Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Night Musings

-I have had a couple of people tell me they have been polled on their feelings towards wind turbines and the actions of the County Leg.
Who would care except a candidate hoping to make hay over it. Any of you get such a call ?
-Governor Paterson was booed in Syracuse at a hockey game....Media was shocked. Don't they know its common practice for sports fans to boo a politician who tries to use their turf for politiking.
-A contingent is expected to attend the March 1 Council meeting to lobby for that $2 million makeover of Breen Avenue.
-The Bill Nelson post netted 43 comments so far...a record.

Its Easier to Sell Drugs in NY than Alcohol

For some reason, members of the state legislature just don't like liquor stores. The proposal to allow wine sales in supermarkets didn't sit well with liquor store owners because for eighty years they have had to live with Byzantine regulations that allow them to only sell wine and liquor....Nothing else.
So when their profit center was about to go to Wegmans and company they objected and a compromise bill was drafted called the Wine and Liquor Industry Revitalization Act.
The idea was liquor store owners could sell beer, cigarettes and other items to allow them to compete with the loss of the wine biz. They would also be able to sell direct to on premise retailers, thus breaking the distributor monopoly. It wasnt perfect but it was a compromise.
Then the governor's plan was to only allow liquor stores to sell a handful of useless items. For instance they could sell DVD's, only if they portrayed how to choose and drink wine.
So the bottom line is that nothing might happen and that's OK for liquor stores but not for consumers.
Simple, common sense reforms to the state's post Prohibition booze laws. Makes sense...easy to do...better for consumers and small business and more revenue for the cash hungry state.
Law abiding sellers of alcohol are the front line enforcer of New Yorks booze laws......They can't catch a break in Albany....
How many of the lawmakers blocking liquor reform were on the bandwagon to repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws ?
It now looks like reform won't get it done....Big surprise, huh ?

Addie Seeks Young Audience in Maple City Visit

Assemblywoman Addie Russell is in Ogdensburg a lot of late....The Journal caught her reading Dr. Seuss classic "The Cat in the Hat" to a group of youngsters at the local library. Its unknown if her opponent was among those present.
My favorite Dr. Seuss book was "Horton Hears a Who."

Hoffman Cometh - Robert Costa - The Corner on National Review Online

Whether its Hoffman travelling to DC to schmooze Conservatives, Doheny and his staff running a discrete but effective campaign from their bunker in downtown Watertown, or Will Barclay doing his thing from his considerable base in Oswego County, the race for the Republican nomination is on in NY23....
Hoffman Cometh - Robert Costa - The Corner on National Review Online

Paterson: News Flash for the Media...The Special Interests Dont Like Me

Governor David Paterson this weekend pledged to always put the people first as he kicked off his campaign for election to a full term in his own right. Mr. Paterson delivered his fiery and feisty announcement speech at his alma mater, Hofstra University on Long Island.....The enthusiastic crowd heard a governor who won't back down in the face of the apparent inevitable campaign of Andrew Cuomo. Listen to the speech for yourself. It's a good speech.
Paterson for New York

Pols: New Tax on IDAs Will Hinder Job Growth

There is a burst of outrage in the economic development community over a so called "tax" on their enterprise activities.
Industrial Development Agencies exist in every county and they are joined by authorities in what has became a government operating at the edges of representitive government.
These started as county agencies manned by Willie Loman type characters hoping to prove that government could bend the rules of business and "create" jobs per the will of the people and against the dynamics of a hostile tax and regulatory environment.
These agencies are manned by government employees who are the rainmakers of modern economics.....offering financing, guaranteeing debt, abating taxes, building shell buildings, going to trade shows and in general facilitating what a century earlier America's Rockefellers, Carnegies, and DuPonts had done on their own.
IDA's are fond of saying they do not answer to the politicians, who by definition don't understand how business works. Their only link was appropriations for their operation and the fact that they are government employees and thus subject to the laws governing public bodies.
Of late IDA's, authorities and LDC's have been making money on their own, often through interest and investment of the monies they loan out.
The money making ability of these agencies has expanded. Now there are large fees collected from business owners seeking tax exemptions. In other words, the IDA takes "passive" ownership of real property in order to avoid various taxes and then the real owner of the property pays a fee equal to as much as 25% of the tax savings...The fee goes to the IDA, not the taxing jurisdictions who had their revenue stream interupted by the exemption. That money in IDA coffers can be used for operations, loans or grants......Now the IDA has set up a local development corporation because they are less regulated on how monies can be dispersed.
This is tempting fruit. The more exemptions are sold, the more revenue to the agency to use as they wish.
The biggest contributor of abated taxes is the State of New York, followed by counties, cities, towns and villages.
It should not be surprising as use of these so called "lease buy-back" constructs expands it will catch the eye of others who in tight times see money going the "wrong" way.
Thus the State imposes an oversight "fee", or call it tax if you want, on IDA's and authorities. After all, from Albany's view, these agencies are bleeding them and they want to at least partially reverse the flow. There are also proposals to regulate or eliminate IDA's. The head of each of the state's dozens of IDA's will readily admit to abuses, but reassuringly insists it occurs in other counties.
Now I agree it is silly for one government to "tax" another....but it is hardly unprescedented.
I might suggest those howling over the new fee may want to just pay up and be content that will tamp down widespread discussion of how we got to this point. Selling exemptions is too good a deal not to share a little with the State that allows it all to happen.
Barclay: New Tax on IDAs
Will Hinder Job Growth

Cuomo Lauds Judge's Ruling Keeping Senator Slash Out

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says a court ruling upholding the expulsion of Senator Hiram Monserrate is a step in the right direction in changing the culture in Albany.
The ruling likely ends Montserrates effort to reverse the overwhelming vote last week to boot him for behavior, including the assault of his girlfriend and a general thuggish behavior. The ex City cop is welcome to run for the seat again said the judge. With the seat being filled in a special election there is little chance Montserrate could get on the ballot...certainly not on the Democratic line in his Queens district.
WNYC - News - Judge Rejects Monserrate's Suit to Stay in Senate

Tonight''s Homework: Beck, Hannity and the first chapter of Going Rogue

Grabbed some chow before going to work last night and into the restaurants strolls one of my liberal media friends....and with him a person I thought I had met before....So I introduced myself to his friend who turned out to be his junior high history teacher......Wouldn't have guessed it from appearances, but some people look good at any age...
So anyway, we got to chatting since I like history and I discovered heresy among the teaching ranks.
This teacher hates NYSUT and loves Glenn Beck.....All of which made my liberal media friend groan.
Now I didn't think the orthodoxy of the teacher's union allowed for such "abberrant" thoughts. This teacher even said her son was an avid Beck and Hotline fan.
Of course I would encourage him to watch a bit of Matthews and Maddow just for balance....And I would never reveal the identity of this person...
Some people slip through the screening.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gillibrand, MoveOn 'Hero'

When Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed Senator, I wrote a nice OP/Ed praising her as a blue dog Democrat in tune with upstate values and issues. I thought it was great when Newsday reported she slept with a gun under her bed.
She never thanked me for the piece that ran in Watertown and Syracuse. Now I know why.....
She was planning on repudiating her blue dog and embracing the "progressives." Meanwhile the party hierarchy and the unions are trashing her prospective opponent as out of touch with the middle class.
Harold Ford Junior is just too centrist for the progressives and Ms. Gillibrand has been more than accommodating in her effort to nail down the party nomination.
Senator Gillibrand looks to have all the muscle to win the nomination....but she no longer appears to be a blue dog.....
Gillibrand, MoveOn 'Hero'

Roundtable: Great if You Like that Stuff

Oh my this was this a boring and tedious event...I hate to say so since the hosts were trying to be helpful.
Senators Darrel Aubertine and William Stackowski (D-Buffalo) hosted the business roundtable held at JCC...
It was mostly guys....I counted like 36 of 40 at the table. All of them economic developers, union bosses, educators, etc.
I think I was the only piddly retailer there and out of courtesy to the professionals I just listened.
The best question actually came from Don Alexander who pointed out how difficult it is to sell New York with such dysfunction in Albany.
The Senators loved that question.
Most of what was said was same old same old....Funny nobody talked about New York's tax burden.
Anyway, I thanked the Senators for taking the time to listen, then went home to watch Glenn Beck.

Watertown Daily Times | New state tax to cost DANC $236,421

When I read that this new fee on IDA's and the like is a "tax" and then I read they are all looking for ways to juggle their books so that the monies are concealed from the eyes of state regulators. Isn't that what they used to call tax evasion ?
Watertown Daily Times New state tax to cost DANC $236,421

Watertown Daily Times | Five state parks on chopping block

That darn governor who wont get out of the way for Andrew keeps proposing actual cuts in spending.....And the howls of protest starts anew. Maybe an on-line petition is on its way from our friend in St. Lawrence County.
Watertown Daily Times Five state parks on chopping block

Roundtable..What Do You Say When the Problem is So Large ?

What do you tell two state senators conducting a roundtable today on the economy? It is a three hour pow wow at JCC hosted by Senators Darrel Aubertine and William Stachowsi of Buffalo.
Both men are upstate Democrats who are targeted for defeat this year and while they sincerely want to address people's needs, the ability of anyone to affect the state budget in a way to make it more business friendly is suspect.
Government has become predatory in its appetite for the money to fund the big government we seem to want.
And taxation has become more regressive despite the "tax the rich" rhetoric.
A participant could give the Senators a macro complaint about the overall feeling that state government is out to get you. Of course then you are dismissed as a wingnut tea partier.
Or you can list the endless examples of the government lining up to shake us down...In that case the three hour session is too short and the Legislature will never face up to the dichotomy and hypocrisy of claiming to reduce taxes on New York's working families while in fact increasing them with schemes like the soda tax, higher fees, predatory ticket writing, niche taxes on phones and utilities,and the list goes on.
These are the folks who pass their "bigger better bottle bills" and propose a soda tax the very next year.....They want to put wine in supermarkets, but when family owned liquor stores balk, they won't pass a law that will lift 80 year old restrictions that prohibit liquor stores from competing.
They make the tax code more regressive by increasing by a flat amount the everyday purchases of New Yorkers with industry-specific taxes and big hikes in things we all have to buy like licenses. Regressive means a 20 dollar increase in a license fee means a lot more to someone making $25K a year than one making
$250 K a year. They pass predatory hikes in business fees like cigarette vendor permits and when a judge stays implementation, the state, like organized crime, simply ignores the order.
Our notion of economic development is to bellow New York is a bad place to do business and then pass exemptions to select business ventures and further shift the tax burden to the people who don't get to take part in the targeted corporate welfare system that produces public bloviations about the creation of jobs.
There will be many individual horror stories at today's roundtable and everyone will exacerbate the problem by an acquiesence in the failed notion that elected representitives and bureaucrats "create" wealth and jobs.
The IDA's will complain about new fees Albany is charging them....Hey guys, get in line with that complaint.
Economic rain makers will talk about public-private partnerships and incentives they seek in exchange for being so obsequious and still doing business here.
The roundtable may be cathartic to some, but just last week Assembly Republicans were in town doing the same thing.
As a business person, having been to many of the annual lobbying sessions and having participated in the letter writing campaigns to ward off the latest tax or regulation on my industry, I am perhaps a little jaded.
It doesn't the time the little guy or gal sees whats coming, the train is moving too fast to stop.
The message to these two gentlemen today is simple.
We've had enough, but are at a loss to what to do about it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

As Campaign Nears, Paterson Seen as Aloof and Distracted -

Now Governor Paterson is seen as too aloof and distant as the NYC media continues a full court press to chase him out of the race and clear the field for Andrew Cuomo. This latest NY Times piece builds on one earlier this week about a top aide to Paterson.
As Campaign Nears, Paterson Seen as Aloof and Distracted -

Bill Nelson....Is He Running for 118th ?

A commenter suggested Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson may be in the hunt for the Assembly seat in the 118th....I hadn't thought about it but having seen the Mayor in O-burg last week leading a rally against the soda tax....and seeing the up-front role he has in the save the prison on-line petition...well I got to thinking maybe he is.
The three term mayor won by a scant five votes in 2007 in a three way race....but he is an attractive and well spoken public figure. Recent events may make his running more viable as Democrat Addie Russell is scrambling to save the prison, saying she will vote for no budget unless it is funded.
Mayor Nelson works at the local hospital last I knew...and I don't know if the Assembly is a step up or not...I also don't know how his bosses would like him running...but if he loses he gets to stay....And I don't know what his family thinks about it.
I do know he has been mentioned before and his recent posture would suggest it could be on his mind. He definately sounded like a candidate at the soda rally.
City Councillor Nick Vaugh has already announced for the GOP nod....But a Nelson candidacy would cause him to rethink.
Let's see if Bill denies it to the MSM.
Save the O‘burg Prison! Save Our Jobs!

Joe's Manifesto: A Tale of Resentment

A deep resentment of bailouts, perks, the plundering of the public...The resentments of the have nots against the haves. A fulmination of the populist rhetoric against banks and Wall Street and the notion that Americanism is a fraud. Thats what prompted Joe Stack to fly a plane into an office building today in Austin TX. Read his manifesto here. What do you think ?
Internet note posted by man linked to plane crash The Blotter

DeDe: I Want an Ambassadorship to Haiti

DeDe Scozzafava says she would like an ambassadorship to a third world country as compensation for the grief she has taken after her decision to throw last falls Congressional race to Democrat Bill Owens.
Instead she has discovered what it is like to be a pariah in a caucus of backbenchers.
In a wide ranging interview, Ms. Scozzafava mused about how the wild and raucous race changed her life and how frustrated she is in her new less prestigious role in the GOP Assembly caucus.
Ms. Scozzafava says she doesn't want to be a Democrat but invoked the charge of sexism towards conservatives...
In the waning hours of a disastrous campaign in NY23 as nominee of the GOP, Ms. Scozzafava announced she was out of the race and wanted her supporters to vote for Owens, over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.
In the end Owens won and it was likely a result of her actions and those of media supporters of hers who worked hard to discredit Hoffman in the final days. Of course, Hoffman's less than stellar debate performance helped too.
As for Scozzafava, who experts say won the one television debate, life is bittersweet as she prepares to run for reelection to a seat where the folks back home like her but those in Albany don't.
Will the Democratic lifeline come later this year ? Only June and Chuck can answer that question.
Dede Scozzafava’s View, From A Small Office On The Fifth Floor

Watertown Daily Times | Municipalities countersue wind farm

Bring in the lawyers as Lewis County acts amazed their WINDfall evaporated.
Watertown Daily Times | Municipalities countersue wind farm

Zuckerman talks with N.Y. GOP - Politico Staff -

Mort Zuckerman for US Senate.....Nothing like a few gigs as a talking head and control of a major newspaper to lead you to believe you should be a newsmaker and not a news coverer.
Zuckerman talks with N.Y. GOP - Politico Staff -

ACLU: Monserrate Expulsion Dangerous

Here is another one of those cases where the ACLU may not be taking the politically popular position, but they are right in saying that Senator Hiram Montserrate should have been censured and his fate left to the voters who put him in the Senate.
The ACLU filed a brief in support of Montserrate's effort to be reinstated after Senate collegues voted to expell him for his actions involving the assault of his girlfriend that resulted in a conviction on a misdemeanor count. Democrats are anxious for Montserrate to go away because his presence only threatens the party's control of the body.
Whether Montserrate can prevail in the courts is hard to say.
With the full resources of the Attorney General opposing him in court, Montserrate may not have the cash to get the justice he wants.
Again, like the ACLU, I say Montserrate is a thug and a metaphor for problems in his party's caucus along with Pedro Espada and others. However, just because a majority of Senators decide they want to reverse an election...that's a dangerous prescedent and should be overturned.
If the Legislature desires that undesirables be removed, they should amend the State Constitution to allow for recall of elected officials. They won't do that, because too many of them would be. lawsuit challenging

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tiger's Tightly Scripted Plea for Forgiveness

On Friday morning Tiger Woods will gather with friends in a closed TV studio in Florida to deliver the Return to Golf Speech.
It is said he will apologize again and I assume outline a path back on the PGA tour that will make sure he makes the Masters in April.
Is there anyone who needs to hear his apology who hasn't already ?....He doesn't need to apologize to me...Maybe Mindy Lawton of Ogdensburg...or any one of many other women he strung along.
Of course there is wife Elin, who I guess has taken him back....
What more is there to say ?. He will play golf well some weeks....and always be the subject of a bit of snickering unless he wins a couple majors, then its pretty much all forgotton.
His apology speech is controlled and scripted as his career has been. There is little to glean from his words.
Tiger,just get back to work on the links and go on Dr. Phil if you want to apologize to whomever you think needs to hear one.

Political Stuff on a Wednesday

-Governor Paterson's $132K a year "body man" should raise the question of who fills that role for local pols. Rep. Bill Owens is often seen with district office manager Steve Hunt. Senator Aubertine has Drew Mangione....and Assemblywoman Russell has Ted Ford. All three GOP Congressional hopefuls have a tag-a-long when they are at events. We haven't figured out who fills the crucial body person role for Patty Ritchie and Nick Vaugh.
Body person of the year award went to DeDe Scozzafava's man...Ron McDougall for his portrayal of a Senate Democrat when confronted by a reporter for the Weekly Standard.
-On Friday, I will be pleased to welcome to the city Senator Aubertine and Senator William Stachowski of Buffalo. The pair will be hosting a round table discussion on how to fashion the state budget to better help business.....I have suggestions but I will stick to just being cordial. Such a topic could send me into such a rant that they would have to have Guilfoyle on stand-by.
-State Conservative Chair Mike Long is trying to settle on one candidate in the 49th district who can also be the GOP nominee. Three candidates are running for the honor of taking on Senator David Valesky. Can Long do the same in NY23 ? Doesn't look like it. With Doug Hoffman likely to get Long's nod but facing a Republican primary against two candidates.
-The NY 23 race on the GOP side may require someone fall on his sword if Doug Hoffman is to be defeated in a primary. With both Matt Doheny and Will Barclay splitting party regulars in the western end of the district, Hoffman likely sees the three way as his best path to the nomination.
-2010 is relection year for Sheriff John Burns. Anybody heard of a challenger ?...I doubt there will be one.
-Feral cats reported on Marra Drive, if anyone enjoys trapping.

Paterson: Cuomo Is 'Afraid'

A feisty Governor Paterson is busy making light of candidate in waiting Andrew Cuomo saying the AG talks more about the Super Bowl than he does what would do as governor. The current governor even says Mr. Cuomo is afraid.
Governor Paterson did successfully push back on an effort to run him out of office on rumor, but he is hardly out of the woods.
Party leaders either back Cuomo or are afraid to cross the AG, whom we are reminded has a long memory. The unions are against Paterson. Its tough to see a primary win in the Democratic Party with the array of opponents the Governor has.
But he continues to have one thing. He IS the Governor and running against him is still a prospect Mr. Cuomo is having trouble broaching.
By threatening a nasty and protracted primary fight, the Governor is really hoping to scare Mr. Cuomo off. That's still a long shot since every poll shows Cuomo beating Paterson.
Paterson: Cuomo Is 'Afraid'

Paterson’s Ex-Driver, David W. Johnson, Is a Top Confidant -

Is this the revelation piece that would drive the Governor from office ? A New York Times story about a rising Paterson staffer with a gangsta' past may be the story new and old media was saying would lead to David Paterson's demise. The story doesn't rise to that level and its pretty obvious many in new media and some in old got snookered on the Paterson story. It was indeed more an effort to push him out of the way advanced by friends of likely challenger Andrew Cuomo.
The Times article does bring up the drug and woman abusing past of this aide and that is a problem in the sense that abuse towards women permeates stories of many in leadership roles in the Senate. Everything is always counched in terms of "this happened years ago" but when you are 37, nothing is that many years ago. In any event there is some insight into Paterson but it is not anything to drive him to leave office, in a box or otherwise.
The choice of ex driver David Johnson to be a confidant of the Governor may speak to judgment issues that voters will have to take into account.
Paterson’s Ex-Driver, David W. Johnson, Is a Top Confidant -

WDT: They Voted for It Before They Were Against It

The Jefferson County Legislature is in an apparent John Kerry moment over the thorny issue of wind farms. A subcommittee of the full board is recommending the county oppose a NYS Power Authority initiative to solicit wind project on Lake shore....The opposition, if passed by the full board, would come only a couple weeks after backing a wind farm with tens of millions of dollars in subsidies.
The recently approved Galloo Island project was hotly debated on various grounds. One of the main points is the county's penchant for giving away potential tax revenues in a manner inconsistent with past practice. There were also land use and environmental concerns.
The building of more farms could have a positive economic impact on the region and provide lucrative construction jobs.
Let the State solicit such projects and they can fight out the environmental and economic issues with the public and whomever else cares.
This is not a County issue and after the last fracas, lawmakers should realize 15 people don't have to weigh in on everything that happens in or near the geo-political subdivision called Jefferson County.
Watertown Daily Times | Legislature opposed to wind farms in the lake

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Republicans Ready to Rumble !

The three amigos seeking the GOP Congressional nomination gathered in Oswego tonight to be screened by the city Republican committee.
Doug Hoffman, Matt Doheny and Will Barclay all made their pitch at a hotel in downtown Oswego.
While Oswego County is Barclay country, the presence of the other two means this is a real three-way.
Other candidates for local and county office were screened.
Absent was St. Lawrence County Clerk Patty Ritchie who is said to have a lock on the party's nomination.
Ms. Ritchie today launched her latest assault on Democrats in Albany with a Facebook page opposing a plan to use some dollars collected for snowmobile trails for the general fund.
It's all part of her populist, I am one of you campaigns designed to paint opponent Senator Darrel Aubertine as beholden to downstate taxers who don't understand the NNY way of life.

Danica's Stock Car Debut Ranks As Speed's Second-Most Watched Event - 2010-02-09 19:59:48 | Multichannel News

Are American's so captivated by celebrity and looks that they will flock to watch an event just because one participant is considered hot ?
Of course we are.
Ratings for NASCAR races with Danica Patrick are showing a big boost in numbers. Both the ARCA and Nationwide Races posted huge viewership bumps. Another high rating is expected on ESPN 2 this Saturday for her next race.
Patrick is being eased into NASCAR very gingerly with only a limited number of races, and her scarcity will probably add to the novelty.
Last Saturday she wrecked and finished 35th but was still the media darling while race winner Tony Stewart had to be saying 'What about me ?"
Danica even outpaced Sarah Palin who was in Daytona Florida over the weekend as well.
Danica's Stock Car Debut Ranks As Speed's Second-Most Watched Event - 2010-02-09 19:59:48 | Multichannel News

Dems Desparate to Uphold Montserrate Expulsion

While I am no fan of Hiram Montserrate or any of the gangsta' Senators that have been in the news of late, I am not so sure about Montserrate's expulsion. The attorney general is defending the Senate's expulsion vote. That is the role of the act as the State's lawyer.
This notion that the Senate can suddenly determine one of its own is manifestly unqualified to serve is a diminution of the public's right to representation. Montserrate was convicted of a misdemeanor. We know what really happened, but he has a right to due process.
Defeat him at the polls. That is why these seats come up at two year intervals.
Fact is he is expelled and a special election scheduled because his party views him as a debilitating drag on the prospects for holding a Senate majority for Democrats in the fall.
Not that there is any danger of losing District 13 in Queens. But the behavior of the gangsta' Senators could be a big drag on upstate Democrats whom the party needs.
I can just imagine a Patty Ritchie asking Senator Aubertine at a debate how in God's name he could serve in a caucus that permits violence against women. Same thing if Ms. Crawford raised the issue against Senator Valesky. That certainly doesn't mean these upstaters engage in the behavior , but as everyone's mother had taught are judged by your friends and associates.
That is why the Democrats in the Senate...the Governor...and the AG are stretching the limits of the law to keep this guy out.
Hiram Monserrate's expulsion

Gubernatorial campaign is goin' 'full speed ahead,' Gov. Paterson insists

Last week's plan to get David Paterson to step aside was to shop a story about a story...Remember the purported NY Times expose that insiders said would drive Governor Paterson from office in a day and clear the path for Andrew Cuomo to begin his march to Eagle Street. Well, turns out that didn't work.
This week's dump Paterson plan is to make sure the Governor's weekend campaign roll-out is a failure. Making sure upstate Democrats do not attend events in Rochester and Buffalo is the order of the day....You know...."Sean, remember, Andrew has a very good memory..." There is also the new narrative that the Governor's campaign is in "tatters."
The toughest moment for Paterson will be to enter a party convention this spring knowing he will lose but vowing to compete anyway.
The toughest moment for Andrew Cuomo is to announce a formal candidacy and his intention to kick to the curb the state's sitting governor.
Gubernatorial campaign is goin' 'full speed ahead,' Gov. Paterson insists

Syracuse University Orange game against Villanova the hottest ticket in town | News from The Post-Standard -

Some would call it scalping and think some hard charging AG should put out a press release...To me its the free market at work. If you want to watch the Orangemen play arch rival Villanova at the Carrier Dome on February 27....And if there are no choice tickets avaialable then let the market set their price.
This Fulton NY man has been trying to sell his SU tickets so he could go to a poker tournament at Turning Stone.....That's a manly excuse for missing something as manly as going to an SU game.
His hopes for $1000 tickets were dashed last week when Louisville bested Syracuse 66-60 and Villanova lost to Rutgers...The wonders of the free market have diminished ticket value to about $600.
That could be why ardent supply siders like Matt Doheny are such SU fans.
I have been advised I can increase my audience by writing more stories about SU sports, so I have tried to oblige.
Syracuse University Orange game against Villanova the hottest ticket in town | News from The Post-Standard -

Rangel Signals He Back Gilly

A Charlie Rangel endorsement doesn't mean much to those of us who pay taxes, but for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand the backing of such a prominent black leader could spell doom for Harold Ford, Jr.
In the wake of the election of the Nation's first black President, black leaders in NY no longer seem obliged to support one of their own on the state level. Thus they could kick to the curb Mr Ford, a former member of the Congressional Black Caucus and of course they may dump the state's first black governor, David Paterson.
This could signal a change in the identity politics that has permeated the Democratic party. Of course Harold Ford's Wall Street/Hampton's lifestyle hardly coincides with the gritty politics of Harlem or Bedford/Stuy.
But its not done yet. A convention of State Committee members will be held in May or June and to force a primary a candidate needs 25% of the weighted votes. Much of that "weight" comes from lop-sided Democratic precincts in Harlem and central Brooklyn. If Ford and Paterson see those votes fade away, their propsects will fade as well. The alternative is to circulate nominating petitions to force a primary, someting hard to do if you are blown out at convention.
All of these machinations on the Dem side, might be a matter of concern, except the Republicans are totally unable to produce viable statewide candidates.
When you think about it, why would anyone except those with blind ambition want to run ?
The observations of Senator Evan Bayh about Congress would dissuade any rational person from wanting to participate.
Rangel hearts Gillibrand - Glenn Thrush -

Monday, February 15, 2010

Democrat Musings

-Did Evan Bayh betray his party and his President ? That's the question Democrats are asking after his decision to not seek a third term. Senator Bayh's departure means a possible loss of a seat in Indiana. Mr. Bayh is also a man who was troubled by the current spending frenzy and the need to continue vote for the economic lunacy of Harry Reid and Company.
-Senator Kirston Gillibrand is clearly annoyed by the candidacy of Harold Ford Junior...but its clear the party poobah's including 2009 NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson are backing her. Party chairs are falling in line. It will be more and more difficult for Mr.Ford to break through, especially at the convention in June.
-A Democratic insider I talked to today said it in unclear whether Andrew Cuomo will ever pull the trigger. Governor Paterson shows no sign of stepping aside for Cuomo and trying to take out a sitting governor will be increasingly difficult for Cuomo.

Obama statue removed amid outcry - Asia-Pacific -

Imagine if someone wanted to place a statue of a foreign leader in our Thompson Park...Well, it wouldn't happen. Why did a hokey statue of a childhood Barack Obama with a butterfly perched on his finger end up in a park in Jakarta Indonesia ?
Many of the locals thought the same thing, even though Mr. Obama did spend four years there as a child.
They wondered why an Indonesian hero couldn't have a statue...They are right,so the statue is gone...given to a school where it will be displayed.
Obama statue removed amid outcry - Asia-Pacific -

Liz: Late Budget a Certainty

Lawmakers are getting their lines of credit ready for a spate of weeks with no paycheck. If there is no budget by April 1, lawmakers will have their paychecks held in escrow until adoption.....Observers say there will likely be a late budget as Albany attempts to placate the usual special interests in a year when taxes are toxic and all legislators and statewide office holders are up for grabs.
The television commercials from the teachers and prison unions have started and for lawmakers on the bubble its a no-win. For lawmakers from safe NYC seats, it doesn't matter how much they raise taxes. But there are not enough of those least not in the paralysis will strike.
The gutsy move would be real cuts and real tax income or sales....But instead we will hear "tax the wealthy" rhetoric combined with hidden taxes and fees to hose the middle and lower classes.
There will be no serious opposition to most Legislators but with the Senate so evenly splitit will be up to the swing district Senators like Darrel Aubertine to take the lead and demand concessions within their caucus.
That's not easy to do with so many downstate Senators facing assault charges and coming from seats where they don't have to care what people think.
The Daily Politics

Bayh: "If Washington were more like Indiana, it would be a Better Place."

There are some stories that really shake the Nation's Capital and the announcement of the retirement of Senator Evan Bayh is a shocker. This is a moderate who probably could have won reelection in what is increasingly a tough year for Dems following a rocky start for President Obama.
Senator Bayh has been a governor and senator and was considered to be a VEEP candidate in 2008. He could just be getting out of the way to relax a bit....Or he could be positioning for 2012 should Mr. Obama continue to falter.
The constraints of having to support the leadership on votes he doesnt believe in may have also prompted the moderate Bayh to throw in the towel.
The pending departure of Senators Dodd and Dorgan....and the retirement of Rep. Patrick Kennedy along with the recent MA Senate race are giving all but the most safe Dems reason to pause.

Watertown Daily Times | Company presents wind farm plan

This is the same wind company that just inked a deal in Herkimer County so we know the template for what St. Lawrence County will approve. The Herkimer Pilot holds the county harmless on sales and mortgage tax....That sounds good since St. Lawrence County, like Jefferson, distributes a portion of its sales tax to local governments. If held harmless, at least all 32 towns won't have to share so directly in the subsidy.
Of course some may debate whether Hammond wants the 475 foot giants, but the prospect of some quick cash for the town government will be the driver as it always is. I say let the towns in question strike their own deals and keep the rest of us out of it. They can't do much worse than giving up 80% of property and 100% of sales and mortgage tax.
Watertown Daily Times | Company presents wind farm plan

Criticism mounts over Paterson's plan to delay income tax checks | Staten Island Featured Entries - Breaking News - -

The State of New York is talking about delaying payment of income tax refunds. Now the way withholding tables are structured, the amounts back from the state are no where near the federal refunds, so the delay isn't as profound. It is still however a symptom of the lawless mood that permeates state government. It's owed to people and it needs to be paid. If the state wants more money it needs to be honest and increase the broad based taxes like income and sales.
It's not a surprise this is happening. The State did the same thing when it outright disobeyed a court order and went ahead and collected exorbitant license fees from cigarette retailers.
I suppose the argument is that the end justifies the means.....Funding schools and programs for people trumps the rule of law. It's a slippery slope.
Both David Paterson and Andrew Cuomo are a party to these policies.....Paterson for implementing and Cuomo for providing the legal rationale for it.
Criticism mounts over Paterson's plan to delay income tax checks | Staten Island Featured Entries - Breaking News - -

Frank Rich: Palin's Palm Ploy Makes Suckers of Liberal MSM

When Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was yucking it up doing a parody of Sarah Palin's palm pad....were Mr. Gibbs and many others in the MSM falling into a trap set my Ms. Palin ?
New York Times columnist and liberal icon Frank Rich thinks so.....And he may be right.
Is there previous evidence of such hand notes ? I never heard of any, so the crib notes may have been designed to trigger the kind of derisive attacks on Palin's intellect that plays with those who hate her and inspire those who consider the source of such attacks.
Its an interesting read.
Op-Ed Columnist - Palin’s Cunning Sleight of Hand -

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Democrats Handing Out More Free Money to All You Working Families !

We have been spending so much time wondering about whether the governor got it on in a closet that we forget to tell the public about another one of those left-wing crazy plans to stimulate the economy. First I know of this rebate for appliances was when I happened to check the Dem blog. Guess they only want Democrats to know about this scheme.
But hey, its free money, so dig in !THE NORTH COUNTRY DEMOCRAT: Governor Paterson Announces "New York's Great Appliance Swap Out" to Provide $16.8 Million in Rebates

Skirmish Over Security Escalates with Biden Counter Attack

President Obama is now fighting a two front the surge in Afghanistan and this weekend the President deployed Joe Biden to fend off an assault by former VP Dick Cheney.
Mr. Cheney continues to harpoon Mr. Obama's handling of national defense and the War on Terror. The Cheney offensive was nettlesome enough, VP Biden fought back and it produced a fascinating Sunday fight that is free speech at its best.
One area of agreement...Mr. Cheney agrees with the libs on ending the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy towards gays. Other than that it was a full throated fire fight all morning.
One talking head this AM on Meet the Press was possible US Senate candidate Harold Ford who still sounds very much the candidate in NY except for his frequent use of "'yall" in his speaking.....A reminder that while Mr. Ford is now paying NY taxes...He is still from Tennessee.
The Obama Presidency. Minute by Minute | POLITICO 44

Anderson Cooper Removes Pole....Woman Sues

CNN's Anderson Cooper probably thought it would be neat to renovate a circa 1905 firehouse into a residence...Trendy urban living..
His interior designer fell through the hole where the fire pole used to be and fell 17 feet...Now she is suing Cooper...Come on !
She should be looking where she is going and would have made a lousy firefighter.
Woman Sues CNN Anchor After Fall At NYC Home -

'$leazy 6' of rubber room -

This stuff is so incredible everytime you read it....Teachers unfit to be with children kept on at full pay in NYC "rubber rooms" where no work is done except to collect paychecks and pensions. This certainly isnt indicative of all teachers, but its a shame the system protects this process and these people.
'$leazy 6' of rubber room -

Wind farm’s payments: $8,000 per megawatt - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

Here is the Herkimer County version of a deal with Big Wind. Its hard to draw direct comparisons to the Jefferson County plan which was billed by county officials as an amazingly good deal that is the template for other counties. One reference in this story is that Herkimer County will be held harmless on sales and mortgage tax for the full 20 years. In Jefferson County both those taxes were given away under what is called a buy/leaseback (or is it lease/buy back) agreement providing "passive" ownership of the property to the IDA which is tax exempt. In Jefferson County about 20 percent of the normal property taxes would be paid.
This Herkimer agreement took five years of secret negotiations involving a hired consultant.
Then there was an interesting piece in the WDT this AM about a proposed wind tax in Wyoming where the governor says wind companies cannot continue to expect a free ride.
Big Wind is reportedly aghast at the Governor's statement.
Wind farm’s payments: $8,000 per megawatt - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

State Does Turnabout on IDA's

Word out of the County building is that the State is sending bills to industrial development agenices or IDA's for services rendered by Albany in overseeing these often unseen entities. It is a new source of revenue for the state.
While its seen by counties as the state eating its young, the revenue producing avenues open to IDA's obviously are attractive to other governments.
The fees charged by IDA's to grant exemptions from taxes range up to 25% of the amount exempted with the biggest payer being the state.
Is it any wonder, Albany is trying to recoup that money? A better way would be to render the state's portion of sales tax off limits to exemptions so the most regressive of taxes doesn't become more so by leaving only those of limited means the only ones always paying the tax.
In the case of Jefferson County's IDA, the bill sent is for $89,000, according to the County Administrators office.