Saturday, December 19, 2009

 

"Christmastime For The Jews"

Saturday Night Live's Robert Smigel gets together with the immortal Darlene Love to bring seasonal good tidings to members of the Tribe:

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

 

Jack Bauer & the Dec. 24th Plot

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"Putzhead" Chickens Come To Roost?

Sen. Chuck Schumer should know better than to use this sort of language -- even in a sotto voce tone -- with a member of the public.

This is true given that the good senator owes his office to a moment of definite un-Senatorial behavior by the man who previously occupied the seat. In 1998, then-Sen. Al D'Amato was in a dogfight of a re-election with tenacious challenger Rep. Schumer.

During a political event with Jewish supporters in the campaign's waning days, D'Amato referred to his opponent as a "putzhead." He initially denied it, but then someone attending the event confirmed it. Schumer pounced and D'Amato never recovered.

Yes, there are differences: For one, Schumer isn't in a re-election campaign. In fact, he's been expected to cruise to a third term next year. And, unlike D'Amato, Schumer owned up and apologized rather quickly.

However, this isn't an image that one gets of Schumer. He's seen as both a relatively smart politician and a tenacious campaigner (he was responsible for the Democrats re-taking the Senate in 2006). But an incident like this can be a potential game changer. In one important way, this was worse than D'Amato's slip. The former senator was talking about another politician. It could have been seen as a "heat of battle" situation. Schumer said a vulgar word about a woman who was just doing her job.

Stay tuned to see if this sticks with Schumer.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

 

NY's Early Lame Duck

Even before his hard-fought, expensively-purchased third term begins January 1st, Mike Bloomberg may already be a lame duck.

For the first time in his eight years in office, the mayor lost a big development vote in the New York City Council -- 45-1. The plan would have opened the door to transforming the long-shuttered Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx into a mall. The Council rejected the project -- which would have meant thousands of new and permanent jobs -- because neither the mayor nor the developer, Related Co., would (rightly so) go along with an imposed "living wage" for both construction workers and auxiliary staff.

It's bad that left-leaning Council said "no" to needed jobs in arguably the poorest borough in the city. However, in the past, if Bloomberg wanted a project like this, he could usually depend on Council Speaker Christine Quinn to pull along enough otherwise-recalcitrant council members to provide the votes. After his narrow 5 percent election victory (despite spending over $100 million in his campaign), Bloomberg has no capital to spend. Quinn herself was held to 52 percent in a Democratic primary -- partly because she was perceived as too close to the independent/Republican mayor. If this is a sign of things to come, Mike Bloomberg's third term is going to be a loooong four years.

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