The Gateway (Pumpernickel Onion Rolls, Bialys, and Vega-Tables Edition)

Though I still don't understand what a guy retired from electoral politics is raising funds for, Steve Cohn's annual pre-election breakfast at Junior's needed neither a rationale nor much of an election to attract most of the 2013 Mayoral frontrunners (there was even a Tony Weiner lookalike, who thankfully kept his pants on).

A conversation with Mike McMahon found him non-committal about another Congressional race, though his comment about not wanting to become another Baron Hill made it seem likely it was a no-go. McMahon did however make an interesting point about being among the first strongly pro-Israel Democratic pols targeted by the Orthodox political establishment (including his former supporter, Dov Hikind) in order to send the President a message  about Israel.

Speaking of which, it was fun to watch David Weprin (Weprin's greeting to me: "I know you; you're Gateway") at the kosher station, forced to commune with everyone in Brooklyn who had helped to schtupp him. Also fun was watching Lew Fidler lecture Dan Squadron about residential permit parking.

However, the highlight of the breakfast is when the bar area suddenly erupted in two foot high flames, and not one person looked up from their conversations. I almost felt compelled to yell "THEATRE" (which it was). It all turned out well though, as several pols (as well as Shomrim and Hatzolah types) got to get their picture taken with the firemen who soon arrived in full regalia.

Me, I go for the rolls–and the role-playing. I was not disappointed on either count.



The Fidler-Squadron encounter at the Cohn breakfast reminded me to link this article where Colin seems surprised by Fidler and Barron joining together to oppose residential permit parking.

Hint: the last time this happened was on congestion pricing, and the obvious answer is that both represent constituencies at the end of the earth.

Take a look at a map and you’ll find Fidler has exactly zero subway stops in his district. While Barron actually has a few, this by no means alleviates the fact that some residents of Jersey have shorter commutes than do Barron’s constituents, many of whom feel they need to do so by auto. The Brooklyn Politics Blog  



Speaking of Colin, this piece by him prompted me to amend my recent article on Tuesday’s NYC elections to include this, but I include it here for those who may have missed it.

In it, we learn that of the Conservative Party candidates for a Brooklyn Supreme Court slot turns out to be a hack of such monumental proportions, that his very presence on the ballot might well convince Chris Owens and Lincoln Restler to cast a vote for Carl Landicino. The Brooklyn Politics Blog  



The encounters at Cohn’s Breakfast with Weprin and McMahon were also fresh on my mind when I read this Goldberg (J.J., not Jeffrey, but he could have written it too) piece pointing out the irony (or perhaps that is too nice a word) of Jewish conservatives complaining the establishment is trying to suppress their dissent on matters involving Israel.

Nothing hurts as badly as the blowback of one's own petard.

Frankly though, real friends of Israel don't go and try squandering the hard-earned broad bi-partisan consensus of support that country has earned, just so they can pursue a bit of partisan advantage.

Especially, when it's so Kristol-clear that the Kristol family has always been more concerned about helping Republicans than about helping Israel. Conservatives Reject Call To Keep Quiet on Israel –  



Islamic bialys? Worth a bite, but I’ll still take the pumpernickel onion rolls at Junior’s.

Muslims taking over kosher places is no novelty (and I haven’t heard any Jewish bakers demanding a right of return to Coney Island Avenue).

Adelman's on Kings Highway is already owned by Arabs (if not for them, it would surely be a Russian place by now).

I remember once going into one of the halal cab stand restaurants on Church Street wearing my “Rascal House” (alev ha-sholem) T-shirt and having the owner tell me he spent a lot of time in Boca and wanted to know if the place was kosher; when I responded in the negative, he shook his head sadly and said "then I can't eat there."

Funniest thing here is that these guy probably only noticed the place because it is located in the midst of the Sahara Turkish restaurant and a bunch of hookah bars. NY's Oldest Bialy Shop Is Saved by Unlikely Owners – Jew and the Carrot –



The initial effort of the right wing commentariat to blame the Cain tsunami on the Dems reminded me of Menachem Begin's statement about the Sabra and Shatila massacres, which was something like "Goyim kill Goyim and they blame the Jews."

Of course this came from a GOP source.

Since Cain's presence as flavor of the month prevents right wing opposition to Romney from coalescing around anyone plausible, Mitt can probably claim clean hands, but Perry (whose campaign has some strong connections with former Cain staffers) and Gingrich (whose career arose out of the same fetid Georgia swamps as Herman's) seem to be the most likely suspects. POLITICO Live:  



Pam Geller offers to teach Cain everything he doesn't know (presumably about foreign policy and not good taste)–proving that there are things in the world worse than ignorance. Pamela Geller: ‘I Endorse Herman Cain. What He Doesn’t Know, We’ll Teach Him’  



Can’t think about Geller without thinking of locations in the proximity of Ground Zero.  

There's a lot of great stuff in this effort to sum up where OSW is today, but though it is never said explicitly, the conclusion seems inescapable that whatever is still going on at Zuccotti has only the most tangential relationship to the debate over the American economy this action helped (and I mean helped–let us not forget Madison) to jumpstart. Occupy Wall Street Protest Reaches a Crossroads  



Why do I say this? Well for starters, try this:

Hertzberg: "Historically, the most effective uses of civil disobedience have drawn a direct, understandable line between methods and goals—usually interim goals. African-American college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, protested lunch-counter segregation at Woolworth’s by sitting down at “whites-only” lunch counters at Woolworth’s. Rosa Parks protested bus segregation in Montgomery by taking a seat in the front of a bus in Montgomery. Gandhi protested the British salt monopoly in India by marching to the sea and bending down to pick up a pinch of salt. Each was part of a larger movement with larger goals, of course, but each identified intermediate goals that could be plausibly achieved.

Does Occupy have some immediate, achievable, intermediate goal? Not explicitly, but it has already achieved the implicit goal of putting income inequality, corporate political dominance, and the ugliness of combining tax cuts for the rich with austerity for the rest on the public (if not yet the legislative) agenda. That’s probably all Occupy can do in its present form. If the Occupy movement doesn’t move beyond encampments—especially encampments in public places that ordinary people normally use for recreation and relaxation without some corporation charging them admission—it will surely turn sour, and so will the public’s view of it." Hendrik Hertzberg: Reoccupation vs. Recreation?  



No, this is neither Gatemouth, nor his dog Cerberus, but we are there in spirit. Pooping On OWS  



But truth be told, even though he’s somewhat sympathetic, no one poops on OWS than Hertzberg, who I can’t link enough on this topic:

"Unlike the Tea Party, which was born when the alien/socialist enemy held all three of Washington’s elected redoubts, Occupy Wall Street inhabits a different political world, one whose most prominent figure, the President, has fallen short of not only many Occupiers’ hopes but also his own—in large part because of the Republicans’ conscienceless exploitation of the perverse veto points of the congressional machine. Yes, O.W.S. has “changed the conversation.” But talk, however necessary, is cheap. Ultimately, inevitably, the route to real change has to run through politics—the politics of America’s broken, god-awful, immutably two-party electoral system, the only one we have. The Tea Partiers know that. Do the Occupiers?"

Other great lines (far too many to post them all) echo points I’ve recently made myself (as usual with Rick and I, our great minds are thinking alike). What Lies Ahead for Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party  



Another great mind, Charlie Rangel, is capable of so much wisdom that it's a shame he's become such an embarrassment. Rangel: ‘Does God Trust Congress?’ | PolitickerNY  



I first remember seeing Andy Rooney on an episode of "The Great American Dream Machine" and thinking he was not as funny as Marshall Ephron.

My first thought upon learning of Rooney's death was wondering what Kurt Cobain (whose death he so crudely dissed) would have to say.

Then I put on some Nirvana, and eight year old Dybbuk complained about having to listen to my old fogey records. It was then I realized I was Andy Rooney. Andy Rooney – In a Dark Alley Almost Live  



Could it have been the fire at Cohn’s breakfast that got me to thinking of “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow,” thereby impelling a trip to J&R Music to purchase the Beach Boy’s newly released “Smile” LP?

Anyway, the thoughts of Andy and Kurt impelled me to post this Old Fogey Rock Conundrum:

Do I prefer the new Beach Boys "Smile" compilation, or the Brian Wilson solo version?

Answer: I prefer "Pet Sounds" (but not by much). The Smile Sessions Vinyl (2LP)