Tag Archives: Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo, I had such high hopes for you, but this scandal may bring you down. Seinfeld and Stewart getting coffee, hilariously. And Bieber can prevent cancer! (sorta)

Israelsoldier

Two quick notes: One, I’m sorry the pace of blogging has slowed down a bit in recent weeks; I’m dealing with a pretty irritating thumb/hand injury thing that makes it painful to type. I’m trying to get rid of it through physical therapy but so far, not much progress (I just started so I’m not blaming Pat, my cool therapist dude). And two, I have many, many, thoughts about the Israel-Hamas ongoing carnage, but they’re nowhere near organized enough to turn into a coherent post. Still, I wanted to link to what I thought was a remarkable essay from a journalist in Israel named David Horovitz, about the price, in morality and lives, both sides are paying right now.

OK, on with the show…

I try not to put too much faith in politicians anymore. I’ve been burned many times before; as Billy Bob Thornton says in the brilliant and underrated movie “Primary Colors,” I too easy come down with a case of TB (True Believerism).

Bill Clinton disappointed me time and time again. Lord knows the hours and effort I put into John Edwards’ presidential hopes only led to heartbreak. And Barack Obama, as much as I still support and appreciate having him as President, has also made me angry/sad/frustrated quite a few times over the past 5 1/2 years.

But still, I can’t help myself. I start to believe that another politician might have the goods, the goods to deliver what I’ve always wanted in a President. A couple years ago, I started to think Andrew Cuomo might be that guy. Socially liberal, forceful leader, able to forge consensus on some issues, a little too conservative financially for my taste but a man who seemed to be Presidential timber to me.

I was happy he was elected Governor in 2010 of my home state, think he’s done a pretty good job overall so far, and I believe him to be one of a handful of Dems who I’m hoping and praying derails the Hillary coronation of 2016 (or at least, gives her a fight for the nomination.)

Yep, Cuomo was my guy… which made it inevitable that this would happen. On Wednesday the N.Y. Times unleashed a stunning and wholly damning article that found that Cuomo and his office worked hard to derail the work of an ethics commission Cuomo himself set up to investigate corruption in N.Y. state government, once that commission started looking into the Gov’s friends and allies.

It’s a piece of fantastic investigative work by the Times, painting Cuomo in an awful light, and will likely severely damage his 2016 hopes.
Sigh. I’ll fall in love with someone else soon, I’m sure.

**Next up, haven’t linked to an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s great web show in a while, but this episode with Jon Stewart is just fantastic. Enjoy…

 

justin-bieber

**And finally, I present this without (too much) comment: Scientists believe that Justin Bieber’s original bangs haircut can help prevent skin cancer, if other boys wear their hair the same way.

Justin Bieber, you are the Dr. Jonas Salk of our time, my man. God bless you!

This Miami Heat win streak is nuts, and I don’t even care about the NBA. A man refuses to share ice cream with his woman. And the NYPD, “heroically” fighting pot

lebron-james-single-image-cut

Today, the Madness truly begins. These next two days are sports nirvana for me, as I plan to watch hour after hour of college hoops at one of the many fine watering holes here in New York City. If you hear on the news reports of a man thrown out of a bar for screaming too loud for a 14 seed to upset a 3, you’ll know it’s just me happy my Davidson over Marquette pick has come through. Enjoy the madness…

I care very little about the NBA mostly, except at playoff time and in those rare years my Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets, of course) are any good, like this year.

But I have to say, this Miami Heat 24-game winning streak has captured my attention like nothing else in pro hoops the last 10 years. I find myself checking NBA.com every day to see if they kept it going, not because I love the Heat (though I have gotten over hatred of LeBron over “The Decision”, and Miami does employ my all-time favorite Dukie, Shane Battier) but because a streak that goes on this long is just so improbable in pro sports.

I don’t care how good you are, and clearly the Heat are the NBA’s best: In a long 82-game season, filled with long road trips to Cleveland and Detroit and Milwaukee, every team is going to lose once in a while. It’s just inevitable; your top players have a bad night, the bench guys can’t bail you out, and the opposition and their fans are fired up to take down the champs.

And yet every time it’s looked like the Heat were going to tumble, they somehow pull the rabbit out of the hat. Wednesday night at Cleveland was their most Doug Hennig-esque trick yet (look him up, kids, he was a famous magician in the 1980s).

The Heat were playing in Cleveland, which of course still has all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings toward LeBron, and despite the Cavs playing without its top two stars, they amazingly led the Heat by 27 points in the third quarter.

Pretty much an insurmountable lead in 95 percent of NBA games. But because this streak has magical powers now, apparently, Miami came back and won.
They’ve now won 24 straight games, nine short of the all-time record.

It’s hard to not root this streak, or at least not be in awe of it. And oh yeah, this happened during the game, too; I hope this guy enjoyed his few minutes of fame.

**Next today, I thought this was pretty funny. Former NBA star Chris Webber, and the man all Knicks fans love forever, Isiah Thomas, used their analysis skills to explain how this fan at a recent game refused to share his ice cream with his lady friend. Pretty funny…

**Finally, yet another disturbing story about the ridiculousness of America’s war on marijuana, perhaps the stupidest “war” ever fought in U.S. history.

A recent report discovered that the NYPD spent one million hours making 440,000 marijuana possession arrests in the last 10 years.

Think about that for a minute: Think how much better and more effectively those 1 million hours could’ve been spent. Think about the REAL crimes that could’ve been prevented, or investigated, if officers weren’t arresting people for the victimless, mostly harmless crime of smoking pot.

Just ridiculous. The only upside is this story also says that Andrew Cuomo is talking about reforming New York’s drug laws, and decriminalizing marijuana in small amounts.

Wish the rest of the country would do the same.

So I hung out with New York’s governor last night… The blind man who got his driver’s license. And water-sliding into a kiddie pool


One thing I love about life is you get a surprise almost every day.
Sometimes it’s a little one, like there being enough milk left in the fridge for a bowl of cereal, when you thought there was none.
Other days, you happen to meet the governor of New York and quite possibly the next President, shake his hand and have him tell you you’re doing a great job.
That was my Wednesday. Never would’ve predicted it.

Here’s what happened: As I mentioned yesterday, I got incredibly fortunate during Hurricane Sandy; no loss of power, nothing. But since so many around me in NYC weren’t as lucky, I wanted to do what I could to help out. So I went to three different evacuation shelters Wednesday morning, trying to volunteer to assist any way I could.

All of them told me they had plenty of volunteers right now, but I should come back later, at night.

So around 7:30 p.m. I arrived at the evauation shelter at Hunter College on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and for the next several hours learned how to do lots of things, like heat up a military ration meal (MRE), which was super cool (I may have burned my fingers doing it the first time, but by the 6th or 7th time I was nearly an expert).

Around 9:45 p.m. our coordinator told us we were going to start shutting out the lights and letting the 200 or so temporarily displaced residents who were sleeping here get some rest.

Only 15 minutes later, the lights were still on. When I walked outside in the hallway, I heard a few of the security guards buzzing and saying things like “He’s coming here now?”

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, was coming by the shelter in about 20 minutes. He’d been in the city all day surveying the damage from Superstorm Sandy, and now he wanted to talk to volunteers and shake some hands and meet some of the people displaced.

As a sports journalist, meeting athletes didn’t excite me after a while. But as a political junkie, meeting politicians still seems cool to me. And I’m a big, big Cuomo fan. I think he’s done very good things for New York, his father is a liberal Democratic legend, and I think i four years Andrew Cuomo will be the Democratic nominee and succeed Obama as President.

But that’s all for the future. In the present, Cuomo and a few aides strolled in a little after 10:15. He walked over to the volunteer table and shook a few hands. Immediately, I tried to think of something clever or witty to say to him.

But honestly, the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about what to say is what I said. When I shook his hand, I said “Nice to meet you Mr. Cuomo, and thank you so much for getting the gay-marriage law passed in New York.”

OK, maybe it was a goofy thing to say. But that was SO huge of an accomplishment, and affected so many lives, that I just had to say it.

In the few minutes he spent with us, Cuomo was exceedingly gracious and kind. There were no cameras around, much to my surprise (politicians love doing this kind of thing for the cameras), but I guess someone from his staff snapped the photo (above) and put it on Twitter.

He has a reputation for being stiff and aloof, but again, my first impression was that he seemed genuine.

After about 25 minutes, he thanked all the volunteers by name and then stepped into the elevator that a police officer had been holding for him the whole time.

And just like that, we went back to passing out blankets and explaining which subways would be running on Thursday.

A memorable evening in more ways than one.

**So it sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s true. A blind man in California was issued a regular driver’s license recently.

The great L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez explains how it happened.

**Finally, not sure if I’ve ever put this video on the blog before, but after seeing a lot of devastation Wednesday, it sure put a smile on my face. The scariest waterslide video you’re likely to see… man this should be a new sport!

The Yankees collapse is complete, for now. A rip-roaring start to the DNC. And a Paralympic table tennis shot you won’t believe

I’m not really a good Yankees fan anymore. Haven’t been one for years; as I’ve said many times, I just don’t follow baseball on a day-to-day basis.

But man, watching the Bombers collapse over the last month has been pretty shocking. And seeing the Baltimore Orioles, who were last relevant when Jeffrey Maier was sitting in the Yankee Stadium bleachers, rise up to become a real rival has been pretty amazing as well.

If you haven’t been paying attention, the Yankees had a double-digit lead in the American League East 47 days ago. Tuesday night, it was down to zero. As in, the Yankees and Orioles were tied for first.

The Yanks aren’t hitting, the pitching hasn’t been near good enough, and injuries are a problem, too. Meanwhile, Baltimore is playing like a hungry team under a really good manager (Buck Showalter) and I can only imagine how nuts Camden Yards will be this weekend, when the Yankees and O’s hook up for a four-game series.

As a Yankee fan, I’m definitely worried that Bobby Valentine’s seemingly crazy July prediction (“the Yankees can be caught,” Bobby V said then) has come true.
Still, kind of neat for baseball to see the O’s back in business again.

**Well that sure was a hell of a start to the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night. Great speeches all around, I thought, especially by Deval Patrick (above), who clearly has some fire in his belly. Some quick-hit musings:

— Great keynote speech by Julian Castro (really interesting piece by Charlie Pierce on Castro vs. Rubio here). Guy has a bright future, brighter than just being the mayor of San Antonio. But I’m only half-joking when I wonder if voters in Florida would ever vote for a guy named Castro.

— Happy to see all the speakers hammer home the point that the auto industry in this country is no longer on life support. But sadly, my fiancee and I both wondered whether there are even that many people employed in the auto industry to impact a national election anymore.

— Michelle Obama — wow. What a composed, beautiful speech she gave, from the heart and filled with wonderful personal details about her life with Barack (my favorite line was when she discussed the family sitting around the dinner table, “strategizing about middle school friendships.”)

— Going to be a very interesting 2016 Democratic primary. I’ve loved Martin O’Malley for a long time now (he was the model for Carcetti’s character on “The Wire”) and I think he’ll be in it in ’16. Andrew Cuomo will be running. Biden will probably run again. Too soon for Castro, maybe Hillary gets back in? Will be very interesting.
— Can’t wait to hear what Bubba Clinton says tonite. And Tebow knows Joe Biden could say just about anything.

**Finally, the Paralympics don’t get much attention every four years, but there are plenty of amazing athletes competing in London right now. Here’s one great moment that I saw on Twitter this week, from British table tennis player David Wetherill.

How did he do that?

A historic day in New York for gay marriage: 2 stories from the long fight. And Danish a capella singers do 90s dance music

Follow me on Twitter here.

Sunday was a record-setting day in New York, and for the first time in a week it had nothing to do with the weather (seriously, I know I just moved from Florida, but I didn’t mean to bring the oppressive July heat with me. Sorry).
Across the state, from Niagara Falls to Long Island, from the Bronx to Binghamton, it was finally legal for two men, or two women, to say “I Do.”
Thirty days had elapsed since the New York state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo passed a bill legalizing gay marriage, and the new law was official at 12:01 Sunday morning.
It was a phenomenal day; just look at the faces of the happy couples in this NY Times story to see why this meant so much.

To honor this day that was so long in coming, I’d like to share a couple of stories. Charlene Strong had me choked up listening to this tale on “The Moth” radio podcast recently. Strong, who has become a very prominent gay activist in Washington state, suffered a terrible tragedy and goes into excruciating detail about her situation, and how it galvanized her to make same-sex couples rights a major issue in her life. Listen to this fantastic story if you have time today; I guarantee it will move you.

**The importance of marriage affects gay people in so many other ways. My friend Tara Finnegan Coates (a fellow Delaware Blue Hen, whoo-hoo!) pointed me to this excellent story by a woman named Beth Daniels, who explains how because her same-sex relationship wasn’t officially recognized by Virginia, she was denied custody rights of her son when the marriage ended in divorce.

**Finally, this is awesome on many levels. It’s a group a capella performance from a Danish group called Local Vocal, and they’re performing 1990s dance hits, which as you know were pretty friggin’ numerous.

The first two minutes are my favorite part, but really, the whole thing rules.

Once again, I say for the 4,383rd time: God bless the Internet.

A glorious day as marriage equality comes to New York. A crazy soccer celebration. And the shot of Wimbledon

Follow me on Twitter here. And check out my daily Wimbledon blog here.

“New York made a powerful statement. Not just for the people of New York, but people all across this nation. We reached a new level of social justice this evening.” — Governor Andrew Cuomo

Today is a glorious day for those who believe we really are all created equal.
A glorious day for the opponents of intolerance and bigotry, and hatred.
Just before 11 p.m. Friday night, the New York state senate passed a law that will finally allow gay couples to marry in the state.

The third-most populous state in these United States has made it legal for gays and lesbians to do the most simple and time-honored tradition known to man: get married.

It was a spectacular, spine-tingling moment, hearing the roll called, then the vote total announced, followed by whooping and cheering and chants of “U-S-A!” going up in the New York state capitol building.

Major kudos to the four Republicans who voted for this bill, though I continue to fail to see why this is a left/right political issue. The Republicans who voted for it deserve a lot of credit.

And young Governor Cuomo is quickly establishing himself as a serious political force. He’s gotten NY’s unions to agree to concessions, is on his way to balancing the budget, and had a major role in getting this legislation passed. Maybe we were just one generation too early, expecting a President Cuomo.

It’s a wonderful day for all who believe in equal rights. Take it away, Sam Cooke…

**Couple quick videos to entertain you on this Saturday. First a very cool shot by Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon the other day. He lost the match, but this was an incredible play:

And then a very cool celebration by a soccer player for the Seattle Sounders after he scores a goal. Watch the replay starting at 0:58 to see a pretty cool move:

Al Pacino as “Dr. Death.” And Eliot Spitzer, the chutzpah king

Nobody likes to mention this, but Al Pacino doesn’t really make good movies anymore.

Seriously, as ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons has pointed out, Pacino hasn’t made a good major theatre movie in, like, a decade.

His last movie that I liked was HBO’s brilliant “Angels in America,” when he played the savagely profane but brilliant lawyer Roy Cohn. (Lewis family trivia: I’ll always remember that movie because Julie and I had our first phone conversation that night, it lasted three hours, and I learned later both of us wanted to get off the phone at about 10:59 p.m. so we could watch the West Coast version of the movie. See, we were made for each other.)

So when I heard good ole’ Michael Corleone was playing Jack Kevorkian, a man I admire greatly, in a new HBO movie called “You Don’t Know Jack,” I was pumped.

Saw the movie Sunday, and it was really, really good. I feel very strongly about euthanasia and why it should be legal, and I always thought Kevorkian was truly on the side of mercy. Pacino completely channeled Kevorkian, and director Barry Levinson got a fantastic cast to play off Pacino (Susan Sarandon, John Goodman).

I remember thinking at the time that all the same people who protested Kevorkian and called him a murderer, are also the same people talking about religious beliefs and showing “mercy” to people. Allowing someone to die with dignity is as merciful as you can get.

The movie was great, I highly recommend it. But it made me sad that 15 years after Kevorkian started gently helping those with terminal illness to stop the suffering, this country still looks at assisted suicide as such a sin.

I think years from now, many will wonder why such a humane act was deemed illegal.

**So I woke up Sunday morning to read in The New York Times that former New York governor Eliot Spitzer has reservations about likely Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, that he’s too politically motived, and that Spitzer isn’t sure he’s right for the job.

Spitzer, you know, the guy who decided it’d be smart while governor to use a prostitution service and pay for it with a credit card, isn’t sure someone else is right for the job.

This brings up a host of questions: Why is Spitzer still asked by media members to pontificate and analyze, when he’s clearly a disgrace as a human being? Is there no “shame” period anymore in American life, or if there is, Spitzer’s sure seemed to be short.

Look, I don’t know how great or not great Andrew Cuomo would be as governor. I like what I’ve seen and read about him, my friend Andrew once worked for him at a non-profit and said Cuomo was nice, and his father is one of my favorite speakers ever (Mario Cuomo).

But that the New York Times would give Eliot Spitzer, one of the biggest megalomaniacs in politics, a platform to bash another gubernatorial hopeful, and that Spitzer would continue to come off as holier than thou as he has for years, just ticks me off.

An incredible hockey game is won by Canada. And the remarkable failure of NY’s Governor

Good for Canada.

That’s how I felt about 10 minutes after Sunday’s heart-stopping, mind-altering, breath-robbing gold medal hockey game between the U.S. and our neighbors to the north.

As disappointed as I was that the U.S., after a wonderful tying goal in the final minute, lost in overtime on Sidney Crosby’s blast through the legs of Ryan Miller (that’s called the “five hole” to you newbie hockey fans out there), I realized that winning this game, this medal, meant SO much more to Canada than it would’ve to the U.S.

I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a “joy quotient,” but in my head I believe there is. Who would a win make happier in this situation, the Americans, who rule the world and win everything, or a country of 33 million people who invented the sport?

It was a marvelous display of hockey, the best the world has to offer, for these last two weeks. The U.S. showed great heart and skill in getting all the way to overtime of the gold medal game, when people like me and others figured a bronze would be fantastic.

So thrilled to have been able to see Sunday’s game, and the one before it last Sunday. Two classics. If hockey doesn’t pick up some new fans after Sunday, I give up. The sport will never be popular.

Some quickie thoughts on the game:

— It’s only right that Sidney Crosby, the heir to Wayne Gretzky, gets the second-biggest goal in Canada history (Paul Henderson in ’72 still leads). Sid did nothing all game, but the great ones show up at the exact right moment.

— Patrick Kane. Wow.  What an amazing tournament for the American forward. As good as he is in the NHL season, he was phenomenal over the last two weeks. Glad the world got to see how lucky the Chicago Blackhawks are.

— Zach Parise, I’ve always hated you because you’re a New Jersey Devil. For that game-tying goal, you get a one-year pass where I don’t say anything bad about you. What a fantastic player he is.

— I’ll be very curious, as an NHL fan, to see the changes in some of the players who excelled in Vancouver. Does Ryan Miller, emboldened as maybe the best goalie in the sport, get even better and lead Buffalo places? Does Zach Parise get even more confident with the Devils? And closest to my heart, does Chris Drury play that well for my Rangers, and get us in to the playoffs this year?

— If that game had stayed tied after one 20-minute overtime, we would’ve had a shootout to decide it. And if the U.S. had won the gold medal in a shootout, I think everyone in Canada would’ve keeled over right there, while screaming “A shootout? What the hell kind of newfangled way is that to end a bleepin’ game?” And then their Molsons would’ve spilled as they hit the carpet.

— God I love hockey. So many people got wrapped up in this game Sunday. I’d say 80 percent of my Facebook friend universe had posted something about the game, and a bar in Daytona Beach that I pass all the time called The Wing House actually had “USA vs. Canada, watch it here” on its marquee Sunday. I’m willing to bet that’s never happened in Daytona Beach, ever.

Please, let’s hope the NHL uses this momentum now. It may not last long.

**So it was hard, but David Paterson has done it.

It’s hard to be a governor who ends up with as bad a reputation as his predecessor in the New York State top job, Eliot Spitzer. You know, the guy who was hiring high-class hookers and paying for it all with a credit card.

Well, the guy who succeeded Spitzer has bumbled his way through one mistake after another in the last two years. Paterson, America’s first blind governor (a worthy distinction, that) announced over the weekend that he’s not running for re-election like he said he would, because, apparently, he used his power as governor to intervene into a top aide’s domestic dispute.

Just terrible behavior by Paterson, really stupid stuff. I mean, not being the governor and paying for a hooker-stupid, but dumb nonetheless.

I have to tell you, I’ve always felt sorry for Paterson since he became governor. Here’s a guy, who never really wanted the top job, was more than happy working behind the scenes, and then gets thrust into being governor because his boss couldn’t keep his fly zippered or his wallet closed.

Paterson is a pretty poor public speaker, doesn’t seem to be passionate about much, and just kind of seemed overwhelmed by the job.

He’ll be a footnote to state history, I’m guessing. Now the path is clear for Andrew Cuomo (who I’ve always liked since my friend Andrew worked for him) to become Governor.

See ya, Dave. Hey, at least he’s a Jets fan. That ought to ease his pain of losing this plum gig.