New York Got Lucky

Not in the tawdry, unmentionable way.  Shame on you for thinking that.  But in the sense that what could have been an unmitigated disaster turned out to be relatively tame.  Hurricane Irene spared New York City the full force and damage of what could have happened.  I think that the reaction of the city government was a bit much, particularly given the end results.  But, in retrospect, shutting down the transit system and coordinating all of the various parts of the city government provided an excellent training opportunity for perhaps a bigger incident, and not necessarily weather related.  The fact of the matter is that New Yorkers would never stand for a wholesale shutdown and rehearsal of the emergency response capabilities, so this storm, even though it turned out to be relatively light, gave us what amounts to a practice run.  God help us that we ever need it, but in the event we do, I’m sure that we’ve garnered valuable knowledge as to what to do, and how to do it better next time.  Well done Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo.

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Making Smart Cuts

In an editorial in my old hometown paper, the Jackson Citizen Patriot, an old family friend Judge Chad C. Schmucker makes the argument with a colleague for budget cuts to the court system in the state of Michigan.  And in his piece, he uses, wonder of wonders, figures and facts.

I have to admit, even though Judge Schmucker is a Republican, and I clearly am not, I’m in total agreement with him.  Instead of engaging in a rhetorical flexing of muscles and demonstrations of ideological purity, he makes a rational, pragmatic argument as to how municipalities and states are able to save taxpayer resources to have a more effective government.  Judge Schmucker uses numbers and logic, as opposed to the usual howls of outrage that we’ve accustomed ourselves to, coming from both the right and the left.  The right typically decries any cuts that have to do with defense or law and order, and the left is vehemently opposed to any sort of cuts that have to do with entitlements.  Democrats are usually open to some cuts, but not to the extent that we’re going to need, and Republicans, at least on the federal level, are unified in their opposition to even modest raises in tax rates, particularly for the rich.

My hat’s off to Judge Schmucker.  He’s the rare civil servant making the rare argument that is, dare I say, common sense.  This is doubly refreshing in a day and age when many, if not most of our civic leaders have taken complete leave of their senses.  Mazel tov to Judge Schmucker and his position.

That’s It?

And the storm appears to have passed in New York.  The skies aren’t nearly as threatening, the rain has subsided significantly and the winds have calmed.  Hurricane Irene was downgraded from a category one hurricane to a tropical storm.  For all of the preparations and manufactured panic that the Bloomberg administration appears to have injected into the media and population, what a bunch of hoopla, and all, pretty much for nothing.

Irene Comes to New York

Hurricane Irene slammed into the east coast of the United States today, making landfall near Morehead City, NC.  The storm was downgraded by the National Hurricane Center in Miami to a category one storm, meaning that maximum wind speed will be at 85 m.p.h.  Low-lying sections of New York City were evacuated, forcing 300,000 residents from their homes.  New York City transit also announced a full cancellation of service beginning today at noon.  Sounds serious, right?  It does, but frankly, I’m not that concerned.  As with most things I write about, it has to do with politics.  This past winter, when New York was pounded by the thunder blizzard, as I like to call it, Mayor Mike Bloomberg was slammed in the press for a lack of preparation and the resulting chaos that ensued.  This time, I think the city is erring on the side of caution. so as not to have to go through the public relations disaster they started this year fending off.  You also have to remember that we’re talking about a city that just had a earthquake earlier in the week.  So, yes, we’re a bit rattled, and New Yorkers are always a notoriously neurotic/paranoid bunch, so we’re jittery to begin with.  But, I’m sure that everything here will be alright come Monday morning.

Doesn’t Everyone Have A Condi Album?

No, they don’t.  But Muammar Gaddafi sure did.  To think that the biazarro strongman of Libya could get any stranger pushes the limits of the imagination, but of course the Colonel doesn’t fail to disappoint.  Gaddafi  had, in his hastily abandoned compound, a photo album filled solely with picture after picture of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  Weird, weird, weird.  But, about par for the course for Muammar.  If he’s missed, it’ll be solely for the entertainment value he provided the community of political junkies.  But it’s a small price to pay for six million people getting rid of an insane despot.

Perry Nominal Front-Runner for GOP

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has surpassed former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) in the most recent Gallup Poll released Wednesday.  I welcome this development.  Not because it puts the GOP in a stronger position, quite to the contrary.  Perry is essentially a encore of George W. Bush, a hard right conservative, fundamentalist Christian Texas governor.  For as much as people aren’t happy with President Obama’s performance, were Perry to snag the nomination, electing him would be akin to electing Barry Goldwater in 1964.  Ideologically rigid and pure, yes, but nearly guaranteed to lose in the general election, and not only lose, but lose in a landslide.  Basically, he takes second place in terms my dream candidates to square off against the President, right after nutso Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).  So, mazel tov to the GOP.  The way it looks now, you’re doing the heavy lifting for us Democrats.  Many thanks.  Keep up the good work.