Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Handmade Holiday Craft Fair

On December 7th from Noon to 7 pm, 3rd Ward & Brooklyn Based invite you to make an event out of holiday shopping at the Handmade Holiday Craft Fair - Where giving really is better then receiving.

Browse the handmade goods & treats of over 50 local artisans, craft mavens & culinary masters including everything from LED Hula hoops & dog costumes, to custom cut clothes & jewelry, furniture & vintage ware from Brooklyn Kitchen, cookies & chocolates, wrapping paper, pillows & body soaps, custom electronics and Cut Brooklyn knives.

PLUS enjoy FREE gift bags, live music from Sigmund Droid & VJ Clay Franklin, chili & corn bread from Tom Mylan (of Marlow and Sons, Diner & Bonita), FREE Gimme coffee, spiked drinks, a costume photobooth by Deluxa and FREE workshops in textile design, electronics and collage. And while you're in the spirit of giving, drop off a food donation for the Food Bank for New York.

For more information, check out

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Congressman Vito?!? (Part II): Senate Majority Leader Dilan?!?

Since I posted about the possibility of Congressman Vito Lopez a few hours ago, I have gotten bombarded with interesting emails from people with various opinions on the subject (most of whom apparently prefer to comment off the record for fear of retribution).

The most interesting tip I've received concerns a move Vito appears to be orchestrating behind the scenes to clear his path to Nydia Velazquez's Congressional seat. The Optimist's source, who claims to have inside knowledge of the dealings, says that State Senator Carl Kruger of Brooklyn, one of the three remaining members of the now infamous Gang of Three, has abandoned his push for State Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr. of The Bronx to become Senate Majority Leader and now favors Senator Martin Malavé Dilan of Brooklyn for the job.

While no one seriously thinks right now that Marty Dilan could bypass Minority Leader Malcolm Smith and get elected to the State Senate's top post, the fact that these moves are even being made casts a fascinating light upon Vito's skillful maneuverings. If Dilan became Minority Leader, Vito would be rid of his chief potential rival for Velazquez's seat.

Yes, this is all still speculation, but that doesn't mean it can be simply dismissed as idle chatter. Never underestimate Vito. After Clarence Norman went down, no one ever thought Vito would be able to take over the Brooklyn Democratic Party either. We've all seen how right they were.

Congressman Vito Lopez?!?

All this talk about Hillary becoming Secretary of State has my head spinning.

If Hillary does take the job, she could single-handedly start a chain reaction that could change a good portion of the political landscape of Brooklyn overnight.

It all starts with the open U.S. Senate seat. As Liz Benjamin reported last week in The Daily News, Governor Paterson would likely appoint Brooklyn/Manhattan Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez to replace Clinton. The rationale behind the move makes sense. Paterson is under fire by a duo of rogue Democratic State Senators from the Bronx for the dearth of Latinos in leadership positions - a sharp thorn in Paterson's side given that the two State Senators are threatening to keep the State Senate in Republican hands if the Democrats don't make concessions. Elevating Velazquez to the Senate seat could go a long way to diffusing this criticism, while at the same time scoring points for Paterson with women voters.

Here's where things get crazy. If New York suddenly has Senator Velazquez, who is most likely to run for her Congressional seat?

(drum roll)

Vito Lopez!

Would any elected official in Brooklyn dare oppose him? I doubt it. And why wouldn't Vito want to be Congressman? Being a Congressman means way more money and power - the two things Vito loves most. What better promotion could he hope for?

And he could eat his cake too! Rep. Joe Crowley in Queens is both a Congressman and chair of the Queens Democratic Party. There's no reason why Vito couldn't keep his iron hold on Brooklyn's Democratic Party - and then some. Especially now that Mayor Bloomberg owes Vito big time for lining up Brooklyn's Council Members to hand Hizzoner another term.

Congressman Vito Lopez? I think I already hear Vito salivating. It finally seems appropriate that Vito left all of the Hillary for President signs up in the window of his office for weeks after Obama won the Democratic nomination. Could anyone be pulling harder for Secretary of State Clinton than Vito?

Oh, and who would run for Vito's Assembly seat if it became available? Diana Reyna? Erik Dilan? Then, would that mean more open Council seats in Brooklyn? Start your speculations now. If everything plays out according to Vito's wildest dreams, a lot of politicians' plans could be changing in the very near future.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Even Busted Ballot Can't Burst My Bubble

As I made my way with Mrs. Optimist and our soon-to-be-born baby in tow to the polling place on Monitor and Driggs, I readied myself to pull the lever of history. After two years of waiting, hoping, praying, and screaming for change, the time had come at last.

The line at 7 a.m. this morning in Greenpoint was shorter than we had anticipated, but still sizable enough to augur the massive turnout that is certain to sweep the country today. On line before me stood 30 of my fellow Brooklynites, and by the time we reach the booth another 50 or so huddled behind us anxious to vote.

It took all the self-control I could muster not to cry out "OBAMA!" and give everyone on line a big hug.

I beamed.

And then I wilted.

Just for a second, of course. Nothing can deprive me of the great hope and excitement and pride I feel today to be an American - save for a staggering surprise this evening (knock on every piece of wood in existence). But, I was denied a tiny bit of the catharsis that has been two years in the making.

As I took the final breezy steps to the front of the line, I realized that the voting machine for the 50th AD, 93rd ED (and from what I could tell, also the 92nd ED) was busted.


A paper ballot!?! What? No level to pull, no curtain to close, no soothing mechanical tick?

You mean I have to fill in ovals!?! For a moment, the euphoria of voting was drowned out by a phantasmagoria of a long ago lifetime of standardized test-taking. I felt drawn by an evil force to vote for McCain, just because choice "A" was never the right answer of the SATs.

Who the hell is "C"? Ralph Nader?

Can't think... Can't breathe...

I channeled all my strength and stared into the ballot. Instinctively, my eyes fell upon the Obama/Biden block and my vision again came into focus. In this rare moment of complete clarity, I remembered why I had come.

I had come to change a nation that has lost its way. I had to come to restore respect to America in the eyes of the world. I had come so that the uninsured, like me, could one day have health care. I had come to save our economy, to preserve our environment, to inspire innovation, to fight for peace, to restore the principles our Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution.

And, above all, I had come for my unborn daughter. I had come to vote for Barack Obama, so that she would be born into a country of possibility and optimism - a country many of us have never known, and the rest of us had nearly forgotten.

Before I knew it, the ovals had filled themselves and I had bounded back into the light beside my beloved.

This has already been a great day and as each hour passes it's only going to get better.

For the first time in eight years, I can't wait for tomorrow.