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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Say what?

Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner, in announcing his longshot bid to become the Democratic candidate for governor of New York, said in a prepared statement this week: “It is unconscionable, quite frankly, that Andrew Cuomo has almost completely capitulated to right-wing conservative ideology on tax/budget issues and the neoliberal punditocracy consensus that’s built up over years for Cuomo’s economic talking points that spell only more doom and gloom for New York’s middle class."

"Capitualted to right-wing conservative ideology"?
"The neoliberal punditocracy consensus"?


Look, I'm no expert in campaign methods, but it seems rule No. 1 should be candidates must convey their messages in plain English, not political gibberishspeak.

Statements like Tyner's turn people off and cause them to tune out.

Not what he was aiming for, I'm sure.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Selective outrage

Joe Sestak, who beat U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania's Democratic primary earlier this month, claims the Obama White House offered to give him a job in the administration if he would abandon his bid to unseat Specter.

Eager to jump on anything potentially damaging to the president, the HOATOs (people with a Hatred Of All Things Obama) - particularly several Republican members of Congress - ran to the nearest TV cameras and declared the as-yet-unproven job offer an "impeachable offense!!"

These same people had no problem with a Republican president misleading the American people into a war that has killed more than 4,000 U.S. troops and perhaps 100,000 Iraqi civilians, but a simple job offer (unlikely proffered by Barack Obama himself, if at all) is, in their eyes, grounds to throw the current Democratic president out of office.



Sunday, May 23, 2010


"MacGruber," possibly the worst "Saturday Night Live" sketch ever to be turned into a movie - and that's saying a lot when you consider that SNL bits gave us such awful feature films as "Superstar," "A Night at the Roxbury" and "It's Pat" - bombed at the box office on this, its opening weekend.

The movie, starring Will Forte and the chronically unfunny Kristen Wiig, opened in sixth place with a paltry $4.1 million take at the box office.

Let it never be said there's no God.

MacGruber, played by Forte, is a bumbling version of the 1980s TV character MacGyver. The difference between the two is MacGyver was able to defuse bombs just before they were set to go off. MacGruber has no such ability. The bomb always goes off, though, sadly, he gets away unscathed every time.

Thankfully, though, the movie bearing his name appears to one bomb that will blow up right in his face - and in the face of highly overrated SNL producer Lorne Michaels.

Maybe now, finally, Michaels will learn that if something isn't funny on the small screen for five minutes, there's little chance it will be funny on the big screen for an hour-and-a-half.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cashing in on carelessness

Bristol Palin gets $15,000 to $30,000 for abstinence speeches

Let me see if I have this straight:
Irresponsible teenage girl has unprotected sex, gets pregnant and now is paid up to $30,000 a pop to stand in front of a crowd and say "Do as I say, not as I do"?
What do responsible teenage girls have to do to make that kind of money?


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Three years and counting

My blog turns three years old today.
I can't believe no one threw it a party of bought it any presents.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cheaters should be going, going, gone

Various media outlets are reporting today that Alex Rodriguez's seventh-inning grand slam last night was his 587th career home run, moving him ahead of Frank Robinson and into seventh place on the list of all-time home run leaders.

By AP's count, the current home run leaders and their totals are:
1. Barry Bonds, 762
2. Hank Aaron, 756
3. Babe Ruth, 714
4. Willie Mays, 660
5. Ken Griffey Jr., 630
6. Sammy Sosa, 609
7. Alex Rodriguez, 587
8. Frank Robinson, 586
9. Mark McGwire, 583
10. Harmon Killibrew, 573

... except that A-Rod and McGwire are admitted cheaters - both having 'fessed up to using performance-enhancing drugs - and there isn't a person with a brain stem who doesn't believe Bonds and Sosa were juicers, too. Including these four people on any list of home run leaders is an insult to the game's history and its fans.

So, for the record, here's the real list, as of today, of baseball's Top 10 home run hitters:
1. Hank Aaron, 756
2. Babe Ruth, 714
3. Willie Mays, 660
4. Ken Griffey Jr., 630
5. Frank Robinson, 586
6. Harmon Killibrew, 573
7. Jim Thome, 569
8. Reggie Jackson, 563
9. Mike Schmidt, 548
10. Mickey Mantle, 536

(So-called official lists of home run leaders have Rafael Palmeiro tied with Thome, and Manny Ramirez between Jackson and Schmidt, but they, too, are proven cheaters and thus unworthy of any mention among the great - and honest - players of the game.)

Baseball fans and the game's historians understand the difference between real and fake achievements on the field, and they know enough to laugh off the likes of Bonds, A-Rod, Big Mac, Palmeiro and Ramirez, and to never include them on any list of the sport's top performers. It's time for the writers who cover the game to get on board and make the same distinctions. Otherwise, they're just part of the problem.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Sarah shoots from the lip

Former vice presidential candidate, Tea Party hero and national embarrassment Sarah Palin said today that President Barack Obama would ban guns and ammunition if he could get away with it.

Well, no. Not by a longshot, in fact. But when has Palin ever let the truth - i.e. the fact that Obama recently signed legislation allowing people to carry loaded guns in national parks - stand in the way of a good soundbite?

For Obama's real position on the issue of gun ownership, read this February 2008 comment by the then-presidential candidate:

"I think it’s important for us to recognize that we’ve got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets, and cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions."

In other words, legal gun ownership by law-abiding citizens is OK with Obama. What he opposes is illegal gun ownership by criminals and people who are likely to use the weapons irresponsibly.

And Palin has a problem with this?


There are never 32 cops around when you need them

How many heavily armed law-enforcement officers does it take to arrest one gang member in Newburgh?

Thirty-two, apparently.

No, this isn't a twist on the old lightbulb jokes. It's a mathematical reality based on Thursday's crackdown on gang activity in the crime-infested Orange County city.

According to articles that appeared in the Freeman and other local newspapers, a total of 600 federal, state and local law enforcers participated in the citywide raids, which - despite authorities playing up the fact that there were 78 indictments in the crackdown - resulted in only 19 arrests. (Forty-four of those indicted were in custody already, and 15 remained at large.)

Six-hundred cops to arrest 19 bad guys? Seriously?

Look, I'm all for the overwhelming use of force to ensure police aren't wounded or killed by potentially armed suspects. And there's no way I'd expect only one or two officers to attempt arrests like the ones made on Thursday. Five cops per arrest, or perhaps even 10, would be appropriate. But a 32-1 ratio is just plain excessive, not to mention expensive. Heck, I've seen fewer than 32 cops respond to hostage situations in which the suspect was known to be armed and threatening someone.

Assuming, though, that the use of 600 cops in Thursday's operations can be justified, I can't help but wonder: Wouldn't it have been smarter to devote that amount of police staffing to patrolling Newburgh's troubled neighborhoods all along so the problem didn't become serious enough to warrant Thursday's action?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Legal evil

So after all the hysterical exaggeration in recent weeks about the threat posed to our nation by illegal immigrants, does anyone else find it ironic that the suspect in the Times Square car bomb case is a legal immigrant?

And correct me if I'm wrong, but to the best of my knowledge, no Mexicans who have crossed into Arizona illegally have filled SUVs with explosives in an attempt to commit mass murder.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Unprotected ... STILL

I got off a Metro-North train at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, just 24 hours after a potentially devastating car bomb failed to detonate in Times Square, less than a mile away. And the visible security presence at the high-profile station? Zero. Zilch. Nadda. No cops. No bomb-sniffing dogs. No National Guardsman. Nothing.

I've commented before in this space about the alarming lack of security at New York City's prime terror targets (bridges, tunnels, theaters, sports venues and, yes, Times Square), but never have I been more amazed - and disturbed - to see such a complete lack of concern for the public's safety as I was Sunday evening.

The people responsible for this lapse in judgment should be ashamed of themselves, and then they should be fired.

... and so should the people responsible for security at Radio City Music Hall - a concert at which was my reason for being in Manhattan.

Just one day after the would-be car bomber tried to commit mass murder on Seventh Avenue, I was allowed into the world-famous theater on Sixth Avenue without so much as a pat-down or a request to empty my pockets.

Moments later, I stood in a lobby crammed with hundreds of people, and all it would have taken was the detonation of a nail-filled bomb strapped to my torso to kill most of them.

But no one bothered to check whether I wearing such a bomb. Unbelievable.

The bottom line here is that I refuse to be scared by terrorists and the threat of terrorism. The fact that I went to New York City on Sunday proves that. But I do expect the people who are paid to protect us to do their job, and near as I can tell, they're not doing anything of the kind.