Thursday, April 10, 2008

Air America WWRL 1600 Suddenly in Shambles

What is going on at Air America?

First, Richard Bey leaves the morning show. OK, no biggie.

Then all of a sudden last week, the progressive radio station's New York City affiliate WWRL 1600 inexplicably drops their best host Thom Hartmann from the station (his Friday brunch with Senator Bernie Sanders was reason enough to tune in), as well as The Lionel Show, just when I had finally come around to listening to the latter.

For what superior programming did WWRL bump Thom and Lionel? A daily two-hour infomercial, faux left wing host Ed Schultz, and none other than Al Sharpton.

Just as my ears were still ringing from WWRL's abrupt overhaul, Raw Story announced today that Randi Rhodes has quit Air America in the wake of her temporary suspension for calling Hillary Clinton by an inappropriate epithet (mind you, not on the air). As a longtime listener, I fully admit that Randi can be irksomely repetitive at times, but her audience benefits greatly every day from the depth of her knowledge and insistence upon fact over the Administration's pervasive fictions. New Yorkers are worse off without her.

I expected more from Air America's President Mark Green, but apparently he is determined to run his family's station as competently as his failed bid for Mayor in 2000.

I haven't looked at how these changes have effected WWRL's ratings, but I know for certain the station has lost one loyal listener from Brooklyn. The Optimist will miss left-wing talk, but at least the Mets have 155 more games this season for their fans to listen to and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Diane Gordon Goes Down

Paging Mr. Barron.

The last time The Optimist weighed in on the saga of disgraced Assemblywoman Diane Gordon, I speculated that were Gordon convicted on the litany of charges brought against her that Councilman Charles Barron would abandon the race for Brooklyn Borough President and seek her Assembly seat instead.

Well, yesterday the inevitable finally came to pass. Though Gordon escaped the most serious charge brought against her, the Assemblywoman was convicted on eight other counts, which could add up to 10 years in prison at her sentencing hearing next month. For anyone who has watched the videotape of Gordon soliciting a bribe from developer Ranjan Batheja, the verdict was a foregone conclusion. Caught redhanded violating the public trust to get herself a new house and new doors for her office (!), Gordon's crimes demand severe punishment, if for no other reason than to strike fear into the hearts of politicians with likeminded designs. Clearly, the example made of her convicted former colleagues in the Assembly, Clarence Norman and Roger Green, was inadequate to deter Gordon from following in their shameful footsteps.

So, what's next for the too-often abused residents of East New York, Brownsville, and Canarsie, who are finally rid of Gordon's dubious service? No word yet from Charles Barron. But come September's primary don't be surprised to see the Councilman slip into her seat.

As for Gordon, here's the YouTube video that made her an internet sensation one more time for your viewing displeasure: