Articles by " dcariello"
21 Sep
2006
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What am I missing?

As most of you know, I am big on ballot security and voting issues. I have proudly given testimony in support of expanding the reach of the Motor-Voter Law while before the City Council (on behalf of my former employer the Association of the Bar of the City of New York) and as a member of the Social Welfare Committee (for those that don’t know, the Motor-Voter Law allows people to register to vote at the DMV). While I recognize studies that show making it easier for people to register does not necessarily translate into more people voting, I consider that if we make it easy for people to get in the “game,” by definition they have a better chance of playing (they can’t vote if they don’t register). I have been a strong proponent of spending money to increase voter confidence in elections including, but not limited to improving our voting machines. I have also participated in ballot security measures since 2001, helping to ensure elections are free from fraud, both here in NYC and nationally.

So, with this as background I am shocked (shocked!) to see the Congressional Democrats coming our against a new regulation that would require the presentation of photo ID when voting in national elections. http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20060921-123316-5086r.htm

As described in the Washington Times today, The Federal Election Integrity Act or “Voter ID” Bill, “would require voters in federal elections to provide picture identification by 2008 and provide proof of U.S. citizenship by 2010. It was among the recommendations made last year by the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, headed by former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Republican.”

So, why are Democrats so willing to throw President Carter’s recommendations beneath the bus? “Democrats, siding with groups that work on behalf of minorities and illegal aliens, called the bill a ‘modern-day poll tax’ and said it would place an insurmountable burden on voters and infringe upon their voting rights.”

Okay – so illegal aliens, who shouldn’t be voting anyway, don’t like this. Go figure. So Democrats are essentially saying they rely on this bloc of non-voters to vote – illegally. And I thought the Democrats were supposed to be fighting for fairness and electoral integrity.

Now as to the “poll tax,” this argument has more to do with the details than the principle. It is argued that the poor, minorities and the elderly (or very young voters) are less likely to have a valid photo. Putting aside that my grandparents both have valid driver’s licenses (although my grandfather hasn’t driven in what seems like forever) and that, although I represent many poor minorities they all seem to have licenses of some other photo ID, I will stipulate that in some areas of the country this is not the case. For example, a June 2005 University of Wisconsin study found that less than half of Milwaukee black and Hispanic adults have valid licenses (although no word if any of those folks were illegal aliens).

Nonetheless, voter fraud happens. Indeed, I hope to move to Chicago when I die so I can keep voting. Kidding aside, arguments that equate the use of some form of ID to a poll tax are simply not serious. The real issue is what type of ID can be used or, if an ID is not possessed, how easy and costly it is to get one. A list that includes military ID, passports, driver’s licenses and other government issued ID, as well as a “Voter ID” issued by each state, should be more than able to balance the demands of ballot integrity with intrusion on lives of There is no reason that the Board of Elections for each state cannot issue a “Voter ID” to those without an otherwise valid photo ID for no cost. Thus, unlike the poll-tax (a fee requested at polls that would be used to disenfranchise blacks), the ID would cost the poor nothing, save the time to get it. Considering what it took to win the right to vote, and to maintain that right, is it really too much to ask that citizens go down to the BOE and wait in line for an ID?

2 Aug
2006
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So, the Democrats have to steal an idea

to get one. They started up the “FudgeReport” (http://fudgereport.net/) to “serve as a central depot for people to access information and news coverage about GOP Senate candidates”.

As one commentor put it, “Where on the FudgeReport can I find the copy of Michael Steele’s credit report?”

26 Jul
2006
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National Review and Rudy Giuliani

I don’t know if anyone picked up the recent issue of National Review with Mayor Giuliani on the cover (in drag). I am a subscriber and I have to say I was terribly disappointed in the article, which discusses the Mayor’s chances at the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Admittedly, I am a supporter of the Mayor’s and hope that he runs. That being said, there were numerous problems with the piece. For one, Mrs. O’Beirne only manages to cite one pundit (NY Post’s John Podhoretz) supportive of the Mayor’s prospects. One? You must be kidding. Considering he leads in most polls, I find it shocking that she could only find one person that thought President Giuliani was a good thing and could happen.

She also highlights the Mayor’s social views (or “God, guns and gays,” as she quotes an unnamed “veteran strategist”) and, in essence, concludes that this will be his undoing. While I concede that others share this belief, she fails to meaningfully consider three items: (1) what Rudy Giuliani did for this city even prior to 9/11; (2) the universal credit he receives around the country for NYC’s turn around and the effect that will have and (3) that he has sky-high approval ratings among Republicans, despite the strong likelihood that they are aware of his positions on social issues.

To the first point, while she cites Mr. Podhoretz for the proposition that Giuliani “governed their ungovernable city and dramatically reduced crime, while holding views on law and order and welfare dependency that put him on the right of the city’s political spectrum,” she denies this position any respect. Who remembers the druggies lying in the streets on the upper East and West sides? Who remembers the constant threat of violent crime? Who remembers the city of dependence, the welfare cheats and the generations for whom work was a foreign concept? Apparently Mrs. O’Beirne does not, for if she did, she would recognize the Mayor’s accomplishments on these issues not only turned NYC into a model for all big cities, but proved the merit of long-held conservative values (“broken windows” policing?). Republicans will respect such vindication in a primary, as well as the record of accomplishment.

As to the second point, around the country Rudy, rightfully in my view, gets the credit for NYC’s turnaround. He turned the city around – and he did so in the face of enormous opposition. Al Sharpton, Norman Seigal, Ron Kuby, the unions, the activists, they all fought him. Yet Rudy, and NYC, won the war. And let’s not forget that in 2004, many of those primary voters witnessed Rudy’s handiwork first hand at the Convention. Thus, Republican primary voters see the man – one man — who beat the liberal boogeymen and the one man who made NYC great again.

As to the final point, people often forget what it means to say that NYC is the media capital of the world. One byproduct of this fact is that the mayor of NYC gets oodles of national media coverage. Heck – is there anyone in the country that does not know about Mayor Bloomberg’s crusade against illegal guns? To that point, I would think it safe to presume that primary voters — who are typically better informed than most folks anyway — know everything there is to know about Rudy – good, bad and ugly. So, despite knowing his stance on social issues, or how Rudy looks in a dress, Rudy still has approval ratings above 70% among Republicans (with unfavorable ratings in the single digits). What exactly will people learn when, as Mrs. O’Beirne puts it, “the research teams of other GOP contenders for the 2008 nomination . . . take[ ] Giuliani on”? That he’s pro-choice? Who doesn’t know that? Or that he left his wife? Again, is this news to anyone? Maybe the “research teams” will uncover something – maybe he’s from Mars, which would be news – but barring a real shocker, I don’t see people really changing their mind about the Mayor. Seems that people know what they’re getting in Rudy Giuliani — good and bad — and most people like what they see.

Of course, all this is without considering the effect that 9/11 and the leadership he displayed will have. To be brief, I don’t think anyone thinks it would hurt his nomination’s prospects

In short, while I would while I favor Rudy’s run (“Run Rudy, Run”) my problem is not that Mrs. O’Beirne clearly disagrees with me. My problem is that in the guise of serious analysis, she merely regurgitates the “accepted wisdom”(“too liberal”) without thoughtfully reexamining that “wisdom.” The piece was not in line with the thoughtful pieces done on George Allen or Mitt Romney and, frankly, was out of character for Mrs. O’Beirne and National Review.

26 Jul
2006
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Out of the Box, or Out of His Gourd?

No one has been claiming that Queens has been unfairly targeted by a conspiracy to deprive them of air conditions. I live in Queens and I don’t feel like Con Ed targeted my neighbors (I wasn’t affected by the blackout). What I am claiming is that Con Ed was totally incompetent and heads should roll. Moreover, Con Ed is more than a publicly traded company that is accountable to its shareholder – Con Ed is a public utility which holds a government-granted monopoly over the distribution of electric in New York City. As such, it is no different, in my mind, than a City agency when it comes to whom it is accountable. Con Ed must answer to the citizens of New York City first and the shareholders second. The issue is not lost revenue for Con Ed, it is lost earnings and diminished health (or lost lives) for Queens residents. To focus on shareholder rights and Con Ed profits (as the reason they would want to fix the problem) is to lose sight of the problem and to whom Con Ed is accountable first and foremost.

But, I still love Nick and his willingness to be contrarian. Next debate, “Resolved, the world is flat.” Nick, I believe you are speaking in favor of the resolution . . .

: )

25 Jul
2006
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News Flash – Vertucci Goes Crazy

I LOVE NICK VERTUCCI!!! I LOVE HIS CONTRARIAN VIEW POINT!!! I also think he has gone insane with the summer heat. Nick, my brother, my crunk nizzle (as the kids say), you have got to be kidding me.

I have gone nuts when Home Depot failed to deliver doors for my kitchen cabinets on time. If something like ELECTRICITY was not being delivered to my house, I would look to burn the CEO of Con Ed in effigy and get pitch forks and torches (at least the torches would provide light). People died thanks to Con Ed’s failure to deliver the electricity people paid for.

The fallacy of your argument is your reliance on “these things happen.” This equates it to some sort of act of God. Snow happens. Hell, tornados happen. If a twister relocated a few transformers to Oz (or the East Side of Manhattan) then yes, I would say Con Ed should not be blamed (although we should have twister-proof transformers). But Con Ed screwed up while . . . DELIVERING ELECTRICTY! They are paid to deliver electricity. No outside influence came in and monkeyed with the process. Their wires are old and they didn’t get off their collective behinds to do the necessary maintenance.

Additionally – to equate a failure to conduct routine maintenance for an electric company with not changing a light bulb is such a poor analogy that it borders on insulting. When my light bulb goes out, only one light goes out. If, for example, one light bulb going out in my house would cause me to lose power throughout my whole house, you’d be right to assume I would be replacing light bulbs every two months just to be sure I didn’t lose power. And that’s just my house. Now, what if my failure to change my bulb resulted 100,000 people losing lights and refrigeration, let alone television, air conditioning, phones (in some cases) and the other things in life that run on electricity? I would assume that a mob would greet me at my door every time that bulb went out. And, if I wanted to live for any period of time, I’d be sure to change the bulbs.

There is one party at fault here Con Ed. We SHOULD blame them. Notwithstanding the failure to check the wires, they should be blamed because of their underestimates of the effected populace (originally they severely undercounted) which, while better from a PR standpoint, resulted in Con Ed’s they failure to marshal the resources to deal with this in a timely fashion. Con Ed should be blamed because they are responsible for perhaps millions of dollars of lost income as well as lives lost (and put in jeopardy).

Dennis

29 Jun
2006
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Now, for an entirely different topic

I just got back from the Burger King down here in lower Manhattan, just across from Ground Zero and I am totally disgusted – not by Burger King itself (perhaps I should look at the “nutritional” infromation for my Angus Burger to remedy that) – but by the exchange at the counter.

The total came to $6.71. I gave the woman – who looked like she had just graduated high school – or was at least no younger than someone entering her senior year — $6.76. Predictably, she said “you gave me too much” and tried to give me back my penny.

Now, putting aside what it says about me that I give people an extra penny to get a nickel back, this exposes two serious failings of our school system:
1. The failure to impart basic math skills and
2. The failure to teach humility.

The first point seems obvious and need not be belabored here, but the second needs some explaining.

Our schools, in this self-esteem infected culture we live in, do our children a great disservice by teaching them that they are wonderful are winners and as good as everyone else at all things. By doing so, they empower children to think that because they cannot see the logic in something, and because I am a winner, the poor fellow advancing the competing logic must be wrong. Indeed, unlike the academics that preach this garbage, kids instintively know there are winners and losers – thus, because they’ve been taught that they are winners, unlike the academics that somehow believe we all can be winners, kids know the other guy must be a loser.

Had out schools taught my new friend humility — she would have had the sense to at least say “self, this crazy guy gave me 76 cents when only 71 cents were necessary, I do not know why, but perhaps there is a reason, perhaps he knows better.” Then she just woudl have punched it into the register – WHICH CALCULATES THE DARNED CHANGE ANYWAY – and she would have learned that I was attempting to change five pennies (one of my own and four she was going to give me) into a nickel. Instead, she was quick to correct me and thus violated the maxim “better to be though of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Humility. It is an underrated trait. Perhaps in light of the failure of our schools to teach basic math it is too much to ask that they teach this hallmark of character. Schools, however, cannot be graded a success until they do both.

PS – I told her three times “no ketchup, no mayo, no sauce.” It was like I told her to put a gallon of BBQ sauce on the thing.

26 Jun
2006
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Am I the only one fed up with John ABSCAM Murtha

How much press coverage can this guy get. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has him claiming that the American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran. This after he called our marines cold-blodded killers and has advocated the “cut-and-run” method for war stategy for some time (with a notable exception in 1991).

Indeed, in April 1994, Murtha urged the Clinton administration not to use military force to stop the fighting in the former Yugoslavian republics. http://asp.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/CandidateProfile.aspx?ci=462&oi=H

Of course, since Robert Novak recently reminded us all, Rep. Murtha was involved in Abscam. (side note, the investigated parties (one Senator, six Representatives.) were all but one Democrat — and interestingly, Robert Luskin, Karl Rove’s lawyer, was in charge of DOJ’s sting)

The names of the losers: Rep. John W. Jenrette, Jr. (D), Rep. Richard Kelly (R), Rep. Frank Thompson (D), Rep. John M. Murphy (D), Rep. Jack Murtha (D) (unindicted co-conspirator), Sen. Pete Williams (D)

As video made clear (from Winkpedia) Murtha refused the inital bribe, saying “I’m not interested. I’m sorry, at this point.” Novak notes that he also boasted about his influence and “expressing interest in further negotiations.”

In fairness, the charges against him were dropped in return, although only after he agreed to testify against Rep. Frank Thompson. Murtha was eventually cleared by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (House Ethics Committee) in 1981. It was, fittingly, a party-line vote in a Democratically-controlled House of Repubrestentatives that “cleared” Murtha. As Robert Novak recently noted, the committee’s special counsel resigned in protest.

Murtha is continuing his sleazy ways, Roll Call (http://www.rollcall.com/issues/1_1/breakingnews/11329-1.html?type=pf) reports that the fiscal 2005 defense appropriations bill included more than $20 million in funding for at least 10 companies for whom KSA Consulting, a frim owned by Rep. murtha’s brother, brother, Robert C. “Kit” Murtha, lobbied. Carmen Scialabba, a longtime Murtha aide, works at KSA as well. Murtha also inserted earmarks in defense bills that steered millions of dollars in federal research funds toward companies owned by children of fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D).

Now, why does this man have any credibility?

14 Jun
2006
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Solutions America – Wow

I have to tell you, I was one of a few of us that attended the Soluntions America fundraiser last night and I left very impressed. Impressed with the operation, impressed with the event and impressed with the former mayor. I’ve been a part of numerous campaigns and events before, but I was struck by the professionalism and the results. That they raised $2 million for the first real event the PAC had says quite a bit.

And am I the only one that found Rudy’s message — terrorism, education and energy — to be so completely reasonable, and conveyed in an unassuming and welcoming manner, that one woudl think the Republicans he is rasigin money for woudl be wise to adopt it as a platform this year?

20 Jan
2006
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Breaking News – THE TWU SUCKS

The TWU has just voted down the contract or, as the PA puts it:

“The city’s transit workers, one month to the day
after they stranded 7 million riders with a crippling three-day
strike, voted Friday to reject their new three-year contract by a
margin of just seven votes.”

What a bunch of bums.

19 Jan
2006
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From the Horse’s Mouth – On the NY Observer

As is my practice, I tend to enter debates at the last minute, to give a Montel Williams-like summary, or, some would say, Jerry’s Final Word. Rather than doing so to get the last word, I feel it best to enter after passions have subsided and after all views have been aired. It helps me make better sense of things,

First, I would like to thank Jessica Bruder and the Observer for contacting me regarding the story that everyone seems to be commenting so much about. I can say that I was not misquoted and, considering the allegations of “dwarf-bowling” and the like, I guess I came out as a pretty reasonable person.

I guess the biggest complaint was that their could have been more research done on the article and, I do agree with that point. I think there are a number of people that could have been interviewed about what we do as an organization and given a positive impression. That said, I won’t kill Jessica for this, as this was her last day on the job and deadlines are deadlines. To that end, I wish her well and good luck with the book she’s writing.

Of course, I would prefer an article that, if it had to discuss the two clubs as factions, would have been titled “Two Young Republican Clubs, Working Separately to the Same Goal” and focused on the positive aspects of the clubs. I would rather have an article mention that we won the award for Best Large Club of 2004-2005 from the Young Republican National Federation, provided members with opportunities to meet Senator Brownback, Congressman Reynolds, Ari Fleischer, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, and that we helped multiple campaigns this year and that we keep growing (membership and fundraising are up for the fourth consecutive year). I would have been pleased to see the other club’s accomplishments in print as well. It would have set the right mood for the article – albeit one of sadness.

Instead, the article focused on the bizarre — and more interesting for readers I’m sure — details about the split. I don’t blame anyone for this, although as a party leader and Republican I just want to shake my head. Not about the Observer article, but that this situation exists for the Observer to write about.

I do wish to note for the record that Ms. Bruder asked me for details about the split that occurred in 1991 and that I declined the invitation to discuss it. Of course, my understanding of the facts differs from that reported in the Observer — which I assume was provided by Mr. Thomas Stevens. In any event, even if I knew that the account of Mr. Stevens would be reported, I still would refuse to air such laundry for the public. We are Republicans and I do not see any gain in publicly disparaging my friends or proclaiming to the world our internal differences.

For the record, though, there is no feud because, at minimum, I have laid down my arms for quite some time. The story is only interesting because of the salacious history from a decade ago. It is now a quirk. Paul Rodriguez and I have resolved our disputes through phone calls not law suits.

I also wish to thank Paul for not ratcheting up the rhetoric. He and I have had a very nice relationship, despite the odd situation we are in, and I look at it as a display of friendship that he chose not to take the easy road and get his name in the paper with a quote disparaging me or this club. I’ve called him today to tell him that and look forward to conveying the message when he gets back in.

In all, my biggest concern about the piece was the implication from one quote that we are not an activist club. I dispute that, and am willing to put the facts before judge and jury to prove otherwise. Thankfully, I have spoken to the author of the quote and he has graciously agreed to come to our club in the future. I am sure we will be vindicated on this point and that we will win a new friend in the process.

I wish to thank you all for your kind words about how I looked in print (the chair – you look much better on radio!). I don’t give interviews much and I guess it pays to be honest and speak what you believe.

Now let’s go out there and win some special elections this February!