Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feeling good? Too bad! It’s time to start worrying again. Here are six nightmare scenarios to help ruin your sweet dreams.

All of us who count ourselves as Democrats are getting a tetch too comfortable. All of us who want to toss George Bush back into his Crawford brush…all of us who see light at the end of the gloomy economy...and peace at the end of the Iraq quagmire…all of us had better take a deep, deep breath.

Remember, Murphy’s Law roars back into operation whenever you let your pessimism take a nap. If anything can go wrong, somebody is already plotting how to make it happen. And somebody else with offices on K Street is already lobbying for it.

So here are a handful of bone-chilling scenarios (Guaranteed: all of them straight off the top of my cranky head) to keep you pacing the floor tonight.

1. The Democrats win the election. But George Bush declares martial law, announces that for some reason or other the election process was illegal, and appoints himself “Interim President for Life.” Troops occupy the streets to put down any dissent. Dissidents "disappear" to dungeons abroad and are later found in mass graves. Hey, you say that only happens in third world countries? And what world does our nation’s growth in the fields of government cronyism, torture chambers, inflation, poverty rates and shrinking the economy make us these days?

2. Ralph Nader draws just enough votes from the Democratic presidential candidate for John McCain to win. It is later determined that Nader’s campaign was funded all along by Republicans, arch-conservatives and neo-conservatives who realized that their only hope of victory was Nader denouncing them while running for office. I mean, who else is funding Ralph? Certainly not Democrats.

3. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg decides to run for president, after off-and-on flirtations with the idea. (See Nader, Ralph, above.) [NOTE: In a deliberate effort to confound and confuse The New York Crank, Mayor Bloomberg announced, the very evening that this post got posted, that he will not be a candidate for president. Immediately, New York 1, the CNN local news cable station, began speculating that he's running for vice president. Go figure.]

4. The reason we haven’t seen an Al Qaeda attack recently is that Osama Bin Laden was caught several years ago and is being held incommunicado in Guantanamo. Three days before the 2008 election, George Bush in a last-minute attempt to undo a Democratic sweep, will announce Bin Laden’s capture.

5. Al Qaeda hasn’t attacked us in the United States since 2001 because its leaders have been following Napoleon’s advice never to interrupt the enemy when he is making a grave mistake. Our grave mistakes under the Bush Administration include destroying the morale of our armed forces, stretching the nation’s defenses thin, wrecking our own economy, and sabotaging our goodwill abroad. When we get a rational president who begins improving the economy, restoring civil rights, pulling us out of the hopeless quagmire in Iraq and uniting the nation, then Al Qaeda will attack. Loud gloating will be heard from under a shady tree on a mountain bike trail in Crawford, Texas.

6. On his last day in office George Bush will issue a blanket pardon for himself – and for every member of his administration – for any and all crimes discovered or yet uncovered, ranging from corruption, to cover up, to destroying government property, to contempt of Congress. And more.

Anything else disturbing your dreams? Feel free to send in your nightmares.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Antioch College is dead, thanks to its untrustworthy trustees. Is the wonderfully quirky town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, next?

Antioch College, founded in 1852, is now officially a goner.

I’m not going into the whole history of the collapse here because it makes my blood boil. Suffice it to say that the trustees, who allowed this once great institution to sink into decline for more than 25 years, decided to close it while keeping open a chain of far flung, second rate, essentially adult education schools bearing the Antioch name.

Killing the college
to protect trustee power

Alumni came up with millions to save the college. But the trustees were more interested in their own power than the survival of the institution. They finally declared the alumni were “too late.” Goodbye Antioch.

The town that won’t conform

Likeliest to suffer will be the town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, home of the now-dead liberal arts college. For years Yellow Springs has collected a population of interesting, quirky, individualists attracted by the college, which itself was a magnet for nonconformists.

You can tell this place is not normal
just by reading the local weekly newspaper

Without the college, Yellow Springs, too, is likely to decline into ordinariness while it loses its college-based economy. What was extraordinary about the Yellow Springs? Well, just consider these items, from classifieds to community announcements, appearing in this week’s Yellow Springs News:

The landlord’s not interested in your
credit history, just your attitude

ROOM TO RENT: opportunity to live cooperatively—lighten the load on Mother Earth, available now. Must be willing and able to communicate; have weekly house meetings; share upkeep of common space; accept and offer affirmations; practice acceptance of human differences regarding food, spirituality, age, race, gender, etc. Rent is $300, including utilities. Contact Laurie Dreamspinner, 767-9435.
Actually, in Yellow Springs
the moon is always full

The Grandmother Drum Healing Circle will celebrate the sacredness of the full moon with meditation, drummers, dancers and friends, Saturday, Feb. 23, 6–9 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship meetinghouse, on U.S. 68 just south of Yellow Springs.

Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing for outdoors and bring the following: a drum or musical instrument to share; a friendly voice to sing or recite; finger foods and non-alcoholic drinks to share; and thoughts or insights to share. For further information, call Grandmother Wolfheart, 767-9331 or e-mail:
Holy holism, Bat Man!
Local holistic health and wellness practitioners are invited to participate in a focus group exploring the role of local holistic practitioners in marketing the whole village as a health and wellness resource at Antioch McGregor, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 22, Monday, Feb. 25 or Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Become sacred. No experience necessary!
Lynnell Lewis, of Richmond, Ind., having returned from six months in India, will lead an evening of sacred chanting Saturday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m., at the Yellow Springs Dharma Center. With Indian tambura accompaniment, she will teach chants from all Buddhist traditions, as well as Vedanta, Sufi, Christian and African. No experience is necessary and everyone is invited to this free event. For more information, call Ken at 767-1022.
Happy Ayyam-i-Ha to you. Happy
Ayyam-i-Ha to you. Happy...oh, nevermind!
The Rays of the Sun children’s class will host their annual Ayyam-i-Ha party. The program, to be held Saturday, Feb. 23, 1:30–4:30 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, Westminster Hall, will include music, singing, dancing and cooperative games. All are welcome at no charge. For more information, call Linden Qualls at 937-767-7079.

Just because it's a totally private party
doesn't mean that the whole world isn't invited.
CONNIE CROCKETT’S CAMPAIGN for State Representative will celebrate St._Patrick's with a beer and wine tasting at The Emporium in downtown_Yellow Springs on Saturday, March 15, from 7:30 until 9:30 p.m. This is a_private party to which you are invited. Live local music, fun and_refreshments provided. $10 minimum asked at the door. Donations to_Crockett4Ohio are fully TAX DEDUCTIBLE for state residents up to $50_per individual, $100 per couple. Join us for a givin' of the green_ and help us elect Connie!
Hydrogen?...Check! Oxygen?...Check! Lithium?...Check!
Okay! Now, let’s play spin-the-bottle!
Elemental Circle meeting, 1:30 p.m., UUF meetinghouse.
Honestly, it's not a secret Huckabee society.
Course in Miracles, 9 a.m., Friends Care Assisted Living
Yes, but in this town can you be odd enough?
ARE YOU A PERSON of good moral character? Do you believe in friendship, love and truth?Are you ready to give back to the community? Are you ready for some fellowship? Then join the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Yellow Springs. 937-266-6351 or 937-450-6675.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Repulican corruptocracy? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Check this story out.

Hey, don’t get upset. All the story involves is a Congressman (left) indicted for “wire fraud, money laundering and other matters in an Arizona land swap scam that allegedly helped him collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs.”

Oh yeah, it also involves an Arizona U.S. attorney general who had the temerity – the utter temerity! – to look into this criminal matter. This got him fired. Fired by whom? Fired by Alberto Gonzales, the Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney General who had to step down after it became clear he was running his office like the patronage office of a crooked city councilman in East Podunk.

Oh, and one last thing. The indicted Republican Congressman at the heart of this scandal is Rick Renzi who is a co-chairman of presidential candidate John McCain’s Arizona “Leadership Team.” (Details here.)

With leaders like Renzi, does anyone have any questions about the kind of leadership America would get from John McCain?

Don’t shoot me, dude. It’s only a cranky question.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Roberts Supreme Court gives medical device makers a license to kill – YOU!

The U.S. Supreme Court under Justice Roberts has decided that if a company makes a device so ineptly or negligently that the device kills you, your widow or widower and orphans have no right to sue the device maker.

At least, not if the FDA has approved the device.

This means, in effect, that some company can ram through the FDA shoddy equipment or drugs that might maim or kill you, and when you are injuured they can effectively say to you or your heirs, “Tough luck, pal. Go stuff it.”

Apparently only Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg sees through the court’s “thinking” – actually an attempt to protect big business from the consequences of its own mistakes, carelessness and greed.

This latest strike for big business against the citizens of the USA is right up there in extreme right wing judicial activism with the decision, a little over six years ago, not to recount the misleading and Florida ballots in the Bush vs. Gore election.

You might be tempted to ask, “Well, if a device is FDA approved, doesn’t that mean its safe?”

Hell no!

The FDA under the Bush administration has been a cash-starved political arm of the White House. Examples of sloppy, questionable or downright negligent approval have been legion, but here are just a fcouple, reported on the website of the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

Poor quality control standards in American drug and vaccine manufacturing plants is a disgrace.

…rather than accelerating inspections and enforcement to ensure quality control, FDA reduced its factory compliance inspections from 4,300 in 1980 to just 1,600 last year. Fewer inspections produce fewer critical report findings, but fewer inspections mean that American consumers are at increased risk of contaminated medicines…

[There is] Evidence demonstrating that in the rush to bring new drugs to market human subjects are exposed to increased risks of harm in clinical trials-- even before their safety has been shown in animals.

..Indian researchers have complained that humans tests were being conducted at the same time as animal tests --and that animal tests revealed the drug caused tumors, first in rats, then in mice
Naturally, the Bush Administration sided with the defandants, claiming that unfavorable state jury verdicts against companies like meditronic would compel companies to alter product designs or labels that had already gotten FDA approval.

Hell, just because a product kills people, should a company have to go to the onerous trouble of changing some labels? I mean, what’s more important, human lives or a few cents less of profit due to label printing costs?

Moreover, the defandant in the Supreme Court case that caused the ruling, a company called Medtronic, has been implicated in several cases of shoddy devices and practices. Go here for stories about Medtronic devices that may have caused at least five deaths with its heart defibrillators and about Medtronic’s questionable payments to doctors in relation to a spinal surgery device.

Congress can “solve” the problem by restoring the rights of injured citizens to sue the companies that injure them. A new law would tell most of the justices of the Supreme Court to take a flying leap of their own.

Moreover, an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate and House, with a Democratic president, could begin taking steps to bring the Supreme Court back to earth where it can focus on law and justice rather than so-called “Conservative” radicalism.

All the more reason to vote for not one Republican the next election. Got that? Not-one-Republican.

Correction and addendum: A new story in the Feb. 21 New York Times states:
The food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, under which the F.D.A., regulates pharmaceuticals, does not contain a pre-emption clause. Nontheless, the administration is arguing in the case the court has accepted for its next term, Wyeth v. Levine, No 06-1249, that pre-emption is implicit in the structure of the statute.

In other words, for the moment your right to sue if, say, you get poisoned by an erroneously labeled or dangerous drug still exists, but probably not for long. The Bush Administration is fighting to take your right away to sue in this case, too, and the situation is essentially the same. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What is it with fat opera singers? And what can we do about it? Herewith a few answers and modest proposals.

Went to the New York Metropolitan Opera last weekend. Saw Carmen, starring Olga Borodina as the tramp home buster Carmen, and Marcello Alvarez as Don Jose, the schlump corporal who falls in love with her and dies.


Look, I know this is probably not politically correct. And I don’t want to cast aspersions on overweight people, since I’m what you might charitably call on the chunky side myself, most especially around the middle.

But I’m not even dreaming of ever portraying a feckless young corporal who’d jilt his fiancée and break his momma’s heart. Nor, for that matter, would I play a slutty seductress who makes grown men trash their marriages and fiancées.

Much less do I dream of playing it to an opera house full of suckers paying big, big bucks. (My credit card bill for two tickets came to in excess of $300, and I didn’t exactly have the best seats in the house.)

Don’t ever let
the singer sit on you

Even from the back – way, way, way back of the orchestra section, where they have the $300-a-pair cheap seats – it was pretty clear that if you were lying on the ground and Carmen ever sat down on you, you’d be a goner. I mean, check it out for yourself.

As for Don Jose, he was built like a meat-and-potatoes desk jockey who wouldn’t dare get up from his swivel chair and into a real sword fight – for fear he’d drop dead of a heart attack or a stroke.

The plump diva
busted foot syndrome

Yeah, they sang great. Olga was sensationally good, despite feeling some pain. Somebody came out between acts and begged us to be tolerant of Olga because she had injured her foot in the first act. I didn’t see the injury happen. But on the other hand, the voice and the girth are what you tend to notice when Olga does an aria on stage. Feet? What feet?

Listen, I’ll admit I’m not the first person to notice that singing opera and lugging around 50 to 150 or more pounds of excess blubber seem to go hand-in-hand.

Don Cook, Casey Stengel
and three centuries of
overweight divas

In fact, when I went to check it out , I discovered that I’m very late to the discovery. There are at least five theories about why opera singers are either better when they’re fat, or get fat because they sing. In addition, I found several theories about who it was who coined the line, “The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”

A sportscaster named Don Cook seems to get the credit, but I seem to remember hearing the line, and an attribution to the man who coined it, much earlier than 1972, the year Cook is said to have uttered it. The author I seem to remember was the late New York Yankees baseball coach Casey Stengel, a master of the mangled bon mot. One of my favorite Stengelisms, “There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them."

My beef isn’t fat. My beef
is slender credibility.

So where’s the beef? It all has to do with a thing called “willing suspension of disbelief.”

That’s the process by which entertainment-goers make an unspoken agreement with the entertainment that says, “I know this can’t possibly be happening, but I’ll go along with it because it’s somehow got my common sense by the short hairs.”

Bug Bunny and Wiley Coyote are great suspenders of disbelief. I know a rabbit can’t talk. I know a coyote can’t step off a cliff, freeze in mid-air, look down in horror at where he’s about to plunge, and then, after about five seconds, go into free fall. But hey, while it’s happening I don’t squirm in my chair and say, “Nah, never in a million years!”

Unfortunately, hefty opera singers can’t pull off what cartoon rabbits and coyotes can pull off. An elephantine Carmen waddling around the stage, with or without busted foot, is no way going to convince me that she’s the world’s champion sexy-seductress, except maybe of those weird guys who pick up nude fat lady magazines in porno shops and thumb them (plus whatever else) out in the garage.

So we’ve got to do something, folks. I propose that instead of having fat people play skinny people, the creative community ought to get out there and write operas about fat people.

Operas about weight –
and the people who carry it

For example, we ought to have a tragic opera about an overweight heiress who falls in love with a tone deaf (so he doesn’t have to sing) lothario and kills herself when she can’t take off 175 pounds and thus win his heart. Her tearful aria, Troppo obeso per mio soldi, sung while running on a treadmill, ought to bring audiences to their feet, tears pouring down their cheeks as they applaud and weep.

Aside from Othello, I don’t see many parts for Afro-American singers that would long sustain credibility. So I propose an English-language opera called, How Oprah Got Her Weight Back, telling the story about how our greatest TV star turns anorexic because of her concern over elections and fibbing memoirists, losing her authority along with her weight until she goes on a crash diet of stuff like cheese doodles and donuts. The aria that would have them howling “Brava, Brava, Bravissimo!” in the aisles would contain yodeled lyrics such as,

Sweet stuff is neat stuff
O yo-delaydihoo, yo-delaydi hoo, yo-delaydi hoo
Cheese doodles fried noodles yo-delaydihoo
Mixed with a Crispy Creme donut or two.
I could envision a magnificently touching French language tragic opera called Carport, about an overweight, middle aged American couple that get hopelessly wedged into the space between their car and their house during a Minneapolis winter and confess their feelings and affairs to each other, forgive each other, and then freeze to death. Their most memorable duet would be,
Il n’y etait rien qu’un affair,
Il n’y avait rien a souvenir
Je m’en fou

I love you.
Or, instead of a ponderous, unlovely opera like “Nixon in China,” how about a light Viennese operetta called “Nixon Goes To David K’s” in the style of The Merry Widow? To a sprightly waltz, a fat Nixon might put down his chop sticks and sing in German:
Ein klein schwein rippe
Mite grosse garnelle

Gebraten in die wok

Gebraten in die wok

Alles hier ist gute

Gebraten in die wok

Alles ist gute

In die wok-awok-wok!
Where’s Miss Piggy
now that we need her?

Still another way to go would be to have cartoon characters or puppets play the lead roles in existing operas. I’m absolutely convinced that Miss Piggy (lip-syncing to the magnificent voice of Olga Borodina) would go a long way toward enabling me to suspend my disbelief.

This would be especially so if Elmo played the jilted Don Jose, and the toreador Escamillo were played by Kermit the Frog. There have to be parts in there for the rest of the Muppets like Bert and Ernie and Oscar the Grouch.

Don’t like a lip-syncing Miss Piggy? How about a lip-synching Britney Spears? But of course, I’m only thinking aloud.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Does America need an excess wealth tax? Don’t even dare think about renting another yacht until you read this.

It’s enough to break your heart and make you want to join Billionaires for Bush, those adorable folks at right.

A professional survey reveals that a typical household with a net worth of a piffling $10 million felt it just had to spend over $600,000 last year, simply to make it through the summer.

This research into the heartbreaking lives of the superrich was conducted by the wealth management consultants Prince & Associates, and by Elite Traveler magazine.

Typical summer expenses that this highly stressed lot of poor little rich people felt they absolutely had to make last year included (but was not limited to):

•Yacht rentals – $384,000
•Redecorating – $129,000
•Villa Rentals – $106,000
•“Experiental excursions” - $103,000
•Jewelry and watches – $94,000
•Booze and wine for personal use - $17,000
•Entertaining - $56,000
•Apparel and accessories – $34,00
•Luxury resort stays – $41,000
•At home spa services – $38,000

In all, what with one thing or another, the superrich spent something more than $622,000 per household last summer, just to get through the season. That’s up more than 50 percent over summer spending from two years before.

To be fair, the super-wealthy households also planned to donate $82,000 to charities of one kind or another, although they do get fat tax deductions for their donations. And the poor babies do need tax deductions. If you’re merely an average working stiff you just can’t understand how difficult it is to get by these days.

For example, the superrich felt they simply had to spend more on booze than a household in the lowest quintile of American family income earns all year. I mean, hey, ya gotta keep up with the Joneses, right?

No wonder these folks, some of whom earn in excess of $5 or $10 or $150 million in a year have so much trouble saving that their total net worth can be as pathetically low as $10 or $15 million. You try and save when you absolutely have to spend $31,000 in one summer for audio and visual equipment. I mean, what will everybody say if you don’t have a wall-wide flat screen TV in every room of your Hamptons estate?

No wonder President Bush wants to make his tax cuts permanent. How else are these poor multi-millionaires (not to mention the struggling billionaires) going to make it through August?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Poisoning our own tree: how ham-handed “interrogations” sanctioned by the Bush Administration could set the 9/11 plotters free

For someone who doesn’t believe in capital punishment, I can be pretty inconsistent when it comes to the people responsible for 9/11. Personally, I yearn to reproduce for them the last moments of some of their victims who, their clothing on fire, leaped from 90th story windows of the World Trade Center to their deaths to escape the inferno in their offices.

In my heart of hearts I would wouldn’t mind seeing the 9/11 plotters taken up in a helicopter to a height of 90 stories, doused with kerosene, dangled from a rope, set on fire, and then dropped to some rocks or concrete below. I know better than actually to advocate this, and I do not advocate that you advocate this. Nevertheless, in the darkest and angriest recesses of my thoughts, I yearn to see an eye for an eye, a flame for a flame and a fall for a fall.

That said, if the rule of law still works in this country, the 9/11 plotters currently in custody not only may escape the death penalty but walk free as well. Thanks to the Bush administration’s stubborn and stupid reliance on waterboarding and possibly other forms of torture, they may be sent home to attempt another 9/11 all over again.

This all has to do with torture and a long-standing principle of law that “fruit from the poisoned tree” may not be introduced as evidence. In other words, any evidence obtained illegally, or any evidence found in a search prompted by illegally-obtained information, may not be used as in a trial. To do so violates constitutional law.

It has been known at least since 2004 that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (left), one of the key 9/11 plotters in custody, was waterboarded.

Now, with charges finally being prepared against Mohammed, reportedly the mastermind of the 9/11 plot, and with the death penalty clearly on the table, a legal fight seems to be brewing that eventually may go all the way up to the Roberts Supreme Court.

When that finally happens, probably some years from now, it will be interesting to see which way the court goes. As we’ve just noted, Federal rules of evidence exclude not only evidence obtained under torture, but also otherwise-legitimate evidence found thanks to information provided by someone who was tortured.

How will the court decide? Will it set the bastards free? Or will it trash the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to bring the accused plotters to their deaths? Justice? Or freedom? To my knowledge America has never had to choose between them before.

Now, thanks to the Bush Administration’s cavalier attitude toward both, the future of American freedom as well as the future of these accused killers is in doubt.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thanks Ellis Weiner. I couldn’t have said it better.

Today’s cranky commentary is lifted verbatim from Ellis Weiner’s column on the Huffington Post:

When billionaires get tax breaks, they receive "incentives." When working class families get food stamps, they're the perpetrators (and the victims, really) of "the welfare state." When government serves corporations, it's "a partnership." When government serves individuals, it's "socialism." When William Kristol rides his father's contacts and reputation to a sinecure insulated from any commercial or marketplace consequences -- and suffers not an ounce of setback for having been wrong about everything -- he's showing "self-reliance." When you ask that the FTC at least protect your children from poison in Chinese toys, you're encouraging "the nanny state." Clear?
While Weiner happens to be focusing on William Kristol, he could be talking about any of the neo-con men, or about almost the entire Republican party, which uses “conservatism” as its acid test. For the rest of this remarkable piece, go here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Is New York City “bicycle friendly?” It may depend on whether you and your bike are friends with the mayor.

It’s Super Tuesday and I have nothing to say about it other than if you’re a Democrat you have two good choices, if you’re a Republican, several bad.

Okay, on to bicycles. My reader Bob in Brooklyn sent me a little clip noting that the Leage of American Bicyclists has handed the City of New York a “Bicycle Friendly Community Award.

Gimme a break. This is the town where the mayor’s police department harasses demonstrators on bicycles and sought to have any group of cyclists – such as those joining regular organized pleasure rides led by the New York Cycle Club and the Five Borough Bicycle Club – apply for a permit for each ride. It took a law suit backed by the ACLU to simmer that one down. Bicycle friendly my saddle-sore ass!

The view from K Street

If it’s true, what the League of American Bicyclists says – that the number of cyclists has grown by an estimated 75 percent since 2000 – it would be interesting to know where and how they got their statistics. It was certainly not from first-hand observation from their windows on K Street in Washington, D.C.

White "ghost bikes"
tell a different tale

More telling concerning how cyclists feel about getting around in New York are the white “ghost bikes” like this one that you’ll see around town.

Each ghost bike marks the spot where a cyclists was killed by a motor vehicle. So far, the cops have been good about not hauling the ghost bikes away, possibly fearing the publicity.

Orange "shill bikes"

Clearly in no fear of publicity – and almost definitely seeking it – are the orange Donna Karan bikes that have been getting chained up around town.

All this is part of a “guerilla marketing” campaign that is supposed to tell us something-or-other about Donna Karan. I’m not sure what, except possibly that they're willing to capitalize on the deaths of bicycle riders for commercial purposes.

I’ve already done a rant about the evils and dangers of ape-brained guerilla marketers doing their thing, which I find often to be sleazy, dumb and stupid.

When it comes to bad taste there's no bottom

If you want to pay for air time to act dumb and sleazy, like a commercial on last Sunday's Superbowl that had some goon connecting his nipples to a car's electrical system via battery clamps and then allegedly starting the car by drinking some power drink, that’s simply the hard luck of football fans. They can like it, hate it, or complain to the FCC.

But when you stick it out on the street for shock value, you shouldn’t be surprised if angry passers-by want to burn your company to the ground.

That’s pretty close to how some bicycle riders evidently felt about the orange Donna Karan bikes, in which they see a tasteless resemblance to ghost bikes. Read all about it – and some contrary opinions – on this bicycle club thread.

But not to worry. Despite the campaign, which supposedly supported cycling in New York, the “bicycle-friendly city” saw to it that the cops hauled Donna Karan’s bikes away. Thanks to Bike Blog for this wonderful photograph.

Which brings us to the question, what does it all mean?

Is New York a "bicycle friendly" city? Not really.

Did the mayor go out of his way behind the scenes to seek endorsement from the League of American Bicyclists for his "bicycle friendliness?" I don't know, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me.

Despite denials, Michael Bloomberg yearns to be president. The environment and less energy dependency are hot button topics this election year. And who knows but that the K-Street bicycle lobby couldn't use a little financial support from a billionaire mayor?

Am I kidding? Nope, just wondering, on this Super Tuesday, what we really know. And what we really don't know.