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Why Not a Windfall?

"State and local governments should not reap a revenue windfall from high gas prices," said Joseph L. Bruno the Senate majority leader, a Republican.

Am I only person to wonder why not? State and local governments reap a revenue windfall when housing prices go up, when Wall Street booms and when people shop more. Why shouldn't they get more $ from people keep driving?

A Week Later - NY Times Gets It Right

Last week, I posted a comment that lazy reporting in the NY Times resulted in them echoing GOP Senate candidate John Spencer's line that he never denied his affair with a secretary who he promoted to Chief of Staff.

Today (Thursday), the Times comes back to the story and this time comes close to the truth -  

After refusing to discuss the relationship for years, Mr. Spencer acknowledged it publicly in 2002. 

Naderites Still Denying The Truth

A letter to the editor in Wednesday’s New York Times reminded me why I hate Ralph Nader and his Green Party supporters.

 The letter from Theresa Amato, Nader’s Campaign Manager responding to Thomas Friedman’s assertion that Nader cost Al Gore the election in 2000, reads in part:

 “The writer blames Ralph Nader for George W. Bush, despite the millions of Democrats who voted for Mr. Bush in 2000; Al Gore's loss of his home state; and the Florida legal battles”

 My problem with Nader and the Greens is that they won’t take responsibility for their actions.

Tom Suozzi Lovefest Unwarranted

Let a green guy go away for vacation and I come back to the Suozzi follies on Room 8.  Honestly, I can't leave for a few days without the BS.  Let me get this straight.

You are a reformer.  You are the guy who's transformed Nassau.  Life is all peaches and you run for governor after getting elected months before.  And then, reality hits.

You call for tolls on the LIE, you call for the heads of Bruno and Silver, you go to some fort to challenge Spitzer to a debate, and then you go to the circus?

What am I missing here?  Is the hate for Eliot Spitzer so deep that people will post anything to try a support a loser?  This is a major disappointment, an embarassment. 

Hey Reformers: Tom Suozzi Needs Your Help.

There are few people who would deny that Elliot Spitzer has done a decent job as Attorney General of New York State. I would think only a handful maybe, and probably Republicans mostly. Some of his detractors say he is a bit aggressive and “macho”, others say he is a bully. Others yet claim that he is an “alpha–male” all the way, possessing too much testosterone. Point being, there is no real attack on his competency and/or capability. In most regards, this is good for Spitzer.

The only area where Spitzer seems vulnerable is the one where his relationship with Albany legislators can be gauged. The least you can say is that he has been quite accommodating. Can anyone find the public attacks on Albany (from Spitzer) in the past decade? And for sure, most elected officials are lining up in droves to endorse him. Not surprisingly, his endorsement list will be an Albany “who is who” list.

Who Would Have Thunk It.

Last Thursday night, at the endorsement meeting of Brooklyn's  Independent Neighborhood Democratic Political Club ( IND), Charles Barron almost did the unthinkable: he came within a handful of votes from winning the club's endorsement for the 10th Congressional race. Observers ( both black and white) claimed that he blew away the group with his presentation. He did so well that it took 3 ballots for the club to end up with a " no endorsement". Don't forget that the chairperson of this club is a Towne's staffer.

Most people there were surprised that Barron could connect so well with a white audience, and this was dismaying to many of his detractors. If this is an indication of how tough this campaign could get for the incumbent, then it's imperative that all of you in "out-here-land", keep your seat belts on.

Settling for the Steak Knives

“We must demand that the Speaker of the New York State Assembly and the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate be replaced, because they have failed to fight for the reforms that we seek. The current leadership in Albany has had ample opportunity to heed the message of reform and address the problems New Yorkers face, but they have spent far more energy making backroom deals to protect their own majorities. ..New York belongs to the nearly twenty million people who call our State home, not to three men in a room in Albany. With Governor Pataki on his way out, it is time to show Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver the door, as well.” ---- Tom Suozzi, speaking at a conference on government reform.

Shades of Grey

Here's a headline designed to cause cognitive dissonance among the entire membership of "Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn" and most of their allies. I can't wait to watch Chuck Barron's Head explode when he tries to process this:

"California Town Uses Eminent Domain to Block Wal-Mart"- New York Sun, May 9, 2006.

Bertha Lewis was probably pleased. Marty Markowitz probably had mixed feelings.

Bertha, what will you do when Bruce Ratner tries to open a Wal-Mart?

We Luvvv The NYC Council

State This!

Perhaps love goes too far on the sarcasm scale, but ...

Here's the deal for tomorrow's Stated City Council Meeting:

First, Council Member Vallone will be re-re-re-introducing a bill for New York City to secede from the State; or at least to form a Commission that will look into said matter. We likey!

Second, Council Member Oddo will be triple-re-introducing a bill to prohibit the use of non-wooden bats. Apparently, they hurt less?!?!

Thirdly, our esteemed Public Advocate will be expressing her concerns by seeking to restrict the use of tanning beds in tanning salons. That is way too smart for us to understand...

O Congress Person, Where Art Thou?

Always good to know what your Congress Member is up to.  So thought I'd shed a quick bit of light on who's been doing what...

Here are New York's top five congressional vote missers from January 2005 to the present (umm ... hmmm ... seems like someone has some explaining to do):

Sweeney John 18.43%
Meeks Gregory 9.06%
Towns Edolphus 7.55%
Slaughter Louise 5.59%
Rangel Charles 5.59%

And kudos to New York's top five congressional vote casters... 

Lowey Nita 0.30%
Kuhl John 0.45%
Bishop Timothy 0.60%
Israel Steve 1.21%
Engel Eliot 1.21%

Update: John Sweeney missed 60 out of 555 recorded votes in 2005, and 62 out of 107 votes in 2006. 

New To Blogging?

Daily Gotham coups this sneak peak of the yet-to-be-published New York Times local political blog ...

Liza Sabater, DG's culture cook and outspoken Times critic, takes this opportunity to offer the Grey Lady a blogospheric welcome.

Suozzi to Silver & Bruno: YOU'RE FIRED!

A Man After Our Hearts 

This just off the wire: gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi just called for the wholesale firing of Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

"We must demand that the Speaker of the New York State Assembly and the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate be replaced, because they have failed to fight for the reforms that we seek," said Suozzi.

Nuf' freakin' said! 

Now, we are curious ... Mr. Spitzer, what say you?

Safe Legal and Rare

The dichotomy in politics between what people say they favor and the contents of their actual agenda is often striking. Take the so-called “Right to Life” movement. As an article by Russell Shorto in today’s NY Times Magazine makes clear; the real agenda of many “Right to Lifers” isn’t preventing abortions, but preventing sex. That is not to say this is the agenda of all “Right to Lifers”. I have a gay Catholic friend, who when confronted with the dichotomy between his opposition to abortion and his sexual libertarianism, always smiles and says “blow jobs don’t kill babies”.  And certainly there are outspoken "Right to Lifers" like Nat Hentoff who strongly advocate access to contraception and comprehensive sex education as part of an effort to prevent abortions.

Buster of Ghosts

The very day President Bush declared the Iraqi Mission Accomplished, 1st Lieutenant Paul Rieckhoff started "Chasing Ghosts" in one of central Baghdad's most volatile and dangerous neighborhoods.

On that day, and for the following 10 months, Rieckhoff led a Platoon of 38 soldiers through 1,000+ mounted and dismounted combat patrols.  Eventually, his would be the first reserve component unit in the Army to be awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge since the Korean War.  All thirty-eight of his men returned home alive; and so did Rieckhoff's fiercely independent desire to connect policy failures in Washington with events on the ground in Iraq.

I recently interviewed Rieckhoff, no holds barred.  He left no Party or New York elected official behind.

Pataki Spitzer Hillary Some Interesting Numbers

News coverage of the recent Siena College poll was dominated by how much Eliot Spitzer and Hillary Clinton were beating their ill-fated Republican opponents; there was other interesting information.  Between Siena’s March poll and their May poll, George Pataki argued with legislative leaders about the state budget and began a tour of presidential primary states.  During this period, among likely voters in the state his favorable rating moved negative 30-points. 

Pataki’s favorable rating had been 53% favorable to 40%, a 13-point net positive after his hospital stay, which was up from January when he had only a 4-point positive.   By May, he dropped precipitously to a negative 38% favorable to 55% unfavorable, a net 17-point negative.  The governor even has a low rating among Republicans, who give him a paltry 49% to 45% favorability rating.  This, together with Bush’s declining poll numbers, adds to the problems facing Republican statewide candidates and should bring shock waves through the state’s Republican Congressional delegation.