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The next time some no-nothing starts to mouth off to you about how union municipal workers are just welching off of the rest of us with their cush job and benefits, show them this:

As Sandy smashed us, bravery and dedication saved Staten Island Ferries

Most of you are probably familiar with the world famous Staten Island Ferry, many of you may have even ridden on it. In fact, The Staten Island Ferry is more than one ferry, it's actually a fleet of 8 ferries. These ships are an especially important life line for many Staten Islanders, in addition to being the icon that they are for those that don't live on the Island. Sandy posed an especially large threat to the fleet. In order to make sure that the ferries did not smash in to one and other, crash in to the docks or pilings or break from their moorings and float out to sea, 100 brave workers manned the ships in the storm, running the engines to make sure the boats stayed in place. In the worst case scenario, they were actually prepared to sail them out in to New York Harbor during the storm if they had broken free of their moorings. This would be a particularly risky and dangerous action to take, but these brave workers were prepared to do it, such as when the oldest boat in the fleet, the 47 year old John F. Kennedy, almost broke loose:

"If we had broken free," he said, "we would have been on top of the (ferryboat Sen. John J.) Marchi," which was tied up behind it.
But Covella had a plan in case those lines did fail -- he was prepared to take the Kennedy into the raging waters of the Upper New York Bay, which was otherwise closed to all ship traffic due to the high tide and enormous danger. "There's no way you would have been able to stay in one spot," if all lines broke, he said. "We were ready to go if that happened."
So, I ask: how many workers out there would be prepared to risk their lives for their city and their fellow citizens by sailing in to a storm the way these brave Union men and women did? Because of them, the fleet emerged virtually undamaged, preserving a vital transportation lifeline that was back up and running within a matter of days.

Well here it is, election day 2012, and I'm not going to be able vote. And it's not because the Republicans are preventing me from going to the polls, or that there is some electronic voting machine taking my vote for Barack Obama and routing it to the trash.  I have voted in every election since 1979, no matter how local or trivial the election may have seemed, not matter how far ahead in the polls my candidate was, no matter what the weather, it was always a priority. But not this year, in what will be likely be the most important election I am going to witness in my lifetime. Not that this is my choice, but the antiquated and nonsensical absentee voting rules of the great state of New York, coupled with the Democratic Governor's unwillingness or inability to extend the acceptance time for absentee ballots, a disgraceful decision, when you consider that the worst natural disaster since 1938 has befallen the region, are what are going to prevent me from casting my ballot. I am presently working in another state, and had originally planned to drive back to New York to cast my vote in person. But Hurricane Sandy changed those plans. So, I did what any other civic minded citizen would do, and mailed in a request for an absentee ballot, which I dutifully did by the deadline. But here I am, election day, and no absentee ballot has arrived in my mailbox. And apparently, New York will not accept any absentee ballots not postmarked by yesterday. Now, it is totally understandable, considering what has been going on in New York, that my ballot has not arrived. But, you would think, given the situation at hand, there might be some sort of exception to accommodate those that were suddenly unable to return to New York because of this disaster. As it is, New York is woefully behind other states in terms of access to voting. Even places which are hardly known as bastions of progressive thought, like Florida and West Virginia, have early voting. So, here I am, unable to make the 9 hour drive today, and I am being denied my right to vote. And I can't even blame the Republicans.

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