American Saga

Barry Max
journalism.jpgOn Tuesday March 18th I attended Congressman Michael Arcuri’s fundraiser. I was honored to be among the several hundred well wishers gathered to support the first Democrat elected to office in the 24th District of New York for 40 yrs.

Arcuri just returned from a trip to Afghanistan. He spoke out against war. He called for a return of the troops.

But lets face it- he’s a politician.

Before he was elected to his current office I developed a good rapport with him as the Oneida County D.A.. I was fortunate enough to have few discussions with him. I was quite confident giving him my vote.

He is a level headed guy. But at the banquet I saw politics at work. I heard careful language, I saw gratuitous gladhanding

How do they do it?

I know there are times when he just wants to shoot from the hip and say what he means the way he wants to say it. I’m sure he is sick and tired of faxing his press releases to some party guy like Rahm Emanuel for national approval.
Howard Dean and the memory of his HOOOOAAAAH would quell any spontanaiety for the foreseeable future.

Submitted copy:

NEW HARTFORD – On Tuesday, March 18, 24th District Congressman Michael Arcuri held a fundraiser at Daniele’s Banquet Hall in New Hartford.

The standing room only event attracted a political who’s who of the Mohawk Valley.

There was plenty of back slapping and witty one line jokes thrown around the room by the hometown crowd. No one in attendance was a stranger. There was nothing but familiarity and friendship. A happy hour atmosphere.

This event could have easily been mistaken as a celebration. The newly elected Mayor of Utica, David Roefaro, could not help but share the high profile spotlight that events like this provide. Both elected officials, Arcuri and Roefaro, were not the favorites in each of their races, but the results could not be denied. Their presence was a shining example of what the American political process is about.

Arcuri’s wife, Sabrina, confidently worked the room on behalf of her husband, who was engaged in the meticulous meet and greet with every guest in attendance.

Imminently accessible, Arcuri must have been exhausted after shaking so many hands and smiling for so long.Despite the demand for his attention he stayed at ease and appeared to be genuinely interested in everyone he met.

This was not about the issues. This event was not about Iraq or Afghanistan. This was about the people of Mohawk Valley, the constituents that helped elect him to office. This was about the future of upstate New York and its strengthening tether to Washington D.C.

Larry Tanoury Jr. purchased a whole table for the event.”I want my constituents to have an opportunity to be a part of the process and I want the rest of the legislators to know my constituency cares as well.”

Tanoury’s efforts paid off. The group of mostly African Americans, sequestered in a far corner of the room, was singled out by Mrs. Arcuri who made a point of greeting everyone at the table stifling any possible murmurs of discontent.

Politics at work.

Arcuri recently returned from a trip to the middle east. He boldly took a side when he admitted there is a need for gradual troop withdrawal.

“We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and have lost far too many lives embroiled in what has become a political quagmire. I believe it is time to return responsibility for Iraq back to the Iraqis, with a true redeployment of troops. Iraqis will stand up when we stand down,” Arcuri said. “People in Upstate New York know what is best for America: bring our troops home, provide for our veterans, and invest in our local communities. In a recent trip to Afghanistan, I saw first-hand how fewer resources can be invested with greater returns. I believe it is time to refocus on al Qaeda in Afghanistan.”

No one envies the tough job Arcuri has in front of him. The backdrop of war, an economy sliding into recession and an undecided and fractured Democratic party can all frustrate a first term congressman. For now, there is nary a kink in his shining armor.

Yeah I give him the benefit of the doubt.
Like I said before, he is a cool guy.

I remember there was a self defense murder case while he was D.A.. Initially, before I did my research, they were going to throw this guy(Spano) under the jail. The week prior a diferent guy had been aqcuitted on manslaughter. The guy(the acquitted), during a ongoing dispute, lost his temper, jumped out his truck and beat an old man to death

with a softball bat.

So Spano gets charged with murder after he is attacked in his own living room while eating a bowl of Fruit Loops.

Double Standard perhaps?

Maybe I need to explain more.

Spano is black.

Anyway, when the middle aged, white softball killer was initially charged they could not decide if it warranted murder.

Somebody help me out here. I get out of my car in a rage and beat a old man to death with a bat and the defense was: “he verbally abused me daily and I lost my temper”

I’m black, experience tells me we do not even need to speculate if I would be charged with murder. Look at the poor (black)guy in Long Island who had to deal with a racist mob on his property and is still going to jail.

Post racial right?


To their defense the D.A. was embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the Police Department(Arcuri was investigating the embattled Police Chief).

The Police department charged Spano without consulting the District Attorney, that is like going to war without asking the people, or telling them the whole story.

Arcuri stepped in, cleared the air.

Spano was given a lesser charge and is doing three years on weapons possession( he was charged for being in possession of the murder weapon).To this day the ada on that case hates me.

I will never utter his name in public.
Spano’s lawyer could have thanked me-but he didn’t.
I have a thankless job.

~ by barrymax on March 31, 2008.

8 Responses to “American Saga”

  1. Holy crap. Wow. And you are a neighbor of sorts… I am to the east in the Albany region.

    You do seem to have a thankless job, but thanks for writing about it here.

  2. awright!!! I almost got a job with The Leader Herald in Gloversville. The commute was too far. A beautiful part of the state.

  3. Hello, Barry.
    So you’re on Niagara-Mohawk? I feel sorry for you….

    I interviewed Steve Rothman via conference all after a visit to Iraq. By that time, he had already came out with his position in a speech.

    Still, the guy was really cool. I like him. He’s very thoughtful, though kinda long-winded.

    It’s pretty cool to see firsthand what kind of personalities go into our Congress. Politics is about people, after all.

    Now, let’s take a look at left field….

    Not long ago, I was visiting one of those right-wing blogs, where this person was talking about how much they loved the Confederate flag. No comment.

    Now, I was raised in New Mexico, a very old part of the US, even though it only became a state in 1912. NM was already on its second governor’s mansion by the time the Jamestown colony was founded.

    Now, there are these groups that believe in the supremacy of the Hispanic people– not all Hispanics, but a few of them. They have this idea that NM, Arizona, Texas, So. Cali, and a few chunks of same other states will one day break off to form a union with Mexico and about half of Central America. Azatlan, I believe they call it.

    And so, I view this Southerner/Confederacy thing a lot the same as this Mexicano/Azatlan thing. Not everyone’s on board, but those that are are pretty whacked out.

    And so I see the Unionists of the North (as in, the fellows in blue during the Civil War). They owe no allegiance to racial bias with vosions of superiority, but they fought for an abstracted aristocracy nevertheless– the industrialists, the robber barons. The United Corporatist States.

    And so, at one time, I found it a bit odd that there would be so many sundown towns in the north, and so many lynchings going on. Then I realized the whole disagreement in that war had to do with which system of exploitation was to be preferred.

    The Spanish had 32 different levels of preference based on race.
    I have to wonder, if we were really honest about it, how many different levels of distinction we could find in our own culture.

  4. Good story, Barry.

    Your post got me thinking about politicians in general. It’s very easy for us cynics to say “all politicians suck” and leave it at that. But in the long term, that’s not going to solve any of the problems we face. I’m not pointing any fingers here. I’m guilty of it too. Few of us actually get to meet, much less talk with, politicians (and no I don’t include the hand shaking rallies) so it’s easy to distance ourselves from them and categorize them as “politicians”, something non-human, evil, or just plain asshole. I’m not going to dissuade anyone from thinking otherwise because I don’t know anyone who’s gone into politics so I can offer any empirical evidence that politicians aren’t assholes.

    But here’s a hypothetical: If someone from Jonestown (by that I mean the blog) or a reader of it were to run for office, or asked to join government, would we automatically label that person a sellout or would we see them as trying to fix things (although the cynics in us would say it was futile)?

  5. Make that “…can’t offer any empirical…”

  6. DED- Personally, I don’t beleive all politicians are corrupt. I’ve met many politicians in my life because of my mother’s involvement,and some of them are genuinely nice people.

    I do, however, believe the mechanism is corrupt, utterly corrupt, especially on the national level. Corporations own the Federal Government, and no law is passed or killed without their consent.

    I also think Americans spend far too much time focusing on the presidential elections, and lose focus on local elections, which, ultimately, are far more important.

    To address the current presidential election, I’d say the only candidate who’s being honest is Mc Cain.

    Listen to what he says, “100 more years of war, permanent tax cuts for the rich, etc. etc.” In other words, I’m not about to change anything, it’s Status Quo baby.

    On the Dem side Obama, and Hillary are…

    Hillary has clearly demonstrated she will do whatever necessary to win the candidacy, regardless of the consequences.

    And Barack is promising things he knows (Unless he’s fucking stupid) he cannot possibly deliver.

    He’s going to “Unite” the country?

    Shit, he can’t even unite the Democratic party.

    Real change must come from the bottom up. We are not going to change the system by replacing it’s figureheads.

    Think of it this way, how much different would Shell Oil Company be if they replaced the CEO?

    Shell would still be a company that makes billions of dollars off of oil, and the board of directors, stockholders, et al. are not going to let some douche bag come in, and fuck things up.

    Also, there is a member of Jonestown running for Office.

    I’m running for Emperor.

  7. Progressive- Niagara Mohawk was bought by a British conglomerate called National Grid So now my light bill goes to England. I am a california native. La Raza and many other movements within the latino community intrigue me.
    The mexican community moves swiftly in the west.
    The ideal of Azatlan is intriguing and I am sure it has made many a storefront preacher rich. The reality is most of the borders will remain porous and that will negate the need or Azatlan. Its just a name.
    Thirty two degrees er levels huh?

  8. Fairlane- thats what i’m talkin bout. except for the dem party.
    every year the party is undecided no one has ever used the term split.The party is not split there are two choices for president that need to be decided . I am starting to think there may not be the exodus from the dem party that I previously predicted.
    i give people very little credit. I think people will fall for the bullshit smokescreens that are erected to help us make an impossibly wise decision. This year is different.
    Obama is head and shoulders above the crowd. Forget apathy cynicism and most of all hate.
    It is a new day and if he wins the candidacy-anything is possible.
    we all know that he is fair game but that is cool the playing field is evening out.

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