Primarily Speaking

So, after the Congressional primaries are over, in New York’s 4th CD, it’ll be Democrat Kathleen Rice vs. the former Chairman of the Nassau County Legislature, Republican Bruce Blakeman. Since leaving the legislature a long time ago, Blakeman has made two unsuccessful runs for higher office. I have no inside knowledge of this or any other race, but at a guess, I’d say Blakeman’s name recognition is much lower than Rice’s.

The seat is already in Democratic hands. It’s open because nine-term incumbent Carolyn McCarthy is retiring. Voter enrollment leans Democratic too, but it is winnable for Republicans because the number of voters who aren’t registered in one party or the other is larger than the difference between Democratic and Republican tallies. At this point, and without the benefit of polling data, I’m guessing that Blakeman has to be considered the underdog.

While I’m sure the local GOP hierarchy would be happy to gain the seat in Congress, I don’t think Republican powers that be would be unhappy if Rice won this election. Why? Because that would mean an election for Nassau County District Attorney unencumbered by a three-term incumbent. As a general rule, incumbents have a built in advantage when seeking reelection.

Republican primaries are pretty unusual in New York, but this year, not so much. On Long Island’s east end, Republican State Senator Lee Zeldin defeated insurgent George Demos to win the GOP nomination in the 1st CD. He now faces an uphill battle against six term Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop in the fall. Because Zeldin is now a two-term State Senator, he ought to do better than he did the first time the two squared off in 2008 when Bishop beat the then novice by 50,000 votes. Still, as the race begins I’d call Bishop the favorite.

Upstate, in the 22nd CD, Republican State Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney didn’t duplicate Dave Brat’s surprise win against Eric Cantor in Virginia. Like Brat, Tenney is more conservative than the incumbent she challenged. Republican Congressman Richard Hanna outpolled Tenney 53-47% . A six point difference isn’t considered particularly close. The 22nd CD covers eight counties in the Syracuse area. There is no Democrat running in the November election, so Hanna’s primary victory is tantamount to election.

In New York City, 22-term Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel claimed victory in an Democratic Primary against challenger, State Senator Adriano Espiallat. The City Board of Elections hasn’t declared a victor because absentee and affidavit ballots have yet to be counted. Unless you were in the North Korean Army during the Korean war, if you’ve ever met Charlie Rangel, he has charmed you. Once one of the most powerful men in Congress, Rangel’s influence has diminished as his later years have been marred by ethical problems. The ethnic nature of his district has also changed. Once almost exclusively African-American, Hispanics now make up the majority of the voting population. If Rangel is reelected, he is expected to wrap up his career and not seek reelection in 2016.

If you live in New York and like primaries, there are still lots of possibilities. Party nomination for state offices are up for grabs in September.

Graduation Day

I’m pretty sure today the anniversary of my high school graduation. I won’t tell you which anniversary. It was supposed to be such a milestone event in our lives and I’m not even 100 percent sure of the date. I don’t know about you, but I remember hardly anything about mine. I don’t remember a heck of a lot more about my graduation from college. High school graduation day was hot and sunny and by the end of the ceremony my face was the same red color as my mortar board and gown. The last graduate to walk got a huge round of applause because he was last, so it was over.

Do you remember anything your graduation speaker said? I don’t. I do know he went on to a distinguished career in education, but his reputation was tarnished by scandal years after he passed away.

I remember a little more about the party my family had afterwards than I do about the ceremony. I can describe in great detail what my girlfriend wore to that party. I wonder why that sticks in my mind. We broke up before the end of the year. I also remember what she and her parents gave me as a graduation present, a Bulova watch, and an extremely generous present it was too. The only other present I remember came from my Aunt Mary. It was a Dopp shaving kit.

I was disappointed, but it wound up being so practical, and so useful over such a long time that I gave my son something similar when he graduated from high school, and I explained why. He didn’t say, neither did I, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t any more enthusiastic to receive a shaving kit for graduation than I was.

Things I Know

I get in trouble for nothing a lot. Since it happens frequently, I’m going to try to figure out how to get paid for it.

Insomniac that I am, I often go to bed hours after my lovely wife. This means I occasionally change for bed in the dark and Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) leaves my night clothes on my pillow. Since I only need my glasses to find my glasses, I usually put them in the same place every night, on top of my armoire. Recently, I couldn’t find my glasses and Saint Karen found them in our bed. That means I took my glasses off while changing, laid them on the mattress and didn’t put them where they belong. It also means I was lucky I didn’t crush them in my sleep. More importantly than either of those things, it clearly means I shouldn’t go to bed when I’m tired.

I wondered why Bruce Blakeman is running TV ads for New York’s fourth Congressional District so far away from the general election. Then, I realized, voters in the 4th CD, NY are looking forward to the rarest of rare events, a Republican primary. It’s tomorrow, June 24th.

“All dictators should know a rigged election should be like a pleasant spring day — high 60’s, low 70’s.” –John Oliver

I have a scar a couple of inches long on my forehead. It’s there because the doctor cut off something else that used to be there. But when anyone asks me what the scar is from, I tell them it’s from my lobotomy.

I was unable to stifle ambition, so I dragged out my step ladder and changed the two burned out bulbs in the overhead fixture of our upstairs bathroom. Each bulb costs $7. Hopefully they’ll last a while. Now, it’s a lot easier to read in the bathtub than it was yesterday. It’s still difficult to read in the shower, but not because it’s dark in there. It’s not.

Going to the gym is good for something. A few years ago, I couldn’t lift my biggest room air conditioner, the one for the master bedroom into the window. Now, I can.

The community in which I live stopped paying to allow residents to carry their own trash to the local dump. I used to like to dispose of building debris from my remodeling projects that way, but now that I can’t, so I should probably sell my pickup truck.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

The Kentucky Derby is 1.25 miles. The Belmont is 1.5 miles. The Preakness, the one in the middle of the quest for the triple crown, is shorter than either at 1.1875 miles. I’m no expert at horse training or horse racing. Still, I can’t help wondering if winning the triple crown would be easier or harder if the races got progressively longer. In other words, if the Preakness was 1.375 miles, would it help or make things more difficult?

Who’s idea was it to design one of my room air conditioners so you can’t remove or install the air filter while the unit is in a window?

When Kim and Kanye got married last month, why did Kim get top billing when at least Kanye has some talent?

The display on a cell phone is programmed to tell whether you’re holding the phone horizontally or vertically, right? So, why can’t they make a cell phone that won’t record video in portrait (vertical) mode? Or at least one you have to override in some way in order to record video that way.

Whatever happened to Bill? We’ve had the same phone number in our last two homes. We like it and when we moved nearby, we kept it. We used to get calls all the time looking for Bill. We believe the reason is that Bill’s phone number was one digit different from ours. But it’s been quite some time since we’ve received one of those calls. Did Bill move away? Did he pass away? Did he just get tired of getting a lot of wrong numbers looking for me and change his number? I’d like to know.

Cesar Alvarez, 26, a male high school teacher in the Bronx, NY, was arrested after he took a 16-year-old female student on two dates during which he reportedly plied her with alcohol. The girl’s parents complained when she came home drunk. What I don’t understand is why didn’t they complain when she went out with her teacher, who is ten years older than she is?