Catchin' Up...

Just wanted to share some news with everyone - I know, I know... I haven't been blogging as much as I had been lately. But, in my defense, I've been working on lots of other projects:

Brooklyn GOP Radio has taken up a lot of my weekends. Thankfully, I've gotten some help from new co-host Russell Gallo, and the show has been steadily growing in audience and exposure. We even set up a new Official Show Blog, so check that out!

I recently attended the NYS Young Republicans' "World Series of Poker" at Canlon's Restaurant in Oakwood Heights. It was a great event, lots of fun, even though I was taken on the river to get knocked out of the tournament. I wuz robbed. But the news wasn't all bad - and my father (hardly a "young" Republican) took the title and grabbed a seat at the Final Table!

Work has also picked up a great deal. I've had a lot of motions to write lately, which is probably my favorite part of the practice. I've learned a lot, and I definitely feel like my skills are not only improving from week to week, but I'm retaining those skills even if I don't use them for weeks at a time.

Finally, I had an encouraging meeting with the new Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks, and we're all on the same page as far as moving the project forward. Keyword: small victories. More on this in the future!

So as you can see, many irons are in the fire, as always. And many outlets for expression and growth. I'll keep everyone posted as much as I can.


Oh, and a final note - best of luck to my friend Jessenia Maldonado as she takes the NY Bar Exam this week! I've known Jess since 4th grade when my family moved back to Brooklyn and a year and a half out in Suffolk County. Growing up, we weren't in many of the same classes, and we weren't the closest of friends, but we've recently gotten back in touch, thanks to MySpace and Facebook, and have re-connected based on our shared experience in law school.

Go get 'em, Jess!

Shameless Plug - Listen to ME on Brooklyn GOP Radio!

I'm excited about this, guys and gals... my internet radio debut (if you don't count me briefly filling in back in the Gotham Sports Radio days, that is!)

You can listen LIVE HERE, or anytime by using that new BlogTalkRadio player gadget thingy on the left of this page.

The DEBUT episode of Brooklyn GOP Radio explodes on the scene!

Gene Berardelli will be your host for the hour, which will start with Congressional Candidate Michael Allegretti (NY-13) who’s opening the show – and his new campaign office – with an exclusive interview.

Brooklyn GOP Chair Craig Eaton will also join us to talk about what 2010 will mean for the Brooklyn GOP.

Then, we’ll check in with Peter Cipriano, a 20-year old candidate looking to make some noise in the 49th Assembly Race.

And we’ll round out this fantastic jam-packed show with Celeste Katz of the NY Daily News’ “Daily Politics” Blog – a must-read for all NY Political News – who will recap the NY GOP Convention and the week in politics!

From top to bottom – an amazing opening lineup!

Remembering a True Patriot

I'm sure that just about everyone has at one time or another heard of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Longfellow. Revere and his cries that "the British are coming!" are, after all, is part of American folklore.

But unless you saw Assume the Position With Mr. Wahl, you've probably never heard of Israel Bissell - the postman who really called the colonies to arms at the start of the Revolution.

So, on the anniversary of this forgotten patriot's sojourn, and with Wednesday marking the 150th anniversary of Mr. Bissell's passing, I offer this humble rebuttal that I recently found online.

Israel Bissell’s Ride
by Gerard Chapman

Listen, my children and you shall hear
Of Israel Bissell of yesteryear:
A poet-less patriot whose fame, I fear
was eclipsed by that of Paul Revere.

He lacks the renown that accrued to Revere
for no rhymester wrote ballad to blazon his fame;
But Bissell accomplished and isn’t it queer?
a feat that suggested Revere’s to be tame.

And yet is unknown to all but the few
who, intrigued by the hist’ry of exceptional deeds,
Wish now to pay homage to Bissell long due
to him who filled one of the colonies’ needs.

‘Twas the nineteenth of April in ‘seventy-five
the day that Paul’s ride was brought to a pause
(That war-warning which was made to survive
by Longfellow’s preference for him over Dawes.)

That Bissell went south to carry the post
To patriot folk in Jersey and Penn.
And despite that his route was much longer than most
(it passed over hill, through valley and glen.)

He carried the news of Britain’s attack
and the Middlesex farmer’s resolute stand,
And asked that the faraway colonists back
their Boston compatriots’ stout-hearted band.

Down through Connecticut, down through New York
he spread the alarm far and wide
Across the wide Hudson he passed like a cork:
he rode through New Jersey, and on the far side

Attained Pennsylvania at last
His trip cost two horses that under him died;
Never before had man gone so fast
the distance that Bissell made on his long ride.

He reduced the trip time from six to four days
to take to the men on the Delaware’s shore
The Patriots’ call for a blaze
of resistance to Britain and war!
So men from New York, Philadephia too
joined men from New Jersey in telling the King
That henceforth the Colonists wanted their due
in matters of government, and everything

That affected the lives of men who required
the unfettered right to control their own fate.
When such was denied them these men were inspired
to proclaim to all mankind a newly-formed state.

We all know the fruit of the joining of forces:
How King George and Great Britain were defeated in war;
To Israel Bissell and his galloping horses
we now render tribute that was due him before.

Adult Swim

As some of you may have figured out by now, I am now writing a regular column online for the Brooklyn GOP. I've been given carte blanche to write what I feel are relevant federal, state, city and local issues. It's my effort to initiate some mature, topical political discussion - something that has been lacking as of late. It's a lot of ground to cover, but so far the response has been plenty positive.

The new "gig" notwithstanding, nothing beats writing here - where I can give my unvarnished opinion on matters and where the words are mine and mine alone.

Speaking of said unvarnished opinion, here it is: The local political landscape has been littered by the baseless propaganda of a bunch of armchair politicians who have no idea what real life in local politics is really all about. I swear, I've read the word "demagoguery" more in the past week than I have in years - and such a word is part of the parlance of the pretentious, the poser, and the wanna-be - three classes of people that I have no time for at all. But while the heavy-handed words remain, the dignity left months ago.

So how about this for a change. Let's all get real.

Let's all start supports accusation with a modicum of fact. Let's all start spending time researching and putting in the work to sound like an intelligent human being instead of working on the next inane YouTube video. Let's all get constructive. Because right now, there is no way anyone who chooses to take part in local political online "discourse" could take what's going on right now seriously.

It's time for the kiddies to all have sit their tantrums out in the time-out chair, and leave things to the grownups.

It's time for the adults to unplug the computers and ground the little big men and little missys out there who think they know a thing or two because they read about it in a book or whatever when in fact, their knowledge doesn't amount to anything in real world terms. Because they've made a mess of things, a mess us grownups will clean up, because that's what we do.

Maybe one day they'll learn, but at this rate, it's anyone's guess.

Oh, and to those grownups out there: I offer my comments section for your use. We could all use some quality time away from the cranks.

Cuomo: Spitzer 2.0?

While recently reading an op-ed piece in Crain's New York, I was reminded of the well-known phrase attributed to poet-philosopher George Santayana that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” New York voters would do well to remember this when they head to the polls in November to vote for their next Governor.

NY Democrats breathed a collective sigh of relief that Gov. David Paterson's abandoned his campaign, clearing the way for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to run for chief executive in Albany with the collective weight of the Democratic Machine behind him – all without taking any position whatsoever on any of the colossal issues facing the State now and in the near future.

Sound familiar at all? It should. The present state of affairs strikingly resembles Eliot Spitzer’s march to Albany. Can you say disaster? I can.

Long before Ashley Dupre, “Client #9” and all the other sordid details surrounding the man presently more famous for leaving his socks on in bed than any Governor in state history, Eliot Spitzer was well on his way to becoming one of the most ineffective leaders in recent memory. The “f@#&-in’ steamroller” rode the wave of large margin victories backed by huge campaign money based on a reform platform that consisted of… well… not much substance.

You remember, don’t you? How from day one in office, the business of Albany would change! Spitzer proposed, among other reforms, reductions in health care – a sacred cow to Albany special interests. Said special interests went on the warpath and abandoned him and any legislator who was with him.

In short, despite a landslide, Spitzer never let us in on his grand plan. The result? No cut in health care spending, and Spitzer was "f@#&-in' steamrolled". Truly, a textbook case of how to squander political capital.

Now let’s turn to Mario’s baby boy. Does anyone really know where he stands on anything? Sure, he wants reform – so do I. So does everyone else. And like Spitzer, he can bring all the usual platitudes in a speech.

But what’s the plan, Andrew? How do we get out from under this mountain of debt? Where does he see opportunity for economic development? What will happen to our taxes? The silence should be alarming, if not deafening.

Until now, Cuomo has gone out of his way to be the un-candidate. Republicans and Democrats-turned-Republicans and anyone else jumping out of the woodwork to gain the party nod to run for Governor would be well served to be clear and specific in their platforms to contrast the large echoing sound heard from Albany is coming from the gaping void in leadership located inside the Governor’s Mansion.

44th Council Endorsement: Why I Abstained

This might become an annual kind of posting - explaining why I voted a certain way in a given endorsement!

So, it looks like I ruffled a few feathers with my vote on who to endorse in the 44th Council Special Election.

Let’s recap briefly. For those who don’t know, there is a special City Council election to fill the 44th District seat held by Simcha Felder. There are two Republicans running – Jonathan Judge and Ken Rice. On Wednesday, the Executive Committee met to determine who to endorse in this non-partisan Special Election. End of brief recap.

Before the meeting, the Law Committee members in attendance met with the Chairman to discuss procedures, voting and rules. The Law Committee recommendation was (1) that the Rules of the KCRP did not apply to non-partisan special elections and (2) therefore, a simple majority of the Executive Committee meeting called for such an endorsement would be sufficient. At the meeting, the Law Committee report was adopted and enacted.

When the vote came down, there were 33 votes for Rice, 3 for Judge and 3 abstentions. I was one of those who abstained.

“Why?” you ask? Glad to tell you.

My thought process was this - as one of the members who set up the ground rules for the vote itself before the meeting was convened, I felt that by voting for either candidate, I would put the integrity of the vote into question. Had I voted my preference, the losing camp would have been able to argue that I helped set up an uneven playing field, and a debate over whether the vote was tainted would go on and on beyond the meeting - much as it did after County Committee this past year when the losing camp argued that a computer “glitch” in tabulation was a sign of impropriety.

So, as my way to protect the integrity of the endorsement, I stayed out of the substantive vote.

I’ve since heard that some people - even some I consider friends - may have a problem with the way I voted. To all, I say two things:

First: Say it to my face.

Second: If you don’t like it – tough.

I take my position on the Law Committee seriously, and my vote took more than who I like into consideration – it took the integrity of what we were trying to do into consideration.

Now, to those same people – and everyone else for that matter - if you ask me who I would’ve voted for had I not taken part in creating the voting structure, I would have said that based on both candidates presentations, I would’ve voted for Ken Rice.

I thought he handled matters coolly, professionally, and his genuine personality shone through. Polish will come with time and experience, but I thought that he has what it takes.

Jonathan Judge was much the opposite – and, as frequent readers know, I’m not a Jonathan Judge basher. At times during the meeting, Jonathan was condescending to adversaries to the point of confrontation, which didn’t sit well with me. In my opinion, part of the makeup of a good City Councilman is to be even-handed, calm, cool, and collected – even in the face of challenge, adversity and bad feeling. On that night, Jonathan appeared to be none of those.

A second reason – how often has the Republican Party been accused of backing the “same old” crew of people? Ken Rice is brand new – a fresh face who reached out to the party (and to his Republican opponent) and expressed desire to get involved and to run. That says a lot about Ken Rice, and our support sends a message that the day of the “same old” crew is over, and that we are embracing a “big tent” mentality in the spirit of growing the party.

If anyone wants to know more, all you have to do is ask. I look forward to comments.