THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: What are the odds?

NEW YORK STATE will now allow us to gamble, legally, on sports betting. But what about political betting? You’d have to be impaired not to understand that along with drinking and prostitution, gambling has always been part of our culture. Now the great New York Seal will make it all completely kosher. That will lead to some additional gambling addiction but, as referenced above, there are already a lot of people gambling and now many more will profit from the enterprise. It’s common knowledge that people will bet on anything, so let’s open our own political bookie joint. Here are some examples of what could happen:

Andrew Cuomo will survive his present scandals and even run for a third term. My imaginary bookie says 3-1 odds he beats the accusers. There are a couple of things to watch here. Letitia James, the attorney general, and Carl Heastie, the speaker of the Assembly, have asked for outside experts to come in and “investigate.” That’s a tip off. The last thing people want is for “Tough Guy Andrew” to get angry at them. TGA, as his nickname implies, will tough it out. He has no reason not to. He is not about to go to jail for kissing someone. Donald Trump has led the way in this field and with everything else that DA’s and prosecutors have on their plates, it is unlikely that they will bring any charges against Andrew.

Now, let’s consider the matter of who will be the next mayor of New York City. Right now, Andrew Yang is leading in the polls. The pundits are saying, “Too early to tell.” Yang is considered by some to be a moderate and an outsider with little to no experience. But Yang grew to be a familiar face during the last presidential race. So far, none of the other mayoral aspirants have really caught fire. Liberal New Yorkers are not ignoring the rash, stupid, xenophobic, anti-Asian-American fools out there. They will be more than happy to vote to buttress the fact that New York is a very sensible, feet on the ground, democracy. The last thing that most of the New Yorkers I have been talking to want is more of the “same old, same old” politicians that they really do abhor. Their present mayor, Bill de Blasio, is walking out the door with his tail between his legs. New Yorkers will want someone from the middle who seems “with it” and they will see Yang as a contender. My imaginary bookie says he is the favorite. Odds are 3-2 that he makes it to Gracie Mansion. Read more…


“YOU GET what you pay for.”

It’s always a question of when rational policy meets the politics of the moment. Now it’s the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) versus the question of, “How are you going pay for it?”

This was the doing of Donald Trump, who decided that he would get more money out of the wealthy Blue States by limiting the amount that citizens could deduct from what they owed the IRS up to $10,000. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Remembering Ross Graham

I REALLY LOVED ROSS GRAHAM. She recently died and I wanted to write my personal tribute to her in a way that everyone else might understand. That’s because we all had someone like Ross Graham in our lives—a person who made such a difference on our development as human beings and as professionals. Without them, we simply would not be who we are.

Around 1964, I was lucky enough to be chosen for a NIMH (National Institutes of Mental Health) doctoral fellowship at NYU. It was a beautiful thing. All tuition and expenses were covered and we got a monthly stipend that was really quite generous. I was very fortunate, having gone to Hunter in the Bronx (free) and then American University (full scholarship) and then this great program at NYU. The NYU program was designed to train political scientists in the politics of mental health.

The powers that be told me I would need an internship in politics and mental health. I approached City Councilman Ted Weiss, who said that mental health was not his area but his friend and fellow West Sider, Manfred (Fred) Ohrenstein, was just made chairman of the new Mental Health Committee in the State Senate. He got that committee as a kind of consolation prize because the major committees had been grabbed up due to a power struggle between then Mayor Robert Wagner and Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s side lost and hence he got mental health, which turned out to be a great thing for me. Fred’s wife was a top psychiatric social worker, which I have always suspected was another reason behind his choice. I would point out that the Democrats only had control of that majority for a single year but that’s another story. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: The Gov still has allies too

IT DOES SEEM that when Andrew Cuomo ran into trouble, albeit some of it of his own making, his political enemies came out of the woodwork. Assembly Carl Speaker Heastie’s role is, to say the least, confusing. There are some who say that he is trying to help the governor. Others think, not so much.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the head person in the Senate, has been far tougher on the Guv. One wonders how much she and the speaker talk. Of course Stewart-Cousins may be having trouble with her ambitious and strident members. Some of the newbies clearly want Cuomo’s scalp. If they are ambitious enough to take on Cuomo, would they do the same with Stewart-Cousins?

Other politicians, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his fellow U.S. Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, piled onto the anti-Andrew bandwagon at the same time. Could that possibly have been achieved on a Zoom call? Nah, not possible. It is, however, awfully strange that it all appeared to happen at the same time. As everyone knows, Andrew has a mean streak in him. Ordinary politicians lacking that same streak would have to look for numbers to take him on. You all remember the famous movie scene in which all Caesar’s enemies are standing around and Caesar looks at Brutus and says, “Et tu, Brute?” I’ll bet as the enemies list piles up, Cuomo may have had a moment like that. Read more…