Monthly Archives: August 2008

New York in Denver

It was a hoot to watch Shelly and the rest of Our Gang in the spotlight as Hillary Clinton called for an acclamation for Barack Obama’s nomination on Wednesday afternoon. I forgot what a bloviating display of blowhardism the roll call of states is at any political convention. The ritualistic bragging about each state and political organization must provide a freakish fascination to the rest of the world. (It’s said that the roll call had already been taken behind closed doors that morning, however, and the televised version was rigidly choreographed.)

Two sides of one black Democrat’s and one New Yorker’s feelings about the occasion — Gov. Paterson’s — are on display in this blog entry from the New York Times.

“I watched my father run for lieutenant governor in 1970,” Mr. Paterson said in a speech on Thursday morning to New York Democrats. “They told him he was an asset on that ticket. When it got to the general election, they never even mentioned his name in the paid television campaign ads. What do you think that did to the people who supported him?”

Paterson’s going to be an interesting guy to watch in the Obama era (if indeed we get one). He’s a legislator who’s been thrust without fanfare into a hugely difficult and very high-profile governing job he probably wouldn’t have sought himself, in an age where another black legislator may be rising into the “ultimate” governorship. Paterson is spontaneous (he has to be – he can’t read a teleprompter), and also not averse to complaining about subtle and all too real racism. Sometimes nobody really notices him, and I think he likes it that way — but also doesn’t like it.

Personalities aside, Paterson’s main cry right now is a demand for the federal government to help New York more. I fear that’s not likely to happen with any new president — not even a President Obama — and the cries may even intensify as the economy appears sure to slip further.

We’re living in a time when African Americans have more political power (and more complex loyalties) than ever before. Barack Obama’s nomination is historic indeed, but it’s just a new chapter opening in America’s political history — not the end of history. What will New York’s role be in it?

You have the power

Quick note: New York Times, lamenting the nation’s inadequate power grid, talks about NYRI without mentioning NYRI. Oh! All those wind farms in the North Country and those pesky state public utility boards that won’t do the right thing for The Nation!

Wind advocates say that just two of the windiest states, North Dakota and South Dakota, could in principle generate half the nation’s electricity from turbines. But the way the national grid is configured, half the country would have to move to the Dakotas in order to use the power.

Well, boo hoo hoo! So either move to where the resources are, like your ancestors did, or take off the mask and trample over the rural communities that are in your way, so you can power your gargantuan five-bathroom second homes. Let’s get this party started. Or, we could just finally have a rational discussion about energy policy (generation, transmission and usage) that includes everyone at the table. That would be nice.

Silly season

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. It’s Silly Season, and even sillier than usual, and I can’t think straight until it’s over with. (“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”)


CNY/Finger Lakes food gets a very tasty article in today’s New York Times. Salt potatoes, Doug’s Fish Fry, spiedies, Baker’s Chicken Coop and more.

I’m not sure I’ll get to the Fair at all this year to enjoy any of this fab food, but I have to say the opening fireworks (I have a great view of them from my window) were the best I’d seen in years. Not Harborfest quality exactly, but it was a pretty good show.

If I were Queen

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt of Buffalo is in a peck of trouble over infidelities committed with an Albany female, which has resulted in all kinds of tawdry e-mail-posting nastiness which I won’t bore you with (except to raise an eyebrow at how easily some Albany females can be bought with the promise of a parking spot), and an Assembly ethics investigation, which I will briefly bore you with in the form of a link. On TAP and elsewhere, the demeaning culture for women in Albany is debated again, as it was during Spitzer’s painful exit.

If I were Queen of all New York women, I would issue an immediate recall of any and all women from Albany — legislators, interns, activists (oh what the heck: all of them, including the barmaids). Not a person with a double X chromosome would be found in that town. I would direct all of my subjects to assemble forthwith at Seneca Falls, where we would have a massive closed-door meeting and straight talk session: Are too many women in Albany selling out their sisters for parking spaces? How much is the experience of women in Albany affecting the dignity and aspirations of all New York women? Is there a better way to power and influence? Are New York women getting the support they need in this endeavor?

Big questions. But if you can’t ask them in Seneca Falls, New York, birthplace of the American women’s political movement, where the hell can you ask them? If New York women can’t talk about such questions as they relate to democracy, who on earth in this country can?