The Silencing of Imus

Statement by 

William O’Shaughnessy
Chairman, Whitney Radio
Editorial Director, WVOX and WVIP
Westchester, New York

April 16, 2007

Re:  The Silencing of Imus

 

“Censorship which results from corporate timidity in the face of intimidation or coercion is just as dangerous as the stifling of creative and artistic expression by government fiat, decree, sanction or regulation.”

“Howard Stern … Opie and Anthony … Bob Grant … Bill Maher … Chris Rock … George Lopez … and even – God forbid! – Rosie.  We’ve always had terrible examples to defend.  And Don Imus has given us another terrible example.  But defend it we must.

Not the hateful and discomforting words.  But the right of the social commentator and critic (read:  performer) to be heard … and the right of the people to decide.

Don Imus is a performer, a disc jockey, a humorist, a social commentator and a provocateur with a rapier sharp wit.

Unlike several of our colleagues, he does not deal in raucous vulgarity or incendiary right-wing rhetoric directed at immigrants, illegal aliens and other familiar targets of our tribe. 

Throughout his brilliant career, Mr. Imus has been an equal opportunity offender … poking fun at the high and mighty as well as the rest of us for our foibles and pomposity.

He may have on occasion gone too far during a remarkable 30-some year career.  Were his comments about the Rutgers basketball team racist or mean-spirited?  Only Imus knows for sure, but we doubt it.  Were they funny?  No.

His mea culpa and apologies seemed sincere.  We had thus hoped his sponsors and the elders at CBS, WFAN, MSNBC and all those many stations across the country that carry the I-Man would stand up to the intimidation and pressure we’ve read about.

So many performers who have achieved his kind of success take … and put nothing back.  Imus has been extravagantly generous to a number of worthy causes – some of it publicly known and some of it done very personally, anonymously and without fanfare.

Imus says he’s been active in our profession for 30 years – actually, it’s more like 40 since he came roaring out of Cleveland.  By our calculation, that’s about 8,000 broadcasts, during which he has probably uttered some 2,400,000 ad libs.  Not all of them as inartful, insensitive and wide of the mark as his fleeting reference to the Rutgers team.   

There’s no question this was a misfire.  And it was to be hoped that the elders at CBS and NBC would see this for what it is. 

I’ll give you a baseball analogy.  Let’s say you had a pitcher, with remarkable stamina, who threw 8,000 innings:  many of his pitches are going to be wide of the plate, some way off the strike zone.  A few may even hit the poor batter.  And in the course of those 8,000 innings across 30 or 40 seasons, he may even bean the damn umpire on rare occasion!  But he’s still … a great pitcher.

With the possible exception of overnight work from dusk till dawn, morning drive is the toughest shift in Radio.  And when Imus plops those well traveled bones into a chair, straps on his earphones and throws his voice out into another dawn armed only with his humor, wit and irreverence, he is not, I think, unlike a Franciscan priest dragging himself up into a pulpit after 30 or 40 years to pronounce the Good News or at least make a passing attempt at Pure Truth before a sparse, sleepy congregation at an early Mass.  

Imus’ mission is not quite as noble or majestic.  He has only to make us laugh and make us think.  I think that’s a pretty good way to make a living.  And he should thus be protected from those unforgiving critics abroad in the land who heaped scorn and derision on the I-Man as a result of this controversy.

However it plays out, it is very much to be hoped that the contretemps will not impede or diminish this particular performer’s brilliant – if occasionally irreverent and provocative – mind and tongue.

The guy misfired.  But he should not have been … fired. 

I’ve spent an entire lifetime defending the raucous vulgarity of Howard Stern … and even Bob Grant (after he called Mario Cuomo – the man I most admire in public life – a disgusting name).  One should remember Imus is essentially only a performer, an entertainer  … nothing more … or any less.

As this thing has evolved … many are growing more and more concerned about coercion via economic sanction or boycott which was orchestrated against a performer and his corporate masters.

Censorship which results from corporate timidity in the face of intimidation or coercion is just as dangerous as the stifling of creative and artistic expression by government fiat, decree, sanction or regulation.

That’s just as treacherous as any racism, sexism or bigotry –  real or imagined.

 

###

 

The Undoing of Don Imus

 

The following is by Jonathan Bush, brother of “41,” uncle of “43,” and father of television and radio star William “Billy” Bush.

Much has been written and much said about the firing of Don Imus.  After the recent appearance of Hillary Clinton at Rutgers, opportunistically pandering away, if a little late, about rising up against those who might disparage minorities or women.  I felt compelled to speak up.  So here goes.

About ten years ago, my company moved from New York to New Haven, and I commended the daily grind of a forty-minute morning drive to work.  In that first year I turned my radio to Don Imus and have listened to him at least two or three days a week ever since.  At times I found his show funny; at other times I would turn off the radio violently as he talked to politicians that did not exactly share my point of view.  The show offered a welcome escape to the caged listener.

From laugh-out-loud funny skits to serious political discussions to interviews with politicians to authors of books to country and western singers, no show presented an attention-getting format remotely close to Imus in the Morning.  Through it all the mercurial Imus rode with effortless charisma, guiding the program with a sure hand and a deft instinct for humor.  His long-suffering support staff stood ever at the ready to bail the chief out if he had gone too far.

Part of the shtick centered around Imus’ fecklessness, such as a recent episode which focused on an invitation to Imus from Brain Williams to join him on a trip to Iraq.  Naturally the cast of characters took up a dialogue around the idea that Imus was afraid to go.  Imus, in a sense, was playing the role of everyman but with one exception:  Imus’ equivocating was delightfully funny.

Occasionally Imus, speaking probably ten million words a year or more, would stray close to the line of decency.  But listeners didn’t particularly care.  They turned in to hear Imus’s wit, Imus’s charm, Imus’s intransigence, Imus’s melodic baritone voice – in short, Imus, warts and all.

Now on Thursday April 5th, Imus, in a brief snippet of humor, let slip a demeaning phrase.  He referred, jokingly, to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as nappy-headed hos.  Could any sensible person think he meant this disparagingly?  Of course not.  However, he immediately apologized, subsequently almost falling over backward apologizing, even going on the radio show of one of the nation’s leading mountebanks, the Reverend Al Sharpton.  (As an aside, has anyone yet heard Sharpton apologize for his hand in the deplorable Tawana Brawley affair?)

So what happened?  NBC turned off the cameras on MSNBC.  Then CBS suspended him for two weeks.  Then, knuckling under to pressure from a few big advertisers, themselves afraid of losing African American customers through a threatened boycott by Sharpton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Les Moonves of CBS cancelled the entire show.  Poof!  Gone.

One thing amazes me:  that in a country which prides itself on free speech, a gifted performer who brightens the lives of millions of listeners every morning could be snuffed out in an instant.

Of course cowardice gained the victory – cowardice by Mr. Moonves for knuckling under and the cowardice of the advertisers who feared a boycott if they continued to sponsor Imus.  However, far worse seems the cowardice of all those who fed at his table only to abandon him when the tables turned against him.  Where were those men and women whose voices should have spoken out against the firing?

On his program Imus frequently used the term “weasel” to refer to those of whom, for one reason or another, he was being critical.  Little did he know that the term would apply to all those people who toadied up to him, who leapt at the opportunity of appearing on his program, only to run from him when their support was called for.

There exists one vast constituency who would gladly speak up for Imus had they but a voice so to do so, namely, the millions of listeners who have been denied the joy of hearing Imus in the Morning and are wondering what happened to the idea “Let him who is without guilt among you cast the first stone.”

 

 

 

Mayor Bramson for Mayor – 2019 Election

Mayor Bramson for Mayor
A Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air
broadcast October 30, 2019
by William O’Shaughnessy, President

 

We said it before.

Noam Bramson is a brilliant, precocious young man and a very gifted public servant. But as we approach our senior years, we also have to tell you of our regret that we’ve never been able to establish a mutually supportive relationship between Bramson’s City Hall and our nationally-known community radio stations. 

He’s also not the kind of guy you’d want to ask a favor for your brother-in-law.

I mention this because we’re even now at work on yet another history of those marvelous, down-home “Townie” politicians of years gone by that you could petition for a “favor” to help someone.  A few leap to my mind: Hugh A. Doyle, Alvin Richard Ruskin, Tony Colavita, Valerie Moore O’Keefe, Ed Michaelian, Andy Albanese, Herman Geist, Bert Campbell, Nita Lowey, Miriam Jackson, John Fosina, Jim Maisano, Len Paduano, Ron Tocci, Steve Tenore, Tony Gioffre, Vinnie Rippa, Louis Barone, Fred Powers, Rocco Bellantoni, Mario Biaggi, Tim Idoni and Joe Vacarella. And there were more … politicians the way the men of our fathers time imagined them to be. But Noam Bramson is just not “gaited” that way.

In the last several years, Mr. Bramson has fashioned himself as “Bramson the Builder” with many huge, sprawling buildings rising up where once there was urban chaos and decay. That is to his great credit. 

We’re not crazy about some of the “developers” Mr. Bramson and his highly-regarded Commissioner of Development Luiz Aragon have charged with re-building our fading lorelei of a suburban city.  With few exceptions, like Louis Cappelli and Joe Simone, many of the speculators now operating in our city have absolutely zero interest in Mario Cuomo’s admonition to “build up a community, make it stronger and – sweeter – than it was.” 

These are hard, take-no-prisoners, no-nonsense, show-me-the-money guys we’ve fallen in with.  And what Bramson and his cadre have done is accommodate them with huge, huge tax breaks spilling over many future decades. 

The success or failure of all this will be determined well down the road. But questions have already emerged.  Where the hell are these people going to shop? And probably the most pressing consideration of all: has Mr. Bramsom’s dynamic projectory taken the heart and soul out of the city?

With all the concrete being flung around, no one, it seems, has yet figured how to get people downtown. 

Bramson’s dynamism is enhanced by the wonderful, intelligent, hands-on City Manager Charles Bowman Strome. Chuck Strome’s very existence reassures the “townies,” and those with roots in our community. He takes the edge off Mr. Bramson’s “dynamism” by providing a grounding and respect for the city’s history and lineage.  Mr. Strome understands those townies with roots in the community to whom Mr. Bramson sometimes appears tone deaf. 

These new developers have tried to dazzle the local gentry with incredible urban-speak concepts like “crowd-sourced placemaking” which made absolutely no sense to the locals. And what did it mean? Unfortunately it’s the kind of meaningless Harvard-esque phrase that Mr. Bramson is so comfortable with. 

We’ve recently had three national writers call to ask us if his abilities and talents would fit a congressional seat. Our answer:  He would make a hell of a congressman.  But I did have to add that he’s not going to do any favors for the pro-life people.

But today he’s to be judged only on his stewardship as mayor of New Rochelle.  And on that he is entitled to very high marks.

We genuinely regret that the Republican candidate Brendan Conroy is just not at all in the Democrat’s league.  Mr. Conroy carries great lineage.  We adored his grandfather of sainted memory Governor Malcolm Wilson, the greatest orator Fordham ever graduated.  Mario Cuomo used to point out that in a political debate “Malcolm would beat you up in English … and finish you off in Latin!”

And lest we forget Mr. Conroy’s formidable mother is Katherine Wilson Conroy.  So the Republican comes at us from good genes and is a very nice man.  We look forward to seeing Brendan Conroy running for a seat on our Council one day.

But now in 2019 … for Mayor of New Rochelle WVOX and WVIP endorse the Democrat incumbent Noam Bramson.

He is who he is …

He has some wonderful qualities.  But just don’t ask him for a favor for your brother-in-law … or your old maid aunt.

This is a Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air.  This is Bill O’Shaughnessy.

WO Remarks at the Book Party for RADIO ACTIVE

Remarks

of

William O’Shaughnessy

at the

Book Party

for

RADIO ACTIVE 

by

William O’Shaughnessy

New York Yacht Club
New York City
October 7, 2019

 

Thank you Mark Simone … Donald Trump’s favorite broadcaster!  And mine.  Did you have a falling out with Catsimatidis!  I rarely see you without him … or about 100 high-ranking cops!

At a lot of book parties, the authors get up and read passages from the product of their genius.  I’m not going to do that.  But I do hope you’ll read the damn thing.

I’d like to thank all those who’ve left their hearth and home to join us tonight … and I’ll try to do this very quickly. Thank you for coming out on this rainy, drodsome night as we launch our seventh book.

For my previous books … it was pretty easy.  Those  who indulged us on those nights will recall that it was my custom to almost immediately turn the microphone and podium over to a magnificent friend  of sainted memory … a failed baseball player with “too many vowels in his name”  … GOVERNOR MARIO CUOMO. 

In years gone by … at these book parties we’ve had some exciting moments as when Mario Cuomo was at the podium … and he looked toward the back of the room and shouted “OUT!  Don’t let them in!  No real writers allowed!  (They were, as I remember … the late Peter Maas, Jimmy Breslin, Ken Auletta and Gay Talese!)  Don’t let them in?  No real writers?  They’ll expose O’Shaughnessy for the fraud he is!” (laughter).

# # #

And at another book party … there was a commotion at the door and a young woman tugged at my sleeve! “There’s a LIZ SMITH and a man named WALTER, uh, CRONKITE wanting to know if they could join you!”

“Yeh, you can let them …!” (laughter).

And ladies and gentlemen … an authentic angel just walked in – right on time … Mario Cuomo’s favorite daughter.  I know this because Andrew told me it was so … as indeed did Mario himself … on many occasions. She’s a filmmaker, philanthropist … and my favorite Cuomo (but for one:  her spectacular mother Matilda!) 

Maria we received a lovely note just this afternoon from the Executive Chamber.  Would you read it:

Dear Friends Here Assembled:

I’m proud to join in sending warm congratulations to my dear friend Bill O’Shaughnessy on celebrating the publication of his new book, RADIO ACTIVE.

My family and I have been proud to call Bill a cherished friend for many, many years, and we’re happy to see him continuing his legacy as a true New York institution and an invaluable inspiration to us all with this new book. My father and Bill shared a very beautiful friendship, and I’m honored to see it reflected in RADIO ACTIVE alongside Bill’s inimitable insights and wit.

On behalf of my family and all New Yorkers, our warmest congratulations again to Brother Bill on this latest achievement and many thanks for his ongoing contributions to New York and all our lives.

 

                                                Sincerely,

                                                Andrew M. Cuomo                                    

 

With Maria is the great international designer and philanthropist … my friend Kenneth Cole.  As you know, he’s raised many millions for AIDS campaigns. A lot of designers – worldwide – are taking up causes.  But Kenneth was the first.  He’s a wonderful young man.  Mario adored him.  As I do.

# # #

In this new book, I’ve written of many folks you know, people we’ve had before our microphones … and those I’ve encountered at table during my 81 years. 

Many are here in this room tonight.  And in the books 600 pages, I’ve also written of Jack Kennedy … The Bush Family … Rush Limbaugh and a story of his incredible and stunning generosity … also, reluctantly, I’ve written of the horrors known as Abortion and Capital Punishment.

I’ve even included a list of romantic songs … and a list of the best interpreters thereof. And I could not resist a brief compilation of those singers I’m not really crazy about: Streisand … Harry Connick, Jr. … and that gravelly-voiced guy who dares to sit at the piano where once Bobby Short wove his magic at the Carlyle.  I think the guys name is Steve Tyrell.

We also included a list of great saloonkeepers and restaurateurs … from Toots Shor to the folks at “21.”  And also my delightful friend Julian of the Four Seasons … and Joseph and Barbara from my beloved Mario’s.  The Migliucci Family is celebrating their 100th year on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. There are notes I made late at night with marvelous and candid observations from the great Sirio Maccioni, ringmaster of Le Cirque. 

And, as in all my books … I’ve included “The Obligatory Mario Cuomo Section in Every Bill O’Shaughnessy Book.”

# # #

You’ll also find too many eulogies, I’m afraid. I’ve included Andrew’s for his Dad … George W. to his Dad … and some farewells to the great Jimmy Breslin … and Philip Roth, who I met late in life. I collected his novels. But I never read one of them. He said he didn’t particularly like novels either.  But he was a delightful guy of an evening.

And Don Rickles. (How the hell did he get in there!)  (laughter). I think you’ll enjoy the conversation between Rickles and “The Focaccia Kid” at Le Cirque of an evening.)

I just want to mention that the Foreword is very meaningful and dear to me.  It was written “for my next book” by Mario Cuomo himself. After being treated for 38 years to his inspiration and friendship … these few, lovely pages of which I’m not at all worthy, were his Last Great Gift to me … and I treasure it. (applause).

# # #

That’s at the beginning – the Foreword.  At the end … you’ll find a very extensive and comprehensive Index. In insisting on an Index … I was again yielding to the advice and wisdom of the great bar room philosopher and man of letters Mr. Bernard “Toots” Shor who told me, one day at the bar years ago: “If you ever write a book. … with our kinda friends … you gotta have an Index so they can look up their own names and then they don’t have to read the whole damn book!” (applause).

# # #

And I begin with a chapter, a whole section really, on our precious and aptly named First Amendment.

I should also admit that the Cuomo memoir sold better than any previous book.  The great Leonard Riggio, a dear man, and chairman of Barnes & Noble (don’t worry: he still runs the place!) said the reason our Cuomo book is doing so well (they just ordered another thousand copies) is because it’s the first book without my picture on the cover!!!) (laughter).

And so tonight, I stand here alone … without the late, great Mr.  Cuomo to thank all of you for coming.  But first let me tell you that these proceedings are greatly enhanced by the presence of the First Lady of New York … times two!  She’s still our First Lady. Please welcome my beloved friend … the Chairman of Mentoring USA … MATILDA RAFFA CUOMO.

I know I’m supposed to talk about the book … and I’ll get there soon, I promise you.  I should probably start with the Cover which has received almost universal acclaim because it was instantly recognized as the genius of the great ROBERT RISKO, the world-famous caricaturist of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker whose iconic drawings are known all over the world:  ROBERT RISKO. He’s immortalized every public person and celebrity we’ve ever heard of.  I hope you will find the book worthy of his brilliant cover … as I also hope it is worthy of your presence tonight.

And I should also thank PROFESSOR RICH HENDEL who actually wrote the Bible on book design … taught in every college.

FORDHAM UNIVERSITY PRESS

I owe a great deal to the elders and scholars at Fordham Press, the great Jesuit University Press in the City of New York.  And, once again, I have to tell them of my great hope that my poor efforts will again not do too much damage to their national reputation for scholarship.

FRED NACHBAUR, is here tonight … the brilliant, young director of Fordham Press, a rising star in the publishing world.  I now want to thank you publicly, Fred, as I have so many times on the phone and in my prayers.

ERIC NEWMAN is here.  He’s the patient and forgiving – and stunningly brilliant – managing editor of Fordham.  And MARK LERNER who got it to press and produced a handsome book, if I do say so.

Also please welcome my friend MARGARET NOONAN, manager of business affairs (who is the only woman who can shut down the entire campus of this great Jesuit University, the entire college, law school included … she can do it just with the nod of her head or a mere wink because she is the head of the labor union on campus which means her colleagues love her … as I do.)

And one more from Fordham – KATE O’BRIEN who finds shelf space for our erratic, struggling efforts.

# # #

This book would not have seen the light of day without my Litchfield neighbor DOUGLAS CLEMENT who for many years was editor of the Litchfield County Times which in its day was second in the nation only to the iconic Vineyard Gazette in reputation and scholarship.

THE REAL WRITERS … Some Giants in the Literary Life of New York

First of all we also welcome some real writers:  As you hear these names, you will instantly know I’m not worthy to loose the strap of their sandals: KEN AULETTA, the author of many, many best-selling books and long-time feature writer for The New Yorker. He’s also a great friend … and we go back to trying to run Howard Samuels for governor.

Also a great man of letters who was one of the first to encourage my clumsy, struggling efforts and difficulty with the mother tongue (the English language) Professor SIDNEY OFFIT, president of the Authors Guild Foundation.  He’s worked with and encouraged Caro, Ellison Heller and Vonnegut.  Why the hell he’s hanging around with me! 

And we’re so honored by the presence of a great journalist, editor and reporter (he’s also a television star in New York!) the great, respected MR. SAM ROBERTS of our beloved New York Times!

And my attractive pal from “Down Under” … LACHLAN CARTWRIGHT – feature columnist with The Daily Beast!

I’d also like you to meet perhaps the greatest essayist in the nation: The incomparable LANCE MORROW, a Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and columnist for the WALL STREET JOURNAL and CITY JOURNAL.  And for many, many years, he also wrote those legendary and beautiful essays for TIME Magazine. (I knew his father HUGH MORROW, of sainted memory, who was a close, personal advisor to Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller!)  His son and heir Lance writes like an angel.  And we are all his students.

And I’m sure you spotted her: My friend of many years: shy, modest, retiring and never dull JOAN JEDELL, publisher of The Hampton Society Sheet!

And I see in the room a very bright guy from our home heath who writes and sustains the COUNTY PRESS, Westchester’s black-owned newspaper. They’re approaching and going for a hundred years. I won’t be around, but MICHAEL DANDRY will be!

There are a lot of famous names in the place … including the author, historian and international affairs specialist who is a famous son of a famous father: STEPHEN SCHLESINGER, son and heir of the great historian ARTHUR SCHLESINGER. When he is not lecturing at the UN, he writes great books. He also banged around words for a time with Mario Cuomo himself.

And I’m so glad to have someone who is the entire New York Post, their longtime editor, feature writer, restaurant critic, real estate columnist.  And no one is supposed to know this:  but he edits Cindy Adams and Emily Smith. STEVE CUOZZO.  (Cue-zzo) And his wife, the former editor of Women’s Home Journal JANE HERSHEY CUOZZO, the famous writer of a famous mother.

THE ELDERS OF MY BROADCASTING TRIBE ARE HERE.

Welcome some of my colleagues:  The great MARK SIMONE, Donald Trump’s favorite broadcaster, from WOR Radio!  I listen to him every day from ten to noon on my way to Litchfield.  (applause).

Also one of the great leaders and philanthropists of our profession, the Chairman Emeritus of the Broadcasters Foundation of America and Chairman of Citadel Television – our friend and Leader and inspiration: PHIL LOMBARDO! (applause).

From Albany, the capitol, we’re very glad to see perhaps my oldest friend in our tribe, JOE REILLY and his LYDIA. Reilly is not quite into the 80’s as I am, but I’ll be damned, he’s still doing a music show called “Reilly on the Radio” in the Capitol District, even today! Joe ran the New York State Broadcasters for three decades and is a beloved figure in our profession. 

Also … the distinguished president of our Broadcasters Foundation of America, a nationally known statesman, JIM THOMPSON.

THE LEGAL EAGLES …

I’ll now introduce some very smart guys from the Judiciary and some legal eagles:  First my friend and his spectacular wife KAREN, who have both been watching over our radio stations and yours truly for many years: JUDGE JEFFREY BERNBACH!

Another brilliant man of the Law (we don’t agree politically (these days I hardly agree politically with anybody!) I discovered him late in life.  He’s not only stunningly brilliant, he’s possessed of a magnificent soul: MICHAEL ASSAF. (applause).

Also KEVIN BARRY McGRATH of Louis Nizer’s firm who is a legend in New York judicial circles!

And I’d also like you to meet one of our talk show hosts, speaking of legends:  Perhaps the greatest criminal lawyer in America: MURRAY “Don’t Worry Murray” RICHMAN (who specializes in murder trials. He likes them … because “There’s one less witness!”)  (laughter).

And with Murray is a young woman who has been in the DAILY NEWS only five times this month STACEY RICHMANIt’s funny how Murray represents the very “interesting” types and his daughter Stacey represents all the music rappers.  (Many of them also pretty “interesting!) (laughter).

I’ve used the word legend about five times now, but there’s a woman from Connecticut, the former presiding justice of the Superior Courts in that state, JUDGE ANNE DRANGINIS. (She’s now the preeminent matrimonial lawyer in New England.  Judge Annie, where the hell were you when I really needed you?)  And she’s a Selectwoman of our historic town.

With the judge is a woman I just met recently: JOYCE SHARKEY.  She is now one of the most powerful women at NBC and MSNBC. When I asked Judge Annie what the hell that means, she said “Let me put it this way: She’s Willie Geist’s motherinlaw.” I got it … right away!) (laughter).

RESTAURATEURS …

I know you’re getting hungry and I think it’s time I introduced some legendary restaurateurs:  First of all, the great JULIAN NICCOLINI.  You know him from the various iterations of the iconic FOUR SEASONS restaurant.  (He’s on his best behavior tonight!)  But the night is young … (laughter).

And also, my dear friends of so many years, celebrating their 100th Anniversary, JOSEPH and BARBARA MIGLIUCCI of MARIO’s iconic restaurant on Arthur Avenue in the Little Italy section of The Bronx!  (Joseph, you haven’t been around for all those 100 years?)

And the greatest maitre’d in this town from HARRY’s BAR in Venice, LE CIRQUE and CIRCO and now MILOS, my friend Maestro BRUNO DUSIN! (applause).

Also speaking of Food, the good-looking blonde is MARIA VON NICOLAI who was the longtime amanuensis to SIRIO MACCIONI.  She now runs the ILLY Coffee Company.

MY FAMILY …

(Not your kind of “Family,” Gianni Russo!)

Allow me to be a little personal and introduce some “family.” From Pennsylvania JULIE O’SHAUGHNESSY who is devoted to the memory of my late brother JACK … My only nephew JOHN and his KELLY.  My son DAVID who is President of Whitney Global Media and runs our radio stations so well: DAVID TUCKER O’SHAUGHNESSY … And his attractive brother MATTHEW O’SHAUGHNESSY with his friend CLARE LAWRENCE.  (In the family, we call her Saint Clare)!

Also my dear and beloved and devoted compadre of over a decade GREGORIO ALVAREZ (applause) … and his wonderful sister MIO ALVAREZ. 

# # #

I’d also like you to meet some extraordinary people also dear to me:  CINDY HALL GALLAGHER, my amanuensis of some 42 years.  You can see what I really think about this wonderful woman without whom my life would resemble a seven-car pileup in the Acknowledgements section.  (She’s right there ….) 

And my young, brilliant and talented associate KEVIN SCOTT ELLIOTT who I think would take a bullet for me.  And I for him.

Our Chief-of-Staff at the radio station: DON STEVENS … who runs WVOX and WVIP and MAGGIE CERVANTES who runs our office (and she’s pretty good behind the microphone as co-host with my beloved compadre GREGORIO ALVAREZ)!

JUDY FREMONT … she’s a woman of great culture and substance and why she hangs around with me I’ll never know.  She’s also a killer on the golf course!

# # #

I also want you to meet a man has kept me going in all the seasons of my life.  I recently spoke just a few weeks ago at the 75th Anniversary of his Natal Day!  DR. RICHARD ROCCO PISANO, the smartest damn physician in Westchester and his beloved wife KATHY PISANO who runs his practice and life!  (applause).

# # #

I was introducing broadcasters earlier, I should have introduced FATHER CHRIS MONTURO who is not only a beloved priest and pastor in our home heath, he’s also a radio star … and for his first show he wouldn’t tell me who his guest was … when in walked the Archbishop of New York TIMOTHY CARDINAL DOLAN. (Father Chris is another one of those “three Hail Mary’s for a homicide priests” (in case there’s anything you want to, uh, talk to him about!)  He’s here tonight with this handsome brother Mark, a Jet Blue captain.

# # #

I see another of my Connecticut neighbors who also lives in the nicest apartment building in this town:  One Beekman, a very generous guy PAOLO MARTINO …

And finally one of the ranking experts on Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Power in America, my great friend JIM CUNNINGHAM who in an earlier life ran the State of New York as chief of staff to Governor Hugh Carey. (applause).

THE ENTERTAINERS …

We should have had some music tonight, because some great artists have joined us:  GIANNI RUSSO, the actor and crooner, star of the Godfather (he played CARLO RIZZI, Michael’s brother-in-law). And author of the bestseller “Hollywood Godfather!”

And a guy who made a ton of money and late in life decided he could sing like Chet Baker – my friend NORMAN DRUBNER and his Nancy.  (He’s done seven albums.)

The great impresario LEE ELMAN who has maintained his sprawling castle in the Berkshires in Great Barrington as a lovely forum for classical musical performers.  And I see with him an old friend on whom I’ve had a crush for many years: Mrs. EDWARD NOONAN “JUDY” NEY!  Her husband was the Ambassador to Canada and chairman of Young & Rubicam.  I called Ed Ney the “Fred Astaire of Madison Avenue” and Judy is a dazzler in every season! (applause).

Also my dear and beloved neighbors THOMAS McKNIGHT, the internationally known artist and his spectacular wife, RENATE McKNIGHT, the most vivid woman in Litchfield (who presides over Tom and the nicest historic house in Litchfield.) She’s also a pilot of her own plane!

###

And just back from Paris (he’s always just back from Paris … or Palm Beach,) ZAHIR ZIANI, the great designer and stylist from The Salon at Bergdorf. (I’ve been telling him he should write a book about all his “swans.” They’re all rich … and crazy about him!)  Speaking of which:  please welcome a philanthropist and wonderful woman: Mrs. Joanne Payson of Maine, New York and Hobe Sound!

# # #

This book has so far had four – actually six – very favorable reviews from reviewers who have clearly weighed my book’s many inadequacies less diligently than they assessed what they might find commendable in its pages. 

As I approach Senility … I keep thinking about Phillip Roth when late in life he closed down his desk and computer.  Put a post-it note on his computer: “The struggle with writing is done.”

“Old age isn’t a battle.  It’s a massacre” said Roth.

He inveighed against the “diminishments” which assault us as we confront old age.  It’s a great word: diminishments.  I first heard it from my beloved friend Mr. Cuomo (who stole it from the Jesuit philosopher and paleontologist Father Teilhard de Chardin.

My Jesuit friends don’t know this … and Fred Nachbaur hasn’t given his blessing or bestowed his imprimatur … but I’d like to do one more … before I hang up my spikes. 

It’s to be called: “Townies” … those neighborhood characters who were sidemen in orchestras long dispersed. I’ve written of governors, presidents and cardinals!  It’s time I think to celebrate the “Townies.”

Before I yield … Id like to thank Mr. Tim McCormick who runs this landmark club with perhaps the most beautiful room in the city. I knew Mr. McCormick when, for many years, he presided over the American Yacht Club in Rye. For my previous books we tucked into Le Cirque and the Four Seasons – both now shuttered.  Tim: thanks for taking us in … after we put those two iconic venues right Out of Business!  (laughter) (applause).

The New York Yacht Club was founded on July 30, 1844 … 175 years ago.  I hope we haven’t done too much damage to its lineage, history or its wonderful reputation … but we’re very grateful for taking us in and giving us shelter and protection in such great style.

EARLY REVIEWS

 

“It’s worth its weight in words … and if you like great thoughts expressed in good writing … RADIO ACTIVE is not only a good read, but it serves as a textbook of interviewing skills, powerful ammunition for defending the First Amendment and an object lesson in respecting, reconciling widely different points of view.”

– – – Radio Editor Jay Mitchell

 

 “O’Shaughnessy’s compassionate, evocative language gets into the heads and hearts of his subjects with his engaging radio interviews … a glorious hodgepodge of snippets from his radio files.  New Yorkers will recognize and appreciate the many local voices.  Foremost among them, the singular voice of Bill O’Shaughnessy.”

– – Foreword

 

“O’Shaughnessy has strong opinions on issues such as abortion and the death penalty (he’s against both).  His collection is full of statements that are sure to raise the hackles of some readers and warm the hearts of others.  He speaks passionately about the First Amendment, denouncing the Fairness Doctrine and corporate censorship of individual broadcasters. He’s also quick to defend controversial subjects, including the conduct of Bill O’Reilly, Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh and Billy Bush. One particular figure seems foremost on the author’s mind:  the late Mario Cuomo. Indeed, his esteem for the former New York governor pervades this book.  An anthology that, at its best, offers striking cultural, political and religious discussion.”

– – – Kirkus Reviews

 

“RADIO ACTIVE gives readers insight into one of the most revered journalists and political writers of our time … a book for anyone who enjoys good political commentary, insight on social issues and discussion on important topics of the modern era.  The author’s works are insightful and honest … a great testament to the distinguished career of a renowned writer, author and journalist … a must-read book.”

— – Pacific Book Review

 

“In an era where social media creates echo chambers of thought, O’Shaughnessy’s style is his own and he owns it; Yet it makes the reader nostalgic for an older style of political discourse that was inclusive and civil.  The private moments, personal stories and fond memories here further establish that beyond every opinion is a human being.  We ought to listen to what they have to say.”

– – US Review of Books

“I always enjoy Bill O’Shaughnessy’s writings.”

– – Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

 

“I always look forward to reading the history of our times Bill O’Shaughnessy has captured.”

– – David McCullough
Historian and author

 

“I’m the Voice of the Yankees … but he’s clearly the Voice of New York!”

– – -John Sterling
New York Yankees

 

“I enjoy Bill O’Shaughnessy’s ‘character’ portraits.  They are like potato chips … you can’t stop with only one!”

– – – Henry Kissinger
Former Secretary of State

 

“I applaud the white-haired mogul’s editorials.  So many remain silent.  He has always been there for me.”

– – – Howard Stern
The Howard Stern Show

 

“His listeners love him – and his radio stations.  O’Shaughnessy really understands.”

– – – Rush Hudson Limbaugh, III

 

“Bill O’Shaughnessy is a commentator of insight, wit, uncompromising honesty and overwhelming persuasion.”

– – – Congresswoman Nita Lowey
Chair, House Appropriations Committee

 

“What a terrific pen Bill O’Shaughnessy has. His writings are touching and strong.”

– – – Jonathan Bush
Brother of President George H.W. Bush

“O’Shaughnessy’s commentaries are great and beautifully said.”

– – – Jack Welch
Former Chairman, General Electric

 

Contact:
Cindy Gallagher
914-235-3279
cindy@wvox.com

 

Remarks of WO re: Dr. Richard Pisano 75th Birthday Celebration

May it please you Monsignor Petrillo, beloved pastor of Saints John and Paul …

Welcome to our celebration of the 75h Anniversary of Doctor Richard Rocco Pisano’s Natal Day.

First of all, thank you to his remarkable … and indispensable … … devoted and dynamic wife, Kathy Pisano, for this lovely party. She is essential to his practice, his career and his life. He knows it … and so do we all!

There are all kinds of people here tonight, other physicians and doctors – his colleagues – city officials, relatives, hospital and healthcare administrators, in-laws … and even a few outlaws.

So please humor me as I recount just a few things you may not know about Kathy’s great husband.  And our beloved friend.

He was born August 16, 1944, on the Feast of Saint Rocco.

Saint Rocco, was a Frenchman, (he can be forgiven for that!) who traveled to Italy to win eternal glory through miraculous healings of people afflicted by the Plague. Thus, the Church of Rome venerates his Birthday for protection against disease.  

So Dr. Richard Rocco Pisano is aptly named.  For a healer.  And a saint!

Some of you first encountered him as a young man at Xavier, the famous Jesuit high school in Manhattan. After graduation, he returned to the Jesuits at Fordham when it was truly a great university, before they began publishing my books!

He trained at the prestigious University of Bologna in Italy and interned at Fordham Hospital, St. Barnabas in New Jersey, and our dearly departed New Rochelle Hospital and Medical Center.

And the rest is history as he became the most respected general practitioner in Southern Westchester and rose to president of the Medical Board of Sound Shore, now known as Montefiore – where his colleagues and caregivers will confirm Dr. Pisano’s genius and dedication. But there’s more.

He’s essentially an ontologist. Now I know that’s a high-sounding word … that doesn’t quite fit in all the disciplines, specialties and categories by which practitioners of modern medicine cast themselves. But that’s what Mario Cuomo called him at one of my book parties.

He’s into Being. He’s into Life. And like his namesake from the 13th century, he has dedicated the past four decades to encouraging Life … to prolonging Life …  to enhancing Life … to protecting Life.  To fighting for it and sustaining it.

He’s also a diplomat and a role model for his profession. Sometimes, you can size up a doctor by the shingle outside his office. If there’s a P.C. after the name, it stands for “Professional Corporation.” If there’s an “LLC” after the moniker, it means “Limited Liability Corporation.” And if you see either abbreviation, you know you’re in trouble!

Some of those physicians practice Business instead of Medicine. But not Rich Pisano. He examines, diagnoses, recommends, prescribes, lectures, treats, heals, ministers, counsels … and … loves. 

He’s at his office day after day or at Montefiore New Rochelle, making rounds, visiting, evaluating, inspiring and teaching. 

His patients include the young, the old and infirm, our families, our parents and those we love.  And, Kathy tells me we are joined and honored by the presence tonight of many of Dr. Pisano’s patients!

Finally, we think back to the 1970’s in our city. There were only really three top doctors in the region in those days, Ira Gelb, a great man … and a kindly white-haired doctor named Dan Sherber … and a beloved pediatrician, Irv Samuels. And all retired the very same year … in the early 70’s!

So we looked for a suitable replacement. And all the recommendations said the same thing.  There’s a wonderful, bright, dedicated and hard-working young man … a general practitioner we recommend very highly.

His name is Pisano.  Dr. Richard Pisano.

And so, he’s healed and comforted us for the last 46 years. As we came to love and trust him … with our very lives.

Before we hear from our great friend, counselor, and physician, who was so aptly named 75 years ago on that August day, the Feast … of Saint Rocco … I’d like to bring up four very special individuals who know intimately of Dr. Pisano’s unique goodness and his sweet attributes far better than I.

Jennifer Pisano … Captain Nicholas Pisano … Elizabeth Pisano and Sergeant First Class Richard Pisano.

 

September 6, 2019
VIP Country Club
New Rochelle, NY

 

Contact:

Cindy Hall Gallagher
914-235-3279
cindy@wvox.com

Charlie Kafferman “A Dear Man” // An Appreciation by William O’Shaughnessy

Charlie Kafferman

“A Dear Man” 

An Appreciation

by 

William O’Shaughnessy

July 8, 2019

In my business we “warehouse” obits … so that when someone departs for another and, we are sure, a better world … we are ready with the details, minutiae and landmarks of a person’s life. No such trove or repository exists for Charlie Kafferman because everyone in Litchfield fully expected him to be around forever to feed us, to counsel us and to entertain and anchor us with his wisdom of 88 years.

But at 2:30 on the summer Saturday just past, the legendary Mr. Charles Kafferman (I know the word is overused, but he was that), proprietor of the West Street Grill, an iconic eatery which has existed for 25 years in his lovely Connecticut town, died in Danbury Hospital after 10 days in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.  The formal notices of his passing will mention the culprit as “congestive heart failure.”

But earlier, and for many years, Charlie had battled lung cancer with visits to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in the great City, so many that he was known among the doctors and nurses as “Lazarus Kafferman.”

He is survived by his shy, modest, retiring life and business partner James O’Shea who knew his genius and goodness for 42 years. They lived together in a Colonial era house in the historic district of Litchfield which was once owned by J.P. Morgan.

By day and on most nights, Charlie and James repaired to their labor of love known by locals as “The Grill” and was operated almost as a private club. But Charlie made everyone feel welcome … from the landed gentry and hilltoppers of Litchfield and residents of Morris, Bantam, Woodridge Lake, Washington Depot, Bethlehem, New Preston and even as far away as Newport … to the newest arrivals in town for whom Kafferman was a generous, benevolent and knowledgeable counsellor. He took great pleasure in personally welcoming these tentative young couples and providing them with his food and inexhaustible repository of wisdom and his love for the town and its colorful and influential inhabitants.

They loved his stories about Sinatra and Mia Farrow. “I was there the night they got engaged … and I told Frank I knew her before he did!”  (It’s quite remarkable that Frank let him live!) One night at the Grill … I asked Mia, who was with Philip Roth, if the story was true.  She swore it was … “but Frank did ask me where that guy lives!  I wouldn’t tell.” Or the night at the Latin Quarter where he was mistaken for William B. Williams, the famous “Make Believe Ballroom” disc jockey. He also regaled listeners with the tale told by the great writer Philip Roth that when President Obama presented him with an award at the White House … the president whispered “Where’s Charlie?” who, as a favor to his pal Roth, had picked up an earlier award for Roth from the governor of Connecticut.  (Roth swore it was true!)

He could also discuss the rock groups U2, Mumford and Sons and the Rolling Stones with the Millennials. And he once trooped all the way uptown to Harlem for a concert.

Day after day, in nice weather, Charlie would sit with his beloved labrador Cashel.  As both were somewhat aging and together battling the diminishments, Cashel and Charlie had a special bond. Everyone would stop to pet Cashel and greet the restaurant proprietor who one day told me “Cashel and I are ‘hookers.’  We tell them ‘The food is great … go on in.  You can pet him.”

His warm, agreeable and welcoming personality – as well as his canon of stories and jokes (many of which could not be told on the radio) helped transform the Grill from your usual, run-of-the-mill “country restaurant” to a dazzling mecca of influence and celebrity. 

Night after night actors, publishers, artists, newspaper and magazine editors, Wall Street types, merchant princes, famous authors, Broadway and television producers, food critics and wine aficionados and colorful townie characters repaired to the Grill.  Among them:  Henry Kissinger … William Styron … Philip Roth … Richard Widmark … Mia Farrow … Sheila Nevins and Sidney Koch … Daniel Glass … Milos Forman … Judge Anne Dranginis and Judge Charlie Gill … Arthur Hill Diedrick … Tara Stacom Diedrick … Rex Reed … Debra and Declan Murphy … Sirio Maccioni … Bill Plunkett, Esq. … Teno West … Richard Gere … Cathy and Greg Oneglia … Renate and Tom McKnight … Ellen and Ray Oneglia … Rod Oneglia and Michael Quadland … David Pecker … Melissa and Paul Bennett … Julian Niccolini … Lauren and Armand Della Monica … Danny Meyer … Brooke Hayward … Bob Summer … Norman Drubner … Nancy Kissinger … Kim and Bobby D’Andrea … Joe Cicio … Lou Amendola … Norman Sunshine … Douglas Clement … Jim Hoge … William vanden Heuvel … Gregorio Alvarez …  Ron Leal and Joseph Montebello … Alan Shayne … Daniel Day Lewis … Andrew Thompson and Bradley Stephens … Robin Johnson and his family … Gina and Alexander Duckworth … Ann Sutherland Fuchs … Francine du Plessix Gray … Margot Wick … Wendy and Royal Victor IV a/k/a “Mike” (I love the name!) But everyone was welcome except an occasional ill-educated “gavone” who insisted on wearing a baseball hat in the dining room!  That would never do.

Charlie was a class act in every season.  And there was a big, broad range to his life.  His patron, admirer and friend Daniel Glass, the music impresario and record producer, was also taken by the unique professional and personal relationship between Kafferman and his partner O’Shea.  “It was a merger of two cultures:  the Irish and the Jewish.  They were a perfect team!” I myself saw this for many years as Charlie and James covered for each other. They protected and sustained each other.  James was, shall we say, a little more “colorful,” ahem, “outspoken” and, if you will, a little more “dynamic.” But Charlie was always wonderful, calming and reassuring.  And it worked.  They worked together.

James attracted and mentored many young, talented chefs while Charlie “dressed” the dining room of an evening … moving people around like Nelson Riddle arranged notes and making them feel important. But he was much more than a skillful “maitre’d” or talented restaurateur.

He had an eye for the ladies, and he wasn’t at all happy when I called him a “babe magnet.”  But he got a lot of kisses of an evening from rich widows and pretty young girls.

He could sense when people at his tables were hurting and life turned sad and difficult. That was his genius. He just “knew.”  He would sit for hours trying to reconcile warring husbands and wives and help them sort out their marital problems. And he “adopted” their offspring and followed them and their exploits down through the years. 

He’d often trot out one of his marvelous stories (or a risqué joke). Daniel Glass, the record producer, had a lovely line, “He gave us the nourishment of his own life before he gave up the nourishment of his food.  His ability to deliver a punch line was flawless. I’d try to remember them … but they never worked for me.” Glass, the discoverer of Mumford and Sons, also admired Charlie’s attire and way of dressing … “dapper, with such flair … all casual elegance.”

I’ve run on too long.  But how do you distill a Life of 88 years that included his enthusiasm for Litchfield County … Florida … Ireland … and the fashion world in Manhattan. He especially loved Ireland and took his last trip over there all alone at the age of 88, leaving James home to watch over things at the Grill. He also loved to head south in Ray and Greg Oneglia’s jet which was acquired from Ted Turner.

Before becoming a celebrated restaurateur and country squire late in life, Charlie Kafferman had an earlier career in the world of merchandising and fashion. As a young man he teamed with John Pomerantz, the founder of Leslie Fay … becoming one of the youngest vice presidents in the history of the famous conglomerate which, to this day, still makes women’s dresses and apparel. And Charlie then went on to own his own dress factories in this country and abroad, the products of which were featured at Macy’s, Gimbels, J.C. Penney, Saks, Dillard’s, Belk’s and I. Magnin. 

He will be buried this week in a Catholic cemetery in his beloved Litchfield as a result of only the most recent gracious and thoughtful gesture of one absolutely unique Reverend Father Robert Tucker, the popular and charismatic Roman Catholic pastor for Litchfield and surrounding towns.

That black lab named Cashel, however, is just moping around today, feeling “few” … and missing his pal “The Hooker.”

So is most of the town Charlie so loved. 

He was a dear man.

We thought he’d be around forever.

 

 

Contact:

William O’Shaughnessy

914-235-3279

wfo@wvox.com

Steve Dunleavy: A Remembrance by William O’Shaughnessy

Steve Dunleavy was a newspaper guy and he did some television via A Current Affair.

But, little known was his ill-fated foray into Radio.

It happened like this. I idolized one Richard Neal Travis, the diminutive boulevardier who was one of the founders of Page Six. He was very good to me and mine and our Westchester radio stations.  And I learned early on that when he was not cavorting or swanning about the Hamptons, Neal Travis was often to be found with another legendary print journalist Stephen Francis Patrick Aloysius Dunleavy a/k/a Steve Dunleavy.  They often kept company with each other at Langan’s saloon on West 49th Street, about a half a block from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire and his beloved holding the influential New York Post.

One day I approached Travis and Dunleavy who were drinking their lunch at the far end of the bar.  When I introduced myself, Dunleavy, with eyes sparkling, looked up and said: “Oh, you’re Neal’s ‘Westchester Bureau Chief’!” It was an appellation and commissioning I’ve worn proudly for these many years.

A few drinks later Dunleavy said, “Why the hell don’t you put us on Radio?” Although I professed to know very little about national syndication, it occurred to me that the chairman of our Broadcasters Foundation of America Edward McLaughlin, former President of ABC Radio (Paul Harvey) and discoverer of the great Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, might be helpful. As chairman of the Foundation’s Guardian Fund, I was often exposed to McLaughlin’s perceptive genius at raising money while serving with him on the Board of our profession’s national charity.

We set up a “luncheon,” this time with food, at a real table at Langan’s with Travis, Dunleavy and McLaughlin. I watched with great satisfaction and considerable approval as the three took a great liking to each other. But as the drinks piled up and the afternoon wore on, I excused myself as the sun was now setting over Manhattan. And, clearly out of my league, I took my leave as my brilliant pronouncements began … I think … uh … slurring. I later learned that the three-way high council and “lemon squeeze” turned into an “early dinner” … all of which can be confirmed by Langan’s proprietor of the day Des O’Brien.

And so, next thing I know, McLaughlin had arranged for a “three-week” tryout for the dauntless duo on WABC. Their first radio guest was Liza Minnelli who was delightful.  But it became clear that Radio was not gonna work for Rupert’s guys. It was “bloody” this … “bloody” that … and about a hundred “Maties.” Although Travis was from New Zealand and Dunleavy, of course, hailed from Australia, the listener couldn’t discern who the hell was speaking at any given moment. There were more than a few “Don’t give up your day jobs” directed to them even after the first broadcast. (I’m afraid I was among the thumbs down crowd myself).

In recent years, Dunleavy toodled around in one of those red mobile scooters in the Florida Keys and at New York’s Island Park, colorful, spiffy and well-turned-out as always. And now he is gone.  And journalism loses another dazzling star, hard on the heels of the departure of James Earl Breslin of sainted memory.

And so this week as we sadly contemplate the loss of Dunleavy … I also think of his great pal Neal Travis. And I pulled up some pieces I did on him in my previous books (see attached). They were both wonderful.  And you have to put them together.

Dunleavy and Travis called Murdoch “The Boss.” And Rupert, who adored them both, called Steve “one of the greatest reporters of all time.”

Last word to Murdoch.

 

Steve Dunleavy from Previous Books

The Great Interpreters of the Great American Songbook

The Great Interpreters of the

Great American Songbook

Frank Sinatra …Fred Astaire … Nat King Cole … Mabel Mercer … Tony Bennett … Mel Torme … Chet Baker … Ella Fitzgerald … Doris Day … Bing Crosby … Louis Armstrong … Bobby Short … Hugh Shannon … Rosemary Clooney … Tony Perkins … Vic Damone … Skinnay Ennis … Charles Trenet … Norman Drubner …  Blossom Dearie … Jack Sheldon … Daryl Sherman … Ronny Whyte … Sylvia Syms … Noel Coward …  Richard Rodney Bennett … Robert Merrill … Chuck Castleberry … Dean Martin … Gianni Russo … David Allyn … Billie Holiday … Judy Garland … Murray Grand … Lady Gaga … Sarah Vaughan … Steve Ross … KT Sullivan … Edith Piaf … Matt Monroe … Mama Cass Elliot … Peggy Lee … Lena Horne … Eddy Sessa …  Billy Joel … Peter Mintun … Steve Lawrence … Eydie Gorme… Andrea Bocelli … Ted Straeter … Neil Diamond … Rod Stewart … Ethel Merman … Johnny Mercer … Matt Dennis … Charlie Cochran … Tierney Sutton … John Pizzarelli … Michael Feinstein …  Danny Nye …

However, I’m Less Than Enthused By …  

Some who look on Michael Bublé and really know music, like Egidiana Maccioni, a gifted singer in her own right, see Michael as the second coming of the Great Sinatra.  I don’t.

Harry Connick, Jr. is a good-looking guy who may be terrific on stage. But I’m not convinced he can sing.

Steve Tyrell often emotes in the legendary Café Carlyle where, for many years, the regal and magnificent Bobby Short, of sainted memory, dazzled the landed gentry.  Tyrell’s presence in that hallowed, exclusive venue is almost blasphemous. He’s admittedly got a lot of admirers for his scratchy, gravelly- voiced warbling. I’m not among them.

Jack Jones is a nice guy.  I knew and interviewed his father and mother, both great singers. Jack has pipes almost as good as Damone. But his choice of material, arrangements and orchestrations have always been wanting.

And one more: Barbara Streisand’s nasal, tonal, one – note voice is an “acquired taste” which I never acquired.

If Biden Runs, They’ll Tear Him Up

This Peggy Noonan column in the Wall Street Journal and the Post is so sad.

It could be the final takedown of a very decent guy.

I hope not. There’s a shrillness and outright nastiness to many/most of the other Democratic aspirants.

I’m probably for the President against all comers.  But Biden and/or Andrew would give me pause … and at least make me think about it.

(My forebearers are from around Scranton). 

(And Andrew is a son of Mario Cuomo).

I hope Joe Biden doesn’t let the loonies – or the Press – even someone we love like Peggy Noonan – yearning for the excitement of something new, drive him out.

He’s a politician the way the folks of our father’s time imagined them to be.

And that ain’t too bad …

If Biden Runs, They’ll Tear Him Up

The old Democratic Party was warm, like him. The new one rising is colder, less human and divisive.

Don’t do it, Joe.

Don’t run for president. It won’t work, you won’t get the nomination, your loss will cause pain and not only for you.

And your defeat will be worse than sudden, it will be poignant.

Right now operatives for the other candidates are trying to scare you out of jumping in. We all know that what you intended as warmth is now received as a boundary violation. You addressed this in a video that was crisp and friendly: You never meant to cause discomfort, you intend to change your ways.

But it’s not going away. It will linger, and more will come.

Democratic operatives do not fear you will win the nomination—they think you’re too old, your time has passed, you’re not where the energy of the base is, or the money. But they do not want you taking up oxygen the next six to 10 months as you sink in the polls. And they don’t want you swooping in to claim the middle lane. Others already have a stake there, or mean to.

In the past you were never really slimed and reviled by your party; you were mostly teased and patronized. But if you get in the race this time, it will be different. They will show none of the old respect for you, your vice presidency or your past fealty to the cause. And you are in the habit of receiving respect. Soon the topic will turn, in depth, to Anita Hill, the Clinton crime bill, your friendliness to big business. You have opposed partial-birth abortion. Also, the old plagiarism video will come back and be dissected. It was more than 30 years ago, and for a lot of reporters and voters it will be a riveting story, and brand new.

You backed the Iraq war. That question will be resurrected, as opposed to redebated. It is always fair to redebate it—to be asked, “Why did your generation of Democratic politicians back that war. Looking back what did you misunderstand?” But it will only be resurrected, and thrown in your face.

You will be judged to be old-school, and insufficiently doctrinaire. The current Democratic Party is different from the one you entered in the late 1960s, not only in policies but in mood, tone, style. Today’s rising young Democrats see no honor in accommodation, little virtue in collegiality.

In the old party of classic 20th-century Democratic liberalism, they wanted everyone to rise. Those who suffered impediments—minorities, women, working people trying to unionize—would be given a boost. There’s plenty to go around, America’s a rich country, let the government get in and help.

The direction, or at least the aspiration, was upward, for everybody.

The mood of the rising quadrants of the new party is more pinched—more abstractedly aggrieved, more theoretical. Less human. Now there’s a mood not of Everyone Can Rise but of Some Must Be Taken Down. White people in general, and white males in particular, are guilty of intractable privilege. It’s bitter, resentful, divisive.

And it is at odds with the spirit in which your political categories were formed. Actually, your politics always struck me as being like the World War II movies Americans of a certain age grew up on. The American soldiers are in the foxhole in Bataan, and there’s the working-class guy from Brooklyn, the tall Ivy League guy, the baker’s apprentice from Ohio. They’re all together and equal, like the country they represent. When the war’s over they’ll probably stay friends and the Brooklyn guy will be in the union and the Ivy League fancy-pants will be in management, but they’ll quickly forge the new contract and shake on the deal because back when it counted we were all in it together.

That is not the 2019 Democratic Party! This party would note, correctly, that there was little racial diversity in the foxhole, and would elaborate that its false unity was built on intersectional oppressions that render its utility as a unifying metaphor null.

The party’s young theorists are impatient with such gooey patriotic sentiment. America is not good guys in a foxhole to them, it’s crabs in a barrel with the one who gets to the top getting yanked down to the bottom—deservedly.

Your very strength—that you enjoy talking to both sides, that deep in your heart you see no one as deplorable—will be your weakness. You aren’t enough of a warrior. You’re sweet, you’re weak, you’re half-daffy. You’re meh.

At this point you’re not out of step, you’re out of place.

The press too will have certain biases, and not only because they’re 30 and 40 years younger than you and would like to see their careers associated with the rise of someone their age. Their bias is also toward drama, as you well know—toward pathos, and the end of something. They love that almost as much as the beginning of something. They can’t wait to write their Lion in Winter stories. “The Long Goodbye.” “The Last Campaign.” “Biden faltered for just a moment when a white-haired woman put her hand to his face and said, ‘I remember you from ’88, Joe. We all do, and we love you.”

And that is apart from those young reporters who consider themselves culture cops, and who enjoy beating people like you with the nightstick of their wokeness.

Why will it be painful to witness all this? Because it will mark the fall of a political figure who was normal. Who knew there was a left over here and a right over there and a big middle. Who went with the flow of cultural leftism but understood the other side’s reservations and signaled that in some way he had some sympathy for them. Who knew politics wasn’t always about absolutes.

This in contrast to the up-and-coming manipulators for whom it is second nature to feign warmth and outreach, but whose every hug is backed by the sharp and crooked finger of accusation. Their engine is resentment, their fuel is unearned self-esteem, their secret is lust for power.

You probably think they’re just girls who need a hug.

But their place is not your place.

It would be one thing if you wanted to enter the race to persuade the party on the merits of more-centrist approaches and working with the other side. But is that your intention? You’ve been apologizing for calling Mike Pence decent, and groveling over your “white man’s culture.” If you go with that flow, it will wash you away.

It is hard for the political personality to say no—to more fame, more power, more love. To the history books. It is hard for a man who’s always seen a president when he looked in the mirror to admit he’s an almost-president. It’s hard to get out of the habit of importance.

But you’ll never be unimportant. You’ll be Joe Biden, a liberal lion of the U.S. Senate at the turn of century. A man with a heart, unhated in an age of hate.

That’s not nothing, that’s a lot.

So don’t do it. Wisdom here dictates an Irish goodbye—a quiet departure, out the back door with a wave and a tip of the hat to whoever might be watching.

Palate Pleasers!

A “Foodie” recently asked me for a list of my favorite foods.

I came up with 95 “Favorites” on offer at restaurants in Westchester, Connecticut, New York City, Upstate, Italy and the Bahamas.

(I also added 17 I’m not exactly crazy about).

 

Favorites:

 

  1. Egg salad
  1. Tomato soup at Posto 22, New Rochelle
  1. Mashed potatoes
  1. Brussel sprouts
  1. Chicken salad with mayo and celery
  1. Deviled eggs
  1. Asparagus
  1. Sausage
  1. Angel hair pasta with tomato & basil at Le Sirene, Larchmont
  1. Steak at Tommy Moretti’s, Elmira
  1. Joe Migliucci’s pizza at Mario’s, Arthur Avenue
  1. Stir-fried pasta by Jonelle at Lyford Cay
  1. Truffles
  1. New England Clam Chowder at The Village, Litchfield
  1. Salmon with skin always removed
  1. Swordfish
  1. Halibut
  1. Homemade bread from Sam Tilley, Mockingbird or Jimmy Cosgriff, Torrington C.C.
  1. Shallots
  1. Chicken potpie
  1. Shepherd’s pie
  1. Vegetable tempura
  1. Meatballs at the Venetian, Torrington by Fiorita DiLullo
  1. Raw anise-fennel
  1. Good olive oil
  1. Sea salt
  1. Chickpeas
  1. Arnold Palmers
  1. Reasonable red wine: Kaou (Pasa Robles)
  1. Reasonable white wine: Louis Latour Grand Ardeche
  1. Buffalo wings at Bernie Murray’s, Elmira
  1. Lobster
  1. Lobster spaghetti at Milos
  1. Cornish game hen at Vice Versa
  1. Avocado and crabmeat, West Street Grill, Litchfield
  1. Heinz ketchup
  1. Homemade mueslix
  1. Berkshire pork chops
  1. Vidalia onions
  1. Dove ice cream bars
  1. Margueritas by Guadalupe, Senor Pancho, Thomaston
  1. Highams peppermint ice cream
  1. Oysters
  1. Stone crabs with mustard sauce
  1. Pasta Fagioli at Buon Amici, White Plains
  1. Crisp bacon
  1. Butter
  1. Fresh mixed berries
  1. Lemon or raspberry sorbet
  1. Soy sauce
  1. Hellman’s mayonnaise
  1. Crème Brulee
  1. Cold poached salmon from the Pantry, Washington Depot

  2. Hershey’s chocolate

  3. Filet mignon tableside, Fife & Drum with Elissa Potts

  4. Pignoli nuts
  1. Gaston Lenotre’s Concorde cake, Lyford Cay
  1. Lump crabmeat, “21”
  1. Smoked salmon on pumpernickel, The Woodland, Lakeville, CT
  1. Black and White milkshakes, Shake Shack or Carvel
  1. Margueritas by Ivy, The Venetian
  1. Mignonette sauce with oysters
  1. Vin Santo dessert wine
  1. Onion rings
  1. Spring rolls
  1. Macadamia nuts
  1. Linguini & clam sauce (garlic in & out quickly), Mario’s, Arthur Avenue
  1. Pasta primavera, Le Cirque style
  1. Mushrooms
  1. Squid ink pasta, Da Ivo, Venice
  1. Dill pickles
  1. Croissants, The Bakeshop, Litchfield
  1. Roast beef, the Pioneer Saloon, Ketchum, ID
  1. Nerf football-size Idaho baked potatoes, “The Pio,” Ketchum
  1. Krispy Kreme donuts
  1. Veal Chop, Parkside, Corona with Tony Federici
  1. Crudités, The Four Seasons or Harry Cipriani
  2. Butternut donuts, Dunkin Donuts
  1. Cronuts, Enrico’s, Hartsdale
  1. Kirsch aperitif
  1. Pasta with prosciutto & Sant’Erasmo peas, Cipriani, Venice
  1. Thai sweet chili sauce
  1. Michael DiLullo’s “6 1/2-minute” salad, The Venetian, Torrington
  1. House salad, Lemongrass, Burlington, CT
  1. Homemade granola, Hidden Valley Eatery, Washington, CT
  1. Frutti di Mare, Monaco Hotel, Venice
  1. Liquid yogurt (Kefir)
  1. Rice pudding
  1. Grand Marnier souffles, La Grenouille, NYC
  1. Baked Tagliolini at Harry Cipriani
  1. Wonton soup, Thai in Love, Thomaston
  1. Caviar
  1. Enough lemon wedges with broiled fish
  1. Zeppoles at Buon Amici, White Plains
  1. Garlic Pizza, Mangialardo’s, South Waverly, PA

 

On the Other Hand

I Try To Avoid:

 

  1. Pasta overwhelmed with too much damn garlic
  1. Broccoli Rabe
  1. Catfish soup
  1. Hanger steak
  1. Skate
  1. Shrimp that hasn’t been “rinsed” in salt and cold water
  1. Frisee
  1. Berry sauce on cheesecake
  1. Truffle oil
  1. GARLIC!
  1. Fluke
  1. Red, green or yellow hot peppers
  1. Cucumbers
  1. Mellon
  1. String beans
  1. Tilapia

  2. Cavatelli and gnocchi

 

William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington.  He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization.  He is a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for 56 years as president and editorial director.

 

He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo:  Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo, published in 2017.  He is currently working on his fifth book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributes which will published in September 2019.

 

Contact:

914-235-3279

wfo@wvox.com

WVOX & WVIP Endorse Gov. Andrew Mark Cuomo for Governor of New York

Endorsement

Governor Cuomo for Governor

A Whitney Global Media Editorial of the Air

WVOX and WVIP

by William O’Shaughnessy, President

November 1, 2018

 

He is Mario Cuomo’s son. 

And in his best moments, he resembles his magnificent and graceful father.

That being said … no one knows the minutiae of governance or the complicated levers of government like Andrew Cuomo.  Not even his father of sainted memory.

Sure, Andrew knows how to play the powerbrokers and the union warlords.  He knows how to fist bump and chest pump and back-slap better than anyone.

But for those who think he doesn’t yet possess the rhetorical skills of his father or Joe Biden, for that matter … they should have heard Andrew speak passionately and movingly at the Central Synagogue in Manhattan earlier this week. (attached)

Indeed, there was soaring eloquence in the air despite the solemn occasion.  We were almost tempted to observe:  there was Mario in the air at the podium.

So much for those who dismiss the Governor as a mere “mechanic.”

His mother, the estimable and greatly respected – and I would say quite universally beloved – Matilda Raffa Cuomo – calls Andrew “The Energizer Governor.”  And we can’t do better than that. 

In his first two terms, Andrew has rung up an impressive list of solid accomplishments: gun control, the strongest in the nation … minimum wage … gay marriage … property tax caps … long-needed improvements to bridges and airports.  He’s also doing his level best on the subways, no easy task with Mayor DeBlasio’s ambition in the way.  And the Governor deserves great credit for pushing to eliminate all the wasteful overlap in services among the thousands of redundant local jurisdictions. 

He’s also made every move humanly possible to improve the diminishing fortunes of upstate New York … everything short of murdering the damn weathermen who prescribe those brutal, freezing, snow-covered winters west of Albany.  If there was a way to fix the drodsome weather … you can be sure Andrew would find it.

He’s not at all perfect.  Although he has carried forth his father and Hugh Leo Carey’s revulsion and disdain for the Death Penalty … we’re not crazy about where he is on the other, fundamental and essential Right to Life issues: i.e. the awful Abortion question. But one can only hope that he shares his father’s personal revulsion for the killing of innocents, despite his reluctance to impose his religious beliefs on others.

A great deal of attention has been paid by our colleagues in the public press to a few who may have disappointed the governor and let him down.

But he’s also had some very intelligent and able counsellors on his quest for good and effective government: the classy William Mulrow … Michael DelGiudice … Steven Cohen … Joe Spinelli … John Marino … Rick Cotton … Alphonso David … and the late Andrew Zambelli.

We’ve been quoted in national journals that “It’s not easy being Mario Cuomo’s son.”  It’s not at all easy when a prominent newspaper – the Boston Globe – calls your Father “the great philosopher statesman of the American nation.”  Nor is it easy when a family friend Tony Bennett, the last of the great romantic crooners, tells his audiences, “I’ve sung for five presidents of the United States … Mario Cuomo is the greatest man I ever met.” I mean that’s heavy, very heavy stuff to lay on a young man who is in the “family business.” 

And then you have Joe Biden who is a politician the way the men of our father’s time imagined them to be: “I’ve been in politics since I was 19.  But the minute I saw Mario Cuomo … I knew he was better than I was.” 

So he is a son and heir of Mario Cuomo and in his best moments Andrew resembles his father of sainted memory.

Listeners to these radio stations know of our enthusiasm and admiration for President Trump. While none can deny Andrew’s use of the bully pulpit which attends the governor of New York … one can only hope Andrew will continue to devote his remarkable creativity and energy and his considerable talents to the $168-Billion enterprise over which he now presides and focus on the welfare of the 20-million souls in his daily care and keeping.

We cringe when we see him marching in patriotic parades in Chappaqua with Bill and Hillary Clinton.  And it doesn’t exactly win points when the Governor seems always to be accompanied by so many outriders and security people at every event.  And the glib, booster-like slogans plastered on the podium often distract from the message and the worthwhile things he is trying to achieve.

And it’s perhaps a small thing … but to his great credit Andrew ordered that his own name not greet motorists on the many highways and byways leading into the Empire State. Every other governor before him couldn’t resist those “Welcome to New York State (fill in the name), Governor.”

We know little of his Republican opponent Marc Molinaro who certainly didn’t hit it out of the ballpark when he had the opportunity to debate the Governor provided by our friends Marcia Kramer and Rich Lamb of WCBS-TV. 

Indeed Stephanie Miner, the former mayor of Syracuse who, for a time, also headed the State Democratic Party, has been quite the most impressive among those others who aspire to lead our state.

Andrew is who he is. Everybody knows he’s dynamic and driven. But our recent interview with the governor showed him to also be a brilliant, introspective and altogether thoughtful fellow … qualities he often seems reluctant to reveal.

To get a grip on what Andrew is really about … read the piece posted on Thursday by the Times gifted political writer Shane Goldmacher, himself a great student of the Cuomos – pere et fils

He may not have Nelson Rockefeller’s charisma and ease with retail politicking … or his father’s graceful brilliance and beautiful soul … but no one has ever worked harder as governor.  No one.  Period.  No one.

In our far-ranging, recent interview, we asked the governor if he wanted to be loved … or respected.  With the facile brain inherited from his father, he quickly replied, “I want to be loved by those I respect

In case you haven’t figured it out … our stations have tremendous respect for Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo.

And, God forgive me … I’m afraid we do love him as well.

Thus our Whitney Global Media radio stations WVOX and WVIP enthusiastically and with great confidence – and affection – endorse the Democratic candidate: Governor Andrew Cuomo for governor of New York.

He’s a damn hard worker.

And he’s Mario Cuomo’s son.

This is William O’Shaughnessy.

 

 

 

Remarks of Governor

Andrew M. Cuomo

at

Central Synagogue Interfaith Service

New York City

October 30, 2018

 

We gather tonight on a somber moment, because this is a dark and frightening time in our nation. Our better angels are being overpowered. The character of America is being perverted. And the power of hate is overtaking the power of love. 

We mourn and embrace the families of the 11 victims in Pittsburgh and grieve with them. We mourn and grieve for the African American community in Kentucky. We suffer with those who endured the anxiety and threats of mail bombs last week. 

But we would not be here tonight if these were isolated incidents. They are not. There is a frightening pattern developing on many levels of American society. Anti-Semitic incidents have increased 57 percent nationwide. Neo-Nazi groups have increased 22 percent in this country. Nativists and white supremacy groups are on the rise. At the demonstration in Charlottesville in August, 2017, members of the Ku Klux Klan felt so empowered they didn’t even need to wear hoods to hide their faces. The societal fabric of America is stressed and frayed. We gather to pray and to marshal the voices of support and love as an antidote to the forces of division and hate. 

Elie Wiesel said, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” As Governor, I pray with you this evening. But as Governor, I also state in the strongest terms that we are a nation of laws and we are a state of laws, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination or hate in the State of New York. (applause)

Hate is not protected by our law, not in speech and not in action. Quite the opposite. And our State has the most aggressive hate crimes laws in the country.  And I announced today that we are doubling both our security efforts and our prevention efforts. You have my word as governor that we will stamp out the evil of discrimination wherever it rears its ugly head.  The Jewish community is an important member of the Family of New York and we will protect our family–all together, all united. (applause)

But I am afraid that enforcing the law, while an essential, important step is not the only step. Being prepared to fight the fire is necessary, but we must work to prevent the fires from starting in the first place. 

I feel as if we are standing in a field of dry grass with smoldering embers surrounding us.  And a strong wind is shifting directions. We must stamp out the embers before they become flames and we must reduce the winds of hate that threaten the fields of peace.

There are those who now will wrap themselves in the flag of America and then go out and do violence in the name of America. But they could not be more wrong or more misguided. They do not begin to understand the character of America, and they disgrace the very flag they carry. Our Founding Fathers would be repulsed by these ignorant acts of violence.

In school, one of the first lessons we learn about America is when we are asked to raise our hands to the Pledge of Allegiance. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Indivisible! With liberty and justice for all. Whatever your religion, whatever your race, whatever your creed, we are indivisible!

Our Founding Fathers anticipated there would be differences because we were born as a collection from across the globe. But we would have, as Jefferson said, “a decent respect” for the opinions of others. One of our Founders’ first acts was to pass a law to make the Motto on the Seal of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum”—out of many, one. It set the tone of unity and commonality. The very same Founders didn’t fear immigration, they embraced it! It was the British government’s bid to block migration to the colonies, that was among one of the reasons for the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence.

The tremendous right to practice your religion in freedom was a powerful magnet drawing many to America. The Pilgrims were separatists from the Church of England.  The Huguenots settled the Hudson Valley. French Protestants were fleeing persecution in Roman Catholic France.  English Catholics under George Calvert colonized Maryland … Quakers in Pennsylvania …  Jewish people in Rhode Island, all seeking the religious freedom established by Roger Williams.

One year into his presidency, George Washington visited a synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island as the First Amendment was being debated. To his Jewish hosts, Washington wrote a remarkable letter.  He reasserted that the Government of the United States “gives no sanction to bigotry, no assistance to persecution, and requires only that the people who live under the protection of the government conduct themselves as good citizens.”

Washington quoted the Bible to remind them that, in effect, they had reached their Promised Land: ‘May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”  George Washington.

There was no period that tested our unity more than the Civil War. And as the war closed, President Abraham Lincoln pointed the nation to the future in his Second Inaugural Address, saying: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds — to achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace.” (applause)

Lincoln’s invoking God is relevant and instructive. We are one nation under God. It is not just our government that instructs peace and tolerance, but our religious heritage as well.

We are gathered in a house of worship today. Christianity teaches us tolerance. Matthew 25 instructs us Catholics to do for the least of our brothers.  Judaism speaks to the concept of Tikkun Olam … to reach out and heal the breach … and the concept of Tzedakah … charity, but, more broadly, the concept of social justice.

Buddhism, Islam, virtually every religion speaks of tolerance, acceptance, and condemns violence.

The victims in Pittsburgh were engaged in a sacred Jewish naming ceremony of a newborn — a bris — celebrating the joy of a new life, only to perish in the face of hate.  

We will not let them die in vain. We must once again, in Lincoln’s words, “bind up the nation’s wounds.”

We must rise above our traditional political divisions. We must refrain from fanning the embers of hate before the flames are out of control. Our American values override our political, partisan differences. Intolerant voices of division must be condemned by all, and not episodically, but consistently. (applause) Not only for public consumption, but genuinely, with personal commitment. Political debate must honor Jefferson’s mandate of civil discourse. Our political leaders must heed this wisdom today.

At this time of chaos, confusion, ignorance and fear … this nation needs a light to follow. And Let that light be the torch that is held by the great lady in our harbor.

Let New York State once again serve this nation as an example to follow. That is the legacy of this great State … throughout history, a beacon of progressive values. We are home to 19 million people from every nation on the globe.  New York State is the laboratory of the American experiment in democracy. We are not threatened by diversity, we celebrate diversity. Generations of immigrants stepped off ships and planes onto our shores. This State has thrived because we have no tolerance for discrimination. Not in our laws, and not in our spirit! (applause)

We are a people of differences, but we have forged community through chords of commonality. This state exemplifies the best of the American spirit.

The Rabbi asks us what we can do. Let us commit ourselves this evening to a constructive course of action. Let New Yorkers exemplify what it means to be a true American patriot.

Let New York show this nation what the flag actually means.

Let us lead forward in the way of darkness. Let us lead as a government, as a community and let us lead as individual citizens. Let us lead this nation at this time of confusion by the power of our example.

There is no place for hate in our State.  And New York lives by the credo: that the most powerful four-letter word is still love.