Tag Archives: Yehuda Levin

Let’s Have a Toast

25 Oct

There’s been a lot in the news lately about bullying and the affects it can have on kids.  I’ve never been particularly handsome or thin, so when I was a kid I was subjected to my share of bullying.  I was lucky always to have close friends, and being an only child certainly helped in terms of what I’d term “dealing with assholes“.

Bullying and hate speech must be particularly difficult for kids who are different because of something inherent in their being; something they can’t change. For instance, being mocked for your ethnicity, race, religion, or sexual orientation.  I can only imagine how crushing it must be for a kid who’s gay – or even an effeminate straight kid – to be called hateful, dehumanizing names.

I know that as I teach my kids right from wrong, I’ll do everything in my power to keep them from bullying other kids, to instill in them a need to accept and appreciate people’s uniqueness and differences, and that I will defend them and protect them to the best of my abilities against being bullied by others.

On Saturday night, someone I followed on Twitter whose username is “Jeffrey_Dennis” called me a “no talent fuck”, a “fathead”, and compared my likeness to that of a character from an extremely obscure, short-lived failure of a mid-90s sitcom.   Who the hell is “Jeffrey Dennis“?

When douchebags tweet

Jeffrey Dennis Hannon.  Carl Paladino’s recently offended, openly gay nephew.

You may recall that candidate Carl Paladino had a problem a couple of weeks ago regarding his stance on homosexuality. After parroting bigoted anti-gay nonsense written down for him by detestable homophobe Yehuda Levin, Paladino had to backtrack, claiming to totally support and be completely ok with homosexuality except for the *yuck* idea that they might love each other and get married, or enter into civil unions:

I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said. ”I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.”

I don’t know how it works in your family, but none of my uncles would make a crack about something about me that I can’t change.  No one in my family would parrot someone else’s hate speech and pass it off as their own.

Yet Jeff Hannon, a 23 year-old nephew of Carl Paladino’s, has evidently forgiven his uncle, and went on Twitter Saturday night to call me fat and ugly.  Guilty, as charged.

His childish insults are like a badge of honor.

Because I’m better than Jeff Hannon; I’m better than this 23 year-old scion of Important Buffalo Families®, working for his nouveau-riche megalomaniacal uncle, making over $250k at Uncle Carl’s Ellicott Development. (That’s two hundred and fifty thousand plus reasons to quickly forgive one’s asshole uncle-cum-boss).  Let’s have a toast to the douchebags. Good looking kid, born into wealth and influence  – must be nice.  Tough life, there.  

And to think, I feel badly for that kid.  It must suck being so publicly insulted by your own flesh and blood.  Why, Uncle Carl himself noted that Hannon “suffers every day with discriminatory people.” It must be crushing to belong to a political party that has no respect or use for him or his ilk.  No joke, the Republican platform on gay rights is nonexistent, and when the issue comes up, mainstream Republican dogma on gay rights differs only stylistically from that of the Westboro Baptist Church. Let’s have a toast to the assholes.

The GOP has spent the last three decades aligning itself with Christian fundamentalists on social issues, making a crystal clear choice in favor of bigotry over love.

I think Carl Paladino’s nephew Jeff Hannon should enjoy the civil right to marry someone he loves, regardless of gender. Uncle Carl doesn’t, nor ever would. Let’s have a toast for the scumbags.

While Mr. Hannon may have worn purple last week, I doubt that his uncle did.  He seems like a hateful, petty little kid.  I hope he grows up someday.

Political Correctness

16 Oct

Carl Paladino is so proud of not being “politically correct” that he repeats it over and over again.  It’s part of the equation that led to his epic defeat of never-there candidate Rick Lazio.  Carl had passion; a fire in the belly.  He’d take on all comers, and he’d bloody them.  He said all the right belligerent things against all the enemies of New York conservatism.  Carl was just what the Republican Party ordered.

It’s no secret that a candidate appeals to his base during a primary campaign, and then if he wins, he’ll appeal to the center to attract moderates and independents. In New York especially, where Democrats enjoy such an overwhelming enrollment advantage, Republican candidates have to make the economic appeal and set aside social issues like abortion and GLBT rights.

But Paladino never bothered.  At least he’s consistent – saying the same things to the same Republican base now that he did before.  But while that politically incorrect talk helped him during the primary, it’s been his biggest liability over the last few weeks as he introduces himself to the rest of the electorate, and with his newfound statewide and national media attention.

It’s perfectly clear that a Lazio nomination would have resulted in the same result as 2006; Cuomo would have blown him away.  Paladino, at least, has made the race worth watching.  For better or worse.

The irony is that “political correctness” has itself become politically incorrect.  But why?  I’m not talking about using “differently abled” as opposed to “disabled”, or “people of color” versus “African-Americans”.  I’m talking instead simply about keeping your mouth in check.

Paladino and his partisans whine and moan about how mean the media have been to Carl.  How dare they expose his business dealings?  Why do they point out Carl’s marital indiscretions and ignore Cuomo’s personal life?  You know the drill, if you’ve been paying attention.  Well, it’s all Carl’s fault.

Carl’s entire campaign didn’t start out as a blunt economic appeal.  It began with “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”  It’s a line from Network, a satirical movie from 35 years ago, and the character who utters it is an insane lunatic.  Carl began his campaign by revealing his own marital infidelity, and using it to establish that he’s honest and reliable.  In other words, the entire campaign was built on one foundation: the personality of Carl Paladino.  He made the race about himself – and his feelings about things.  He’ll “take out the trash” with a “baseball bat”.

Many voters throughout the state – especially west of the Hudson and north of Poughkeepsie – can sympathize with his feelings of anger and despair.

But good government and revolutionary change don’t arise from feelings.  They arise from policy and planning.  Running on a specific plan is great if you have a path to success.  Carl’s path involves calling everyone a m-effer and shutting the government down.  Governing through chest-thumping.

Some of you will comment by bringing up Andrew Cuomo.  Cuomo may not be a perfect person, and his platform may not contain every single thing I might want to see.  But Cuomo is a political animal who has comported himself quite admirably as Attorney General.  He knows how Albany works, and despite what you might think, he doesn’t really have a big base of support among Albany apparatchiks and hangers-on.  Andrew Cuomo pissed off the entire New York left back in 2002 when he challenged Carl McCall, then dropped out of the race while remaining on – and killing – the Liberal Party line.  He clawed his own way back to office.

It would ordinarily have been great to have a strong-willed and self-funded alternative like a Carl Paladino running against Andrew Cuomo.  I think there’s a very important debate to be had about the direction of the state of New York.  I think bold, big steps are needed to fix what ails the state, and I’m perfectly willing to listen to an argument that says “Cuomo doesn’t go far enough”.

But Carl Paladino’s platform is facile, almost impossible, sometimes unconstitutional, and completely ignores massive structural and procedural problems that could be implemented rather easily and have great impact if only there was the political will to do so. I don’t like voting for whiny bullies who have made the entire campaign about their own personal anger.  If Paladino talked more about how he’d abolish state authorities, and how he’d get buy-in from various constituencies to reduce what Medicaid covers in New York to bring it more in line with other states; if he’d talk more about how he’d press for a degree of policy autonomy for the area around New York City thus freeing upstate communities to better compete against places like “Toledo” or “Pittsburgh”; if he would discuss things like legislative reforms, a nonpartisan, unicameral, part-time legislature, the need for a constitutional convention, and provide specifics into what taxes he would reduce and what spending he would get rid of – then we could have that conversation.

Instead, Paladino continually lets his “political incorrectness” get the better of him – it makes headlines and drowns out any valid ideas he may have.  He complains that he can’t catch a break and talk issues, and blames the media – but it’s his own fault.  Quite simply, if you want to discuss Medicaid and spending, you don’t need to pander to Yehuda Levin and his antigay bigots and create a weeklong spectacle.

The only scheduled gubernatorial debate will be held on Monday evening.  This may be Carl’s last chance to make his case, but at this point it’s too late.  And while his campaign manager Michael Caputo offered to resign from the campaign, I get the sense that he’s taking the fall for a client who’s uncontrollable.  It’s hard to “manage” a megalomaniac.

In the end, if Paladino himself had focused more on the issues, then the discussion we’d be having would be issues-oriented.  Instead, Paladino is like the Eric Cartman of politics – picking fights then crying for his mom when he gets bloodied.