New York has rarely felt as appreciated as it did on Sept. 14, when
President George Bush toured ground zero, threw his arm around a firefighter
and delivered a rousing speech. Then came a promise of $20 billion in federal
assistance and assurances that Washington would help us rebuild.
near the three-month anniversary of the world’s most horrific terrorist attack,
the Bush administration is less sympathetic to New York’s plight. Not only are
administration officials determined to give us only half the money right away,
but they’ve resolved to block any other assistance beyond the $20 billion-if
and when we get even that.
would like to think that the rebuilding effort in New York would be free of back-room politics. New Yorkers aren’t asking for
a handout. Yet Mr. Bush is acting like this is some highway bill loaded
up with pork-barrel projects. As it stands, New York will probably get between
$9 billion and $11 billion as soon as Congress can act on the spending plan.
The rest of the money might be sent to New York next year, but who knows? As
for any additional aid, the city is on its own.
York came under attack because it is this nation’s financial and cultural center.
The terrorists were attacking not just New York, but a symbol of American
power. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are sending a profoundly
distressing message-to us and to our enemies-by trying to pinch billions.
It seems the Republican President has concluded
the city is Democratic territory that will never throw many votes his
way. Our junior Senator, Hillary Clinton, was curiously invisible until very
recently, and now she’s playing catch-up with Senator Charles Schumer as they
appeal for aid. It’s clear the President dismisses incoming Mayor Michael
Bloomberg as a Democrat masquerading as a Republican. Our two Republican
leaders, Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, have not been as
outspoken as they should be. The Governor originally asked for $54 billion in
aid, and loaded his request with silly spending plans for upstate. When critics
attacked his plan, the Governor lost his tongue, and he has yet to find it. The
Mayor has ludicrously said that we don’t need $20 billion now, anyway. Sure, it
takes a while to spend that kind of money, but clearly it’s better to have the
cash in hand than to have a federal I.O.U., particularly as the administration
tries to pay for a war while offering laughable tax breaks. If Mr. Giuliani had
used his newfound clout to publicly demand the $20 billion, you can bet the check might have been on his desk as quickly
as the next day.
President and his advisers have done a good job in managing the war overseas.
Too bad they’ve turned cheap when it comes to rebuilding the nation’s greatest
With An Elite East Side
Be careful what you wish for. A group of Upper East Side parents has
been working with the Board of Education for two years to establish a public
high school that would offer an academically rigorous curriculum to match those
of the area’s costly private schools. The
parents are trying to strike a much-needed
blow against the city’s normal way of handling education issues: do nothing,
and watch as middle-class families move to the suburbs. The emergence of
quality neighborhood high schools would be a cause for celebration throughout
the city. The former Sotheby’s warehouse on East 76th Street has been
identified as a likely location for the school.
Schools Chancellor Harold Levy and the Board of Education have been cagey about
following through on the school’s main selling points: that its 500 students
will be drawn from the neighborhood and that the curriculum will be geared
toward high achievers. Several board officials feel that such a school would be
elitist-which reveals the school board’s prejudice against any educational
endeavor that dares to reward academic excellence. And so the board may end up
approving the school, but also enforce zoning and admissions rules that would, by one estimate, limit enrollment of Upper
East Side students to well under 20 percent of the student body. As a
result, the parents are asking the board to reject the school in its current
form, even if it means losing the lease on the building. “We got used,” one
parent told The New York Times.
board says it will take up the issues of zoning and curriculum at a later date-but
unless the board changes its current tune, the school will likely be open to students from several neighborhoods. And
the board’s current academic guidelines
severely limit the ability of the school to admit top students. By not allowing local parents to have a high
school for their kids, the city would be furthering the climate in which only
children whose parents can afford private-school tuition, or who can meet the
entrance requirements of selective public schools such as Hunter College High
School, Stuyvesant and the Bronx High School of Science, have a chance at a
Levy and board president Ninfa Segarra should get behind the vision of the new
school before this rare opportunity is swallowed up by the business-as-usual
Are Men Sex Addicts?
Women have always known that men often behave as if driven by some
bizarre force beyond rational explanation, most particularly when it comes to
matters of love and sex. And men have been
taken to task for their seeming inability to resemble normal human
beings when in the vicinity of a beautiful woman. New research suggests that,
well, the guys can’t help it. It turns out that the male brain responds to
beauty the way an addict’s brain reacts to an infusion of heroin, or a starving
person’s brain reacts to a plate of food. The researchers speculate that men
may be hard-wired to be sex addicts.
study, published in the journal Neuron,
heterosexual men in their mid-20’s were shown pictures of men and women and had
their brain response measured. The
images of beautiful women stimulated the same “reward circuits” that light up
when presented with food or narcotics. The results suggest that rather than
female beauty simply being the product of a particular culture’s values, it
touches a more primal chord in men.
goes a long way toward explaining the odd mating behavior of males, as well as
perhaps their nagging need for new “conquests.” And once again, science
confirms what women’s intuition has been telling them for centuries.