It’s long been my contention that the Blackberry device, with its instant ability to send and receive e-mail, is a detriment, rather than an asset, to one’s professional abilities. I’ve known too many people who fire off an instant Blackberry response to an easy question or to good news, but disappear for weeks when asked something requiring actual thought. And I’ve had too many instances of confusion over someone’s half-baked Blackberry answer. (For my part, I have a cell phone with Windows that can send and receive e-mails. But it will only do it when I ask: it won’t poke me in the ribs when a message comes in. And I usually wait until I’m at my computer to answer the e-mails, unless it’s genuinely urgent or the phone is the only device at hand.)
Now the Blackberry has tripped up the apparently former Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, Malcolm Smith. There are 32 Democrats and 30 Republicans in the State Senate, and Smith is the leader of the Democrats.
But this week, two Democratic state senators decided that they would caucus with the Republicans instead, tipping the balance of the Senate.
And how did this happen? Apparently some time in the recent past, Smith had a meeting with Tom Golisano, one-time candidate for Governor, who recently moved to Florida, amid considerable publicity, to avoid heavy New York State taxes. And at this meeting, Smith apparently offended Golisano by paying more attention to his Blackberry than his guest. So Golisano set the wheels in motion for a Republican coup.
As far as my reaction to the coup itself, I have none. The New York State Legislature is a nexus of evil in the modern world, and I don’t believe that it matters which party is in power. I can’t say that the Republicans are better or worse than the Democrats (within the NY legislature), and I can’t say whether the coup was a blow for democracy or an exercise in corruption.
But it’s good to see a Blackberry addict get what he deserves.