New York’s Most Loathsome, reprisals reprised

    When New York Press editor Alex Zaitchik asked me to help write the paper’s 2005 list of the “Most Loathsome New Yorkers,” I took to the task gladly and also asked that my byline be attached to each of my votes. But one of our fellow contributors apparently freaked out at the idea of the writers naming their own names — which seemed strange, given, after all, that naming was the whole point of the exercise. Anyway, some of my Loathsome entries ran, some were dumped, but none ran under my byline. I correct that below, with a slant toward Brooklyn’s most loathsome. Enjoy, and sing out if you have any to add (god almighty, there are enough choices in NYC)…

    Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Tax-Dollar Waste, Non-Entity

    Picture Ron Jeremy without the dick, Buddy Hackett without the laughs, and you have Brooklyn B.P. Marty Markowitz. Why this porcine oaf with the eerie resemblance to your insane grinning uncle continues to occupy Borough Hall is beyond reason. Once upon a time, when the Board of Estimate ruled graft and contracts in New York, the five borough presidents had power. But today it’s a no-show job. The bad news with Markowitz is that he shows up, and so do his 116 employees, his $4.7 million budget, and his four SUVs equipped with police sirens. Not content with doing nothing, Markowitz finds time to advocate for the downtrodden, such as Ikea, Home Depot and developer Bruce Ratner in their noble quest to cannibalize mom-and-pop neighborhoods. Markowitz is also known for racing around the city in HOV lanes with police lights flashing, en route to handing out a plaque. Markowitz was up for re-election last year and, true to form, voters put him back at the grindstone. Instead, he should have saved the citizens the trouble and us taxpayers millions of dollars and fired himself, fired his employees and turned Borough Hall into a methadone clinic. At least then we’d have reputable people hanging around the place.


    Barbara Corcoran, Megarealtor, Suburbanizer

    The Corcoran Group, whose agents get Botox injections and put steamy photos on their business cards, has done more than any other realtor in town to fetishize and thus gentrify once affordable and polyglot neighborhoods. According to the company’s website, Barbara Corcoran’s mega-realty had “over $5 billion in closed sales volume in 2003,” and according to CNN, Corcoran herself is “the most sought after broker” in the city. Of course, Corcoran’s success has opened the doors of the city to a thousand locust-like imitators, as they swarm into the next “hot, hip hood” to drive out blacks, Puerto Ricans, pensioners, old people, struggling families, squatters and anyone else who can’t step up to the Darwinian contest of market rates. “The Corcoran Group is the Wal-Mart of real estate,” says a local Brooklyn broker who didn’t want her name used. “Corcoran goes into a cheap neighborhood and brings in a developer to rip apart the organic fabric.” The Corcoran website states that Barbara founded the company at a “key moment in New York City real estate history” – the 1970s – “just as the city went from being a market predominantly composed of rentals to one of individual ownership.” Sound familiar? Yep, it’s the ethic of the “ownership society,” which pits the propertied against everyone else – the very same sociopathic drive with which the Republican Party of George W. Bush hopes to herd the poor to the fringes of American society.


    District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes, Brooklyn’s Top Elected Criminal

    Is this guy a jerk-off or what? The most powerful man in Brooklyn prosecutes political enemies on bullshit charges, talentless cronies balloon his staff, and almost every year he bursts his budget. His office is the top-heaviest in the city with six-figure “executive assistants” who apparently do nothing but kick money upstairs to Hynes’ campaign coffers. In fact, Hynes is the only of the city’s five DAs who extorts campaign contributions from staff. He also runs his campaign headquarters out of his offices, which is illegal. He took a bag of $12,000 in cash – also illegal – in his failed run for governor in 1998, but his staff prosecutors – those vaunted executive assistants – claimed not to know that taking sacs of cash is a crime. Three of Hynes’ children have been on the payrolls of various local politicos, though Hynes promised to bring a “wrecking ball” to the cronyism and patronage in Brooklyn that rots civic life. According to the Daily News, homicide is down 10 percent city-wide, but in Brownsville, it’s up 156 percent; in Bensonhurst, it’s up 400 percent. While Brooklyn burns, Joe Hynes plays with his pud and we foot the bill.


    Max Boot, War Pundit, Laptop Bombardier

    Though a resident of leafy suburban Larchmont, in Westchester, where manly intellectuals like him go to become child molesters, the grim and terrible Max Boot, author of “Savage Wars of Peace” and neocon par excellence, arrives to his offices at the Wall Street Journal decked in leather bomber, riding crop, and knee-high shit-kickers. We know this from his WSJ commentaries, including his now-infamous channeling of Dr. Strangelove via George Patton that complained of not enough American lives being lost in the invasion of Afghanistan. “President Bush promised that this would not be another bloodless, push-button war, but that is precisely what it has been,” Boot intoned (this from a pale-faced wonk). “Our bombing campaign reveals great technical and logistical prowess, but it does not show that we have the determination to stick a bayonet in the guts of our enemy….” Whatever. Writing more recently in the New York Times, the lunatic Boot enthused on the American occupation of the Philippines that teed off the last “American century” and ended in the deaths of 200,000 civilians. “It was a long, hard, bloody slog,” he writes, also describing, sources say, sex with his Larchmont wife. We hope Boot is contented with the line of Iraq War corpses that can be traced to him and his fellow neocons’ door.


    Lawrence A. Kudlow, War Economist, Madman

    Like Boot a blood-thirsty psychopath who believes himself sane, the one-time top Bear Stearns/ING economist and co-propagandist on CNBC’s Kudlow & Cramer wrote cheerily of the economic benefits of the impending disaster in Iraq. “The shock therapy of decisive war will elevate the stock market by a couple-thousand points,” promised the vampire, who by day doubles as CEO of his eponymous midtown consulting firm while also writing a column for National Review. “We will know that our businesses will stay open, that our families will be safe, and that our future will be unlimited.” So…our businesses stayed open…because we…invaded Iraq….Um. Okay – fucking sicko. The real record since the war – pace Kudlow the Impaler – has been millions of jobs lost and a slumping economy. Oh, not to mention the moral nightmare of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and what will likely be a decades-long occupation blowing billions upon billions of dollars better spent on a space program for sending people like Kudlow to another planet on which to play his homicidal version of Monopoly. There’s also that rather future-limiting thing that’s been happening to American soldiers, known as death, as in 2,500 of them (as of June 2006 — but why stop at 2,500?!). Kudlow’s grade-A asshole status is further confirmed by his being an avid golfer.


    Bill O’Reilly, Cable Television Freak, Ostensible Talk Show Host

    O’Reilly is the classic lace-curtain Irish boor – mottled, thin-skinned, wistful, bloated and delusional — and a whining Miss Nancy to boot. As loathsome as he is, his personality would be a desperately pitiable object if he wasn’t the kind of behind-the-scenes suck-up demagogue who will one day be Commissariat of Information and Media Punishment in George Bush’s Emergency Third Term (watch, it’ll happen). Here’s a guy whose only answer to challenge is to throw girly tantrums, who screams down Al Franken when Franken busts him for lying about winning the super-prestigious Peabody Award, who cuts his guests’ mics when they disagree with him, who calls his fellow Americans “traitors,” “unpatriotic” and “dangerous” when they refuse to support a semi-imbecilic and totally criminal administration – all this, mind you, in the righteous confines of O’Reilly’s “no spin zone,” one of the boldest bogosities in the history of tv news marketing. When O’Reilly suggests to us for Valentine’s Day to go out and buy each other copies of his lousily written, poorly researched, mendacious tracts, we sadly know he’s looking for the love his drunken abusive daddy never provided to the one and only male daughter in the family.


    William B. Harrison, Jr., CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co.

    If you trust your money in Chase’s vaults, you already should hate this guy for doing nothing since his appointment in 2001 to fix his company’s usurious rape of low income depositors: the ATM fees ($1.50 on a $20 withdrawal?); the near-nil savings account rates; the minimum balance fees on checking accounts; and every other fiduciary duty-turned-scam in which poor people with nothing much to save are the most common prey – their meager monies meant rather for the enrichment of the privileged few who invest in or run America’s No. 2 bank. Lately, Bill Harrison’s loathsomeness as CEO of a loathsome enterprise has hit a new high, as I noted in NY Press in 2005: JP Morgan continues to extend huge credit sums to predatory lenders that then use JP’s line to furnish cash “payday” loans to the working poor – generosity tempered, of course, by annual interest rates that can approach 1,000 percent. So-called “payday” lenders find an especially fruitful clientele in youthful soldiers, according to a report in Bloomberg News. Thus have payday lenders over the past decade taken root like poison mushrooms in the fecund soil of the “private sector” around military bases nationwide. None of this could have ever come to pass without the largesse of assholes like William Harrison and his ilk, which includes, to be fair, the heads of Wachovia Corp., Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co., all of whom have snatched a piece of the $6 billion-dollar-a-year payday lending industry – but none so effectively or extensively as JP Morgan.


    Steven Roth, CEO of Vornado Realty Trust

    Under the captaincy of Mr. Roth, multi-billion dollar real estate developer Vornado Realty Trust has been the first in the city to propose a Wal-Mart superstore for one of its Queens sites. To Mr. Roth I’d like to answer with the simple facts of the obscenity that is Wal-Mart and what the coming of Wal-Mart likely means for the communities that Mr. Roth hopes to “develop.” After a decade of predations in Iowa, Wal-Mart’s presence has led to the closure or bankruptcy of 555 grocery stores, 298 hardware stores, 293 building supply stores, 161 variety stores, 158 women’s apparel stores, 153 shoe stores, 116 drugstores, and 111 men’s and boys’ apparel stores. Wal-Mart sales clerks nationwide averaged $8.23 an hour in 2001. That’s $13,861 a year – $800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Wal-Mart employees in Georgia were six times more likely to rely on state-provided health care for their children than were employees of any other large company. In California, Wal-Mart workers are so heavily dependent on public assistance programs that their employment at Wal-Mart cost state tax-payers $86 million annually. An investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that “Wal-Mart’s rock bottom wages and benefits cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in basic housing, medical, childcare, and energy needs that the retailer fails to properly cover for its employees.” All else being equal, U.S. counties where new Wal-Mart stores were built between 1987 and 1998 experienced higher poverty rates than other U.S. counties. So thanks, Mr. Roth. Thanks a fucking lot.


    PIC00023.JPG …and if anyone should see these two loathsome fuckers, call the ASPCA…posthaste!

    Comments are closed.

    A Web Archive for the work and writings of Christopher Ketcham (copyright © Christopher Ketcham, all rights reserved)