Tag Archives: sadness

It Must Be August #Paladino #NYGov #Park51

23 Aug

Late last week, this happened:

Paladino has criticized New York’s rich menu of social service benefits, which he says encourages illegal immigrants and needy people to live in the state. He has promised a 20 percent reduction in the state budget and a 10 percent income tax cut if elected.

Asked at the meeting how he would achieve those savings, Paladino laid out several plans that included converting underused state prisons into centers that would house welfare recipients. There, they would do work for the state — “military service, in some cases park service, in other cases public works service,” he said — while prison guards would be retrained to work as counselors.

“Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we’ll teach people how to earn their check. We’ll teach them personal hygiene … the personal things they don’t get when they come from dysfunctional homes,” Paladino said.

…and this:

Paladino told The Associated Press the dormitory living would be voluntary, not mandatory, and would give welfare recipients an opportunity to take public, state-sponsored jobs far from home.

“These are beautiful properties with basketball courts, bathroom facilities, toilet facilities. Many young people would love to get the hell out of cities,” Paladino he said.

He also defended his hygiene remarks, saying he had trained inner-city troops in the Army and knows their needs.

“You have to teach them basic things — taking care of themselves, physical fitness. In their dysfunctional environment, they never learned these things,” he said

Under normal circumstances, a traditional candidate for governor of the state of New York would have been long ago disqualified from serving, and his campaign would be in tatters. But because Paladino is a self-funded millionaire, the resources are available to him to say and do utterly ridiculous things and continue to plow ahead.

Like when he called Governor Paterson a “drug addict“, Paladino will neither apologize nor walk back his outrageous and offensive mouthshits. He will instead double down on them, patting himself on the back for not being “politically correct”. Regrettably, literally hundreds of people around the state will be pleased by his defamatory “tough talk”.

The Paladino campaign has succeeded in gaining attention and some traction in the polls, but in so doing Carl has made headlines for sheer idiocy. Whether it was sending out racist & pornographic emails, calling the Governor a “drug addict”, trying to out-pogrom Rick Lazio on the Park51 community center in lower Manhattan, and now this – labor camps for the poors.

And I don’t throw around the term “pogrom” loosely.

A protest against the Park51 project (and Sharia law, and Islam in general) was held in lower Manhattan yesterday, and during it, an African-American carpenter who works on the Ground Zero construction project had the misfortune of walking by the protest wearing a white shirt and white do-rag. Some in the energized crowd mistook him for a Muslim, and he came within inches of being an assault & battery victim.

When people like Carl Paladino, who are unmistakably but inexplicably taken seriously as political candidates say that the Park51 center is a “monument to those who attacked our country” on 9/11, that’s calling every single Muslim a terrorist.


When you put together the entire equation of what’s happening in that video, including the background lies and hatemongering that have whipped that crowd into that frenzy, this is no different from a contemporary anti-Muslim pogrom. It’s not about 9/11 or insulting the memories of those who perished on that day. Contrary to the bigots’ assertions, this isn’t some “victory mosque” or a coded project to force Americans to submit to Sharia Law. This is, quite frankly, what leads to a Kristallnacht or crosses burning on a lawn. That’s not to say that there are honest people who are genuinely offended by the idea of a mosque. But when you have a frenzied mob aggressively accost an innocent passerby because they think (incorrectly) that he’s Muslim, that goes far beyond the pale.

When Carl goes on about jamming the poors into a decommissioned jail so’s they can get their work on in various parts of the state as a sort of nouveau Civilian Conservation Corps, you have a bunch of interesting stuff going on.

Usually, tea party Republican candidates don’t tout modern-day versions of New Deal government jobs. We can make Carl’s CCC stand for “Carl’s Camps of Couth”. The notion that poor people, or people on government assistance can’t keep themselves clean is offensive on its face and needs no further comment. But, like Carl’s platform plank where he would require welfare recipients to be residents of New York State for a year before receiving benefits, he is uninformed about the law. A residency requirement is not legal. Carl’s assumption that welfare queens sit around having kids all day while smellily watching Maury is based on a pre-1996 vision of government assistance.

It’s a shame that these are the issues we’re discussing when it comes to New York and its dysfunctional government. The word for all of this is “laughingstock“.

RIP Gabrielle Bouliane

30 Jan

There is an old proverb which reads, “Death cancels everything but truth.”   Gabrielle, a passionate artist and Buffalo expat, has passed after a battle with cancer.  She left some words of wisdom behind for us to remember.




12 Sep

A tea party was held today in Washington to protest the dictatorial regime of President Kenya Muslim Commie B. Hitler. This is the same crowd that informed everyone that disagreement with George W. Bush was equal to treason. This is the same crowd that had no problem spending a trillion or so to invade a sovereign country on false pretenses. This is the same crowd that looked the other way when the government wiretapped them, didn’t care when the government committed torture, and had no problems when the government manipulated the terror threat levels to help them electorally.

This is the same crowd that ridiculed people who protested war. This is the same crowd that ridicules people who protest poverty and social injustice.

Fascinating that consumer protection for health insurance and a public option bring out the Hitler comparos. For them.

And that’s not all.

Yesterday was 9/11. The first tweet I read yesterday was this, from a person who purports to be a leader in the new media conservative movement:

Even the locals were all “Obama’s going to ask ACORN to invite al Qaeda to re-attack America”.

Of course, the Canadian Twitter friend he was responding to was a bit more, shall we say, pointed.

The irony of course is that they fundamentally misunderstand and forget what the world was like in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. George W. Bush’s election in 2000 and the subsequent legal battle over Florida left a bad taste in many mouths, given the almost 50/50 split in the popular vote. But in mid-September of 2001, practically the entire nation was dead-set on exacting revenge on those who attacked us, and many differences were set aside in order to get that accomplished. When the teabag crowd gathers in Washington to celebrate 9/12, they’re celebrating fear and anger. Not unity or patriotism. Or taxes. The Cheneyesque fetishism of fear and anger is something that apparently lurks deeply in the hearts of people like Matt Margolis and whoever “Right Girl” is, but that is not an American value.

When I posted a picture of the World Trade Center yesterday, I posted what affected me the most about 9/11. I was born in New York City. I grew up not far from there. It’s my city. Those towers were built as I grew up, and I still remember visiting them about once a year, but most especially the first year they were open to visitors sometime in the late 70s. To remember 9/11 for me isn’t to recall that I was safely ensconced in an office in Buffalo when I first heard about it. It’s to remember the fact that almost 3,000 were murdered, and a scar burned out of the city of my birth.

To suggest that George Bush wanted 9/11 to happen is wrong. I didn’t raise anything political about 9/11 at all. But for Republicans, it’s a political issue. After all, Bush and Cheney went to great lengths to make it so after 2002. That’s why they feel comfortable saying that our current elected President – a native of the United States who prays to Jesus, raises two kids, and has a funny, foreign-sounding name – hates America and wants to keep it unsafe.

Anyone who suggests that Barack Obama wants Americans to die, or that he hates America, is a detestable excuse for humanity, and frankly I don’t know how someone with so much misguided hate sleeps at night.

Our greatest accomplishments as a country didn’t arise out of fear or anger. They arose out of hope, hard work, opportunity, and freedom. And when the country shook itself back to some semblance of normal after the attacks of 9/11, we didn’t demonize each other. Yet that’s what the people quoted above (just a tiny sampling of mouth-shits I saw on the internet yesterday) feel comfortable doing. And that’s a great deal of what went on in Washington today.

Reading things like the snippets above, I realize that some people have no concept of humanity or politics or fairness or what it means to be American. Seeing how easily some throw around pictures of Hitler and Lenin, hammers and sickles, and swastikas as comparisons with President Obama, my expectations of right-wing hysterics have been fully realized, in spades. I am ashamed to share a citizenship with these so-called “patriots”, because they. have. no. idea.


Photos via ninetwelve photos at Flickr