Soon-to-be governor Kathy Hochul

Erie County

Kathy HochulSomeone from outside of New York State asked me what I thought of soon-to-be New York State Governor Kathy Hochul. The answer is that I had hardly thought of her at all. In fact, a month ago, if someone had shown me an unlabeled picture of her, it’s only about 50/50 that I would have been able to identify her.

This is a good thing, actually. She wasn’t tied at the hip to Andrew Cuomo, and has, so far, said the right things about cleaning house.

Daily Kos notes: “Hochul will be New York’s first governor from the Buffalo area since none other than Democrat Grover Cleveland, who won the top job in 1882 after a short stint as mayor. She’s also the first bona fide Upstate resident to hold the post since Republican Nathan Miller of Cortland County left office in 1922.”

From Buffalo to Albany

This upstate/downstate issue has been an issue in the state since approximately forever. Heck, where upstate begins – Poughkeepsie, maybe – is subject to debate. (And that doesn’t even count the people who’ve decided that Buffalo’s actually in the Midwest US because it’s closer to Detroit, Mi (255 miles/411 km) than New York City (374 miles/601 km).

Daily Kos: “As distant as her geographic roots are from the Queens-born Cuomo’s, so too does her personal style differ. As Roll Call’s Jim Saska puts it, ‘Where Cuomo was feared, Hochul is beloved; where Cuomo had judged, Hochul has empathized.'”

Her relatively conservative record when running for Congress a decade ago became a liability when running for lieutenant governor. She was primaried twice and did less well in her primaries than Cuomo did in his. I voted for her opponents both times. I picked in 2014 legal scholar Tim Wu, who lost 60-40, and in 2018, low-profile New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, lost by only a 53-47 margin. So since I’ve not voted for Cuomo in 2014 or 2018, I’ve never voted for her.

Enough is Enough

Still, I’m very willing to give her a chance. After Andrew, she’ll be a refreshing change. She says she’s running for governor next year, and she absolutely had to announce that. If she didn’t, she’d be an instant lame duck. It’ll be a contentious primary in June 2022.

From the Times Union: “She has led Cuomo’s 10 regional economic development councils, chaired a task force on heroin and opioid abuse and addiction, and led the governor’s ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses. She is married to William Hochul, the former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, who is now in private practice. They are the parents of two children.”

The history community is excited to see her in the new job. As IHARE notes: “The incoming Governor is far better qualified… I say this not because she has a background in such history but because of her training in office. For the past few years, she has held what is routinely regarded as a ‘ceremonial’ position. As such she has spent a lot of time outside of Albany traveling to a multitude of local events. These events from time to time include history sites and conferences.

I wish Kathy Hochul good luck as the state’s first female governor.

The former Cuomosexuals

Ch-ch-ch-changes

cuomosexualsMy daughter pointed out that after Andrew Cuomo agreed to resign as governor of New York, Trevor Noah was trending on Twitter. Otherwise, I never know what’s trending on Twitter.

The talk show host was being mocked for declaring himself one of the Cuomosexuals in 2020.

“’Never let Trevor Noah forget this,’” the rightwing pundits proclaim when including “a 2020 video of Noah praising the governor for ‘crushing it the most right now’ when it came to his pandemic response…

“While Noah changed his tune since news of the sexual assault allegations and nursing home scandal broke, even posting a celebratory tweet following Cuomo’s resignation, conservatives want to ensure Twitter does not forget the late-night hosts’ initial take.”

Fascinating, he said, in his best Mr. Spock voice

My takeaway here is that, according to these folks, one is not allowed to have an opinion about someone, then to change one’s mind when new circumstances arise or when additional information becomes available.

OK, got it. That is plain stupid. We’re supposed to feel about, say, Bill Cosby in 2018 as we did in 1988?

Many people were comforted by Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings. They felt that he was attempting to tell them the truth about the coronavirus infection rates, and the latest science, even when it was not particularly good news. This was in drastic contrast with the daily briefings in DC when whatever things Drs. Birx and Fauci et al. said were often countermanded and undermined by their boss.

There were LOTS of Cuomosexuals all over the country, notably the parodist Randy Rainbow. This is explained well in this New Yorker article.

I was recently reading an issue of the magazine The Week from June 2021. The experts suggested that the decline of COVID-19 was on track. No, they did not predict the level of vaccine resistance nor the speed of the delta variant – those two factors being related – so that now mask-wearing indoors is recommended, even among the vaccinated like me.

Changing their minds

It’s also OK to change one’s mind. Back in 2007, Kathy Hochul – pronounced HO-kul – “while serving as the Erie County clerk… threatened to arrest undocumented immigrants who applied for driver’s licenses.” But in recent years, the future New York State governor has supported “the state’s so-called Green Light law.”

Even as President, Barack Obama evolved on the issue of marriage equality. Initially, he opposed same-gender marriage, but his position evolved.

As a person growing up in the church, I’ve seen the changing roles of women, laypersons, and others. The church I attend now only had male ushers, dressed in a certain way, when I was born.

Frankly, people who believe that God, whoever They may be, never changes, so that we need to be doing the same thing, regardless of the needs of the people, make me damn angry.

 

A lot to say about Governor Andrew Cuomo

59% of New Yorkers say they want Cuomo to resign

Andrew CuomoMy friend Catbird assumes I have a lot to say about Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and the allegations of sexual harassment, and I do. But it’s tricky to write about such a dynamic situation.

There have been legal activities at many levels for a few months. In March, the Assembly began a broad impeachment inquiry. It chugged along slowly, in part because it was examining several scandals involving Cuomo, including his handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.

But when the 168-page report by the office of state Attorney General Leticia James came out, indicating that he broke several state and federal laws, it acted as an accelerant.

While there was some desire for him to resign months ago, those calls have become louder and broader.  The chorus includedng the entire NYS Congressional delegation,  several Democratic governors of neighboring states, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and President Joe Biden.

Go away, Andy

A Marist survey last week reported that 59% of New Yorkers, including 52% of Democrats, say they want Cuomo to resign. And “about the same number say the Democratic governor should be impeached and removed if he doesn’t resign. Fewer than one-third of New Yorkers surveyed say” he should serve out his third four-year term.

Check out the Times Union podcast for August 6. Cuomo has until Friday to  provide evidence defending against the sexual harassment allegations

Violated, demeaned,  humiliated, a horror movie: Those are some of the words 11 women used to describe how Gov. Andrew Cuomo made them feel when he touched, kissed, or hugged them or asked invasive questions.

“Many of these women who spoke to investigators hired by the New York attorney general’s office were state employees. Others encountered Cuomo in professional settings or at public events.”

I find the women who have spoken publicly to be quite credible. Additionally, it’s fairly clear that he lobbied for an attractive female state trooper to be assigned to his detail, though she didn’t have the requite three years of experience.

Romances

The 63-year-old governor was married to Kerry Kennedy, the seventh child of Ethel and the late Robert Kennedy, from 1990 to 2005. They had three daughters, twins Cara and Mariah, and Michaela. The marriage, according to several sources, including this Vanity Fair piece, was challenging.

The New York Post – not a newspaper of record – ran an article back in April about the split between Cuomo and his significant other from 2005 to 2019, lifestyle personality Sandra Lee. FWIW, the piece suggests that the governor was unfaithful.

It’s a crime

While the AG’s report addressed civil law, it might have empowered one of the women named to file a criminal complaint with the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. An assistant to Cuomo, D-N.Y. is listed as “Executive Assistant #1” by the report.

His denial of all actions was pretty much what I expected. In my view, he won’t resign unless he’s impeached by the state Assembly, and maybe not then, despite this Seussian admonition.

Lawmakers in the Assembly could impeach Cuomo with a simple majority vote, and I expect that to happen.

More scandals

I’ll admit that his COVID press conferences in 2020 were often useful, especially in contrast to the blather from other sources. But the pandemic led to other scandals, which theoretically could be folded in as charges. He “appears to have used gubernatorial staff and resources to write his 2020 bestselling book ‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ That might violate state ethics rules and possibly the Public Officers Law. “

The trial portion after impeachment is cumbersome and rarely used, so Cuomo may take his chances.  Here’s what must happen. “A trial would be held in the state Senate, where Democrats are also in the majority.

“If convicted, Cuomo would be removed from office and potentially barred permanently from seeking statewide political office. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would replace him as governor.”

Yes, I voted for him (but not lately)

As I’ve noted, I knew that he was an SOB. That’s why I voted for him in his successful run as NY Attorney General in 2006. I even picked him as governor in 2010, though not in the primaries. But not since, either in the 2014 and 2018 primaries or the general elections.

Someone had asked what did it say about New York, with three of its last governors embroiled in some sort of controversy. Are we competing with IllinoisEliot Spitzer was also AG before he was governor, then was felled by sex crimes; he resigned.

His replacement, David Patterson’s flaws were far less severe. One of his top aides was involved in an alleged case of domestic abuse into which Patterson attempted to intervene. His chances for election to a full term disappeared.

The only NYS governor to be impeached was William Sulzer was impeached and removed from office in 1913. “The political machine took on a brand new governor, and won.” Curiously, I read a book about Sulzer’s successor Martin H. Glynn.

Yes, I do wish that Andrew Cuomo would resign. But I’m not holding my breath. 

 

Andrew Cuomo: how soon will he go?

Mario’s son

Andrew CuomoPeople all over the country were having this odd fantasy about New York State’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, in 2020.

They became self-described Cuomosexuals, especially when he was being interviewed by his brother Chris on CNN, inexplicable journalistically but probably good for the ratings.

It was all about the near-daily press conferences, in which he appeared to give competent information about the coronavirus situation. Certainly better than that other guy giving regular updates from DC. Still, I was a bit bemused by it.

Now he is in trouble because his administration reportedly undercounted the number of nursing home deaths. And his initial suggestion that “it doesn’t matter” whether they died from being in the nursing home doesn’t really matter because they’re still dead did not play well. There’s an investigation.

Plus another investigation because he allegedly sexually harassed four – no, wait, six – women. I heard Charlotte Bennett, a former aide, accuse Cuomo of grooming her for sex. She was extremely credible. Worse, he used the information that he knew about a sexual assault she had experienced, which left a really bad taste in my mouth.

A different problem: structural problems on the bridge named for his father, the late Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, were covered up. “For structures like bridges and high-rises, experts say even a few broken bolts can weaken the immense splices and result in a catastrophic collapse.”

The father

I had voted for Mario  Cuomo every chance I got, including in the 1977 NYC mayoral primary against Ed Koch – he lost – and the 1982 gubernatorial primary race against Ed Koch – he won! But when Bill Clinton was considering appointing him to the Supreme Court in 1993, he took himself out of consideration. Then he lost to an obscure state legislator named George Pataki the following year.

(The country did pretty great with Clinton’s ultimate SCOTUS nominee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)

He was married to Matilda Raffa for 60 years, and it was a great love story. Matilda was and continues to be a force in the family.

The son

Andrew Cuomo was his father’s campaign manager when Mario successfully ran for governor. He joined the governor’s staff as one of his father’s policy advisors, earning $1 a year. He was an assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the first term of Bill Clinton’s Presidency and HUD secretary during the second term. His tenure was a mixed bag.

Andrew was running for governor in 2002. But he derailed his own campaign when he said (in reference to the aftermath of the September 11 attacks): “Pataki stood behind the leader. He held the leader’s coat. He was a great assistant to the leader. But he was not a leader. Cream rises to the top, and Rudy Giuliani rose to the top.” This was back in the day when Rudy had not gone bat guano crazy.

In 2006, Andrew ran for NYS attorney general. While I voted for Mark Green (no relation) in the primary, I selected him in the general election. He ran against former Westchester district attorney Jeanine Pirro. Yeah, the one now hosting Fox’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, who even then was guano crazy.

Moving up

David Patterson had become governor in March 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in the midst of a prostitution scandal. Andrew Cuomo had hoped to get appointed to the Senate seat vacated when Hillary Clinton became US Secretary of State in 2009, but that position went to a then-obscure upstate member of Congress, Kirsten Gillibrand.

Patterson had his own problems involving witness tampering and accepting free New York Yankees tickets and declined to run for election. Andrew Cuomo was the Democratic nominee, running against the vilely racist Tea Party Republican Carl Paladino, a Buffalo-based businessman. Cuomo won the election for governor by a landslide, which was the last time I voted for him.

Among other issues, I was less than thrilled with his wasteful program called START-UP NY which was supposed to create jobs but only hemorrhaged money. I also disliked his policy towards teacher testing. In 2014 and 2018, I voted for his Democratic primary opponents (Zephyr Teachout, Cynthia Nixon) and picked Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in the general elections, knowing that Cuomo was running against weak Republicans.

Cuomomania

So I was amused when Andrew Cuomo became a hero of the pandemic. He wrote a book about his great leadership during the crisis. CBS Sunday Morning did a puff piece about him with his three daughters. They are twins Cara Ethel Kennedy-Cuomo and Mariah Matilda Kennedy-Cuomo (born 1995), and Michaela Andrea Kennedy-Cuomo (born 1997). Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, and Andrew were married in 1990, separated in 2003, and divorced in 2005.

“Cuomo began dating Food Network host Sandra Lee in 2005, and the couple moved in together in 2011. The two resided in Westchester County, NY. On September 25, 2019, the couple announced that they had ended their relationship. As of the fall of 2019, Cuomo is living in the New York State Executive Mansion in Albany on a full-time basis.”

So maybe he is “lonely,” as Charlotte Bennett reported that he indicated. But it doesn’t give him license to hit on his own staff, or other women. Ironically, his office had mandated sexual harassment training back in 2018, though he is accused of skipping it.

The NYS Republicans are looking to have Andrew Cuomo impeached. The Albany Times Union called for him to resign, as have some Democrats. I don’t know where this all going to end up. But you can bet that on January 2, 2023, he will no longer be governor.

With another governor in trouble, New York is becoming another Illinois.

December rambling #1: 21st Century Schizoid Man

If Hollywood designed the perfect candidate to represent the anti-Christ for evangelicals, he would be thrice married, twice divorced, a builder of casinos, a sexual predator (unless the women are ugly), a liar…

simple-but-wrong

New York Times investigation: Guards punish black inmates more severely than whites inside New York State prisons

The Essential Selfishness of School Choice

Why didn’t Andrew Cuomo’s special-session wish list include closure of LLC loophole?

Reagan press aide’s response to AIDS crisis

John Key departs as New Zealand prime minister, and the civility of opposition leader Andrew Little was stunning, compared with American politics

The long history of the U.S. interfering with elections elsewhere

John Glenn Dies At 95. He was the first American to orbit the earth, before his political career. He was a Presbyterian ruling elder, for whom one of my pastors was named.

Faux news

From Richard S. Vosko: Benjamin Corey, who studies theology and culture said, “the problem isn’t that people write things that are untrue, but that so many people are quick to believe things that are untrue.”

Fake news is like Jessica Rabbit and No facts? What does that mean?

Weather Channel: Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans

Despite social media outrage, the “Fisher Price Happy Hour Playset” is not real

Fake Or Real? How To Self-Check The News And Get The Facts

Revealing fakery – and stupidity

I was telling one of my sisters, just this weekend, what a pain this “fake news” is for a librarian, who deals with the dispensing of information every day.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but don’t all Americans live in their own little worlds?

DJT

The Trump Dump: Tracking the New Administration’s People and Policies

If Hollywood designed the perfect candidate to represent the anti-Christ for evangelicals, he would be thrice married, twice divorced, a builder of casinos, a sexual predator (unless the women are ugly), a liar and a man so in love with himself that his fondest wish is to die in his own arms.
– From an Oklahoma pastor

Demagogue in Chief

ADAPTING TO TRUMP’S LIES

War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Trump Won In A Landslide.

WHY SCIENTISTS ARE SCARED OF TRUMP

Trump to Remain Executive Producer on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

The president-elect is issuing statements to world leaders that benefit his family’s corporate empire

Fox’s Shepard Smith Debunks Trump’s False Claims Scrubbing Russia Of Involvement In The US Election

This is what happens when Donald Trump attacks a private citizen on Twitter

Saturday Night Live Is Basically Just Reciting Facts About Donald Trump Now

Only a ‘Love Army’ Will Conquer Trump

It’s difficult to deny his incredible impact on the news this year ― for better or worse

Will Ivanka Trump Be the Most Powerful First Daughter in History? If she weren’t doing the family business, I’d have no problem with her unpaid advising her father in govt. It’s, as Big Brother and the Holding Company noted, The Combination of the Two that’s the REAL problem.

fashion_police_and_grammar_police

1843 Magazine/The Economist: The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive

Altruistic People Have More Sexual Partners

Metric matters

Will Lacey was just a baby when doctors diagnosed a rare form of cancer and told his family there was only one end. Nobody then could imagine the journey ahead

Chaz Ebert: A BAKER’S DOZEN: 13 MORE MUST-SEE FILMS OF 2016

Denzel Washington reunites with his childhood librarian for her 99th birthday

Medieval graffiti ‘peacock’ discovered in Sudbury church

NOT ME: One of those held hostage was Roger Green, who said he spent the entire time praying

Now I Know: Ring Around the Lunar Orbit and NASA-L and When Your Brain Nose Something Is Missing and Home Sweet Apartment Building

Color of 2017: Greenery

How is ketchup made?

Music

Greg Lake, Emerson, Lake & Palmer Co-Founder, Dead at 69 – the first Greg Lake vocal I recall: 21st Century Schizoid Man – King Crimson ; also from that album, Epitath; Welcome Back My Friends – Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature was accepted on his behalf by the musician Patti Smith -it was transcendent; Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

Ravel, Bolero

Cantina Auditions

Ain’t No Sunshine

Come Together With More High-Caliber Beatles Analysis

The Definitive List of the 41 Best-Selling Cast Recordings of All Time

What if, instead of writing and starring in Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda et al. had instead done Sweeney Todd

The Secret Jewish History of Robbie Robertson and The Band

Leon Russell in the Dark

The Four Functions of a Church Choir

The Great Guitar Drought of 1960-1963