Sunday, November 30, 2008

ESDC

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

val·u·a·ble
adj.

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

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

Prediction: Percentage
Obama: 53.2%
McCain: 46.1%

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

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

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

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

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

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

Result:
Democrats: 26
Republicans: 3

Prediction: New York Senate
Democrats: 34
Republicans: 28

Result:
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

Percentage
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.