The flying flakes provide an apt metaphor for the way government has been running these days—sloppy and in overabundance
It’s been snowing like a Wikileak. No one can seem how to figure out how to stop it. The police chief and the mayor of Syracuse were consulted, and both recommended that surveillance cameras be installed on street corners, to detect the presence of snow. The police chief also suggested that the public should be less hesitant to come forward when they see a snow bank in their neighborhood.
Bob The Builder Congel offered to clean up the snow, but only if he gets a 30-year tax break on the snowplow. The snow got so heavy out in Jordan-Elbridge land that the school board was asked to stop it. They turned around and suspended the snowplow driver, at full pay. When the public objected, they suggested that the public be quiet.
But the snow kept coming.
County Executive Joanie Mahoney pleaded with the public to stop asking her about the weather, refuting for the umpteenth time the charge that she was moonlighting as a meteorologist on YNN, Time Warner Cable’s channel 10. “Go ask Carrie Cheevers,” she said while building a snowman on the lawn with the kids.
Newly elected Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle was asked what to do about the relentless leaking of snow from the sky, and she reminded the people of the Nov. 2 election. “The American people have spoken,” said Buerkle, “and they want lower taxes and smaller government.” Asked whether that meant smaller snowplows, Buerkle said she could not comment on specifics. Buerkle sipped iced tea with a group of supporters on the sidewalk outside her DeWitt office, and as the snow piled higher, announced with satisfaction the end of global warming.
Her defeated rival, Dan Maffei, was unavailable for comment. Reports coming from Wikileaks indicated that the notoriously nerdy Maffei was enjoying his first snowball fight.
Albany took up the matter, holding hearings on the feasibility of charging tolls for each snowflake that landed on the Thruway. At a poorly attended press conference, Gov. Paterson demanded to know who had fired the guy who plows the driveway at the governor’s mansion. “You did,” said the only reporter in attendance, an intern for YNN.
In Washington the two parties took up the issue. President Barack Obama suggested that the nation send extra snowplows to areas of the country being blanketed by snow. Republicans insisted that the only way they would agree to snowplow relief was if the plows were sent to all states without exception. “The American people want snowplows,” said incoming House Speaker John Boehner, “and not Washington bureaucrats playing politics during a blizzard.”
The president agreed to the snowplow provision, arguing that he wasn’t going to let Syracuse be held hostage, and if he had to send snow blowers to New Orleans in order to combat the snowstorm, he would do it. “We can’t just plow Wall Street,” said the president, “without shoveling Main Street, or even Bourbon Street.” When Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders noted that people making more than $1 million a year did not need snowplow relief, he was quickly accused of fomenting class warfare.
Then the Republicans voted down an extension of unemployment benefits, offering instead their own alternative: a tax cut for millionaires who hired the children of the unemployed to shovel their driveways.
Sen. Charles Schumer stopped at six upstate airports to hold press conferences announcing a new bill offering enhanced disability benefits to people injured while removing snow with poorly designed shovels. Analysts gave the We’ll Help Enhance Ergonomics (WHEE!) bill a snowball’s chance in hell of making it out of committee, but said that Schumer’s chances of serving in the Senate until hell freezes over were excellent.
The secretary of state complained that the snowflakes being churned out and littering the landscape of the nation were supposed to have been kept secret, and that someone should go to jail for releasing them. “If the Taliban finds out that it snows in the United States,” said Hillary Clinton, “what’s to keep them from building snow forts right here on the homeland?”
Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain offered to let the snow continue, as long as no one mentioned it. The former POW and born-again homophobe told his Senate colleagues that he had no problem with blizzards and lake effect, if we would just please keep quiet about it.
“Don’t ask about the weather, and don’t tell me about the weather,” said McCain, who represents Arizona, where there is no weather. “The men and women fighting the blizzard of 2011 have served valiantly and courageously. The least we can do for them is to never, ever acknowledge their existence.”
Just when the lake effect forces appeared to have gotten the upper hand, one steely eyed man came forward with a plan to scoop up the snow, get us back to work and re-establish normalcy. All eyes turned to District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, who spoke to the media on the nearly invisible steps of the Onondaga County Courthouse. He was all business.
“My plan is simple,” he said. “Arrest Ed Kinane.”
It’s gonna be a long winter.
Read Ed Griffin-Nolan’s award-winning commentary every week in the Syracuse New Times.