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Ralph Nader to Patti Smith, Union Square Crowd: People Have the Power

.Mary Reinholz

Ralph Nader isn’t on the ballot this year, but the consumer advocate managed to fire up around 350 people, including rocker-writer Patti Smith, at Barnes and Noble in Union Square last night.

Introduced by former public advocate Mark Green, Mr. Nader touched on themes from his new paperback, “The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future,” and recalled how mass movements led by a handful of people produced radical change.

These days, Mr. Nader said, many everyday folks seem to have lost their passion for activism and have become far more narrowly focused – and with lame excuses to justify it. “They’ll tell you,” he said drily, “that they’re too busy changing their profile on Facebook.”

Others, he noted, fear being ostracized or crushed by the powers that be because of their belief that the “the big boys own the system and you can’t control it. There’s been a loss of nerve. But it took six women in 1840 to start the suffrage movement” in New York, he said.  Read more…

From Avenue D to Ahmadinejad: Cohen Speaks to Iranian President

photo(234)Melvin Felix

Stanley Cohen has had a busy week.

Not only is he defending Mona Eltahawy, the commentator arrested Tuesday after defacing a provocative pro-Israel poster, but the Alphabet City-based lawyer spoke his mind about U.S.-Iranian relations to none other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The Local has learned.

Asked if it might have been unwise to meet with the oft-condemned Iranian president and other government officials during a time of heightened international tension – and on the eve of Yom Kippur, no less – Mr. Cohen said, “I don’t worry about crossing lines.”

That’s evident from his client list, which includes members of the hacker group Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street as well as alleged terrorists. His latest cause, Ms. Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American columnist, faces misdemeanor graffiti charges after spray-painting an anti-jihad ad in the Times Square subway station – an act that Mr. Cohen told the Daily News was an exercise in free speech.

On the day Ms. Eltahawy was arrested, Mr. Cohen was making some bold statements of his own: he was among a handful of U.S.-based speakers invited to the midtown hotel where Mr. Ahmadinejad was staying to share their views of the Middle East with the Iranian president. Also in attendance were Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, and its Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee. Read more…

The Day | ‘Legends of the Lower East Side’: The Coloring Book

NYPD freezing 12th Street for Obama's Gotham Bar and Grill dinnerScott Lynch

Good morning, East Village.

In case you missed it, President Obama’s motorcade rolled down East 12th Street last night, to the consternation of many. Above, Scott Lynch got a photo of preparations at University Place. According to City Room, more than 100 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators marched to the president’s next stop, the Sheraton Hotel in midtown, to protest a fundraising event there.

Back when The Local spoke to Clayton Patterson about his in-the-works anthology, “Jews: A People’s History of the Lower East Side” (which ended up being successfully funded on Kickstarter), he showed off a mock-up of the “Legends of the Lower East Side” coloring book that he was working on with artists Troy Harris and Orlando Bonilla. The Villager has more about the project, and Bowery Boogie publishes some sample pages.

The Times reviews “Golem” at the Ellen Stewart Theater and opines that its “visual illusions feel far more magical than anything you’ll see in a Broadway blockbuster.” Read more…