Saturday, January 22, 2011

New York State of Mind 2011

Nassau Street and Maiden Lane
NYC 12/27/10
Well, it has been many weeks and many snowstorms since my last report. We have a new Governor and a new Legislature and, so far none have been accused of any actionable crimes! But sadly, we have the same Mayor of NYC, but I'll get to that later. So let me get everyone up to speed...

Sports - The New York Jets, who play in Giants Stadium in New Jersey, will play the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow for AFC Championship. The Mean Green haven't been to the playoffs since...oh who cares. Go Jets!

Local - Well, I was going to lead off this segment with the botched snow job we got after Christmas, but the really, really BIG news is that there's one more to add to the NYC unemploymment statistics. The self-styled "Joan of Arc" of the Liberal/Progressives Keith Olbermann has been let go (or quit) MSNBC. There is much speculation as to why and how, but he gave his final performance on "Countdown" last night with his final parting words of gratitude to his audience. Let me tell you, HuffPo'ers were shocked and grief-stricken yesterday. Who will speak their truth to Power! But don't feel sorry for KO. He was seen dining last night at Gramercy Tavern with 4 friends and was reported to still have $14 million left on his contract. Maybe he can do an "Oprah" and start his own TV or radio station! Okay, enough about that.

Snow, snow, and more snow has hit the Northeast. As you may have heard, there was a little brou-ha-ha a few weeks ago when it was discovered that no one really cares what happens to us NY'ers on the weekends or holidays. On December 26th a big snow storm, which had been predicted the week before, came barrelling though the Tri-State area closing airports and roads, and halting all public and private transportation and vital services like police, fire, and EMT services. Now normally, when there is a prediction of 15-18 inches of snow, we silly citizens were almost sure that our taxes were being spent to pay for the proper defenses against a total shutdown, including, but not limited to, executive decision-makers, salters, sanders, plows, and all other necessary equipment and personnel to keep the City's vital services running. Apparently, we didn't read the fine print which we have discovered goes something like:

"When the Mayor is AWOL and the Deputy Mayor is AWOL and the Deputy to the Deputy Mayor is AWOL, and all of their respective Commissioners and staffs are AWOL, no one will be responsible for making any decisions and chaos shall ensue".

At first, the Mayor, bless his heart, was mad at the citizens for complaining. Hey, snow happens. I mean, we were just concerned that people were dying because the EMT's couldn't get through because no one bothered to send out the plows or put chains on the bus wheels or send out the plows for the trains or even bother to declare an weather emergency. Seriously, passengers on a stuck "A" train had to spend the night on the train because no one could figure out how to get them off the train! And then, in politically expedient turnaround, Mayor Mike "felt our pain" because he decided it wasn't his fault, but a defiant Sanitation Department "slowdown", the union rats! But, then one of the citizens asked Mayor Mike where he had been, so he got mad at us all over again. It is none of our business where he goes. It turns out that Mayor Mike is gone quite a bit. He goes to Bermuda every weekend and it also turns out that when he is gone, there is actually no competent chain of command.

So, the City Council called the Mayor and his Deputies and Commissioners to appear in front of the City Council and explain themselves. A meeting for which the Mayor declined to attend. It was concluded that the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation Janette Sadik-Khan had been left "in charge" that day, but had declined to make any decisions. Only she neglected to tell anyone she was declining to make any decisions, and no one bothered to call and confirm. Though she must have been doing something because all of her newly installed bike lanes interspersed across Manhattan and Brooklyn had somehow been miraculously hand-shovelled (more on that one day). Well, then, she blamed Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, for what, I do not know and then everyone decided to blame the Commissioner of the EMT's for not having the foresight to buy cross-country skis, snowmobiles, and packs of St. Bernards with brandy barrels around their necks. (So far, he is the only one who has been officially reprimanded).

As a result, the City Council has decided that the Mayor must now publish who is in charge when he is not "in residence". As you can imagine, this did not sit well with our Mayor/President wannabe at all and, though I am just guessing, I bet that Mayor Mike is kicking himself for insisting on that third term. As for the Sanitation department, they are under local and federal investigation. All I can predict now is...more snow.

State - YEY! We finally have a new Governor. As I predicted, Andrew Cuomo won handily on Nov. 2 and is now our new Governor. Though a Democrat AND the son of former three-term Governor Mario Cuomo, he may turn out to be a tough-on-spending Governor. At first blush, Cuomo may be taking his budget cues from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Our state budget is due in April and he is talking really tough about slashing the budget. It was reported yesterday that Cuomo will be proposing cutting 12,000 jobs to start, if the legislature and the unions cannot come to agreement about pension cuts. We now have a $12-15 billion deficit at the very least and it's only growing larger.

To help him is our newly elected Republican-led Senate. To our great surprise, the State Senate Dem leadership was one of the many casualties of the Republican whacking in November. It took a while for all the final votes to be counted and recounted, but by the end of December, two vital races were concluded, and the Republicans took a slim lead (32-30) in the Senate. The Assembly is still in the evil clutches of Sheldon Silver and his Democrat cohorts, but, if Gov. Cuomo can stay strong and true to his promises of reform and accountability, well, so far, so good.

Other stuff - Okay and I can't get away without news of Charlie Rangel. With the gall that can only come from Charlie Rangel, he was part of a group of liberal do-gooders who were protesting a newly approved homeless shelter that will open in a tony Upper Westside neighborhood. Not only is there a Not-in-my-neighborhood-ness about the protest, but, in his indignation, Rangel demanded that the city needed more housing for the middle class, not homeless shelters! Now remember, this is coming from the guy who was just rebuked by the House of Representatives for holding leases on four rent stabilized apartments, three of which could have housed middle class families.

And finally - I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times. After reading the Editor's explanation why the NYT rushed to judgment to accuse "the right wing radical Tea Party movement" of murder and the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, I decided enough is enough and I no longer want to give them my money. So, this is how the conversation went...

2-1-2...blah, blah, blah....
NYT Circulations Office: Hello. This is Matt [not his real name], how can I help you today.
Me: I would like to cancel my subscription to the NYT, please.
{Skip name and address verification}
NYT Matt: Is there a reason you are cancelling?
Me: Yes. Paul Krugman.
{silence, silence, silence, silence, silence, silence}
NYT Matt: Who's that?
Me: A columnist at the New York Times. This is the NYT office, right? [okay, I didn't say that last part, but I thought it...)
NYT Matt: Oh, okay, was it something he wrote?
Me:  Yes, it's pretty much EVERYTHING he writes. I no longer want to pay his salary.
NYT Matt: Well, okay. You know if you cancel you will no longer have access to the Sunday Crossword puzzle or the website.
Me: Yes and I am okay with that.
NYT Matt: You know, if you keep your subscription, I can give you the Weekender for half price.
Me: No thank you. I called to cancel my subscription.
NYT Matt: Okay then, is there anything more I can do for you?
Me:  No, that will be it.
Maybe the problem with the NYT is that not even people who work for the NYT want read it...


Unknown said...

Bav: This should be fun. Should we place bets on who will turn out to be the bigger liar on debt reduction--your Andrew Cuomo or my Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown? I'm guessing Cuomo will win, simply because Brown could wake up from a mantra-trance, see the divine light, hear the voice of the Buddha, and decide to eliminate all state spending by executive order. No logic, no thought, no politics, no ideology. Just a divine revelation.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I don't even know what to say!

First, nice job canceling your subscription. I love the logic of their "don't cancel us" sales pitch -- you don't like us spewing hate, but if you don't support us, you won't get the crossword!!!!

Charlie Rangel. Hmm. What more can be said about Honest Charlie? Maybe they should seize his apartments?

So everyone in New York is suddenly a Jets fan? I thought only Staten Islanders were Jets fans?

Keith... ha ha ha! Let's hope he goes to some obscure web blog like the Huffington Post and never darkens our airways again!

This whole snow thing sounds like a mess! (I love the disclaimer, by the way -- sounds about right.) How in the world they can all blame each other is beyond me. The one guy who shouldn't be blamed is the EMT guy, despite the lack of a fleet of St. Bernards.

You would think that a city that gets snow every winter would know how to handle a snow storm. . . but I guess not. Any chance they'll be ready for the next one?

Anonymous said...

For more information about the snow-related transportation problems, check out this blog entry at 2nd Ave. Sagas, my new favorite website for all things MTA, LIRR, and NJ Transit. It's very educational. :-)

As for me, I had to fly back to Florida for some family business (Bev knows but I'm not getting into it here) and missed all the hubbub. So no snow shoveling for me.

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk: You are on! At least Andrew Cuomo isn't an open flake. He's shooting for President...oops, I said 'shooting' and 'President' in the same sentence. I'm gonna need to hide now...Oops, I did it twice!

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - EVERYONE loves the Jets until they lose tomorrow to the Steelers and no one will know them.

As for our next snowstorm, it came and went. It was 3 inches and every snowplow, sander, salter was on high alert! I suspected the Mayor Mike would hire a million people with buckets to catch each flake before they fell to the ground. This was his "Katrina'. My only regret is that he will not resign to run for President now.

And we are confounded! It's not like we don't get snow every year. What really got the City Council moving was the threat of another major attack. If they can't handle a predicted snowstorm, what is going to happen if there is another 9/11 style attack. We were lucky with Giuliani. He took charge and responsibility immediately. And our state has been whining about all the money we DON'T get from DHS for security. This just proved that the money we DO get is being wasted.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, DC always had the same problem. They got 1-2 heavy snow storms a year, yet somehow they never knew what to do when it happened. And usually, after botching the first one, they would react with major overkill at the slightest hint of snow, only to fall apart again before the real second storm came later in the year.

On the Jets, they should both be good games tomorrow. I'm not a Jets fan, but I'm super impressed with Ryan and I'm thrilled they beat the hated-Patriots. In fact, I spent all of last Monday celebrating our new national holiday -- National Patriots Schadenfreude Day. Can you believe the Boston Globe actually had a "grief section" where you could post your grief? I posted: "Ha ha!"

In terms of DHS, I'm pretty sure that if NYC can't handle a simple snow storm, they can't handle even a minor attack. Of course, that will probably be someone else's fault too... like the Parks and Rec or the city's Librarians. . . anybody but the people in charge. As for the money, that's probably sitting in Charlie Rangel's apartments! I'd look there first.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

"You know if you cancel you will no longer have access to the Sunday Crossword puzzle..."
"Yes and I am okay with that."

Bev, I laughed out loud when I read both responses. :-D

BevfromNYC said...

Thanks Pitts! I always say leave 'em laughing. I am still laughing about Matt's "Who's that" when I said "Paul Krugman"? Krugman would be soooo mad if he knew that the circulation guys didn't hang on his every word...

DUQ said...

Thanks Bev! Fun article. I can't believe Bloomberg thinks he has a shot at running for President? Which party would want him? I can't imagine him winning anywhere in the South or West or even the Midwest. Hopefully the snow storm is his Katrina, as you say, and he leaves national politics to somebody else.

BevfromNYC said...

DUQ - Bloomberg couldn't even win in the Northeast. I think there are few enclaves in the Hamptons and Cape Cod who would vote for him, but that's about it. His approval rating is now 37% and falling. Pretty soon he's gonna have to start paying us to keep him. I am serious that I think he wishes he'd stopped at 2 terms.

StanH said...

We just had a bout with snow in the Atlanta area, shut us down for 5days. My son and I with the help of the neighbors, on the fifth day, we had to shovel our own road off to make a lane. We live well north of the city in the foothills our road is a mountain side set on 45 degree pitch, it was a drag. As an aside, the politicians in GA have also assumed a circular firing squad.

I canceled the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the same reasons, useless hysterical leftist tripe. I’m still contacted from the AJC with exciting new offers, to no avail.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I lived in a rural area for a while at the bottom of a dirt road that had a similar incline. One winter, a pipe blew somewhere near by and water started pouring down the hill. It froze. A seven inch tall sheet of ice covered the road. Then it added three feet of snow.

It took several days to dig out the snow, so the sun could get at the ice, and then I was still stuck for a total of nine days before the ice became passable.

At that point, I decided it was time to move.

Individualist said...

So Bev

I guess what you are saying is that the NYT is really proud of their Crossword puzzles.


As to Oblerwho, I never watched his show and the only reason I know who he is, is that on Redeye Gutfeld and crew made fun of some attack he made on their show or Fox News so I can't even say I care one way or the other.

I will state this however, it seems very odd that Obama meets with Stewart to praise his "rally" where Stewart tries to take on Olbermann and the "extremists" over at Fox news who fail to have tingles in their legs at seeing the President. It seems the Dems have finally realized their "open smugness" is not doing them any favors and so are now going back into "stealth smugness" mode. I am beginning to think we need some kind of test to see if a progressive has any real personality or if they are really just Replicants with programmed emotions. MAybe when they reach maturity as Andrew describes Roy doing in Bladerunner they become conservative/libertarian leaning. Who know..... For now I am tired of the "Fakeness" of the left.

Good job cancelling the paper!

Ed said...

Bev, That's hilarious they didn't know who Krugman is! Ha! Good read!

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