The mark of cane: Governor Paterson keeps getting blindsided by personal shots


From the New Yorker‘s “Your Eustace, 2009,” the mag’s annual contest for the best new version of Rea Irvin‘s classic cover, this entry (one of 12 winners — and my favorite) is “Eustace, the Undead New Yorker,” by David Cook of Suwanee, Georgia.

Further proof of the schizophrenic media culture: Despite the widespread political correctness that infects discourse on numerous topics, Governor David Paterson keeps getting hammered because his eyes don’t work right.

Israel’s ever-increasing crackdown on Arabs (the most ludicrous new idea is an Israeli-controlled 30-mile-long tunnel connecting Arab enclaves ) is the
apartheid that dares not speak its name — at least most of the U.S. media don’t dare speak of it.

But Paterson continues to get blistered because of his bad eyesight, which he can’t help and which, after all, doesn’t make him a more hapless and mediocre accidental governor.

As the Post says this morning:

A hospital trade group and a health-care union yesterday released a bizarre new attack ad — using a sightless man wearing sunglasses to slam legally blind Gov. Paterson for budget cuts.

“Why are you doing this to me?” the unidentified patient asks Paterson halfway through the 30-second spot, funded to the tune of $1 million a week by the Greater New York Hospital Association and Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union.

To some observers, the blind man’s role in the statewide attack ad against Paterson’s plan to cut health care by $3.5 billion seems too personal by even Albany’s standards for no-holds-barred budget battles.

On the other hand, Paterson does seem to have blinders on when it comes to the outrageous Wall Street bonuses. As the Gothamist noted in mid-December, before Barack Obama scolded Wall Street:

In what continues to be a familiar story of cat and mouse in politicians pointing the finger as to where funds aren’t coming from, Governor Paterson yesterday claimed the state lost hundreds of millions in tax revenue because less big Wall Street bonuses are being given out this year.

Nothing personal, but what Paterson fails to see is that the state loses far more gelt by not taxing hedge fund goniffs’ pay.

Check out “NYC hedge fund profits show tax system flaw–study,” a Reuters story from last April that noted:

New York City hedge funds earned $20 billion to $39 billion last year, far outstripping the profits of Wall Street banks and demonstrating how outdated the city’s tax system risks becoming, a new study said on Tuesday.

Now see these stories…



A hospital trade group and a health-care union yesterday released a bizarre new attack ad – using a sightless man wearing sunglasses to slam legally blind Gov. Paterson for budget cuts.

“Why are you doing this to me?” the unidentified patient asks Paterson halfway through the 30-second spot, funded to the tune of $1 million a week by the Greater New York Hospital Association and Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Sky dive horror for newbie as instructor dies mid-jump’


Gov. Paterson yesterday warned that the politically popular plan to impose higher income taxes on the wealthy would cost New York jobs and drive people out of the state.

Bloomberg: ‘Macy’s Slashes 7,000 Jobs’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘President Obama: If stimulus fails, I’m out in 4 years’

Crain’s New York Business: ‘Longer notice now needed for layoffs in NY’

Tougher new law requires 90 days notice before layoffs or closings – up from 60 days.

Bloomberg: ‘Obama’s Foreclosure-Relief Plan May Offer Government Guarantees for Loans’

The Obama administration is considering government guarantees for home loans modified by their servicers, seeking to stem the record surge of foreclosures that’s hammering U.S. property values.


New Yorker: ‘The Financial Page
Hazardous Materials?’
(James Surowiecki)

Wall Street Journal: ‘Shoe Thrower Targets Wen At Cambridge’

A protester threw a shoe at China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Monday while he was giving a speech at the University of Cambridge, police said.

New York: ‘Trouble in Stuy Town: The crash of a real-estate Utopia’

Harper’s: ‘News From Nowhere: Iceland’s polite dystopia’

Bloomberg: ‘UBS Lures Brokers From Goldman, Morgan Stanley With “Super-Sized” Bonuses’

UBS AG, the Swiss bank under investigation for allegedly helping wealthy Americans evade taxes, hired more than 200 brokers in the U.S. in the fourth quarter as it sought to counter client defections.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Citi Explores Mets Deal Exit’

Citigroup is considering the possibility of backing out of its marketing deal with the New York Mets amid concerns about how recipients are using TARP funds.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Policy Makers Weigh Derivatives Oversight’

Onion: ‘Cheney Dunk Tank Raises $800 Billion For Nation’

New York Review of Books: ‘Pakistan in Peril’ (William Dalrymple) [PODCAST]

The relative calm in Iraq in recent months, combined with the drama of the US elections, has managed to distract attention from the catastrophe that is rapidly overwhelming Western interests in the part of the world that always should have been the focus of America’s response to September 11: the al-Qaeda and Taliban heartlands on either side of the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Atlantic: ‘The Man in the Middle’

What Chuck Schumer thinks he knows about the middle class; a profile

Wall Street Journal: ‘Lobbyists Raise Stimulus Price Tag’

Lobbyists are gearing up to add costly proposals to the Senate’s $885 billion economic stimulus plan, likely boosting the package’s overall cost.


Time: ‘The Tide Shifting Against the Death Penalty’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Iraq Waste Repeated in Afghanistan’

Waste and corruption that marred Iraq’s reconstruction risks being repeated in Afghanistan, government watchdogs warned.


Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Barak: Build Tunnel Linking West Bank and Gaza’

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday proposed the construction of a 30-mile tunnel that would connect the northern Gaza Strip with the southern West Bank, thus enabling freedom of movement between the two disjointed Palestinian territories.

While stumping on the campaign trail before students at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, Barak said it was possible to dig the tunnel, which would remain under Israeli sovereignty while the Palestinians would maintain authority over the corridor’s traffic.

New York Review of Books: ‘Google & the Future of Books’

How can we navigate through the information landscape that is only beginning to come into view? The question is more urgent than ever following the recent settlement between Google and the authors and publishers who were suing it for alleged breach of copyright.


The ringleader of a gang of racist thugs that went on an election-night rampage on Staten Island pleaded guilty to federal charges yesterday and told a judge he was drunk and angry about President Obama’s victory.

Salon: ‘The Leaderless GOP: Sorry, Republican bosses, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are in charge. And there’s nothing you can do about it.’

New York Review of Books: ‘How We Were Ruined & What We Can Do’

Bloomberg: ‘Netanyahu Gains as Lieberman Makes Him Appear ‘Less Hawkish”‘

Israeli Arabs committed treason by protesting the country’s offensive in the Gaza Strip last month. Hamas should be dealt with the way the U.S. handled Japan in the last days of World War II. Egypt, at peace with Israel since 1979, actually plans to attack.

These are just some of the recent comments made by Avigdor Lieberman, whose party could become the third-largest bloc in parliament following Israel’s Feb. 10 elections, polls show.

Lieberman’s jump in popularity may boost the coalition- building efforts of front-runner Benjamin Netanyahu‘s Likud, while undermining prospects for peace with the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s lead over Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni‘s ruling Kadima party has grown as Israel’s war in Gaza raised voter concern about security.

‘A Lonely Lament From a Whistle-Blower’

From the Wall Street Journal:

Harry Markopolos, the Boston-based investor-turned-investigator who for years warned regulators that Bernard Madoff was running a huge Ponzi scheme, has received pitches to appear on television shows, make movies and write books elaborating on his experience.

But rather than enjoy a sense of vindication, Mr. Markopolos says he is miserable. He has trouble sleeping and is haunted by the apparent suicide of Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet, a French money manager found dead shortly after Mr. Madoff’s Dec. 11 arrest on fraud allegations.

Although a colleague of Mr. de La Villehuchet’s says he doesn’t know of any warning, Mr. Markopolos says he told Mr. de La Villehuchet as well as investors at other firms that he thought Mr. Madoff was a fraud. He regrets that he couldn’t persuade many of them.

Part of the reason he didn’t press his warnings: Fear of retribution by Mr. Madoff, says Mr. Markopolos. A lawyer for Mr. Madoff declined to comment.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Aggrieved Investors Turn Sights to Banks’

Madoff-hit investors are suing big banks over their custodial services, contending they should have known about the alleged fraud.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Victims Find Support’

Investors who say they were burned by Bernard Madoff are turning to the only people who seem to understand their predicament: each other.