Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Joe Bruno Trial

Just in case you're wondering where I've been going most weekday afternoons, I've been heading to downtown Albany to cover the Joe Bruno trial for WAMC.

I'm actually just one member of a team of us (Greg Frye, Karen DeWitt, Steve Felano) pooling our talents, "floating" as it were so that we can keep listeners up-to-date. I'd say we're doing a pretty good job, considering other local radio outlets aren't sending reporters on a daily basis... covering a trial is always a rough assignment, because you just never know what's going to happen, when. But we're staying on top of it. Others are as well: everyday there's Steve Ference from CapNx9, John McLaughlin from WTEN and Bill Lambdin from WNYT... reporters from other TV stations and the people from the newspapers and the AP. Think about it, you folks in the Capital Region are lucky to have so many media outlets bringing so may points of reference to the table, enabling listeners, readers & viewers to get a better understanding of the court case. And with the interNet, folks from anywhere can "tune in" to follow the trial!

Joseph Bruno - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Justice for Joseph L. Bruno | New York

There's a 2008 New York Magazine article entitled "The Un-Reformed," in which former State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno quotes poetry. Here's a snippet:
His first job was at a bakery. He carried trays of pastries to the factory workers for their morning shifts. His pay was what they didn’t eat. In school, he was a failure. “They sort of kicked me along, you know? I told Sister Rose Madeline I wanted to be an altar boy. She laughed at me. Nothing worse. She said, ‘He’s too dumb.’ ” On summer afternoons, he learned to box. A middleweight met him in the park. “He’d get down on his knees and I’d circle around him and he’d wear out his pants circling on his knees. He taught me to punch straight and lead with your left. These kids that used to bloody my nose, I kicked the shit out of them.”

That’s about the time he met Barbara—known as Bobbie. He was 14. She was 13. They met one night at the YMCA, playing Ping-Pong. This was 1947, and Bruno’s job was driving an ice truck. Her father was a surgeon and chief of staff at the hospital, and didn’t approve of him. “Her father said the only way he’d agree to our getting married was if I would live there while I was in college.” He enrolled in Siena College and drove the ice truck to class.
"I bleed. I rise. I fight again." There are words very like the Bruno quote in a very old, very long ballad called 'Sir Andrew Barton': ‘Fight on, my men!’ says Sir Andrew Barton, ‘I am hurt, but I am not slain; I’le lay me downe and bleed a-while, And then I’le rise and fight again. The quote is verse LXIV; the whole thing can be seen online in the Oxford Book of Ballads on Bartleby.

The two lines "I'll lay me downe and bleed awhile,
Then I'll rise and fight again" were also used as a refrain in the poem 'Alastair Buchan', written by the author John Buchan in memory of his brother killed in the First World war.

Text may be read here and also in The Oxford Book of Ballads (OUP, 1969), The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English Speaking World (Viking, 1956), and English and Scottish Popular Ballads (Houghton Mifflin, 1932).

By the way : I think NYmag's timeline is off... in 2008, Bruno was closing in on age 79, which would have made him 18 or 19 in 1947... comments, anyone?

FROM THE ARCHIVES of this humble weblog ... July 2007: Since this is "older" material, some of the links may no longer be working... you have been warned!

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New York's cloutful, colorful Senate Majority Leader is in the Governor's HotSeat! "When politicians do not see eye to eye, you better duck, for the mud will fly." - "J" Peach

From Liz Benjamin's Blog:

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno continued to fight back against allegations he misued taxpayer-funded state helicopters for political purposes, attacking the Times Union, which first reported the story, and demanding the local DA investigate a alleged "extortion" attempt by the paper's ad department.

Meanwhile, while several people - including Mayor Bloomberg - came forward to say they met with the senator regarding government business on the days in question. More here.

From Capital News 9: Senator Bruno blasts Times Union

Statement from The Times Union:

Since learning of Senator Bruno’s statement, we have thoroughly reviewed the matter he raised. He is correct that an advertising sales representative contacted his office Tuesday to set up an appointment to sell “issue-based” advertising – commonly referred to as advocacy ads – relating to the ongoing political dispute between Senate Republicans and Governor Spitzer.

We believe this contact was made to provide Senator Bruno an opportunity to respond to the recent online advertising campaign launched by the New York State Democratic Committee, which is currently running on timesunion.com and several other newspaper Web sites. We do not believe it is true that the sales representative suggested, as the senator’s press release states, that he “would need to buy ads in the paper if (he) wanted to get fair coverage.”

People who buy advertising in the Times Union and on timesunion.com are seeking access to our readers, but they do not gain any additional access to our news columns when they buy ads, nor does our news coverage in any way respond to the advertising in the newspaper’s pages. In the newspaper business, this is often referred to as “the church-state divide,” and we zealously guard against breaches in the wall that separates our commercial and our journalistic goals.

To imply any breach of integrity by the Times Union strikes me as an unfair attempt by Senator Bruno’s office to redirect attention from recent public reports toward the media company responsible for the initial reporting.

I understand Senator Bruno has indeed cancelled his home delivery subscription, but his assertion that circulation at the Times Union is in decline is also untrue. In fact, readership is up more than 2 percent this year over last, and Sunday circulation has been on a steady rise for 18 months. We do regret losing Senator Bruno as a customer, but it won’t interfere with our fair and truthful coverage of what he does.

From the Times-Union blog:

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno put out a statement today announcing he’s cancelling his Times Union subscription.

Bruno accused the paper of a “partisan, political agenda,” and also claimed his office received a call today from an advertising salesman at the paper, quoting him as saying that buying ads in the paper “would be an effective way to let the public know about the good things the Senator is doing and to get across his side of the story.”

Bruno characterized the call as telling his staffer “that I would need to buy ads in the paper if I wanted to get fair coverage.”

His office says the call came in this morning, and that the purported offer was declined.

The publisher of the Times-Union, Mark Aldam called the allegation “preposterous” and “baseless.”

Besides JB, not everyone loves the TU:

"I accuse the Times Union of practicing personal destruction against Joe Bruno for contradicting his claims regarding official transportation. To even imply that he is not being completely honest is engaging in personal destruction ..."

Observation from (where else?) The Utica Observer-Dispatch:

The political tiff between Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his Republican nemesis, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, has taken to the air, with barbs now flying regarding use of state aircraft.

The sniping not only does a disservice to state taxpayers, but is further indication that New York's weak ethics laws need to be tightened so there's little question of violations. [continued]

As I was writing this blog post, I was trying to find (with no luck, going through all 3,000+ blogposts I've written on this particular blog since 2006) a post I wrote about several older gentlemen whom I admire. I don't recall all of the guys on the list. But if you asked me today to prepare a similar list, Joe Bruno would be on it. 80 years old and still goin' like sixties....Who else would make the list? Definitely Pete Seeger (now 90), Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, Bill Clinton and Kris Kristofferson... probably Jack LaLanne too...

What follows has nothing to do with Joe Bruno, but since I mentioned Keith Richards name, search engines will be pulling people in to this post, so I'll throw out a little bone or two: at right a photo of Bill Clinton with the Rolling Stones, and below, a somewhat obscure article about Mr. Richards. Enjoy!

René de Beauregard writes [fr] about Rolling Stone Keith Richards: To rock or not to rock : Keith Richards pose pour Vuitton Here's a snippet:
"Le vieux forban fait de la pub maintenant. Voilà le genre de nouvelles qui me réjouit. J'imagine son rire carnassier quand il a été approché pour cette campagne. Après Catherine Deneuve, classique, Gorbatchev, pas tellement vendeur, Vuitton va rimer avec Satisfaction.

Il paraît que David Bowie a fait de la pub pour Vittel. Du rock à l'eau plate, c'est vraiment n'importe quoi. La campagne est passée inaperçue, évidemment. Celle-là sera forcément un succès. Tous les ex-fans des sixties au portefeuille et au ventre rembourré ( ce n'est mon cas ni pour l'un ni pour l'autre ) vont pouvoir réconcilier les goûts de leur jeunesse avec leur nouveau statut social.

Keith Richards a toujours eu le cynisme en bandoulière, il pourra le mettre dans son sac Vuitton et ré-interpréter "Papa's Got a brand new bag", le standard de James Brown."
[complete post]

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