Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'll Wait It Out

Did you hear that Captain Sully, the pilot who miraculously landed a plane in the Hudson is going back to work?

I don't know about you, but if I find out Sully is my pilot, I'm going to cancel and get on the next flight.

Why is that? Well the way I figure it, once you land a plane in the Hudson, you probably think you can do anything as a pilot. How can he not feel invincible? I can see the guy doing congratulatory shots of tequila with passengers, singing karaoke in the cockpit, while making the plane fly upside down.

When the passengers get nervous, I can see him yelling "Have no fear, Sully is Here!" and bragging "This time I'm gonna land the damn thing in Time Square!"

That's OK. I will wait for the next flight.


What is the use in being a celebrity if you cannot have a stupid cause to promote? The latest cause is one we warned you about. It's the let Roman Polanski go free group. Apparently all the hip people have signed. It sort of a status symbol, I guess. Like getting a table at Nobu. See the petition below:

Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese: Free Roman Polanski!

Because so many prominent members of the arts have come together to free a child rapist, we must give this illustrious group a name.

With all due apologizes to the great continent, how about we call this group A.F.R.I.C.A.? As in "Artists For Raping Innocent Children in America".

Did you see Woody Allen had the audacity to sign? Shouldn't he, you know, know? Woody Allen signing onto a petition to free a child rapist should have the same effect as Charles Manson writing to David Berkowitz's parole board.

Here is good-old Roman in 1979 talking about his case:

"If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls! "

Boys and Girls, keep your eyes on what's relevant in this case: They are going to tell you the judge was a bad guy, that the prosecutors messed up, and that Polanski deserves sympathy.

But what they won't tell you is the truth, which is the following: Polanski is a statutory rapist who fled the U.S. rather than serve his sentence.

Let him serve his time and if he is a non-citizen, have his child- molesting ass deported to a country like France who accept his type with open arms.

Than he can make another movie. Perhaps an updated "Midnight Express".

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Man's Way

We all go through it. Whether you are on the stoop, or off, you cannot avoid it. People deal with it in different ways.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about loss. At some point we all lose someone or something dear to us. It could be a parent, a child or a friend. On a lesser level it could be a job or your hair. Or something as trivial as a ball game.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with major loss; each of us has to do what works for us.

Here is an example from American history of how one man dealt with incredible loss.

On February 14, 1884 Teddy Roosevelt was a twenty-six year old New York Assemblyman working in Albany. He receives two messages, several hours apart. The first, is that his mother suddenly died. The second, his wife, Alice, also suddenly and tragically died. Alice was only twenty-two and just two days before her death gave birth to their first and only child, also named Alice.

How did Roosevelt deal with such unspeakable tragedy? He returned to New York City, and wrote this entry in his diary about his wife:

She was beautiful in face and form, and lovelier still in spirit; As a flower she grew, and as a fair young flower she died. Her life had been always in the sunshine; there had never come to her a single sorrow; and none ever knew her who did not love and revere her for the bright, sunny temper and her saintly unselfishness. Fair, pure, and joyous as a maiden; loving , tender, and happy. As a young wife; when she had just become a mother, when her life seemed to be just begun, and when the years seemed so bright before her—then, by a strange and terrible fate, death came to her. And when my heart’s dearest died, the light went from my life forever.

And for the rest of his life, Roosevelt never spoke of his first wife Alice again. Not privately or publicly. Not to the daughter his late wife gave birth too two days before her death; not even in his autobiography did he mention Alice.

TR's biographer Edmund Morris described Roosevelt manner of dealing with Alice's death as ""Like a lion obsessively trying to drag a spear from its flank, Roosevelt set about dislodging Alice Lee from his soul. Nostalgia, a weakness to which he was abnormally vulnerable, could be indulged if it was pleasant, but if painful it must be suppressed, until the memory is too dead to throb."

That was TR's way.

His mother and wife are both buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Its About Time

Did you read where Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland as a fugitive in connection with his 1978 guilty plea of having sex with a thirteen year old girl in California?

Recap: Polanski is a famous movie director who in 1978 pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor. (The fact that he gave the thirteen year-old Quaaludes was dropped in the plea.)

Prior to sentencing, Polanski fled to the land that embraces statutory rapists- France.

And that is where he has been for the last 31 years, a fugitive from American justice.

But has that stopped Hollywood from embracing him? No, far from it. He is a Hollywood hero, and has received an Oscar and numerous other awards.

Whenever your Hollywood-types lecture us on who to vote for, why universal government health care is vital, and all kinds of public policy, don't you think we should remember that these are the people that reward and revere convicted child molesters?

Can you think of any other industry that does that?

Moreover, shouldn't we have laws that don't allow fugitives like Polanski to make money in America while they are on the lam?

Prediction: watch a big public relations push to portray Polanski as the victim. His supporters live above the rules of society and have no real conception of right and wrong.

Bring him back.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Here Comes The Son

Is there any doubt that football is the sport where a coach can make the biggest difference?

In basketball, Phil Jackson would call a timeout, take a long puff, exhale, and say "Get the ball to _____" (Fill in the blank with Jordan or Bryant.) It got him a lot of hardware.

In baseball, you give a manager four excellent pitchers, you will see him in October.

But football is different. There are so many variables, so much strategy so many things that are under a coach's control, that who the coach is makes a hell of a difference.

Look at the Jets under Rex Ryan. I know its early, and I am still not sold on the rookie QB, but what a difference a coach makes.

Under Ryan, the Jets play with aggression. They swarm to the ball. They play with enthusiasm. And oh yeah, they blitz the hell out of the opponent.

In short, they play like they were coached by Rex's father, Buddy Ryan.

When Bill Parcells coached the Giants, he used to face Buddy Ryan's Eagles twice a year. He used to say that a Buddy Ryan team was always the hardest to prepare for. The reason: Buddy Ryan's teams were capable of anything at anytime. Fake punts, 7-8 man blitzes, going for it on 4th down deep in his own territory and bounties on other players were all part of Buddy's arsenal. His tendencies were that he had no tendencies.

Remember when Buddy coached the '85 Bear defense? Has there ever been a better one year defense than that one?

Its refreshing to see Rex Ryan incorporate his father's coaching style. So many times you hear a son of a coach say, "I want to do it my own way", Rex Ryan is smart enough to stay with Buddy ball.

In the game Sunday, did you see the last time the Titans had the ball? It was 4th and long. Did Ryan play prevent? Of course not, he blitzed so many people, even Fireman Ed was swarming Kerry Collins.

Lets see how this plays out.

Running Us Down

Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever."
Michael to Fredo

"For those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.”- President Obama in his address to the United Nations

"What's the difference between a caucus and a cactus? On a cactus, all the pricks are on the outside."- Lyndon Baines Johnson

Who knew that America became a nation of great character only 9 months ago? I must have missed the memo, or email.

Fighting and helping to end World Wars, rebuilding war-torn nations, including our former enemies, protecting all of Western Europe from Soviet invasion, and providing billions of dollars and goods in humanitarian aid to nations around the world all must have happened in the last 9 months.

Remember when John Kennedy spoke in Berlin and repeatedly criticized American actions before he became President? I don't remember it either.

Never before have we had a president who when speaking on foreign soil or to a foreign audience, has this compulsion to denigrate American history and actions that took place prior to his taking the oath of office.

And he does it to try to gain credibility with the non-credible. With two-bit dictators and nations who don't hold a candle to the courage, valor and charity America has exhibited to the world.

Anyway, if you need a refresher on the unique goodness of America, check out this brilliant essay, written by Pete Hamill at the end of the 20th Century:

America: The Place Where Dreams Still Do Come True

When I was a boy growing up in Brooklyn, I could see from our tenement window the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of Manhattan. They were there in all seasons, the statue like a green toy cemented into the harbor, the skyline a great cluster of spires aimed at the sky. In our neighborhood of Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants, they represented America itself. Frederic Bartholdi’s glorious statue stood as a permanent sign of welcome, a promise of freedom. The skyline symbolized all the soaring possibilities of that freedom. They weren’t symbols of New York; they stood for America itself.

Those symbols, made visible and concrete by the efforts of human beings, were not lies. The first said that here, in these United States, men and women were free of the ancient curses of class, iron tradition, religious division. An Irish Catholic from bigoted Belfast, a Jew from some forlorn and isolated Russian shtetl, an Italian from the eroded wastes of the Mezzogiorno: all were free. Each was the political equal of the richest man in the country, able to cast a vote in free elections, possessed of rights guaranteed on paper in the Constitution of the United States. Here, no man or woman would ever genuflect before a king. Here, no child would shiver in fear during the terrors of a pogrom. Here, no feudal don would exercise arbitrary powers of life and death. Not here. Not ever. This was America. Here you could imagine a glorious future. Here, dreams really did come true.

The skyline, of course, was an accidental monument. It had no master planner. Each building was the product of specific need and individual will, the foundations driven into the granite of lower Manhattan by men of flesh and blood. Some were ruthless. Some were greedy. Some were corrupt. But they put buildings into the world that were not there before, and those buildings became parts of that skyline. For some Americans, in all parts of the country, that skyline could be viewed with bitterness, even hatred, as a symbol of Wall Street and arrogant bankers and a rapacious capitalism. Around the world, it was often viewed with contempt or fear.

But for many of us growing up after the war, and for millions in other nations, that skyline was a challenge. Yes, it said, this is a free country: but what are you going to do with that freedom? Here before you, gleaming in the sun, is what some Americans did with theirs. This accidental monument, the skyline of New York, is proof that if men and women work hard, acquire tools through education, and dream large dreams, they can challenge the sky itself. That skyline was the second thing that most immigrants saw when they sailed past the Statue of Liberty to begin their American lives. They came up from the dark holds of steerage, blinking in the sunshine, and there was the immense statue to the left, while before them lay the clustered spires of that skyline. It remains for many of them, and for millions of their children, a symbol of an invincible American optimism.


To be sure, that optimism has been sorely tested since the end of World War Two. It was tested by persistent racism. It was tested by recurrent economic recessions. It was tested by Korea, and more ferociously, by the long agony of Vietnam. Assassinations, riots, tanks rumbling through American cities: all assaulted optimism. A more severe, long-lasting test came with the great changes in American manufacturing. The small factories that gave employment to people like my immigrant father, with his eighth grade education, began to vanish. Migrants from the American South – abandoning their own home places because of a combination of agricultural automation and racism – began arriving in American cities at the very moment that the factories were closing. Welfare too often replaced work; in New York, the number of welfare cases rose from about 150,000 in 1955 to more than a million at the end of the 1980s. Children were born, grew up and went to school without ever knowing anyone who had worked. Too many men abandoned their children. Too many children had children. The twinned plagues of drugs and guns fueled a crazed escalation of the crime rate. There was a time when it seemed that only a fool could embrace that old optimism.

And yet that optimism persisted among many Americans. If the public school system appeared to be a shambles, there were still school teachers who stubbornly and valiantly insisted on teaching poor children to read. There were brave women who held together their families even after their men had vanished in the wind. They are still doing it. Last year, I spent three hours with a group of adults from the Hospital Workers Union. Most were African-Americans, Hispanics, and immigrants. They were working for their General Educational Development (G.E.D.) high school equivalency diplomas and as part of their curriculum had studied a novel I had written. At the end of the session, a handsome black woman came to me with two copies of my book to be autographed. “One for me,” she said, “and one for my son.” She paused. “Write something nice to him,” said this woman struggling towards her high school diploma. “In September, he’s going to Harvard.”

God, I thought: this is an amazing country. Who could meet such a woman and not believe in possibility? That small moment, with its understated pride, might have happened somewhere else, in another country or another society. I doubt it. This remains the country where it is truly never over ‘til it’s over. The trouble is that in dark times, we often see only one or two versions of our society, and that is always a mistake. If we have learned anything in this half-century it is that we are not a simple people. We make up a dense, layered, complicated society. And even during bleak times, there remain people among us who see a future that will be better. Since the mid-19th century, that optimism has been sneered at by touring European intellectuals, from Charles Dickens to Jean-Paul Sartre. Optimism is somehow proof of American innocence, our permanent adolescence. But for all our mistakes, all our follies foreign and domestic, we did not produce a Hitler or a Stalin. Their evil was rooted in despair, a loss of faith in all human decency. Americans never surrendered to such wormy cynicism.

Our optimism was not empty oratory either. We actually did things that opened the doors to all. Our public school system was one of the greatest of all our accomplishments. Not only was it open to all, but all children were required to attend until they were sixteen. Pushed by liberal reformers and muck-raking journalists, we abolished child labor. We said that no American child would be forced to work in coal mines or sweatshops or cotton fields. In spite of killings and teargas attacks and too many broken heads, we established the principle of free trade unions. They were good for workers and they were good for bosses. They allowed working men and women to go to work with their heads held high. The corruptions that later followed, the abuses by pampered union leaders, the infiltration of honest unions by the non-working hoodlums of the Mob were crimes against workers. But they did not invalidate the essential idea of free men and women banding together to make wage labor itself more honorable. Men and women who are decently paid, who work in safe places, who are treated as valuable human beings are always more productive. The men who ran large enterprises after World War Two understood this and in the end built their great companies with such considerations in mind. I’ve yet to meet a successful businessman who treats his employees with contempt.

But this country also made certain that such advances were encoded in the law. That is, we set up some rules for living together. The most important of those laws involved civil rights. The laws were passed in the mid-1960s and finished off the last vestiges of legal segregation. Only a blind man could insist that they made no difference to the lives of African-Americans. The proof is in the politics of the South and in many Northern cities. The proof is in the expanding black middle class. The proof is in the front offices of American corporations. Race remains a vexing problem in our lives, but if you were there, as I was, when Jack Roosevelt Robinson first came to play at Ebbets Field in 1947, you know that progress has been steady and inspiring. Who in those hard years could have envisioned a day when white folks would weep alongside black folks at the retirement of a black man named Michael Jordan? I’ll tell you who could have imagined such a day: black people who loved America and believed in its essential goodness.

For me, there was another piece of social legislation that was just as important: the G.I. Bill of Rights. Millions of Americans, of all races, had their lives changed forever by the G.I. Bill, which guaranteed an education for those who had fought and survived a great war. For the first time in our history, the gates of academia were opened to men and women from every conceivable background. The rigidities of class crumbled. Children of longshoremen, mechanics and factory workers walked into the classrooms of the Ivy League. The children of policemen became lawyers. Infantrymen became professors of literature. Men and women who spoke Italian or Yiddish at home with their immigrant parents absorbed the elegant theories of quantum theory or semiotics or symbolic logic. When I was going to college on the Korean War version of the G.I. Bill, there were still a few students using their benefits from World War Two. They were intense, serious (but not solemn) men. I remember asking one of them if he felt intimidated by a philosophy course he was taking. “Intimidated?” he said, with a thin smile. “Hell, no. I was in the Battle of the Bulge.”

Such men and women unleashed the intellectual and artistic power of the United States. Many of them were the first people in the histories of their families to attend a university. To them, it was no small thing. When they took their diplomas, their parents often wept, and so did they. The struggles of life in America seemed justified at last. And all of us saw the country change. One small example from my own time in America. When I was a boy, every candy store in Brooklyn was run by Jews, many of them immigrants. They sold newspapers, comic books, pulp magazines. They sold candy and cigarettes and cheap cigars. Often they lived in cramped rooms in the rear of the stores. They bought one pair of shoes a year. They didn’t own automobiles and came late to television. They scrimped and saved and bought books for their children, and they made all these sacrifices so that their children would not run candy stores and live “in the back.” Those children went to high school and studied hard. When the draft board called, they went to the Army. They went on to the universities where a generation earlier Jews were restricted by quotas. Today, there are almost no Jewish candy stores in Brooklyn and the reason is simple: those men and women, filled with dreams for their children, succeeded. No: triumphed. Today their children are lawyers and judges, doctors and educators, businessmen and journalists. You cannot tell them that America did not keep its promises.

The G.I. Bill also created the American suburb. Better education led to better jobs. Good jobs combined with low Veterans’ Administration mortgages to make it possible for people raised in dreadful slums to live among lawns and trees and safety. The veterans helped drive the economy, buying cars, TV sets, furniture, and, of course, formed families. In a crucial way, the baby boomers are the children of the G.I. Bill. All was not perfect, of course; there were special tensions in the suburbs, not the least of which was an abiding nostalgia for what had been left behind. That nostalgia was, in a peculiar way, a longing for the austerities of hard times. And it affected many families.. In the 1960s, the famous “generation gap” basically described the differences between those who had been scarred by the Depression and the war and those who had not. For one generation, a college education was a momentous experience; for too many of their children, it was a casual thing, taken for granted. But even that division was eventually healed. Most baby-boomers have now lived long enough to understand and honor the struggles of their parents and grandparents and even to stand in awe of their tenacity.

The civil rights laws and the G.I. Bill were themselves expressions of the American belief in the future. The theory behind them was an optimistic vision. It insisted that once you tore down the artificial barriers of class and race there would be an immense release of creative human energy. The theory proved right.


In the end, this remains a country where dreams can come true. The Americans in this issue of Fortune are only a small sampling of the human evidence. They remind us of what can still be accomplished through a combination of work, optimism and tenacity. It didn’t matter to these Americans where they had started; they had dreams of the future and refused to surrender to pessimism. Each had a vision. Each looked clear-eyed at the country where they lived and tried to understand what that country needed. Each survived disappointment. Each seemed to understand that it didn’t matter if you got knocked down; the crucial question was whether you’d get up.

That lesson was passed to many Americans by the people who got us here. They were amazing human beings, who came here with virtually nothing. This one carried a stone from a stream in Donegal. That one had a small bag of earth from Calabria. The other carried a samovar from Russia. Most of them were young. Most of them were physically small, stunted by diet, even hunger. But they were giants. And the most precious thing they carried with them was the dream of America.

That dream is alive and well. It dominates the lives and careers of the Americans in this issue. It’s present among the New Immigrants who work outside my door in downtown Manhattan. I live in a loft, on a street crowded with small shops. Those shops are run by Koreans, Indians, Mexicans, Pakistanis, and Vietnamese. They have passed through the first stage of the entrepreneurial immigrant tradition: working for others. Now they are in the second stage: working for themselves. Some have even reached the third stage, where others work for them. They have no plans to go back where they came from, except for an occasional visit. When I go out in the morning for my newspaper, the man who runs the India Bazaar handbag store always smiles. When he leaves for home at eight o’clock at night, he is still smiling, although wearily. “Good morning, America!” he exclaimed one April morning. And I wished more Americans loved this country as much as he does.

Those shopkeepers are not the only handy examples of optimism and tenacity. There are two schools near my building and each morning I see their students rise from the subway, with bookbags strapped to their backs. One school is Manhattan Community College, where most of the students are black, Latino or the children of New Immigrants. The other is Stuyvesant High School, one of the city’s elite public high schools, its students admitted after rigorous competitive examinations. About 52 per cent of the Stuyvesant students are now Asian-Americans. I talk to some of these young people from time to time. Not one – from either institution -- has ever said that he or she believed the deck was stacked against them. The young men and women I’ve met from the community college all plan to go on to four-year colleges, and become doctors, lawyers, or business people. The high school students talk about science, the distant frontiers of space, the arts, and even literature (the writer Frank McCourt taught at Stuyvesant for many years and his example is a vivid one). All are computer literate. All are looking optimistically towards the 21st century.

They are, in short, Americans. They believe in the grand dream of tomorrow and there are people like them all over the country. Instead of wailing about grievances, history, and psychic injuries, they are doing something concrete about realizing their dreams. They are acquiring intellectual tools. With the Cold War over, crime rates dropping, and the economy healthy, they are young in a fortunate time. They have one other big thing going for them: they are living in the right country. Since they are young, they might see the Statue of Liberty as a sentimental cliché. They might feel no challenge from the presence of that skyline. But on every morning when they arise, heading for the places where dreams might possibly come true, they are honoring all the improbable dreamers who came before them.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Disgrace To The Profession

I know the videos of public schools having kids literally sing the praises of Obama is making the rounds.

But those videos don't have nothing on the one below. It was filmed during the 2008 campaign. A teacher asks the little kids who they support for president.

When only one kid says McCain, watch how that kid is treated by this (hopefully former) teacher:

A Broken System

One school principal has said that Randi Weingarten, of the teachers’ union,“would protect a dead body in the classroom.”- The New Yorker
From my vantage point on the stoop, the state of public education in urban America is a moral outrage. And a lot of the blame goes to the United Federation of Teachers.
If you don't believe me, read this from the New Yorker: Joel Klein vs. New York City teachers : The New Yorker

Quote of The Day

This is from a Stoop favorite, sportswriter Mark Kriegel:

I've seen guys slip and block more punches than Floyd Mayweather.
But they were in kung fu movies.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Titles Tell You Nothing

He's a man

With a plan

Got a counterfeit dollar

in his hand

He's Misstra Know-It-All-Stevie Wonder

Say I opened a restaurant, and I called it "Best Burgers in the World". That was the full name. Say you went to my restaurant, ordered a burger, and I served you a dead rat between two pieces of bread. Would you think I served the best burgers in the world? Of course you wouldn't. You would disregard my self-proclaimed boast as having the best burgers in the world for what it was-a total lie.

Which brings me to my topic. Every time someone or some group describes themselves as a"civil libertarian" or "civil rights activist" I feel like the customer who got the dead rat with the two pieces of bread. Why? Because its never true. Ever.

In fact, a lot of times these people/organizations work against Human Rights.

Just look at the United Nations. Within the United Nations, there is a subgroup of nations that form a group called the "Human Right Council".

Sounds beautiful, no? All teddy bears and flowers. But look whose on the so-called Human Rights Council: Cuba & China!

How on earth could Cuba & China be on a committee that evaluates human rights? In these countries, there is no freedom of speech, or religion, and you can't vote the dictator off the island like they do in reality TV. Yet. they are on the committee and stand in judgment? Having Field Castro evaluate human rights is like giving Jose Reyes the "Cal Ripken Iron Man of the Year Award". Wesley Snipes is more qualified to get a job at Turbo Tax than Castro is in talking about human rights.

Let's take some big examples of where self-described "civil libertarians" show themselves to be the enemy of true civil rights that Americans hold dear.

We all know that the 1st Amendment guarantees each of us the right to assembly, the right to associate with one another. We have the right to get together in groups for a common purpose. The Glee Club. The American Legion. Your dart team or bowling league. These are all examples of the right to assembly. The people chose the members of the group. And the message. The government must stay out of it. That's why my state senator Eric Adams has the right to start the t group "100 Blacks in Law Enforcement" and the government can't make Adams admit white people if he does not want to.

But the self-described civil libertarians would take that right away from some Americans. They try to do so every March on St. Patrick's Day. You see, the organizers of the parade (Ancient Order of Hibernians) have this crazy notion that they are free to associate with whom they want, free to create their own message. But self-described civil rights activists don't want the organizers and the millions of participants of the parade to have that right. So every year the ACLU goes to court to deny the parade organizers their first amendment rights. The ACLU wants, no, demands that the government compel the Saint Patrick's Day parade to include homosexual groups with homosexual banners that convey homosexual messages. Don't we have a parade like that already? It's called Yankee Fan Appreciation Day.

But seriously if the ACLU and the self-described civil libertarians had their way, their would be no 1st Amendment right to assembly. The federal government would be able to compel any group to admit any person or any message that the government deems worthy. But somehow, I doubt the federal government or the ACLU would ever demand that the NAACP admit David Duke as a member.

Its the same thing with the Boy Scouts. Like all American groups, they have a 1st Amendment right to associate with whom they want to and exclude anyone they wish too. Again, its these same people, the self proclaimed civil rights activists, these ACLU members who constantly want to deny the Boy Scouts their 1st Amendment Rights. Again, they want to strong-arm the Boy Scouts to admit homosexual Scout Leaders.

This is no brief against homosexual groups. The gay pride parade, and all gay groups have the same 1st Amendment rights to include/exclude whoever they like. Or don't like.

But do you ever think these ACLU-types would ever use our judicial system to demand that the gay pride parade include Bill Donohue of the Catholic League?

Don't hold your breath waiting for that one.

You see, the ACLU uses our judicial system to suppress messages and groups that they do not agree with.

And yet, they go around calling themselves "civil libertarians". What a joke.

Another example: your typical self described civil libertarian believes in the right to abortion, which was crafted with smoke and mirrors by the Supreme Court in 1973. Yet, these same people are the first ones to deny Americans their 1st Amendment rights to protest abortion in front of abortion clinics.

These are just a few examples where your civil liberties types are actual enemies of the 1st amendments . And they are enemies because they want to silence groups with messages they don't agree with.

Never mind the 2nd amendment, which guarantees all of us the right to bear arms. The ACLU does not like that right. So it works every day to come up with ways to deny Americans its 2nd amendment rights.

So, I want you to do a little self-examination: if you want the courts to step in to compel the St. Patrick's day organizers & the Boy Scouts to admit to their groups people and groups whom you deem worthy, with messages approved by you, and you also want the courts to compel abortion protesters to cease and desist, you should pat your self on the back.


You have earned the right to call yourself a civil libertarian.

What an honor.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Favorite Stoop Headline

All Our Past Times

(This has been the worst year for Met fans since 1974. I think it all started when they named it "Citi Field". I think it came down to Citigroup, AIG and General Motors. After they named the stadium, Bernie made off with Fred Wilpon's cash. Below is something I wrote before the last game at Shea. If the present sucks, and the future unknowable, at least the past is, well, simply amazin'.)

Shea's last day

Who should be there.

Ed Kranepool's DNA is in the cement of Shea Stadium. A native New Yorker, an original Met, here should be there.

Gary Cohen & Howie Rose, who went from listening to Met games on transistor radios to being the voices of Met radio, should be the Co- Masters of Ceremony.

Off course Buddy Harrelson has to be there. The dirt between 2nd and third belongs to him as far as I am concerned.

Cleon Jones has to enter from beyond left field. When Cleon caught the last out in '69 and briefly went to one knee, it was as if he knew that this was a moment for the ages. And it was.

Kevin McReynolds and Juan Samuel should not be allowed in Queens on this night. If George Foster is within city limits, the NYPD should be under standing orders to detain him and escort him outside of New York City.

Lenny & Wally have to be introduced together. They are like Lemmon & Matthau, you can't think of one without the other.

From left-center-and right, here's what should happen: We show Endy's catch robbin' Rolen in Game 7; Followed by Tommie Agee's two amazin' catches against the Orioles and Rocky Swoboda's miracle diving catch from '69 as well.

Then Endy and Swoboda arm -in arm with Tommie's widow emerge from center field. We then cut to one of the Sign Man's Original signs: The Letter "D" with a picture of a Fence

The Sign Man Karl Ehrhardt was as much as a fixture at Shea as the mound.

Some of his Greatest Signs:

After Frank Taveras made an error: "Look Ma, No Hands"

When Jose Cardenal would strike out "Jose, Can You See?"

And the greatest sign of all, after the last out in '69: "There Are No Words"

Let's have his Signs raised to the crowd at Shea one more time.

Speaking of the Sign Man, Met fans were the first fans in the world to bring banners to games. Remember banner day at Shea? It was an endless parade of creativity by die-hard Met fans. On the last day, the field should be ringed with banners from Met fans.

I want to hear a 93 year old Jane Jarvis play the organ one more time.

I want a moment of silence for the greatest Mets fan ever: Doris from Rego Park

Bill Shea's tireless work to bring National League Baseball back to New York should be recognized. His family should have any seats they want at "The Gil"

I want Mrs. Bob Murphy escorted out to the field by Jose Reyes. Mrs. Hodges shall be escorted by David Wright. Bouquets of flowers for both women.

I want to hear Murph's voice say "GETS BY BUCKNER!" one more time.

Remember what Ralph said to Murph during Murph's last broadcast:

For Murphy's finale, the Mets reunited him on television with Kiner. At one point, Kiner said to Murphy, ''Remember when you said, 'Bob Aspromonte's parents are here, and they're high and outside?'''

To me, Kiner's Korner was the best show in television history. (Narrowly beating out "The White Shadow".) In all of our Shea adventures, we never got to the Kiner's Korner's set. It's a major regret in my life.

Ralph is an original Met and beloved by all Met fans. He gets a seat of honor.

One of Lindsey Nelson's Sports Coats should be on display

Mike Piazza will be there. He should be introduced as "the greatest hitting catcher of all time MIKE PIAZZA!" I always want Mike announced that way, until you can show me a catcher who was a better hitter.

Bobby V. should be there. Is it me, or does Bobby V's accomplishments grow stronger, given the perspective of time & distance?

Tom Glavine is not invited. In fact, all of Glavine's statistics should be deleted from Met history.

Ray Knight should come back as a conquering hero.

How can you have a last day at Shea without Felix Milan? Or John Stearns? You can't.

The next two Mets are beloved by all Met fans. Just saying their names brings a smile to all Met fans: Mookie & Rusty. They will have a rightful place on Shea's last day.

We also need some Mets to boo on our last day. Doug Sisk, Mel Rojas, Armando Benitez and John Franco, your invitations have been sent out. Tell Bobby Bo as well.

Gary & Keith have to come out together. With Davey. Frank Cashen should be with them.

Its funny how time works. A whole new generation of Met fans see Keith as an announcer, and not a player.

Darryl & Doc have to come out together. Darryl is back with us, and I think that is great. They did not leave under the best of circumstances, but let them hear for the last time a Shea roar in their honor. Let that be their last memory of Shea.

Leiter & Cone have gone over to the dark side. No need to bring them back.

The Kooz should be there. He's one of the most underrated pitchers of all time. The guy won over 200 games with Don Hahn and George Theodore hitting in the middle of the lineup, for Christ sakes.

If he can make bail, by all means Kevin Mitchell should be there.

Bring on the arms: Sid, Bobby O, & Ronnie

Bring in the Firemen: Jesse & Roger

Bring on our lovable 70's Mets: Maz, Steve Henderson, Youngblood & Flynn

I want a video tribute to the spiritual heart of the Mets, Tug McGraw. YA GOTTA BELIEVE! Met fans wouldn't have it any other way. I want an honor guard to lower the 1973 NL Pennant Flag and I want to give it to Tug's family.

The Franchise. Tom Terrific. The greatest pitcher in New York City History. The man elected to the Hall of Fame with the highest percentage of votes ever. Our first, undisputed, no doubt about it, superstar.

Tom Seaver

He comes out alone. The honor guard will take down the 1969 World Champion Flag and hand it to Tom. Tom will take it and present it to Mrs. Hodges for safekeeping. It's only right.

At some point, parachute man has to make his arrival. Remember when that crazy bastard landed during the World Series? It was proof that Met fans are certifiable. Only at Shea I tell you.

I want to see a video of the great playoff walk off home run by Todd Pratt. Plus the grand slam- single by Robin Ventura.

And don't forget Lenny's walk off against the Astros. Let's see that again. And Piazza's post 9-11 game winner.

Let the last pitch at Shea be Seaver to Piazza. Can any team claim an all -time better battery? I don't think so. Whitey to Yogi? Please. They were not as good. As Casey used to say "You can look it up."

Pete Flynn can shut out the lights.

And the voice of Bob Murphy can provide us with a happy recap.......

Patterson Says No

You see where the President has told NY Governor Patterson to step aside and not run for reelection? Patterson, so far, has ignored the President's request.

Good for Patterson.

I never understood why people who claim to value democracy would ever tell someone they should not run. This came up big time with Ralph Nader, when prominent liberals pleaded with him to not run, especially in 2000.

Hey libs, the more hats in the ring means more voices are being heard , which leads to more diverse opinions for voters to choose from. (Note to liberals, when I say "diverse" I do not mean "skin pigmentation"which is your definition. When I use the word diverse, or diversity, I mean "a variety".)

To be fair, Republicans don't have a good record on this, as to when they tried to bump Pat Buchanan out of the 2000 race.

I was surprised that Obama would try to knock Patterson off. After all, shouldn't Obama be the first one to promote letting the political process play itself out via the ballot box? I mean, Obama took on the Clinton machine. When he first announced, everyone thought that it was a forgone conclusion that the nomination was Mrs. Clinton's. I'm sure there were times when some prominent Democrats must have told Obama to drop out. But to his credit, he did not.

But eight months after taking office, he pulls the same tactic on Patterson? Wow.

Its funny, when the Iranian freedom marchers took to the streets, Obama hid under his desk and did not want to take sides in that election. But, apparently in New York Obama wants to decide who is on the ballot.

A couple of months ago, we were told how important diversity was when Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. But in this case, when Patterson is one of the only two black governors in the nation, diversity is thrown out the window by Obama.

And who does he want to replace Patterson with? The Son of Mario- a retread.

Big lesson: Obama will throw diversity down the stairs when he perceives someone will lose an election. And install a hack that he thinks has a better chance. It's the Chicago way.

Now, if Obama insists on knocking off a New York elected official, he should start with Charles Rangel.

Rangel, as chairman of the House Ways & Means committee, is in charge of drafting tax policy for the nation. Yet, the man has evaded taxes for years and years. Wesley Snipes tax adviser is more qualified than Charles Rangel.

Stay the course governor Patterson.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Birds Of Prospect Park

Put Them On A Diamond

When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.- General Patton

Every time I look at the playgrounds of Brooklyn, the basketball courts are as empty as the average Keith Olbermann fan's mind. Kids just don't fill up the schoolyards to play basketball like they used too.

Now, a lot of these kids they are playing video games instead. Maybe its video basketball instead of you know, real basketball. So instead of spraining their ankles, kids are getting carpal tunnel at age 12.

If you look at the baseball diamonds, their not exactly bursting with activity either.

And traditional street games like stick ball are also gone with the wind.

But there is one sport that I see a lot of kids playing: soccer. And it makes me shake my head in dismay.

I watch these soccer games,and all I see is little kids running around green pastures. I can't tell whose winning or losing. There is no accountability, no pressure, no accurate way to evaluate performance. Just running around together in packs. No heroes or goats.

Its all designed so kids don't get their feelings hurt.

Compare it to baseball: You step into the batting box. Just you. No one can help you. Your performance is kept in a score book. You can get a hit, strikeout, make errors, or make a great play on defense.

In baseball, kids learn valuable lessons. Their feelings may get hurt. Or they may do something so great, they will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Unlike soccer, there is no hiding in baseball. Even the worst kid on a baseball team, and if you don't know who that is, its usually the right fielder, even that kid learns infinitely more from baseball the the best kids in little kid soccer.

What the hell is the attraction to soccer over traditional American sports?

I believe the key is that a lot of parents want their kids to exercise and make friends without the pressure of competitive sports. And soccer fills that void .

So, its sort of like a "play date" that takes place with a bunch of kids in the grass.

But by deciding not to play to win or lose-the kids lose.

They lose the exhilarating feeling of ripping a line drive to the outfield.

They lose the valuable lesson on dealing with failure after striking out.

We have so many great traditional American sports that kids have played for generations, it kills me dead to see the schoolyards & diamonds dying on the vine. I mean, we import so many things into this country, do we really want to import sports as well?

The next generation is currently being weaned on video games, soccer and play dates.

When the time comes, and it will come soon, think they're going to be ready to lead?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rats With Cameras

Sometimes I can't believe what I am about to write is actually true. This is one of those times.

Have you heard of the John Adams Project? It has a nice, wholesome name, no? If there were truth in advertising, these rats would have to call themselves "The Benedict Arnold Project".

Here is the straight dope: This group is affiliated with the ACLU. They go around taking photographs of CIA agents. They take the photos to Guantanamo Bay and show them to known terrorists. Then they ask the terrorists, "Is this the person that tortured you"?

On so many levels, this group, and their actions should be condemned. And investigated by the Justice Department.

Remember Valerie Plame? When she was outed as a CIA agent in a Bob Novak column, the left wing lost their feeble mind. They kicked and screamed that revealing a CIA agent's identity puts the agent at risk. Scooter Libby ended up in jail.

But when the ACLU goes around like paparazzi, seeking out CIA agents in the hope that the enemy identify these agents, we hear nothing from this segment of society.

But that is expected by now, right?

The ACLU will be the first group to tell you that witness identification is not reliable evidence-except of course if the witness is a terrorist and the accused is a CIA agent.

Here are the real world ramifications : One, CIA agents, some of whom may be working on covert operations,will have their identities known by Bin Laden's boys. And just by that action alone, their lives will be in danger forever. Two, these CIA agents, who should all receive medals, may be subject to criminal investigations based solely on the word of terrorists that we are currently detaining because they planned to, or have already, killed Americans. And three, who in the world would want to join the CIA when you could be subject to this nightmarish behavior?

How can this go on in America? How can it be tolerated? What kind of person sympathizers with the Sheik Khalid Mohammed's of the world? Not only sympathize with such vermin, but see our CIA people as criminals?

Here it is: there are certain people in this country that will always believe the worst about their own country. And will always take the side of America's enemies. It's their default position.

Now, they have a right to believe what they believe. Even if it is motivated by hatred for their homeland.

But when their beliefs are accompanied by actions that put our heroes at risk, we all need to be vocal and condemn these rats.

And that time is now.

A Politician With A Stoop Reaction

The Stoop appreciates politicians that reveal their true personalities to the public. That just lets it all hang out. James Oddo, a New York City Councilman from Staten Island is a great example of that.

Check out the link below. Oddo grants Swedish television an interview. Watch what he does when he realizes that he is being "punked".


Monday, September 21, 2009

A Giant Win

"I hate the Cowboys straight up,". "It's beginning to be a personal thing. And it's been like that since I was a kid. I've been wishing bad things on them for a long time. I was a hateful little kid. Everyone loves them, so I had to hate them." Brandon Jacobs

I do not know if you had heard, but the Cowboys opened a new stadium last night. If you watched the game last night, you might have missed that fact. It's not like the announcers mentioned it every other second.

So they came from far and wide, 100,000 plus, including all the old Cowboys who are not currently incarcerated.

The stadium is so big, Nate Newton can almost fit one of his "deliveries" into the house that oil built.

And the Giants sent them all home with a last second dagger.

Some thoughts:

Tony Romo: God bless him. Not only can he not respond to pressure, he has this self destructive gene that makes him melt down in big spots. If Romo found a wallet stuffed with cash on the sidewalk, after a few happy steps a safe would fall on his head.

Eli Manning: You see how clutch Eli was? Nothing bothers this guy. He was in a zone that not too many athletes can call upon. When he get there, its a joy to watch him at his craft.

Mario Manningham: If I were a headline writer the headline would read: "Manningham is Manning's Man". (In another life, I would love to be a headline writer. I took a journalism class in college, and one assignment was to come up with a headline based on a bunch of facts the professor had given the class. The facts he gave us were 400 people died in a nightclub fire in the Philippines. I took that and came up with the following headline "Burn Baby Burn: 400 Die In Disco Inferno")

Manningham and Stevie Smith toyed with the Cowboy secondary all night. Terrence Newman looked like Paul Newman covering these guys.

Jerry Jones: Did you see him when Tynes hit that field goal? It looked like his last 10 face lifts rolled down his face like a massive California mudslide.

Flozell Adams: What a dirty player-that trip of Justin Tuck was jacked up. Every year, this guy has more flags than the United Nations. And he tried to do it to Osi as well.

The stadium: Would love to see the Cowboys implode and go 3-13. No one would go to the games, and they would have like 10 rodeo's going on during each home game.

2-0. Nice.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

He Ain't Pretty No More

Just watched the Jets impressive win over the Patriots. Sanchez played well, and the defense was excellent, allowing only 3 field goals.

But here is the skinny: Brady ain't the Brady who would score on NFL defenses with the ease of playing a video game.

Why is that? The Giants defense is why. Going into that Super Bowl, Brady was a God. He could do no wrong. He literally (they were undefeated) could not be beat.

But the Giants beat the pi*ss out of Brady. For four quarters. With relentless pressure from everywhere.

And he ain't been the same since.

Remember in Iraq, in the beginning of the war, when they toppled the statue of Saddam? As soon as the Saddam statue was toppled, the citizens starting hitting it with their shoes.

That's what the Giants did to Brady. Before the Super Bowl, he was a God that was worshiped. All of New England prayed to statues of Brady (and Teddy the swimmer).

But Strahan, Osi, Tuck and the rest of the Giant D knocked the Brady statue down, took off their cleats and beat up the toppled God with their shoes.

Actually, it is a Giant tradition to hit Super Bowl quarterbacks so hard, they are never the same again.

Remember Leonard Marshall's hit on Joe Montana in the 1990 championship game? Montana never took another snap as a 49er. Check it out:

Don't worry, I will not provide you the link to the play that made Joe Theismann an announcer.

So give the Jets credit- but the Giants provided the playbook.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mariano's In Post Season Form

(Did you see my man Ichiro had a two out, game winning, walk off two-run homer off of Mariano last night? Awesome. If history is our guide, there should be more blowups to come. Below is something I wrote when Mariano blew a save against the Red Sox this year. It applies ever time Mariano blows a save, and I can't wait to re post during the playoffs.)

Mariano The Pyromaniac

You blew it, all right?You had the guy four fu*kin' days.Four days!You could've walked him backwardsand not blown it, but you blew it.
Eddie Mascone explaining to Jack Walsh why he put Marvin on the "Duke" case- "Midnight Run"

Ah, the sure things in life: death, taxes,and Mariano blowing a big game.

It happened again last night,as Mariano gave up a game- tying two out homer to Jason Bay.

As crucial a blowup as this one was, it does not make it to the tops of Mariano fu*k-ups. I mean, nothing could compare to blowing the 7th game of the World Series, like Mariano did against the D-Backs, right? Or how about blowing a chance to sweep the Red Sox in game 4 in 2004? And we all know what happened in that Series after Mariano blew game 4, correct?

No this blow up while more important than giving up a game winning homer to Marcus Scutoro like Mariano did last year, was not as big a f-up as giving up a walk off homer to Bill Mueller and blowing a 9-4 lead- which Mariano did in the A-Rod- Varitek (Manzi) brawl game.

But Yankee fans, dumb by breed,will never blame Mariano for anything. For every colossal blowup, they point to the 2,000 saves he has against the Kansas City Royals.

Yankee fans see Mariano, Jeter the Tax Cheater and Bernie as infallible popes. They could do no wrong.

If kiddie porn came flying out of Mariano's pockets in mid windup, Yankee fans would dismiss it by saying that Mariano mistakenly was wearing Mike Stanton's pants.

Of course,Yankee fans will dismiss this as the misguided ravings of a Mets fan.

But I ain't the only one. I have surprising company.

You remember St. Joseph of Torre? Torre and Tom Verducci have a best seller out now.

Let me save you time & cash. Go to Barnes & Noble. Put St.Joseph's book in your hands and turn to page 312. You will find this nugget:

"As great as he is, and it's amazing what he does, if you start the evaluation again since I've been here, he has accomplished nothing in comparison to what he accomplished the four years before. He blew the World Series in '01. He lost the Boston series. He didn't lose it himself, but we had a chance to win in the ninth and sweep them and he doesn't do it there. . . . That's what I remember about the '04 series."- Mike Mussina

Mussina is right.

Yankee fans, Mariano has blown up more things than Bin Laden. He is less trustworthy than Eric Clapton's baby sitter. When those west coast fires break out, the first thing investigators ask is "is Mariano in town?" Christ, he broke into the majors with Luis Tiant. The more you rely on this old bat, the more chances you give me to write fun stuff like this.

How Does Your Salary Cap Fit?

Earlier this summer, a friend of mine, lets call him "Brian of Hoboken" ran into a well-known local politician, who for the purposes of this essay shall be called "Son of Mario".

Brian of Hoboken thanked Son of Mario for going after the Wall Street bonus money.

Then and there, I knew trouble was on the horizon. You see, Brian of Hoboken is a Bush/Rove man. And if he could not see the obvious-that the government has no right to compel Americans to give back money that they rightfully and legally earned- then I knew that liberal politicians had tapped into a powerful argument that would have a lot of support.

I tried to explain to Brian of Hoboken that with the exception of income tax policies that are applied to all, you do not want the government anywhere near people's salaries.

"But this only applies to banks that received federal loans" Brian of Hoboken replied.

When I tried to explain that this was just a first step, that the whole banking industry was being fitted for a salary cap, this Bush/Rove pal of mine did not think the government would go that far.

Think again.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Fed plans on using its power to limit compensation in the banking industry.

Bankers Face Sweeping Curbs on Pay

Relevant quote below:

Under the proposal, the Fed could reject any compensation policies it believes encourage bank employees -- from chief executives, to traders, to loan officers -- to take too much risk. Bureaucrats wouldn't set the pay of individuals, but would review and, if necessary, amend each bank's salary and bonus policies to make sure they don't create harmful incentives. ... Its strategy appears to go further than what some in the industry were expecting, given that it would apply to many employees, not just top earners. It would go beyond a more generic list of "best practices" that many thought the central bank would craft.

From the founding of this country to the present day, Americans were born into a " the sky's the limit" system/culture. Its the kind of system that rewards ingenuity, invention, and yes even risk taking.

What the Fed is proposing puts a dagger in the heart of that system as it pertains to the banking sector.

What would have happened if some government bureaucrat told Henry Ford or Bill Gates they were taking on too much risk, and needed to change their business practices?

The truth is, we probably would not have produced a Ford or Gates if the American system did not reward these men in a big way for their revolutionary products.

What the Fed is planning will drive the best minds out of banking, at a time when we need them most.

It will encourage mediocrity, and punish those attempting to push the envelope.

And don't thing this policy applies just to the fatcats, it trickles down deep into the employee pool.

How bout this: where does the Fed get the power to implement such a radical plan?

Ah, the Fed says it already has the power to do this, under its power to ensure banks are solvent.

So no one votes on this, no debate, nothing.

Nationalizing industries followed by the feds deciding your salary. I can't believe I wrote that last sentence.

Before you know it, America will be complaining that Poland has gotten rid of missiles meant to protect our country.

Hey, Brian of Hoboken, what will you say to Son of Mario the next time you meet?

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Need Options In Life

To the Public Option Advocates:

Why do you call your plan the "Public Option"? The word option means more than one choice, right? But the intent of the so called "Public Option" is to eventually do away with private insurance companies so that the government will supply health care to the masses. (I say that because the President has said so: )

So if the plan is to get rid of the private health insurance industry and let the feds dole out health care, please tell me, where is the "option" part of the plan? At that point, we would have no choice, correct? In fact, when the private insurance companies go by the wayside, and the feds are the only providers of health care insurance, you won't even be allowed the option of not signing up, as the president has demanded that we all sign up for coverage.

You know this stuff has to be snake oil when they market it as an option when the goal is to eliminate every option imaginable.

Fortunately, we have an option right now. An option to say no.

There's An Aquarium in Coney Island Because There Is A Tunnel In Brooklyn

The Times had a story the other day on how the Coney Island Aquarium is being renovated.

Reading the story reminded me of the history of the Aquarium, and how it ended up in Coney Island.

This may be useless info,or you may find it interesting:

Once upon a time, the Aquarium that we all know as the Coney Island Aquarium was located in Battery Park. It was a huge destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike. By the late 1930's, the Aquarium had over 2.5 million annual visitors- almost four times as many visitors as it gets today.

What happened to this vibrate institution? Why was it moved from Manhattan? Robert Moses happened. You see, Moses wanted to build another bridge,this one from Brooklyn to Battery Park. It was going to be called the "Brooklyn Battery Bridge."

Moses' opponents wanted a tunnel. They thought that another bridge would destroy the park land in Battery Park, and that a bridge was totally out of scale to everything else in the Financial District.

Who were Robert Moses' opponents in the battle over the Brooklyn Battery Bridge? Here is a partial list:

1) The Historical Preservationists- they led the charge
2) Mayor La Guardia-
3) Governor Lehman
4) Wall Street Money Men
5) Home Owners
6) The Manhattan Borough President

It looks like a pretty powerful list, right? They were powerless against Bob Moses. La Guardia and Lehman had no money to build a sand box, never mind a huge public works project.

Moses had control of Triborough, and thus he had the money to build. But if you were going to use Bob Moses' money, you had to let him build what he wanted. And he wanted a bridge.

At this point,the Preservationists threw a "Hail Mary". Or more accurately, a "Hail Eleanor". They contacted Eleanor Roosevelt,who was sympathetic to their cause. She got FDR involved.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Robert Moses hated each other. When Roosevelt was governor of New York, Robert Moses was already the a master builder of New York, with massive public support. Even though Moses ostensibly worked for Roosevelt, FDR knew he had no control over Moses. Moses knew it to, and had no respect for FDR. In fact with the notable exception of Governor Al Smith, Moses had no respect for any of the numerous governors and mayors that held office during his 40 years in public service.

When FDR was informed about the battle over the Brooklyn Battery Bridge, he saw it as an opportunity to get even with Moses. But Moses was such a popular figure he had to do it in a way that would not have FDR's fingerprints.

A shrewd FDR made sure that before the bridge could be built, the department of WAR had to sign off on the project. FDR sent the word to the WAR department to delay & finally deny.

When the WAR Department finally denied approval, it did so on dubious grounds that no one would question as the nation geared up for war: if the bridge was built, and the Nazi's attacked it, it would block access to the Brooklyn Navy Yard-which everyone knew was indispensable.

So what does this have to do with the Aquarium? Everything.

Moses, enraged that his beloved bridge would not be built, and knowing that his adversaries adored the Battery Aquarium, decided to hit back by removing the Aquarium from Battery Park in 1941. Moses gave a bulls**t excuse, stating that the building that the Aquarium was in was in danger of collapsing. It wasn't. At one point, Moses gave the entity that ran the Aquarium an ultimatum: Pick up your goddamn fish in 48 hrs. or I will throw them into the Atlantic! Even FDR was powerless to stop Moses, as Moses had total control over city parks.

The Aquarium was removed from Battery Park in 1941. The Coney Island Aquarium did not open until 1957. For 16 long years, there was no Aquarium in New York City. Why? Bob Moses, had a long memory, and the city never made it a priority. Moses took a semi-sadistic pleasure that his opponents who loved the Aquarium had to wait almost a generation as well as trek out to Coney Island to get to their beloved Aquarium.


After Moses was defeated on the Brooklyn Battery Bridge, he built what his opponents wanted: The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Oh, how he hated that Tunnel. It was the one public works project that he completed that he had contempt for: he called it a "huge toilet bowl" and went to his grave stating that the government had forced him to build a tunnel at "twice the cost, twice the operating fees, twice the difficulty to engineer, and half the traffic,."

And the Aquarium? It's never reached the attendance that it received in the Battery.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Desperation Time

I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Jimmy Carter

"When, in 1975, Frank Robinson became Major League Baseball's first African-American manager, with the Cleveland Indians, that was an important milestone. But an even more important one came two years later, when the Indians fired him. That was real equality: Losing one's job is part of the job description of major league managers, because sacking the manager is one of the few changes a floundering team can make immediately. So, in a sense, Robinson had not really arrived until he was told to leave. Then he was just like hundreds of managers before him." George Will

When Barack Obama was sworn into office, he became the most powerful man on earth. He literally can drop bombs on a country, and tell us about it later.

But some things he is powerless to stop. Because of the First Amendment, Obama, or any other president cannot stop the Town Hall Protester. The Joe The Plumber's of this country. Like minded people who associate under the protections granted by the constitution. People who want grievances addressed by their government.

Sure, the president and his supporters (main stream media) can demonize these people. They can question their motives.

But they can't stop them. No sir.

Quick detour: When Robert Moses began building bridges and highways in New York, as soon as the bridge/ highway was finished, the traffic would be enormous. The conventional wisdom was that a new highway would ease traffic by giving drivers more outlets. So Moses would build another highway. But guess what, as soon as the new highway was built, it received even more traffic than the previous one. This went on and on. The more he built, the more traffic he created.

Moses' building bridges to alleviate traffic is tantamount to Obama giving speeches to close the deal on his socialized medicine plan: The more Obama speaks on this issue, and he has given 31 (31!) speeches, the less support he has.

So now with desperation at hand, the race card is being played in a last-ditch effort to ram through legislation that this country clearly does not want.

Its the only way to explain the vehement opposition to Obama, they tell us.

And one thing the hard left knows about is vehement opposition.

After all, these are the people who told us that Bush "stole" the election. That was water cooler conversation for years. But to mix up the water cooler chat, because, after all, the left are champions of diversity (just ask them) they would change the topic to President Bush is stupid. Is dumb. That he can't speak. Oh, how they had fun with that one! Leno/Letterman/Stewart/Nutjob Olbermann. Night after night. Show after show. A nonstop drumbeat.

For eight years, if you stood in Union Square Park for 10 minutes, you would proudly see hipsters walking around displaying how smart they were, evidenced by their Bush is stupid tee shirts.

Stupid is one thing. But that wasn't pushing the envelope far enough, was it?

I mean, you can explain away stupid, right? But you can't explain away intent.

So not only was he stupid. He was involved . He was involved with 9/11. He let it happen. No, he planned it. What was his motive? That was simple. Oil. Bush was an oil man. So he killed everyone in the Trade Center. Just to get his grubby hands on Arab oil.

What a genius grassroots movement that is. The 9/11 truthers. Power to the people. There are tee shirts, videos and documentaries all telling us that President Bush conspired to kill thousands of Americans on September 11, 2001. It's such a great movement, it catapulted Van Jones into the White House.

Now what kind of person would plot to kill innocent people while they were at work? It would take a Hitler, or the Devil himself. Presto! Over the last 8 years, I have seen more President Bush depicted as the devil in photos, masks and paintings than I have seen Spider-man outfits on Halloween. And don't forget Hitler. Going to the latest protest and not seeing President Bush depicted as Hitler, in full Nazi regalia, was like going to Studio 54 back in the day without a couple of grams of coke. Both were inconceivable.

After this stupid man, (but not so stupid to cover up his involvement in 9/11), this greedy oil man, this crazed genocidal Nazi devil of a man, after he left office he was left alone, right? Ha, ha! The last time I heard something so funny, it was on Jon Stewart when he showed that Iraqi hero throwing shoes at President Bush. I pissed my pants it was so funny.

No, what I wanted to say is that when Bush left office that's when the left began pressing for him to be thrown in jail. But that would be inaccurate. We all know that movement began the day Bush took office.

Now during the 8 years of the Bush presidency, the powers that be in the Democratic party could have called off the dogs. Could have said that all of the above was out of bounds. But they didn't. They fed the pit bull base. They are the pit bull base. They threw gas on the fire.

Which brings us back to the charge that the vehement opposition to Obama is based on racism. The charge, of course, is brought by the Bush haters & their enablers.

It is designed to silence those who refuse to be silenced.

And look whose leading it: Jimmy Carter. Can you think of a man that has been more wrong on more issues in public life than Jimmy Carter? I can't. He was wrong about the economy, energy, the Soviets, and of course, the Iran hostage crisis, which, like the federal deficit, we keep paying for. I don't care how many houses he hammers out with Habitat for Humanity, the man has an abysmal public record. He should have done everyone a favor and pursued carpentry from the beginning, instead of picking it up during his 70's. The man has been so wrong so often, he would make the worst game show contestant in American history.

Lets break it down. Can we all agree that with the presidency comes intense criticism?

And if we can use a football game on a wet field as a metaphor for presidential criticism, then Bush has gone to the locker room a few times to have a broken jaw wired, and Obama has yet to have any mud on his jersey.

Its only been 8 months! Come back to me when instead of one or two people at a rally are racist or offensive, you have an entire group of people that get together because they think Obama is dumb, stupid, needs to be jailed, is the devil, is the new Hitler, killed thousands of Americans and disguised it as a terrorist attack, and started two wars because of oil profits.

In short, come back to me after 8 years of sheer madness.

Or even better, come back to me after three years and two months.

By the way, say no to socialized medicine for America. No matter what name you are called.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 400 Club

The Museum for The City of New York is naming today the 400 "Movers & Shakers" that have shaped the City since Henry Hudson arrived 400 years ago. The 400 come from all walks of life: politics, the arts, sports, etc. Below is some of those who made the list, the Museum's description, and Baldman's commentary:

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008)
Author, editor, and columnist who helped elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse. Founder of the National Review in 1955 and its editor-in-chief until 1990 and host of TV's Firing Line from 1966-99.

Baldman Sez: Don't think he hung out on many stoops, but that is because he was too busy being the founding father of the modern conservative movement in America. If you find this video let me know: a Firing Line debate in the mid '70's on whether we should turn the Panama Canal over to Panama. On one side: Buckley & George Will. On the other: Ronald Reagan & Pat Buchanan.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
Industrialist who formed the Carnegie Corporation in 1911 to endow or fund many philanthropic causes, including 39 public libraries in NYC and the Cooper-Hewitt (housed in his Fifth Avenue mansion since 1972). Built Carnegie Hall in 1891.

Baldman Sez: My favorite philanthropist. As a poor kid in Pittsburgh, he tried to enter a private library but was denied entry because he was a poor Scottish immigrant. He never forgot that experience, and founded hundreds of libraries that are free to the public. Plus, I got to see The Band in Carnegie Hall about a year before Rick Danko died.

Sean "Diddy" Combs (1969- )
Rapper, producer, actor, fashion designer, and businessman who used his success in the music industry as a platform to launch Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide in the 1990s, which oversees his other entrepreneurial ventures.

Baldman Sez: He may show up several times on this list, depending on the many names he has used.

Kitty (Catherine) Genovese (1935-1964)
A 28 year-old working woman. She was attacked and murdered on March 13, 1964 in Kew Gardens, Queens. Her death, reportedly witnessed by 38 people who did not come to her aid, galvanized attention as a symbol of the inhumanity of modern urban life.

Baldman Sez: Still a haunting story 45 years later.

Rudolph Giuliani (1944- )
As US Attorney (1983-89) he prosecuted organized crime; as Mayor (1994-2001), he is credited with reducing crime in the city in the 1990s and gained national renown after the events of 9/11.

Baldman Sez: Ran the city like Joe Clark ran that High School in "Lean On Me". The right man for the right job at the right time.

Jackie Gleason (1916-1987)
Tony Award-winning actor of the stage and screen. Best known for his comic role as Ralph Kramden on the 1950s hit television series The Honeymooners, set in a Brooklyn tenement.

Baldman Sez: The King. A stoop Hall of Famer. I used to ask cab drivers who was the best tipper he ever had, and The Great One's name came up over and over.

Pete Hamill (1935- )
Brooklyn-born journalist and author. Began as a reporter for the New York Post, later became editor in chief for it and the Daily News. His work includes nine novels, short stories, nonfiction, and many articles. Journalism, he says, is history in a hurry.

Baldman Sez: Another stoop Hall of Famer. My favorite newspaper columnist and essayist ever. I am willing to drop anything to hear him lecture all over the city.

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)
Served as a lieutenant colonel for George Washington, a delegate to the Continental Congress (1782-83) and the Constitutional Convention (1787), helped form the Bank of New York (1784) and became the first US Secretary of the Treasury (1789-95).

Baldman Sez: My favorite founding father. You can learn everything you need to know about the founders by just examining Hamilton's life. Required reading: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

Elia Kazan (1909-2003)
Renowned stage and film director who created the Actors Studio, he cultivated both Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller and actors Marlon Brando and James Dean. However, he "named names" before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952.

Baldman Sez: Kazan is a great example of the movie industry's horrible ethics. They give prizes and praise to known pedophile Roman Polanski, but vilify Kazan for dropping dimes on known communists. For fifty years Hollywood has been on a campaign telling us how horrible it was that the communists could not find work in Hollywood after they were outed. So...? I'm sorry, my sympathy does not extend to those that did not find their dream job, but it does extend to those who were thrown into the Gulag.

John V. Lindsay (1921-2000)
As US Congressman from 1959-65 and Mayor of NYC from 1966-73, Lindsay's tenure was during a time of social and political tumult. Credited with calming social tensions, he is also famous for lapses in snow cleanup in Queens and fiscal management.

Baldman Sez: By far, the worst Mayor in the history of the City of New York. Out of control municipal spending. Unconscionable give aways to labor unions-that the City is still paying for today. Non aggressive policing. Welfare and drugs running wild. Tried to turn NYC into Detroit after the auto industry imploded. Required reading: The Ungovernable City by Vincent Cannato.

Robert Moses (1888-1981)
Master builder; from 1934-68 he transformed the physical character of the city, modernizing and equipping it for the automobile age through countless public works, including highways, bridges, beaches, public pools, and public housing.

Baldman Sez: Moses and Alexander Hamilton are I & IA on this list. If you don't read The Power Broker, by Robert Caro, you will never know as much about New York as you should.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003)
Harvard professor and four-term US senator from New York who pushed to shift highway financing toward mass transit (1991-92), wrote books on race relations and poverty including Beyond the Melting Pot (1963).

Baldman Sez: A real throwback. In a way, he was a lot like the founding fathers in that he took the time to think deeply about issues and government's role in solving social problems-if possible. Worked for LBJ and Nixon. While working for LBJ, became the first to link child performance in school to single parent households.

Rupert Murdoch (1931- )
Global media magnate, chairman and controlling shareholder of News Corporation. News Corporation owns and operates such New York institutions as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, as well as the Fox Network and MySpace.

Baldman Sez: What would I do without the New York Post & Fox News?

Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903)
Landscape designer and father of American landscape architecture, he co-designed, with Calvert Vaux, Central Park and Prospect Park based on his egalitarian principle that green space should be equally accessible to all citizens.

Baldman Sez: Everyone knows that Prospect Park is better than Central Park, right? I mean, other than tourists.

Lou Reed (1942- )
Guitarist, vocalist, and primary songwriter for The Velvet Underground, a New York City-based rock-and-roll quartet known for its themes of gritty street life and drug use in the 1960s.

Baldman Sez: I am a fan, but I would put Reed on this list because of the following: When he was asked by Rolling Stone what was his favorite restaurant, he replied "Gray's Papaya".

Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999)
Hall of Fame center fielder for the New York Yankees (1936-51). Career batting average of .325, with 361 home runs. Was selected for 13 All-Star Games and played in ten World Series. Known for his grace on the field and dignity off it.

Baldman Sez: Here is my Joe D story: When Ronald Reagan announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer's, a friend of mine commented Reagan would soon pass away. Nonsense I replied. The guy can still chop down trees on his ranch, he is a physical marvel. So we made a bet: Who would live longer, Reagan, my guy, or Joe DiMaggio his hero? When Joe D died I called the guy up and said " Joe DiMaggio's 84 year consecutive living streak came to an end today." (I also won the same bet when Reagan outlived Frank Sinatra. When Sinatra died, the guy at first did not want to pay up on the bet because he wanted proof that Reagan was alive. "They never show him anymore" he commented. "How do we know he is still alive?" To refute his claim I found a statement from the newspaper that said "Ron & Nancy Reagan send their condolences to the Sinatra family." I went back to to guy and said " Not only is my guy alive, but he is commenting on the death of your guy." He paid. )

Walt “Clyde” Frazier (1945- )
New York Knicks Hall of Fame point guard 1967-77, who scored an average of 19.3 points per game with the Knicks (career: 18.9) and led the team to its only NBA Championships in 1970 and 1973. Known for his stylish attire and for Puma Clydes (one of the first athlete-endorsed sneakers).

Baldman Sez: Of course he is on the list. Could anyone else go for 36 points, 19 assists and 7 rebounds in a game 7? Against Jerry West?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This Job Was Created By The Stimulus Package

Serena In Black & White

I have a friend, I don't want to betray her right to privacy, so let's call her Carla-Denise. She is from, lets say, Trinidad. She is a big Serena Williams fan, and thinks Serena's outburst at the U.S. Open is being unfairly described by the media because Serena is black. She asked to write about it here on the Stoop, with my accompanying comments.

I told Carla-Denise that I know as much about tennis as Obama knows about economics, and she said don't worry, the issue here is media bias, not tennis.

So below Carla -Denise & Baldman hit the ball to each other, in our own version of tennis here on the Stoop.

(Baldman comments in bold.)

Serena William 2009 Tirade I wonder how many of us have played a sport and lost our control because of what we considered to be bad calls throughout a game I dislike the way people judge as if they personally know someone based on what they see on TV and please let's not say it's not about race because everything has race involved when it comes down to the media and black athletes/people, before people start turning their eyes up let me give examples.

Baldman sez: People will always react to what they see on television-even you. If not, you would not have written this, right? Willing to evaluate and comment on your examples.....

1. When Venus/Serena first came onto the scene every critic had their negative opinions to say about these young women, where they grew up, how they have power but will never be dominate because they didn't have a real tennis coach etc. nobody called Chris Everett pompous or said she was being rude or lacked humility.

Baldman sez: It seems you have two points here. Regarding the first, I admit to not being a tennis fan, and part of the reason is that its rules and customs are too stifling-for players and fans alike. Regarding the criticism of their father being their coach, I agree with you, it was bullsh*t. But I think the criticism stems from tennis having no tolerance for thinking/teaching/playing outside the box. And Richard Williams, god bless him, is a guy who is outside the box. You of course, attribute the criticism to race. Which leads to your next point which seems to be that the Williams' sisters are called "pompous" or "rude"-something that was never attributed to Chris Everett who acted in a similar fashion. I do not know how Chris Everett acted or how she was portrayed in the media. I do know that the most universally praised tennis player of my lifetime was Arthur Ashe, an African American. The man was a role model for all people, and the media (rightfully) elevated Ashe to heroic status. (FYI- read Ashe's memoir "Days of Grace"). Ashe is so beloved, the U.S. Open facility is named after him. If the media is filled with racial animus, why wasn't that animus reflected on its coverage of Artur Ashe?

2. Nobody said that McEnroe lacked humility or was pompous and we all know the tirades he had as well as his launching of tennis rackets.

Baldman sez: As I said, I am not a tennis fan, but even I know that McEnroe was a spoiled brat. Where did I get that from if I never watched a match? I got it from the print/electronic media.

3. White Americans love the black athletes as long as they can have a say in how they behave and who they encounter with, I mean white America hated Ali while he was with the Nation of Islam and refused to go to Vietnam, now he is the great American ambassador because he doesn't associate with certain groups anymore.

Baldman sez: I know we are talking tennis, but # 3 is a big swing and a miss by you. Michael Jordan. Derek Jeter. Joe Louis. All beloved by white people. As are hundreds of other black athletes. You think Michael Jordan does what he wants, or what white people tell him to do? Joe Louis is the most beloved athlete this country has ever seen. Arthur Ashe was a man who followed a moral compass that no man, black or white, could make him veer away from. Regarding Ali, I am no fan. I think his life, his ascension to heroic status, is a farce- built mostly by the white media. The reason why you do not see much vocal opposition to Ali is because he took too many left hooks from Smokin' Joe-and people feel sorry for him. Did you know that while the KKK was rounding up black folks and lynching them, Ali spoke at a KKK rally and praised them, saying they had the right idea about seperating the races? Don't believe me? Listen to the clip below.

4. The supposed great thing about America is that we are different, we come different walks of life and have had different experiences, but the problem that most blacks have always encountered is that if white America doesn't agree with it then it is wrong even though it may be who we are and how we deal.

Baldman sez: I need you to be more clear here. Can't comment until you clarify.

5. I have witnessed racism at it's worse and now that we have a black president it feels as though a small portion of America has major issue with a black president after 43 white presidents, I mean people expecting this man to change this economy in 8 months when it took 8 years for Bush to fuck it up.

Baldman sez: Seems we have veered away from Serena to Obama. I'm going to get that judge that Serena threatened to call a foul on you. All I can say is that with the job comes the criticism. It happens to all of them. If you don't criticize Obama on the basis that he is black, you are just as guilty as those you do criticize him because he is black. The problem is that he has changed the economy-for the worse. Unemployment is higher than Rick James; the president is spending like a drunken sailor at Scores; and as a goof he has unleashed his inner (outer) Socialist self by nationalizing the banking and auto industries-with his eye on doing the same to health care. All in 8 months. A lot of people have had enough.
6. This is about race so when people start facing the real issue then maybe we can catch up to other countries that are supposed to be our lead when it comes to race relations.

Baldman sez: 11 months ago, a country that is 87% non-black elected a black president. It was the first time that a historically oppressed minority ever achieved the presidency/prime minister position in the country where their ancestors were oppressed. Seems like we are the model for other countries to follow when it comes to race.

7. Don't say this article is about Serena's tirade, I am talking the posting on this board and how white's are treated and talked about different than blacks in the media, we are portrayed as angry and violent but white's are portrayed as being upset and emotional.

Baldman sez: I wish you provided some examples. Don't want to speculate here.

8. And yes Serena behavior was unsportsmanlike but she is not going to change the planet called earth with a tennis racket we the human race have to change the planet one race relation at a time

Baldman sez: I am not a big changing the planet person. I like my garbage picked up by Sanitation, going to bed knowing we have more nukes than any other country, the NFL, and millions of other things about the planet, and its greatest place-America.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Meet The New Tommy Hearns

Tommy Hearns is one of my favorite boxers of all time. You knew when you were watching a Hearns fight, that you would see a lot of action. That you would not see a lot of clutching and grabbing. A big part of the reason why you would not see a lot of clutching and grabbing is because Tommy did not know how to do it. He never learned the skills boxers must have to clear their heads after they've been hit.

So while Tommy was great enough to beat 99% of the boxers of his generation, he had a fatal flaw: he had a glass chin. When he got hit hard, the eyes glazed, the legs buckled, and that was that. His brain was unable to send a vital message to the rest of his body: hold on, clear your head, get to the end of the round, and comeback without cobwebs.

As great as Tommy was, he could not beat Leonard. Or Hagler. Or Barkley. Each man got to Tommy's glass chin.

Which brings me to Tony Romo. He has a lot of Tommy Hearns in him. When he gets protection, he can throw the football as well as anyone. He can stay in the pocket, and he can move around, and throw with accuracy and strength.

But watch him when he does not get protection. Watch him when he starts getting hit. Not even sacked, just hit. First, he gets this goofy look on his face. Next, his accuracy goes out the window, as he starts to rush throws, to avoid being hit. His foot work gets amateurish, and he starts to throw off the wrong foot. You will see him start to yell at his offensive linemen, in utter frustration. He will even start to bump into his own linemen in the pocket, like he is a rat in a maze trying to break free. Trying to break free from getting hit.

Once you hit Romo repeatedly, he becomes Tommy Hearns in trouble. And it is over.

None of this is a secret. The Giants know what they need to do to beat the Cowboys next week in that gaudy-awful Stadium debut next Sunday night.

Tom Coughlin should put the following statement in each defensive player's locker: "We break the glass chin-we win".

And when all is said and done, when you crunch the numbers and the match-ups, it still all comes down to Romo's glass chin. If it is intact, they win. If it is shattered, we win.

Simple stuff.