One got the feeling that noted marksman Dick Cheney's hunting trip upstate this week was organized for the express purpose of reminding us that even in our cherished blue states, there is often red-state behavior. Although maybe even Cheney didn't know how much? A photo by the Daily News that captured a Confederate flag hanging in the window in front of Clove Valley Gun and Rod Club has prompted everyone and Al Sharpton to rip into Cheney, who claims he didn't actually know it was there. “The vice president did not see a flag, nor did anyone on his staff traveling with him in New York,” White House spokeswoman Megan M. Mitchell told the Times. Well, he did have a hood over his eyes and everything. Just kidding! Look, let's be honest. There's no way Cheney's staff would have noticed that flag. It's not like they have a team who go to unsecure locations to scout them out in advance or something. Plus, even if he did know it was there, it wouldn't mean anything. Some of Cheney's closest eighth cousins are black!
Al Sharpton Chides Dick Cheney Over Confederate Flag [NYDN]
Our embattled governor took a Sunday trip to Watkins Glen — it's most of the way to Rochester, just west of Ithaca — to see the NASCAR races, and he ended up spending nearly nine hours at the track. Friends and foes alike were surprised to see him there, serving as grand marshal and seeming to enjoy himself immensely. As the Times puts it, it’s not exactly the sport of an "Upper East Sider with the Princeton and Harvard education and the reputation for a hyperkinetic braininess" (ed. note: wha?). But his NASCAR cred is real — he’s a longtime Jeff Gordon fan, knows the ins and outs of different national tracks, and can correctly use words like "restrictor plates" and "carburetor" (ed. note, again: wha?). As surprised as we city folk may be that our urbane gov might be riveted by stock cars, an upstate NASCAR fan raises an even better question: "What’s NASCAR doing putting a Democrat on TV?" Indeed. Next thing you know, there'll be Republicans on PBS.
Spitzer in His Element at NASCAR Race[NYT]
Related:NASCAR Guv [NYM]
• Thanks to the limp dollar, New York is now only the fifteenth most expensive city in the world. Moscow (where a luxury bedroom is $4,000 a month), London, and Seoul are the top three. [amNY]
• The Post is up in arms over Bloomberg's pay-to-the-poor incentive program, with experts warning it may cost the city "hundreds of millions." Those poor get all the breaks. [NYP]
• In the wake of the Sean Bell case, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly wants to institute sobriety testing for every cop who shoots someone. (One of Bell's killers had two beers before the shooting.) [NYDN]
• The city has paid a $29,000 settlement to Jill Coccaro, a woman erroneously arrested for going topless. In New York, of course, women have a full, if woefully rarely exercised, right to take off their shirts in public. And yet we can't dance in bars. [CNN]
• And, you think Bush v. Gore was bad? Residents of Potter, an upstate town, accidentally voted to ban alcohol in a ballot mix-up and might soon be forced to go dry. [NYT]
• The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the Fire Department for discriminating against minorities. A complaint filed in Brooklyn alleges that the firefighter recruitment exam is racially weighted and serves to "weed out" blacks and Latinos. [Metro]
• We've said it should take more than greening your mansion to make it into the news. This qualifies: An abandoned upstate steel mill has reinvented itself as a wind farm, a first for the Rust Belt. [NYT]
• Peter Braunstein didn't just want to kill Anna Wintour: He also spoke of heading down to New Orleans to head up a gang of angry Katrina survivors, according to a shrink. (Braunstein did briefly pretend to be a hurricane victim to get free food and shelter while on the run.) [amNY]
• Subway Superman Wesley Autrey left NBC's Deal or No Deal with $25 after picking the wrong suitcase (the other two held $1 million and $10,000, respectively). No X-ray vision, then. [NYDN]
• And there's some sort of conspiracy afoot among the Post, CBS, Amy Fisher, and Joey Buttafuoco to pretend that there's some juice left in the Long Island pair's story — enough, perhaps, to sustain a reality show. Let's not encourage any of them. [NYP]