Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: THE THREE EMPERORS

William Dietrich's The Three Emperors continues the saga of American adventurer Ethan Gage. Gage is an early-19th century character that has been the subject of a decade-long series of books now, usually with Gage managing to get deeply involved with world events of that time and place. In this one, Gage has survived being on the French side of Trafalger and made his way to Austria in search of his wife and son, who he believes to be in Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic)--only to find himself once more in the clutches and then employ of Napoleon, who has figured in virtually every Gage novel to date. After fighting at Austerlitz (on the winning side), Gage finally does find his wife, who is the midst of a bizarre adventure herself involving a robot allegedly built in the Middle Ages. The last third of the novel bogs down in a Steve Berry-type sequence of unlikely escapes and incredible coincidences, which spoils what had been a good yarn that had been breathing life into a series that had become stale in recent installments.
I've written this before, and I suppose if I feel strongly about the matter, I should not read the next novel in the series, but Dietrich has taken the Gage character as far as he can. The stories are becoming more outlandish, and the level of concert between unconnected people seems so unlikely as to be ridiculous, given the state of communications in Napoleonic Europe. It is time for Ethan Gage to go home--and stay there.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Convergence of Values

Yesterday I had to attend the semi-annual meeting of middle and top management that our agency holds twice a year, usually somewhere around Albany (and yesterday, in it). I have mixed emotions about these sort of gatherings; when I first got promoted years ago to a level where my presence at these was requested, it was a big deal to me, but--well, I'll be diplomatic; it's not a big deal anymore. The last several years have seen my employer moving to a trauma-based model of care, and more and more of the intra-agency training and information we receive and are encouraged to implement both in our dealings with the kids we work with and in our own self-care are based in this model.
And this model, and where we've moved on from using that model as a base, is very familiar to me. Because, minus the focus on addiction issues as the catalyst for the process and the explicit focus on Higher Power/God found in the literature, the model is very clearly based on and incorporates the Twelve Steps. I'm not going into major detail here, because I don't like to write about work matters in this space, but it dawned on me yesterday that one reason why I've become much more comfortable within our agency is that we've been moving in this direction for a few years now. And one reason why my standing within the agency--the esteem I am held in by the chain of command and the responsibilities I have been entrusted with--has never been higher is not only because my quality of work is high. It's always been high.
It's because everyone within the agency, but especially those in management positions, is, by virtue of the shift of emphasis in the philosophy of care, moving toward the value system I've been trying to live by for sixteen years. I no longer feel like an outsider when dealing with the higher levels of management in our agency; indeed, often I feel like a church elder or something, in that I have been steeped in the essentials of what we're trying to implement as an agency in every area of my life for a long time. It's not easy--quite honestly, I started from a place so low few of them can even contemplate it, much less identify with it, and I have often and still on occasion do fall short of the ideals. But it is something that I am very familiar with, and the conflict that used to be present in my life, and that many of my friends report is present in their life, regarding what they have to be at work opposed to how they have to live away from work, is shrinking by the day.
And how many people can say that?
It dawned on me yesterday, as we were processing the day's events at the conclusion of it, that I have been gifted with something extraordinary. My own personal journey toward a meaningful, purpose-driven, ethically responsible life has been mirrored by the place that employs me. And almost nobody has that happen to them. You think that happens at Walmart? You think that happens at Morgan Stanley? You think that happens at Social Services, or any government job, or at schools, or in any retail place, or any sales outfit? Hell, no. Someone on an equivalent level to me in another program was remarking yesterday that in her previous job, middle management for some bank near Buffalo, there was absolutely no corporate concern for the people she supervised, no investment in the employee as a person. We as an agency are making progress--lurching in some ways, but at least on the move toward--investing in the employee as a person. Supervision strategies are not simply performance-based, and incentives are not based in fear and consequences; we have made a commitment to improving the way that our people deal with ourselves and our issues, supporting each other and accentuating the positives and not treating everyone that works for us as chattel that can be easily replaced.
It's an anachronism, in a good way, in today's America. In less than a month, I will have been working for my employer for a dozen years. I have done my share of grousing and complaining over that time, and I have tried--getting real, exhausted--the patience of those whom I report to time and again, to the point where my continued employment was at times hanging by a thread. But I can truly say that yesterday, even as I was giving feedback that a couple of the presentations yesterday weren't really helpful to me personally (although two of the four were dynamite, as well), that the parts of the Twelve Step process we don't explicitly incorporate have proven their relevance in my life anyway. I have always had many talents, and they have always been coupled with personality traits that have made staying in positions to put those talents to use problematic. For me to land with an outfit that not only has worked around those self-destructive traits, but has come around to incorporate the very framework that has allowed me to grow out of those defects as its corporate philosophy--that really is, in my mind, proof that God does work in my life, that He will and has taken care of me better than I could ever take care of myself. I have not been an active agent in this corporate shift, at all. All I have done is practice some principles not only away from the job, and not only in performing it, but within it, as well. I have been committed to my agency, and I have factored in everything about it when considering my career choices--or, skipping the opaque references, I have not jumped ship when I have been offered equivalent or more money to go elsewhere because I have considered the entire picture, not just the number on a paycheck. I have always stayed because of a  number of reasons--gratitude for them putting up with me, a lot of leeway and a long leash in how I do my job, significant non-monetary benefits (health insurance, time off, reimbursement, perks such as agency vehicle to do agency traveling). For the agency to not only provide all that good stuff, but to move as an entity to embracing my own personal value system, as well--how does it get better than that?
It doesn't.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: INFLUX

Daniel Suarez had already moved onto the list of my personal Must Read authors a couple of books ago, with his Daemon, perhaps the best debut novel I have read in the last decade. Influx is another incredible suspense novel, almost on the same level. The premise is fairly simple; there is a secret government agency dating back to the Cold War that monitors technological developments, and when things get invented that have the possibility of societal disruption, the inventors are either co-opted--or imprisoned. In this book, the protagonist invents a machine that reflects or inverts gravity, refuses to cooperate with the agency, is imprisoned and tortured, escapes, and discovers that the organization has more or less taken over the world without most people's knowledge. The race to defeat the rogue organization takes up the last third of the book, and is one of the most heart-stopping "portrayals" of such I've ever read.
The techno-jargon gets a little heavy at times; physics is not my strong point, and there is a fair amount of it that is essential to the narrative. But it isn't necessary to understand the jargon to know what's going on, and the central idea of the book--that a lot of technological advances have been made and hijacked, such as cloning, fusion, and much stronger computing power--is one that is strangely plausible. The purpose of any book is to stimulate the mind, and this one, like all of Suarez' books, does that in spades. And another thing I really like about this writer is that his novels are not serializations of the same character over and over again. The writer he is becoming increasingly compared to is Michael Crichton, and like Crichton, every book is a new beginning, an entirely new story. And this one maintains the high level of quality he has already set in just four novels.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: EMPRESS OF THE NIGHT

Despite the Gothic-sounding title, Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night is actually historical fiction--an account of the life of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia in the late eighteenth century. The structure of the book made it somewhat difficult to follow; the "action" consists of Catherine suffering a stroke at the beginning of the book and flashbacks to various events of her life while she is laying more or less immobile as the family and servants tend to her in the palace. Some of the flashbacks are interesting, but much, too much, is made of Catherine's relationships with her lovers (her husband was murdered at the beginning of her reign, and it is still not clear whether it was done at her order or not, but she never remarried). And the end of the book is peculiarly unsatisfying; as she fades to death, the jumping around from past to present becomes so confusing as to become impossible to tell what is real and what isn't.
This wasn't a bad book, but it could have done a lot better.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Good Weekend in Sports

It was a pretty good weekend for every currently active team/individual that I follow or root for that  was in action in the last few days. Friday night, the Rangers, off to a start that was beginning to become reminiscent of last year's horrific opening weeks, recovered somewhat by managing to defeat what possibly is the worst team in the NHL, the Carolina Hurricanes, in a shootout. It was the first game of the season in which the much-maligned Rick Nash did not score a goal, and then he ended up potting the shootout winner (shootout goals do not count in a player's totals). Nash rectified that omission by scoring again last night, as the Rangers finally, for the first time since opening night, looked like the team that went to the Stanley Cup finals last year in blanking the heretofore-unbeaten Sharks 4-0.
Nash aside, this team still isn't out of the woods. Even with the shutout, Henrik Lundqvist's goals-against average is over three and his save percentage is .892, numbers that would earn him a trip to Hartford if they are still his numbers at Christmas. The team does not have a goal from a defenseman yet, and it is clear that some of the departed from last year's team are sorely missed--Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle especially. They are still oh-for-the-season on the power play, six games into the year. Some of this bodes well for the future--Lundqvist is not going to have a 3.21 GAA, and they will score some power-play goals, and the team can't help but improve. But it's still hard to see a team out there that won't be fighting to make the playoffs at year's end. The bleeding has stopped, for now, though.
And yesterday, in a matchup of teams that have collectively taken years off my life, the Bills managed to defeat the Vikings on a touchdown pass on the last play of the game. My daughter watched much of the game with me, and asked me if I was going to be happy no matter who won (I liked the Vikings for a long time, since childhood, until I finally threw in the towel four years ago after one disappointment too many). I replied that no, the Vikings are just another team to me now, and as the Bills went down the field in the last minute, I couldn't help but think that while the names on the jerseys may change, it's still the same old Vikings. The Bills converted a 4th-and-20 and a 3rd-and-12 on the final drive; they committed four turnovers during the game; and they lost both halves of their dynamic running-back duo, CJ Spiller and the Infredible Hulk, to injury (does this have Bills written all over it? Spiller's injury came at the end of a 53-yard run, and he is likely gone for the rest of the season). Yet the Bills managed to win, and the Vikings let yet another winnable game slip past. The thing was, it was like watching an ex-wife's second marriage implode; I knew that somehow, some way, the Bills were going to go down and score, simply because this is what the Vikings have done for my entire lifetime. And they did not disappoint me.
The Bills are lucky that they play in a terrible division. They are 4-3, with two games remaining against the Jets, and games against the Raiders and Browns, too. On the other hand, three of their four wins are against NFC North teams, and they seem really unlikely to beat the Broncos, Chiefs, Packers, or Patriots. Their season could very well be decided by the return match against the Dolphins; it's not a given that 9-7 is going to make the wild-card game, but it's a minimal level they have to reach...or they could lose to the Jets next week and end up 5-11 on the season, too. Which would be a shame, because the defense is really good and Kyle Orton, while not really good, is at least marginally competent at quarterback, something that is cause for Bills fans to do cartwheels because it's been so long since we've seen even that level of play. But this is the first time in forever that the Bills season hasn't been a foregone conclusion by mid-October.
My favorite team in the best soccer league in the world, the English Premier League, was another team that was off to a very disappointing start. Everton had visions of contending for a top-four vision and playing in the Champions League, and it's become clear, after eight games of a 38-game schedule, that that isn't going to happen. But if they had any hope of turning around a start that saw them win only one of their first seven games, they had to beat perennial bottom-feeder Aston Villa Saturday, and they did so easily, looking for the first time since the first 70 minutes of the Arsenal game like the team that finished fifth in the league last year. I know hardly anyone that reads this knows a thing about English soccer, or even soccer. But for those that became temporarily interested in soccer during the World Cup--Everton is USA goaltender Tim Howard's day job, and frankly he's been much of the problem this year. The shutout he put up was his first one of the season, eight games into the season--and in professional soccer, that's deadly. Like the Rangers and Lundqvist, Howard is going to get better as the season progresses, and so will Everton--and it hasn't helped that Everton has played every good team in the league except Manchester City already. But they have to win at least seven or eight of their next eleven games to have any hopes of another top-five finish. And having seen three of their games on TV so far, I really don't see that happening.
The fourth sport I follow this time of year, NASCAR, eliminated four more drivers from its Chase for the Cup yesterday. There will be a new champion this year; Jimmie Johnson was one of the four that lost out yesterday, as was Dale Earnhardt, Jr. My favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, managed to sneak through despite a thoroughly uninspiring effort yesterday at Talladega. Talladega and Daytona are the circuit's two superspeedways, when everyone is running two hundred miles an hour and gigantic wrecks take place, and a preferred strategy has been, in recent years, to hang out at the back of the pack most of the race to try to avoid the chaos. Except in recent years, most of the wrecks have occurred near the back of the pack. They did yesterday, and Gordon never once got near the front of the race. But he will be racing next week with his championship hopes still alive, and the three tracks in the next round are all tracks he has won at in the last few years. And he has become, by default, the white hat left in the Chase, the best story, the fan favorite. If he wins his fifth championship, thirteen years after his last one--well, that would be nearly unprecedented in any sport.
It's been a long time since nothing disappointed me on a sports weekend. I'm going to enjoy the afterglow, at least until the Rangers play the Devils tomorrow night.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Advantages of Bad Credit

Having credit is considered to be a rather positive aspect in today's society, especially after the recession of 2008 that began with the implosion of the subprime housing market, which essentially functioned on the idea that giving people huge amounts of money on credit that didn't have a prayer of ever paying off those loans except if they sold those houses for even more money was a winning idea. But increasing numbers of Americans don't have great credit, or even good credit, because of various factors in our past. I have a Discover card, and Discover has taken to recently putting a cardholder's FICO credit score on each monthly statement.
And I have been amazed to find out that I have average credit. I have a bankruptcy in my past--granted, it was fifteen years ago, but still--and a more recent history of not paying some credit cards off, and there were other judgments against me in the mid-to-distant past, too. When I saw the number, I swear to God my first thought was "This country is in a LOT of trouble if half the people in it have worse credit histories than I do." And in the last couple of months, I've done a quiet, clandestine canvass of people I know to see where they stand as far as credit ratings and debt levels, and I've been kind of surprised. No one out there is going to be able to finance buying a sports franchise or anything, but a surprising number of people have more credit--and more debt--than the amount of money they make would seem to dictate.
Which you can't keep up forever, I know better than most; at some point, inflation is going to eat away at an income enough so that choices are going have to be made as to what to stop paying on. And even though it may not seem so, credit cards are actually the best thing out there to stop paying on. Yes, your credit will nosedive for a while--anywhere from two to seven years. But it's something you can survive, especially if you bite the bullet enough to make sure you have enough put away to hire an attorney to handle any issues that come up.
Which is as good a place to start this as any. Credit issues are not the only matter that require navigation through the legal system; a surprisingly large number of people have Family Court issues, and a distressingly large number of people have contact one way or another with the legal system. And I am here to tell you that you are a fool, an absolute nitwit, if you do not have a lawyer when you have to go to court for any reason. Granted, in criminal and Family Court matters, a lawyer will be appointed for you if you are poor, and there are good attorneys that are attached to the public defender's office and Family Court lists--but not many. I don't care if you have to sell your ass on the street--look around and talk to other people you know so that you can identify a decent lawyer, and pay the fucking retainer (almost every lawyer will work with you on paying the fees at the conclusion of a case). Otherwise, going through small claims court, Family Court, and civil court without a lawyer is like trying to play football without any equipment in a game where everyone else is wearing pads and helmets.
Anyway, once you have a lawyer, you can deal with bad credit. And it's not a death sentence for the rest of your life, far from it. Advantages are, in no particular order:
1) You learn to live within your means. You would be surprised at how much crap you buy that you don't actually need until you don't have the money for things. You don't actually need things like Yankee candles, or sports jerseys with your favorite player's name on the back. You discover that a pair of $20 sneakers in Payless cover your feet just as well as the $89 pair of sneakers at Foot Locker. You actually go places and buy things, rather than order on-line and pay shipping and handling. And most of all, you will learn to make your own meals much more than ever, even if it's just buying sandwich meat more than you have. Food is not cheap--but eating out for lunch every day and a few times a month for supper, too, is incredibly expensive. I cannot imagine spending $35-50 per week on lunch every week now; I sure as hell couldn't do it when my finances were in a lot rougher shape than they are now.
2) You become much more Internet-savvy. Most things that are available on television and other media outlets are available on-line, if you know where to look. Many of those things cost less than paying the other outlets would, and if you are willing to stretch or break the boundaries of legality, almost everything is available for free one way or another (pirated CDs, streaming of live events, converting videos to MP3s and bypassing CDs and DVDs). There are risks involved in doing so, from possible arrest to nasty viruses on your computer. But even if you are not skirting legality, you can never know too much--and knowing your way around a computer is a skill that helps in a hundred different ways other than just saving money.
3) No one wants to steal your identity. The whole point of stealing someone's identity is to stick some poor, unsuspecting sucker with the bill for getting a bunch of stuff on credit. Obviously, if you have lousy credit to begin with, this isn't an issue.
4) Telemarketers leave you alone. Not bill collectors, but telemarketers. I don't think I've gotten a half-dozen calls in fifteen years from true telemarketers; whatever lists they pay for that include the names of business prospects, a poor credit history ensures you're not on them.
5) You learn how to deal with bill collectors. Cell phones invariably have caller ID, and I've learned over the years that any number that is a different area code needs to be screened, because in almost every case it's a bill collector. Most won't leave a message. Should you answer, here's some tips: 1) Don't admit to anything at all; 2) hanging up is permissible; 3) again, don't admit to anything at all. And Google the number after you're off the phone; often you will find that the people calling you have a long history of dubious, unethical business practices. They're not going to file paperwork on your debt, and on the off-chance they do, they're not going to do it right--and any lawyer worth his salt will be able to have it thrown out.
Indeed, I can't emphasize this enough. There will be a time, in the first six months to a year of not paying on a credit card, when you are dealing with the actual company/bank holding the debt. But for small amounts--and few of us have credit lines more than $2500, which to banks is a small amount--, especially if you've stopped answering their calls and ignore the notices that come in the mail, banks will not go after you; it's not worth their time and money to pursue it. They sell your debt to these debt collection agencies, and they make their money almost exclusively by intimidating and threatening those who owe with dire threats that they have no way of enforcing. If your debt has been sold to one of these agencies, chances are that if you are willing to have the debt on your credit report for 3-7 years, you won't have to pay it.
6) It keeps you from doing some really stupid stuff. Not having access to a couple of grand at a moment's notice will keep you out of the casino, from investing in your friend's can't-miss scheme, and from impulse purchases of a sharp-looking money pit car. If that woman/guy you just started dating learns you don't have deep pockets and they hang around anyway, they're much more likely to be a keeper than those that want to keep going to the BonTon or the Sports Authority indefinitely on your dime. You will discover that you don't need to detail your car, that you don't need to pay to watch on movie on-demand every weekend, that you don't need to buy an outfit that you will look good in once you drop those fifteen pounds that you intend to lose, that your car doesn't need new rims and fancy seat covers, that you don't need to be paying $49 a month to belong to the gym. And a thousand other things that make you slap your head five months later and say "What the hell was I thinking?"
7) It will keep you from believing the horseshit that politicians (mostly Republicans) put out there about how poor people waste the money they have. This could be a post all by itself, but in short, I'm getting really sick of these rich politicians complaining that people who struggle to make ends meet are wasting their money frivolously. I know it's hard for those that read these pages to believe, but up until about 2003, I wasn't half as liberal as I am now. Bush's little foray into Iraq started the process, but most of my eventual leftward turn regarding my worldview came when I was just beginning at the place I work now, making $9/hour with non-existent credit--and I kept hearing from all these conservative jokers how much I didn't deserve the little I had. And I didn't even get to the point where I was getting food stamps or Medicaid or other "entitlement" programs,  like so many others do (because they need to, not because they are lazy or feckless or stupid or thieves). There's nothing to make you angry like seeing some jackass in a suit (or some woman that married a rich guy) that inherited his millions or got rich looting people in the "financial services" industry lecturing you about how you're a sponge and a leech because you've endured some setbacks or made a few mistakes and have been trying to pick yourself back up.
I did not set out to defraud the credit card companies that I ended up not paying all those years ago. But several of them were unethical, and at least two were predatory and employed seriously bullshit moves as a matter of routine business practice. That's the big reason why even this bunch of corporate lackeys that populate Congress passed legislation a few years ago that changed the way credit card companies do business (and for those that wonder, that was during the two-year period when there were Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and a Democratic president in the White House. It wasn't a coincidence). I'm not telling anyone to get a bunch of credit cards just so that they can run them up without the slightest intention of paying the bills. But I am telling you that if you should find yourself with problems and can't pay them like you used to or intended--it's not the end of the world, far from it. Don't buy into the bullshit; you can survive just fine with a bad credit history. And even the horror stories that one hears now about how employers are using bad credit histories as a way to exclude job applicants--I can tell you that any place that does that is not a place you want to work, anyway. They will just can you for some other bullshit reason should you start working there; you're better off not getting hired to begin with. As someone that does hiring, I can tell you that moving from job to job in a short period of time raises more red flags than a bad credit rating.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bubble Boy Promotes A Book

I was talking with a friend this week about our esteemed governor--actually, about my undying hatred of him--and my friend wondered if perhaps I was being a little harsh on the Spoiled Little Bastard. Not that he is a Cuomo fan, by any stretch, but that perhaps I was overreacting to his personality and understating some of his political effectiveness. I said in rebuttal that when I vote for a Democratic candidate, I would like that person to actually reflect some of the values of the Democratic party (Cuomo, like the Empty Suit in the White House, is more conservative than Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller and Hugh Scott used to be in my youth, not to mention a lot more conservative than his father was). I also said that the sense of privilege and emotional disconnect from the men and women that actually live unprivileged and normal lives that he ostensibly governs on behalf of is so great as to be unbridgeable, that he truly has no idea--and doesn't care that he doesn't-- of what the great unwashed think, feel, or are concerned about.
And then, like a gift from the gods, this interview from the New York Times got dropped in my lap this morning. Cuomo, it seems, has written a book (or grossly underpaid some peon collaborator to do so), in which he talks--seriously--about all that he has had to overcome to be what he is today. The first question is about his teen and young adult years, when his father was governor and he was given a job in state government. The Albany press dubbed him The Prince of Darkness. To me, this is proof that his arrogant, vindictive manner that has earned him my sobriquet of Spoiled Little Bastard goes back well over two decades; to him, it is proof that New York's reporters are more "tenacious" and "no-holds-barred" than reporters in other places. Translation: while I am harboring presidential ambitions, I'm not going to rip the press, but they're a pain in my ass because they won't just accept whatever comes out of my mouth as the gospel truth. Then comes this gem: he feels that having a father that was governor of New York was "more a negative than a positive."
Yes, he really did say that.
There are two possible explanations for a statement of this magnitude of disconnect from reality. One, that he has so much contempt for the intelligence and intellectual prowess of the actual voter that he thinks he can say this with a straight face and get away with it. Or two, that he actually believes this to be true. My guess is the latter, that this guy's ego and sense of privilege is so great that he truly believes that he is That Special, and the fact that his father was eventually voted out of office after serving three terms was proof sufficient that his name was a burden to be overcome when making his own career.
So, Andy, you really think you would have been Health and Human Services secretary at 28 if your father hadn't been governor of New York? You think you would have been Attorney General of New York state in your early thirties under a guy that couldn't stand you if your father hadn't been governor of New York? You think a daughter of Bobby Kennedy would have given you the time of day, much less married your ass, if you hadn't been the son of the governor of New York? And that's the sad part: all the available evidence points to the idea that he truly does think that having a father that was governor was more of a hindrance than a help, because he is That Fucking Special.
When we read, when we are in school, about the sense of privilege that was exhibited by the nobility in other countries around the world in eras previous to this one, we blanch and shake our heads. "Let them eat cake," Marie Antoinette allegedly said when told of dangerous peasant unrest as the French Revolution was starting, and we shake our heads at the level of arrogance and distance from the reality of everyday life. We shook our heads at the insistence of Nicholas and Alexandra that Rasputin was a positive force in the affairs of Russia just before the Revolution, marveling about how divorced from reality two people could be. In the modern age, the look of disbelief on the face of Nicolae Ceausescu as the crowd turned against him as the last twenty-four hours of his life began--and the accounts that he and his wife taunted the soldiers that eventually shot them--is forever etched into the minds of anyone that was watching the news in 1989.
And in America, we have Andrew Cuomo saying being the son of the keynote speaker of the Democratic Convention of 1984, the three-term governor of one of the nation's most populous and most important states, was a net negative to his own career ambitions.
This is a different level of disconnect from reality than that of, say, someone like Louie Gohmert or Sarah Palin or Joni Ernst or any other of the dozens of morons littering American politics today. Cuomo is no dummy. What he is, is so full of himself, so convinced of his own wonderfulness, as to be characteristic not of the delusional, but of the megalomaniacal. Cuomo has a messianic complex; he really does believe that all who oppose him are not only wrong, not only mentally deficient in some way, but evil. The rest of the interview, after he dropped the my-dad-being-governor-didn't-help-me pearl, shows this.
  • He brushed off press accusations that his touted anti-corruption campaign is a joke because he called it off when it started to find corruption close to his office by saying the press is sensationalistic, that they were motivated by the desire to "sell," that they could not possibly be motivated by anything other than base and evil desires because they are going against him. 
  • He dismisses the opinion of the Times editorial board as completely beneath comment, much less answer the question he was asked--again, breathtaking arrogance, and then, when pressed, blames the Legislature and Times for the scandal--because the Legislature wouldn't pass his entire proposal (what dummies they are for not slavishly following Andrew lock, stock, and barrel!) and the part that they didn't pass was the only issue that the Times cares about (their motivations again are base and small-minded, and don't appreciate what the Great Cuomo Father has done and has in mind for all of us). 
  • Then he says "There is no doubt that I have passed laws that have made Albany more transparent and ethical". Umm... you signed bills that crossed your desk. Even if the legislation was initiated by you, the Legislature actually passed the laws. Again, he doesn't even bother to pretend that he is only part of the government; he is the only thing that matters, the only force that is worthy of mention.
  • He touches on his 2002 defeat when he ran for governor--and then makes it clear that he himself bore no responsibility for the debacle, but rather it was the press' fault that he said that incumbent George Pataki did nothing in response to 9/11 except that he "held [Bush's] coat," and that everyone in the world, including his father, said that he was wrong for saying it.
  • Then when the reporter says "we like the truth," Cuomo comes back with "you like your truth." Again, the idea that anyone that goes against him is dishonest and evil is very clearly expressed. 
  • And lastly, the reporter asks if he plans to marry the woman he has lived with for nearly a decade, and Cuomo brushes off the question by saying, "That wasn't mentioned in the book." And then closes the interview by touting how "likable" he is. Yeah, that's the way to prove it--by refusing to talk about the one thing that might possibly soften your edges a little bit. This is not just arrogant--this is stuff that people like Stalin, Hitler, and Mao put out there regularly. Andy Cuomo is The State and soon will be The Nation; he has no time, no need for a wife or personal life. He is Too Big for that. 
Likable? Compared to who or what? Dick Cheney? Ebola? The guy running North Korea?
I am glad to say that Amazon reviewers are absolutely savaging Cuomo's book. No doubt he views that as the work of more of his "enemies" and ignorant, evil-minded peons who do not appreciate how lucky we are to be living in the era where God has gifted us with Andrew Cuomo. 
And you know what the saddest part about this forthcoming gubernatorial election is? The guy the Republicans put up against him would be a complete disaster, even worse than Cuomo. I don't intend to fill out this line on the ballot; I cannot hold my nose hard enough to manage to fill in the box that says "Andrew Cuomo" without vomiting all over the voting machine. But I'll be goddamned if I am going to vote for some Tea Party nitwit, either. 
But as time passes, it is clear that Cuomo isn't just a lousy politician or a bit of a jerk. He's truly dangerous, someone that would, if he gets half a chance, turn into a Caribbean-type despot. And a political system that gives us a choice between this wannabe Baby Doc and a idiot bunghole like Rob Astorino is a system that is broken beyond repair. 
And if you think I am exaggerating any of what Cuomo said, here is the link to the interview: