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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Warm Front in Albany

- Less than two weeks to go until D-Day II, and the franchise situation has, for now, dropped off the local Albany radar screen. I haven't seen any stories that specifically mention ongoing negotiations since Jan 3. Governor Spitzer's State of the State Address [pdf document] contained nary a mention of the racing franchise nor any other gambling-related issue, other than his idea to lease the State Lottery to a private entity.

The tone in Albany seems to have been softened by Senator Bruno's personal loss and by the conciliatory tone of Spitzer's speech. Both the Governor and Sheldon Silver offered quite gracious condolence statements to their rival, and Spitzer's speech was relatively well-received, drawing muted, at least as far as these things go, statements of response from Republicans in the Senate and the Assembly. I'd guess that the warmer temperatures will continue at least through Monday, when a public memorial service for Barbara Bruno, the Senator's wife for 57 years, will be held in nearby Loudonville. I imagine that the Governor will be there, even if he's heard grumbling "Oh shit Silda, do we have to go?" as he's nudged out the door. Perhaps the two men will actually come face to face (Bruno, obviously given the circumstances, did not attend the State of the State Address).

That will leave us with a week to go, and it will be interesting to see if or when the civility fades and the personal attacks resume as the deadline once again approaches. As far as we know, the issues remain exactly the same as one week ago.

- NYRA's signal is back on TVG, but HRTV is still a no-go.

- By the way, I just wanted to clarify that, despite the attention to Hillary Clinton's victory in New Hampshire in my hunch bets post yesterday, I am not currently a supporter of the former first lady. Sorry to disappoint those of you who were going 'Yeah, figures he's one of those Clintonites.' Joe Biden was my guy - yeah, I picked a horse with no shot for a change - so now I'm a free agent with serious reservations about each of the remaining three major Democratic candidates. I guess I'm one of those un-deciders, or something like that.

But Hillary's win was truly stunning in that, unlike in horse racing, election polls and pundits are seldom wrong, or at least not nearly to the degree they were on Tuesday. You'll sometimes hear an election referred to as a "horse race," but if real races with horses were as predictable, it wouldn't be a very exciting sport. The starting gate would barely be open before Todd Schrrrmmmppff would announce that TVG is calling the race for one horse or another. And, following the rare cases in which the racing experts would have it wrong, they would, as the press is doing now regarding the primary, agonize over their failures and offer every excuse in the book. Hmmm, well that actually sounds rather familiar.

- Speaking of warmer relations, Jeff Gural and Joe Faraldo actually met in the same room, and as a result, Vernon Downs and the horsemen issued a joint press release to announce that, by mutual agreement, Friday's court date regarding Gural's threatened closure of the racetrack has been postponed until February 1; the barn area will remain open at least until that time. The meeting, which included Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, was to discuss the pending bill to increase some upstate tracks' VLT share and specify a percentage for the horsemen. "We had a very productive meeting and I'm optimistic that we'll reach a solution to all of our issues," Gural said. [Oneida Daily Dispatch]


Teresa said...

And here I thought I was the only Biden fan out there. Was sorry, but not surprised, that he threw it in so quickly.

Like you, I share reservations about the big three, but I must say that there was something cool in seeing a woman win a presidential primary/caucus for the first time in our history.

I'd say the same about Obama's win for a person of color--but is he the first? I feel like he is, but something tells me he might not be.

And now back to our regularly scheduled horse racing program...

Patrick J Patten said...

Watching Chris Matthew's head explode was the high point of the night, at one point thought he was going to call Hillary a witch and personally count the votes himself. He needs a little quiet time to say the least. Obama won NH, only 3 days before the polls, no one goes to a race if it's already over - That's the best explanation I heard.

Anonymous said...

Polls asssumed all the independents would jump on obama band wagon, instead they went to mc cain.

also, only the really committed caucus in iowa, the casual voter shows up in NH, so as we know from racing, when the casual fans show up name recognition carries the day.

its over anyway, really always has been, hillary has the experience and the organization to win this thing, for bettor or worse.

obama long overdue for a rookie mistake.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of white guilt out there that should keep Obama close.

The Clinton machine is to strong for the up and comer.

Looks like the Oprah voters fell for the Hillarys tears.

The last Democrat to get the
white male heterosexual vote was J.F.K in 1960.

What are the odds that Hillary or Obama get their vote in 2008?

Anonymous said...

Talk about a long shot. This was a bet worth making.

Superfecta said...

Hey, I'm a Kucinich fan, I've got no room to argue. No one seems to have noticed that Obama and Clinton are pretty close to parity as far as actual delegates go -- so far.

I don't loathe Hillary myself, but she's certainly the most polarizing Dem. I have lots of hardcore Republican relatives who would happily vote for Obama or Edwards (given what's become of their party), but never her (which naturally has nothing to do with any of her positions, just her reputation).

Were we talking about racing?

Anonymous said...

The Clintons are like those annoying rels or neighbors who just don't know when they've stayed too long at the party. And you hate to be rude to them so they stay longer, seemingly forever, to the point where you are ready to scream!We can only pray that Obama finishes the Clintons off on Super Tuesday. Or, for entertainment value, pray for a deadlocked convention and, as David Geffen suggested rather brilliantly, pick the nominee in a return to back room deals in smoke filled rooms, when men were men, and politics were for real. Obama, of course, to have prevailed when the smoke clears. It's time for new blood, simple as that. Even Al Gore and John Kerry had the good sense to recognize that reality. The Clinton's will never go without making it messy, they never do anything without making it messy,we have all suffered such types in our lives from time to time. Banana Republics "try" and summarily execute such dictators clinging to power, or exile them. My theory on the implicit message now coming from Hillary's campaign is this: A woman must be elected President before a Black man, it's only "right", no jumping the "line". American women have suffered longer at the hands of the male dominators and therefore are more deserving, and especially in view of the fact that women had so much to do with advancing civil rights for Blacks in the South. So, Obama, you owe it to the country to help elect the first woman President and you will just have to wait your turn, and if you are patient, you'll be the next oppressed minority to become President. You can warm up in the bullpen by going on the ticket with Hillary and then you will get your shot in 2016. Pretty obvious end game, isn't it? /S/Green Mtn Punter

Alan Mann said...

>>Were we talking about racing?

Ya, just not the equine kind. I find myself in agreement with the commenters who feel that the inevitability of Hillary may have returned....if it had ever really left in those heady few days after Iowa. I also must say that I don't really disagree with a thing that Green Mtn Punter says here. - leave it to a Clinton to get a Dem and Repub to agree on something. Remember too that Bill considers himself to have been the first black president, and, as GMP noted, seems to feel entitled to determine just when we can have the genuine article.

Anonymous said...

You're right, we were talking about racing, Alan, in this post specifically the good will shown by the Gov in re the recent death of Joe Bruno's wife, Barbara. That is the basic human graciousness that is all too often missing from the political process these days. In the end, we all have to live with each other so the more civilized it can be made to be, the happier we will all be. Civility, as we have all too often forgotten, is also the stuff of politics and in this case could well be the final step to closing a franchise deal. We can all hope, NY horsemen and racing fans deserve a break after how many years of this crap?
/S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...


If your relatives vote for Obama or Edwards they are not HARDCORE REPUBLICANS.PLEASE!

Superfecta said...

Sorry Anon, but I'd say 50+ years of only voting for one party no matter what is pretty hardcore (even I've voted for Bloomberg, after all, although at least I could do it on the Working Families line on the ballot) -- note that started back when the Repubs were into things like fiscal responsibility and not interfering in people's lives -- they've done a 180 on those, and luckily my relatives woke up to see that last time around. Here's hoping they stay awake.

Anonymous said...

A hardcore Republican voting for Obama or Edwards is like a hardcore Liberal voting for Bush.
Superfecta try being honest with us.

steve in nc said...

No one is inevitable now. The mainstream media is just following the slightest occurrance and turning it into an irrefutable trend.

They think if they spend more than 18 seconds in a row on, gasp, and issue (no!), we'll turn the channel. Maybe they're right. We tend to get the democracy we deserve.

Teresa, Jesse Jackson won at least a few primaries/caucuses, including South Carolina, Michigan, and New York back in the late eighties.

Alan, you're a finance dude, right? Did you catch Rev. Jackson on Wall Street demanding help for folks facing foreclosures due to usurous ARMs?

Where are any of the candidates speaking to that? Where's the media? Oh, I forgot. Analyzing Hillary's emotions is much more important than analyzing her policies. (On the subprime issue, I suspect she's in the bankers' pockets, and if the media covered it, she'd die in the polls, but then again, the media is also in the bankers' pockets.)

I'm lucky to be locked in under 5% and so my pocketbook issue is the NYRA franchise. Winter racing has become my meal ticket. Things get too predictable for me to succeed once they get to Belmont.

Inner track racing with all those cripples and races for NY Breds that will never win 3 races is kind of like the primary election process. There's a lot of uncertainty, but people still act like certain horses (and candidates) are sure things.

Now if Kucinich were a horse on the AQ inner (I guess he'd have to change his first name to Karakorum), I'd cash him, and our kids would be getting ready to return from Iraq.

Jon Stewart for President!

steve in nc said...

I'm not just ranting & raving about lack of issues discussion in the media. Well, um... I am, but in this case, I have some facts to back it up. This from the Democracy Now website:

"A new study by the League of Conservation Voters found that the five major Sunday morning political shows asked the presidental candidates well over 2,000 questions in 2007. Just three of the questions mentioned global warming."

Anonymous said...

Karakorum Kucinich!

Loving it.

Teresa said...

Steve in NC: I had Jackson in mind when I asked that question...and was obviously too lazy to check it out myself. Thanks for the clarification.