It's always interesting how two utterly unrelated events will come together to form a new thought. Today, Howard Dean's blog about his memories of life in New York and news reports on Gov. David Paterson's desperate attempts to get the legislature to behave reminded me that there was a time when the nation looked at New York and saw the great Empire State, dragged down by the Bad/Rotten/Generally Dysfunctional Apple at its toe. Now, in New York City, we take a (reasonably) well-run city government for granted. The trains run on time -- or at least they run quite a bit, knock on wood. The city council may not be a reincarnation of Athens in the Age of Pericles, but at least it meets, votes, knows how to get the doors open.
And our mayor may have his faults -- a few of which Daniel Menaker muses about in his blog today. But if Michael Bloomberg was going to punish the legislators by canceling their compensation, I don't think he'd wait until the day after payday, like Paterson did in his latest attempt to demonstrate who's boss.
It's times like these when you understand why humankind invented sports. Even the biggest loss is only a prelude to a rematch next season. Unless, of course, the team moves across the continent -- while we're talking about memories, take a look at Robert Murphy's blog about the terrible year the Dodgers left New York.
Occasionally readers demand to know why, with all the terrible-but-critical events to cover every day, we give space to the frothier side of the news -- reality TV and iPhone Apps. Our main mission is to help you keep track of the big picture -- Albany, the economy, the environment and crime (check out Len Levitt's blog on police commissioners Kelly v. Bratton). But we know it helps to have a bit of a break. Indulge in a little baseball. (Coming up soon: Len Berman's daily list of the five top sports stories. Vote on your favorite App. And then we'll let you know the next bulletin from the state or the bankers.
Anyway, as bad as our elected officials can be, at least none of them is in Argentina. Fingers crossed.