Farewell To Democrats' Favorite Imaginary Presidential Candidate Mario Cuomo

  • Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York and the Cuomo Democrats actually really like, died on Thursday at the age of 82. He was from what kids these days might call the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, before that was officially a thing:

    Still, no matter the problems he found in Albany, Mr. Cuomo burst beyond the state’s boundaries to personify the liberal wing of his national party and become a source of unending fascination and, ultimately, frustration for Democrats, whose leaders twice pressed him to run for president, in 1988 and 1992, to no avail.

    In an era when liberal thought was increasingly discredited, Mr. Cuomo, a man of large intellect and often unrestrained personality, celebrated it, challenging Ronald Reagan at the height of his presidency with an expansive and affirmative view of government and a message of compassion, tinged by the Roman Catholicism that was central to Mr. Cuomo’s identity.

    Unlike just about every other American at the time, UGH, he was not afraid to speak ill of St. Ronald Reagan either:

    Delivering the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, he eclipsed his party’s nominee, former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, seizing on Reagan’s description of America as “a shining city on a hill” to portray the president as unaware of impoverished Americans. “Mr. President,” he said, “you ought to know that this nation is more a ‘tale of two cities’ than it is just a ‘shining city on a hill.’ ”

    The speech was the high-water mark of his national political career, making him in many ways a more admired figure outside his state than in it.

    Also, too, he was a funny guy:

    He had a pointed sense of humor. When an engine failed in a puff of smoke on a state-owned Gulfstream G-1 jet one morning with the governor aboard, he barely noticed, and kept talking about national politics until he noticed that a reporter across the way had stopped taking notes and had turned ashen. “What’s the matter?” he asked. “Aren’t you in a state of grace?”

    So long and farewell to the former Gov. Cuomo. May his failure to ever become president also be inherited by his son, if you know what we mean.

  • Hmmmmm, good question:Because these numbers are quite impressive. Guess the NYPD is too busy being cranky at Mayor Bill de Blasio, for his crime of having realistic conversations with his black son, to celebrate their own achievements:

    The number of murders in New York City has hit what just a few years ago would have been a seemingly impossible low: 321 killings in 2014, with only a day left in the year, the lowest figure since before the Police Department began collecting reliable statistics in 1963. [...]

    In 2014, the number of robberies, a bellwether crime that erodes public perception of safety, fell to 16,326 from 18,994, a 14 percent drop, to what city officials have said are the lowest levels yet recorded. The high point for robberies came in 1981, when the police recorded 107,495 robberies in the calendar year. This year, the number of rapes, burglaries and grand larcenies are also on track to come in lower than they did a year ago.

    Shootings, too, which spiked over the summer, have leveled off and remained only slightly ahead of last year’s low levels.

  • Big Travel really doesn't like it when you figure out how to get around their absurd pricing when you need to fly from point A to point B. Like, REALLY does not like it:

    As a side project, 22-year-old computer whiz Aktarer Zaman built a website called Skiplagged, that searches out cheap airfares, particularly a type of cheap airfare called Hidden City that is frowned upon by the airlines.

    Last month, United and Orbitz filed a lawsuit trying to shut his website down, Bloomberg reported at the time.

    In the lawsuit, United and Orbitz call Skiplagged "unfair competition" and say it promotes "strictly prohibited" travel, reports CNN Money's Patrick Gillespie. They're asking for $75,000 in damages. [...]

    Hidden City travel is when you book a longer flight that includes a layover to your real destination because it's cheaper than flying direct. You travel with carry-on and you get off the plane during the layover.

    Travelers feel that this is a perfectly fair, legit way to travel: They've paid for the flight — why does the airline care if they sit in the seat the whole time? But airlines frown on it. They want you to pay rates according to their complicated pricing schemes. They argue that booking a flight like this makes it difficult to track passengers and that it unfairly takes advantage of the hub-and-spoke nature of airfares, where airlines fly to hub cities and add connecting flights from there.

    Anyone can search and book their own Hidden City flights, but it's a time-consuming mess to search through many cities, hoping to find a cheaper flight that has a layover at your true destination. Skiplagged does that searching for you. And finding such a flight isn't a given. Often it tells you that there are no lower-cost Hidden City flights available that fit your travel needs.

  • So you think you're pretty smart, huh? But how good are you at thinking and behaving rationally?

    No doubt you know several folks with perfectly respectable IQs who repeatedly make poor decisions. The behavior of such people tells us that we are missing something important by treating intelligence as if it encompassed all cognitive abilities. I coined the term “dysrationalia” (analogous to “dyslexia”), meaning the inability to think and behave rationally despite having adequate intelligence, to draw attention to a large domain of cognitive life that intelligence tests fail to assess. Although most people recognize that IQ tests do not measure every important mental faculty, we behave as if they do. We have an implicit assumption that intelligence and rationality go together—or else why would we be so surprised when smart people do foolish things?

    There's even a test you can take to see if your rationality is anywhere near your big fat IQ. Sharpen those No. 2 pencils and good luck with that!

  • If movie sequels are your jam, 2015 should be a great year for you:

    This coming year won’t be all bad -- and that’s because Jurassic World is slated for release. That means we’re almost definitely going to see Vincent D’Onofrio get eaten by a velociraptor. (Maybe two!) There’s going to be a sequel, and that’s enough for me.

    In the coming months of cinema, we will get a Star Wars, a Hot Tub Time Machine, an Exotic Marigold Hotel, a Furious, a Paul Blart, and a Magic Mike, among dozens of other follow-ups, reboots, and spin-offs.

[Video via Vox]


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