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Archive for May 18, 2010

Why People Hate Politicians

May 18, 2010 1 comment

We have an Indiana Republican and hero of abstinence who cheated; and a Democratic Attorney General and Senate candidate from Connecticut who pretends he fought in Vietnam. Oh, I don’t know- maybe it’s all the lying and hypocrisy?

And it’s not just one political party; it seems to be the whole wretched lot of them.
Tell you what, Republicans may do better than Dems in November but that’s only because there are more Democratic incumbents. If there was a third party called the “Honesty” party- they’d all be swept out of office. I don’t believe these “Tea Party” candidates are going to turn out any better either. That’s what happens to reformers; they get a taste for power and they join the elite classes and start playing the same egotistical games.

Hypocrisy

This is Indiana Republican Congressman, Mark Souder.

This is Congressman Souder being interviewed by a part-time staffer named Tracy Jackson on the subject of abstinence.  Ms. Jackson is the alleged mistress.

Here is a portion of Congressman Souder’s resignation letter:

To serve has been a blessing and a responsibility given from God. I wish I could have been a better example. I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff. In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process.

Did you get that? It’s all Washington’s fault.

Deception

This is Connecticut Attorney General, and Democratic Senate candidate, Richard Blumenthal.

This is Richard Blumenthal two years ago at a ceremony honoring military veterans.

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

This is from Monday’s New York Times:

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

Qualifications for Office

Actually, let’s start in reverse. Anyone who wants to run for political office should be immediately disqualified. Already, their ego is out of control.

So what do we do?

We draft people. Like jury duty. One year at a time. Pay them well so they don’t get tempted. A year should not give them enough time to quite learn all the ways of Washington and “K” Street lobbyists. The year’s up and back home.

Citizen lawmakers instead of professional career-climbing, hypocritical, lying egomaniacs.

Just a thought.

A Different View of Manhattan

Bodega by the 207th St. Subway Station- Kareem Abdul Jabbar, then known as Lew Alcindor grew up on nearby Dykman Street

Spent an interesting weekend in Inwood, at the very northern tip of Manhattan, immersed between two wildly different but compatible cultures; Dominicans and their busy, colorful, music-pounding, flea-market sprinkled streets right next to gentrified urban white neighborhoods dotted with Art Deco buildings circa 1920.

It’s truly the best thing about New York- the mixing. Here are some of the sights in a mere three-block walk:

First off, the weather was great so everybody and their hermano were out on the streets. The thumping rhythms of Latin music emanate from cars and boom boxes. On weekends, the Dominican part of Inwood, like Washington Heights, is somewhat like being transported to another country.

In front of the pawn shops, bodegas, hardware stores, tattoo parlors and Latin restaurants are dozens of flea market stands selling the strangest stuff ever. There are normal goods like cheap clothes, purses, boot-leg movies, 1989 Topps baseball cards- but also a highly unique collection of electronics. Pretty much everything you throw out when you move- like battered extension cords and old remotes.

Then there’s like a buffer block right where the A train stops at the 207th street subway station. Here, the transition begins. The first Art Deco apartment building looms on the left as you head north. It’s a very hilly area and the building sits atop some very steep and intimidating-looking stone stairs.

Harry Houdini's widow lived on Payson Street after his death

About 500 more feet and you officially enter yet another world; quiet and residential with a mix of housing including 7 and 8 story pre-WWII buildings, detached homes, and those great deco apartments- but still packing plenty of character. Like the two old, presumably Dominican men, who open their apartment window along Seamen Street performing old-time Latin karaoke as the urban white crowd strolls by below, every one of them, seemingly, with a dog on a leash.

Saturdays, there’s a small but diverse weekly farmer’s market that operates year-round with all kinds of great goodies from breads and fruits and veggies to cheeses and wine. And across the street is Inwood Park with tons of woods and paths, softball fields and dog-runs, leading east toward the Harlem River. That’s where Columbia University has its crew team. The school has painted a gigantic blue “C” on a cliff overlooking the river and word is the locals think it’s tacky and an eyesore. The University has it regularly repainted but no one’s figured out where they got the authority to take over that particular cliff. Supposedly there’s a lawsuit coming.

And the park is where the cultures meld. The dog-walking white urbanites populate the paths. Everybody shares the meadows. The Dominicans own the baseball diamonds.

Beisbol everywhere!

Baseball and Softball rule in Inwood. The Dominican Republic, after all, stocks the Major Leagues with some of the best players the game has ever seen; Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, the Alou brothers, Felipe, Jesus and Matty. It’s in the DNA.

Having attended many a Little League game in the white-bread Atlanta suburbs when my son was growing up it was kind of refreshing to take in a bit of an Inwood Little League contest. Not a single Anglo name in the lineups but plenty of Bautista’s and even one Valenzuela. The fast-pitch softball fields are where the big boys play. And they’re good- really, really good. Some of the slickest fielding and power hitting I’ve ever seen on a softball diamond.

An Inwood Park trail in the Fall

It’s Manhattan. From Wall Street and the Chrysler building to Madison Avenue; from Central Park and Lincoln Center to the parks, softball fields, markets and bodegas of Inwood; it is, truly, one of the neatest and unique islands in the world.