Governor Grumpy Vs. Miranda Hobbes: Anyone?

Less than a month to go until the Democratic primary in this year’s election for New York governor! Can you feel the excitement?

Neither can I. Our president has sucked the air out of the room, grabbing all the headlines. This leaves Gov. Andrew Cuomo and challenger Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role of Miranda Hobbes in “Sex and the City,” to fight hard for the scraps before Sept. 13.

At least Nixon will. Up about 30 points in the polls, Cuomo has no desire to draw more attention to the Nixon challenge. Perhaps she can spur momentum with a catchy campaign slogan. How about “Nixon’s the one”?

New Yorkers face serious issues, and it would be nice to know whether the contenders have any real solutions. So far, no good.

The NYC subway system has the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world, according to The New York Times, and New Yorkers have reached their boiling point. With a mismanaged, bloated MTA budget, too much money goes to gaudy vanity projects, and too little to fixing core problems, such as antiquated signals that slow down the system.
The LIRR isn’t doing much better, reporting constant, maddening delays.

Cuomo recently made news with his insistence on spending millions of MTA dollars on installing gaudy blue-and-gold tiles inside the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn Battery tunnels instead of plain white. Will that turn our frown upside down as we whiz through?

At the same time, Nixon embarrassed herself by questioning New York’s Taylor Law, which gives public sector unions the right to collective bargaining but sets severe penalties for job walkouts. Strikes by transit workers and teachers have disrupted the lives of commuters, parents and children in the past. Does Nixon want to bring back those dismal days?

Meanwhile, homelessness has increased, and affordable housing remains scarce. But such issues rarely get the attention they deserve.

Perhaps the campaign will yet shine a spotlight on these problems, and the candidates will provide workable solutions. Let’s hope. But if they do, will we read about them in the media — or will it still be all Trump, all the time?

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Love Affair Cheater Breaks Trump’s Heart

We’ve all been there. We meet someone who charms us, strokes our ego, writes flowery love letters and wins our hearts — only later to find out they are coldblooded cheats. Love hurts!

Such seems the case with President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

We can see the attraction and similarities. Both were given a big boost to success by their fathers, both despise the free press, both have elaborate hairstyles. After meeting Kim for the first time on June 12, Trump was smitten by how everyone “stood at attention” when Kim entered a room

Sure, Kim lies, starves his people and may have killed his half brother and uncle. Who among us is perfect?

Trump’s friends tried to warn him. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently cautioned that Kim is not living up to his word to denuclearize. But love is blind, it seems.

Only days after The Washington Post confirmed last week that U.S. intelligence agencies see signs that North Korea is working on new missiles, the White House revealed that Trump received a second flattering note from the diminutive dictator Trump teasingly calls “Little Rocket Man.” Trump tweeted his thanks to Kim “for your nice letter — I look forward to seeing you soon.”

After returning home from the June meeting, Trump excitedly spoke of the “chemistry” they had.

“You know he loves his people,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baier, who replied that Kim is “a killer.”
“He’s a tough guy,” Trump responded, before quickly returning to fawning. “Hey, when you take over a country, tough country . . . and you take it over from your father . . . if you could do that at 27 years old, I mean that’s one in 10,000 who could do that.”

When Baier pleaded, “But he’s done some really bad things,” Trump quickly replied, “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people.” Oy. But now it seems Kim has been leading Trump on all along.

Hey, we’ve all been played. Sure, the creeps who led us astray may have had another lover instead of a nuclear arsenal, but the concept holds. Because when you think you’ve found a kindred spirit in this lonely world, what’s a guy to do?

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Hey Look, A Dog With a Fluffy Tail!

President Big Baby’s latest tantrum includes a loud threat to shut down the government if he doesn’t get America to fund his asinine, waste of billions wall. Hey, wait a minute, didn’t he promise that Mexico will pay for it? Fake news!

Will he succeed in shutting down the government? Probably not. Did he succeed in pulling his numerous schemes, embarrassments and possible crimes off the front pages for a few days? Absolutely.

Let us check off the ways President Three Card Monte masterfully distracted the rubes this week with his “Look, I’m Burning Down Your House–Only kidding!” strategy:

Did it distract from Michael Cohen’s statement that the president knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians? Yes!

Did it distract from the continuing fallout from the Putin Puppet Show in Helsinki? Yes!

Did it distract from the fact that the North Koreans continue to merrily build their nuclear arsenal after getting the concessions and respectability they sought from President Sucker? Yes!

Did it distract from American farmers’ outrage about getting screwed by the unnecessary trade war Trump started__and the U.S. taxpayers’ outrage as Trump tried to buy the farmers off with $12 billion of our money? Yes!

Did it distract from the Paul (“Benedict Arnold”) Manafort trial? Yes!

Did it distract from President Panicky’s impulsive, obstruction of justice demand that Attorney General Jeff Sessions step in front of the freight train Mueller investigation and stop it cold, after Sessions recused himself from the investigation over a year ago? Yes!

The president must think we’re pretty stupid, huh?

Is he right? Yes? No?

We’ll find out in November.

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Is Trump Dropping Hefty Hints on Hacking?

Many are infuriated that President Donald Trump continues to hedge on Russia hacking into our democratic process. This despite overwhelming evidence and unanimous reports from American intelligence. But does he know something we all don’t?

Even when grudgingly reading statements acknowledging Russian meddling, Trump can’t help blurting “but it could be other people also.” Such as? Back in 2016, Trump said the real hacker “could be a guy from New Jersey” or “someone sitting on his bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Who could the president possibly have in mind? Oh my God—of course. It’s Chris Christie!

Would a man known for chasing a protestor down a Jersey Shore street brandishing an ice cream cone, or accused of shutting down the George Washington Bridge in a petty effort to get back at a Democrat who dared not support his candidacy for Governor, do such a dastardly thing?

Let’s examine the evidence.

Who was dying to be in Trump’s White House cabinet, only to be denied? Who led the chant of “Lock Her Up!” about Hillary Clinton at the GOP National Convention? Who is a bullying suck up, morbidly obese and lives in the Garden State? Bingo!

Because if it’s not Vladimir Putin, we’d better get to the bottom of this mess soon. The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that Russia was targeting the American power grid, poisoning it with malware. Director of national intelligence Dan Coats said last week that the current cyber threats were “blinking red.”

So why isn’t Trump reading Putin (or Christie, or whomever) the riot act? Hmm…

The rumor persists that Christie wants payback for his loyalty to Trump. With senior staff leaving the White House at dizzying rates, Politico recently suggested that Christie is “putting himself in a prime position to land a plum job in the administration.” He seems to feel Trump owes him.

But could the perpetrator really be Christie? Nah, he wouldn’t (would?) do such a thing, which means the real hefty hacker may still be out there. So if you happen to know of another 400 pound man sitting on his bed in New Jersey eating nachos while wreaking havoc on our democracy, please alert officials ASAP. Thanks!

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Thanks for the Mammaries: No Choice For You!

Women have made progress in controlling their own bodies over the past few decades. Hey, it was nice while it lasted.

So far, July has been no day at the beach for women. First, the United States stunned attendees at the World Health Assembly by opposing a breastfeeding resolution saying mother’s milk is healthiest for children, while pushing the interests of infant formula manufacturers.

You read that correctly. When the measure to “protect, promote and support” breastfeeding was about to be introduced by Ecuador, the United States threatened to impose punishing trade measures on the South American nation until it dropped the resolution. Was Ecuador suddenly concerned about the welfare of poor formula manufacturers? I think not.

“What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health,” said Patti Rundall, policy director for the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action.

But come on, what’s more important — the health of babies and mothers, or campaign contributions? Some women can’t breastfeed, but this was overkill by U.S. officials. Drain the swamp — right into babies’ mouths. Talk about boobs!

On the heels of that fiasco, President Donald Trump nominated conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. If he’s approved, women’s rights to a safe abortion may go the way of the hula hoop. While campaigning in 2016, Trump promised that abortion rights case Roe v. Wade would “automatically” be overturned if he’s elected.

When swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, “Students for Life” President Kristan Hawkins told NPR this was “a day we’ve been waiting for.” The group’s goal has been “to make abortion illegal and unthinkable.”

But Ms. Hawkins, pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion. For example, China isn’t pro-choice. If you get pregnant after having two children in China, they can force you to have an abortion. On the other end of the spectrum, such nations as El Salvador ban it completely. Neither are what Americans would consider bastions of freedom.

Frowning on breastfeeding. Reversing Roe v. Wade. Back to the 1950s we go.

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Summer 2018: Beach, Barbeques and Bias?

At a neighborhood pool, on the Fourth of July, 2018, a white man called the cops on an African-American woman for swimming while black.

Not quite, says the man, pool chairman Adam Bloom of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She didn’t have an ID card, Bloom insists. Only residents of the neighborhood may use the pool.

But Jasmine Abhulimen is a resident. “Where does it say I have to show an ID to use my pool?” she posted in a Facebook video. When the cops came, they agreed with her. On the bright side, Bloom is no longer pool chairman.

An ugly incident involving “The View” host Sunny Hostin also took place during the Fourth holiday in Sag Harbor. “Some kids, about 20 of them, ran in front of our home and starting yelling racial slurs at us . . . saying this is our holiday,” she says. They broke her family’s paddleboard, and “were kind of violent.”

At the Grandview Golf Club in York, Pennsylvania, the police were recently called on five middle-aged African-American women for playing too slowly. The women say that wasn’t the case.

But they are African-American — and women. At Grandview, seems that’s a double bogey.

No, these people did not look like gangsters. A woman taking her son swimming in the neighborhood pool. A TV host and her family renting a beachfront home. A group of women in their 50s enjoying an afternoon of golf. Two guys waiting for a business meeting at a Philadelphia Starbucks, asked to leave, then the police called.

What next? A black family arrested for watching a hockey game?

Meanwhile, what’s the common denominator here? Being where one supposedly doesn’t belong. A pool in a wealthy area. A golf course. The message seems clear. Stay in your place. Or else.

Where do these bigoted creeps get the gall to act out in public what many of them just used to whisper in private?

The two men at Starbucks, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, recently reached a settlement with Philadelphia. Although they had a good case, they agreed to a symbolic payment of $1 each to prove wrongdoing, then asked Starbucks and the city to help fund a $200,000 grant program for high school entrepreneurs.

They followed former first lady’s Michelle Obama’s advice. When they go low, we go high.

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Though Battered, FBI Still Keeping Us Safe

On Wednesday, the people of Cleveland got to watch their Fourth of July parade and fireworks displays in peace, thanks to the FBI.

FBI officials said that Demetrius Pitts, an American citizen also known as Abdur Raheem Rafeeq, who has expressed support for Al Quada, was allegedly scouting out locations to launch a bomb attack, including Cleveland’s Fourth of July parade.

Pitts also talked to an undercover FBI agent about giving remote control cars packed with explosives to children of those in the American military. He was arrested on Monday before he could carry out any of these awful plans.

But that’s what the FBI has been quietly and mostly effectively doing since 9-11. Last Christmas, the agency thwarted an attack by Everitt Aaron Johnson, an ISIS-inspired tow truck driver and ex-Marine who plotted to blow up a crowded San Francisco pier. Johnson had hailed the October 31, 2017 attack in NYC in which an ISIS sympathizer plowed a pickup truck into a bike path, killing eight people.

The FBI, while not perfect, has been putting itself on the line for us this way for years. So why is the president of the United States constantly bashing them and other American intelligence agencies trying to protect us?

Because American intelligence discovered that Russia interfered with our 2016 elections, and may have colluded with the Trump campaign in doing so. The president recently called the investigation of such collusion “a political hit job” and talked darkly of a “deep state” conspiracy against him.

Constantly bashing and denigrating American intelligence agencies while praising Russian president Vladimir Putin (“he said he didn’t meddle”) and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un (“he’s got a great personality”) undermines the morale and effectiveness of these agencies.

“The FBI is in tatters?” former acting attorney general Sally Yates tweeted. “No. The only thing in tatters is the President’s respect for the rule of law. The dedicated men and women of the FBI deserve better.”

So while you may not hear this much lately, thank God for the FBI, and other American intelligence services working daily to keep us safe from enemies foreign and domestic.

BTW, what was the response from our president to the FBI preventing a disaster this week?

Crickets.

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Sorry, No Three Day Weekend For You

Looking forward to your upcoming Fourth of July time off this weekend? Or is it next weekend? Or neither?

By now you know that the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday this year, giving new meaning to the expression “hump day” for those getting only a single day off. Sorry about that!

When I worked in an office and the 4th fell on a, say, Thursday, they’d hold off granting the extra day until the last minute, then toss Friday to us like a dog bone. (Yes, we chomped on it). Three day weekends are always welcomed, four day weekends treasured. The holiday falling midweek? Not so much.

While getting a single vacation day next Wednesday angers many people, others see it as an opportunity. The thinking usually goes, Hey, if I use up just four vacation days around it, I can have nine straight days off. That’s sticking it to the man!

In 1971, Congress changed most national holidays to Mondays, but left Independence Day alone. Bad idea. There was no reason to make the Fourth an exception. Thank God it’s Wednesday? I think not.

Many of us celebrate the holiday with family gatherings, barbeques, and patriotic displays. Politicians often make it a point to appear at public events to praise the nation’s history and virtues.

But truthfully, do we still celebrate the Fourth’s values? Yes, we still treasure our freedoms, and it’s always been thrilling to see holiday fireworks draping the Statue of Liberty. The plaque mounted at the statue’s lower level features “The New Colossus”, a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazurus, and reads in part “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Do we really follow that credo anymore? In light of recent events, perhaps it’s time to replace that stirring invitation with “Give me your well to do, your fluent English speakers, your Phd candidates, and the rest of you poor, frightened masses can take a hike.”

And if that cherished American ideal no longer holds true, is referring to the Fourth as Independence Day and moving it to the first Monday of July really such a sacrilege?

So enjoy your upcoming holiday. Now get back to work!

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Two Plus Two Equals Five? You’d Better Believe It

Monday is late author George Orwell’s birthday, and his chilling classic “1984” unfortunately seems more timely than ever.

Winston Smith, the book’s hero, is brainwashed to love dictatorial “Big Brother,” while forced by the state’s thought police to not only say “2+2=5”, but believe it with all his heart__or else.

Perhaps Orwell should have titled the book “2018.” For example, President Trump still insists we are in grave danger from an increasing number of illegal Mexican immigrants pouring over our border, and need a huge, expensive wall to keep them out. But don’t statistics show more Mexicans are actually leaving the U.S. each year than arriving, and that most who do come here are working at menial but vital jobs Americans wouldn’t touch?

No, that’s ridiculous__Mexican rapists are storming our border and threatening our womenfolk! We need that border wall now, and you can be damn sure the Mexicans will pay for it. 2+2=5!

Meanwhile, perhaps weary of bashing Mexicans, Trump has turned a mischievous eye to our northern border, where an even bigger menace plots to destroy us. Yes, those devious Canadians!

According to CNN, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau asked Trump how he could justify new steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada as a national security issue. Trump replied, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” (uhm, no, they didn’t). Trump later tweet-attacked Trudeau as “dishonest” and “weak.”

But come on__doesn’t Trudeau, and in fact most Canadians, seem honest and super polite? That’s just to make us feel bad! Don’t they keep flooding our borders with diabetes-inducing maple syrup and annoying singers that dominate our radio stations? Deport Drake and Justin Bieber!

Okay, Mexico and Canada are no longer our friends. But take heart__a new amigo has arrived. Of course, I’m talking about that fun guy Kim Jong-un.

“Really, he’s a great personality,” insists President Trump. “He loves his people, not that I’m surprised by that.”

Really? Isn’t Kim the same ruthless dictator who starves and murders hundreds of thousands of his fellow North Koreans? Oops, sorry, must have the wrong Kim__this great personality loves his people to death. You’re absolutely right, Big Brother. 2+2=5.

Give Orwell credit. He did try to warn us.

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De Blasio’s Elite School Plan Doesn’t Pass the Test

Mayor Bill de Blasio probably thought he’d make himself a hero to people of color with his plan to diversify NYC’s elite schools by eliminating the admissions test.

Oops.

“I’m not sure if the mayor is racist, but this policy is certainly discriminatory,” Kenneth Chiu, chairman of the NYC Asian-American Democratic Club, said last week. “Our mayor is pitting minority against minority, which is really, really messed up.”

New Yorkers of Asian descent make up the majority of students at NYC’s eight specialized high schools, according to city data. The mayor’s plan, which includes a new way to admit students based on middle school grades and scores on standardized tests, is intended to include more economically disadvantaged students in the elite schools, many of whom are black and Latino — an admirable goal. The problem is de Blasio’s plan would reduce the number of qualified Asian students in these elite schools, a number of whom are living in poverty themselves.

“We are absolutely on the side of equity,” said Soo Kim of the Stuyvesant Association, “but we don’t believe that the solution is taking from one needy community and giving to another needy community.”

De Blasio’s heart might be in the right place, but what he seems to be saying to minority students is “OK, we’ve given you a lousy education since first grade, but now we’re going to make it up to you.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

There are some terrific public schools and charter schools in the city. But taking the top students from every middle school, even those with lousy track records, and placing them in elite schools, serves no one’s interest. Those admitted to a specialized school who have received an inferior education are not only more likely to do poorly in their new highly competitive schools, but to feel poorly about themselves as well.

The solution? Improve resources offered in low-income neighborhoods from kindergarten on up. Create more specialized high schools to meet demand. And eliminate the advantage that pricey test preparation provides by allocating funds so that disadvantaged kids receive the same test-prep opportunities as more affluent ones.

De Blasio’s plan won’t be passed into law before the June 20 end of the session in Albany. “We want to come up with something that’s good for all students,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

There’s a novel idea.

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