Angry New Yorker

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Honor Indian Treaties?

Why is the NY Seneca Nation of Indians running CONSTANT radio and t.v. commercials here in New York encourgaging people to contact the Governor to "honor Indian treaties" because "if you break a treaty, you break the law"? (See their website - Honor Indian Treaties here).
Good question, because the thought comes to mind that if they felt they actually had a solid legal claim to back up their position they'd be in the courts faster than you can say New York State Court of Appeals.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Patcki's State of the State Address & Budget

Governor Pataki was describing some alternate universe version of New York state, because the state he described sure does match the reality we're living in. Here's the governor's state of the state address - here.

The reality is that New York state's political and financial systems are broken. And all the "don't worry be happy" politico-speak won't change that. Here's the Governor's 2004-2005 proposed buget - here.

Monday, January 19, 2004
Time to impeach Councilman Charles Barron?

Charles Barron, councilman from the 42nd district of New York city in Brooklyn, has been an embarassment to New York city government from day one. His constant stream of outrageous antics along with his apparently intentional incendiary statements should have disqualified him from office. Apparently his district's voters didn't think so. But that's democracy, however.

Now he wants to run for mayor and bring his racially charged and quasi-racist agenda into the mayor's office. On a practical level he has absolutely no chance of winning, but his comments poison any discussion he's involved in. Consider his statement, quoted below in the story, that "[t]oo few white men have too much power, and that has to stop." If you substituted any other ethnic group for "white men" in that sentence the resulting uproar would immense. While I'm a strong support of free speech, and anti-PC, too boot, his world view has no place in city government.

Bottomline -- It's time for the voters in his district to give him the boot when he's up for reelection next year.

From NY1 News
Monday, January 19, 2004

Brooklyn Councilman Launches Campaign For Mayor

Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron has officially launched a campaign for mayor in 2005.

”I intend to be the 109th mayor of New York City,” Barron announced on the steps of City Hall Monday.

As mayor, Barron said, he would work to even what he calls an unequally balanced government. He said he would also work to preserve affordable housing, develop a “culturally relevant” curriculum for schools and use economic development as a means to fight crime.

“We're calling for a new structure in New York City,” the former Black Panther said. “We're calling for a racially-balanced, gender-balanced administration and structure of New York City. Too few white men have too much power, and that has to stop.”

The Democrat’s campaign committee has already been working on fundraising and organizing its finances.

Barron also plans to run for re-election to the City Council, even though running for two city offices is not allowed. Barron plans to challenge that rule in court.

The Republican incumbent, Michael Bloomberg, has indicated he wants to run for re-election, and other possible Democratic challengers include City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, City Comptroller Bill Thompson and former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.

Saturday, January 10, 2004
available at

January 9, 2004 -- MAYOR Bloomberg's planned property-tax rebate for New York City homeowners won't provide the same economic boost as a permanent rate cut for all property taxpayers. But it sweeps $250 million off the budgetary table and away from the grasping hands of the municipal labor unions and City Council.
In this crucial respect, Bloomberg's State of the City Address represented a promising start to what is sure to be a difficult and contentious year on the fiscal front.

By contrast, Gov. Pataki's State of the State speech was a study in conflict avoidance. Badly mauled in last year's confrontation with the Legislature, the governor avoided specifics on how he'll deal with the state's massive fiscal problems in 2004-05.

To be sure, Bloomberg hasn't become a born-again conservative, fiscal or otherwise. And even allowing for self-serving hyperbole, the mayor's view of the city's economic prospects is unduly rosy. "Wall Street firms have stayed in this city," he boasted yesterday - although many of the same firms are plowing their resurgent profits into new hiring elsewhere.

While tourism is up, the Big Apple isn't regaining high-wage jobs in the securities industry or the corporate sector, which should be a real source of worry for the future.

The mayor also claimed once again to have "cut spending by $3.3 billion" - a misleading figure derived from higher projections of spending made before he took office. In fact, on Bloomberg's watch the city budget actually has grown by more than $2 billion, which is why his tax hikes were necessary in the first place.

Indeed, it seems clear the mayor still sees no connection between taxes and economic performance or decision-making. Rather, he described the rebate as a matter of recognizing taxpayers for having "sacrificed" and "stepped up to the plate" - as if there was something voluntary about it.


Thursday, January 08, 2004
Bloomberg to Refund Property Tax
Few New Yorkers usually shed tears for NYC's civil servants, given that they certainly create enough tears of frustration in others. But even we feel some sympathy for the NYC Finance Dept. folks responsible for NYC's property tax collection. After a series of yo-yo tax increases, which resulted in mailing after mailing of new tax payment coupons, Mayor Bloomberg now proposes a refund of the much hated 18.5% property tax hike everyone in city government expended so much time and political capital rangling over. It's deja vu all over again. And, as an aside, the 18.5% was actually significantly higher in practice, due to a "stealth property tax increase" that occurred when the Finance department slapped assessment increases first and then the 18.5% increase was then levied on top as a double whammy.

AngryNYker readers are a knowledgeable lot, and typically follow the workings and misfires of NY city and state government closely, but the average New Yorker, who merely tracks the headlines, will now, once again, be convinced that NYC's very real financial troubles were little more than scare-tactic hyperventilation, if Mayor Bloomberg can so easily give back what was recently so painfully taken.

Fiscal conservatives continue to be severely disappointed in Mayor Bloomberg's unwillingness to seriously address NYC's social spending, which per capita stands head and shoulders above every other city in the U.S., or to roll back the number of NYC governmental workers, which has risen substantially in the past ten years. This topic is too complicated to cover in a blurb, but it's one we'll continue to visit regularly. Stay tuned.

The Immigration Quagmire

There're few topics that provoke stronger debate than the subject of illegal immigration.'s position is simple, and has been discussed before, after reading the former INS's own 2002 Yearbook on immigration -- which details the numbers in minute details. Our viewpoint is not knee-jerk; nor a broad-brushed black and white view, but is clear, and on the heels on Bush's very flawed proposal, bears repeating.

Basically, our position is (1) overall legal immigration levels are too high in a post 9-11 world; (2) our borders are too porous; and (3) illegal immigration is out of control by any measure. But first, a distinction must be made between those coming here illegally to seek asylum from real physical and political threats and those who slip into the U.S. to merely seek economic opportunities lacking in their home countries. The first category should be protected, the second category should, in our view, be deported.

If we're ever going to get a handle on the situation, and everyone should be astounded that we have 8 to 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S., then we need to set reasonable laws, see that they're vigorously enforced, and deal with the situation -- not erect half-measures that signal a capitulation to the flow of illegal aliens into the U.S. It's much repeated, by those who both support and oppose stronger immigration controls, that we're a nation of immigrants. Indeed we are, and it's a foundation facet of our nature as a country. But the world of 2004 is not the world of 1954, and the policies of 2004 should not merely mouth that we're a nation of immigrants without a serious dispassionate discussion of what implications our current immigration policies and illegal immigration hold for us as a nation.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004
I don't like knocking a fellow native New Yorker, but when one makes an outrageous statement, either from the left or right, I'm willing to take them to task. (Bloomberg's asinine commentary directed toward Congressman Shays gets a pass here only because Bloomberg's increasingly falling into the knee-jerk NYC v. The World brain-fog that eventually befalls all NYC mayors).
The background of this trip to the woodshed is the past week's firestorm regarding an entry to's somewhat juvenile Bush in 30 Seconds contest, which states is "a political TV ad contest to help us find the most creative, clear and memorable ideas for ads that tell the truth about George Bush's policies." Truth apparently is a fluid concept, and one entry equated President Bush to Hitler, echoing a favorite bumper sticker slogan of the radical left that Bush = Hitler (which could be readily seen plastered on placards during anti-war protests in the U.S. and in Europe).

The U.S. Constitution's first amendment protects, or should protect, a robust market place of ideas, and if someone wants to equate a duly, though narrowly, elected U.S. President to a man who dragged the world into a global conflagration that cost millions of lives, that's their perogative. By any objective measure, however, the analogy is misguided and would deserve a failing grade on any standardized test utilizing the common analogy mode of A is to B, as X is to ___.

Anyway, the hullabaloo, which I'll grant has been blown out of proportion by both the left and right, began when someone (I don't know who offhand) entered a submission that, you guessed it, equated Bush to Hitler giving the heil salute. Childish. Foolish. Offensive? I think so. While anyone has the right to compare Bush to Hitler, that doesn't impinge my corresponding right to find it offensive. Reasonable minds can differ, but for one side to dismiss the other's world view out of hand is to foreclose further discourse.

So when someone I respect and have kept in touch with over the years basically says "what's the big deal with saying Bush is Hitler? The Republicans are pillaging the country!" the New Yorker in me gets angry, and exercising my own first amendment rights is the result. As someone always willing to give the benefit of the doubt, at least at first, Dave Winer, perhaps spoke off-the-cuff, and freely admitted not having seen the ad, stating:

"People who support Bush apparently don't like the MoveOn.Org comparison of Bush to Hitler. I haven't seen the ad, but I don't find the idea offensive. It's about time people outside the blogging world started ringing the bells. Wake up. They're taking the Bill of Rights apart. Get your priorities straight. An ad with some imagery you find offensive is nothing compared to what the Republicans are doing. We live in amazing times. The professional press isn't covering the laws that are passing in Congress and being signed by the President."

Now Dave's a great guy; a liberal democrat, or it increasingly seems he is now that he's a fellow up at Harvard, but perhaps he just didn't know what the ad sponsored, and it was sponsored, by actual said. So here's a transcript of it, as obtained by You make your own decision.

GRAPHIC: Nazi Flags In A Parade
HITLER: (Speaking In German)


GRAPHIC: German Troops Marching
GRAPHIC: Hitler In Car In Parade
GRAPHIC: German Troops Marching


GRAPHIC: German Tanks


GRAPHIC: German Artillery Firing
GRAPHIC: German Planes Dropping Bombs
GRAPHIC: German Tanks Firing


GRAPHIC: German Tanks Rolling Down Street


GRAPHIC: Hitler With Hand Raised
BACKGROUND: Sig Heil! Sig Heil!


GRAPHIC: President Bush With Hand Raised At Inauguration
BACKGROUND: Sig Heil! Sig Heil!



Friday, January 02, 2004
Happy New Year to all! I decided to start the new year off with a bit of commercial analysis, literally. A commercial that's heavily played on the radio here is an ad for "The Club" which, if you somehow don't know, is an anti-theft device that you lock to your steering wheel in the hope that a miscreant won't steal your car.

So far so good. But the latest Club commercials make numerous, what I believe are, spurious claims and leaps of logic that don't survive scrutiny. For starters, the commercials say that in areas where 50% of drivers have the club, auto thefts are down 50% with the express linkage that the drop in thefts are in direct causation to use of The Club. Oh? The commercial goes on to make the linkage even more explicit saying that if 90% of cars used the club then auto thefts would be down 90%. Again false linkage, and the commercial even recognizes it because they say, basically, that if you use the Club a thief will move on to a car without the club. Well, then, even if 90% of cars used the club, and even if the club actually did prevent theft, one could rationally expect the remaining 10% of cars lacking the club would be stolen in a greater proportion and make up for the drop in overall car thefts that might be attributed to use of the Club. In short, use the club, don't use the club, but there's no way the club is responsible for all auto theft prevention as the commercials state.

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