Saturday, August 22, 2009


Here's a different take on the MSM notion that the racist, gun-toting teabaggers are just mad at the new regime because they want to cling to their PBR-induced rage over a life and country slipping away from them.

Richard Ravitch, New York’s 43-Day Lieutenant Governor -

There are two lessons from this episode....One is voters should pay attention to who is selected Lieutenant Governor on the ticket....I would be willing to bet few people who voted for Mr. Spitzer or Mr. Faso knew who the running mates were. The other lesson is the Legislature needs to amend the State Constitution to allow for filling of the LtG spot either through appointment or election.
Richard Ravitch, New York’s 43-Day Lieutenant Governor -

The New Air Force One Dress Code

Is the AP taking a swipe at the Obamas by reporting on the clothes Mrs Obama wore while on Air Force One ?......Perhaps the days of First Ladies in perpetual high fashion are over in the Age of Obama.....Perhaps its a refreshing change from a stilted and phony past....or is it a slight to the high office ?
Many of our readers have commented it was wrong of the AP to report on the matter or for that matter take a picture....What do you think. ?
The Associated Press: CAPITAL CULTURE: Michelle Obama's shorts flap

Sales Tax Slide Continues...All Eyes on October

Those who follow sales tax revenues include not just the State of New York, but also all the local governments who get a piece of the pie....In the last 30 years much of the increase in the cost of local government has been hidden by the sales tax and when that flow drops, local officials actually have to make the tougher choices between layoffs and property tax hikes.
So this recession has been an eye-opener and preliminary numbers for June paint a picture worse than the worse case scenarios envisioned earlier this year.
Now the situation for the mid summer sales tax quarter won't be known until the period ends August 30 and returns are filed by September 20.
The August numbers may be more august due to a surge in auto sales resulting from the Clunker program.
Nonetheless, if the quarter ends with revenue below budgeted numbers, the tougher decisions routinely made in the private sector will have to be made in the public sector.
So far, rainy day funds, and for the County, federal bailouts have put off the day of reckoning.
The numbers to check are the quarterly numbers for June, July and August that are released in early October.
If you are looking for the canary in the coal mine, that is it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gov. David Paterson blames calls for him to step aside on race

Gov. David Paterson blames calls for him to step aside on race

Governor, Of Course They Are Out to Get You

Governor Paterson told the New York Daily News there is an "orchestration" by Democrats to push him aside and the Governor suggested he is getting tougher treatment by the media because he is black. Governor Paterson later backed away from that statement.......
Governor, your own party is planning your demise........Maybe it started when you had the tumerity to spurn Caroline Kennedy....Maybe it was something could be the electability of Andrew Cuomo, and there is nothing political insiders like more than to be with a winner.
As for media persecution.....Some tough shots yes, but it was not racial.....You offended their choice for the Clinton Senate seat....They wanted Caroline and you gave them Gillibrand. The media took its pound of flesh for that.
But, make no mistake.....It was not about race.
I actually find Governor Paterson refreshing in some ways, but he cannot win and so far Mr. Cuomo has done a better job discussing issues. Realize you are done Governor.....Go quietly and you will be taken care of by the new administration.

Operatives, Spin, and the Like

Ever wonder how news becomes news or spin becomes spin....Just about every day I get an email detailing the latest atrocities done to us by one Darrel Aubertine......Little blurbs sent to opinion makers who publish newspapers and blogs.....All in hopes some get published or a reference is made to the allegations...Then that reference can be republished as providing street cred to the orginal charge.
I usually ignore these emails or just glance at them to see what is being said....Not that its all false and comment is certainly fair.....Its all part of the continuing effort to soften up Senator Aubertine for another assault on his Senate citadel in 2010.
Now the minions for each party read all these blogs and get all antsy about anything said about their guy....I heard that yesterday about a recent blog post on Eliot Spitzer lobbying Aubertine to run for Congress. I was told its false and that anything other than "official" confirmation should be accepted. I say its true and the point of my blog is that the Senator was refusing advice from the defrocked Luv Guv....That was meant as a compliment and I still get grief over it.
Paranoia runs high in the inner circles of pols....
As outsiders, we can look at Aubertine, McHugh, Russell, or me for that matter and say I like this...dont like that...but on balance think the person is doing a good job.
For an operative who livelihood hinges on incumbency, there is no middle ground. Blind loyalty prevails, and those people have trouble understanding contrary views.
That's why I can never be a good operative......I spend too much time looking at both sides...Can't be caught doing that in Official Albany.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bay State Politics as the Lion's Last Roar Looms

In a sign his days are drawing to a close, Senator Edward Kennedy has requested Massachusetts law be changed to allow a vacancy to be filled through appointment instead of the special election route he fought to implement in 2004 when then Governor Mitt Romney could have filled the vacancy created by Senator John Kerry being elected to the Presidency. Mr. Kennedy says a special election would leave the state without two votes during the health care debate.
Already there is jockeying for the seat with many prominent Bay State names being floated.....One man is an ex Member of Congress now working at a university.....
Former Rep. Martin Meehan, now chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, has $4.8 million in his federal campaign account, the largest sum of any potential candidate. That would give him the advantage in any special election sprint.
What a system....a guy out of office and still sitting on that kind of war chest, in case he wants back in quickly.....
In any event, let the Senator's days pass without maneuvering and certainly MA lawmakers should avoid changing the law to benefit one man or one party in a particular situation.
Although after seeing Mayor Bloomberg brazenly change the NYC Charter for his own benefit, I cannot fault Teddy for asking to change the law for the more laudable goal of seeing his state fully represented.

For Poor People We NYers Sure Spend Alot !

Some $175million is being spent by Albany on a plan to send $200 checks to 800,000 poor families. We are told the money is for school supplies.....Could be spent at Sugar Creek for cigarettes and beer....could be spent on clothes for Mom.....or on scratch off Lottery tickets....We don't know...the recipients will decide how its spent....There is no oversight...and that's OK....but let's not get too sanctimonious about such a program.
It's all done in the name of compassion and stimulus....It's really a form of "walking around money" used by big city ward healers to keep the populous loyal to the party in charge....
In fact that's how "welfare" worked before Human Services was the largest line item in county budgets.
In the old days, assistance came from families...from churches...and from the ward politician....They were close to the people and knew who needed help and what kind of help.
In the impersonal government we now have, a check is sent to everyone in hopes in does a little good. No accountability....just sent in hopes of doing some good and currying favor with lower income voters.
All of this done at a time when we are told government is so strapped...No wonder no one believes anyone who spends more than a couple days a year in Albany.

Clunkers Run Out of Gas Monday

National media reports Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced the popular "Cash for Clunkers" program will end Monday evening, signaling an exhaustion of the $3Billion allocated by Congress.
The program, despite administrative snafus, has attracted customers back to car lots and for those with a qualifying clunker, a worthless vehicle could be worth $4500 towards the purchase of a new fuel efficient car.
The program helped empty car lots and dealers are now stuggling to find popular models.
As for me, I sold two vehicles under the clunker program and dozens of cars are headed for the junkyard from the FX dealerships.

Carthage school board considers videoconferencing solution

No.....Deliberations of any body are to be done with the participants together. A video image is no substitute for the experience of being in the room.....By the way, that's the job of elected be there.......It is an affront to the people who elected you when you choose not to be there. Obviously we all cut some slack in the event of illness or unanticipated absence, but from what I have read about in Carthage CSD, this needs to end and spending money on a teleconference is not the answer.
Watertown Daily Times Carthage school board considers videoconferencing solution

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Palin Rumored to be Moving to Rhode Island l

If true, a great relief to the anti-Palin posters I have acquired. That's not a bad life...If it's what she wants, good for her.
Palin Rumored to be Moving to Rhode Island l

Keller Firefighters Honored For Saving 3-Year-Old -

Chief Gaumont's Texas Smoke Eaters Excel
Keller Firefighters Honored For Saving 3-Year-Old -

My Kind of Mayor !

Kudos to fellow Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee who is out of the hospital after being attacked while coming to the aid of a woman being attacked in a domestic dispute at Wisconsin's State Fair....The mayor took a beating from a pipe and spoke for the first time publicly today.
Mayor attacked: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett speaks for the first time since attack after leaving Wisconsin State Fair --

More on Espada and His Cashin' In Style

I under stand that with victory go the spoils and in politics people routinely hire those who helped them on the way up.....Part of it is they will be loyal, and if there are no rewards in politics, no one would participate. The downstate culture is different...lots more money and things are more brazen...Some of it happens up here...just not as much.....
What I wonder is the drip..drip...drip of swarmyness that surrounds Senator Espada....Does it have any electoral implications ? I suspect not as most Legislative seats are gimme seats, especially in the City of New York.
Espada taps $350,000 -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY:2877:

More Questions than Answers...You Betcha !

I have been watching hours of debate over health care and am trying to come to terms with the assertion that a public option will somehow reduce the cost of coverage.
There is all sorts of talk about cutting costs, eliminating waste, eradicating greed and using the proceeds to pay for health insurance for all.
Insurance companies are being villified. Well, which ones ? Are the local agents who sell the plans also evil ? Are third party administrators also ripping people off ?
How about this cost of care. If costs are to be cut which employees at Samaritan will be let go ? Which ones will get pay cuts or fewer weeks vacation ?
Who are the local doctors who are overcharging and need to be reighned in ?
If there is a "public option" competing with the private insurers, will government employees lead the way by switching to the public plan ? Will that be mandated in order to provide a ready flow of customers ?
Medical is the fastest growing component in local government budgets, so why wouldn't local lawmakers off-load the cost and undertainty ? Pay the proposed 8% penalty and get rid of a lot of grief.
But wait, that kind of change is the subject of mandatory collective bargaining in this state. Would those unions and their members be the first to jump into a federal single payer system ? Or would they refuse ?
Now all of this relies on higher marginal income tax rates for the well-to-do, a.k.a. doctors and administrators. Won't they want to be paid more to make up for the higher taxes ?
Isn't the delivery of health care in NY already regulated ? A hospital cannot open or provide a service without a determination on need by the state. Will the federal government replicate all of this in order to achieve all this efficiency?
There are so many questions, and the answers lead to more questions. I suppose changes are needed, but who among us knows what they are.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favre Resurrects Himself Again

So Brett Favre is going to unretire again, this time to play for the Minnesota Vikings, arch rival of his long-time team, the Green Bay Packers.
The other day when I was judging a Miss T.I. Pageant, one contestant said she had been in 17 pageants. Lots of people like what they do and perservere.
Of course in pageants you "age out" at something like 24. For Favre, time will eventually age him out but maybe he can squeeze a season or two in.
When that's all you have done in life, what is there to look forward to ?.....A front office job....coaching....opening a restaurant....
Best of luck to Brett...he is one of the greats and it pained me when he didn't pull my Jets into the playoffs last year......Maybe the Vikings fans will find his presence more rewarding....

Assemblywoman Russell Gives Birth to Daughter

Congrats to Assemblywoman Russell.
Assemblywoman Russell Gives Birth to Daughter

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Singing Owens Praise East of the Adirondacks

Congressional Candidate Bill Owens is getting high praise from his hometown newspaper...If he gets the muscle from the DCCC, he could make this year's contest to succeed John McHugh more of a race than it seems right now.......However no matter how you slice and dice it, if regional loyalties hold...and I suspect they will, the population distribution makes this at least a 60-40 race in favor of Diedre Scozzafava
The Press Republican - Article: EDITORIAL: Owens ascendancy makes sense

Passing Judgment.....It's Never Easy

Saturday, five of us sat in judgment of eight young ladies all hoping to be launched into pageant orbit by first winning the very small town but charming Miss Thousands Islands pageant held at Clayton's remodeled Opera House.
Sitting there passing judgment on intellect based on a ten minute interview....or talent based on 90 seconds....or judging whatever you judge in a 30 second strut across stage in a bikini or evening realize quickly this is an imprecise science.
It's not Nuremberg or even the OJ trial....but it's passing judgment on nice people from your community, whose parents are sitting a few feet behind you.
One judge was lamenting judging swimsuits....he felt uncomfortable as he had daughters that age....
He's wholesome as the event is, it's a bit awkward, so they tell you that you are judging tone and fitness, not just being a gawker on the beach. I felt absolved of guilt.
This evening gown thing is a tough one...It counts 20% of the score and you are supposed to decide whether the gown fits the girl, but you are not supposed to judge the gown itself or its value. Versace, I am not, so unless its just plain hideous, I say give everyone an "8".
Talent....that's the most important category....Way too qualitative in judgment for me....Opera or balance beam....if both done perfectly, is one more substantive than the other and thus worthy of more points ?...They seem to like high brow, the higher up you get in the pageant hierarchy, so I guess opera is worth a smidge more.
And dance....interpretive, lyrical, artsy....just so long as they don't fall down.
I do enjoy the interview part...where the five judges pepper the ladies with questions about anything.
They were all quite charming, but I was most impressed by the answers that taught me something I didn't know. Like the contestant who raised money for do-gooderism in the Sudan....I ask for a brief primer on the tragedy over there with Darfur, because the media doesn't cover that.
She laid it out the whole mess in under a minute and it was understandable.
Now that deserves a 10 and I was content to let it end there but the rules say you have to judge primarily on the show biz angle.....
That's OK, because the winner was consistent in all categories, even though I don't think I could depend on her to help me out with my deficiencies in African politics.
I will take a break from judging....And I definately don't ever want to serve on the Assessment Board of Review or on any of those Death Panels.....Too much at stake for someone who can't judge an evening gown.

Pedro and the Clan Keep Cashin' In

The more you learn about the new Senate Majority Leader, the more you realize these guys in Albany are playing politics at such a different level.....The interesting this is the lust for power and patronage prompted both parties this summer to cut deals with Senator Espada...

Catching Up

- Clarification for imprecise prose on my part.
In the previous post about former Governor Eliot Spitzer calling Senator Darrel Aubertine about the Congressional race. Spitzer was encouraging Aubertine TO RUN, not to drop out. The irony was the Dem hierarchy using such a dubious person to lobby the quintissential family man.
As I said previously, the Spitzer call likely had the opposite effect.

-Had a great time last night in Clayton at the Miss Thousand Islands Pageant where I was a judge. The venue was the Clayton Opera House, which is a magnificent facility.
The five judges included TV stars Chris Onorato and Mark Mason took their job seriously and tried to be fair and balanced.
Watertown resident Kristine Ferris won, in what I saw as a very evenly matched competition among eight bright and beautiful young ladies.

-I saw former Assistant to the City Manager BryanWhite last night. He was the auditor for the pageant. Bryan is now Asst. CM in scenic Canandaguia NY