March 12, 2008

New York's new governor legally blind

Here's some interesting material on David L. Paterson, who apparently will be moving up to the governor's mansion in Albany:

Though his sight is limited, Lt. Gov. David Paterson walks the halls of the Capitol unaided. He recognizes people at conversational distance and can memorize whole speeches. He has played basketball, run a marathon, and survived 22 years in the backbiting culture of the state Capitol with a reputation as a man more apt to reach for an olive branch than a baseball bat.

If Spitzer resigns after being snared in a prostitution scandal, the biggest changes in a Paterson administration would probably revolve around style.

"He's a guy who had two handicaps: his blindness and his race. And he never made excuses for it," said civil rights leader Al Sharpton, a longtime friend. "He's the guy who has said, 'I have been in a minority group and a minority within a minority group. And I can make it, so don't give me no excuses.'"

Paterson, 53, is the son of former state Sen. Basil Paterson, a member of the storied "Harlem Clubhouse" that includes fellow Democrats U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. The elder Paterson was the first in the family to run for lieutenant governor in 1970. He lost, but later became New York's first black secretary of state.

David Paterson lost sight in his left eye and much of the sight in his right eye after an infection as an infant. Refusal to bow to his handicap came early. When New York City schools refused to let him attend mainstream classes, his parents established residency on Long Island, where they found a school that would let him go to regular classes.

"He was in the plays and on the stage, and required no assistance in maneuvering around stage and on the playground," said Dr. Casmiro Liotta, Paterson's former principal at the Fulton School.

Assemblyman Keith Wright, an old Harlem friend, remembers Paterson playing basketball and generally acting just like the other kids in the neighborhood. In 1999, Paterson completed the New York City Marathon.

After earning degrees from Columbia University and Hofstra Law School, he worked for the Queens district attorney's office and was elected to the state Senate in 1985 at the age of 31. He built a reputation for working hard in a place where not everyone does.

Though he can read for brief periods, Paterson usually has aides read to him. He also has developed the ability to remember entire speeches and policy arcana. State Sen. Neil Breslin recalled that he told Paterson his cell phone number once and he memorized it.

"He has one of the finest memories of anyone I've known," Breslin said.

Not surprisingly, considering that he can't really read for long periods of time, he failed the N.Y. Bar Exam. But he has to be pretty crafty to get where he's gotten. Especially because he can't really see small details of people's faces, like whether they're smiling sincerely or falsely when they promise to support you in some political deal. I bet he has remarkable voice analysis abilities.

And I bet he spends a lot of time talking to people. Being Lt. Governor can be a pretty undesirable position (I've known a former NY Lt. Gov. who must not have had terribly stiff competition), but perhaps Mr. Paterson had heard some hints that energetic young Mr. Spitzer just might not serve out his term.

The other blind politician I've heard about in recent years was British Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett, whose career was derailed by sexual and financial scandals.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

29 comments:

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: But he has to be pretty crafty to get where he's gotten.

Or, on the other hand, because he's been a two-fer his entire life [satisfying both the black quota and the "crippled" quota], maybe he'll prove to be a poster boy for Affirmative Action incompetence.

Oh well, New Yorkers will learn soon enough.

TheKidd said...

Though he can read for brief periods, Paterson usually has aides read to him. He also has developed the ability to remember entire speeches and policy arcana. State Sen. Neil Breslin recalled that he told Paterson his cell phone number once and he memorized it.

What's the correlation between (auditory?) memory abiliity and g?

Anonymous said...

Not surprisingly, considering that he can't really read for long periods of time, he failed the N.Y. Bar Exam.

To only get into Hofstra Law as a doubly blessed affirmative action kid with powerful family connections and a Columbia degree in a likely easy major (e.g. AA Studies or Sociology) indicates that Paterson is pretty bad at the book smart thing. This is the simplest explaination for his NY Bar failure (and why he appears to simply have given up on even trying a second time).

Conversely, his blindness probably helped him develop an exceptional memory and the ability to read non-visual social cues most people ignore or miss that are valuable in political wheeling and dealing.

The NY Bar probably makes accomodations for visually impaired similar to what the LSAT has offered for many years which includes readers and, since 1997, more accomodations.

A NYTimes article on such special accomodations points out some key issues:

* "For many people with learning disabilities, large law firms are probably the most difficult area, since a lot of those jobs are all about reading or writing speed"

* "I worry what happens to all these people who are getting accommodations when they're out there in practice. Under the law, they may be entitled to extra time on tests or a quiet room to take exams in. But no one wants to be represented at trial by a lawyer who can't think fast on his feet, or land in the emergency room with a doctor who's too distracted to concentrate."

Law was probably just a vehicle into the family business of politics for Paterson. He's probably much happier in and suited for the politics he is in today.

Sideways said...

Though he can read for brief periods, Paterson usually has aides read to him. He also has developed the ability to remember entire speeches and policy arcana.

Impressive

State Sen. Neil Breslin recalled that he told Paterson his cell phone number once and he memorized it.

I'm no longer impressed.

Anonymous said...

Paterson, 53, is the son of former state Sen. Basil Paterson, a member of the storied "Harlem Clubhouse" that includes fellow Democrats U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

He's got family connections, and is buddies with David Dinkins, Charlie Rangel, and Al Sharpton. No doubt he's smart; but no doubt, too, that he's also a lot like the black politicians we're already so used to.

Interestingly, the ex-Republican governor of Maryland also had a blind running mate, Kristen Cox, in the 2006 election (which they lost).

I'd have to think it's easier being blind in politics than to be deaf, since politics is such a verbally-oriented profession, and since politicians don't usually bother to read the legislation they're voting on anyway. Besides hearing skills, it seems like blindness would place a pretty high value on memory, since your access to written material is not as easy.

Anonymous said...

WHat if he bombs? What if he's an embarrassment? The entire nation is paying (a little) attention to New York, now. What if a black executive makes a mess of it in grand fashion in a year when the Democrat's nominee is a black guy?

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Another blind politician of note is Gordon Brown, the Labour politician and current Prime Minister of the UK.

He blind in one eye and reduced vision in the other: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/sep/25/interviews.labourconference

headache said...

"WHat if he bombs? What if he's an embarrassment? The entire nation is paying (a little) attention to New York, now. What if a black executive makes a mess of it in grand fashion in a year when the Democrat's nominee is a black guy?"

Nothing will happen. It will not reflect on Obama in any way imaginable. Blacks are getting a free ride in the press these days. I have yet to see a negative media effect of black incompetence or corruption. They all seem to be teflon-coated.

Anonymous said...

Making fun of his law school? Hofstra isn't exactly Harvard but it's not some diploma mill either.

Sometimes the IQ obsessed readership here goes a little too far with this crap.

Ian Lewis said...

I heard the NPR round-up of the Lt Governor and the commenter said that, amonst other things, that he is a "suprisingly good basketball player".

I would love to know if this means that he is good at defense and the "inside" game, or if he actually has a decent outside shot.

Becuase, if he can shoot from the outside, that would say a lot about his vision.

Anonymous said...

Patterson introduced a bill before he became Lt Gov ordering police to shoot armed suspects in the leg or arm,to use the minimum force necessary,and to face the possibility of going to jail for a long long time if they dont comply with his goofy law. Oh,he's blind allright... :)Wasnt he basically hand-picked(maybe the wrong choice of words..) by Elliot to be the Lt.G. I wonder why he picked this character,just assumed he'd be a quota??-Josh

Anonymous said...

Very likely the guy will be a disaster.

NY State is facing a deficit crisis. Total meltdown of it's northern industrial centers (Kodak, Xerox in free-fall with massive layoffs). NYC having crime creep back up again and a volatile Wall Street.

With high taxes and homeownership out of reach for most people, PC and multiculturalism stalking the land.

Paterson is like a nicer Al Sharpton or Rangel. He's still totally unable to get white support and is often found behind dumb things like his bill against cops.

With him as Gov. you can bet cops will drive-and-wave at criminals, reading the tea leaves. A massive crime wave in NYC and Buffalo is the last thing NY State needs.

This is a tough job for anyone. But for someone with no skills in creating large coalitions across racial lines, disaster.

DAJ said...

Lucius Vorenus,

This is not a knock on you, but do you ever allow that some blacks might be highly intelligent? You almost seem hell-bent on discounting the intelligence of demonstrably mentally capable blacks. Bell curves have two extreme tails.

Lucius Vorenus said...

DAJ: do you ever allow that some blacks might be highly intelligent?

Yes, in theory [although, if the curve looks less Gaussian, and more Poissonian, then even the theory could prove to be a problem].

On the other hand, at some point you guys have to have the courage of your convictions.

If you really do believe that the black bell curve is at least a SD to the left of the white bell curve, and that it has a lower variance than the white bell curve, then you have to be prepared to accept the consequences of your beliefs.

Which is to say: Black genius might exist, but, on average, over the course of our entire lifetimes, none of us will ever randomly cross paths with it.

PS: Having grown up below the Mason-Dixon line, and having spent huge portions of my formative years immersed in large gatherings of black people, I suspect that I have vastly more experience in what can and cannot be expected [reasonably] of black people.

PPS: As I said above, the people of New York will soon learn - for good, or for ill - what Mr. Paterson is made of.

If you want a preview, then today's piece in the Buffalo News is probably a good place to start:

Paterson's record shows that he is far more liberal than Spitzer
By Tom Precious and Robert J. McCarthy
Updated: 03/14/08 1:41 PM
buffalonews.com

PPPS: The more I hear from Obama [especially when he strays from any presentation which isn't tightly scripted], the less impressed I am with the guy, and the more I'm starting to think that he really was a big-time beneficiary of AA.

James Kabala said...

According to Wikipedia, Paterson's Columbia B.A. is in history.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, Spitzer scored 1590 on his SATs and a perfect score on his LSATs, yet he was caught doing something profoundly stupid. I wonder why the Steve and the other white supremacists (don't get mad; that's what all of you are) don't comment on this.

Truth said...

"I suspect that I have vastly more experience in what can and cannot be expected [reasonably] of black people."

I agree with you Lucius. There are some things that black people are simply too dumb to understand. Like for instance, I could go to your typical black on the street and explain to him that anyone born on US soil is eligible to run for US president. They wouldn't get it...too dumb. Also, I could tell them that a doctor with an Engineering degree from Stanford is likely much more intelligent then average. Their low IQ's would make it impossible for them to understand this simple point. But you and I, we'll keep trying to educate the brain dead, inferior, simple minded blacks on these simple truisms until the day we die, amigo.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Gee, I dunno, Truth - your homeboys at The Old Gray Lady seemed to think that it was a subject worth whining about:

McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out
By CARL HULSE
February 28, 2008
nytimes.com

DAJ said...

"Black genius might exist, but, on average, over the course of our entire lifetimes, none of us will ever randomly cross paths with it."

This may be mathematically true, but what is random about being shown smart blacks on television news and through the internet? These events are non-random. What are the odds of randomly crossing paths with or noticing a dark-skinned Fijian who excels at golf or a part-black/part-white/part-Amerindian/part-Thai golf prodigy who is named after a cat? I would presume next to nil. However, television and the internet have made such manifestations more accessible and evident to people. When the topic on isteve.com concerns a wealthy or educated black (or white or Asian), randomness is ipso facto thrown out of the equation and your argument is nullified.

By the way, how often do poor whites of eastern Kentucky trailer parks randomly come in contact with or observe white geniuses like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking during their lifetimes, except through the non-random occurrence of watching television news or the Learning Channel? How often do most middle class whites?

DAJ said...

Lucius Vorenus,

The genius echelon of intelligence involves IQs above 140 or 150. You even seem very resistant to allowing that some blacks might have IQs in the area of 110 to 125! People with such IQs are bright, but not geniuses. Most isteve.com commentators are probably in this range. Surely, the far-right tail of the black American bell curve encompasses the bright.

I shall grudgingly enter the realm of the anecdote to convey my point. My dark-skinned, "un-mixed," black former college roommate scored a 1350 on the SAT, graduated with high honors in Microbiology, scored in the 99th percentile on the PCAT, and graduated from one of the premier pharmacy graduate schools in the U.S. With these accomplishments in tow, he is most definitely as bright as your typical blue-eyed white engineer, chemist, or CPA. How can one reasonably argue the contrary? From your past posts, I can imagine that you would endeavor with utmost diligence and tenacity to disqualify his achievements. Why? Would you do the same for a white or Asian with equal credentials?

I have also befriended an "un-mixed" black girl who scored a 1410 on the SAT. Her claim to brightness is without dispute. What about the black mechanical engineering major during my collegiate years who tutored white and black underclassmen (and me) in calculus-based physics, engineering dynamics, and engineering statics? It was almost as if he knew such exceedingly difficult subjects like the back of his hand. I have also met blacks who scored in the 1200s on the SAT. Such blacks are corporeal, tangible, and existent, not mere figments of one's suspected theory.

My questions to you go beyond your qualms about recognizing bright blacks. I have read posts in which you stubbornly refused to grant that a black woman who possessed degrees in engineering and medicine might indeed be bright. Yet, you eagerly assigned higher intelligence to a white woman who demonstrated no concrete comparative evidence whatsoever vis-à-vis the black woman. You even cursed me when I pointed out the utter weakness of your argument (and most fellow posters agreed with my logic). Why? Are you really being objective or is there some personal animus involved? How can people take you seriously when you are denying the obvious and appear to have ulterior motives?

Why do you readily accept the bell curve evidence to support lower black mean intelligence and social inadequacies, but hesitate to accept that the black bell curve contains tails of various areas? You willingly admit the many social negatives concerning the black race, but virtually refuse to allow the relatively few positives. Can you understand why I suspect serious anti-black bias in your writings? Again, this is not a knock on you. You often broach insightful topics, references, and points to Steve Sailer's blog.

Lucius Vorenus said...

DAJ: This may be mathematically true, but what is random about being shown smart blacks on television news and through the internet?

Daj, these are politicians we're talking about here.

Even white politicians aren't every smart, and whites [still, 45 years of dysgenic fertility not withstanding] have a vastly larger talent pool to draw from.

I can't think of any politician who had an IQ much greater than a walnut since maybe Winston Churchill, or Douglas MacArthur, and they both flourished from 55 to 75 years ago.

Smart people don't go into politics [unless there's something truly apocalyptic on the horizon which demands their services] - instead, they head off to the mountains and listen to Beethoven while they ponder their physics problems.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Daj: I have read posts in which you stubbornly refused to grant that a black woman who possessed degrees in engineering and medicine might indeed be bright. Yet, you eagerly assigned higher intelligence to a white woman who demonstrated no concrete comparative evidence whatsoever vis-à-vis the black woman.

Look, I'm the one who watched the Bud Greenspan special.

You go dig it up and watch it for yourself and then try to tell me - with a straight face - that Debi Thomas doesn't come off sounding like a blithering idiot.

And if you want me to come to the conclusion that Debi Thomas is NOT a blithering idiot, then find me some tape of her where she doesn't sound like a blithering idiot.

DAJ said...

Lucius V.,

I see that you did not answer my bevy of questions. Anyway, during the increasingly infamous Debi Thomas thread, your links to the supposedly damning Greenspan interview did not actually link to the actual interview (your link above still fails to do so). In fact, there was no “there, there.” Yet, others during that thread—myself included—provided YouTube links in which one could watch Debi Thomas speak. The consensus of the posters was that she sounded nothing like the “blithering idiot” that you claim she is. Instead, she spoke with basic grammar and considerable poise for an American teenager on the international stage. Who will have more credibility: posters who provide links to actual interviews/talks or a poster who provides nothing of the sort and expects strangers to believe him on mere word alone?

Since you utterly failed to provide corroborating evidence, I reasoned that the accumulation of her concrete accomplishments (engineering degree, medical degree, two medical residencies, and surgical license) ipso facto evinces that the woman is bright and far outweighs a supposedly damning but unseen and unlinked interview. I would argue even further that no interview could detract from the fact that she passed a standardized surgical licensing examination. It is probably fair to presume that non-bright people do not pass such examinations. No interview can take that public, tangible, real achievement away from her. How can a short interview negate the many years’ worth of record of her educational and occupational accomplishments? Do George W. Bush’s interviews invalidate the fact that he was smart enough to graduate from Yale and score in the 90th (or 95th?) percentile on the SAT?

Again, I still do not understand the reasoning behind your even using Debi Thomas as an example of a low-IQ figure skater when an infinitely more obvious, popular example exists. Her name is Tonya Harding. She is white and blond. She has a GED and a widely known police record. The woman has also done Internet porn (sort of like Katarina Witt, who did hard copy porn, but you seem to take that as a positive). Your use of Thomas in this regard makes one question the objectivity and intentions of your posts, especially concerning blacks. The suspicion is not without merit, as I have demonstrated. I shall now wait to be assailed by profanity.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Lucius Vorenus: PPS: As I said above, the people of New York will soon learn - for good, or for ill - what Mr. Paterson is made of.

Gov. Paterson admits to sex with other woman for years
Juan Gonzalez
Tuesday, March 18th 2008, 8:32 AM
nydailynews.com

The thunderous applause was still ringing in his ears when the state's new governor, David Paterson, told the Daily News that he and his wife had extramarital affairs.

In a stunning revelation, both Paterson, 53, and his wife, Michelle, 46, acknowledged in a joint interview they each had intimate relationships with others during a rocky period in their marriage several years ago...

I never used state cash to pay for liaisons – gov
Greg B. Smith

Gov. Paterson denies using state or campaign money to pay for liaisons with another woman during a rocky patch in his marriage.

Records show that in September 2001, then-Sen. Paterson's campaign spent $456.46 for two nights at what was then called the Quality Hotel at 215 W. 94th St.

One check was dated Sept. 10 — the day before the 9/11 attacks — and the other Sept. 24. Both are listed as "office" expenses.

In an earlier interview with the Daily News, Paterson mentioned that his campaign paid for a staffer to stay at the hotel around the time of 9/11.

He said he did not remember the exact dates, but he acknowledged putting up one staffer there the day of the attack and another the day before the Democratic primary, which was Sept. 25, 2001.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Lucius Vorenus: PPS: As I said above, the people of New York will soon learn - for good, or for ill - what Mr. Paterson is made of.

PATERSON GAL'S TAPE SHOCKER
OLYMPICS BABE BARES RECORDING & JOB 'HE GOT ME'
By FREDRIC U. DICKER, State Editor
nypost.com

March 19, 2008 -- ALBANY - An attractive Olympic gold-medalist says she had a close personal relationship with Gov. Paterson earlier this year - during which time she recorded a series of secret telephone conversations with him.

Track-and-field athlete Diane Dixon, of Brooklyn, also told The Post that she had received a private message yesterday morning from Paterson, asking if she was speaking with the media.

Dixon, 43, said Paterson, 53, was "mostly responsible" for getting her a badly needed job earlier this month with the city Department of Education in Crown Heights' District 17.

The job pays in the range of $48,000 to $65,000 a year, records show...

Lucius Vorenus said...

Lucius Vorenus: PPS: As I said above, the people of New York will soon learn - for good, or for ill - what Mr. Paterson is made of.

Gov. Paterson says he may have used campaign cash for hotel hookup
BY BEN LESSER, JOE MAHONEY and GREG SMITH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Thursday, March 20th 2008, 4:00 AM
nydailynews.com

Gov. Paterson admitted Wednesday he may have improperly billed his campaign for at least one hotel tryst with a girlfriend.

The hotel tryst was apparently listed as "constituent services."

A Daily News review found that in a handful of other campaign expenditures, Paterson may have used campaign funds to cover personal expenses and misstated their purpose in public disclosure forms...

Lucius Vorenus said...

Lucius Vorenus: PPS: As I said above, the people of New York will soon learn - for good, or for ill - what Mr. Paterson is made of.

ED. DEPT. PATERSON CALLS GOT GAL A JOB
By FREDRIC U. DICKER, State Editor
2008-03-20
nypost.com

March 20, 2008 -- ALBANY - The city Department of Education confirmed yesterday that Gov. Paterson intervened on behalf of Olympic gold-medalist Diane Dixon to get her a job after she'd been turned down - around the same time she told The Post she had tape recordings proving her close relationship with him...

Lucius Vorenus said...

Lucius Vorenus: PPS: As I said above, the people of New York will soon learn - for good, or for ill - what Mr. Paterson is made of.

BE VERY AFRAID OF THIS HUBBY
STUD GOV'S LOVER WED TO BIGSHOT
By FREDRIC U. DICKER and KENNETH LOVETT in Albany and DAVE SEIFMAN in New York
nypost.com

March 20, 2008 --

Some advice to Gov. Paterson about the burly husband of your former lover: Stay away!

That's what several sources who know Randy Loyd, the insurance executive married to former Paterson lover Lila Kirton, told The Post yesterday as they mulled over the new governor's stunning admission that he had a string of affairs with "a number of" women. One of those ladies was identified by sources as Kirton, a longtime state employee.

Loyd's "a big guy who understandably is going to be very unhappy about this," said a source close to the Kirton family.

"My advice to Gov. Paterson: Don't go anywhere near Lila's husband," the source continued.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Lucius Vorenus: PPS: As I said above, the people of New York will soon learn - for good, or for ill - what Mr. Paterson is made of.

Paterson pays back campaign for hotel tryst, but other bills raise eyebrows
BY GREG B. SMITH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Updated Friday, March 21st 2008, 12:58 PM
nydailynews.com

Gov. Paterson spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds on personal items like hotel stays, men's suits, home furnishings and bar tabs, documents released Friday show.

He reimbursed his campaign for most of the expenses within about a month, but in two cases did so this week - only after revelations surfaced that he may have used the money for extramarital affairs.

He also dramatically changed his story about why his campaign paid one of his former girlfriends $500, with aides saying he'd "misstated" the first explanation...