Monday, December 29, 2008

Treasure, And Choose, Life Always

The God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness our Founding Fathers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence does not exist in New York. It vanished.

Every year in the Empire State there are over 100,000 children deprived of the chance to experience fulfilling lives; to aspire to greatness, or even possess a fleeting sense of hope.

No one knows their names. They're forever invisible. Their souls are in repose.

Because they were aborted.

Abortion is a subject that makes people deeply uncomfortable. It's too often off-limits, and should never be that way. We need to talk about it more. Especially when we have the numbers.

The most recent state Department of Health (DOH) statistics document the tragedy of abortion. The numbers are gruesome. No New Yorker barely knows it, and the majority of our citizens seemingly do not care about the stark reality of lives never lived.

In 2006, there were 121,178 abortions in New York according to DOH, which includes:

* 29,186 women with one previous abortion;
* 16,815 women with 2 previous abortions;
* 8,068 women with 3 previous abortions;
* 3,804 women with 4 previous abortions; and
* 3,803 women with 5 or more previous abortions.

It doesn't improve from the gruesomeness, with:

* 47,071 abortions paid for by taxpayers through Medicaid;
* 13,778 abortions with a gestation period greater than 13 weeks;
* 65,704 abortions for women aged 20-29; and
* 28,722 abortions for women aged 30-39.

These numbers should break your heart in half if you have the capacity to have a heart. Each number has a story. A story that is either poignant, frightening, or unimaginable for the victim, her family and friends.

Abortion statistics are never reported. Not in a paper, local television news, national television news or talk radio. They should be.

Despite the powerful National Abortion Rights Action League and the National Organization for Women asserting that abortion is not a form a birth control, the multiple abortion numbers transform the claim into pure fiction. Yet, that fact does not matter to our elected officials.

Not one politician in New York held a news conference to celebrate the 121,178 abortions that happened here in 2006. For good reason. What would be said? Damn, we missed our 140,000 goal?

Our elected officials will never call attention to these DOH numbers. And every single one of them knows why. They understand abortion is the taking of a human life. But cravenly refuse to admit it.

If abortion is such a sacred right why don't abortion doctors speak on behalf on those we cast our ballots for? Did Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Governor David Paterson ever invite an abortionist to a campaign rally or news conference during their careers to hail the precious right to an abortion? Of course not.

There were 83,226 abortions in Mayor Bloomberg's city in 2006. We didn't hear one word - not a peep - from this man who revels in lecturing his constituents about how to live healthy lives.

Immense psychological repercussions are common for women who undergo an abortion. Yet this Napoleonic mayor deigns to condescend to us about smoking and transfat at fast food restaurants. His priorities about how to live a healthy life are backward.

The Bloombergs, Patersons and others that support this "procedure" can't even bring themselves to use the word abortion. It's called "reproductive rights" or "choice."

We all deserve to make choices in life. The DOH website lists the choices New York's moms and dads made in 2006 for "most popular birth names by sex." It's on the same statistics table as abortion, and the bureaucrats at DOH likely never noticed the contradiction.

Michael and Matthew are the most popular boys names with Emily and Isabella the most popular girls names. They are beautiful names, and when the 2007 statistics come out thousands of Michaels, Matthews, Emilys and Isabellas will never be placed in a baby stroller because of the culture of abortion.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Super Bowl Of Cliches

2009 NFL Playoff Game: New York Jets v. New England Patriots

New York Jets Pre-game Locker Room

Coach Eric Mangini: Today we have to bring our A-game and play like we're capable of playing. Everyone counted us out before the start of the season. No one gave us a chance two weeks ago. But we don't play these games on paper, and if we come together as a team, we'll find a way to win. Just go out there and have fun.

New England Patriots Pre-game Locker Room

Coach Bill Belichick: Winning is everything.

Game Time Booth with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms

The Jets came out of the locker room all fired up, Jim. Yes, they're loaded for bear today, Phil. And it's obvious there's no love lost between these two teams.

This is always a tough place to play, Jim. Intangibles will be the key. The team that plays ball-control offense and doesn't turn it over will win. The Patriots have to contain Thomas Jones. He's a real throwback. And the Jets have to stop the big play by Randy Moss. He can put the Patriots on his shoulders and carry them.

First Half Game Call

Favre and the Jets are playing with a short field at the Patriot 45. Favre hands off to Jones, he's got some room, and shakes off several would-be tacklers and rumbles down the sidelines for 40 yards. You could have driven a truck through that hole.

At the five, Favre hands off to Jones and New York draws first blood on a textbook play. Jones was in a zone on that drive. You can't teach that. The extra point splits the uprights, 7-0 Jets.

The Patriots go three and out.

Favre is marching the Jets down the field. Favre is audibilizing. Mangold snaps it. Favre has all day back there, Favre has an eternity. He airs it out to Laveranues Coles. A circus catch by the cat-quick Coles, and he turns on the after-burners. Touchdown Jets. That was vintage Brett Favre.

Favre will be buying dinner for his whole offensive line after this game if the Jets win. He's playing like a little kid out there. Jets tack on the extra point, it's 14-0. The Jets are clicking on all cylinders.

You can feel the momentum swinging. New England is playing physical football. The crowd is becoming a factor.

Matt Cassel has New England knocking on the door at the Jet 16. This is their deepest penetration yet.

Cassel is directing traffic. He throws a strike right on the numbers to Moss for a touchdown. That was a timing pattern. You can't say enough about Moss; he's got ice-water in his veins. And so New England answers back, with the extra point good, 14-7 Jets.

Favre has happy feet, he's flushed out of the pocket, and throws into double coverage and it's picked off by Mike Vrabel. He's always around the football. That was an ill-advised pass by Favre.

But there's a late flag. A flag usually means holding. The officials can call holding on every play. But it's offensive pass interference on the Jets, and the players have choice words for each other.

The Patriots take over. Cassel has his game face on. He checks off his receivers, and he finds Moss all alone in the end zone. They diagrammed that perfectly. Cassel has a swagger about him now.

The Patriots line up for the extra point. Missed wide right. That one could come back to haunt them, and it's 14-13 Jets.

Halftime interview by ESPN's Erin Andrews with Belichick

Andrews: Coach, what adjustments do you need to make in the second half?

Belichick: Well, we've still got plenty of football left. We have to go out there and execute.

Andrews: Thanks, coach.

Halftime interview by ESPN's Erin Andrews with Mangini

Andrews: Coach, what did you tell your players in the locker room?

Mangini: That we have to step up and make plays. We need to play within ourselves.

Andrews: Good luck, coach.

Second Half Game Call

The Patriots are trying to stave off elimination, down 14-13.

Cassel comes set at the Jet 45. Three-step drop, and he hits Wes Welker with a pinpoint pass at the 34. They pay him to make those catches. Welker is the consummate team player. And that looked like a missed assignment for Jet DB Ty Law.

The Patriots can't afford to get lackadaisical now. Cassel drops back, he scrambles, and he's sacked for a 15 yard loss by the rookie Vernon Gholston out of Ohio State. He's some kind of player.

Cassel really got his bell rung there, and he's slow getting up. Cassel is up, but he's walking gingerly. He's going to feel that one in the morning. The Patriots are looking at fourth down and forever now, and have to punt.

Farve takes the snap from Mangold, and dumps it off to Dustin Keller. Keller bulls his way for extra yardage, and is taken down just shy of the Patriot 29 for a 20 yard gain. That was a real heads-up play by the former boilermaker Keller.

The Jets have to remember what got them here, and take care of the football.

Favre, the ultimate gunslinger, is changing the play at the line of scrimmage. Play-action fake, Favre has all kinds of time, and guns it to Jerricho Cotchery for a first down at the Patriot 9 yard line. That throw was right on the money. Cotchery came to play today. The North Carolina State product has a great feel for the game.

Favre hands off to Leon Washington and he runs to daylight for a score. No one even laid a glove on him. He's the Jets' spark plug. The scrappy Washington is finally coming into his own. Feely puts it through and its 21-13 Jets. That took the crowd right out of the game.

This is gut-check time for the Patriots. They're still very much alive with a buck-40 left in regulation.

Cassel hands off to Kevin Faulk and he's stuffed for a 3-yard loss by Kris Jenkins at the Patriot 47. Jenkins has been a beast out there.

The Patriots are playing with a great sense of urgency. Third and 13. Cassel is in the shotgun. He drops and hits Welker for a fifteen yard gain and he steps out of bounds at the Jet 38. He ran out of real estate.

These two teams are fighting tooth and nail. With 14 seconds left in the game, it's decision time for the Patriots.

Cassel takes the snap. Cassel has a man open downfield, Moss has a step on the defender and it's caught at the Jet 2 yard line. He's having a monster game. Cassel and Moss are on the same page now.

The Patriots are not going away with their backs against the wall. The crowd is going wild. You can feel the electricity.

The Patriots can't cough it up here. They pin their hopes on Cassel. Five seconds to go. Cassel drops. He's sacked by Gholston, the one-man wrecking crew. It's over. Jets win 21-13.

Favre has silenced all the critics. He has a new lease on life.

New York Jets Post-game Locker Room

Andrews: Brett, talk about the game.

Favre: We made a statement here today. It was a total team effort, and we knew what we had to do and went out and did it. We gave it 110 percent.

Andrews: Thanks, Brett.

New England Patriots Post-game Locker Room

Andrews: I'm here with Coach Belichick. Coach, what went wrong today?

Belichick: We came out flat, and they smelled the jugular. They made the big plays, and we didn't. The ball just didn't bounce our way. We can still hold our heads high though. We left it all out on the field.

Andrews: Thanks, coach.

Post-game booth with Nantz and Simms

Phil, these two teams went at it like a couple heavyweights. They played a full 60 minutes. Yes they did, Jim, and the Jets served notice that they finally learned how to win.

The game was a lot closer than the final score indicates, Phil. True, Jim, and the Jets made the athletic plays when they had to, and the game was won in the trenches.

There were no losers in this game, Phil. Both teams played their hearts out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

PROVOCATIONS: Paterson's Budget From Hell

Gov. David A. Paterson has demonstrated why questioning his largely uneventful career before he assumed office and his bizarre behavior after taking office were legitimate concerns.

Unveiling a $121 billion budget, Gov. Paterson again made the Empire State a national laughingstock by proposing $4 billion in 137 gratuitous fees on everything from iPods to soft drinks to inexpensive clothes to movie tickets to cigars. He gleefully launched a fee assault on our wallets and everyday lives.

Most disturbingly, after issuing warnings for months on the desperate need to cut spending, what did Gov. Paterson do? Sell out, and increase spending. He lost his nerve by following a typical politician's penchant for placing hypocrisy over principle.

The critical barometer for spending is the "state funds" section of the budget. Gov. Paterson's spending increase is one percent, and one percent too much. With the looming multi-billion deficits we face, a cut of at least five percent was required.

The so-called "cuts" to school aid, Medicaid and hospitals are minor, despite the predictable whaling and whining of Albany's entrenched special interests. In addition, our 200,000-member bloated state workforce drains state coffers with gold-plated benefits not provided in other states, and Paterson proposed eliminating a grand total of . . . 520 positions.

What Gov. Paterson continued was nothing more than the failed Cuomo-Pataki-Spitzer model that created the financial nightmare we're living in today.

It's an abdication of leadership from Gov. Paterson. His budgetary decisions display a woeful unpreparedness to lead 19 million New Yorkers through our daunting fiscal crisis. Perhaps the only success he achieved was alienating political and ideological constituencies critical to long-term fiscal sanity.

Blame it on Eliot Spitzer. Yes, client 9 has been gone nine months, and he's still wreaking havoc.

Shortly before Gov. Paterson assumed office last March in the wake of Spitzer's downfall, his responsibilities as Lieutenant Governor were few. He was virtually ignored for 14 months.

In Albany circles the sole reason for why Spitzer picked Paterson is well-known, and now we're paying the price with a budget devoid of innovation and new ideas. It's the truth that dare speak only behind closed doors.

In 2005, Leecia Eve, the daughter of former Assemblyman Arthur Eve of Buffalo, announced her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor. Ms. Eve is black. She had the support of nearly every influential black New York elected official, from Rep. Charles Rangel to former Mayor David Dinkins. Even Gov. Paterson's father Basil supported Ms. Eve.

Yet, then-Attorney General Spitzer created a massive political problem for himself by rejecting Ms. Eve's candidacy. "The Smartest Man In The World," as Rangel mockingly described him, needed to mend fences with angry Democrats in the minority community. He knew he had to select an African-American to be his running mate to calm the storm.

Where to look? Why, in the New York State Senate where Paterson was serving as the sleepy Minority Leader for three years supporting absurd legislation such as limiting the number of bullets police officers can carry in their weapons and voting rights for non-citizens.

Before he was elected to the Senate, Paterson worked in the Queens District Attorney's office, which is notable because he lied about being a "prosecutor" in his official biography (he never passed the bar exam). But his influential father plucked him out of the DA's office and he was easily elected in a 1985 special election.

Spitzer knew exactly what he was doing. Every Governor wants a Lieutenant Governor who dutifully says nothing and stays out of sight. He could count on Paterson to fill the role.

Paterson was picked by Spitzer for raw political reasons. Now this poor, politically-correct decision has manifested itself in a destructive budget blueprint that will further drive more jobs and residents out of the state for good.

It shouldn't come as a surprise.

The budget Gov. Paterson announced is a mere extension of the incompetent decision-making he exhibited days after taking office. He stunned New Yorkers with lurid confessions of drug use and adultery, and media reports detailed his delight in spending campaign funds on personal desires such as hotel rooms, suits and travels out-of-state.

When a public official is an accident of history there are unintended consequences. For nine months we've experienced the unintended consequences of David A. Paterson as New York's 56th Governor, and our future looks bleaker than ever.

Keystone Security At The Capitol and LOB

Text of the e-mail read by Fred Dicker on his show yesterday:

I hope you keep blasting the State Police for their bumbling behavior. They deserve it.

Never once in the five years I worked on Capitol Hill as a Congressional staffer did I walk through a House or Senate office building security entrance and experience the head-shaking unprofessionalism that goes on at the Capitol and the LOB entrances. And I'm talking about situations with major security concerns, such as President Reagan lying in state or the State of the Union.

A couple weeks ago I entered the State Street side of the Capitol and put my Blackberry and keys in the basket. The dimwit State Police officer says to me: "where's your wallet?" Where's my wallet? I don't carry a wallet, I told her. What a stupid question. Like I would have an M-16 in it even if I did carry a wallet. Plus, having gone through security entrances in D.C. thousands of times, I know what must go in the basket to make their jobs easier. She was so obnoxious.

Another time I entered the LOB and put my stuff in the basket and proceeded to walk through. I put my left hand in my pocket looking for my ATM card and the State Police officer bellows "take your hand out of your pocket!" This was after I had already walked through the metal detector. The guy acted like some wanna-be Albany Rambo.

These officers need simple common decency lessons.

The podcast can be heard here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Scamming Schenectady

Chichester's Op-Ed in today's Sunday Gazette: Super Steel Took Millions, Then Abandoned County.

The Gang of Three Stooges

Gina: You will show me The Stooges?

Jerry: I will show you The Stooges.

New Yorkers don't need Jerry Seinfeld to help them identify the state legislature's Three Stooges. They are Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger and Ruben Diaz.

Known as The Gang of Three, these Democrats have refused to vote for Senator Malcolm Smith as the incoming Majority Leader even though their party won control of the Senate on Election Day for the first time in over 40 years.

For New Yorkers who have never heard of this legislative Gang of Three Stooges, here's the shorthand on their tainted reputations. Among Democrats.

* Senator-elect Pedro Espada is a con artist, a bumbling phony and suffers from delusions of grandeur.

* Senator Carl Kruger is a forgettable legislator with a history of cutting deals that satisfy his Lyndon Johnson-like narcissism.

* Senator Ruben Diaz, a leading Democratic opponent of gay marriage and abortion, is so utterly clueless he doesn't understand why he's in a party that despises his position on those issues.

The Gang of Three Stooges are hustlers. Minus the eye-pokes, ear pulling and smacks in the face.

Even by sleazy Albany deal-making standards, the Gang of Three Stooges are brazen. They should be joyous about the end of the 43-year long reign of Senate Republicans. They're not. What each Stooge cares about is: what's in it for me?

We now know the deal they negotiated with Smith last week collapsed because of its absurdity. Stooge Espada as a Potemkin Majority Leader, Stooge Kruger as Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Stooge Diaz extracting a promise not to bring gay marriage to the floor for a vote (which wouldn't pass if there was a vote).

These are duly elected New York State Senators and they behave like infantile 8th graders angling for the class presidency. Unfortunately, we don't have the power to recall state legislators in our Empire State. If there is ever a campaign mounted for recall legislation, Espada, Kruger and Diaz should be the poster boys for it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

16-year-old Chichester's Letter On "The Vault"

What a thrill to be in Sports Illustrated, my favorite magazine Mom and Dad gave me a subscription to years before being in high school. Even if it's only two sentences.

(And the first experience with an editor's knife).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NYSUT's RFK Political Indoctrination, Cont.

The New York State United Teachers held an event at the Robert F. Kennedy High School in Queens today to unveil three lesson plans on the life of the late former Senator and Attorney General.

“What we’re trying to do is connect the lesson plans with the vision of social justice,” said NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi.

These fraudulent lesson plans were first brought to the wide attention of New Yorkers in my Daily News op-ed on Sunday.

The lessons plans, which can be read here, are a lie. They purposely ignore the inconvenient, complete truth about Kennedy's career.

One of the worst things a teacher can do is distort history. But that's exactly what NYSUT is perpetrating. They're exerting political pressure on our Empire State principals, superintendents and teachers to adopt lesson plans that are a comic book chronicle of RFK's life.

New York's public school students won't be learning about Kennedy's direct involvement in the wiretapping of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Or how he served as counsel to United States Senator Joe McCarthy. The man is so thoroughly reviled "McCarthyism" is today a catch-all attack word in response to smears, real and perceived.

In addition, he was widely viewed as an unprincipled opportunist by his fellow Democrats when he joined the 1968 presidential race only after Senator Eugene McCarthy exposed President Lyndon Johnson's weakness in the New Hampshire primary.

Historical facts don't matter to NYSUT. The union's lesson plans about Kennedy read like Soviet-style manuals circa 1938.

What is important to New York's largest teachers union is assisting the Kennedy family's obsession with glorifying itself. The union states these lesson plans began "with a phone call to Iannuzzi from Kerry Kennedy, the seventh of RFK's 11 children."

Thanks to Iannuzzi, Kerry Kennedy imposed a Pravda-like version of her father on the public school children of New York. It's a disgrace.

What would happen if NYSUT sent three lesson plans to Empire State teachers celebrating - and fictionalizing - the life of President Ronald Reagan? That left out the Iran-Contra scandal, for example? There would be an outcry from the same people canonizing Kennedy.

Lesson plans should be left to local school districts. NYSUT has thoroughly politicized our public schools, and Iannuzzi should be ashamed of himself for helping to lead such an outrageous assault on the truth.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another Shameless Kennedy Opportunist

The New York Post and Associated Press report Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg has approached Governor David A. Paterson for appointment to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. Via a phone call.

What has Mrs. Schlossberg ever achieved in her life to merit serving as a United States Senator?

The 51-year-old interned with her Uncle Edward Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, wrote two forgettable books and serves on boards and foundations.

Wow. That's impressive.

Mrs. Schlossberg's resume is so flimsy it insults flimsy.

It's no secret what Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's occupation has been for years: Being John F. Kennedy's daughter. She's a typical professional Kennedy.

A professional Kennedy lives off the family name. A professional Kennedy doesn't have a real job. A professional Kennedy believes in entitlement without accomplishment. And eventually the professional Kennedy demands public office.

Edward J. McCormack Jr. understood it. He was Ted Kennedy's 1962 Democratic primary opponent, and during debate said:

"If your name was simply Edward Moore instead of Edward Moore Kennedy, your candidacy would be a joke."

Well, Caroline, if your name was simply Caroline Schlossberg instead of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, your candidacy would be a joke.

What has Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg ever done for upstate New York? She probably can't locate Massena on a state map. Or pronounce Coxsackie correctly.

How many times has she been to Albany for a true public service purpose? Or shown concern for the plight of Schenectady, Buffalo and Utica? I can't recall. Her record in that regard is likely barren.

She's also never been elected to any office. However woefully wrong they are on the issues, at least Rep. Carolyn Maloney and other Democratic contenders for the post have served New York for years. They've presented themselves to the people for office. No matter who you are that's always admirable.

New York doesn't need another famous name waltzing into office for reasons of ego. We already had it with Hillary Clinton, and she could hardly wait to abandon New York. But at least she was elected.

Senior elected Democrats hoping to serve out Senator Clinton's term have to be enraged today. Here comes unelected Caroline with an inside job phone call to Governor Paterson.

Go away, Caroline. Stick to being a professional Kennedy. That's what you're good at.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Governor David A. Paterson must certainly understand his amiable personality has failed to convince the state legislature that New York faces its worst financial meltdown since the 1970's. Nearly all our 212 legislators suffer from indifference. Crisis? What crisis?

State legislators don't care about the reality of what we're up against, are too petrified of their union bosses, or both. Now that their leaders, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, have arrogantly refused to provide Governor Paterson with one single idea for spending reductions to close next year's $12.5 billion deficit, they have forced him to the brink of dire decision-making.

Skelos, deservedly, will soon inherent the mantle of irrelevance now that his Senate Republicans lost their majority. But the problem is his successor, Queens Democrat Malcolm Smith, is not an improvement. In fact, Smith will lead a 32-member Democratic majority in opposition to spending controls with a greater ferocity than Albany's feckless Republicans.

Silver is even more of a challenge for Governor Paterson than Smith. He will go down in history as one of the most cunning and calculating legislative leaders Albany has ever witnessed. Entering his 15th year as Speaker, this man always seems to get what he wants.

There is only one way for Governor Paterson to handle the legislature for at least the next two months: Unilaterally. New York's constitution provides the governor with a series of executive powers state legislators have no authority whatsoever to stop.

State legislators have pet bills that barely receive media attention. Many are yawn-inducing. But not to them. They revel in promoting these little bills in their newsletters, public appearances, weekly newspapers, websites and elsewhere.

Governor Paterson should inform Speaker Silver and incoming Majority Leader Smith he's not signing one bill that does not directly address our state fiscal emergency. Every single one will be vetoed if it's sent.

State legislators relish access, and no where is it more evident in their pursuit of patronage. They love securing posts in the executive branch for supporters, campaign donors, friends and family members. It makes them look good at home.

Governor Paterson's Appointments Secretary, the patronage chief, knows all the precise details of the jobs state legislators covet for their benefactors. He should impose a moratorium on every one.

If halting patronage and bill signings is not enough to break chronic legislative inattention, there is always their precious pork-barrel projects to target. Governor Paterson can order top advisers to delay checks for the tens of millions that comprise this vote-buying slush fund. Assert no group gets one penny until the governor is satisfied he's receiving real cooperation from the legislature.

There is also The Nuclear Option. Governor Paterson can begin laying off state employees.

If he moves forward with layoffs the Public Employees Federation, Civil Service Employees Association and 1199, the bloated New York City hospital union, will be forced to negotiate in good faith. And it may finally make them consider reform to their Cadillac-style pension and health care costs that are bankrupting the state.

Such a hardball tactic should convince the union leadership to avoid launching their predictable radio and television commercials calling for tax hikes and other policies that have helped land our Empire State in this abyss. Once their members are looking for new employment, they'll consider playing nice with a man who leads 19 million people.

The governor himself also needs self-inspection. While his language is bold in warning New Yorkers we are living in a budgetary nightmare, Governor Paterson's behavior can be curious. He's jetted off to California and overseas recently for conferences that have nothing to do with the business of Albany. This is needless out-of-state socializing, and must stop.

In addition, Governor Paterson hesitates to use the bully pulpit. He has shown flashes of understanding how this immense communication tool succeeds. If he uses it correctly, it will work.

For example, when the unions inevitably object to reductions in health care spending Governor Paterson has the hard facts on his side. In 2005, a New York Times investigation found that as much as 40 percent of our $45 billion annual Medicaid budget encompasses fraud, mismanagement, abuse, as well as the incompetent interference of state legislators.

It's merely one fact, in an arsenal of facts, which have driven jobs and people out of New York. Especially upstate. Governor Paterson can relentlessly cite each one as he continues to confront the legislature.

The truth is the budget has to be cut. Massively. That simple. Yet we have 212 dithering state legislators who have conclusively demonstrated their only solution is to run away from reality.

Governor Paterson must wield the power he has at his disposal. It's time.

Teacher Throws Eraser At Chichester

A former teacher is very upset with the Sunday Gazette Op-Ed on the New York State United Hustlers Teachers.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The critical response to Chichester's Op-Ed in the New York Post on the Empire State Development Corporation.

Fat Cat Teachers

Chichester's Op-Ed in The Sunday Gazette on the New York State United Hustlers Teachers.

And they happen to be fatter, and more greedy, than this cat.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Fraudster

Dear Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.,

You oppose gay marriage. Good. It's the right position.

Even though your fellow Democrats won control of the state Senate by a 32-30 margin on Election Day, you have a personal problem. You won't vote for Malcolm Smith as the first Democratic Senate Majority Leader in 40 years if he brings gay marriage to the floor for a vote.

Your vote is critical. If you don't vote for Smith, or one of his Democrat competitors for leader, it could throw the Senate into chaos.

Well, now. That's interesting.

You're a proud New York Democrat.

New York Democrats overwhelmingly support gay marriage. Your party has been in the vanguard of the gay rights movement.

You serve in the same party as Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, Senator Tom Duane, Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, Assemblyman Micah Kellner and Assemblyman Matthew Titone. All openly gay legislators. Your powerful New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is also an openly gay legislator.

Have you noticed?

There is a certain famous event, Ruben, that happens in your city annually. Perhaps you've heard of it.

Have you ever seen the New York City gay pride parade? Who do you think organizes and participates in that event? Who prances around on those floats? Or likes to play dress-up? And mocks and ridicules my Roman Catholic Church?

I can assure you, Ruben, they're not Republicans.

This is your party. Your Democrat party, Mr. Principles.

Opposition to gay marriage is your signature issue. It's why people who count know your name.

If you're so committed to this issue, why are you a Democrat and not an independent? Or even a Republican? I'll tell you why. You could never get elected to the Senate without the Democrat party line in your Bronx district.

Of course, you understand your career would be over if you voted for a Republican as the next Majority Leader. Remember Olga Mendez? Her career was finished once she sided with Senate Republicans. You're going to be the next Olga if you do the same, and you know it.

There is an endgame. You want something from Smith, or Governor Paterson (he's another strong supporter of gay marriage in your party, Ruben). This issue is your leverage.

You're going to do the right thing by your party and vote for Smith or Senator Jeff Klein come January. When you do, you'll have a great excuse to do so. We just don't know what it is yet. And this political farce you've manufactured will finally be over.

- Chris

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Senior Day At Notre Dame

Here's hoping my Fighting Irish beat Syracuse 77-2 today. Rudy, which is 100 percent "based on a true story" accurate, should be the inspiration.

"You're 5 foot nothin', 100 and nothin', and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years. And you're gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody but yourself. And after what you've gone through, if you haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen. Now go on back."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Vultures Show Up

What a disturbing day.

In a noble demonstration of leadership, Governor David A. Paterson called the Legislature back to address our fiscal crisis. He proposed modest mid-year reductions in the rate of spending. Despite the reporting of certain lazy members of the Albany press corps, he did not propose budget "cuts."

The usual suspects appeared anyway, of course.

If New Yorkers want to truly understand why our state is being destroyed, it was on display outside the Capitol today. So-called protesters were in action. They were screaming into bull-horns, using children as political props and waving obnoxious, fake signs.

They were demanding another hand-out, another government program, another tax hike. If you told them the facts of the financial doomsday we are now living in, they wouldn't care. They wouldn't give a damn.

It was an appalling spectacle. These people exhibited their ignorance, greed and selfishness.

New Yorkers who see the pictures outside the Capitol could reasonably conclude it was comprised of grass roots protesters. Or "concerned citizens," as the predictably clueless Times Union described them. Wrong. They're union employees. A true protester shows up motivated by free will.

We are in a terrible economic decline, and I'm tired of citing the numbers. The numbers that show how many jobs we've lost. The numbers that detail the population flight from New York. The numbers that demonstrate, undeniably, how we are nationwide leaders in spending and taxation. These numbers write the obituary of our former great state.

And who do we have outside our Capitol, a building I love and my former place of employment, today? People too stupid and narcissistic to accept the facts. They want to continue the same, failed policies that have turned our state into a national laughingstock. A state over a million people have waved good-bye to during the last decade.

I don't travel home to Long Island anymore to visit my Mom and Dad. I have to go to Virginia, where they retired. Largely because of these hopeless, Jimmy Hoffa-style unionists plundering The Empire State just two blocks away from me today who will never get it. Ever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bumbling Baseball Writers Of America


1. Of great importance, use, or service.

The Baseball Writers of America should retire en masse. We don't need them anymore.

Today, their select members decreed Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals the National League Most Valuable Player. In the voting Pujols comfortably defeated Philadelphia Phillie Ryan Howard, 369-308.

Pujols was so valuable he helped the Cardinals to . . . a blazing fourth place finish in the N.L. Central division. The Cardinals were never in serious contention for the wild card, either. Not even close.

Yet, Howard has a World Series ring being fitted for him right now. A glorious ring none of his teammates could wear for the rest of their lives without his 48 home runs, 146 RBI and .543 slugging percentage. He erupted in September with a team-record 32 RBI, every one of which the Phillies needed to barely sneak by my beloved New York Mets for the division crown.

No Ryan Howard, and no Phillies playoff berth, no Phillies National League championship, no Phillies World Series championship. It's that simple.

But with Albert Pujols, the Cardinals were on the golf course last month. What exactly was his precise value? That his team finished fourth, and not last?

What a joke.

As noted, valuable is defined as "great importance." In baseball, "great importance" means making the playoffs. Nothing else counts after the 162nd game is completed.

If your team sucks, and you're the best player in baseball, so what. It doesn't matter. It's not the Most Outstanding Player award or the Greatest Season award or the Best Statistics award.

Value is subjective, of course. And it has allowed the sabermetric propeller hats in the BBWA to pervert the meaning of an honor that forever covers players in excellence.

Or should cover players like Ryan Howard in excellence. He just got Jeffrey Maier-ed today.

If Pujols won the Triple Crown, he wouldn't deserve the MVP. If he became the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams in 1941, he still wouldn't deserve the MVP.

The BBWA have placed me in the unenviable position of defending the Phillies, the maggots. Because I HATE THE PHILLIES WITH THE HEAT OF A NOVA the team broke my Met heart in half. Again. Now I know what it feels like to be a pre-2004 Boston Red Sox fan because of Ryan Howard. Not because of Albert Pujols.

Mets General Manager Omar Minaya must be amused by this vote. David Wright finished seventh and Carlos Delgado finished ninth. Without either player the Mets don't even win 75 games. Both were more valuable than Pujols.

When Pittsburgh Pirate Ralph Kiner finished his seventh consecutive season leading the National League in home runs in 1952, he asked General Manager Branch Rickey for a pay raise. "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you," Rickey famously told Kiner.

Pujols should demand a new contract immediately. And his General Manager John Mozeliak should inform him, "We finished fourth with you, we can finish fourth without you."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PROVOCATIONS: The Marion Barry Republicans

House Republicans are Marion Barry Republicans.

Barry, the former Washington, D.C. mayor, infamously became a national punchline for smoking crack with a prostitute on a video surveillance camera in 1990. After leaving office in disgrace and serving six months in prison, he was easily returned to office in 1994 with 56% of the vote.

With no questions asked. His record was irrelevant.

Barry's transgressions didn't matter to the Washingtonians who voted for him a mere four years after his conviction. And they were once again disappointed by his feckless performance in office.

Marion Barry's supporters were skilled in the art of denial and willful ignorance. Today, they serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Only their party is the Republican party.

Meet the Marion Barry Republicans.

A Marion Barry Republican doesn't consider an elected official's failed record. A Marion Barry Republican blindly supports personality, superficial appeals to ideas and claims to political rehabilitation. A Marion Barry Republican accepts futility and dismisses losing.

A Marion Barry Republican is a John Boehner Republican.

Even after the embarrassing loss of over 20 House seats, Congressman Boehner is slated to serve as the Republican Minority Leader throughout the next Congress. It's a sad, and pathetic, political reality: House Republicans refuse to overthrow their leader and begin rebuilding the party while staring in the face of two consecutive humiliating defeats.

Mr. Boehner has now presided over a stunning decline in House Republican fortunes. Even after losing the majority in 2006 under his leadership, he survived a challenge.

A major reason why morale collapsed throughout the Republican base during the party's 12 years of Congressional control was because of the explosion in federal spending. Mr. Boehner, as chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee from 2001 to 2006, helped achieve this sad reality.

Among conservative aides to House Members, and I served as one, it became a running joke to read Congressman Boehner's press office emails to Capitol Hill staffers. He was constantly highlighting the "record increases" in education spending for the intrusive No Child Left Behind law and other questionable education initiatives.

Mr. Boehner has been tattered by the sleazy Mark Foley text messaging fiasco, his ill-advised decision to place ethically compromised California Congressman Ken Calvert on the Appropriations Committee and a long association with those noted good-government reformers, K Street lobbyists.

But despite that past, does losing matter?

Before Election Day, 2006 House Republicans held 232 seats. Today, they hold 175. Congressman Boehner must be accountable for the catastrophic 50-seat loss in the House. Right? Wrong. He won't have to worry.

Even with the status quo Boehner record, House Republicans still don't understand what must be done. They're in a stumbling haze.

Immediately after the results were evident conservative Congressman Eric Cantor announced that he would seek to replace House Republican Whip Roy Blunt, who is not running for re-election as the second highest-ranking House Republican.

Big deal.

Mr. Cantor is not exactly a profile in courage. He's going after the easier prize in competing for Mr. Blunt's job. Even if he wins, Mr. Cantor will serve under Mr. Boehner, who has been in Washington, D.C. for so long there are no limited government, pro-freedom ideas left for him to embrace without the hypocrisy of his career and voting record emerging.

If elected, what's Mr. Cantor going to claim? That he has Mr. Boehner's "ear" on issues, and constantly reassure his conservative colleagues for the next two years?

Unfortunately, Congressman Boehner became a classic establishment Republican in the Bob Michel mode, the former minority leader who proved incapable of leading House Republicans out of the political wilderness. Only until Newt Gingrich was elected Minority Whip in 1989, by one vote, did Republicans begin to lay the groundwork for the Contract with America that elevated them to the majority.

Where is the Gingrich-level revolutionary challenge to Mr. Boehner? No Member of the House Republican Conference has the skills and energy to mount one. They're exhausted. They do not possess the courage, core principles and, yes, character to lead a coup against Mr. Boehner and his yes-man lieutenants.

House Republicans have been defeated in a hail of arrogance and ideological sell-outs, and continue to flounder. And in the process they destroyed the once-enthusiastic conservative base that elected them.

Mr. Boehner should have resigned immediately after Election Day, and called for a new direction for House Republicans. It would have been the honorable thing to do. He didn't resign, of course, and somewhere Marion Barry is proud of his decision.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Carnac Chichester Nearly Nails It Completely

Prediction: Electoral College
Obama: 339
McCain: 199

Obama: 338
McCain: 158
Too close to call: 42

Prediction: Percentage
Obama: 53.2%
McCain: 46.1%

Obama: 52% (62,322,081)
McCain: 46% (55,290,796)

Prediction: U.S. Senate
Democrats/Independents: 61
Republicans: 39

Democrats/Independents: 56
Republicans: 40
Too close to call: 4

Prediction: U.S. House of Representatives
Democrats: 251
Republicans: 183
Vacant: 1

Democrats: 252
Republicans: 173
Too close to call: 10

Prediction: New York House Delegation
Democrats: 26
Republicans: 3

Democrats: 26
Republicans: 3

Prediction: New York Senate
Democrats: 34
Republicans: 28

Democrats: 32
Republicans: 29
Too close to call: 1

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

MSNBC Calls Presidential Race For Obama

"MSNBC is now ready to call the 2008 presidential race for Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Senator Obama, 47, entered the Democratic primary as a decided underdog against the seemingly invincible Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. With less than one-tenth of one percent of the vote in, we project Senator Obama has now defeated Arizona Senator John McCain. We repeat: MSNBC has called the presidential race for Barack Obama at 8:07 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, November 4, 2008. Mr. Obama will be the 44th president of the United States." - Tom Brokaw.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day Pick Six

Electoral College
Obama: 339
McCain: 199

Obama: 53.2%
McCain: 46.1%

U.S. Senate
Democrats/Independents: 61
Republicans: 39

U.S. House of Representatives
Democrats: 251
Republicans: 183
Vacant: 1

New York House Delegation
Democrats: 26
Republicans: 3

New York Senate
Democrats: 34
Republicans: 28

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Welcome, Potheads And Atheists

It is not easy to work for a Member of Congress. The hours are grueling, the pay is mediocre and the politics raw. Yet, the experience is deeply rewarding for many reasons, especially if you're a staffer in the Washington, D.C. office.

The structure is nearly the same for every office: Chief of Staff, Counsel, Scheduler, Press Secretary, Legislative Director, Legislative Assistants and Staff Assistant. Each position carries a different and important duty so the Member can serve 750,000 constituents effectively.

But there is a responsibility common for every Congressional staffer who understands Capitol Hill: Always protect the boss from outsiders with bad intentions. Always.

All 535 Members of Congress have outsiders lurking. These are people who exist for the sole purpose of creating havoc and embarrassment. It's easy to recognize them. They're the kooks, the nut jobs, the wackos.

For example, the lobbies for atheists and potheads. Keeping the atheists and potheads away from the boss barely needs a staff discussion. They don't get in the door.

Except if you're Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand.

Meet Woody Kaplan, a shopping center magnate who lives in Massachusetts.

Kaplan sits on the board of a political action committee called Godless Americans. According to its website, the goal of Godless Americans is "mobilizing nonbelievers for political activism," which includes the removal of "In God We Trust" from our currency.

In addition, Kaplan is currently a major fundraiser for the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative, a ballot question that asks for the "decriminalization" of the plant this year. Among other demented provisions, it would replace criminal penalties with civil penalties for possessing marijuana.

Since her election, Congresswoman Gillibrand has met with Kaplan at least twice. He has contributed money to her campaign, which she refuses to return.

A scheduling meeting with a Member of Congress is precise. The boss wants to know the background of the person in consideration. Why? Because it may come back to haunt the Member if the meeting occurred with a person completely out of the mainstream. Like Woody Kaplan.

Who meets with someone determined to banish any mention of religion from American life? Why meet with an individual who devotes time and money toward a new law that empowers people to smoke a joint right outside your house or apartment without fear of heading to the slammer?

If Congresswoman Gillibrand didn't know Kaplan's background before she met with him, she needs to hire new staffers because she's surrounded herself with incompetents. If she did know Kaplan's background, voters should consider that fact on Tuesday.

Politics is about associations. Perhaps someone will ask Congresswoman Gillibrand about her association with Mr. Kaplan. Because we don't know how The Transparent Congresswoman happened to take money from, and meet with, a certified extremist.

We have more pressing problems than potheads and atheists in our country now. And that's why Kirsten Gillibrand should have blown off this Kaplan character and returned his money when she had the opportunity to do so.

"I'm not meeting with someone who believes in the precious 'right' of the bong hit or those who despise the mere mention of faith. Bring me someone who counts."

You can bet Congresswoman Gillibrand never uttered those words to her staff.

Philadelphia Freedom, Don't Shine On Me

They have no class. None.

Philadelphia's so-called sports fans and its professional athletes are not defined by brotherly love. They're defined by non-brotherly stupidity.

"World F---ing Champions!"

That's what second baseman Chase Utley bellowed when he took the microphone at the Phillies celebration of their World Series title on Friday. He was cheered, of course.

I wonder what the moms and dads who brought their children to the event thought about Utley. There was definitely no advance "ear muffs" warning from Vince Vaughn a la Old School before Utley opened his mouth.

Like Utley, shortstop and designated dimwit Jimmy Rollins could also not contain his no-class act. He ripped the Mets.

Here the Phillies defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays for their first World Series triumph in 28 years, and Rollins is trashing . . . the Mets. Because the Mets took 11 of the 18 games this year against the Phillies, the only team in Major League Baseball history to lose 10,000 games. They can't lose another 10,000 fast enough and wallow in more misery.

Watching a Phillies game is also watching a bunch of catatonic cultists. They boo everything and everyone. Even in the aftermath of the Phillies win, the fans were still booing the mere mention of someone or something they didn't like.

What a pathetic bunch of "fans." In the wake of a glorious win, they can't control themselves. These people need help.

Utley and Rollins are the perfect no-class Philadelphia professional athletes. They could also play hockey and football in Philadelphia.

This is a city so maniacal about the Philadelphia Eagles that the old Veterans Stadium had a court installed in it to immediately administer justice to its criminal fans. If you wore a Giants or Cowboys jersey into the old Vet, be prepared for a potential assault. Or, at the very least, for a beer thrown on you.

The Flyers won two Stanley Cups with a bunch of aspiring convicted felons and no-teeth big mouths. "The Broad Street Bullies." Right. Goons On Ice was more like it.

How fitting that it was my team, the New York Islanders, and Bobby Nystrom scoring an overtime goal to beat the Flyers in Game Six to win the 1980 Stanley Cup. At least he spared Philadelphians a riot if the Flyers won.

Philadelphia fans and athletes deserve to celebrate another major professional sports title when they can achieve civility. That means never.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Times Union Online With Rep. Gillibrand

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand represents the 20th Congressional District of New York. She was online, live, with Times Union Editor Rex Smith and Editorial Page Editor Jay Jochnowitz on Friday, October 31 at noon to take your questions and comments regarding her work in Congress.

NOTE: The Times Union reserved the right to select the questions and comments. A transcript follows.

Susan from Troy: Congresswoman, I want to thank you so much for the resolution you introduced last month encouraging all Americans to be nice to puppies.

Congresswoman Gillibrand: Thank you, Susan! I have long been a puppy rights advocate! I hope all Americans will be kind and gentle to puppies everywhere. In fact, I just adopted a new Golden Retriever puppy that I named Marlboro Man. :)

Bob from Hudson: Congresswoman, what is your favorite color?

Congresswoman Gillibrand: Thank you for such an important and insightful question, Bob. It's red. But if I had to choose three colors they would be red, white and blue!!! And I will continue my work on behalf of our red, white and blue veterans!!! For you Bob!!! :)

Joan from Saratoga Springs: How can you possibly explain your short-sighted and naive opposition to the surge? It has succeeded and we are winning the war on terror because of it. Don't you owe your constituents, our veterans and our troops fighting overseas your deepest apology for your failure to support the surge?

Congresswoman Gillibrand: What the fuc-, er, I mean, what the heck. Rex, who approved that question? See me later. And get with the program. Next question.

Lisa from Valatie: Congresswoman, you are my role model for a working mother! I just don't understand how you can have it all and do it all! You are my hero! You go girl!

Congresswoman Gillibrand: Thank you, Lisa! I can do it all because I know our children are the most precious resource we have. I am pro-children (and pro-puppies if you didn't notice from a previous questioner). I am also pro-motherhood. And you go girl, too!!! :)

Joe from Schodack: Why do you feel the compulsion to issue news release after news release grandstanding about New York's property taxes? Do you understand that you, as a Member of Congress, can do nothing about our property taxes because it's a local and state government responsibility?

Congresswoman Gillibrand: Jay, who let this character in the door? You see me later as well. And don't forget to bring Rex, got it? Next question.

Liz from Clifton Park: Congresswoman, my favorite song is Whitney Houston's I'm Every Woman because it reminds me of you!

Congresswoman Gillibrand: Thank you Liz! I plan to introduce a Congressional resolution on that song next week in your honor, and issue a news release! :)

Stephen from Glens Falls: Why do you oppose drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge while we're facing an energy crisis? Did I miss something, or do you represent Alaska, and not New York, Congresswoman?

Congresswoman Gillibrand: Is some Times Union minion allowing these questions? When Big Daddy and I get done with you, Rex and Jay, it's not going to be Rex and Jay's Excellent Adventure. You both better be in a meeting right now. Next question.

Tom from Lake Placid: Congresswoman, I have no idea why Barack Obama did not select you to be his running mate. What was this man thinking?

Congresswoman Gillibrand: Why, thank you Tom! :) I am going to continue to work on your behalf, and I'll be thinking of the placidity of your lake, and you, Tom, as I go fulfill the duties of my office. And I'm sending you a puppy.

Chris from Albany: Congresswoman, why do you purposely conceal and deny your work for Big Tobacco?

Congresswoman Gillibrand: I know that's you Chichester, you little jerk. Next question.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kirsten Gillibrand's Pork Problem

Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand understands how to get re-elected in the traditional Washington, D.C. way: Buy people and institutions off with federal tax dollars.

Congressional Republicans, my former employers for five years, presided over an explosion in pork barrel spending, also known as earmarks, while they held the majority from 1995-2007. It was a disgrace. Especially watching it up close as a Capitol Hill press secretary and communications director.

Earmarks were part of the reason why Democrats defeated Republicans to take the majority in the House and Senate two years ago. Fiscal conservatives grew increasingly disgusted with the unaccountable and out-of-control process. And rightly blamed Republicans.

President Reagan vetoed the 1987 transportation authorization bill because it contained 152 earmarks. In May, 2007 Gillibrand announced that she requested funding for an astounding 188 earmarks totaling $297 million. The following December she issued a news release noting that 32 earmarks for "local projects" totaling $19 million would be funded by an omnibus spending bill.

Of the 32 projects, Congresswoman Gillibrand "won" $122,500 for the Hudson Opera House Community and Arts Center for "renovations to the building." And another $750,000 went to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum to "complete infrastructure modernization projects."

While Congresswoman Gillibrand succeeded in delighting Figaro fans, she earned the wrath of the Washington, D.C. taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste. In a "pork alert" the group ridiculed Gillibrand's Roosevelt library earmark as "among the most egregious examples of pork-barreling" in the House.

"I think investing in the library is very important for the economy of Dutchess County," Gillibrand said, ludicrously.

From Day One in office, Congresswoman Gillibrand has eagerly joined the ranks of House members who simply can't control themselves. It's obvious what The Gillibrand Pork Doctrine is: Say Yes To Everything. No individual or group is seemingly off-limits.

It's impossible for Congresswoman Gillibrand to reach an informed decision on the merits of every earmark request she makes. Equally dubious is how personally instrumental she is in obtaining the funding she obsessively announces. From reading the news releases her office distributes, one could easily conclude she's the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee rather than a typical freshman.

Both Republican and Democratic Members of Congress have a near-pathological inability to say no to their constituents when the "project" is a complete waste of federal money. A fellow press secretary for a House member once told me her boss requested funding for a constituent group researching UFOs. Yes, tax dollars in search of little green people.

Congresswoman Gillibrand is part of this intractable problem in Washington, D.C. She possesses a pork barrel ideology that puts the average pork-laden Member of Congress to shame. If all 535 Members asked for her 188 earmarks it would amount to 100,580 requests draining the federal treasury of billions.

In fiscal year 2008, Congress approved 11,610 earmarks worth $17.2 billion. That was a 337 percent increase over the 2,658 projects in fiscal year 2007, and a 30 percent increase over the $13.2 billion total in fiscal year 2007.

Fortunately, there are principled Members of Congress who don't request earmarks because they are repulsed by the unseemly nature of the process. Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, for example.

And there are the Kirsten Gillibrands, who not only refuse to follow the Flake standard but relish the vote-buying potential in pork. She has the UFO-mentality and can't say no to anyone who bangs on her door with a tin cup.

Gillibrand understands local governments are not going to turn down one penny from Congress, even when they have no need for it. For example, homeland security bills routinely send tax dollars to small fire departments in rural counties nationwide. The Congresswoman has issued news release after news release hailing the funding acquired by those fire departments in her district.

What Congresswoman Gillibrand will never tell upstate fire department chiefs is the truth. That al-Qaeda is not targeting them. Ever. And up goes the pork tab for taxpayers.

Congresswoman Gillibrand defends her earmarks by claiming she makes them public. So what. She reminds me of the character Matthew Lesko in the late-night infomercial who runs around Capitol Hill in a ridiculous suit covered with dollar signs screaming about how to extract money from the federal government.

If Congresswoman Gillibrand wins a second term this Tuesday part of the reason will be her successful raiding of the federal treasury. She's become a princess of pork, and given the fiscal crisis we're mired in right now that's not an admirable quality for any Member of Congress.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Silence Of Excellence In Broadcasting

Who is afraid of President George W. Bush?

Rush Limbaugh.

The legendary talk radio host with the largest audience in America can't bring himself to direct criticism toward our 43rd president. Not a syllable. Not a peep.

George W. Bush is not a conservative. He's not even a "moderate." He's a liberal.

Not only is he a liberal, President Bush will go down in history as a failed, apathetic president. He is the Jimmy Carter of the Republican party. If our president leaves office with an approval rating above 30 percent, it'll be a polling miracle.

President Bush has helped destroy the conservative movement. The movement doesn't exist anymore. It has been relegated to the ash heap of history.

Limbaugh is fond of declaring America is a "conservative country." We're not. It's a joke to even make such a declaration. And one of the reasons why that's a stark truth is because of George W. Bush.

Across conservative talk radio we hear Senator Barack Obama is a socialist, and a marauding Big Government left-winger for supporting the Wall Street bailout bill (he is). Limbaugh has gleefully and rightly lampooned Obama for it. But who proposed and signed the bailout monstrosity into law? President Bush.

Yet, day after day, in his monologues, Limbaugh never mentions President Bush. When he takes phone calls, there is also no discussion of the soon-to-be former president. The topic is off-limits.

For El Rushbo, George W. Bush is The Invisible President.

It's a daily broadcast embarrassment that has gone largely unnoticed. How can the most listened-to radio talk show host in the country pretend we don't have a president of the United States?

Limbaugh expresses an opinion on everything. From politics to sports to relationships to whatever floats into his mind at any given moment. Good. That's compelling talk radio, and he is the undisputed master of the medium.

Yet, it's amusing as well as disturbing to hear not a word from Limbaugh regarding the feckless leadership of the most powerful man on the planet.

Why? We don't know.

But I have a hunch. Because President Bush understands the art of media manipulation.

Limbaugh has been seduced by the president and his family with praise publicly and, undoubtedly, privately. The Bush family showering him with slavish compliments makes him think twice about cutting loose on the Oval Office occupant for willful deviations from conservatism.

Limbaugh has been effectively intimidated. Intimidated by a liberal president who can't leave public life fast enough.

Limbaugh knows what he's doing, of course. He's given other Republican politicians a total pass on his show while they were in the midst of stomping on conservative principles. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, for example.

One of the few times Limbaugh has come close to addressing sell-out, counterfeit conservatives occurred in the days after Republicans lost their Congressional majority two years ago. He proclaimed he was done "carrying water" for the party's leaders.

It was a momentary flash of honesty. That didn't last.

Unfortunately, Limbaugh is still carrying water for an exhausted president. Buckets of it. And he is not alone. Leading conservative radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin also cravenly ignore President Bush on their shows.

Yes, I'm a conservative, and I love Limbaugh's show. I have since I first heard it on WABC in 1988. The man has no equal now, or ever.

But how is it possible that the president of the United States is blatantly omitted from any discussion about American politics from a program that has 20 million listeners? It's outrageous. It's gutless.

If Al Gore won election in 2000 and compiled the exact same record as President Bush, Limbaugh would have mocked and ridiculed a President Gore relentlessly. Monologue after monologue and musical parody after musical parody.

Limbaugh will, however, finally be able to recognize we do have a president of the United States. Soon. After Barack Obama easily defeats John McCain.

A major reason why President Obama looms is because of the man who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Perhaps Limbaugh may address that fact after Election Day. He won't. We'll hear the sounds of silence.

Rep. Gillibrand's Pet Bigot

Who sits down to write a letter to the Times Union defending Adolf Hitler as a non-atheist?

Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand's district representative, Lisa Manzi.

In a 300-word letter published July 16, 2004 by the Times Union, Ms. Manzi began:

"Mark Harness' recent letter falsely claims that Hitler was an atheist. There is much evidence to the contrary."

I'm not going to post the full text of Ms. Manzi's letter because I'd have to fight physical illness getting near my laptop. She quoted Hitler's Mein Kampf and a 1922 speech where he proclaims his Christianity.

While preparing to be the most repulsive and destructive human being of the 20th Century, here we have Congresswoman Gillibrand's district representative taking Adolf Hitler's word for it. That he was a Christian.

Matthew said:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them."

By their fruit you will recognize them.

Congressman Gillibrand's employment of Ms. Manzi is nothing short of disgusting. Her staffer is incapable of recognizing a ferocious wolf. And believes the wolf of the 20th Century was truly a Christian.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rep. Gillibrand Hires Jane Fonda

Help Wanted: Member of Congress seeks extremist to serve as district representative. Must be punctual, enthusiastic and willing to mock religion, patriotism, the Pledge of Allegiance and our National Anthem. Should also be prepared to make frequent use of the word "retarded."

Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand has attempted to portray herself as a "moderate" in order to reflect the values and ideals of the New Yorkers she represents. It's what she must do since there are 80,000 more Republicans than Democrats in her district.

Meet Lisa Manzi.

Ms. Manzi is Congresswoman Gillibrand's Glens Falls-based regional representative. If you're a constituent and seek to communicate with the freshman Congresswoman, it has to be done through Ms. Manzi. That's the protocol in a Congressional office because it's impossible for the Member to converse one-on-one with concerned constituents.

It turns out that Ms. Manzi has expressed numerous opinions. And they're not normal. Far from it.

But Congresswoman Gillibrand's constituents likely won't hear what Ms. Manzi has to say about certain sensitive issues. With good reason.

In letters to the editor and on her personal blog, which is now offline (and you'll understand why momentarily), she writes her heart out.

On religion:

"I like to tease the Religious Wrong and tell them that the intelligent designer is probably gay" - April 9, 2006.

"I propose that all of the right wing religious zealots ban together and start lobbying congress [sic] for a constitutional amendment requiring everyone in America to say 'Merry Christmas' to everyone they make eye contact with between Thanksgiving and Christmas . . . Those who don't follow the script will be sent to Syria for why they hate the baby Jesus. Speaking of Jesus, he sent me an email the other day that said: Don't these people know I was Jewish?" - December 15, 2005.

On The Pledge of Allegiance:

"Why can't we pledge to the flag in a secular manner, as we did before the phrase 'under God' was inserted into our national pledge in 1954? In a nation that was founded on the notion of liberty and justice 'for all,' it seems our pledge should not exclude citizens who would prefer to say 'under Allah' or 'the Great Mother Earth' or 'Buddha.'" - October 23, 2003.

On the National Anthem:

"Why was [Condoleezza Rice] holding her hand over her heart when they were singing The Star Spangled Banner? Did she get that confused with the Pledge of Allegiance? Is there some rule about this song that I don't know about?" - February 5, 2006.

On the media:

"CNN's Sunday morning show had me wondering if CNN stands for Christ News Network. - March 5, 2006.

On social conservatives and banning the "morning after" pill:

"First they'll pass this law, and then they'll pass a law that says if you are a woman and you are menstruating, you go to jail. Why? Cause that means you are not pregnant! You should be barefoot and pregnant at all times. Don't you read The Bible? That is ten more years added to your sentence, heathen! The taliban would approve." - September 27, 2005.

On Senator Hillary Clinton being an "angry" candidate:

"Given the choice between an angry president and a retarded one, I'll choose angry hands down." - March 16, 2006.

Did Congresswoman Gillibrand take the time to read this kook's infantile writings before she hired her? Ms. Manzi possesses an incredible hostility toward people of faith and our country's noble traditions.

She questions why Americans hold our hands over our hearts while The Star-Spangled Banner is played? This is up for debate? I wonder what the veterans Congresswoman Gillibrand represents are going to think about that pathetic musing. And our fighting men and women overseas, as well.

If you oppose the legality of the RU-486 "morning after" abortion pill, Ms. Manzi compares you to the Taliban, a cult of evil that has few rivals. I'm sure my fellow Catholics in the Congresswoman's district will be thrilled with such demagoguery.

And she is fine with substituting a ludicrous phrase such as "Great Mother Earth" for "under God" in our Pledge?

What a complete embarrassment. Ms. Manzi's "writing" is what we expect from a SUNY Albany student interning with the Star Wars bar scene crowd at Metroland. Not someone charged with the honor of representing a Member of Congress.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rep. Gillibrand's Dr. Strangelove Goodfella

Henry Hill: Just ... ya know ... you're funny.

Tommy DeVito: You mean, let me understand this, cause ya know maybe it's me, cause I'm a little ------ up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to ------ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?

Henry Hill: Just ... you know, how you tell the story, what?

Tommy DeVito: No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the ---- am I funny, what the ---- is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny! - Goodfellas.

Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand believes her career is funny. A laugh riot.

Because during last night's debate when Sandy Treadwell raised, factually, the issue of her long work for Philip Morris she laughed. She scoffed at it. Like it was a ludicrous accusation. The Congresswoman's reaction can be viewed here.

Well, how funny is this reality: When Congresswoman Gillibrand was a $305.00 an hour lawyer for Philip Morris she interviewed Dr. Max Hausermann, the corporation's former vice president of research and development, in preparation for possible litigation.

What was Dr. Hausermann doing while at Philip Morris? Among the studies he supervised was a report that asserted:

"It is important to know as much as possible about teen-age smoking patterns and attitudes. Today's teen-ager is tomorrow's potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens."

That report was titled "Young Smokers - Prevalence, Trends, Implications and Related Demographic Trends."

So here we have the laughing Congresswoman involved with a Dr. Strangelove scientist whose job it was to research how best to hook teenagers on cigarettes.

Capital District moms and dads are sure to find that fall-down funny. Since Kirsten does.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everlasting Mets

"There's a fly ball out to left. Waiting is Jones. The Mets are the World Champions! Jerry Koosman is being mobbed! Look at this scene!" - Curt Gowdy World Series call, 1969.

They are a team forever covered in glory.

When New York Mets left fielder Cleon Jones caught the final out, with his knee to the ground, in prayer, to win the 1969 World Series on October 16, 1969 at Shea Stadium in my birthplace Flushing, Queens, it became the greatest and most improbable upset in World Series history.

The New York Mets, an expansion team that was a Major League Baseball laughingstock for its modern day record of futility, lost 120 games just seven years before in its 1962 debut season. Yet they not only defeated, but dominated the seemingly invincible Baltimore Orioles four games to one.

Those Orioles are likely still numb from what the Mets did to them.

The Mets won with a combination of incredible defensive plays by Tommie Agee and Ron Swoboda, stellar pitching from Jerry Koosman and clutch home runs by true home run hitters and hitters who barely hit their weight. Their manager, Brooklyn's own Gil Hodges, proved a dugout genius.

No one thought it possible. No one at all.

Tonight, as Game One of the World Series begins, the Tampa Bay Rays are poised to become another miracle championship team. But if they defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, it won't compare to what the Mets achieved 39 years ago. Not even close.

The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies? This is not a team feared throughout baseball. No players perform a deer-in-the-headlights with the thought of facing the Phillies. The Mets even won the season series against them before their inevitable, heartbreaking collapse.

The Baltimore Orioles won 109 games in 1969. They had three future Hall of Famers in third baseman Brooks Robinson, right fielder Frank Robinson and pitcher Jim Palmer. Their manager, Earl Weaver, was also destined for enshrinement at Cooperstown.

It featured Orioles who had typical All Star years.

First baseman Boog Powell, the intimidating first baseman who looked like he could hit the pitcher along with the ball over the right field fence at Shea, batted .304, with 37 home runs and 121 RBIs. Shortstop Mark Belanger, "The Blade," won the Gold Glove, his first of eight.

Pitcher Mike Cuellar won 23 games against 11 losses with a 2.38 earned run average, and was the co-Cy Young Award winner. Center fielder Paul Blair, scored 102 runs and won the Gold Glove. And second baseman Davey Johnson, who would go on to manage a Miracle Mets team, was yet another Gold Glove winner and a critical part of the team's success.

The Orioles could do everything on the field, offensively and defensively.

Along slink the lowly Mets. They had never finished higher than 9th place in the ten-team National League. The team was lampooned for their ineptitude, which was personified by "Marvelous" Marv Thronberry.

They couldn't hit.

They couldn't pitch

They couldn't field.

What they could do, was lose. Spectacularly.

"Can't Anyone Here Play This Game?" asked Jimmy Breslin in his book about the team.

Until 1969.

The Mets, predictably, began their 1969 season with a defeat, 11-10 to the expansion Montreal Expos. After 41 games, their record stood at 18 and 23. It appeared to be another dreadful last place finish in-the-making.

And it began. The team won 11 straight games. Beginning with that fateful 42nd game, the Mets finished the season 82-39, for a .678 winning percentage.

Despite their late-blooming outstanding play, and the key acquisition of Donn Clendenon from the Pirates, the Mets were sill mired in third place by mid-August, 9 1/2 games back.

Again, they did not relent. They didn't give up.

The Mets won 37 of their last 48 games to win the National League Eastern Division, comfortably by 8 games over the Chicago Cubs (with an assist from a black cat Flushing resident). They swept the Hank Aaron-led Atlanta Braves 3-0 in the first-ever National League Championship Series.

The only upset in major professional sports history that surpasses the Mets' 1969 World Series triumph is the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" victory by our United States hockey team at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

But the Mets remain the gold-standard of underdogs in baseball. If there is a World Series championship team that achieved a more stunning upset, I want to know. I really want to know.

"Come on down, come on down, baby" is what Cleon Jones said to himself while the final out came flying into his glove off Davey Johnson's bat. It's still a thrill to watch that emotional, amazing out.

And no matter what happens in this Phillies-Rays World Series, the 1969 New York Mets will retain their rightful place in baseball history as the Kings of the impossible victory.