Friday, January 23, 2015

Welcome to New York, land of corruption

I was looking through the  AP photo archive, when I ran across this picture from Jan. 24 2006.
It shows a bill signing at the Capitol in Albany and includes then-leaders, who fashioned a budget reform bill. 
It’s an interesting group, including:
(A) Speaker Sheldon Silver, charged bu federal authorities Thursday with receiving at least $5 million in bribes;
(B) Former Senate Minority leader Malcolm Smith, who’s now on trial in White Plains for bribery;
(C) Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who was convicted of two counts of corruption in 2009, then acquitted on those charges, not because he didn’t do what he was accused of, but because under the law he helped write, his unethical actions weren’t illegal. As a final insult, the taxpayers got stuck with paying Bruno’s $2.42 million legal bill.
(D) Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after it became known he was a regular customer of a $1,000-per-hour high-end prostitute. Investgator believe he spent mote that $80,000 on prostitutes whaile he was NY attorney general and governor.
(E) Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco who, while he’s no longer minority leader, has managed to keep his nose clean despite spending so much rime running with the rough crowd in Albany.

When we posted about Sheldon Silver to Facebook, some readers offered comments. Here are some of them:
Just like dominoes, they all fall down
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It’s almost spring and it’s time to clean house in Albany.
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YUP spring cleaning
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Ahhh NY state politics!
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Do ya think that we, the taxpayers, might get a kick-back for this waste of our $$$? We will pay for attorney fees and court costs, plus other expenses.
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It’s time to clean all of the state and counties to start with.
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Now if they’d only arrest Cuomo...
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Let’s hope his money and influence don’t get him off the hook!
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And he will walk free, and maintain his position. If any of us get arrested, we would be fired from our job. He should be fired! Today!
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If anyone thinks for a moment that he will go down alone think again, he is going to be singing like a songbird! Proving again why this is the most corrupt state in the nation.
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May be first of many; it’s sure about time something might be done.
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Shouldn’t most of them be arrested? I only trust a couple.
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They should start at the local level!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Falling through the ice is no fun

When I heard about the snowmobilers falling through the ice on Oneida Lake, it brought back not-so-pleasant memories of the time I fell through ice on the Miles River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
I was 13 or 14 years old, out hunting rabbits and squirrels with a .22 pump-action rifle handed down from my grandfather.
I was alone.
The wind was blowing; the temperature was somewhere around 20 degrees.
While the center of the brackish river was still flowing, all along the shoreline the  water had frozen. The ice was pretty thick; we had just been ice skating on it the previous day.
In what could have been a much-more-fateful decision, I decided to take a short-cut across a frozen cove.
Big mistake.
When I got to the center of the cove, where the water flowed as the tide came in and out, the ice was thinner and I fell through.
Much of this cove was shallow, but not this part; the water was over my head and cold.
There was likely nobody for miles to rescue me. I was on my own.
As you can imagine, once you’ve fallen through ice, it isn’t easy to climb out. When you grab the edge of the hole, the ice breaks right off. I did this quite a few times.
I knew I was in trouble, and could feel myself beginning to panic. But then I remembered something from science class about distribution of weight. 
I was still carrying the rifle. I slid it out on the ice about two feet from the edge of the hole. I pushed down hard on it and put my other hand on the ice, too, again as far out on the ice as I could reach.  I finally managed to get one of  my boot-covered feet out of the water and placed it as far from the hole as I could. Then I sort of rolled out of the hole, being careful not to push on the edge of the ice.
Amazingly, it worked the first time.

I still had a good hike home through the bitter wind, soaking wet, but I was one happy kid. I was alive and I had a good story to tell.