New York appears to be caught in some sort of time warp, as old racial feuds from the early 1990s are suddenly erupting.
1) Angry over essentially being rejected in his bid to become a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams football team, Rush Limbaugh took to The Wall Street Journal last week to defend himself and blast his opponents. At one point, he took direct aim at one of his most vocal critics, Al Sharpton:
It didn’t take long before my name was selectively leaked to the media as part of the Checketts investment group. Shortly thereafter, the media elicited comments from the likes of Al Sharpton. In 1998 Mr. Sharpton was found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay $65,000 for falsely accusing a New York prosecutor of rape in the 1987 Tawana Brawley case. He also played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot (he called neighborhood Jews "diamond merchants") and 1995 Freddie’s Fashion Mart riot.
Sharpton has threatened to sue for defamation. But at least one person has Rush’s back: Norman Rosenbaum, the brother of the yeshiva student killed in the Crown Heights riots:
Norman Rosenbaum, whose 29-year-old brother was killed during the riot, pledged to do "whatever I can" to help Limbaugh if Sharpton goes through with his threat to sue. … "He was a divisive, old-fashioned, racist bigot," Rosenbaum said from his home in Australia, while at the same time admitting that he didn’t "spark the riots."
2) If all that weren’t enough … Rudy Giuliani sparked controversy Sunday when he warned Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn that crime would return if Michael Bloomberg is not re-elected:
"I worried daily that the city might be turned back to the way it was before 1993 — and you know exactly what I’m talking about," he told the Boro Park Jewish Community Council.
"This community remembers the fears, the worries and the crimes — and the great fear of going out at night and walking the streets."
Giuliani is being accused of playing the race card.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, played the Detroit card: "Detroit went from a great city with lots of good-paying jobs to a city that’s basically holding on for dear life," the mayor said.
The comment drew a rebuke from Giuliani biographer Fred Siegel: "If this isn’t a rude, racial invocation, then you don’t mention Detroit."