Yeah, and if you believe that, I have a $20 million stash in Nigeria I'll give you for only 10% if you first tell me your Social Security and bank account numbers.
But I am outta here for a while. The theory is, when you've been cranky in New York for a long time, it's sometimes refreshing to go be cranky somewhere else for a while. So I'm off to the Left Coast for a week of eating, drinking and spending more money than I should, during which I ain't gonna post diddley-squat. There, that should fix things.
Watch for fresh posts a few days from now. Oh, figure January 3. But maybe the 2nd. And maybe the 4th. Or maybe the 5th.
Hey, if I were reliable and predictable, I wouldn't be a crank, would I?
Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Pervert-protecting Congressional Sex Nazis to Senior Citizens: “No sex for YOU, you doddering old geezeer!”
It’s as though it happened in the dead of night – and for all I know, maybe it did. Aside from an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (no longer on the web) and an online publication called Senior Journal...
…the press was largely silent about it. Maybe all those young journalists thought nobody would care.
At any rate, the Crank first heard about it when I got my hands on the letter above – identifying information redacted to protect the impotent – in which AARP/United Healthcare declared that Cialis was no longer on their formulary because “Congress has determined that…” [drugs that treat erectile disfunction] “will be excluded from coverage under Medicare Part D in 2007” So that includes Levitra and Viagra, too.
WAIT A SECOND, WAIT A SECOND!
WHICH CONGRESS IS THIS?
MAYBE IT SHOULD BE CALLED
“THE SEX NAZI CONGRESS”
“No sex for you,” says this Sex Nazi Congress to erectile disfunction sufferers over 65.
Hey gang, this is the same Sex Nazi Congress that covered up for Congressman Mark Foley, who was making buggery attempts at his teen-aged male interns.
MURERED MISTRESSES AND
“JUST SAY NO” HYPOCRITES
It’s the same wife-cheating (Remember Congressman Gary Condit and his much younger murdered mistress Chandra Levy?) sometimes wife-beating, frequently divorced Sex Nazi Congress full of self-righteous Republicans who are willing to encourage the spread of AIDS in Africa by ineffectively telling people who’d like to enjoy sex, “Just say no.”
It's the same Sex Nazi Congress that kowtows to the lunatic fringe of the “Christian Right.” You know, the same Sex Nazi Congress that wants to let the FCC fine television stations $325,000 per incident for profanity that gets uttered on the air in the heat of live events – from wars, to 9/11, to sporting events.
See, they don't want you to know that soldiers who are under fire or rescue worker who were watching the World Trade Center collapse and snuff out thousands of lives would actually cuss. They want to do all the cussing themselves, whenever they get caught -- almost literally -- with their pants down.
Yes, it's the Republican Sex Nazi Congress that turned a Democrat budget surplus into an eight and a half trillion-and-still-counting-national debt...
...that also has authorized, almost without a peep of protest, half a trillion dollars poured down the toilet of two wars that we’re losing simultaneously, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. (We belong in Afghanistan, but thanks to the drained resources getting flushed away Iraq, Afghanistan is rapidly drifting back to the Taliban.)
So these big spending Sex Nazis, who gave themselves eight pay raises in the last nine years...
...now want to block senior citizens from getting a $10 or $20 pill maybe once a week so they can have a a few happy moments of sex with their spouses in their retirement years.
These are the very same Sex Nazis who banned negotiating with drug companies for medication – something that could have lowered the cost of Vigara, Cialis and Levitra – and all medications – and made them more affordable to consumers, taxpayers and the Government. Now they say we have to "control" health care costs. How? By denying people health care.
These are the Sex Nazis who promised they’d get government off our backs. Now we’ve got it in our bedrooms.
You no longer have to be gay. You no longer have to be promiscuous. You no longer have to be foreign. Now all you have to be is over 65 – something nearly all of us will experience.
WRITE A LETTER OF PROTEST
TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL SEX NAZI
You’ll find his, her or it’s address here:
Demand to know where he, she, or it stands on banning erectile disfunction drugs from medical benefit formularies. Remind him or her or it that nearly everybody gets to be 65 unless they drown in New Orleans floods while the Sex Nazis in Congress fiddle, die in Congress-supported wars – or unless the Sex Nazi Congress finally outlaws longevity.
Tell your Congressional Sex Nazis you wanted Medicare to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate damnit – for better drug prices for everyone in America. Tell them that you want ALL legitimately prescribed drugs to be covered by the so-called, confusing, donut-holed “Drug Benefit.”
And if they give you any crap about not wanting the U.S. Government to pay for quality of life medications – remind them about all the raises they gave themselves to improve their own quality of life.
WHO OR WHAT WILL FALL
VICTIM TO THEM NEXT?
What quality of life or care benefit will the Sex Nazi Congress cut for the rest of America next?
Will they eliminate wheelchairs because that improves the quality of life of paraplegics?
Will they cut oxygen for people who want their quality of life improved by being able to breathe better?
SHORT ON TIME? JUST SEND YOUR
CONGRESSIONAL SEX NAZI THIS
You don’t have to compose your own letter if you don’t have time. Just copy this blog article into an e-mail addressed to your Sex Nazi Congressman. Or give your Sex Nazi the URL
And let the Sex Nazis in Congress know that if they won’t act, they can all go to Heil.
Monday, December 18, 2006
New York and San Francisco swap weather. Astrophysicist says it’s because the universe has turned inside out.
New York (Dec. 18) - New York and San Francisco have exchanged weather patterns in what an obscure astrophysicist, working in a Greenwich Village basement laboratory, calls “a balloon or bellybutton inversion.”
The weather in New York today was 65 degrees and cloudy, typical of San Francisco this time of year. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the weather for a while dipped down to a New-York-In-December 36 degrees and windy, with bright New York sunshine.
Simultaneously, New Yorkers began acting increasingly laid-back. A man on a bus stood up for a pregnant woman. On the same bus, an out-of-towner dropped two dollars in nickels and dimes into the fare box and the driver said, “Thank you, man, that’s very cool.”
A few hours later, during rush hour in San Francisco, a native tired of waiting for the Van Ness bus loudly loudly muttered several unprintable epithets and stomped off downtown on foot.
While investigating this phenomenon, The New York Crank stopped for coffee at Reggio, one of the last authentic Greenwich Village Italian cafés that hasn’t been put out of business by Starbucks. In the café, located on MacDougal Street, he struck up a chat with Herschel Harshbarger, PhD., who described himself as a freelance astrophysicist. Harshbarger, it turned out, has a theory about what’s going on. The universe, he declared, has turned inside out.
AND A LOT OF BROW-FURROWING MATH
The New York Crank replied, “I don’t get it,” whereupon Harshbarger whipped a small yellow balloon out of his pocket. He lay the balloon on the marble table next to his cappuccino, with the mouth of the balloon pointed left.
“It’s a matter of topology,” he said. Harshbarger explained that topology is a study of the geometry of the surface of changing shapes, which didn’t seem to help explain anything, but he kept on explaining.
“Watch this,” Harshbarger said. With a long pair of pincers he reached into the balloon and turned it inside-out, laying it back on the table. “Now, as you see, the mouth of the balloon, which had been pointing left is pointing right. All bodies and spheres in the skin of the balloon which had been oriented right-left are now oriented left-right.
“If we can assume that Earth is part of the topological skin of the balloon, then everything on earth has been reversed. This explains why New York and San Francisco have exchanged climates,” he said.
CAUSE FOR ALARM
Ever-alert, The New York Crank asked whether this “topological inversion” as Harshbarger called it justified the Lunatic Conservative movement’s insistence that pollution and the loss of rain forests are not causing climatic change.
“On the contrary,” Harshbarger insisted, “it is entirely possible that heat rising from formerly forested areas, plus the growing emission of greenhouse gasses have distorted the balloon, thus causing the inversion.”
“It’s as if you were made so sick by pollution that you turned inside-out from the locus of your bellybutton,” Harshbarger said.
BUT THERE’S REASON
FOR OPTIMISM, TOO
According to Harshbarger, there is currently so much temperature fluctuation on earth that the topological surface of the universe is in flux, rather like a balloon that expands, contracts and changes shape as the air inside it is heated and expands, then cools and causes deflation.
“Things look very hot in New York today,” Harshbarger said, “but they could cool down tomorrow, just as San Francisco chills out by heating up.”
Harshbarger did some elaborate computations on the back of a napkin (adjacent to text) that he said, “confirm the fluxness of the situation in a topological sense.”
Bystanders, some of whom seemed to have stopped by from the nearby Institute of Mathematics at New York University, seemed impressed.
“That’s the most extraordinary napkin I’ve seen in years,” one of them said.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Get off that bread line, Stupid. You’re NOT starving. You’re merely experiencing “very low food security.”
Among the many sick and dirty tricks dreamed up by the Bush administration, the sickest have been their attempts to make problems go away by re-naming them or changing the meaning of everyday language.
That’s how losing in Iraq came to be known as “winning.”
That’s how having no quantifiable goal whatsoever in that country got recast first as “mission accomplished” and then as the promise that, “we’ll stay until we complete the mission.”
That’s how torturing people by nearly drowning them over and over again got redefined by Vice-President Chaney as “a dunk in the water.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/27/AR2006102700560.html
ADMINISTRATION BRAINSTORM: IF WE
RENAME “STARVATION” MAYBE PEOPLE
WON’T KNOW THEY’RE STARVING
Now the Bushnik political hacks at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are about to completely “eliminate” starvation in America. They’ll do it simply by renaming what ails the hungry.
I’m going to let Liz Krueger, a member of the New York State Senate, put it her own way. The following are excerpts from a recent letter to her constituents:
“A glaring change in this year's USDA report is that they have decided to stop using the term ‘hunger’ to describe hungry people. From now on, the most desperately poor Americans—11 million people! — who show ‘multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake’ will instead be defined as facing ‘very low food security.’ In other words, they are hungry.
“Note to the Feds: You cannot define away the very real problems of poverty and hunger facing millions of Americans by changing the terminology.”
YES, THIS REALLY IS
HAPPENING IN AMERICA!
Krueger, who has worked in emergency food pantries, soup kitchens and food banks, has harrowing memories of what she saw:
“… panicked mothers telling me about having to put their children to bed without dinner; of parents admitting they skipped meals so their children could eat. There were endless conversations with people who were forced to use their food money to pay rent and utilities to avoid eviction and homelessness. There were poor seniors who told me of the humiliation of digging through garbage bins behind supermarkets…
“Too many conversations ended with people breaking down in tears because they were wrongly rejected for Food Stamps or because they realized that even with Food Stamps, their benefits would not last a full month. There is nothing hypothetical about families facing the reality that the need to pay for an emergency prescription is going to result in many missed meals for weeks to come.”
YOUR HEAD ACHES, YOUR
STOMACH HURTS, YOUR CHILDREN WEEP?
OH, JUST SNAP OUT OF IT.
Krueger continues, “All of these people were facing or experiencing ‘hunger’ -- the kind that brings headaches, causes your stomach to hurt, leaves children and seniors much more likely to get sick, unable to concentrate, angry and/or depressed—real physical and emotional consequences of ‘hunger.’ They were not feeling "insecure" about food -- makes it sound like a Dr. Phil topic of the week. ‘I'm feeling a bit insecure about food today...can we talk?’
“The U.S. is the most affluent country in the world and yet, our federal government spends time and money altering our vocabulary, instead of fixing our problems. Let's stop playing with words and decrease the shame of hunger in America. A few easy ways to start:
“1) Strengthen the Food Stamp Program in the upcoming Federal Farm Bill -- make the application process easier, increase benefit levels, provide flexibility to expand outreach and enrollment incentives to states.
“2) Connect more children to child nutrition programs, such as school breakfast, summer meals, child care food and after-school snacks and meals.
“3) Boost family incomes through strategies like an increased minimum wage and refundable tax credits for low-income workers.
“4) Expand funding for meal programs for low-income Seniors, particularly deliveries to homebound elderly and disabled.”
But Liz, Liz – do you actually think programs like this will come from those wonderful Bush administration folks who brought you “very low food security?”
Don’t hold your breath.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
“We are in the business of using language persuasively,” says Lester Wunderman, founder of the advertising agency that bears his name.
“We constantly search for those appropriate and explicit words and phrases that will arouse interest and trigger action.
“When we do that, we are not just another part of our industry but of a special and unique group of imaginative and sensitive individuals who constantly strive to create effective, persuasive and even, on occasion, beautiful prose and poetry.” http://lesterchroniclesblog.wunderman.com/
That's mighty hifalutin’ talk for a guy whose company made its bones churning out junk mail and those 800-number TV commercials. But at least the thought seemed to have some validity when Lester was actually minding the store. In better times the Wunderman agency had a reputation for being a class act – or at least as much of a class act as you can have in the direct marketing business.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
LESTER HAS LEFT THE BUILDING
These days Lester, now “way up there” in years, is no longer running the place. Oh sure, he still helps front for the agency and even writes a blog for it, from which I’ve taken his comments on sensitive individuals and beautiful poetry. But one glance at the advertising associated with the shop tells you that somebody less august than Lester is running the place today.
Take the ad shown above, for KnowledgeBase Marketing®, which proudly bills itself as “a Wunderman company.” Was this vulgar piece of poop-in-your-face communication written at some far-away subsidiary office (say in Dallas) or at the Wunderman nerve center at 285 Madison Avenue in New York?
It doesn’t matter. Either way somebody in top management was snoozing at the switch when the ad got approved – and remains asleep at the switch even today. After all, the ad has run over and over again in direct marketing trade magazines. Presumably, agency management reads the trades about their own industry. Or can they read?
They certainly can’t read well enough to recognize bad writing when it smacks them in the chops. The author of this ad has a wee bit of trouble with his syntax. He means to say you should talk to KnowledgeBase Marketing if you’re having trouble increasing the percentage of readers and viewers who respond to your advertising. Instead, tangled in a web of ain’t-I-clever puns and mangled metaphors, he writes, “If upping your response rate is keeping you awake at night, talk to us. Rest assured, you’ll see your prospects in a whole new light.”
Well, at least you can figure out without gnashing your teeth what he means to say.
SORRY, YOU’LL HAVE GRIT YOUR TEETH
TO PLOW THROUGH THIS NEXT BIT
It’s a bit more of a brow-wrinkling exercise to plow through the Wunderman ad agency website. Getting through the prose there is like paddling against a current of molten tar. You’ll discover juicy tidbits such as:
“Customer data yield the insights and knowledge we need to help clients create meaningful customer dialogues in every media and at every customer opportunity. And we do it with a creative flair. Wunderman conceives, builds and runs the infrastructures around the communications we develop -research, databases, campaign management tools, all of it. We immerse ourselves in our clients' infrastructures as well, to become a total marketing partner.” http://www.wunderman.com/working/53.asp
THE DADA OF ADVERTISING
Nevermind that the Wunderman website’s techno-jargon brutally obfuscates whatever the hell it is they’re trying to say. (Yeah, yeah, you’ve probably decoded it if you read it carefully enough, but did you want to?)
Pretentiously fuzzy communication was on the verge of becoming the dominant discipline at Wunderman some years ago, when some fool briefly changed their honorable company name to “Impiric.” Eventually, wiser heads changed the name back and saved the agency from its neo-Dadaist approach to self-branding.
A brief aside: once upon a time there was a direct marketing advertisement for the mail order Sherwin Cody School of English. Written by the late John Caples, an advertising copywriter who truly knew how to write clearly and compellingly, the ad’s headline asked its readers, “Do you make these common mistakes in English?”
Maybe that ad ought to be required reading for every Wunderman employee.
AND ONE MORE THING:
A POST SCRIPT ON PLAGIARISM
P.S. The Wunderman “up yours” headline can’t even claim the virtue of originality. Back in the 1950s, a New York subway car poster featured a clean-cut guy wearing a skinny tie and a snap brim hat, holding up three fingers. The headline, for an interest-bearing bank account, read, “I upped my income 3% last year. Up yours!”
An old advertising pro, now deceased, once confided in me that he was part of the mischievous team at the Ted Bates advertising agency that created that first Up Yours ad. And yes, they absolutely understood that they had written a double entendre. They wanted to see if they could get away with it, he told me. The joke was meant to be on the client. But with the passage of years, he at least had the good sense to feel slightly ashamed of himself.
These days, the joke is on the agency that panders to the mentality of an 11-years-old juvenile delinquent who has just learned a vulgar new phrase.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
So Colonel Alexander Litvinenko, the whistle blowing Russian spy, died of Polonium poisoning after dining with his buddies in a London restaurant, and now some of his dinner companions are also poisoned.
Investigators found the poisoning came from radioactive Polonium, which somehow made it into either Litvinenko's sushi, or his cocktail, or his cigarette. Since then, Geiger counters have been going off all over London. Creepy, right?
Nah, not in Sheffield, England, where a restaurant called Polonium is doing a pack-‘em’in business since the poisoning scandal. http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/12/04/061205005849.uzua3100.html
An otherwise undistinguished restaurant hasn’t done this well on horrifying publicity since the mob rubout of Crazy Joe Gallo at Umberto’s Clam House here in New York’s Little Italy. The restaurant lived on its bad reputation for years.
There’s nothing like a slight frisson of deathly fear to enhance a meal, whether it’s fear of Polonium poisoning or of a stray mafia bullet. And the French think wine is the appetite-enhancing aperitif? Lillet is lovely, but it's no match for a dead customer.
Somehow all this brings to mind the ancient limmerick:
A diner while dining in Crewe
Found quite a large mouse in his stew;
Said the waiter, “Don’t shout and wave it about
Or the rest will be wanting one, too.”
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Somebody sent me this photograph about a year ago. What a great idea to help pay for the Iraq war!
You see, this is a greedy America we now occupy. In exchange for a wad of bucks shoved into some team owner’s pocket, baseball parks and football stadiums will shun stirring up any civic pride that comes from naming ball fields after their teams and cities. Instead, we’re now naming these places after voracious banks and corrupt companies.
Fortunately, the sponsored name lasts only as long as the money flows. Remember Astros Field in Houston, named after the team that actually played there? Greed and corporate egotism changed the name to Enron Field, which in turn changed, ahem, to Minute Maid Park. Want to cheer for a glass of orange juice?
One of the blessings of a nation ruled by greedy egotism (or is it egotistical greed?) is that loyalty has the approximate longevity of a container of yogurt left out in the sun. I know a university that will name a building after you in exchange for a king’s ransom. But dare to die and in two shakes of King Midas’ wand they’ll take your name off the building and replace it with the name of the next deep-pocketed donor.
So as long as America is up for sale, how about selling military ranks to corporate sponsors? Think of the tax cuts some hack politician could take credit for if, say, McDonalds starts paying for military uniforms instead of the Department of Defense.
It will take some getting used to, but army privates will hereafter be known as McNuggets. Generals, on the other hand, will be known as Big Macs. Despite protests of sexism, Army nurses will get stuck with the rank of Egg McMuffin.
In the spirit of inter-service competition, the Navy will have a different sponsor. Its former admirals will hereafter be known as Whoppers. Former ensigns will have the rank of Chicken Tenders. Chief Petty Officers will become Big Fish.
Oh, bad news for all you guys wounded in action. You can forget about a purple heart. Instead, they’re going to give you a Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry pin.
What, you’re complaining? Whaddaya want from the government? You want fries with that?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I only raise this issue because a recent poll by Zogby, the public opinion firm, “found 77 percent of U.S. residents could name two of Snow White's dwarfs, whereas only 24 percent could name two Supreme Court justices.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/?feed=Quirks&article=UPI-1-20060814-19023200-bc-us-popculture.xml
Wait a second, just wait a second! Maybe this country isn’t so dumb after all.
Last night, perhaps as an act of depraved masochism, I was listening to a C-span broadcast of the U.S. Supreme Court proceedings concerning Parents v. Seattle and Meredith v. Jefferson. Both cases have to do with school integration and racial discrimination.
My friends, there were distinct parallels between some of the justices and some of the dwarfs.
Take justice Clarence Thomas. During the spirited Q&A back-and-forth between the justices and the various lawyers representing parents, school districts, and George Bush’s administration (You’d think George would have better things to worry about, like Iraq, but no!) I heard not a peep out of Mr. Justice Thomas.
Now admittedly, I didn’t sit through the whole thing. I didn’t even come in at the very beginning. So it is possible that Clarence cleared his throat at some time during the proceedings. But not to my knowledge.
So why was there not a word from Thomas, who during his confirmation hearing raised the issue of “lynching” to describe descriptions of alleged sexual misbehavior on his part? Surely, you’d think he’s interested in race-related matters.
Unless he was SLEEPY and nodded off. Or DOPEY and didn’t want to sound dumb by asking a dumb question. Or maybe he was just too BASHFUL, a sad state of affairs for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
I was surprised how remarkably nasal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg sounded. Perhaps she was a bit SNEEZY and keeping it in with a handkerchief and nasal spray. Because the court proceedings are recorded for broadast, but not recorded on camera, we may never know.
To my surprise, Justice David Souter sounded rather GRUMPY in some verbal dueling with some of the lawyers. Too bad, since I happen to like the way he has come down on most decisions.
I have two nominations for HAPPY, Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts. Why shouldn’t they be? They fudged, hedged, and stealthed their way into their seats, although one suspects they could have achieved even these feats only in a Republican Congress. Since we no longer have one, they got into office just in time.
Oh listen, I’m not going any further with this. Offer your own nominations. If they’re printable, I’ll post ‘em.
Meanwhile, be of good cheer. Whistle while you work.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Holy Guacamole! Is somebody in the Bloomberg administration or NYPD actually paying attention to the furor?
Just below, you’ll find a rant about cops under the current Mayor Bloomberg and former Mayor Giuliani administrations blaming the victim or failing to arrest the driver when a bicyclist gets killed by a motor vehicle. This has applied even when the cyclist here in New York City was on a protected greenway path where motor vehicles don’t belong.
Well, every rule has an exception – or maybe somebody down at City Hall or police headquarters has been reading this blog and decided to reform. Sad that another life got wasted before this new turn toward some semblance of justice.
At any rate, the exception occurred Friday after a cyclist, Eric Ng, was struck and killed by a reportedly drunk driver who had somehow begun using the bicycle path as a private highway.
The alleged driver was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment and driving while intoxicated. The details here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/03/nyregion/03bike.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Ironically, Mr. Ng was a member of Time’s Up, the bicycle organization that has been an irritating burr in the side of the city's administration.
Friday, December 01, 2006
When cyclists get hurt or killed, Mayor Bloomberg’s NYPD blames the victims – and turns its attention to crazy definitions of “parade”.
One evening last June, a New York City physician named Carl Nacht and his wife went out for a bicycle ride. Cautious about braving traffic, they chose a path along the Hudson River Greenway, a strip of asphalt reserved for bicycle riding, skating and people moving about on foot.
Suddenly a police tow truck from an adjacent highway turned onto the path, colliding with Dr. Nacht. His wife told a reporter from the New York Times that the truck did not yield to him, as required by law. Nacht died of his injuries. (Some of the details here):
BITTER, BITTER IRONY
The Nacht case was one of six collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles that were listed in a written statement submitted to a hearing panel by Richard Rosenthal, a seasoned New York City writer who specializes in cycling sports and bicycle industry-related matters. The panel was meeting to consider new regulations concerning how pedestrians and cyclists could be arrested for “parading.” Rosenthal’s statement was deliciously redolent of sarcasm and irony. He wrote:
“The history of the police department's proposed amendment …of the Rules of the City of New York—a parade consists of two people!—betrays the real reason for it and belies any claim it is simply to better control and enforce obstruction of traffic and going through red lights ...The department shows itself to be blatantly and transparently hypocritical in floating the canard that the purpose for this is anything other than to create a nuisance and to harass, intimidate, and impede a section of the New York cycling community.”
RIDE IN GROUPS AND YOU’RE BUSTED.
RIDE ALONE AND YOU’RE DEAD.
Rosenthal’s statement enumerated some of the ways Michael Bloomberg’s cops (and Rudy Giuliani’s cops before Bloomberg) routinely failed to seek punishment for drivers who kill bicyclists when they’re pedaling along alone or nearly alone, even as the police attempt to punish bicyclists who have the nerve to ride together in groups.
Of the Nacht death – a case of negligent homicide the way I see it – Rosenthal wrote with considerable cynicism, citing newspaper headlines and the traffic rule a driver had violated:
“A New York Times story about the incident was headlined, ‘Bicyclist Hurt in Collision With Tow Truck’. The article spoke of his injuries (Dr. Nacht died a day later) ‘when he collided with a Police Department tow truck, the police said yesterday.’ The driver was not ticketed [despite] The New York State Traffic & Vehicle Law, §1143: The driver of a vehicle about to...cross a roadway...shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching on the roadway to be crossed.
“Note the police report: the bike collided with the truck. It's pretty much always this way in police reports: bikes collide with cars, cabs, buses, and trucks. Cars, cabs, buses, and trucks never collide with bikes. This is because cyclists habitually ram their 23 lb. vehicles into multi-ton speeding pieces of steel.”
THE FULL CHAMBER OF HORRORS
It’s worth reading Rosenthal’s full litany of violent bicycle “accidents” and violated rules that went unpunished, because police under the last two Republican mayor administrations have done nothing more than shrug at them.
Remember, this is the same police department that pumps 50 bullets into a van full of unarmed people, but then spends its time worrying about bicyclists and pedestrians who have the temerity to walk or ride together in groups.
SPEED AND KILL A DISTINGUISHED SCIENTIST?
NOT A PROBLEM TO NEW YORK COPS.
• “July 12, 1997, Dr. Rachel Fruchter, 57, a graduate of Oxford and Rockefeller Univ. Ph.D., a biochemist, a professor of obstetrics, and a researcher into gynecological cancer and the epidemiology of cancer, was cycling in Prospect Park in Brooklyn when she was struck from behind and killed by a van driver driving well over the speed limit, as police reconstructed the scene. He was not permitted to be on the park road as he was. He was ticketed, but not for that. He was ticketed only for equipment failure.”
CARELESSLY DRIVEN LIMO
KILLS RIDER? TOUGH LUCK!
• “A few years ago, a cyclist was riding south on South Street. A limousine driver was driving north. The limousine driver made a left hand turn into the cyclist killing him. The driver was not ticketed. The police could not bestir themselves to cite him for violating the New York State Vehicle & Traffic law, § 1141: The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left...shall yield the right of way to any vehicle...so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. “
BANK EXAMINER KILLED.
RIDICULOUS EXCUSE ACCEPTED.
• “April 30, 2005, Jerome Allen, a 58 year old New York State senior bank examiner, and very experienced cyclist, was on a solo, evening ride in Staten Island. If the reported story told by the 23 year old driver who killed him, Anthony Tasso, Jr., is to be believed, Allen would seem to have been riding his bike as fast as Lance Armstrong. That, or it would seem Anthony was content to drive his uncle's, Joseph Tasso's, Lexus SUV (with an out-of-state license plate) on an otherwise empty, well-paved, six-lane road… [at]. 18 MPH, which more than strains credulity. In either case, according to a report, young Tasso claimed Allen saw fit to suddenly swerve in front of him as they were riding side-by-side. That doesn't pass the laugh test. Tasso, who was driving on a suspended license that he neglected to have re-instated, was not even ticketed. The failure of the police to conduct a serious investigation has seriously hindered and prejudiced claims arising from this.
STRUCK FROM BEHIND?
MAYBE HIS BUTT WAS TOO BIG.
• “September 24, 2005, 14 year old Andre Anderson was cycling near his home in Far Rockaway, Queens when he was hit from behind by another 23 year old, Jose Vicens, driving another luxury SUV, this one a Lincoln Navigator. (See: http://rightofway.org/) Vicens was not ticketed. The police could not bestir themselves to cite him for violating NY State Vehicle & Traffic Law §1122, which enjoins drivers from aggressive passing.”
RIDER’S LEG CRUSHED.
BLOOMBERG’s COPS YAWN.
• “June 20, 2006, a man was riding his bike on Tenth Ave. at 44th Street. A cab driver opened his door into him. He swerved to avoid hitting it-or after hitting it-and had his leg crushed by a bus. The cab driver was not ticketed. The police could not bestir themselves to enforce the New York State Traffic and Vehicle Law, §1214: No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.”
WHY ALL THIS MATTERS
OUTSIDE OF NEW YORK CITY
I hope America is watching as closely as some of us New Yorkers are watching. Both Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani’s names have been mentioned in connection with the next Republican nomination for President. They’ve spent considerable effort polishing their images – but neither politician, when you get into it, seems to give a hang about their constituents’ lives and limbs.
Instead, the current Mayor Bloombereg makes inroads into normal citizens’ civil rights under the First Amendment under the name of “traffic control” – except he has no interest in controlling traffic that kills people.
And the former mayor? Well speaking of the First Amendment, Giuliani once threatened to cut off city funding to a Brooklyn museum because he didn’t approve of one of the pictures hanging in it.
Back in Brooklyn – which happens to be where I grew up – they had a word for this: