Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

An ant story (from early 2002)

April 6, 2012

Here is a story I wrote one night when I was studying in Israel.
One night I couldn’t sleep, so I went from the dorm room to the courtyard. I found swarm of large ants carrying a gigantic Israeli roach to its final resting place. As I watched, this story ended up on my paper.

I copied it how it’s written (aside for some minor spelling corrections) even though some of the puns are cringe-worthy. I’m also maintaining the original paragraph structure.

There was an ant named Richard.
But his friends would call him Adam
Because he was lazy as man.
Every morning his parents would wake him up.
“But the sun isn’t even up”, he’d complain.
“By the time you finish breakfast it will be light out.
“Besides, the early bird gets the worm and the early ant gets the bird.”
The problem with ants is they don’t have seats.
From the time they awake till the time they go to sleep
They are forced to stand on all 6 of their feet.
Richard enjoyed sleep. Sleeping on his back, with his head on a soft pillow. He couldn’t want till evening, so he could eat a quick supper and go to sleep.
One day Adam was going collecting, he was trying to find food
When he came across a TV that a mouse had thrown out.
It had a remote control, so he could watch without getting up.
Thrown out with the set was a perfectly good bag of stale caramel popcorn, so Adam didn’t starve. On the contrary, he grew quite fat.
(The other problem with ants is when they get fat, they aren’t horizontally challenged, but vertically challenged; and that made it sound like Adam was short, which isn’t true.)
When he shoved off for his hole (shlepping his popcorn behind him), he discovered he was too girthy to fit down the ant hole.
“Help me! Make the hole bigger, please!” Adam requested.
“If you want something done, do it yourself”, said Smithers, the ant guard.
Instead, Adam dragged his bag of popcorn a few feet away and cried.
Suddenly, an anteater came along and ate the whole ant colony.
He couldn’t smell Richard, because he smelled like caramel popcorn.
Richard cried for a few minutes. (That’s another problem with ants. They don’t have tear ducts, so when they cry, all they do is blink a lot. Although most ants are too busy to realize they are sad, and by the time they go to sleep at night they have forgotten why they were sad (Ants don’t have the greatest memories, which explains why they keep trying to go on my picnic blanket even though I chased them off about 3,713 times.) which is why ants seldom cry.)
When he finished crying he dragged his bag back by the TV and began watching again.
Adam watched TV for 2 straight months! (When his popcorn was finished, he discovered an old hot dog nearby, so he was never want of food.)
One afternoon when he was asleep (during the afternoon news), a pesky rabbit jumped by, pulling the plug and bringing the TV down with a crash. Adam woke up with a start. Realizing his loss, he began to cry again. The rabbit said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see the plug. Maybe if you play with the chip it’ll work.”
“Are you crazy?” Adam lashed out “It’s broken. But chips, now that sounds good.”
Now the TV had broken and the pieces lay all over the floor. Adam sniffed around, found a chip, and ate it. “Eww. This is horrible. It tastes like a chip off an old block. Oh well, at least it’s worth two in the bush.”
Suddenly, Adam felt queasy, he felt statically, but then he was picking up the channels normally. And, whenever he couldn’t get a good reception, he’d just adjust his antenni until he got a clear picture.
He died 3 years later, when he refused to pay his electric bill and they cut off his service, leaving him a shell of his former self.

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Milk teeth

March 3, 2011

I’ve been wondering recently, if someone’s permanent tooth fell out and you didn’t have milk to store it in while transporting the patient to a dentist, is it better to put the tooth in cheese or water?

I think the salt in cheese would probably harm the tooth.

What do you think?

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Federal Politician Tax

February 2, 2011

There’s been a lot of talk over the past 24 months about the economy and the ability for the credit rating of federal, state, and local governments to stay strong.
Usually these conversations focus on cutting spending and increasing governmental funds.
The governments are always looking for ways to increase revenue. They increase license fees, taxes, penalties for simple mistakes, penalties for not complying with their ideas of health, etc.

When politicians announce their new tax ideas (let’s be honest and call it what it is, a tax), they usually try to paint the victims as greedy/wrong and they extol the virtues of having the extra funds.

In general I don’t favor increasing taxes. I think the average person struggles to get by day-to-day and should have fewer taxes.

However, I do acknowledge that there are governmental services that need funding. (I can argue that there is too much spending, but politicians would never cut spending intelligently.)

So, how do you keep spending at its current levels without increasing taxes on the citizenry or running up a deficit?

The common answer to this question is to isolate a small segment of the population (so they can’t defend themselves), demonize them, and apply a levy. Examples of this are “rich” folk who are greedy, “smokers” who are sick and dirty, “soda drinkers” who are sick and gluttons, “bridge-crossing drivers” who ruin the environment and didn’t really need to cross the bridge, “drivers with a visible cell phone” who cause accidents, etc.

A while back I was watching a news show and they showed how the personal finances of federal congress representatives increase tremendously once they start serving.

As much as people lament that all the personal investigations into politician’s past and characters will lead to fewer candidates for public office, this has not proven itself to be true. It’s clear that there will always be people who will aspire to public office so they can gain power they lack and control others.

Therefore, it seems like the solution is simple. Add a new, large (non-deductible) tax for all federal politicians. This includes all members of both houses of Congress and all members of the Executive branch. I would not levy this tax on Supreme Court members unless there was accurate data showing that their personal finances also increase far beyond their federal salary.
This tax would begin from the day they are sworn in and end when they could prove that they are not earning far beyond their federal salary/pension.

The advantage of this plan is average Americans wouldn’t be harmed by politician’s frivolous spending. Federal, State, and Local governments would have a large funding stream that allow essential programs to continue without worries. And, it would allow politicians to finally contribute towards society.

Of course, one major problem with this plan is the necessity to have Congress vote for it and the President sign it. That is highly unlikely.

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Wedding and Israel

December 7, 2010

I spent a lot of time researching the best time to take my vacation this Winter. I negotiated with my managers over the course of three weeks before we settled on dates.
Finally, on November 1, 2010 I purchased my tickets to fly to Israel on January 23, 2011 and to New York on February 6, 2011.

I informed my parents and siblings of my plans and I let my ex-wife know that I would be unavailable during those two weeks.

One of my younger sisters decided to accept a marriage proposal just prior to Thanksgiving.
A couple of weekends ago she warned me that they were considering a January 30th wedding. I informed her that I already purchased my ticket and if they held it that date, I probably wouldn’t be there.

On Friday December 3, 2010 she informed that they did, in fact, book the wedding for January 30th.*

I didn’t want to change my plans, but I felt like I was “required” to research my options. I called the airline. They told me I’d be charged a minimum of $250.00 to change my flight plans.
I spoke to my management. They didn’t want to be blamed (how they phrased it) for keeping me from attending my sister’s wedding, so they agreed to re-open negotiations to plan my vacation dates. However, they made it clear that they wanted me to go on vacation sooner rather than later.

(Basically, they expect a lot of projects to begin in February 2011, so they want all hands on deck.)

I called my brother in Israel to find out what he was doing and to hear what he thought. He’ll be coming in for her wedding. He offered to let me use his apartment while he’s away (especially if his whole family travels with him). He agreed that I am not obligated to change my plans because they knew the situation before they chose January 30.


* When I ask people advice, they usually ask why is she getting married so soon after meeting the guy and why does she need to get married on that particular weekend?
I haven’t spoken to her about it. However, I think my dad is imposing his belief that engagements should be short. This belief might work for ultra-Orthodox Jews and its practice might be appropriate for people who buy into that way of life, but I think it’s a mistake for my sister.
My sister is a sincere, god-believing, ethical, Orthodox-practicing, commandment keeping person. But she is not ultra-Orthodox.
She should have a “normal” Orthodox engagement period of 3 to 6 month. I hope I’m wrong, but I believe that this shortened time line will have negative repercussions.

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Why I prefer NY’s new polls

November 2, 2010

The United States required New York state to change their polling machines. The old machines required people to walk into a curtained booth, pull a lever, mark their votes by flipping a switch for each position/policy decision, and push the lever again.

The new voting process debuted in the September primary and was panned by many voters, including NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. However, I prefer the new voting process.
Old and new polling layout
1. Location, location, location: Under the old process the back of the machine faced the people. The curtain was supposed to protect the voter’s privacy, but too often had gaps which deprived the voter of privacy. The new process has 3-sided enclosed stands that opens facing a wall. No one can see from in front of you, and there IS no one behind you to see what you are doing.

2. Simplicity: The old machine required the voter to understand how the machine organizes information and polls. The new ballot is a piece of paper that just requires the voter to fill in ovals in appropriate places.

3. Write-In: The new process makes putting in a write-in candidate extremely simple. The old machines made it very complicated to write-in a vote. There were a few elections that I wanted to write-in a candidate, but I couldn’t get the machine to allow me to do so and I couldn’t ask for help with out….

4. Privacy: Because of the simplicity of voting and the ease of writing in a candidate, voters don’t need as much help from poll volunteers. Poll volunteers’ help decrease privacy. I once asked a volunteer for help under the old system. She saw my ballot and chewed me out for not voting for the candidates she preferred.

5. Speed: The old process had one dedicated polling booth per district. If one district had 10 people waiting to vote, and another district in that same polling center had none, the 10 people had to wait in a queue to use their district’s machine while the machine wasn’t used. Under the new process the enclosed stands and the scanning machines can be used by anyone from any of the districts.

6. Pressure: Because of the bottleneck that built up from the wait time to use your district’s voting booth, there was a lot of pressure to vote quickly. In fact, I’ve seen polling volunteers get upset with voters who took too long in the voting booth. Under the new system there isn’t the same pressure, so people have more time to mark their ballots correctly and answer all the ballot initiatives completely.

There are two caveats.
1. Type: It was rather small and probably difficult to read for people with sight issues.

2. Layers: There were so many candidates for governor that it went onto two rows. People might have gotten confused and thought they were supposed to vote for one from the first row and one from the second row.

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Proposed Winter Road Trip

September 24, 2010

For those of you curious of what the proposed road trip consists of:

NY to LA to NY:
about 4 days 3 hours

First leg of the journey: New York to Blacksburg, VA Total: 503 mi – about 8 hours 31 mins
1. Head southwest on Peninsula Blvd toward Princeton Rd
2. Turn right at Rockaway Turnpike
3. Continue onto New York 878 (West)/Rockaway Blvd
4. Continue onto Southern Parkway Service Rd
5. Take the ramp on the left to I-678 N/Van Wyck Expy
6. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-678 N/Van Wyck Expy/Bronx and merge onto I-678 N/Van Wyck Expy
7. Take exit 9 to merge onto NY-25 W/Queens Blvd
8. Slight right toward I-278 W
9. Take the ramp onto I-278 W
10. Take exit 32A on the left toward Williamsburg Bridge/Manhattan
11. Merge onto Williamsburg Bridge
12. Continue onto Delancey St
13. Turn left at Chrystie St
14. Take the 1st right onto Broome St
15. Slight left at Watts St
16. Continue onto I-78 W/Holland Tunnel
Passing through New Jersey
Entering Pennsylvania
17. Merge onto I-81 S
Passing through Maryland, West Virginia
Entering Virginia
18. Take exit 128 for VA-603 toward US-11/Ironto
19. Turn right at N Fork Rd/State Route 603
20. Turn right at Den Hill Rd/State Route 603
21. Keep left at the fork to continue toward Cedar Run Rd/State Route 603
22. Turn right at Cedar Run Rd/State Route 603
23. Turn right at S Main St
24. Turn right at E Roanoke St
25. Take the 1st left

Second leg of the journey: Blacksburg, VA to Birmingham, AL Total: 491 mi – about 8 hours 11 mins
26. Head southeast toward E Roanoke St
27. Turn right at E Roanoke St
28. Take the 1st left onto S Main St
29. Take the exit toward US-460 E/I-81/Roanoke
30. Merge onto Ramble Rd
31. Take the ramp onto US-460 E
32. Continue onto Parkway Dr
33. Merge onto I-81 S via the ramp to I-77 S/Radford Bristol
Entering Tennessee
34. Merge onto I-40 W
35. Slight left at I-75 S (signs for Chattanooga)
36. Slight right at I-24 W (signs for Chattanooga/Birmingham)
Entering Georgia
37. Take exit 167 on the left to merge onto I-59 S toward Birmingham
Entering Alabama
38. Take exit 126A to merge onto Carraway Blvd
39. Continue onto 6th Ave N
40. Turn left at 24th St N

Third leg of the journey: Birmingham, AL to Dallas, TX Total: 636 mi – about 10 hours 39 mins
41. Head northwest on 24th St N toward 5th Ave N
42. Take the 1st right onto 5th Ave N
43. Slight right to stay on 5th Ave N
44. Take the ramp to I-20 W/I-59 S
45. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-20 W/I-59 S/Tuscaloosa and merge onto I-20 W/I-59 S
Passing through Mississippi, Louisiana
Entering Texas
46. Slight right at TX-557 Spur W (signs for US-80 W/Dallas)
47. Continue onto US-80 W
48. Merge onto I-30 W
49. Take exit 48A toward Carroll Ave
50. Turn right at Caldwell St
51. Take the 1st right onto Terry St
52. Take the 1st left onto S Fitzhugh Ave
53. Turn right at Sycamore St

Fourth leg of the journey: Dallas, TX to Albuquerque, NM Total: 648 mi – about 10 hours 43 mins
54. Head southwest on Sycamore St toward N Fitzhugh Ave
55. Turn right at N Fitzhugh Ave
56. Take the 1st left onto Live Oak St
57. Turn right at N Good Latimer Expy
58. Slight right at N Central Expy/N Hawkins St
59. Take the ramp to I-35 E
60. Merge onto TX-366 Spur W
61. Take the exit onto I-35E N toward Denton
62. Slight left at TX-183 W
63. Slight right at TX-114 W (signs for Grapevine/Airport North Entry)
64. Merge onto TX-114 W/US-287 N/US-81 N via the ramp to Decatur/Bridgeport
65. Continue onto I-44 E
66. Take exit 3A on the left toward US-287 N/Vernon/Amarillo
67. Merge onto US-287 N
68. Take the ramp on the left onto I-40 W/US-287 N
Entering New Mexico
69. Take exit 159B to merge onto I-25 S toward Las Cruces
70. Take exit 224B toward Dr Martin Luther King Jr Ave/Central Ave/Historic U.S. 66
71. Merge onto Locust St NE
72. Turn right at Central Ave NE

Fourth leg of the journey: Albuquerque, NM to Los Angeles, CA Total: 787 mi – about 12 hours 8 mins
73. Head west on Central Ave SW toward 4th St SW
74. Turn right at Rio Grande Blvd NW
75. Turn left to merge onto I-40 W
Passing through Arizona
Entering California
76. Merge onto I-15 S
77. Take exit 109A to merge onto I-10 W toward Los Angeles
78. Continue onto El Monte Busway
79. Continue onto Arcadia St
80. Turn left at N Spring St
81. Take the 3rd left onto W 1st St

Fifth leg of the journey: Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV Total: 265 mi – about 4 hours 20 mins – up to 5 hours 40 mins in traffic
82. Head southeast on W 1st St toward S Main St
83. Take the 1st left onto N Main St
84. Take the 2nd right onto W Aliso St
85. Merge onto US-101 S via the ramp on the left to Interstate 10 Fwy E/Interstate 5 Fwy S
86. Slight left at San Bernardino Fwy (signs for I-10 E/San Bernardino)
87. Continue onto I-10 E
88. Take exit 58A to merge onto I-15 N/Ontario Fwy toward Barstow/Las Vegas
Entering Nevada
89. Take exit 38 for Flamingo Rd
90. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Flamingo Rd E and merge onto W Flamingo Rd

Sixth leg of the journey: Las Vegas, NV to Albuquerque, NM Total: 571 mi – about 9 hours 13 mins
91. Head east on E Flamingo Rd toward Las Vegas Blvd S
92. Merge onto I-515 S/US-93 S via the ramp to Henderson
93. Continue onto US-93 S
94. Turn left to stay on US-93 S
Entering Arizona
95. Turn left to merge onto I-40 E toward US-93 S/Flagstaff/Phoenix
Entering New Mexico
96. Take exit 157A for Rio Grande Blvd
97. Turn right at Rio Grande Blvd NW
98. Turn left at Central Ave SW
99. Turn left to stay on Central Ave SW

Seventh leg of the journey: Albuquerque, NM to Oklahoma City, OK Total: 543 mi – about 8 hours 46 mins
100. Head east on Central Ave SW toward 3rd St SW
101. Turn left at Wyoming Blvd NE
102. Take the ramp onto I-40 E
Passing through Texas
Entering Oklahoma
103. Take exit 150A toward Downtown/Walker Ave
104. Merge onto SW 3rd St
105. Turn left at S Walker Ave
106. Take the 2nd right onto W Reno Ave
107. Turn left at S Robinson Ave
108. Make a U-turn at W Main St

Eighth leg of the journey: Oklahoma City, OK to Lexington, KY Total: 835 mi – about 13 hours 18 mins
109. Head south on N Robinson Ave toward W Sheridan Ave
110. Turn left at SW 3rd St
111. Turn right to merge onto I-40 E toward I-35 E
112. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for I-35 N/US-62 E/I-44/Tulsa/Wichita
113. Take exit 138A to merge onto I-44 E toward Tulsa
114. Take the exit onto I-44 E toward Joplin/Turnpike
Entering Missouri
115. Take exit 276A-276B to merge onto I-270 S toward Memphis
116. Continue onto I-255 E
Entering Illinois
117. Take exit 20 to merge onto I-64 E/US-50 E toward Louisville
Passing through Indiana
Entering Kentucky
118. Take exit 65 for KY-341 toward US-62 W/Midway/Versailles
119. Turn right at KY-341 S/Georgetown Rd
120. Turn left at US-421 S/E Leestown Rd
121. Turn right at S Broadway Rd
122. Turn left at the 2nd cross street onto W Maxwell St
123. Turn right at Park Ave

Ninth leg of the journey: Lexington, KY to Hagerstown, MD Total: 468 mi – about 7 hours 54 mins
124. Head southwest on Park Ave toward Baldwin Ave
125. Take the 1st left onto Baldwin Ave
126. Turn left at Marquis Ave
127. Turn left at Euclid Ave
128. Take the 1st right onto Lafayette Ave
129. Turn left at E High St
130. Turn right at Rose St
131. Turn left at E Main St
132. Turn right at N Broadway Rd
133. Turn left to merge onto I-64 E/I-75 S toward Knoxville/Ashland
Entering West Virginia
134. Take exit 59 on the left to merge onto I-77 N toward I-79/Parkersburg
135. Slight right at I-79 N (signs for Clarksburg)
136. Take exit 148 to merge onto I-68 E toward Cumberland
Entering Maryland
137. Take exit 82B to merge onto I-70 E/US-40 E
138. Take exit 26 to merge onto I-81 N toward Harrisburg
139. Take exit 6A to merge onto US-40 E/National Pike toward Hagerstown

Tenth leg of the journey: Hagerstown, MD to Peninsula Blvd, Woodmere, NY Total: 271 mi – about 4 hours 56 mins
140. Head southeast on National Pike/E Washington St toward Cramer Alley
141. Turn left at N Cannon Ave
142. Turn left at E Franklin St/National Pike
143. Merge onto I-81 N via the ramp to Harrisburg
Entering Pennsylvania
144. Continue onto I-78 E
Entering New Jersey
145. Take exit 29 for I-287 toward US-202/US-206/I-80/Morristown/Somervile
146. Keep right at the fork to continue toward I-287 S
147. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-287 S/Perth Amboy and merge onto I-287 S
148. Take the I-95/NJ Turnpike exit
149. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for New York
150. Keep right at the fork to continue toward I-95 N and merge onto I-95 N
151. Take exit 13 to merge onto I-278 E toward Goethals Bridge/Verrazano Bridge
152. Take the Belt Pkwy E exit on the left toward Kennedy Airport
153. Merge onto Belt Pkwy/Shore Pkwy E
154. Take the exit toward NY-878/Nassau Expy/Van Wyck Expy/Kennedy Airport
155. Keep left at the fork to continue toward NY-878 E/Nassau Expy and merge onto NY-878 E/Nassau Expy
156. Continue onto Rockaway Turnpike
157. Turn left at Peninsula Blvd

These directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather, or other events may cause conditions to differ from the map results, and you should plan your route accordingly. You must obey all signs or notices regarding your route.
Map data ©2010 Europa Technologies, Google, INEGI

Planning Winter Vacation

September 21, 2010

Dear virtual friends in Israel,

I’ve officially scrapped my Winter road trip and I am, instead, going to Israel from January 23rd until February 5th.
Would you be interested in meeting up with me, hanging out, singing karaoke, and/or showing me around your neighborhood?

If you have a specific date/time that works best for you, please let me know so I can schedule it.

I appreciate your feedback.

Thank you,
Alar Bean

Father’s Day vs. Mother’s Day

June 23, 2010

(For fun I’ve decided to include some audio from previous years.)

Yesterday was Father’s Day.
Here are some tweets I saw on the day:
“happy father’s day to all the real fathers out there.. not just paying child support but paying attention!”
“[censored] you, to all the deadbeat dads”

These tweets express the idea that Father’s Day is a day for fathers to commit themselves to being involved in the lives of their children.

However, Mother’s Day is never seen as a day for mothers to rededicate themselves to being better mothers. Mother’s Day is solely a day to honor mothers.
It doesn’t matter if the woman should not have had a child or if she is abusive.

I don’t like the idea of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. We should not encourage procreation. We should not honor a human who created another human more than we honor one who has not.

However, if we are going to honor those who breed, we should honor them evenly.

If we want to have a national criticize parents/parental awareness day, I am okay with that.

Slum Landlords

March 25, 2010

The Village Voice discusses landlords that don’t take care of their tenants. They allow their buildings to fall into disrepair in the hopes their tenants will move out, so they can fix it up and raise the rent.
This, of course, is illegal. The city fines these landlords. However, the fines are smaller than the money slumlords stand to gain by harming their tenants, forcing them to leave, and renting the apartments at higher prices.
I suggest instead of the fines going to the city, the fines should go to the tenants.
I think that’s “fairer”, since the tenants are the ones who suffered from the heater being busted and the other housing issues.
Also, I think it would “burn” these landlord’s insides to have to pay the very people they seek to harm! Maybe that would motivate them to follow the law and be decent people.
I think landlords who act like this should be barred from owning property in the city (for a decade or so) and the tenants should be guaranteed a year or two extension on their current lease without increases or fees allowed.
The current system gives the city incentive to allow the problem to fester. As long as violations are not fixed, the city makes money on fines. By removing the financial gain to the city, they might work faster towards requiring the landlord to fix the issues.

News and Outlook – March 7, 2010

March 7, 2010

Sunday, Daily News (page 4) : This has to be the quote of the week!
Paterson still has some support – he received a bouquet of yellow roses a few minutes before his departure, and one neighbor shouted her tepid backing.
Leave him alone!” she yelled down at reporters from her third-floor home. “He may not be any good, but he’s the best we got.”

Sunday, Daily News (pages 28, 29) : Editorial by Joyce Purnick: “Doesn’t anyone remember that it was Spitzer who gave us Paterson in the first place? The former state senator should never have become governor, and Spitzer, along with New York’s ever-toxic politics, are why he did. Spitzer selected Paterson as his running mate in 2006 to guarantee himself the black vote, plain and simple. Even Paterson’s mentors, the old guard in Harlem, favored another African American to run as lieutenant governor, Leecia Eve, lawyer and daughter of a former Assemblyman from Buffalo. Think maybe they knew something?”

In my opinion Joyce is looking for a scapegoat so she doesn’t need to look herself in the mirror and say SHE made a mistake.

When a politician chooses a running mate they _always_ choose someone who they feel will increase their odds of being elected.
Further, it’s the job of the voters to choose the political team they think will best serve their interests. The idea that voters only choose the governor is false. New York could have voted against Spitzer and Paterson, but they didn’t.
They are at fault for allegedly breaking laws and being corrupt, but we, as New Yorkers, are at fault for electing them to their positions.

Now, if Paterson resigns and Ravitch turns out to be corrupt as well, then we can pin the blame on Paterson and the NYS Supreme Court.