Category Archives: Politics

Any Witch Way You Can

The chickens of a Romanian witch? Perhaps!

Everybody complains about taxes, so when someone actually does something about it, that’s big news.

Witches in Romania, outraged over a plan to put a 16% tax on their earnings, cast a spell this week on lawmakers. They cooked up a vile brew of catpoop and dead dog, chanted some incantations, and cast the poisonous mandrake root into the Danube.

The politicians take this stuff seriously. Most of Romania has one foot in the 19th century and another in the 21st, with satellite dishes on the roof and outhouses in the backyard.Walk through a village in Transylvania and you’d believe there’s something to the witch thing.

Can a witch’s spell lower taxes? Insert the Christine O’Donnell joke here.

Me? I’m not very superstitious, but if I were, this would have been a week full of mysterious signs.

First I found a man’s keys in the street. They had fallen through a hole in his pocket. Then there was the sad incident with the dog. And yesterday I came across a small flock of ducks in the Price Chopper parking lot. I herded them to a grassy area so they wouldn’t be run over. They promptly waddled back into the parking lot.

In earlier times, these unrelated events  would have been seen as portents of… something. What does it all mean? I’d pay the Romanian witch tax to find out.


Election Day Wisdom

Once upon a time, shortly before election day, the marketing director of a local TV station went into the newsroom.

In his hand was the script for the election night promo — but this was no ordinary promo. Yes, it spoke of the TV station’s superior skill, experience, and prowess in providing election coverage, but it also told viewers they should get out and vote.

The eager young man brought his script to the veteran news anchor, a man known far and wide as the most seasoned and respected journalist on local television. He looked at the copy.

“I’m not reading this,” he grumbled. “If people are too stupid to vote without us telling them to do it, they shouldn’t be voting at all.”

How true.

The Politics of Dog Poop

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Senate candidate Joe Sestak likens the mess in Washington to dog poop:

Now that’s somebody I could really get behind — especially if it’s real dog poop in the bags.

This commercial says Sestak’s a guy who’s going to do something about all the sh*t going on in Washington. Nevermind that he spent the last four years serving in the House; that’s the sort of stuff that ruins a good metaphor.

Sestak’s spot may hit the mark, but I’ve gotta confess, one has to wonder about Belle. I don’t share my dog Maddy’s contempt for fluffy white pooches, but, well… it just may not send the right message.

This is not to say that your dog is a reflection on your character. Just because I wouldn’t want to be seen walking that thing around my neighborhood doesn’t make it bad.

And isn’t it unfair to judge a man by his dog? What are you going to do next, get down on Carl Paladino over his pit bull?

Joe Bruno is No John Sweeney

(Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

Who among us will ever forget the sight of Joe Bruno striding across State Street to have dinner at Jack’s after his sentencing yesterday? He is the embodiment of arrogance and entitlement.

Say what you will about John Sweeney, but at least he had the guts to stand up in court and take his licks.

It takes a man to admit he did something wrong, and for all his tough guy posturing, Joe Bruno doesn’t have the stuff. Up until yesterday, it seemed hard-hearted to send an old man to prison. Not anymore.

Thacher Park (barely) Open

My favorite picnic spot at Thacher Park was quiet and uncrowded on Saturday. That’s because it was closed.

Several of the park’s roads and parking areas were barricaded, blocking access to many of the picnic areas, fields, and special spots that make Thacher Park a local treasure. The ground was strewn with broken tree limbs and branches, the sort of stuff that would normally be removed during routine clean-up.

We were able to park in the Hop Field area and managed to find a picnic table and grill that weren’t broken. It was important to be extra careful with our charcoal cooking fire, because the ground was carpeted with piles of dried leaves and pine needles.

The rest rooms? Locked. Not a big problem for me and the boys, but it’s something my wife finds inconvenient. Without going into detail, it appears that the area behind the bathrooms is being used as an open air latrine.

The State Senate and Assembly have proposed restoring enough funding to keep Thacher Park open, but as detailed in this statement from Parks Commissioner Carol Ash, funding cuts will mean a crippling reduction in services.

Depressing? Shameful? Disgraceful? Take your pick, they all apply.

Eliot Spitzer's Hat

Eliot Spitzers hat
I have Eliot Spitzer’s hat.

Well, not his hat, but the hat handed out on January 1, 2007 when two-hundred of us joined Spitzer for a two mile run in Washington Park. It was inauguration day and we’d been promised that starting on “Day One”  things would be different in Albany.

In the pre-dawn crowd were a dozen reporters, gangs of photographers, a large handful of Spitzer staffers, and scores of well-wishers.

I’d swear I saw a couple of people chasing him copies of their resume.

It was a swell time. The Capital Holiday Lights were blazing and everyone was in a great mood even though it was barely 6am. People were literally hooting and hollering as they ran along the slushy road behind their new governor. George Pataki never did anything like this!

Nobody could have imagined what happened to Eliot Spitzer. You’ve got to wonder what people who dragged their butts out of bed on New Year’s Day thought when the wheels came flying off his governorship in March 2008.

It was a time of great hope and optimism that we would see a big change in New York. Well, at least I got a hat.