Why apologize when you can just wait and hope people forget what you did wrong? As we enter the season of goodwill and gratitude, that’s the question posed by disgraced former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who this year is thankful for the complicity of his allies as he attempts to stage a comeback.
While New York City mayor Eric Adams chokes on a different kind of Turkey, Politico writes that Cuomo has “begun in recent days to gauge the viability of a potential mayoral bid.”
Cuomo resigned as governor in ignominy back in August 2021 after an investigation by New York attorney general Leticia James claimed that he had sexually harassed as many as eleven women.
Lest we forget, Cuomo’s resignation in the light of the James investigation resulted in the New York State Assembly suspending a separate probe into his other serious transgression: his decision to direct care homes to take in Covid-positive patients and undercount nursing home Covid deaths by as much as 50 percent as a result.
Recently, Cuomo has attempted to reenter the fray. His aide Melissa DeRosa released a book last month casting doubt on the James investigation, under the auspices of whitewashing her boss’s reputation. (That would be the same Melissa DeRosa once spotted with Cuomo “making out on the sidewalk like high schoolers,” according to the New York Post. DeRosa and a Cuomo spokesman denied the claim.)
In an interview with Bill Maher last month, the governor suggested that he would be running against Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination were it not for his ouster, and again failed to say sorry or take responsibility for his decisions during Covid.
Cuomo’s critics are skeptical that the governor has turned a new leaf. “When it comes to defrauding the public to enrich yourself, Andrew Cuomo is a grade-A huckster,” Democratic assemblyman Ron Kim told The Spectator.
“The only person that wants to see Andrew Cuomo back in office is Andrew Cuomo,” said Fox News’s Janice Dean. “He’s so desperate for power he’ll do anything for attention. Cuomo has thrown many of his Democratic friends under the bus, including President Biden, so coming after Mayor Adams’s job is no surprise. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s thought about running as a Republican if it meant being back in the spotlight.”
If New Yorkers are hoping to move on from Eric Adams, if the Turkish corruption allegations prove true, couldn’t they do better than another scandal-plagued sexagenarian retread? The city has urgent problems in need of addressing — immigration, public safety, homelessness, to name a handful. Perhaps those should be the focus of the Big Apple’s leadership — rather than the gratuitous messes they get themselves into.
For Dean, whose parents-in-law died in a New York nursing home in March 2020, Cuomo will not be able to sidle subtly back into the spotlight: “Rest assured, those of us who have been affected by his reckless and deadly leadership in the past won’t let the rest of the world forget what he did, and why he had to resign in disgrace.”
On our radar
BUFFALO BRIDGE EXPLOSION The FBI is investigating an explosion that resulted in the deaths of two people at the Rainbow Bridge that connects the US and Canada at Niagara Falls.
PEACEFUL PUTIN? The Russian president appeared in a virtual G20 meeting where he labeled the war with Ukraine a “tragedy” and said “we need to think about ways to stop this tragedy.”
HAPPY THANKSGIVING There will be no DC Diary, Thunderdome or Cockburn’s Gossip column tomorrow or Friday. Normal service will resume on Monday. We’re grateful for all our readers this year (and every year)!
Omar not satisfied
In a letter sent to President Joe Biden last Wednesday, more than twenty House Democrats, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Betty McCollum of Minnesota and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin called to end “grave violations of children’s rights” in Gaza with an immediate ceasefire. Now that a ceasefire has become reality, Representative Ilhan Omar is applauding the move, but demanding more. Taking to Twitter/X, she wrote:
Grateful for this deal — including the release of hostages, humanitarian aid to Gaza and a temporary ceasefire. We must continue to push for a permanent ceasefire and a release of ALL hostages to end this horror.
Last week, Omar introduced a bill the Hill reported would “block a $320 million arms sale to Israel amid its war with Hamas in Gaza.” While she battles the Biden administration on its support of Israel, Omar will soon be facing her own fight back home, where former felon and drug addict-turned attorney Sarah Gad is preparing to primary her.
-Juan P. Villasmil
Sam Altman is back
For those who don’t know what that means, let me bring you up to speed on what’s been gripping the tech world for the last five days.
Sam Altman was (and is!) the CEO of OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT and the leading startup in the artificial intelligence space. He’s had a hand in some of the biggest startups of the last several decades. He’s much beloved and many give his leadership credit for the leaps that OpenAI has taken against their competitors.
Late last Friday, the board of OpenAI announced that he was fired, catching everyone off guard and insinuating that Altman had done something untoward.
This sent Silicon Valley into a spiral. The tech press tried to make sense of it. Investors in OpenAI, including Microsoft and several giant and influential venture capitalists, couldn’t figure it out either. The board wasn’t really speaking. I’ll try to explain what happened over the weekend as briefly as possible:
1) The board first appointed an interim CEO from within the company. When it was clear the interim CEO was going to rehire Altman, she was replaced by an outsider.
2) The interim CEO said he would start an investigation into how and why Sam was fired, but said he couldn’t get any more information out of the board. He also tried to hold an emergency all-hands meeting with the company, to which most responded in Slack with a “fuck you” emoji.
3) More than 700 of the 750 employees of OpenAI signed a letter saying they would resign unless Altman was brought back as CEO. Altman said he would be open to returning to OpenAI, but only if the board that just fired him resigned.
4) Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he was hiring Altman to lead an AI team at Microsoft, which because of Microsoft’s investment, has access to the IP of OpenAI.
Then late last night, OpenAI announced that Altman would be reinstated and three of the four board members who voted to oust him would be resigning.
What’s become clearer over the past several days is the reasoning behind the firing. The board members who fired Altman consider themselves to be Effective Altruists — yes, the same cult Sam Bankman-Fried was an adherent of. Supposedly, they feared that OpenAI was getting too good and could move us faster to an AI armageddon — thus, for an effective altruist, the risk was too much for the world.
The irony is that in their attempt to stop Altman and his progress, they’ve made him more powerful than ever. Business schools will be teaching this debacle for decades. Still, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of how this religious movement has taken hold in Silicon Valley.