Saturday, August 8, 2009

Congratulations to Justice Sotomayor

I guess I am a little old fashioned. I enjoy the debate, the fight, the confrontation and all that stuff but when its over, its over.
Before a proud family, 55 year-old Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in today as the 111th Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
If I had been a Senator, I would have questioned her hard as I think she does need to be reminded of the perils of judicial activism. But, I would have voted for her because she is qualified, as best as I can tell, and she was nominated by the duly elected President of the United States.
Elections have consequences and it's not the job of the losers of the election to transform their denial into blind obstructionism.
The media misses the point with all their identity politics about the first Latina justice. The third woman justice. Whatever they choose to fuss about.
This is an accomplished PERSON.....Is it wrong just to say that....or does it all have to be dressed up as the first this or that.
In the future we will hear about the first Asian justice, the first openly gay justice, the first...well you name it.
To me, it's nice that she is from the Bronx and a Yankee fan. Betcha Madame Justice stayed up to watch A-Rod's homer last night......
She is a New Yorker and as such is one of us........
Congratulations Madame Justice. Sensible conservatives wish you only the best in your new job.

18, City Resident, Pulse......Then There's the Intangibles

When someone asks what are the qualifications to be a member of City Council, the flip answer is easy....Live in the city, be 18 years of age, and be able to fog a mirror.
Obviously there is a lot more.
Since the decision on filling Peter Clough's seat is a group one among four people, the end result is the compromise between all the judgments and criteria of each of us.
Formal education, job experience, life experience, interpersonal skills, knowledge of the community, appearance, articulation.....they are all things to consider.
What gets washed out in the process are agendas.
Since two members can block the appointment it is doubtful anyone's favorite or pet is going to make it through. Attempts to form a voting block or push an agenda will rightly be blocked and a consensus choice will be made.
That is what City Councillors Burns, Smith, Butler and I will have to do in the coming days. I look forward to the give and take and it's actually a rare chance for council to work together on an issue of common concern.
Maybe we have a Kumbaya moment on the horizon !

Friday, August 7, 2009

Former Liquor Store Owner and Conservative Chair Roasts Scozzafava

Who wound up Mike Long for this interview ? On the day Conservative Party Chairs backed Doug Hoffman for Congress, the Party's state chair tore into Diedre Scozzafava......My thought is Conservatives want to scare the GOP into dumping her as their nominee and go with Hoffman. If the bluff doesn't work, I still think Long lets the line go blank.
Watertown Daily Times Conservative chairman: Scozzafava is like Bernie Madoff

Confirmation Delays Favor Dems in Race for 23rd

How can two Senators block this ?.....I wonder if the Dems want it delayed to set themselves up better for a fall race against Scozzafava. In any event this is all very interesting.....Also those McGrath ads are becoming more pervasive...He must be the Matt Doheny of the Democratic field...Early money is a good thing.
The Press Republican - Article: McHugh confirmation delayed

Friday Musings

* Democratic Congressional hopeful John Sullivan called the Hotline today to make the pitch to our influential audience on why he should be the next Congressman from the 23rd CD.
He was fine on the issues and has certainly earned the right to be his party's nominee....Instead of those rich attorney interlopers who are attracted to these open seat races.
Sullivan struggled with my "what do you think of Sarah Palin" question that I always ask. He paused and realized he better not give the MSNBC response as I would savage him on this blog. So he gave a diplomatic "she's got a great future" response.
John is my favorite Dem in the race, but I still personally support Scozzafava as I do not want to add to Ms. Pelosi's flock.

*City Council is receiving letters and resumes from seven city residents interested in being considered for the vacant council seat left by Monday's surprise resignation of Peter Clough.
Council will review them and decide what to do next. One possibility is interviews early next week. I certainly would like a selection as soon as possible.
The seven are all interesting, talented people and there is diversity. They are not the usual suspects and I appreciate these good people stepping forward.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

MSNBC and Mathews...Race Baiters Pure and Simple

A bit lengthy, but Adrienne makes the case against the latest vile attacks on Sarah Palin, suggesting she is a dog whistle only heard by Southern racists who respond to her high pitched call. Things have gotten nastier in the post-racial age. Too bad. The Peacock Network should be ashamed of what they peddle every day.
Motivation: Truth: I'm Coming After MSNBC for Calling Sarah Palin the Poster Girl for Racism

McHugh Gets Clunked by Kansas Senators

John McHugh will have to wait a little longer to become Secretary of the Army......But the US Senate did pass an extra $2 Billion for "Cash for Clunkers." Got to have your priorities.
Politics Senators block Obama nominees, protest Guantanamo Seattle Times Newspaper

Judging is Never Easy at any Level

Today's confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as associate justice of the Supreme Court reminds me I have to burnish my judicial skills over the next week.
A week from Saturday I am a judge in the Miss Thousand Islands Contest. Today I was reviewing the dosiers on the young ladies participating in this prelude to possibly becoming Miss America.
It's been years since I judged one of these but its very important to the participants so I owe them a good effort, although choosing between bright and talented people is not always easy or fair.
How do you really say which person is better ?
I will have to consult Judge Gilbert or Judge Harberson this week to get some advice on being fair.

Telling Washington a Thing or Two

One of the tougher things in government is when someone asks you what are the city's priorities as they relate to the federal government.
On Monday, reps from Senator Charles Schumer are stopping by City Hall to ask that question. Not that our utterances will result in immediate action, but surely there are things that are important. And it's certainly nice of them to ask.
The flip answer is 'give us more money so we can continue business as usual and not have to make any tough decisions locally.'
This is where I overthink these issues.
How is it in the nation's interest to further run up debt to prop up the current system ? Is a bag of money the cure for anything ?
Yet you know the argument.....If Watertown doesn't get it someone else will.
A million dollars of the next generation's money not borrowed is good.....but if its going to get borrowed anyway, and it goes to Poughkeepsie rather than Watertown, well that's a different story.
Certainly, issues like continued support for Fort Drum and ease of passage across the Canadian border are important issues. Support for existing infrastructure like water and sewer is more important than promoting more urban sprawl.
How about getting out of foreign entanglements so we don't have to hear the local newspaper is having trouble keeping up with the pace of military obits.....
Oops, way too global an issue for this meeting.
How about just giving us a bag of money ?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We Can Criticize This Guy, Can't We ?

The Obama Administration is running ads claiming angry mobs are being coached to attend health care forums being hosted by members of Congress.....
Well, most protests are organized, so that is hardly a revelation.
We are led to believe anyone who speaks out against this president is engaging in hate speech against the nation's first black president.
That's why I was so glad to see Mr. Obama eclipsed today by President Clinton's retrieval of the two journalists held in North Korea.
Remember when Mr. Clinton was tagged as a racist last year by an Obama campaign and complicit media. Good to see the Clinton's are back and I do see HIllary licking her chops at the prospect of a weakened Obama in 2012.
Bill's trip was payback for being dissed last year and I am sure we have not heard the last of him.

Sullivan Reads This Blog !

Congressional hopeful John Sullivan e-mailed me today to say he wants to be on the Hotline and greatly enjoys this blog. John is a discriminating reader, so its no surprise he loves this blog. Check out his winning mayoral race in '87.....He won with only 36%.....John, my last win was 84% !
Our Campaigns - Oswego, NY Mayor Race - Nov 03, 1987

City Hall Nuggets

*Council TidBits- Monday the Council will visit the Jefferson County Historical Society prior to their 7PM work session. The work session will feature a discussion with representitives from DANC.

*Monday afternoon I am meeting with representitives of Sen Charles Schumer to discuss city legislative priorities.

*Tuesday, Council will meet in special session at the Citibus conference room on Newell Street to discuss issues related to Whitewater Park. Council will meet with the persons planning to develop the former restaurant and lawmakers will tour the site to inspect the "deck" and other features of the park that are the subject of some discussion.

*Friday is the deadline for persons interested in being considered for the vacant council seat to make themselves known. Over the weekend lawmakers will discuss the matter and narrow the field down in hopes of an early decision.
A simple letter to me at City Hall will suffice. Please make sure it is delivered by mid-day on Friday August 7.

Dialing Back on the Fall Food Fight

I haven't written about the Congressional race in a while, but I ran into some operatives posing as diners at Pete's Restaurant.
Word is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is not going to play in the race for the 23rd CD since Senator Darrel Aubertine opted out of the race.
The lack of a strong, viable candidate has persuaded Rahm and Company that this is not a race that can be won.
While Democratic chairs gather next Monday for an annoiting there is still no emerging front runner who could run the table the way Mr. Aubertine could.

McGrath, Sullivan, the lawyer from Plattsburgh.....There is no chatter I hear.....
Republican Diedre Scozzafava has a solid head start on the race which will likely begin officially this week with the expected Senate confirmation of Army Secretary designee John McHugh.
There are still variables. The actions of the Conservative Party could cause rumblings on the Republican side, but only if they actually field their own candidate rather than let the line go blank.
There just does not seem to be any sizzle in the Democratic party since Aubertine bailed......The Senator was probably the only Dem with the political skills to quickly make the race competitive and thus justify a multi-million dollar race.
For local media anticipating a late summer spending spree the sluggish Democratic effort is threatening what they saw a pay day in what is a tough year for ad sales.
There will still be a race, but it's hard to see the Dems picking this one off unless Ms. Scozzafava stumbles badly.
The decision by the Governor on when to hold the election is a key as well. If it goes to November 3, that would give a bit more time for all the candidates to becomes well known throughout the sprawling 11 county district.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Searching for Mr. Mance

I have gotten some calls and suggestions about filling the vacant Council seat.....even a suggestion to leave it open for the remainder of the year.
I believe the appropriate person would be a Dave Mance type, although Dave himself is not interested as he leaves for Florida in October. He's a snow bird.....
Dave is sensible (except last year). He is a successful businessman who once ran for Council and lost. He knows how to interact on a board and has served on many including the local hospital which he ran for a time. In fact Dave created all the parking problems that Tom Carman is trying to solve.
Dave knows the community but isn't part of some power elite, if such a thing still exists. For years he was hated by the local newspaper because he sent in a bogus wedding notice that got published.
He is politically independent and has been involved in worthwhile charities.
Oh he probably has a few skeletons in the closet...An indescretion here or there....But nothing that would create a clipping file at the WDT. He certainly never wrote a letter to Howard Stern but he has an autographed photo of him.
Dave would give you the shirt off his back, or more if you needed it.
Yeah on balance a Dave Mance guy or gal would be the kind of choice to fill out the term of Peter Clough.
Of course that's what I am looking for......Others I am sure see it differently and their views have to be reconciled in coming up with a candidate the Council will support.....
Now don't go burglarizing his house now that you know when he leaves for Florida.

Comments on Deck Issue

Please use this post as a venue for comments on the deck.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Council Vacancy Is Opportunity for Right Person

City Council is looking for a collegue for the next five months.
The resignation of Councilman Peter Clough has left a vacancy that will be filled in short order since being down one person on a five person body is difficult.
It's a dead end job that pays $1020 per month.
The Clough seat will be filled in November when voters choose between Steve Bradley and Teresa Macaluso for a 4 year term.
Councilman Jeff Smith has suggested tapping a young person of college age and giving them a learning experience. That's OK with the right young person and I agree it would be an unusual move.
The other alternative is to choose a former elected official as sort of an elder statesman candidate.
Don't look for anyone interested in running for the seat to be picked even though they would have to wait two years before running on their own.
Among the former elected officials are Tom Walker,Ken Hartz, Jim Norris, Joe Butler , former candidate John Rice, or businessman Dave Mance.
Those interested in being considered should contact me at 486-0879.

The Blush is Off the Rose

Well, I wrote the piece on a picture being worth a thousand words and along comes this less than flattering version of President Obama, similar to the Heath Ledger look playing the Joker in Batman.
Guess its not a surprise given the 2008 HOPE poster seen at Obama rallies. There does seem to be a coming down to earth, end of the honeymoon nature to Mr. Obama of late, but that is to be expected.
The rigors of policy debate drive down your numbers and Mr. Obama is now at about the same approval level as was his predecessor, GW Bush.
Barack Obama has been the object of affection for many who admire his intellect and groundbreaking nature of his Presidency.
Eventually, it comes down to policy and for every change, there are those who don't like it.....
Like most people who succeed at this level, the President will moderate his views to ensure his own survival and reelection. Mr. Bush did that, but in the end it caught up with him.
When folks complain about Obama, I always say he is who he portrayed himself.....a charismatic, self-absorbed, Marxist ( but also one who can refurbish our image abroad due to his personal popularity. I put the definition of Marxism in so you know the context in which I use the word.
He is not all good or all bad. And like Bill Clinton, the biggest favor voters could do next year is elect a Congress to tug in the other direction instead of Pelosi and Company serving as the Amen Corner to his leftist proposals.

Palin resumes private life without a tweet: Former Gov. Sarah Palin |

Some 120,000 Followers are Wondering When She Resurfaces
Palin resumes private life without a tweet: Former Gov. Sarah Palin

Palin...Is She Single or Is She Right ?

Over the weekend the media started printing the denials of blogger reports purporting to know about the pending divorce of Sarah and Todd Palin, private citizens who reside in Wasilla, AK.
Now if its true its interesting and illuminating, although arguably none of our business.
The Palin camp has strongly denounced the stories as false and another example of reckless and vicious "reporting".
In her resignation speech last Sunday in Fairbanks, Mrs. Palin said to the media, "quit making things up" !
If the Palin marriage is strong and they have stayed together over 25 years and five kids, then the weekend reporting in the MSM proves her right.....
I heard the MSNBC crowd wisecracking about it this AM.
There's a place where the integrity bar is set pretty low.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

River Parks a Soothing Respite in the Dog Days of Summer

I stopped down at Whitewater Park around dusk and it is a pretty area with the rush of the Black River in the background.
In this era of cottages and boats on the Lake and St. Lawrence River, I wonder if urban parks are of interest to people. I hope so as this is a lot of money spent sprucing up the shores of the Black.
Because it's near the water, there is danger and we need to work on risk management at the facility as people have an expectation of safety for their families. I am concerned over the pit and the sharp drop-offs to the river.
I also feel we need to quit building and start telling.....That means signage to show the way and tell you where you are.
As council works through issues related to proposed development, let's all take a peek at this area of the Black River.
It was my good friend and Council colleague Roy Goodwin who led the charge for the Veterans Walkway in the early 90's.......Now nearly two decades later we have facilities we can be proud of .....
I hope you check 'em out and make suggestions for their improvement.

Fey-Palin Battle for Reader's Favorite Lunch Date

No doubt about it, people like Sarah Palin and Tina Fey.
The pair linked forever last fall by Ms. Fey's hilarious impersonation of Governor Palin's look and demeanor are on top in our survey of political lunch dates.
Traditional political women like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton are not favorites among our readers. Even Conservative vixen Ann Coulter trails far behind.
I think these two should be regulars on their own show. It could help bring the country together.

Confucius Got It Right....Pix is Worth a Thousand Words

Everytime I see Sgt. James Crowley he is wearing a Nike T-shirt, whereas his protagonist in the Beer Summit is always shown in a spiffy pinstripe suit.
It's common to use photos for editorial comment.
The New York Post always had a stable of unflattering photos of Governor George Pataki, and they trotted them out to accompany any story critical of the Governor. The photo is not always contemporaneous to the event being reported.
You see an unflattering closeup of Nancy Pelosi if the spin is anti Speaker.
Or you might see a newsmaker with a gaping mouth or a blank stare if the thrust of the story requires it.
The alternative may be to use official mug shots which is not very interesting or informative.
However, the juxtaposition of Sgt Crowley's photo with that of Professor Gates seems to underscore not race, but class distinctions between the haughty and esteemed Harvard professor and the Irish blue-collar cop.
Equality would suggest tomorrow the MSM* run a photo of Crowley in uniform and Gates in a T-Shirt.

* MSM is the new acronym for Main Stream Media, also called "old media", or if you are tilting right, the elite, Eastern, liberal gotcha media.

NNY May Take a Pass on Health Care Vote

The up or down vote on the President's health care plan will come after the August recess, meaning Rep. John McHugh will not have to cast a ballot since he will be in his new post as Secretary of the Army.
Earlier this summer, while awaiting Senate confirmation , Mr. McHugh was in the awkward position of bucking his party on the cap and trade issue, in favor of supporting the man who just nominated him to the Secretary post.
No more such balancing acts for Mr. McHugh as his legislative career which began in 1985 winds down......
NNY may not have a vote in the House as the special election to fill Mr. McHugh's seat may not occur til November.
Vote or no vote, the issue will loom large in a campaign that plays out while Congress debates this controversial proposal.