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November 18, 2009

Bloomberg Watch: Wastin' Away Again in Margarita Burritoville

Bloomberg Burritoville.jpg

If “The Great Recession” label failed to catch on before the recession was called, and the “two Americas” meme somehow died with the fidelity of John Edwards, symbols of gross entitlement — as represented by the incestuous merger of corporate and political power married to tin-eared populist gestures — are everywhere, if you look.

Today, I’m starting another “watch” series starring New York Mayor and financial services mogul, Michael Bloomberg. As a poster child for Wall Street’s co-opting of Main Street — especially after he nearly lost re-election for trying to buy it — I want to put, and keep an eye on NYC’s CEO.

What specifically reminded me of the photo above was the NYT piece yesterday morning focusing on how much Bloomberg is “humility challenged.” The picture ran on the NYT front page two weeks ago, on the day after the election. From the accompanying article, we get this backstory:

Michael R. Bloomberg, stung by an election outcome that revealed resentment over his undoing of the term limits law and his extravagant campaign spending, moved quickly Wednesday to strike a conciliatory tone as he reached out to the Democratic establishment that backed his opponent in the mayor’s race


Signs of an altered landscape quickly emerged as Mr. Bloomberg, never known for his humility, made an elaborate show of deference. His staff hastily arranged a highly visible meeting, at a Manhattan restaurant, with the city’s public advocate-elect, Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.

What amuses me no end, besides the two heavies outside, and the yellow fire hydrant in such close proximity to Hizzoner, and the Mayor’s dead heavy-handed planting of himself in the window of the cleared-out local joint shouting “look at me, I give a sh-t, now” (flash!), is the restaurant sign, reading (backwards, no less): “Burritoville.”

Burritoville! Like Heinz ketchup is a vegetable, this Daddy Terminalbucks deigns to co-op the symbolism of the burrito (and then, never you mind all the race, class and immigration baggage wrapped up with it) as some heavy hint of a common man.

(photo: Michael Appleton for The New York Times)

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