state tree: sugar maple



Kirsten G., Nancy P., Charlie R.

We attended a very small party today on the Upper East Side populated by a fair number of people I really like: Geraldine Ferraro, Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel and our own ray of hope from New York, the lovely and brilliant Kirsten Gillibrand. Seeing Ms. Ferraro was a real treat because she was a hero of mine back in grade school – my parents wasted no words telling me how miraculous it was to have a woman this close to the White House. She looked great, and was charmingly deferential to the task at hand.

Nancy Pelosi has had her detractors, even by those on the left who feel like she hasn’t attacked BushCo. nearly enough, but her articulation of the Six for ’06, the Democrats’ new contract with Americans, had this old broken heart beating a little faster. She and Gillibrand talked about alternative fuels, but never mentioned the environment: to them, it’s a matter of national security, and more specifically, it’s a matter of jobs in New York’s 20th District. We have tons of farms that could create ethanol and biodiesel, and Albany boasts one of the country’s best fuel-cell manufacturers.


Pelosi also said something I hadn’t realized: as of last week, we have now officially been in Iraq longer than we were in World War II. That’s a stunning bit of trivia. Unbelievably tragic, too. And there’s no end in sight, not as long as certain people are in charge.

Kirsten was funny, concise, smart and so personable that I swear all readers of this blog – even those of you of the rightish persuasion – would be voting for her once you left the building. And of you who care should donate to her campaign, not just because Kirsten is a beacon of light in these dark political times, but also because her opponent Sweeney is a big-time JERK who called Kirsten “just another pretty face.”

Sweeney doesn’t just get drunk with fratboys on the weekend even though he’s in his fifties, he also finds time to screw veterans out of their benefits, bilk senior citizens out of affordable medications, continue a deep friendship with Jack Abramoff and convicted felon Tony Rudy (which puts him in the unique position of supporting sweatshop companies in the Far East that perform forced abortions), take money from Walmart, and receive almost $50,000 in donations from war profiteers like Lockheed Martin and BAE (the second largest contractor in Iraq).

He has one of the worst environmental records in the history of New England, scoring a hard-to-get ZERO PERCENT with both the American Wilderness Coalition and the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, while taking thousands of dollars from electric utility interests like ConEd and Entergy. Seriously, his voting record on the environment makes him look like a Who’s Who of the Apocalypse.

Remember those Republican thugs pounding the doors of the city hall rooms during the Florida vote recount of 2000? Sweeney was one of the main ringleaders, leading Bush to call him “Congressman Kick-Ass.” Remember “push polls,” where a “pollster” calls you up and asks questions that degenerate into personal attacks on a political opponent? Sweeney is doing that right now. THIS GUY IS MY CONGRESSMAN! HE HAS TO GO!!!

Anyway, I’ve come to look at the 2006 election differently. I will never allow myself to get heartbroken like 2004 ever again. I will never overestimate the American electorate as long as I live. I have zero faith that progressives will be able to turn the tide, and no matter what the poll numbers, I remain convinced that the Republicans will pull something in October that will solidify another win.

It is because I’ve come to this conclusion that I can help in this race with an open heart. With no expectations, I find I’m more excited to do it. It’s a total Sisyphean task, but like Albert Camus, I must imagine futility with a smile. I will go door to door for an awesome woman who remembered Tessa from three years ago and gave her a huge hug – not because I have faith in the outcome, but because it feels undeniably right.

0 thoughts on “state tree: sugar maple

  1. Attorney Warren Redlich, Albany, NY

    I enjoyed reading your post about Gillibrand. She’s running a good campaign, and Sweeney has really left the door open for a strong challenge.
    I wonder if you have any thoughts on Eric Sundwall, the LP candidate in NY-20. Also wonder if you have any thoughts on my opponent, Mike McNulty. McNulty voted for the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, is anti-choice, anti-gay, and has done nothing for mass transit in 18 years.
    I opposed the war in Iraq (and continue to do so), am pro-choice, support gay marriage, and have a solid plan for mass transit in the Capital Region. And strangely enough I’m a Republican (but an odd one).
    Please post a comment on my Stop Wasting Money campaign blog.

  2. LFMD

    Wow! Nice party! Any photos of Geraldine Ferraro? I clearly remember what a big deal her candidacy was. . . .
    Nancy is kind of a home girl here in MD because of her family ties to Baltimore politics. Have you seen her daughter’s documentary about travelling with the first Bush campaign? Funny stuff.
    Glad to hear that your faith is slowly being restored! Go Kirsten!
    Hey, on a personal note, the LFMD family has bought a new house! Don’t worry, it’s not a McMansion. Just a spacious 40-year-old split foyer on 1.5 acres with peace and quiet and a huge yard for my daughter and beagle. Our little suburban oasis. Guess what color the shingles are?? — Carolina blue! And now we need to sell our current home in 30 days! If anyone knows someone looking for a home in Anne Arundel County, MD please let me know! I will offer a xtcian discount! Hey, it’s a shot in the dark, but stranger things have happened. . .

  3. GFWD

    Based on the first post, do we have to start listing our professions when we comment or is “Attorney” that guy’s first name? Bummer, if it is his real first name.
    Twice now you’ve been shocked, SHOCKED that your candidate’s opponent called her “just another pretty face”. Dude, news flash–she IS a pretty face. Meanwhile, her opponent looks like a cheesy fluffer who just stepped off the set of a porn set. What’s up with that ridiculous moustache?
    Instead of getting bent out of shape for someone recognizing the obvious about your candidate, use her good looks to help complement her amazing resume. People like looking at and listening to good looking people. You don’t see trolls delivering the news on CNN. Without pandering solely to her good looks, she oughtta be using her camera friendly smile to her every advantage.
    Clearly she’s got more depth and substance and brains behind her looks. But be honest with yourself. If she had the best platform and brain for politics ever in the history of the world but looked like a gargoyle, she’d never get out of the back room of the local Democratic offices.
    If Fluffer Boy kept calling her “pretty face”, I’d have her respond like so:
    “Pretty face? Well, I thank my opponent for the compliment about my looks. But if I was trying to use my looks for a career, I’d have gone into modeling. I’m here to talk in depth about real, substantive issues. If my opponent simply wants to judge beauty contests, I’m sure there’s a local pageant somewhere in his home district which might need his limited services.”
    Okay, I’m not Aaron Sorkin, but you get the point.

  4. caveman

    based on what I saw in those “outside the beltway” photos of John Sweeney I say screw John Sweeney for Congress……

  5. Ralphie

    She’ll only come out at night
    The lean and hungry type
    Nothing is new, I’ve seen her here before
    Watching and waiting
    Ooh, she’s sittin’ with you but her eyes are on the door
    So many have paid to see
    What you think you’re gettin’ for free
    The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar
    [comment edited by Moderator]

  6. Zel M.

    Hooray for you, Ian. I think it’s great that you are finally shedding your post-’04 malaise and are actually participating in the political process. And I hope your girl wins, I really do – not for some grand political statement on Bush and Dems regaining control of the House, but because you feel she is the best person to represent the New York 20th.
    I visited her website and found her stance of being “dedicated to keeping America safe, cutting taxes for middle class families, and investing in economic development to bring jobs and investment back to the 20th District” to sound vaguely Republican, which could lead to a discussion of why Dems have to run to the center but I digress…
    As for a couple of your other comments:
    “…as of last week, we have now officially been in Iraq longer than we were in World War II.”
    Uh, that’s what happens when you live in a sound-bite world. If you choose to define WWII as the combat operations from December 1941-September 1945, then fine. But the US military presence in Japan continued until 1954. The US still maintains a military presence in Germany (although that was largely a result of the Cold War) and in Korea for that matter, which may be a more apt analogy. Main combat operations are over in Iraq and have been for some time, so Pelosi’s comment is comparing apples to oranges – it is designed simply to elicit the kind of reaction you showed.
    “I have zero faith that progressives will be able to turn the tide, and no matter what the poll numbers, I remain convinced that the Republicans will pull something in October that will solidify another win.”
    So does this mean that you think that the Left cannot win in the battle of ideas and ideals, or do you believe the American populace as a whole (and of the NY 20th in particular) are just too stupid to vote for your preferred candidates?
    It just seems a standard line from the Left that Liberals can’t win because either red-state Americans are too stupid to vote for them or that the Right is pulling dirty tricks to steal elections – not that the Left’s policies or candidates have anything at all to do with it.
    For months I have been begging the Left to give us viable alternatives to what the Right has put forward. Gillibrand looks solid and I wish her well, I really do – now bring that fire and passion to the national stage.

  7. xuxE

    i do like nancy, although she is a bit more of a political machine queen than i can stomach. still, push comes to shove i favor her over a ton of other candidates. i’m still partial to sen. barack obama as my favorite rising star democrat.
    but i have to tell you, ian, don’t wring your hands about that whole *environmental* issue too much anymore, i think the tide has already shifted and the dems are going to be the winning team this time.
    at least that’s how i’m reconciling the relatively mind-blowing experience of picking up a free copy of al gore’s book ‘an inconvenient truth’ in the lobby of a firm on sand hill road…
    here’s a soundbyte for you: “alternative fuel – it’s the internet of the energy industry.”
    let the boom begin.

  8. CP

    yeah, ian! charlie rangel. as in: “hello, this is charlie rangel…” which is how he’d start his goofy pre-recorded phone message to the constituents in our district, urging our parents to vote for him, which they always did. my friend danny and I used to laugh our asses off about these phone calls and how he’s so old he’s been a member of the new york democratic machine since the days of tammany hall and boss tweed. still, he’s super cool.

  9. Rebecca from OC

    Okay Ian, I bought two tickets to both the shows so my husband Matt and I look forward to meeting you Saturday at either one or both of the Williams family plays. Yahoo! 24 hours in the city without our kids!


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