Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ya Gotta Believe Kirsten

I believe you, Congresswoman Gillibrand.

I believe you aren't purposely hiding your extensive legal work on behalf of cigarette-dealer Philip Morris.

I believe you never went to great lengths to help Big Tobacco conceal its research on the dangers of smoking.

I believe you did not help Philip Morris perpetuate a fraud on the American people using attorney-client privilege for five years.

I believe the moms and dads you represent will have no problem with your service to Philip Morris executives who denied tobacco is addictive before a Congressional committee.

I believe there were clients at Davis Polk & Wardwell you represented other than Big Tobacco.

I believe your claim that you have proudly and openly talked about your work for Philip Morris with reporters.

I believe you have a good reason for accepting major campaign contributions from Altria, the Philip Morris parent company.

I believe it's an honor for Altria to consider you a legislator they support.

I believe your long association with Altria is perfectly consistent with your current positions on children's health care.

I believe the reason you refuse to release your income taxes is because you have no financial interest in Altria.

I believe you did no legal work for Altria, or Philip Morris USA, while you were at Boies Schiller & Flexner from 2001 to 2006.

I believe it's perfectly understandable why there are no quotes in the public record from you recommending young people and minors not smoke.

I believe it presents no conflict of interest for you to accept campaign contributions from firms your super lobbyist father represents.

I believe your claim to the Times Union that you never talk to Big Daddy about his clients "at all."

I believe your work at the secret Dr. Strangelove German lab used by Philip Morris to skirt United States federal laws were four innocent European vacations.

I believe you possess high ethical standards and would refuse to represent clients you consider morally objectionable.

I believe you should never feel guilty about helping "America's most reviled company."

I believe you, Congresswoman.

* Michael Kelly, RIP.

Gov. Paterson Hires The New York Times

If there is a stark example for why New York continues to head toward economic oblivion, it happened on October 15th.

Governor Paterson approved a $1.25 million state subsidy for The New York Times. For what purpose? We don't know. His Empire State Development Corporation listed the "grant" in a news release with no explanation from the board that approved it.

ESDC didn't give a reason because its bureaucrats knew they'd break the laugh meter. The release can be read here.

Why does The New York Times deserve one penny from New Yorkers? Especially while we're in a fiscal abyss?

The paper's parent, The New York Times Company, owns 24 other newspapers, employs 10,000 people and has annual revenues of $3.2 billion.

But they need $1.25 million in monopoly money from the wallets of New Yorkers.

It makes you want to scream.

And with the The New York Times on Governor Paterson's payroll, we won't be reading any sanctimonious editorials describing a conflict of interest. Or any smug columns on such a conflict by Gail Collins, the paper's editorial page editor, who specializes in smugness.

This is not the first time the Times received a hand out from New York taxpayers. It certainly won't be the last. The Times will come calling again, and Governor Paterson will fail to simply tell them: No.