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Five Stories You Missed Because of Anthony Weiner

By Sarah Laskow
Monday, June 13th, 2011
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Rep. Peter King's second hearing on the “radicalization of the Muslim-American community” will focus on prison populations.

Even before Anthony Weiner confessed his sins, Washington blogger Matt Yglesias laid out the strategy for him to stay in office: Don’t resign. Weiner is trying his best to stick with that strategy, and after seemingly endless news cycles of coverage, by Friday he was off the cover of one of the major tabloids. Alas, just as the scandal seemed to be dying down, it kicked back up this weekend, as pictures of a half-naked Weiner in the congressional gym appeared, Nancy Pelosi called on him to resign, and he announced he’d be seeking treatment for his unnamed problem. (Boredom? Vanity?)

Despite all appearances to the contrary, the world has gone on while many of us obsessed over one man’s crotch shots. With no judgment in our hearts, State Room presents five stories that readers might have missed while reading racy chat transcripts or, out of disgust, avoiding the news altogether.

Free Wi-Fi in New York City Parks!
Bloomberg announced this initiative last Thursday. Thirteen parks already have Wi-Fi; 19 more are having Wi-Fi installed. Manhattan has the greatest number of spots receiving service, but major parks in every borough are on the list.

Cuomo’s Stab at Pension Reform
The governor’s plan would raise the retirement age of new state workers and teachers to 65 and require that six percent of their salaries go towards funding their pensions. There’s little time in the legislative session left for him to get this one (and same-sex marriage and rent-regulation reform) through, but State Room is out of the business, for now, of doubting Cuomo’s ability to get what he wants.

Albany Layoffs Will Begin in July
The Albany Times-Union obtained a memo that identified July 15 as the date for the first round of layoffs for state employees. According to the memo, the Budget Division will release today a list of the positions targeted for elimination so that more senior staff can work to move laterally (a practice also known as “bumping”) into job that have a chance of surviving.

First Steps Towards Fracking Ban
The Assembly passed a bill that would keep the state from issuing new permits for natural gas and oil drilling using hydraulic fracturing until June 2012. This drilling technique allows companies to access gas resources that would be otherwise inaccessible and is driving the natural gas boom in New York and neighboring states. But worries about the environmental impact of the technique, particularly concerns about contaminated water, have convinced some legislators, at least, that it would be wise to wait for more information before giving the energy industry the go-ahead to transform upstate New York into a gas field.

Peter King Is Still Worried About Radicalized Muslims
Last time the Long Island congressman held a hearing on this issue, it was all the media could talk about for weeks. But it did prove rather tame in the end, and this time reporters had so much more important things to think about. King’s second hearing on the threat Muslims pose to society will focus on radicalization in prisons. It’s scheduled for Wednesday.