged in the future.)

This would not merely create a loophole for George Bush's energy-industry friends, who contributed $4 million toward his presidency, but bore a veritable tunnel through which they will escape responsibility for increased air pollution while making billions in profits.

Under the Newtonian laws of market economics, however, the billions made by utility monopolies will be "balanced" (to use a favorite administration euphemism) by the costs to an already overburdened health-care system that annually copes with half a million asthma-related hospitalizations, to say nothing of the other respiratory and cardiovascular ailments triggered by fossil-fuel emissions.

Although the rollback seems to most directly affect Eastern and Midwestern states that rely upon coal-burning facilities, natural gas­powered California, nearly a third of whose 2 million asthma sufferers are children, would also feel its sting.

"It would have a huge impact on L.A.," says Gail Ruderman Feuer, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "While coal is dirty, natural gas in an old power plant is very dirty." She also told the Weekly that besides the state's aging power plants, the EPA's proposed rollback would let off the hook all of California's oil refineries, most of which are located in L.A. or the San Francisco Bay Area. Feuer's organization is one of many environmental groups waiting to see how far Congress is going to allow the EPA to go before taking legal action.

From the moment George Bush broke into the Oval Office he has declared war on the environment, as though clean air and water were some biblical plagues -- that is, as long as the few safeguards protecting them kept his family and their friends from making an extra million. His administration's latest attempt to turn the EPA into a protection agency for the rich may soon face rough sailing, however. Predicted the NRDC's Feuer: "They will drown in lawsuits."

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