Gatemouth's blog

Pointless Counterpoint

Submitted for your consideration, dueling headlines:

“Court Dismisses Suit Against Plan for Pier Parks” – Brooklyn Heights Press (11/30/06)

“Park backers lose waterfront lawsuit” – Brooklyn Papers (12/2/06)

So who’s right? Did those who want the park win, or those who want to stop it?

As I’ve documented, it’s been quite clear for well over a decade that the only way a Park was ever going to be built on the Brooklyn Heights Waterfront was if it were self supporting. The lawsuit mentioned in the headlines sought to block the use of the revenue sources (including apartment buildings) proposed in the plan to create “Brooklyn Bridge Park”. Those behind the lawsuit, brought by the Orwellingly named “Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund”, include the Willowtown Association, which has opposed any park on the Brooklyn Bridge Waterfront, long before housing became part of the plan, because it would lead to people from outside the neighborhood walking past their homes (residents of Joralemon Street actually hung up signs saying "Don't Tread On Me"). Also in the opposition is Roy Sloane of the Cobble Hill Association, who has stated quite clearly that he opposes the building of any park except on his terms, which are fiscally insupportable. Thus, those who supported the lawsuit, including publisher Ed Weintrob of the Brooklyn Paper (a resident of Willowtown), can only be termed park opponents, since they oppose the only plan which has any hope of bringing a park to fruition.

“The popularity and importance of the political blogger"

“Some bloggers just rattle...the anonymity of the computer gives them free reign to incessently idle about with their conspiracy theories and salacious gossip. GM didn't do that; he backed up the reasons for his statements (which is more than we can say for many bloggers). You may not have agreed with what he said ... but the mere fact that we came back and engaged him - and ourselves - is a testament to the power of his words, and the popularity and importance of the political blogger."-Black Pride (5/23/06)

“The Hippocratic Oath begins with the injunction “First do no harm”. It is not a high standard to meet, but it is one at which the WFP has utterly failed. It is time to put the patient out of its misery and pull the plug on the WFP. Vote for Spitzer for Governor on the Democratic line”- Gatemouth (10/28/06)

Talking Back

Any month in which Chris Owens gets to issue a mission statement for a new political movement, or Charles Barron is given the opportunity to sound off about an unarmed black man hit by 50 bullets on the night before his wedding (while the shock of the underlying incident stuns Gatemouth into a failure to respond to his ill-chosen words), is bound to produce its share of unique rhetoric. Add to that the fact that most of November is devoted to post-election recrimination and spin, and the opportunities to pick low hanging fruit off the vine increase exponentially.

This is by no means a selection of the most ludicrous quotes in a month where the cup hath runneth over; it’s just a sampling of a few favorites, with some notes:

If All The People Cared, There Wouldn't Be Any Apathy

Let’s be clear from the start; this is not another piece making fun of Chris Owens; he just happened to start the discussion. Last week Owens, the self-proclaimed (and surely consensual) leader of Brooklynites who call themselves “progressive” stated that those who share his vision support “public policies that promote and establish equitable social [and] economic…outcomes for all Americans, including quality public education, affordable and accessible health care, and quality and affordable housing.” Although, for my own reasons, I don’t call myself a progressive, these goals are just fine with me; however, in seeking to implement those goals, Owens proposed, among other things, support for efforts to “maximize voter registration and voter turnout….regardless of an individual voter's profile”, to which I replied:

The Great White Hope

After running fourth in a field of four in a race for Congress with only 19% of the vote (despite having the support of, and same last name as, an incumbent Congressman with nearly a quarter century of service), Chris Owens decided to snatch dignity from the jaws of defeat by claiming credit (with some credibility) for the defeat of white candidate David Yassky. Having been handed a bunch of lemons, Owens decided to claim he was manufacturing lemonade, and it’s hard to disagree that this was better than squeezing sour grapes, even if it's still a matter of empty calories. So, it seemed petulant at that juncture to point out that, at the time Owens decided to stay in the race, it was far from apparent that his presence wouldn’t cost a stronger black candidate victory.

Why There Will Not Be An ANYONE but Hillary Movement

"Rev. Al Mulls White House bid" - Daily News, 11/23/06.

Gatemouth's Homepage was updated on 11/23/06; for more fun and laughter, visit here.

Cost Benefit Analysis

There are some things on which you can't put a price tag. It is too bad the future of our children ain't one of them.

Back on March 23, 2006, I posted my first piece on "Room 8", and said, in part:

"today's decision by the Appellate Division, 1st Department, in the CFE case, together with the impending attempts to convert Roe v. Wade into an empty shell, highlight the problems with "merit selection". Those who control the Executive Branch determine who has the "merit". The First Department's appointed Appellate Division largely consists of upstate Republican hacks imported from the vicintiy of the Cheese Museum. In many ways, the byproducts (AKA our local judicial bench) produced by our own local political culture (which is, at least, more liberal and more racially diverse) look far better in comparison."

Nolo Contendre

Yesterday, Ben Smith of Daily Politics asked,  “Who lost the State Senate?”, offering five alternative theories. The day before, it was Wayne Barrett who raised the same issue; but, I started complaining last spring.

 As I’ve stated before  (11/8/06), there is enough blame for everyone to enjoy a piece, with seconds for anyone who asks. I outlined Ben’s theory number #3 (Blame David Paterson) in all its gory details on May 10, 2006. Theory #4 (blame internal politics) is just a subset of #3; if Paterson had done what Spitzer had asked, and stepped down as leader early on, internal politics would have been resolved well before the election; instead the leading members of the Senate's Democratic Conference were so interested in becoming Minority Leader, they forgot about becoming Majority Leader. 

I outlined theory #2 (Blame the County Leaders) in my pre-election Voter’s Guide (11/6/06) and again after the election  (11/10/06), but in a way, its just a subset of  the usual Albany malaise (4/29/06). For their own reasons, the Assembly Democrats have little interest in a Democratic Senate; many County leaders are Assembly members, others depend upon the Assembly Democrats to provide them essential support. In Brooklyn, some local Dems are actually bragging about how their decision to prevent an opponent for Republican Senator Marty Golden allowed the Democrats to pick up one more Assembly seat, bringing Shelly Silver's veto proof majority up to a superfluous 108 out of 150.

Is Wayne Barrett Really Gatemouth?

A reader asks:

“I’ve just read this article by Wayne Barrett (11/14/06) in the Village Voice, and can’t help but notice that its points almost exactly echo those you made (11/10/06), here (11/8/06) and here (in the section on races for the State Senate) (11/6/06).

In addition, I can’t help noticing that both you and Barrett became writers because it was less difficult than giving up masturbation (Barrett is actually on record about this) and both of you have been accused of having difficulty restraining yourself from writing stories favorable to your personal friends.”

"The Dean’s November" and "The House of Murtha"

Every two year, I’ve looked forward to the time coming when a Democratic victory would put an end to the endless post-election game of finger-pointing and recriminations that came after our every defeat. So, I didn’t expect to be playng the same games after we'd won an unequivocal victory.

My complaint here does not apply to local finger-pointing and recriminations about the senseless loss of the opportunity to take away Serph Maltese’s State Senate seat; let’s form a firing squad in a circle and mete out justice to everyone responsible; but, on a national level, it seems a strange way to celebrate. Gingrich had “The Contract on America” (Freudian Slip intentional); Democrats take contracts out on each other.

In My Country There is Problem

They say that battles in academia are so nasty because so little is at stake; the same might be said of the Jewish vote. At 3% of the country and dropping, with Muslims eclipsing us for place number one in the list of non-Christian religious minorities, Jews are an important voting bloc in a few states, and a few Congressional districts. Moreover, even in those areas where Jews are a significant constituency, their votes have not necessarily been objects of great contention, mostly because the conclusion concerning their destination has often been forgone.

As a rule, the real Jewish primary is fought in "The Green Party". Jewish political power is at its most potent when Jews vote with their wallets. While both parties benefit, especially from those who view politics as transactional and money as coming in  categories “A” and “B” (despite Tom Delay’s noble efforts to eliminate from politics the nefarious influence of “B” money), “Jewish Money” is for Republicans mostly ice cream on the cake (although these folks are junkies for their sweets), while for the Democrats, it’s three courses, drinks, desert and a midnight snack.

Joe Crowley, Meet Gordon Gekko

Unexpected victories delight everyone. Back in 1984, Senate Minority Leader Fred Ohrenstein decided to diss a local County legislator running for Senate in Syracuse after she’d been dissed by one of her own references, the local County Leader. Waking up election morning, Fred’s Chief of Staff found out she’d won and immediately told all who would listen of his brilliant strategic decision not to draw attention to the race and thereby draw to it Republican resources he couldn’t hope to overcome. The new Senator was Nancy Larraine Hoffman, soon known in both Albany and Syracuse as "The Tail of Two Cities" (and later as "The Tail of Two Parties", a title apparently acquired even before she switched to become a Republican).  

The Menace of Buttered Toast (Apologies to Robert Benchley)

 One way or another, Alan Hevesi is toast. The smart move for New York voters is to vote for him, so that on his reelection, he can be replaced by a first-rate candidate, such as City Comptroller Bill Thompson, former State Comptroller candidate Bill Mulrow, Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell or Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.” 


The Green Party consistently nominates really interesting eccentrics for Governor (Malachy McCourt won my heart when he did a one man show as George Washington Plunkett; Stanley Aronowitz is married to the World's Greatest Left Wing Writer; Al Lewis was Grandpa and, perhaps more importantly, Leo Schnauzer)”

Gatemouth 11/6/06

I’m going to have to stop invoking the names of my inspirations as a writer. One too many of my citations to Michael Kinsley's genius immediately preceded the announcement that he required brain surgery. Then, on August 30, in response to the news that Congressional candidate Chris Owens recorded an anti-war song, I listened to the supernal piece of crap and then wrote a review of it in the style of my favorite rock-crit, Robert Christgau (also a pretty fair political pundit in his own right). On September 1, Christgau was fired from his position as Music Editor of the Village Voice.

Why Won’t Our Local Papers Print the Election Results? (Corrected Version)

The Times does an entire section today on the Elections, complete with a State by State summary? But where are the results for our state legislature or local judgships?

But, The Times, after all, is the National Paper of Record, so surely they can't be bothered. But, the Post and Sun are similarly bereft, while the News contains only a list of City's legislative winners with their winning percentage, but no names of opponents, or vote totals. Newsday also had limited information. If only Brittany had been a candidate!

Finally, I looked on New York One. No help for races over the City line (as if who won legislative seats outside the City of New York had any impact upon our lives). But, at least it had all the City races, including judgships; and they proved quite illuminating.

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