Glancing Back: The Politics of Hvac

August 22, 2001
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And Now, The Rest of the Story

This article first appeared in the August 28, 1961 issue of The News:

NEW YORK CITY — After studying air conditioning plans for the state’s executive mansion, Rep. Samuel Stratton of New York announced that he knows Gov. Rockefeller intends to run for president in 1964.

Stratton said the governor would have ordered a central air conditioning system installed in the mansion if he had the slightest intention of spending much time in Albany [the capital of New York state] if he is re-elected in 1962.

“Instead,” Rep. Stratton said, “the individual room air conditioners are a dead giveaway that the governor plans only an infrequent overnight stand in Albany in the course of his nationwide travels to try to beat out Sen. Barry Goldwater for the Republican nomination.”

This prompted The New York Herald Tribune to comment in an editorial headed “The Slightly Cloudy Air Conditioner”:

“For generations, mankind has been foretelling the future in cards, crystal balls, tea leaves, fortune cookies, and drugstore scales. But to read a man’s mind in his air conditioner is a feat that transcends all. One can’t help wondering what else lies under Representative Stratton’s turban these warm summer days.”

As it turned out, Rep. Stratton’s prediction came true. Nelson A. Rockefeller did go on to run against Barry Goldwater for the Republican Party’s 1964 presidential nomination, but lost that race. He also lost out to Richard Nixon in 1968.

Rockefeller finally made it to the national stage as vice president to Gerald Ford, beating out George Bush for the job.


The Cold, Hard Truth

This item is from the August 27, 1984 issue:

MILWAUKEE, WI — You might say that Circuit Judge John F. Foley’s courtroom is a little chilly — at 53¿F, to be exact.

So cold has it been that the judge put up a sign on the witness stand reading, “If you have a power outage, you may bring your meat here for cold storage.”

His court clerk works with a space heater at her feet, and the judge himself has been wearing a thick sweater beneath his judicial robes.

The judge recently granted a defense motion to delay an attempted murder case until his court is fit for human habitation.

“Defense counsel refuses to defend a case with icicles on his nose. This case is venued in Milwaukee, not Antarctica.”

Building engineers concede the air conditioning is faulty, but say that if the cooling system were turned off, “all the people in the rooms above us would roast,” according to the judge.

Publication date: 08/27/2001

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