Saturday, December 5, 2009

New York State of Mind - Notes from an Emigrant

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is over, the Pillsbury Doughboy balloon is now packed away for another year, and the pumpkin pie has all been eaten. Now it’s on to Macy’s Pre-Holiday sales, Merry Christmas greetings, and snow, snow, snow (if Global Warming doesn’t get here first)...

In Sports – Giants lose, Knicks lose, and, the Nets? The New Jersey Nets were on a real streak losing 18 games in a row. Sadly, the streak ended last night when they won a game! But, hey, the Yankees won the World Series!!

Local News: Here’s one for the good guys! For those of you who follow New York terrorist trials, you may remember the name Lynne Stewart. She is the activist attorney who represented Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (a/k/a The Blind Sheik) who conspired to blow up the WTC and all of NYC’s bridges and tunnels in 1993. After his 1995 conviction, Ms. Stewart continued to visit Mr. Rahman in prison and it was discovered that she was smuggling notes out prison. She was subsequently tried and convicted in 2005 of providing material aid to terrorism and lying to the government.

The presiding judge sentenced her to 2 years in prison and a fine. She appealed to the 2nd Dept. Appellate Division in New York on the grounds that she was just representing her client to the best of her ability. Before Thanksgiving, the 2nd Dept rendered it’s decision and not only upheld the conviction, but admonished the sentencing judge for being “breathtakingly lenient”. The sentence was sent back down for reconsideration and for further sentencing on the perjury conviction. Ms. Stewart was immediately whisked off to jail to begin what we all hope will be a very lengthy sentence. Finally, our legal system at work FOR the people.

State News – In case you were wondering, the State of New York is still broke, but not as broke as California. Yea for us! We are only $3.2 billion in the hole. [This number seems to change every day] Governor Patterson, who by the way, could be beaten in the primaries by bagel with a smear, insists that if the Legislature does not make significant cuts NOW, the state will have to cut back, furlough workers, delay payments to schools, and our credit rating might be downgraded! Downgraded to what? Will the banks force us to make like Pluto and downgrade to a county?

More State News – Okay, The State Senate voted against the Gay Marriage bill this week thereby delaying any chance of another vote for at least two years. Governor Patterson has been pressing the Senate to vote on the bill every since the State House passed it earlier this year and went so far as to order the Senate into Special Session. The Senate refused to seat itself for over two months to avoid voting on this bill and other pressing matters. In the comical farce that ensued, the Republicans who held a very narrow minority convinced two of the Democrat Senators– Hyram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, Jr. to switch parties so they could ensure that the Republicans could regain the majority and hold out longer. The only problem is that both of these Senators were (and are) also under indictment for various criminal activities. [Note: Thanks Sen. Monserrate switched back to the Democrats just in time for his conviction for beating up his girlfriend, soon to be wife.]

Even More State News - Which leads me to the former Senate GOP Majority Leader Joe Bruno currently on trial for corruption. Bruno was being very aggressively investigated by our then-Attorney General Elliot Spitzer for allegedly taking a few bribes (or not). Bruno did not like Spitzer's strong arm tactics. There were many private threats of public political mayhem from both sides. When AG Spitzer wouldn’t back down, Bruno had no choice. The savvy Senator Bruno, waited patiently until AG Spitzer became Governor Spitzer and, in a stunning display of political suicide, used evidence he had gathered to take Spitzrt down. Now Bruno is on trial and, instead of being a fast-rising Presidential hopeful, Elliot Spitzer will forever be known as “Client #9”. I must say I like Mr. Bruno’s style. It borders on Shakespearean, however he did leave us with Governor Patterson which is unforgivable… [Note: Bruno's trial concluded and is now before the jury; the verdict should be coming down sometime in the next week.]

National News – As you can well imagine, some of the citizens of New York City are a little upset about the upcoming trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM). And in another display of third grade level understanding of the Constitution (no wonder our chilrinz isn’t lernin’), Our Dear Leader assured us that KSM would get a fair trial and be convicted for his crimes. Nice, but, ummmm, I remember Nixon doing this during the Manson trials in 1969 (no really I am not THAT old, I must have read it somewhere…) and it almost caused a mistrial. Even AG Holder assured us that KSM would be convicted and, in a display of unforced honesty, stated afterward that even if KSM were acquitted he certainly would not be released in the US. Gee, I feel better already! However, on second thought, I seem to remember that he has never been to New York before and his crimes were committed in Afghanistan…so ummm, I’m not feeling so good again….

Update – There was a rally today downtown at Foley Square, home of the US District Court of the Southern District of New York (SDNY) where KSM will be tried (well, until his lawyers file that change of venue motion, violation of Miranda rights, violation of the right to speedy trial, etc.). According to the MSM, about 1000 people showed up which means that there were probably 10,000. The rally was being staged by some of the family members of those who died on 9/11 and let me tell you, you don’t want to tangle with these people. Meaning no disrespect, but they are a huge reason why there is still a giant hole at Ground Zero.


StanH said...

SNAFU! The Big Apple’s still plodding along, like all major cities in the USA, never a dull moment.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Great article, thanks for the updates. I sometimes wondered what happened to Stewart, but I never heard anything. They should have deported her to somewhere like Iran.

Good luck downgrading the State to a county! LOL!

Why am I not surprised that most of your elected officials are in jail or headed that way? Good grief!

Unknown said...

Bev: Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember the Nixon headline saying "Manson is Guilty." And no, I hadn't even started law school yet. Interesting historical note. At the time of the hearing that was going on when the headline appeared, the judge on the case was Laurence Rittenband, whom I've discussed before. Manson stood up and turned his back on the judge, saying "I'm not going to face this court." Rittenband said "You will turn around now." And amazingly, Manson did.

In case nobody remembers, Rittenband was also the judge who presided over the Polanski trial. He famously vowed to remain on the bench until Polanski was returned to the US and his court for sentencing. Unfortunately for all of us, Rittenband died in 1994. We can only hope that whoever presides over this circus currently in the works doesn't find Khalid Sheikh Muhammed among the missing when it's time to hang him.

Tennessee Jed said...

I guess so much for Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer this year, chomp, chomp

BevfromNYC said...

YEA!!! Texas just won the Big 12!!! Hook'em Horns!!!! We're goin' to Florida, baby!!

But StanH: Didn't you know that NYC is like no other? We are the center of the known universe. We do not "plod". ;-)

Andrew, At the rate the New York politicians are going, they should all be in jail by the next election. We can just move the Legislature to Sing Sing.

Oh, and Lynne Stewart's new defense is that she is too old and fat to go to jail now.

Tennessee Jed said...

Bev - I think the Horns are probably headed to Pasedena not Florida. It was a hell of a kick under pressure and while they honestly didn't impress tonight, they at least get to play for the national championship. The Crimson Tide (ick) looked scarily good, but they do at least have a chance.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Since you dislike Florida and Alabama, I'm assuming you're a Vols fan? I can't think what might have tipped me off. . . except you live in Tennesee and you mentioned going to a game the other day!

(P.S. I lived in Memphis for one year - 1983.)

Tennessee Jed said...

The strange thing about it is, I am a "Philly" guy who retired down here a few years ago. The town is so "Vol" crazy, it is hard not to get somewhat into "Big Orange Country," but I must admit, the new staff (e.g. the Kiffen's) has really raised the level of interest. Coach Philip Fulmer was a class act, but like Bobby Bowden, was in danger of making the program irrelevant. What is interesting about Tennessee is there amazing support of women's athletics, particularly basketball where they have had singular success.

Of course, as a long suffering Philadelphia sports fan, I find Bev's affection for Gotham city's teams singularly distateful (l.o.l., Bev.)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's funny, but understandable!

I follow an eclectic list of teams. I follow the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Miami Dolphins (spent 5 years in Tampa as a kid), the Colorado Buffaloes and the Air Force Academy Falcons (grew up in Colorado), the Colorado Avalanche and ECAC college hockey (started college in upstate New York -- RPI).

Since none of my teams are any good, I don't really have any meaningful rivalries. Maybe Nebraska. But I will admit to despising the NFL Patriots and the Jets.

StanH said...

“Excusez-moi!” I stand corrected my dear Bev. NYC is not just another city. Would someone please pass the, Gray Poupon. LOL!

BevfromNYC said...

Hey Tenn, don't get me wrong. I despise all of the teams up here! I am a die hard Cowboys fan from going way, way back. But sports are inextricibly tied to NYC seeing how we have 3 new sports stadiums and apparently are working on a 4th in Brooklyn and maybe a 5th on the west side in Manhattan.

P.S. I don't know why I thought the BCS championship was not at the Rose Bowl this year...

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