Friday, October 9, 2009


Can we talk, please? Texting while (fill in the blank), has given credence to the unflattering adage of being unable to "walk and chew gum at the same time." Cell phones have already elicited an unusual rudeness from otherwise thoughtful people. The texting feature has added impolite, unsafe and insensitive to the rudeness equation.

Texting, per se, is not the problem. It's the texting while, that has gotten out of hand. A recent driver on Manhattan's Canal Street looked up from the device in her right hand long enough to stop at a red light. With her left hand holding a large takeout coffee cup, her eyes dropped back down to her right hand as she proceeded through the light change. Perhaps a more sure sign that texting while is getting out of control was seeing a New York City police officer, in full uniform, exiting a Brooklyn subway station, head down and thumbs blazing over her PDA as she walked to her destination. Eyewitness identifications are already difficult enough. When the taxpayer paid professionals are not paying attention, the convenience of always having information at your fingertips becomes problematic.

Fortunately, courteous urban pedestrians have made it a point to avoid those inconsiderate persons engaged in texting while walking. But it is only a matter of time before texting collisions will result in sidewalk rage becoming the pedestrian equivalent of road rage. When that happens, one can envision the insurance industry adding texting to determine their risk premiums along with age, gender, marital status, smoking and drinking.

Sadly, for far too many Americans, texting is now the rule. It's the walking and driving that are the exceptions. Sadder still, is watching young school children texting the time away as their IPods and MP3 players blow out their eardrums, oblivious to the wealth of knowledge residing in their backpacks. It is clear that this country's education establishment has far to go in increasing the poor and lackluster reading levels of America's children. And pity the poor children who will be expected to advance their skills by reading something other than TWITTER or FACEBOOK (LOL).

Thursday, October 1, 2009


New York's 2009 Democratic Primary race for Manhattan District Attorney might very well be an indication of why many of the state's correctional facilities, and the country's prisons for that matter, look like mini-Third World enclaves. In overwhelmingly Democratic New York City, with a bulging population of black and Latino Manhattan residents, to have three white candidates extolling their compassion for fairness echos loudly of hollow rhetoric.

It did not help matters that television station NY 1 held a debate, at John Jay College, that was poorly moderated and uninsightful. Dominic Carter, who is occasionally reliable in his across the desk, face-to-face interviews, instituted what he called THE LIGHTNING ROUND. The Lightning Round series of questions, demanding only yes or no answers, was so absurd and useless it would not have gotten past the desk of a high school moderator at a student government debate. Yet, candidates Richard Aborn, Leslie Crocker Snyder and Cyrus Vance Jr. played along with this time-wasting, meatless exercise in less than trivial information.

Who cares whether or not the candidates believe that Robert Morgenthau was the best Manhattan DA ever! Many of the white suspects from Connecticut and New Jersey who were caught buying drugs in Washington Heights probably love Mr. Morgenthau because they were pled to misdemeanors and did not have to do any jail time. On the other hand, many of the blacks and Latinos in the same situation charged with felony drug possession requiring time in a state facility probably have a very different opinion of the retiring Manhattan DA. However, neither the moderator nor the professional newspersons who questioned the candidates broached this recurring disparity.

The continuing use of a Jim Crow standard could also have been exposed when the question of Plaxico Burress came to light. Due to the length of time between the former New York Giant wide receiver's gun incident and the point at which charges were filed, the candidates were asked if they believe Mr. Burress received special treatment because of his celebrity status. Plaxico Burress is currently serving a two year sentence having pled guilty to illegal gun possession.

For decades, New York State has had mandatory jail time for illegal (unregistered) gun possession. But several years ago when singer/actor Harry Connick Jr. was caught in New York with an unregistered gun, he pled to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to perform a Public Service Announcement. The fact that the black celebrity, Mr. Burress, is doing jail time and the white celebrity, Mr. Connick Jr., did not, is probably just a coincidence.

More recently, CNN television host and anchor, Lou Dobbs' wife was also arrested in New York for illegal possession of a gun. Like crooner Connick, Mrs. Dobbs was not sentenced to do the mandatory jail time. In running for a position as high profile and important as Manhattan District Attorney, it is mind boggling that the 20 year criminal court judge, Leslie Crocker Snyder, the "Escaped from New York" Assistant DA, Cyrus Vance Jr., and reversal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws advocate Richard Aborn, did not see fit to shine a glaring light on these judicial inequalities.

However, the real insult to this injury is that the members of the Fourth Estate never bothered to ask.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


"First we're gonna give you a fair trial, then we're gonna hang ya!" The facetiously used quote from old western movies could have easily originated in post-Civil War communities throughout the United States and applied to black suspects all across the country. From a group of individuals as varied as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Muhammad Ali, the late Michael Jackson is merely the latest in a long line of the formerly "accused" being lambasted and slandered .

Accusations are enough for the media to bestow guilt based on a generally larger degree of melanin in the suspects skin. Having held that blacks "...have no rights that a white man is bound to respect," the US Supreme Court basically labeled the long held caveat, "the presumption of innocence," FOR WHITES ONLY! Years later the news media still angrily precedes the monikers of long time distinguished attorneys Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, and Alan Dershowitz as OJ lawyer F. Lee Bailey, etc. Mr. Dershowitz, already renowned for getting the attempted murder conviction of Claus von Bulow overturned and a subsequent acquittal at a new trial, is still often tagged as OJ lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

New York Congressman Peter King and the various columnists and talking heads who have since labeled Michael Jackson, since his tragically unexpected death, as a pervert, child molester and pedophile would likely be highly offended if they were accused of a racially prejudicial aspect to their claims. Yet these charges never seem to cross their lips, pen, or computer screen whenever writer/director Woody Allen makes an award-nominated film. At the end of a long courtship, Mia Farrow, former paramour of Allen and mother of two of his children charged the filmmaker with sexually abusing their daughter - a charge, which like Michael Jackson, was vehemently denied. It later became public that, during the relationship, Allen had taken naked pictures of Soon-Yi Previn, Ms. Farrow's teenage adopted daughter. Allen's defense of this betrayal of Ms. Farrow's trust was that Soon-Yi was 18 years old. He basically claimed that Miss Previn's age was not an indication of a sexually predatory nature towards children. Yet, by his own admission, Woody Allen has spent decades in therapy for various kinds of emotional angst. Whether his sessions on the couch involved a proclivity towards pedophilia, only his therapist knows for sure.

However, it strains credulity that a man of Allen's vast age was repeatedly capable of saying "no" to appearing at the Academy Awards but could not say no to snapping naked pictures of his girlfriend's daughter. And after marrying the exceedingly younger Miss Previn, there was barely a peep from the fourth estate that Woody Allen forged that marital union to "beard" the allegation of child molestation as members of the media vociferously claimed after the marriage of Michael Jackson to Lisa Marie Presley.

To this day award winning actors line up, and will take less money, just to work with the likes of Woody Allen and fugitive convicted child rapist, Roman Polanski. Amid charges that he raped a 13 year old girl, for which he was subsequently convicted, Mr. Polanski fled the United States and has never returned. His films continue to be distributed and honored in the United States. However, nary a scintilla of disgust from concerned congressmen or outraged media personalities accompanied the standing ovation given Mr. Polanski as he received, in absentia, an Academy Award for Best Director for the film THE PIANIST.

And as Rep. Peter King vows to fight and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fence-sits concerning a Congressional Resolution honoring the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, the Congress might recall that the proclaimed King of Rock N Roll, Elvis Aron Presley, dated and vacationed with future wife Priscilla Beaulieu from the time she was 14 years old - without sex, so they claim. And that drug-addled rock icon is commemorated on our US postage stamps.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


With the recent California Supreme Court decision upholding the ban on same-sex marriage, the only certainty is that the debate will rage on. In, arguably, one of the more liberal states in the union, many advocates of same-sex marriage are highly disappointed at the independence displayed by the California high court. And as the debate rages on, one advocacy position is that some others same-sex marriage has no effect on you. However, a careful and logical scrutiny of such negates that as a reasonable argument.

As the federal government, most states, and many cities and municipalities levy a financial burden on the wealth and labor of the American citizen's liberty and pursuit of happiness, certain policies are proscribed to affect the pursuits of the state. One policy is that tax breaks are provided to married couples filing jointly. Same-sex marriage would compel governments to provide said tax break to individuals who would otherwise pay higher, single tax rates negatively affecting the state's projected bottom line revenues. This shortfall cannot be made up without levying further financial burdens on all those outside of the same-sex marriages, whereas, in theory, the tax breaks given to the traditional male/female marital unions pays dividends due to the high likelihood of procreation.

The taxes generated from the enormous amounts of money pumped into the economy by the high cost of raising children more than makes up for the traditional male/female marriage and per child tax deductions. Since the likelihood of procreation will be near zero in same-sex marriages, the shortfall in revenues generated by the tax breaks given to these couples would have to be made up by levying taxes and/or fees on others.

Same-sex marriage can also negatively affect those outside of such unions in another manner. The private insurance industry, life, health and auto, operates based on age, gender and marital status among other components. If insurance companies are compelled to give the decreased premium rates usually afforded married couples to legalized same-sex unions,who would normally pay two single person rates, it could substantially decrease their profitability. The responsibility to the shareholders of those companies could very well compel the industry to increase premium rates, decrease benefits, lower amounts of coverage, or all of the above.

Arguing that same-sex marriage will not affect the opponents and those fence-sitters on this issue is a false premise and those who base their advocacy on that particular fallacy need to find a much better argument.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


The faux political outrage from Washington officials over the AIG bonuses is completely understandable. However, the public's anger might be a bit misplaced.

That $165 million of bailout money in private hands is more likely to help stimulate the economy and save a few jobs than going back to those Washington hacks and getting lost on fraud, waste, bridges to nowhere and studying the obscure habits of insignificant insects.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Alex Rodriguez should sue! Someone in Major League Baseball and/or at the medical testing lab revealed confidential medical information in a deliberate, and successful, attempt to cause A-Rod severe mental anguish. That no names of 103 other major league players who took, and failed, the same test appeared in print or over the airwaves is testament to a discriminatory effort to malign the highest paid player in professional baseball. And though a lawsuit would not vitiate his behavior for using banned substances, it would aid in revealing the massive hypocrisy of America's sportswriters, talk show hosts, politicians and those who have publicly castigated Rodriguez for "shaming the game."

As criminal cases pend against athletes for lying to the very Congress that lies to the American people every chance they get, politicians and the media punditry, sports and otherwise, salivate at their opportunities to rail against the lying, selfish, baseball cheats. And after the Jose Canseco blockbuster book that blew the lid off of massive steroid use in Major League Baseball, this very punditry stood lockstep in agreement that the baseball owners knew what was going on after the 1994 baseball strike. According to the sports mavens, the realization that formerly sub-par human beings suddenly producing above-par super human stats was not lost on the owners.

However, baseball's owners and managers have yet to be called before Congress to testify, under oath, what did they know about steroid use and when did they know it! With all of the turmoil that has transpired in the United States in the past year as experienced by the nation's financial bottom line, surely Congress cannot believe that a player would lie and cheat to gain an edge, but that an owner would not. It seems apparent that the use of steroids in Major League Baseball was not a 'players only' well-kept secret. And as some players face the possibility of criminal convictions for perjury, the punditry cries for their collective scalps in order to maintain "the integrity of the game." But if they refuse to echo that hue and cry with calls for the owners to testify, by subpena if necessary, just the way the tobacco heads, insurance heads, auto, banking and investment CEOs were compelled to do, then the word integrity should be permanently stricken from their vocabulary.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Is sexism beginning to rear its ugly head in the minds of some New Yorkers in the senatorial selection process.

If Caroline Kennedy's "you know" speech pattern makes her unacceptable to serve New York, how in the world did Ed Koch serve four terms in the US Congress and three terms as mayor of New York when his answer to every question included three or four "uhs" every sentence?


The reason that alleged $50 billion Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff should be in jail instead of under house arrest can be summed up in two words: MARC RICH.