Gov. Mario M. Cuomo remarks at The Omega Society

Governor Mario M. Cuomo
The Omega Society
Sheraton New York
April, 2005
New York City


A Meditation on Ultimate Values

When I was asked by a representative of Omega to give the closing remarks following the galaxy of distinguished individuals you have already heard, I said I probably could not add much to the intelligent, subtle and splendid articulations that they were sure to deliver.

The representative said “You probably can’t, but as a former three-term governor and still active political voice, you may be able to tell us something about how politics and government might affect our search for meaning, truth and a sustainable future.” 

“That input” – he said – “could be especially relevant given the frightening implications of 9/11 and other current calamities.”

# # #

I agreed to try.

Actually, I attempted to do something similar some years ago when we were in the midst of another troubling period that created greater than usual uncertainty, agitation and anxiety.  Another period when people’s search for meaningfulness intensified.

On that occasion the title of the conference was “Who (or What) is God?” with “God” being the undefined and undefinable label given to ultimate meaning and direction.

# # #

I addressed the question then, as I do now, certainly not as a scholar, or a theologian, or an apologist, but as an ordinary New Yorker—from Queens, from asphalt streets and stickball, from a poor and middle-class neighborhood—who made a living, helped raise a family, and found his way, somewhat improbably, into the difficult world of politics.

I do it as a person who struggles to keep a belief in God that he inherited; a Catholic raised in a religion closer to the peasant roots of the simple Sunday mass practitioners than to the high intellectual traditions of the Talmudic scholars, elegant Episcopalian homilists, or abstruse Jesuit teachers.

The simple folk of South Jamaica, Queens, who came from the tenements and attached houses on Liverpool Street, perceived the world then as a sort of cosmic basic training course, filled by God with obstacles and traps to weed out the recruits unfit for eventual service in the heavenly host.

The obstacles were everywhere.  The prevailing moral standard was almost impossibly high:  if you liked it, it was probably a sin, if you liked it a lot it was probably a mortal sin.

Their fate on earth was to be “the poor, banished children of Eve, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears,” until by some combination of grace and good works—and luck—they escaped final damnation.

For many, if not most of them, their sense of who or what God is was reflected in the collective experience of people who through most of their history had little capacity to learn from the exquisite musings of philosophers and theologians, and little chance to concern themselves with helping the poor or healing the world’s wounds.

They were the poor, the wounded.

It was a cold voice these people heard from God on Beaver Road, next to a cemetery across the street from St. Monica’s Catholic Church, where a famous ex-jockey, one of the homeless winos, froze to death sleeping in a large wooden crate. 

No doubt there were others in America – millions indeed – who felt content with the world as they found it.

But for most of the people in my old neighborhood, it was hard to see God’s goodness in the pathetic faces of the customers in our small grocery store who pleaded with my father for bread, and maybe some cold cuts—till the next relief check came in.

It got harder still, during and after the Second World War, when the best we could say about victory was that the new terror was put down… for a while.

And a gold star in a window announced that someone’s son had been killed, his mother’s prayers at St. Monica’s never answered.

It was hard for them to believe God spoke at Hiroshima either.

Who could blame these people for feeling that if God was not dead, he must surely be looking in another direction?

Others reveled in what they believed was the cultural liberation and enlightenment of the sixties, but for most of the people of Saint Monica’s the sixties were remembered for Vietnam and the sadness memorialized by Simon and Garfunkel: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio—our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.  What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?  Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away.”

No more John F. Kennedy, no more Martin Luther King.  No more Bobby Kennedy.  Nothing to believe in.  Nothing to grab hold of.  Nothing to uplift us.

# # #

People weren’t asking “Who is God?”  They were asking… “Is there a God?”

The same question many were asking after 9/11 and after a preemptive war in Iraq in the name of liberation, that killed more than 40,000 human beings, most of them innocent civilians; and after Rwanda and the grotesquely lethal tsunami.

The same question many ask today when a child dies in a crib—inexplicably.

Many of us find a way to go forward resigned to a world that has no answers to the biggest questions.

# # #

For some of us however the burden becomes intolerable; the absurdity of a world without explanation is almost too much to live with.

Our intellects push to find a rationale, an excuse… anything to take the place of despair… some fundamental belief or belief system, some dominant purpose in life—an absorbing activity, a benign crusade, a consuming passion for romantic sex, or music or art, something larger than ourselves to believe in.

If the answer cannot be compelled by our intellect, we plead for an answer that, at least we could choose to believe without contradicting that intellect.

We yearn for more than just a God of prohibition.  More than just a God of guilt and punishment.

More than John Calvin’s chilling conclusion that God loves Jacob but hates Esau. 

For us, it must be a God like the one that was promised in the New Testament: a God of mercy, a God of peace, a God of hope.

In the end, to make any sense, it must be a God of love!

# # #

Mostly, we want a God because we sense that the accumulating of material goods and the constant seeking to satisfy our petty appetites – for a flash of ecstasy or popularity or even temporary fame – is nothing more than a desperate, frantic attempt just to fill the shrinking interval between birth and eternity with something!

# # #

In my old neighborhood, despite the doubts, the simple and sincere preachments of the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church, and the prodding of uneducated parents whose moral pleadings and punishments were as blunt and tough as the calluses on their hands, were still given a degree of apparent respect.  Probably this was only because there seemed to be nothing more intellectually satisfying to put in their place.

# # #

In the fifties, some of us were suddenly gifted:  we were presented with the enlightened vision and profound wisdom of an extraordinary man.

A scientist, a paleontologist.  A person who understood evolution.  A soldier who knew the inexplicable evil of the battlefield.  A scholar who studied the ages.  A philosopher, a theologian, a believer.  And a great priest.

Teilhard de Chardin heard our lament, and he answered us.  He reoriented our theology and rewrote its language and linked it, inseparably with science.  His wonderful book “The Divine Milieu,” dedicated to “those who love the world,” made negativism a sin.

Teilhard glorified the world and everything in it.  He taught us to love and respect ourselves as the pinnacle of God’s creation to this point in evolution.  He taught us how the whole universe – even the pain and imperfection we see – is sacred.  He taught us in powerful, cogent and persuasive prose, and in soaring poetry.

He integrated his profound understanding of evolution with his religious understanding of the “Divine Milieu.”  He envisioned a viable and vibrant human future:  “We are all foot soldiers in the struggle to unify the human spirit despite all the disruptions of conflict, war and natural calamities.”

“Faith,” he said, “is not a call to escape the world, but to embrace it.”  Creation is not an elaborate testing ground with nothing but moral obstacles to surmount, but an invitation to join in the work of restoration; a voice urging us to be involved in actively working to improve the world we were born to—by our individual and collective efforts making it kinder, safer and more loving.  Repairing the wounded world, helping it move further and further upward to the “Pleroma,” St. Paul’s word for the consummation of human life.  The Omega point, when the level of consciousness and civility would eventually converge, having infiltrated the whole universe, elevated to the highest level of morality.  A new universe a peerless one; one we could help create by our own civilizing behavior.

# # #

Teilhard’s vision challenges the imagination but it has achieved sufficient scientific plausibility to be given cautious but respectful attention by celebrated intellectuals like Robert Wright a scientist and a declared agnostic.  (See his book “Nonzero:  The Logic of Human Destiny.”)

# # #

Actually, I would have been less influenced by Teilhard’s exquisite and moving enlightenment if I thought it was reserved for people like Robert Wright who are equipped to understand the scientific complexities and nuances that he weaves through his theology.

In fact, if one looks closely, some of the most fundamental of Teilhard’s principles are equally available to me and to all rational human beings whatever their level of formal education.

They are instructions of what has come to be called “natural theology” or the “natural law,” which is to say they can be ascertained by using evidence that is there for all of us to see and feel with nothing more than the gift of consciousness and exposure to the world around us. 

Without books or history, without saints or sermons, without instruction or revelation, three things about our place in the world should occur to us as human beings.

The first is that the greatest gift we have been given is our existence, our life and the power to help procreate.

The second is because as humans with the gift of consciousness we are unique parts of creation – sharing the same principal needs, desires and threats against us – our intelligence inclines us to treat one another with respect and dignity.

The third is the inclination to work together to protect and enhance the life we share. 

The Hebrews, who gave us probably the first of our monotheistic religions, made these ideas the foundation of their beliefs.  Tzedakah is the principal that we should treat one another as brother and sister, children of the same great source of life.  And Tikkun Olam is the principal that instructs us to join together in repairing the world.

Rabbi Hillel pointed out that these two radiantly logical principals together make up the whole law.  “All the rest,” he said, “is commentary.”

Jesus confirmed it was also the whole law for Christians.  “The whole law is that you should love one another as you love yourself for the love of truth and the truth is God made the world but did not complete it; you are to be collaborators in creation.”

I know of no religion recognized in this country—God-oriented or not—that rejects these ideas.

# # #

If then, as seems to be the case, politicians today are looking for guidance from religions in learning how to create a sustainable future or looking for the best wisdom to govern by, day-to-day, the answer is apparent:  To deal effectively with our problems and to make the most of all our opportunities, we must understand, accept, and apply one fundamental, indispensable proposition.  It is the ancient truth that drove primitive people together to ward off their enemies and wild beasts, to find food and shelter, to raise their children in safety, and eventually to raise up a civilization.

Now, in this ever more complex world, we need to accept and apply the reality that we’re all in this together, like a family, interconnected and interdependent, and that we cannot afford to revert to a world of us against them.

It is the one great idea that is indispensable to realizing our full potential as a people.

This is true whether we are considering the sharing of the wealth in the economy of the richest nation on earth; deciding what we must do to relieve the economic and political oppression of people all over the world, or deliberating over how to join in protecting millions of Africans against the ravages of AIDS or the barbarism of war lords.

# # #

Each of us is presented with a choice to act or not to act in a way that will move the world in a different and better direction.  A brilliant agnostic Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes echoed Teilhard’s call for the vigorous involvement of all of us in the management of the world around us and added a warning.  He said:  “As life is action and passion we are required to share the passion and action of our time at the peril of being judged not to have lived.”

Teilhard would have augmented Holmes’ remarks with his promise of glorious attainment.  “The day will come when after harnessing the wind, the mind, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love and on that day for the second time in the history of man we will have discovered fire.” 

I wish I had a recording right now of a lot of people’s one favorite piece of music.

Reflecting on Teilhard’s vision and importunings, it’s easy to hear in the background Beethoven’s wonderful message to humanity which was his 9th Symphony.

With it’s unforgettable ending….

The single moral principle he wanted to share was the need to see the world as a family.  Listen to it again.  It begins dark and threatening; disaster and confusion loom because of clashes of will, misunderstanding and alienation.  It moves into the frenetic hunt for resolution seeking an answer that will comfort and reassure humanity.

Then in the final movement it swiftly presents again the initial picture of disunity and discord, only to dissolve into the Ode to Joy, using the words of Friedrich Von Schiller’s poem, ending in ecstatic jubilation – the chorus rejoicing at the convergence of the world’s people through maturity, brotherhood … and love!

Simple, and simply wonderful!


So, “Who or What is God?”

I have grown old enough to understand the vanity of trying to define fully the infinite and eternal.

But I also understand that I’m not required to eliminate any possibilities just because my intellect is not acute enough to make them irresistible.

In the end, I can choose to believe – and call it “faith” if I must – if that promises me meaningfulness.

So, it may not be easy to understand Teilhard or believe that God commits us to the endless task of seeking improvement of the world around us, knowing that fulfillment is an eternity away.

But it’s better than the anguish of fearing futility.

Better than the emptiness of despair.

And capable of bringing meaning to our most modest and clumsy efforts.

That’s a useful consolation for any of us still struggling to believe.

Interview with Governor Mario M. Cuomo

The Morning After

The 2012 Presidential Election

William O’Shaughnessy

Interview with 

Governor Mario M. Cuomo

November 7, 2012

WVOX & WVIP Worldwide


We’ve broadcast many interviews with Governor Mario Cuomo which have also appeared in my four previous books for Fordham University Press.  On the morning after Barack Obama was elected to a second term (which surprised the hell out of my Republican friends!) we again summoned up Mr. Cuomo’s wisdom.  Now in his 80th year, the Governor retains a keen interest in the great issues of the day.  In this delightful – and insightful – conversation, the man the Boston Globe calls “the great philosopher-statesman of the American nation” has some sage advice for the President as he begins his second term.  And as usual, it’s accompanied as well by Mario Cuomo’s great wit and charm.  Once again I didn’t lay a glove on him and I couldn’t even get him to talk about his son and heir Andrew.  Or did he?


William O’Shaughnessy:

On this The Morning After the national election of 2012 … we repair now to the counsel and wisdom of an individual who almost ran for that job of President of the United States of America:  Governor Mario Matthew Cuomo.  Governor … were you surprised Barack won big?

Mario Cuomo:

Was I surprised?  No.  I expected he would win and I was convinced it would be a relatively close race.  And it was both those things.  He did win. And it was a very close race.  I’m not sure it was his best campaign.  Notwithstanding, a billion dollars were spent.  They didn’t get their money’s worth.  I didn’t think there were enough debates.  The first one was a knock-out in the first round by Romney and then there were a couple of other debates which didn’t do much to enlighten the American audience.  No … I’m not surprised.  I’m pleased at the results and I’m pleased at how the Republicans have responded so far.  Let me not say it that broadly … not the Republicans so much as the Republicans in the House. 

The Republicans in the House have said very clearly to the President that they wish to deal with him in a collaborative exercise that will produce the kind of policies both sides know we need.  It’s a very good start and I hope they keep at it until they get it done.


Governor Cuomo … Mario Cuomo … what about the second term?  Your friend Bill Clinton, he had two terms.


Yes … what I said for months and months is I hope what happens here is what happened in the Clinton years.  Clinton’s first four years were a near tragedy. He made a faint at the question of healthcare and how to get people the healthcare they need at a reasonable cost that won’t bankrupt the country.  He tried and then had to back off after various interested parties attacked the approach he was taking.  And so he got that setback and some other failures which had people saying we made a mistake appointing Bill Clinton.  I did not think so and I was delighted to see I was right in the second half of his eight-year term.  In the second four-year term … I’ll tell you what happened and why it happened.


This is Bill Clinton’s second term?


Yes.  Bill Clinton’s second four years.  And now Obama is going to have his second go at it.  Four more years.  What Clinton wound up getting for the people of the United States of America was 22 million new jobs … an upwardly moving middle class … an upwardly moving upper class.  More people achieved tremendous wealth than ever before in the history of the country.  Balanced budgets.  Sharp decline in the number of poor people.  A strengthening of the middle class.  All of these things in the second term.  And balanced budgets.  And finally … a projected surplus in the end of the eight years of trillions of dollars.  I think that can be done.  He proved it can be done.  The evidence is there for all to see.  It can’t be eradicated from the record.  Can Obama do the same thing?


That’s the big question.  Can he?


One big word is all you need, Bill.  And it’s called “collaboration.”  The difference between the first four years and the second four years is that Clinton did not have a collaborative atmosphere with the Republicans.  In the second four years he did … and he went to all the Republican leaders and he did what he had to do to create sufficient confidence by the Republicans so they can work together.  And when they worked together, that magic word – collaboration – gave us all those successes.  There is no reason to say … well, it can’t happen again.  I think it could happen again. And I think it should happen again.  I think we should all be pushing for it. 


Governor Cuomo, great wordsmith that you are … and orator … and careful linguist … what’s the difference between collaboration and compromise.  Is there a difference? 


Not really … nuances perhaps.  Collaboration and compromise is another way of saying common sense.  My mother and father were not given the gift of an education.  Not even a grammar school education.  But they could make deals.  And they had to make deals every day.  Because they had very scant resources to live on.  They had to be constantly dealing with other people, trading their services for this or that.  They learned how to collaborate.  Well … Clinton learned how to collaborate.  He told us about it again in the speech he gave for Obama which was probably the best speech in the campaign for Obama.  At their convention … Bill Clinton was asked by Obama to explain what he (Obama) was going to do.  He did and the polls went immediately in favor of Obama.  And so … collaboration … cooperation.  Common sense.  What’s good for you and good for me simultaneously happens when you collaborate.  And if you don’t collaborate.  If you don’t like that word …  if you don’t like the idea of collaboration or whatever word you are going to use and do what the Republicans did in the very beginning of Obama’s term when they announced to the world – McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate – announced to the world they were not going to help this president because they wanted to get rid of this president and they would work to get rid of the president.

Well, how do you do that?  Make sure he doesn’t do good things.  What good things would they be?  They would be jobs for people.  It would be a healthcare that they can afford that is wonderful in terms of reaching all the people who really need help for themselves.

We’re given now a second chance.  We’re given a chance that started with  our friend Bill Clinton and that ended with Bush.  Then came the eight years of Bush.  And look at the difference between the eight years of Bush and the eight years before that which gave us 22 million new jobs, etc. etc …  Two wars.  Two wars and a recession.  Ok.  But that’s an old story now.  Let’s just forget it.  Let’s just concentrate on this president and this bunch of Republicans who are suggesting to us that they are going to be collaborative.  If the Republicans are collaborative … they will have earned our respect and gratitude … notwithstanding they tried to take the presidency from Obama.


Governor … As you get into Bush, notice I try to change the subject.


Yes … I don’t blame you, O’Shaughnessy.


Governor, you hold up Bill Clinton as an example for Barack.  Do you realize that if you had done a few things differently like order that plane to take off for New Hampshire … do you realize you might have been holding up yourself?


Let me end this with you right now … maybe we can continue it another time.


I have a few more questions …


Well … maybe these two questions I’m going to give you will be enough for you.   Why would somebody who is considering running for president … maybe Hillary Clinton … decide to consider running for president.  This would happen because she’s going to obviously leave as secretary of state … get some rest, well-deserved rest.  She’s done a terrific job.  But let’s assume she and maybe various governors, from various states are going to consider running for president.


Anyone we know?


Two questions, Brother Bill, they have to answer.  Two questions. More for themselves than for the rest of us.  The first question is:  Can I win?  Well … that’s the question almost all candidates for the presidency will ask.  Can I win?  And most of the time they will say yes … because, why not?  They are probably people who have experience, etc., etc.  And yes, they can win.  If Bush, Jr. can win … if Obama can win … they could win. So that one is an easy question. But here’s the tough one.  I think if you want to run for president, you have to be able to look into the mirror, and what you see in the mirror … you have to be able to say that person in the mirror is the best person available to be president of the United States. If you want to be President … to be morally right you should convince yourself there is nobody better than you are to run the United States of America.  Now … I doubt that most candidates ask themselves that question.  Because if most candidates asked themselves that question … they would probably have a very difficult time saying Yes … I’m the very best person who can run this country.  I know I didn’t feel that way. 


But, sir … with all due respect … a hell of a lot of people who know Mario Cuomo and respect you … they felt you are … worthy and eminently capable as you say.


Well, I would have concluded they were wrong.  For my own decision was … it’s hard to believe that.  As a matter of fact, I proved my disbelief that I was the best by supporting John Kerry … not the second Kerry but the first Kerry who was wounded in action and who I gave money to go for the presidency while I was governor. For the presidency.  And when I was asked about it … I said yes.  I think he’s the best person on the scene for his ability to make a good president.


Governor … you mention Hillary Clinton.  Are you saying she should look in the mirror?  Or are you giving her permission to run?


No … I just used her name because everyone is using her name.  I have no idea whether she wants to run … whether she will run or not.  I have a good idea about her abilities.  And I think she’s terrific. And she’s proven it over and over again.  And she made the most convincing case as secretary of state.


Sir, do you have any idea who else might be thinking like this … looking in the mirror?


I have no idea.  How about you?  You’re a smart guy … you’re good-looking.  Do you see yourself as the best person available?


I’m too young for you.  I’m 74.  Governor, you said your parents – Immaculata and Andrea Cuomo – had very few gifts.  They had the gift of Mario Cuomo who has been called the great philosopher-statesman of the American nation.  We’re very grateful to you for sharing this with us on the morning after a presidential election.  Once again you didn’t let me take you where I wanted you to go ….


Well … let me say something about that last comment of yours, Bill.  They – my parents – didn’t think of me as a gift.  And if they did think of me as a gift, why the hell did they keep hitting me on the derriere when I did something wrong?


Weren’t you a perfect youngster? Even when you were clandestinely and stealthily playing baseball on four different teams using four different names when you’re only supposed to be on one at a time … they didn’t catch you.


No … thank goodness they didn’t know a lot about me playing as “Lava Libretti” and the umpire over in the New Jersey sandlot league said to me “Mario … where did you get that name Lava?”  I said Lava … always hot!  I was also known for a time as Oiram Omouc.  Exotic, right?  That’s my name backwards.


And didn’t you use other names?  Connie Cutts?  How about Matt Dente? And don’t forget the immortal Glendy LaDuke, your most famous nom de plume … save A.J. Parkinson. But he didn’t play ball … he merely opined.


Dente … yes indeed.  I used Dente.  That’s also true, O’Shaughnessy.  And who can forget the immortal Glendy LaDuke?


You see I did a little research on your blazing career in the sandlot league in Queens … if not as a candidate for the presidency.


Now you’re really getting dangerous and threatening, Brother Bill.  So I’m really going to hang up!


Thank you, sir.  I still wish you’d have owned up to the damn name:  “Mr. President” …



# # #


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.  He operates two of the last independent stations in the New York area: WVOX and WVIP.


He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files” was released in January, 2011.  He is currently working on his fifth book for Fordham University Press, an anthology which will include this interview with Governor Cuomo.



Cindy Gallagher

Whitney Media


The New Killing Season

First they took the rabbits and squirrels.  That was easy.  Then they went after the deer with rifle shot and bow and arrow which was just plain fun.  And they even took their sons into the quiet, dense, dark forest to teach them how to stalk and kill using just the right amount of “Kentucky windage” on muzzle and scope.

Next they set about ravaging woodland and forest.  There was much money to be made in the timber from out of state loggers who brutally cut and culled the tall trees which grew up from the rich soil underfoot through hundreds of bleak, lonely winters across Upstate New York.

And now in 2012 yet another predator beckons and threatens once more to violate the earth as the desperate stewards of the burdened land succumb and yield to the blandishments and enticements of surrogates of these new speculators who sing the  siren song of the natural gas industry in the name of Hydraulic Fracturing.

Their allurements are considerable and irresistible to landowners and farmers who, when dining in the entire Southern Tier, really need make only two decisions at their favorite local restaurant.  Just two, as the bored waitress inquires:  “Do you want ‘veal parm’ … or ‘chicken parm’?”   And one more:  “‘Sprinkled blue’ … or ‘plain’?”  Salad, that is.

Then they ride the dusty backroads with their beer bellies stuffed into Ram pickup trucks outfitted with gun racks and powerful spotlights with which to stun deer before shooting them dumb and done as they forage for food in the sparse, mean winter landscape.  Opening Day of Hunting Season is a most sacred stop on the calendar of their lonely days and drab existence as the killing season begins.

In once verdant fields where fleet, sleek Quarterhorses and stout, elegant Morgans grazed in the summer sun, ugly drilling contraptions now penetrate and violate the land and pump their  deadly cocktail into the earth almost a mile below.  The horses, most of them, disappeared when it was realized that they were worth more at the local rendering station than competing for a ribbon at a horse show in Elmira.

But they are not stupid, these people who exist north of Poughkeepsie and west of Binghamton.  And in their back country wisdom they know they’d best grab on to the fragile lifeline dangled by the energy companies from Oklahoma and Texas to further pillage the weary and exhausted land by injecting vulgar and dangerous chemicals hundreds of feet down into the earth.  This latest obscenity carries a glib, but ugly nickname:  “Fracking.”  It is something akin to raping or pillaging the neighborhood.

It has already begun, these backcountry folks know, just over the line in Pennsylvania where towns like Sayre, Towanda and Mansfield sit near the border astride the Marcellus Shale.  The area is known, on the other side of the line, for purposes of tourism, as “The EndlessMountains.”  They are anything but.

But our poor hardscrabble New Yorkers can smell the beguiling scent of money just over that state line.  It is altogether more  powerful and alluring than the smell of sulfurous, toxic chemicals fouling the water supply and causing flames to leap out of kitchen faucets and toilets in those Endless Mountains where once the Pooles and Talada clans raised their inbred families in house trailers and ramshackle hovels.  My grandfather was a Talada so I can tell of these things.

Andrew Mark Cuomo, our brilliant, dynamic and stunningly effective new governor has pledged to restore some prosperity – and hope – to this troubled area of our State.  The Governor has always had an exquisite feel for the region and if anybody can pull a Lazarus up there – Andrew can.

We just hope “Fracking” isn’t part and parcel of the State’s effort to renew the sad, beleaguered land of my birth.

This is a Whitney Media commentary.  This is William O’Shaughnessy.