Fox News 2024-03-14 10:03:02


FDNY alters narrative on ‘hunt’ for members who booed Dem AG, cheered for Trump

Leaders of the New York City Fire Department have extinguished prospects for a “hunt” for rank-and-file members who jeered the Empire State’s Attorney General Letitia James when she took the stage at a ceremony last week.

“At no point has there been an investigation into members booing,” an FDNY spokesperson told Fox News Wednesday, appearing to contradict reports of an internal email from brass that generated half a week of bad press for the department.

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens handed down a fiery list of talking points last week, according to the New York Post, after some members booed James and chanted “Trump! Trump! Trump!” as she took the stage during a promotion ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. 

The behavior was “unacceptable,” and members who appeared on video from the event would reportedly be investigated internally.

FDNY ‘LOOKING INTO’ STAFF WHO BOOED NY AG LETITIA JAMES, CHEERED FOR TRUMP AT CEREMONY

“BITS is investigating this, so they will figure out who the members are,” Hodgens was said to have warned in an email to high-ranking FDNY officials Friday. “I recommend they come forward. I have been told by the Commissioner it will be better for them if they come forward, and we don’t have to hunt them down.”

BITS refers to the department’s Bureau of Investigation and Trials. Hodgens noted that there was “clear video” of the event and that BITS would contact people who declined to come forward.

WATCH: New York Attorney General Letitia James booed at FDNY ceremony

The purported persecution fired up current and former members of the department’s rank and file, as well as the public.

“I think they were making a mountain out of a mole hill,” said Staten Island attorney Louis Gelormino, who along with partner Mark Fonte, of F&G Legal Group, had offered to represent any firefighters under departmental investigation pro bono. 

“Let’s put this into perspective: It was a smattering of boos when Letitia James took the stage. It wasn’t a real outpouring. It was a smattering at best. And then it was about 15 or 20 seconds of Trump chants. That’s it.”

NEW YORK AG OFFICE, EX-NRA OFFICIAL REACH SETTLEMENT DAYS BEFORE TRIAL AGAINST GUN ADVOCACY GROUP’S LEADERSHIP

The FDNY has already downplayed reports it was hunting anyone to begin with. 

“Nobody is hunting anyone down,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long told Fox News Digital in an email Sunday. “We’re looking into those who clearly broke department regulations. It has nothing to do with politics. It’s about professionalism at an official event held in a house of worship.”

The department further softened its language Wednesday.

“FDNY leadership is having ongoing conversations with our members about decorum during department events to ensure we are upholding the core values that make the FDNY the greatest fire department in the world,” a spokesperson told Fox News. “Being a NYC firefighter is an honor, and we will continue to impress upon our members that their actions impact everyone who wears the uniform.”

NYC COUNCILWOMAN DEFENDS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF FIREFIGHTERS SCOLDED FOR BOOING AG JAMES, CHEERING TRUMP

James also sought to lower the temperature Wednesday, telling Politico’s Playbook she did not believe anyone should be disciplined for the interruption. 

“The events of last Thursday will not diminish my respect for the brave men and women of FDNY,” she told the outlet. “I will be with them now, and I will be with them tomorrow.”

Gelormino, the attorney, praised James and FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh for the latest developments but said he stood by his offer to defend FDNY members if the city changes course again.

FDNY TELLS FIREFIGHTERS TO PROTEST ‘ON YOUR OWN TIME’ AFTER BOOING NY AG LETITIA JAMES, CHEERING TRUMP: REPORT

“I think they will both look like the bigger people if they handle it that way,” he told Fox News Digital. “We’re prepared to fight if they’re not going to handle it that way. Or, hopefully, if that’s the case and the fire department can move on and everybody can move on and do what they intended to do, which is to protect the people of New York City, which the men and women of New York City Fire Department do incredibly well.”

Last year, FDNY Local 2507 advised members to immediately ask for a union representative if approached by a BITS officer, warning that investigators had been “baiting” members into confrontations that resulted in disciplinary measures.

And Kavanagh has also had a rocky tenure. She was never a firefighter before joining the FDNY as a civilian official in 2017. After becoming commissioner, she feuded with her own former top chiefs last year when they asked to be demoted in response to her policies, according to the Post

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen the dirty laundry get aired like this,” Gelormino said. “She needs to do a better job of connecting with the rank and file again. The fire department in New York City has never been questioned. They do an incredible job.”

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James’ office recently took former President Trump to a New York City civil court, resulting in a $350 million ruling against him last month. She also successfully sued former NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, who was ordered to repay the organization $5 million in misspent funds.

James was invited to the event by the new FDNY chaplain, Pamela Holmes, who was honored at the ceremony and is friends with the attorney general.

How fired cop became infamous warlord gang boss dubbed ‘Barbecue’

The leader of Haiti’s most powerful gang may now be the most powerful person in the country, which has been thrust into chaos by rival gangs calling for Prime Minister Ariel Henry to step down.

“The people are desperate. They’re in a desperate situation,” former NFL star Jack Brewer, who now works as the chairman of the Jack Brewer Foundation and is on the board of the GEO Group, said of the situation in Haiti in an interview with Fox News Digital. “You have a massive brain drain going on, where anybody who has the ability to leave, they leave, and then you leave the voiceless and the most poor and vulnerable. Those are the ones that are left to suffer.”

Brewer, who has worked over a decade in Haiti on multiple causes, is not surprised by the recent unrest in the country. His comments come as Haiti has been plagued by renewed violence and unrest over the last few weeks. The country’s powerful gangs have attacked government targets, burned police stations and raided prisons, leading to the release of thousands of inmates.

At the center of the chaos is 46-year-old Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, known by the nickname “Barbecue.” He runs a gang coalition called the G9 Family and Allies, which has risen to become perhaps the most powerful gang in Haiti.

CONGRESSMAN EVACUATES 10 AMERICANS FROM CRIME-RAVAGED HAITI, SLAMS BIDEN FOR ‘PATTERN OF ABANDONMENT’

Cherizier previously served as an officer with the Haitian National Police before becoming a gang leader, but his notorious reputation started even during his time in law enforcement, including allegations he was responsible for the 2018 La Saline massacre, when at least 71 people were killed and 400 homes were burned down. It earned him the nickname “Barbecue,” according to The Associated Press, though Cherizier claims the name came from his mother’s work as a fried chicken street vendor.

“In America, you don’t associate law enforcement, former law enforcement, with gangs,” Mark Montgomery, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital. 

But that reality is different in Haiti, Montgomery explained, noting that Haiti’s gangs are more akin to old American gangs of the 19th century that tried to run neighborhoods in New York City. A more modern-day comparison would be Mexican drug cartels, though Montgomery noted that cartels are dependent on a specific revenue stream and control more defined territory, while gangs in Haiti are more scattered and use multiple avenues of illegal activity to fund their operations.

Cherizier runs what is potentially the most powerful of hundreds of gangs, Montgomery said, with the group having control of both maritime and aviation checkpoints that allow for both revenue streams as a result of ransom payments and the ability to bring in large amounts of weapons.

That control also allows Cherizier to benefit from the large amounts of U.S. aid flowing into Haiti. Montgomery argues it is inevitable some of that money and other assistance will fall into the hands of gangs.

US DEPLOYS MARINE ANTI-TERRORISM UNIT TO HAITI TO PROTECT EMBASSY

But Cherizier’s ambitions seemingly became even greater in recent weeks. The gang leader said this month the ultimate goal was to overthrow Henry’s government. That statement also came with threats. Cherizier said continued support for the prime minister by the “international community” would “lead us directly to a civil war which will end in genocide.”

For his part, Henry agreed to resign last month before an apparent change of heart led him to travel abroad in search of support for a United Nations peace-keeping force to be deployed to Haiti to combat gang violence. He has since been held up in the Dominican Republic, where Tuesday he again vowed to step down and allow for a transition of power.

“The government that I am leading will resign immediately after the installation of (a transition) council,” Henry said in a video address, according to a report from Reuters. “I want to thank the Haitian people for the opportunity I had been granted.

“I’m asking all Haitians to remain calm and do everything they can for peace and stability to come back as fast as possible.”

But that instability may be part of the point for Cherizier, Montgomery said, arguing the gang leader “flourishes on instability” and could seek to “keep the country as unstable as possible.”

As for whether Cherizier’s end goal could be to take over political power in the country, Montgomery noted that the gang leader’s “methodology” would not “give him a path to prime minister or president.”

BLINKEN TO MEET WITH CARIBBEAN LEADERS AS HAITI’S VIOLENT CRISIS GROWS

“He does do things that make you think he wants popular support,” Montgomery added. “They do a little bit of Robin Hood … redistribution of wealth. But he also supports people ransacking banks, stores and shopping malls.”

Eddy Acevedo, the chief of staff to the president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told Fox News Digital the situation in Haiti has been brewing for some time.

“The instability in Haiti did not occur overnight. For years, even before President Moïse was assassinated, the situation continued to deteriorate and, unfortunately, now that there is all this attention, it may be too late,” Acevedo said.

With the situation reaching a breaking point, Acevedo argued Cherizier has tried to position himself as “being a man of the people, but this could not be more wrong.”

“After he left the police force, his leadership of the G-9 gang led to several other massacres across the country and has been responsible for over 1,800 killings and injuries,” Acevedo, a former national security adviser for USAID, said. “Due to these vicious atrocities, Barbeque was sanctioned in 2022 by the U.S., Canada and the U.N. Security Council.”

US MILITARY AIRLIFTS NONESSENTIAL STAFF FROM EMBASSY IN HAITI, BOLSTERS SECURITY AMID ONGOING GANG VIOLENCE

Brewer argued that Cherizier benefits from quite a bit of popular support.

“This is not a guy that’s looked at as like this bad guy that everybody wants to overturn. … There’s a big chunk of that country that absolutely love him, that he feeds, that he takes care of,” Brewer said.

Realities on the ground, such as Cherizier’s popular support, are facts that U.S. and international leaders fail to understand, Brewer said, arguing U.S. policy in Haiti will continue to fail the country’s people. Those failures will continue to become a bigger issue for the U.S., Brewer said, arguing the instability will lead to a continued flow of migrants to the southern border.

“I said two years ago, if we don’t do something in Haiti, the crisis is going to get to the point where they’re going to flood our borders, and every criminal and the baddest people in Haiti will come to the United States of America,” Brewer said. He argued that reality has already come true in the two years since and will only continue to get worse in the coming years.

The only solution, Brewer said, is for the U.S. military to intervene, arguing the U.S. could easily defeat the gangs and create a new level of stability in the country.

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“We’re talking about funding Ukraine, we need to be funding this scenario that’s on our border,” Brewer said. “I think it would take us three days. I think in three days you could have all of these thugs wiped out and stability back.”

From there, Brewer argued for a “Corps of Engineers” that could provide a base for the country to rebuild and to help its people gain critical skills that would elevate it toward a brighter future.

“If you don’t do that, you’ll never rebuild this nation,” Brewer said. “That’s where all of our money should be going, not to these other far-fetched ideas that may work in other countries.”

West Point axes 3 key patriotic words in new mission statement

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point has made the decision to remove the “Duty, Honor, Country” motto from its mission statement.

In a letter sent to students and supporters, Superintendent Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland said the phrase, which was first added to the mission statement in 1998, would be replaced with the words, “Army Values.”

“Our responsibility to produce leaders to fight and win our nation’s wars requires us to assess ourselves regularly,” Gilland wrote in a letter to cadets and supporters on Monday. “Thus, over the past year and a half, working with leaders from across West Point and external stakeholders, we reviewed our vision, mission, and strategy to serve this purpose.”

He continued: “As a result of this assessment, we recommended the following mission statement to our senior Army leadership: ‘To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation.’”

US MILITARY AIRLIFTS NONESSENTIAL STAFF FROM EMBASSY IN HAITI, BOLSTERS SECURITY AMID ONGOING GANG VIOLENCE

The lieutenant general said the new mission statement “binds the Academy to the Army.” He clarified that the patriotic phrase would “always” remain the school’s motto.

“Duty, Honor, Country is foundational to the United States Military Academy’s culture and will always remain our motto,” Gilland wrote. “It defines who we are as an institution and as graduates of West Point. These three hallowed words are the hallmark of the cadet experience and bind the Long Gray Line together across our great history.”

US MILITARY ALLOWS OSPREYS TO RETURN TO FLIGHT MONTHS AFTER FATAL CRASH IN JAPAN

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth and Army Chief of Staff Randy George both approved the change, according to Gilland.

Critics say the change is the U.S. military and West Point’s latest move to push “woke” policies.

“Our updated mission statement focuses on the mission essential tasks of Build, Educate, Train, and Inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character, with the explicit purpose of being committed to the Army Values and Ready for a lifetime of service,” Gilland explained.

Despite removing the phrase from the mission statement, Gilland said duty, honor, and country are reflected in the various actions of the Army’s cadets and soldiers, such as “Loyalty, bearing true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers.”

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“Our absolute focus on developing leaders of character ready to lead our Army’s Soldiers on increasingly lethal battlefields remains unchanged,” Gilland concluded the letter, signing it: “Go Army! Duty Honor Country!”

Gilland said West Point has changed its mission statement nine times in the last 100 years.

Dodgers great planning to save Cali from crime, squalor and Adam Schiff surges ahead

Baseball legend Steve Garvey has edged ahead of U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff in California’s U.S. Senate primary.

As of Wednesday morning, Garvey, a former 10-time MLB All-Star, led Schiff by an incredibly slim margin of just 4,801 votes with more than 5 million votes tallied — about 85% of expected returns.

“As California’s votes are counted, it’s clear that our message of unity, common sense, and compassion resonates across the state,” Garvey said. “I am deeply honored by the trust and support shown in these preliminary results. 

Despite millions being spent against Garvey in the state’s most expensive U.S. Senate primary election, Garvey’s trajectory is remaining competitive to finish in first place.

‘ARROGANT’ DEMOCRATS ‘MASSIVELY SURPRISED’ BY EX-MLB STAR’S SURGE IN CALIFORNIA SENATE RACE, STEVE HILTON SAYS

“I’m energized by our campaign’s momentum and ready for the challenge ahead,” Garvey said. “I look forward to a spirited campaign on the critical issues facing us.”

Schiff, one of the leading Democrats in the U.S. House, will face Garvey, a Republican, in November to determine who succeeds the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. California also puts all candidates, regardless of party, on the same primary ballot, and the two who get the most votes advance to the general election.

EX-MLB STAR IN STATISTICAL TIE WITH SCHIFF IN CALIFORNIA SENATE RACE, SAYS VOTERS ARE ‘MAD’ AT DEMOCRATS

A Republican hasn’t been elected to represent California in the U.S. Senate since Pete Wilson in 1988, when he won re-election over Leo T. McCarthy. Wilson stepped down when he became governor of California in 1991 and appointed John Seymour to serve in his place.

Feinstein defeated Seymour in the state’s 1992 election and held the seat until her death in September. Laphonza Butler was appointed to serve out the remainder of Feinstein’s term.

Garvey said his campaign is about bringing together Californians from all walks of life to address shared challenges. 

MLB GREAT STEVE GARVEY LOOKS TO REVIVE ‘HEARTBEAT’ OF CALIFORNIA ‘FOR ALL THE PEOPLE’ WITH SENATE RUN

“I will continue to listen, learn, and lead with compassion and work to build consensus on the real issues that matter to our communities. Thank you to everyone who believes in the California comeback, together, we will make that vision a reality,” Garvey said. 

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The race will not be finalized until all mail-in ballots are counted, including ballots postmarked on March 5.

Fox News Digital’s Kyle Morris and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Canadians could face life in prison for speech crimes under new law backed by Trudeau

A Canadian law that aims to make social media platforms safer is getting flak for what some decry as government overreach. 

Introduced late last month, the Online Harms Act, or Bill C-63, would allow judges to imprison adults for life if they advocate for genocide. 

The law would also allow a provincial judge to impose house arrest and a fine if there were reasonable grounds to believe a defendant “will commit” an offense – a provision Wall Street Journal columnist Michael Taube likened to the 2002 film, The Minority Report. 

Maragaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, has criticized the bill as “Orwellian.” 

“If this account of the bill is true, it’s Lettres de Cachet all over again. The possibilities for revenge false accusations + thoughtcrime stuff are sooo inviting! Trudeau’s Orwellian online harms bill,” Atwood wrote on Twitter. 

Writing in Public, conservative author Stephen Moore called it the “most shocking of all the totalitarian, illiberal, and anti-Enlightenment pieces of legislation that have been introduced in the Western world in decades.” 

CANADA PLEDGES MILLIONS TO ‘GENDER-INCLUSIVE’ EFFORT TO REMOVE LANDMINES FROM UKRAINE

Citing a government spokesperson, the bill would increase the maximum penalty specifically for advocating genocide from 5 years to life imprisonment and from 2 years to 5 years, on indictment, for the willful promotion of hatred.” 

Justice Minister Arif Virani, who introduced the bill, said, as a father, he was “terrified of the dangers that lurk on the internet for our children.” 

He argued that laws exist regulating the safety of toys his kids play with, but not the “screen that is in our children’s faces.”

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Fox News Digital has reached out to Virani’s office for additional comment and will update this story accordingly. 

Musk defends cutting Don Lemon’s deal: His approach was ‘CNN, but on social media’

X owner Elon Musk is defending his decision to cancel his platform’s partnership with Don Lemon, claiming the former anchor was approaching his forthcoming show as “CNN, but on social media.”

Lemon made a splash on social media Wednesday, revealing Musk had canceled his contract, saying the billionaire tech tycoon was “mad” at him over the interview Lemon conducted on Friday. 

But when asked about why he cut Lemon, Musk suggested Lemon couldn’t shake off his CNN “approach.” 

DON LEMON DROPPED BY X, CLAIMS ELON MUSK RETALIATED OVER THEIR INTERVIEW: HE’S ‘MAD AT ME’

“His approach was basically just ‘CNN, but on social media’, which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying,” Musk told an X user Wednesday. “And, instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity. All this said, Lemon/Zucker are of course welcome to build their viewership on this platform along with everyone else.”

A spokesperson for Lemon leveled a legal threat towards X, telling Puck News, “Don has a deal with X and expects to be paid for it. If we have to go to court we will.”

X announced in January that it had inked a deal with Lemon, along with other talent, to produce content on the platform. 

But that came to a crashing halt on Wednesday for Lemon, after the former CNN star had interviewed Musk on Friday as his inaugural guest on “The Don Lemon Show,” which was set to launch next week.

“Elon Musk has canceled the partnership I had with X, which they announced as part of their public commitment to amplifying more diverse voices on their platform. He informed me of his decision hours after an interview I conducted with him on Friday,” Lemon wrote in a statement posted on social media. 

DON LEMON SPEAKS OUT ABOUT CNN FIRING, SAYS HE FEELS ‘VINDICATED’ AFTER EX-BOSS WAS OUSTED

ELON MUSK HITS BACK AT PRESS FOR ‘ANTI-IMMIGRANT’ LABEL: ‘NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH’

“Elon publicly encouraged me to join X with a new show, saying I would have his ‘full support,’ and that his ‘digital town square is for all.’ He and his team pursued the deal in numerous conversations and made significant commitments about the support X would provide for the show. I made the decision to work with them in a unique partnership that I believed would ultimately assure that my work would be available to most people, in the largest possible venue. I took Elon and his management’s team’s word that they, for the first time, were interested in working directly with new and diverse voices,” Lemon wrote. 

“There were no restrictions on the interview that he willingly agreed to, and my questions were respectful and wide-ranging, covering everything from SpaceX to the presidential election. We had a good conversation. Clearly he felt differently,” he continued. “His commitment to a global town square where all questions can be asked and all ideas can be shared seems not to include questions of him from people like me.” 

Lemon’s interview with Musk will still be shared on X as well as YouTube and all podcast platforms on March 18. 

In a statement to Fox News Digital, an X spokesperson said, “X is a platform that champions free speech, and we’re proud to provide an open environment for diverse voices and perspectives. The Don Lemon Show is welcome to publish its content on X, without censorship, as we believe in providing a platform for creators to scale their work and connect with new communities. However, like any enterprise, we reserve the right to make decisions about our business partnerships, and after careful consideration, X decided not to enter into a commercial partnership with the show.”

Lemon took a swipe at X’s statement, writing “Clean up on aisle X.”

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He also took on Musk directly, who had posted earlier in the day that “Free speech is the bedrock of democracy.”

“You canceled my contract after our interview. I don’t think you believe in free speech,” Lemon told Musk. 

Lemon was fired from CNN last year by then-CNN CEO Chris Licht, who was shown the door himself weeks later.

Hiker spots mysterious ‘UFO’-like statue on trail he frequents: ‘Never seen this before’

A hiker in Wales has captured a video of a mysterious “UFO”-like monolith on top of a hillside along the country’s border with England. 

Craig Muir recorded footage showing the shiny object on Tuesday while hiking Hay Bluff near Hay-on-Wye, according to Storyful. 

“I come up here most days and I’ve never seen this before,” Muir says in the video, adding that it “almost looks like a UFO.” 

He then pans the camera to show the reflective monolith standing upright in windy weather.  

FLASHBACK: MYSTERIOUS MONOLITH FOUND IN REMOTE PART OF UTAH

“When I first saw it, I was a bit taken aback as it looked like some sort of a UFO,” Muir told the Press Association. 

“It didn’t seem like it was chucked in there, instead it has been accurately put in the ground,” he added. “However, there were no obvious tracks around it and one would think that there would be a lot of mess around it, but there wasn’t.” 

The unusual discovery comes after similar monoliths have been found in locations such as the U.S., Belgium, Romania and the Isle of Wight – an island in the English Channel. 

In November 2020, one of the monoliths, estimated at between 10 feet and 12 feet high, was found by Utah state wildlife employees who were counting sheep from a helicopter. 

FLASHBACK: MONOLITH FOUND ON CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN 

Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot, said it was “about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying,” according to Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV.  

Authorities said at the time that the mysterious object was installed in the ground in a remote area with “no obvious indication” of who might have put it there, according to a press release from the Utah Department of Public Safety. 

Then a week later, another monolith was discovered in Atascadero, California, which is north of Los Angeles. 

It’s unclear who is behind the placement of the monoliths. A New Mexico artist collective claimed responsibility years ago. 

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Tom Dunford, who discovered one of the monoliths in the Isle of Wight in 2020, told Sky News “The person who put it there knows what they’re doing. It’s really reflective. It’s someone playing a practical joke, I don’t believe in any of these conspiracy theories.” 

David Aaro contributed to this report. 

Iconic pizzeria furious it could go out of business due to Democrats’ radical agenda

One of the oldest coal-fire pizzerias in America is serving a cautionary tale as more than 100 other pizza shops in New York City prepare for new green energy regulations.

“This is a well-intentioned law, but it misses the mark when it comes to coal pizza, coal-fired ovens,” John’s of Bleecker Street general manager Kevin Jackson told FOX Business’ Kelly O’Grady on “Varney & Co.” on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be tough. $150,000 is a lot of money,” he continued. “I feel for the places that have to do it now, because that was $150,000 three years ago. I don’t even know what it would cost now.”

Starting April 27, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will enforce the rule which applies to restaurants with cook stoves installed before May 2016. The mandate, originally proposed in June, requires affected pizzeria owners to install a filter, then hire an engineer to regularly inspect the carbon emissions.

WHY GAS STOVE OWNERS SHOULD STILL BE WORRIED

Those emissions must reportedly be reduced by at least 75%.

Anticipating the rule’s implementation, Jackson noted the pizzeria took action with the proper time and budget — but the nearly 130 pizzerias that didn’t may face closures.

“Don’t forget, you can’t just put a scrubber on the top of the flue,” Jackson detailed about the ovens’ chimney systems. “Our flue wasn’t the right width, so we had to change our whole two, six-story flues.”

“That involves punching through a brick wall, which, a 100-year-old building, I can assure you, it needs engineers and all kinds of different construction people just to punch through the wall. So it’s a big expense,” he expanded.

Jackson also vouched for fellow pizza shops that use the highest grade of coal called anthracite, which is largely smoke- and particulate-free.

“All restaurants that have coal ovens use a coal called anthracite coal. It is a high carbon type of coal, almost particular freight,” the general manager explained. “It’s smoke-free and almost particulate-free. So it wasn’t a pollutant really before we did it, but we were forced to put it in the filtration system anyway.”

Brooklyn pizzeria owner Paul Giannone, known as Paulie Gee, told Fox News on Tuesday that this marks “a sad day” in his opinion.

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“I think putting this regulation in place for everyone, regardless if it’s having an impact on neighbors or not, is overkill,” Giannone said.

“Listen, I suffer from asthma. No one is more interested in having clean air and, in particular, for you, than I am,” Jackson additionally pointed out. “However, it’s the cost of doing business in New York City, as we found out.”

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Fox News’ Megan Myers contributed to this report.

HUGH HEWITT: Trump has one big chance to put this election away right now

If you are on the fence between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, consider the current Vice President and the past cases of Breckinridge Long and of RimaAnn Nelson.

The only major “known unknown” in this campaign that is certain to impact some votes is Trump’s choice of a running mate. My long-time opinion is that the candidates for the second spot just don’t matter much.

But, but, but… this year the age and what appears obvious to me and most of America —the increasing infirmity of President Biden—will amp up the focus on Vice President Harris and thus on the contrast between her and Trump’s choice of a running mate. Trump the developer knows “contrast” and its visual power. That future “contrast” has enormous political prowess too. Trump benefits most by selecting a running mate who most sharply contrasts with Harris on intellect and stature.

Harris’s horrific weaknesses as a candidate and often risible public pronouncements as the vice president argue strongly for a selection by Trump of a VP candidate who contrasts sharply with Harris in the general category of “seriousness of purpose” as well as basic intellectual ability.

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I’ve long argued for a veteran as Trump’s running mate like Senators Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst or J.D. Vance or former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. There are other names such as Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and former National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien (the LDS vote in Arizona and Nevada matter), but the basic idea and imperative are obvious: the former president’s first big announcement should crush via comparison the often giggling and usually incoherent Vice President.

Such a choice is also going to telegraph an expanded Trump coalition in the fall that will be built in part with people who understand that the Communist Chinese Party led by General Secretary Xi Jinping and their allied evil regimes in Russia and Iran as well as the second tier “threat countries” in Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela, and Iran’s many proxies such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis pose genuine and lasting danger to the U.S. and our allies.

HUGH HEWITT: NAME THE VEEP NOW

If it is a close election, it will help Trump considerably to have a veteran running with him, one representative of the next generation of leadership. (Cotton is 46, Ernst 53, Vance 39, and Pompeo 60.) Most important of all, each of these veterans and a handful of others know the world, it’s truly malevolent actors, and are experienced with dealing with the real evils of our enemies abroad. By contrast, Vice President Harris simply evidences no ability to distinguish  between friend and foe, and is especially weak on confronting Iran’s puppets and standing by Israel.

Along with the choice of running mate, Team Trump has an opportunity to message about all of Trump’s future team. While never losing sight that the election is about Trump v. Biden for the large majority of voters, the reality of 2024 is that for independents alarmed by the growing menace of the world’s evil regimes and our domestic disasters of a collapsed southern border, the flood of fentanyl, inflation’s cumulative burden on families and soaring crime in many areas, the 3000 or so political appointees who accompany a president into office should weight on voters’ minds. Which brings me back to Long and Nelson.

Breckinridge Long was a State Department appointee under both Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. Long was also a “country club anti-Semite” who worked overtime to stop Jews fleeing Hitler from entering our country in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. Long was a character in Herman Wouk’s Winds of War and War and Remembrance (and played by Eddie Albert in the television mini-series based on the books) but his role in keeping the doors shut to the desperate is well-chronicled even by the journalists of his hometown of St Louis.

I thought of Long this week when an underling at the Department of Veteran Affairs issued an edict mandating the removal from all VA facilities of the iconic photo “The Kiss” between a sailor and nurse in Times Square. RimaAnn Nelson, the VA’s assistant secretary of health for operations, sent the Feb. 29 memo calling for the prompt removal of the photo, asserting that it was “inconsistent with the VA’s no-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment and assault.” VA Secretary Denis McDonough quickly reversed the bone-headed decision by Nelson, but what the incident underlines is that the federal government is vast and now deeply ideological across large swaths of it.

Long and Nelson weren’t following their president’s orders. Their presidents may not have ever known about the decisions they were making on the presidents’ behalf. They were exercising their power as they thought fit, exercising their power as they thought fit.

This happens a lot at levels below the president and his cabinet secretaries. Every Administration has thousands of people making tens of thousands of decisions impacting you and your families. The key to a Trump and GOP victory this fall is forcing voters to confront the fact that the Democrats have lurched very far left on any number of issues, though undermining Israel post-10/7 is the one of most concern to voters who know Israel is the equal of any ally the U.S. has.

To combat this permanent government and to ride the fences around the Longs of this era like Nelson and many others, the 3,000 who come along with the president matter almost as much as Biden or Trump. The more voters know that Trump would arrive flanked by serious people across all the agencies that have simply broken down in the last three years, the more likely a voter will chose Trump, despite his or her reservations, especially because they are so concerned by the competence of Team Biden which daily reveals itself to be driven by an extraordinarily radical ideology that comes from the left wing of the Democrat Party.

Friends or Israel especially need to have a “come to Jesus” meeting, as President Biden so appallingly put it, with themselves and their family and friends. It really is a binary choice between Biden and Trump, and that is best illustrated by the teams that will accompany either man being so very different on the issue of supporting the Jewish State. Israelis don’t want innocent Palestinians to die and they and their friends in the United States are sick to death of hearing Biden/Harris suggest otherwise.

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With the likely return of Ambassador David Friedman to Israel if Trump wins and the arrival of serious people back at the top of our national security pyramid at Defense, State, the CIA and in the office of the National Security Advisor, Americans (and Israelis) would rest easier about not just the guy in the White House but also about the the jobs that are presently filled by the Long-Nelsons of today.

Trump should win, handily, but he has to help a crucial portion of the electorate understand the fundamental choice confronting them. That starts with the choice of a running mate who towers over Vice President Harris in intellect and experience.

Hugh Hewitt is one of the country’s leading journalists of the center-right. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996 where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990, and it is today syndicated to hundreds of stations and outlets across the country every Monday through Friday morning. Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, has authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and this column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his forty years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio show today.

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