Designer Vivienne Westwood turns 68 today. Patricia Arquette is turning 41. Robin Wright Penn is 43. Legendary journalist and New Yorker contributor Sy Hersh is turning 72. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is 71. Former State Senator Joe Bruno is 80. Disgraced ex-congressman Tom DeLay is turning 62. Betty Ford is 91. Julian Lennon turns 46. The rapper Biz Markie is 45. Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki is 62. And Richard Hatch, the first winner of Survivor who is currently in prison for tax evasion, is 48 today.
Sad news for fans of politicos who spend their time lavishing pork on their districts, gambling on horses, and getting caught up in federal investigations. Joe Bruno, the State Senate majority leader and New York's top Republican, will retire after his current term is up this fall. Best known in recent years as one of Eliot Spitzer's chief adversaries and the man who inspired Troopergate, Bruno spent a total of 32 years in the Senate. Now 79, the former boxing champ's decision to step down was attributed to the pressure to keep the Republican majority in Albany this November, the death of his wife earlier this year, and the strain of an ongoing investigation into alleged conflicts of interest.
Big swinging Republican political consultant Roger Stone has "resigned" in the wake of accusations that he left an obscene phone message on Governor Spitzer's father's answering machine. Stone still proclaims his innocence, but it's pretty clear that the state Republican party realizes the last thing they want to do is make the governor look like a victim, which is a role Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno would like to preserve for himself. [NYP]
Things just keep getting weirder for Eliot Spitzer. The papers are awash this morning with the news that Bernard Spitzer, father of the beleaguered governor, received an abusive phone call from Republican political consultant (and, as the Post notes, known swinger) Roger Stone. The governor is, of course, currently embroiled in the controversy over whether or not he directed the state police to issue damaging information about Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's use of state aircraft for political purposes, but the current fuss concerns an earlier scandal—taking money from his dad.
Does Joe Bruno feel the noose tightening around his neck?As Governor Eliot Spitzer continues to die the death of a thousand cuts in the ongoing investigation of Statetroopergate or whatever the hell we're calling it, an interesting facet to the examination of the use of state planes for political purposes by the Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Graftsville) - the thing that got the governor into trouble in the first place - emerged yesterday.
You remember that scene in The Godfather, Part II where the Nevada senator wakes up in the whorehouse next to a dead prostitute and Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen shows up and tells him, don't worry, we control this place, no one will ever know, we'll help you out? And then, for the rest of the movie, the Corleones own the Senator? For whatever reason, we were reminded of it when we saw the news yesterday that Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver was stepping up to defend Governor Spitzer in the recent Bruno brouhaha. It's almost like Silver and Bruno concocted some devious, complicated plan to roll the governor, making him wounded and dependent. Or, you know, maybe they just knew he'd fuck up on his own and decided to sit and wait for it. That's what they're good at, those guys.
New York Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno continues to pound away at Eliot Spitzer, raising the possibility that the Senate may compel the governor to testify in one of the multiple investigations called for by Bruno over whether or not the governor's office improperly used the state police to track Bruno's questionable air travel. Good luck, says a spokesman for the governor, casting doubt on the Senate's constitutional authority to investigate internal executive affairs.
On the second day after the release of a report from Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office revealing that staffers working for Governor Eliot Spitzer aggressively attempted to discredit Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, the stories keep coming. The governor was in Buffalo yesterday, where he couldn't avoid questions about the report. "All I can do is get back to business and that's what I am doing," he said. Meanwhile!
Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf: "All kinds of forces that have an interest in weakening the governor are joining together, either directly or indirectly, to do so. So, it tells you about the lack of partisanship. The partisanship no longer matters. It's about ambition. Right? Protecting turf. The Republicans in the state Senate and the attorney general essentially have the same agenda right now. Think about it." [NYO]
How screwed is Eliot Spitzer? That's probably the most important question after yesterday's release of a report by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that accuses "Mr. Spitzer's communications director, Darren Dopp, and a top state homeland security official of ordering state police to take extraordinary measures to track the use of air and ground police escorts by the Republican Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, in an effort to catch him abusing state resources."
While the state assembly may be prepared to vote in gay marriage for New York, the measure has no chance of passing—or even reaching—the state Senate. Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Shadydealsburg) announced at a news conference today that "We're not doing gay marriage by Thursday; that's for sure, or this year. We're not going to take a vote; we have too many other issues. We're not going to spend hours debating an issue that, you know, is not going to be of consequence." What could possibly account for such antipathy to what, by now, must be seen as a basic human right? The Times' Danny Hakim may have put his finger on it.