I received some good news about my daughter’s future orthodontist bill recently. Good news for me that is, at least in the short run. My wife’s dental insurance will cover part of the cost. While that insurance is part of her salary, it does not count as taxable income, and is thus exempt from federal, state, local and social security taxes. And, we’ll be able to put aside money on a pre-tax basis to cover the balance, under a plan she has at work, with a similar exemption from taxes. My wife works for a quasi-public agency. The government, therefore, will end up paying indirectly (through the tax break, and through private dental insurance purchased on her behalf) for about $3,000 of my daughter’s improved smile. The same government, that is, which (unlike the government of virtually every other developed country) doesn’t provide universal insurance for at least basic health care. If you aren’t a senior citizen, don’t have health insurance provided by your employer, cannot afford an individual policy, and are thus uninsured, her smile – which you are helping to pay for – may thus be more important to our elected officials than your life.
Call us Neo-liberals, New Democrats, Clinton Democrats. Call us Peter Beinart Democrats. We’re in a battle for the soul of our party, with what might be called the “Michael Moore Democrats” or the “Chris Owens Democrats”, and the perception is that we’re losing.
To cop from the dust jacket of Beinart’s recently published “The Good Fight: Why Liberals – and Only Liberals – Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again”, we believe the that “America must lead the world by persuasion, not command”, George Bush believes the opposite, and American and the world are suffering as a result. By contrast, Michael Moore Democrats believe we should not lead, and when we do, we are invariably a force of evil. Moore not only believed this in Iraq; he believed this in Bosnia and Kosovo as well (apparently, stopping genocide is morally heinous). In contrast, Clinton Democrats, exemplified by Beinart, believe “that liberalism cannot merely define itself against the right, but must fervently oppose the totalitarianism that blighted Europe a half century ago, and which stalks the Islamic world today” and “an unyielding hostility to totalitarianism – and a recognition that defeating it requires bringing hope to the bleakest corners of the globe. And it means understanding that democracy begins at home, in a nation that does more than merely preach about justice, but become more just itself.” To Moore Democrats, the one word definition for a Clinton Democrat is: “Republican”.
Most of us have not yet been able to decipher the taped answers given by Board of Elections chairman John Ravitz to the questions put to him by Room Eight administrator Gur today.
So at this point it is difficult to pass judgment on the credibility of the Ravitz statements. Hopefully Gur will soon post an acceptable written transcript of the interview together with the original statements made by Ravitz to the Sun's Azi Paybarah on July 28th. At that time we will all be able to form a fair and educated assessment of this man's competence and integrity.
Meanwhile, two things should happen. John Ravitz should be removed immediately from the sensitive and important position of Board of Elections chairperson. If someone is empowered to do so, all the Board of Elections Commissioners should also be removed. And all of these individuals should be called in for investigation by both the Manhattan District Attorney and the Brooklyn District Attorney.
So what really happened at the Board of Elections the night petitions were filed, and shortly thereafter? These questions have been the subject of much debate (a la Maurice and Gate).
So we decided to take some of these questions directly to John Ravitz, BOE head honcho. And now, we leave the real deciphering to you...
(pls note: as always, we welcome commentary from any of the officials mentioned herein - either in the comments section or via email for direct publication)
The results in Connecticut seem to have created a new species in politics – Progressive Yellow Dog Democrats.
The term Yellow Dog Democrats has it’s origin in the states of the old Confederacy where most Whites pledged to never vote for a Republican because of Lincoln winning the Civil War and freeing the slaves. These voters said they’d vote for a “yellow dog” if he were the Democratic candidate.
But now people who would never be considered in any way similar to these Southern racists also seem to be saying similar things regarding Joe Lieberman.
The Forward editroializes today on Tennessee State Senator Steve Cohen's Congressional race, and chastises outgoing US Rep. Harold Ford for putting racial politics front and center:
Question is, can the same be said of Brooklyn's Council Member David Yassky? The Forward certainly thinks so...
You can read the editorial in its entirety, here.
I saw a fire engine yesterday with a sign on it asking people to pray for their fellow firefighter who is in Iraq. We all know that constantly increasing numbers of our reservists have been called to active duty as a result of the war in Afghanistan and the horribly planned Iraq war. One of the tolls of calling up reserve troops, which I've noticed little attention to, is that a lot of the City's police officers and firefighters are members of the armed forces reserves (many having served in the military). Naturally, calling up reservists has created something of a strain on agencies and businesses that employ significant numbers of reservists. (A search of the nytimes.com archive did find one article abstract that discussed this topic, but it was from February, 2003).
How much more would the federal government have to spend on health care to provide universal health insurance? How much more would New York State have to provide in state education funding to provide every New York City child with a qualified teacher and an a national average class size? How much more would the MTA have to borrow to build long promised improvements such as the Second Avenue Subway? Now imagine you were asking these questions in the early 1990s, when former President Clinton held up a card and promised universal heath care and the Pataki, Silver and Bruno era began in Albany. What numbers have you arrived at? Chances are, that much and more has been borrowed and spent since. But like a football held by Lucy Van Pelt, these benefits have been pulled away at the last moment, and the money has gone elsewhere.
Another debate. Another debate for a statewide race - albeit this time for a Senate campaign - and the second-largest city in the state didn't get to see it. We don't get NY1 up here, and I'm finding it somewhat interesting that NY1 is hosting these things, since it essentially guarantees a tri-state only focus.
However, based on Ben Smith's description of one exchange, it looks like we didn't miss much, after all.
We’re a left wing Zionist Movement, and we believe Israel has the right to defend itself, We’re not pacifists. Unlike in Gaza and the West Bank, Israel isn’t occupying Lebanese territory or trying to control the lives of Lebanese. The only occupier is Hezbollah, and Israel is trying to defend itself.”
Yariv Oppenheimer, General Secretary-Peace Now
“The Whole focus of debate in the country before the war was on withdrawal…the country had just elected for the first time a prime minister who promised voters to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank in return for nothing"
Welcome to Room Eight part deux, a more snazzy, dimensional version of our old stomping grounds.
We're thrilled with our new look - and heap much praise on our lead designer, Deanna Zandt (who, might we add, runs a madly skilled shop) ... and her partner in crime, Doug Green, who hails from CivicActions.
We've added a couple modest new features: some snarky NY political headline links at the top, a more official looking Congress Wire block on the right (for which, btw, we are still awaiting your insights), a place to sign up for the Room Eight list-serv up above, and a whole bunch of coloration all over.
As always, you can read the blogs, check in on the latest campaign and government news wires, or start your own blog right here.
We hope when all is said and done that you simply find us more attractive. Because isn't that, after all, the point of cosmetic surgery?
Remember the Campaign Finance Board?
Nicole Gordon officially leaves in September (about three weeks from now). There were 188 CFB participating candidates in the 2005 elections. The CFB has completed--drum roll, please--13 final audits! [http://www.nyccfb.info/public_disclosure/audt_05.htm] I didn't qualify for matching funds and have no difficult issues, but still hang in CFB limbo, nine months after the election.
Remember the Democratic primary for Manhattan Borough President, in early September 2005? Remember the vicious negative campaigning that the Working Families Party did against Eva Moskowitz, benefiting eventual winner Scott Stringer? Moskowitz filed a CFB complaint that goes to the heart of the CFB's rules.
In the bare knuckled contest of the 43rd Assembly District of NY, the embedded and embattled Clarence Norman political machine is using every tactic and method to cling to power against grass roots challenger Jesse Hamilton, a long time community activist and attorney from Crown Heights. A Hamilton victory in the September 12th primary could mark another stinging defeat to the entrenched political machine in central Brooklyn.
Back in 2005, a special election was held to fill the Assembly seat opened due to Norman's conviction in a corruption scandal and Reverend Karim Camara was elected, along with some controversy.
The AP reports that US Rep Thomas Reynolds, Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, bid US Rep Charles Rangel, Dean of the New York Congressional Delegation, a not so fond farewell earlier today.
More on the rabble rousing here.
“When the Voice dropped in at Moore's office one recent evening, Norman and Jackie Ward were among the four people there, with Norman actually sitting next to a desk marked "State Senator Carl Andrews." Norman stood up, declared he had just "stopped by" and "was no longer involved in politics," and left, standing in front of the headquarters long enough to send two young women inside looking for jobs. Ward left her $80,000-a-year job with Comptroller Thompson when her name kept popping up in news stories during Hynes's 2003 probe of Norman.