TheodoreSLaBarbera.com

Since 2003, the off-ramp on the Information Superhighway.

Month: October 2009

The Solution Is Simple: I Abstain

2009 World Series LogoThe imperfect end to an utterly putrid baseball season for fans of the New York Mets has reached its bittersweet crescendo: a fall un-classic pitting the hated Bronx Bombers against the cocky, arrogant, and despicable defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.  What is a man, so filled with contempt and loathing for both franchises, supposed to do?

The answer is perfectly obvious.  I am opting to take a page from President Barack Obama’s playbook.  When faced with a difficult choice and two less-than-perfect alternatives, I choose to vote “present.”

There are plenty of readily available alternatives.  NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles on Tuesday nights.  Endless Family Guy reruns on WTBS.  New York Islanders hockey games.  Stargate: Universe on Fridays.  Countless series on DVD that I am attempting to plow through (including Californication and Heroes).  Heck, I might even opt to catch up on some work, or even write more of my masters thesis, instead of suffering through the World Series.

I said infamously once that, were the Yankees to play Al Qaeda in an intramural exhibition with the fate of the world and sharia law for all on the line, I’d root for Al Qaeda.  I meant it, and if my alternative is instead watching and potentially emotionally engaging with a loser franchise from the opposite end of the New Jersey Turnpike, well, I’ll pass.

Have a great series, guys.  Wake me up when Spring Training starts.

Congratulations, New York GOP, This Is Your Mayoral Candidate

Michael BloombergIf you ever wanted a clearer picture of the perils of one-party ideological rule in a jurisdiction, look no further than the continued reign and candidacy of New York’s own Napoleonic Mayor, Mike Bloomberg.

Mayor Mike, as he likes to be called, was a lifelong Democrat until political expediency (avoiding a crowded primary battle) saw him morph into a Republican candidate in 2001.  Sadly, the New York GOP proved far too eager to earn a sniff at Bloomberg’s vast fortune and eagerly allowed him to use and abuse them no matter the cost.  Eventually, two terms into office and a “lame duck” thanks to term limits, the Mayor saw fit to no longer associate himself with those nasty Republicans and declared himself “Independent.”

You know, until he illegally overturned the term limits restriction and needed a party line to run for a third term on. Welcome back to the GOP Mike!  And how about those other top-notch candidates the minority party in NY lined up to ride the Mayor’s coat tales to office?  He never heard of them.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t know who the GOP candidates for citywide election are, but he says they’ve got no chance at winning – an interesting comment from the guy who, ahem, is running for mayor on the Republican line.

“They have no chance whatsoever … whoever they are,” the mayor said at a press conference today.

Suffice it to say, Bloomie’s probably not making any new friends in the GOP. Last week he said he didn’t even know the names of the Republicans running for citywide offices, reports the Daily News.

Splendid.  I, for one, cannot be prouder of my party and it’s vast and unending display of political savvy.  Congratulations, boys, you are officially one City Council Member away from being completely shut out of elected office within the five boroughs.

Lest this post be filled with merely snark and no substance, allow me to offer some suggestions for a viable platform for the third party that eventually will become the de-facto opposition:

  • Fiscal Restraint. Draconian cuts to City services (many of which City residents and illegal aliens have become dependent upon) need be a losing prospect. Instead, opt to target the City’s budget to an annual increase, but one lower than the rate of inflation, and balanced to limit any increases to debt.  This strategy can prove to be a win-win for all involved: no demonization in the media for throwing homeless out onto the street, and still slowly managing to wean greedy legislators and bureaucrats off of the public teat.  Who knows?  Get a little budgetary discipline going and some taxes might eventually prove unnecessary and able to be eliminated.
  • Continued vigilance against higher crime rates and the threat of terrorism. A no-brainer that resonates with all citizens.
  • Harsh penalties for graffiti. Dirty, abused property contributes greatly to an overall sense of lawlessness and hopelessness.  Put the offenders behind bars and aggressively remove any and all traces of the so-called “art” the moment they appear.
  • Reversing the tide of overdevelopment. The character and life of the very City is being sucked dry by the endless waves of poorly constructed and ugly apartment buildings now dotting the landscape.  In the outer boroughs in particular, row after row of family homes have been torn down and destroyed in favor of overcrowded and crammed brick and concrete boxes.  The increased burden on infrastructure (sewers, transportation) alone is justification to stand firm and work to reverse the trend as soon as possible.  The City should empower an agency such as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to buy incomplete or shuttered eyesores, bulldoze them to the ground, and sell to private entities provided that strict restrictions are in place ensuring any new buildings built on the land are small homes for at least the next 50 years.  It’s a money loser for the City, of course, so eliminate construction tax breaks such as the 421-a that create this SimCity monstrosities and line the pockets of politically expedient developers.
  • Complete transparency. All aspects of City governance — bills before the City Council, budget, rule-making actions, any and all campaign contributions to office holders, and more — should be mandated to have a 30-day review period and available on the City’s Web site.

Of course, I expect precisely zero of these initiatives to ever see the light of day in a one-party fascist state.  Maybe I’ll just have to seek office and run on my own.