The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?

The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?
Second Annual Event Starts at Five PM Friday at Thompson Park

Saturday, January 15, 2011

TV 7 Advertises for Weather Person

WWNY-TV 7 is advertising for a weather person, but the job is not that easy to fill and is more important than you think.
In most markets the weather person is also a commercial pitch man and public relations tool for the station. He or she can do the public appearances that would be inappropriate for the news people.
So all this talk of a credible meteorologist really yields in the end to someone who is a personality and a salesperson for the station and its clients.
Finding someone with the skills, gravitas, marketing ability and desire to make a home in the 190th or so market is not easy.
It's no place for a rookie flailing to find the nation's mid-section on a chroma keyed map. (In my day they just slapped magnetic highs and lows on a map)
Since most people in TV are upwardly mobile , a person with these skills in a larger market will not come here for fifty or sixty K. Granted over time you can make more with commercial endorsements and side deals doing weather for radio stations...but still, its a tough sell and for the station there is a lot riding on the decision.
There is a good female weather person on YNN I have been watching lately, who might be worth a look see...but I bet she has her sights on top hundred markets.
There are in house candidates like Beth Hall or John Kubis...Some of the news people have been filling in lately too....In the end its hard to find a person as smart, nice-appearing, and personable as Rick DeFranco....They will love him in Helena if he ends up moving from the Big County to the Big Sky.
Meteorologist WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Job Openings at 7News/Fox 28

Mega Millions lottery winner Holly Lahti and estranged husband's violent past | Mail Online

The winner of the other half of the recent MegaMillions jackpot is separated but not divorced from a wife beater who has been arrested numerous times for his violent ways....Holly Lahti may have to split the $190million prize with the loser....
Is this what is meant by a dollar and dream...or is it a nightmare.
Mega Millions lottery winner Holly Lahtiand and estranged husband's violent past Mail Online

WDT: Show Us Your Papers...and Give Us Some DNA

Wow, petit larceny or criminal trespassing and the district attorney wants your DNA...Is that Orwellian or what ?
Watertown Daily Times State asks hundreds for DNA samples

If You Love an IDA, Will It Love You Back ?

I saw this bumper sticker and thought it was an affirmation of love and affection for a girl named 'Ida'.
Then I looked more closely and see its distributed by the large law firm Harris-Beach, which serves as counsel to many Industrial Development Agencies and the like.
I can see why they love them, but I don't get romantic feelings over any government agency....certainly not to the point I would profess my love on the bumper of my car.

First An Apology......

First an apology...yesterday in promoting my Capital Tonight appearance I misspelled the name of the host, Kaitlyn Ross....Which is why people like me favor standardized spellings of names at birth. I am old school enough to actually feel bad when I mess up, so please accept by regrets.
I enjoyed the interview which was the first time I appeared on the show with Ms. Ross. I had previously been on with Erin Billups and Liz (who like Cher is so famous we don't use a last name.)
I got a thumbs up review from Ted Ford who proclaimed me "brilliant', but I prefer a more modest assessment like "solid" or "OK".
I had thought about musing about who is the best interviewer, but have decided that would be a really dumb idea, so I concluded that all three are intelligent, insightful and utterly charming journalists who are a credit to the state they report on.
Thank you for the opportunity to blather.

Miss NY Seeks Miss America on Gay Rights Platform

Things are getting a little more spicy at the Miss America pageant since the good old days when the Renzi lass competed some years ago. This year's Miss NY is Claire Buffie of Buffalo who is competing on a gay rights platform (remember when Vanessa Williams got in trouble for those photos with another girl).
The pageant is no longer on the Boardwalk but in a Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, where our state's representitive looks more like a showgirl than the girl next door.
2011 Miss America photos: Four contestants stand out among field - Friday, Jan. 14, 2011 2:19 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun

Rex Ryan channels Joe Namath, guarantees win, says game vs. Patriots '2nd biggest' in Jets history

It's being billed as the biggest JETS game since January,1969 when Joe Namath shocked the nation. Sunday's playoff game against the evil NE Patriots is turning into a big grudge match, and the possible beginnings of a legendary rivalry.
Enough said...Gang Green 21-17.
Watch it all in high def at Fort Pearl tomorrow at 4PM.
Rex Ryan channels Joe Namath, guarantees win, says game vs. Patriots '2nd biggest' in Jets history

WDT: Tales from Cape Fear and Loathing

Town of Cape Vincent Supervisor Urban Hirschey is under fire for the release of documents some insist were privileged and of course there are the predictable calls for resignation and the lauching of a probe.
The Cape has devolved into a political morass as a result of the fight over sighting of industrial wind generators, called wind mills by those in favor of them. Everybody is accusing everyone of ethical lapses and conflicts of interest and those who used to enjoy power but lost a close election are doing everything they can to get back in power.
Rubbing things raw even more is that the locals are pitted against seasonal residents who registered to vote there solely to gain control over a siting process they feel threatens the enjoyment of their vacation and retirement homes.
Because there is conflict...or vigorous debate of issues of public importance....many are calling for a state takeover of the siting process....
You know...keep the "politics" out of it and let the professionals handle it.
Sometimes what is called "home rule" is a messy process, but one should think twice about ceding power to an unelected authority or agency.
As for Mr. Hirschey, I know him and I say those who don't care for him should go out and win an election and stop trying to have DAs and AGs undo the election for them.
Given the overuse of executive session by most governments and the obsession with secrecy by people in charge, I have no problem with transparency, although it would seem the requests might best have been discussed with the Town Board.
Most local governments operate in obscurity with the same people in charge for as long as they want. Most decisions are without controversy, but in any town, given a motivated opposition, things could be made to look bad.
In the Cape its now an emotional issue and a question of resentment as some people are making money off Wind and others are not.
Elections have consequences, and residents should express their desires through that process, realizing that on an issue like this the usual tools of compromise and consensus will never result in a universal sense of Kumbaya throughout the town.

Watertown Daily Times Expert: papers wrongly released

Friday, January 14, 2011

Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham Also Wants My Job | New York Daily News

I got a nice shout out from fellow dachshund owner and big city scribe Celeste Katz of the NY Daily News. Celeste posted my observations of the Cuomo visit and is always kind to the North Country in her efforts !
Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham Also Wants My Job New York Daily News

Cuomo Delivers Bitter Medicine to Packed House at JCC

Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to think the force of his will can bring a spend-a-holic state government into line before the Empire State "falls off a cliff."
The Governor spoke to over 300 NNY residents at a redux of the State of the State address he gave in Albany last week. Using the same slide show, the Governor outlined a state in crisis and repeated his mantra that New York "has no future as the tax capital of America."
Before the address he and aides were using terms like "pain" and "brutal" to describe the upcoming budget.
The crowd applauded frequently although the intensity waned as the half hour speech seemed to leave some fatigued with bad news. It ended in a Obamaesque tent revival cadence of how we are going to change the state for decades to come.
I like Mr. Cuomo coming to the people and presenting what is normally a speech for the political class. He gave a forceful presentation, but many there are linked to the system and its unclear how much support there is for real cuts, in the range of $10 billion.
Andrew Cuomo has the political skills and knowledge of the system to make change. He also can wield a metaphorical baseball bat better than Paladino's real bat.
Budget details come out February 3rd. I look forward to the details and appreciate the Governor's visit to Watertown today.
Governor Cuomo Delivers State of the State Message in Watertown
At Time Warner Getting Ready to Tape Interview with Capital Tonight !
Over 300 people hear a redux of the State of the State given at JCC by Governor Cuomo..

WDT: Attorney Caughlin enters Watertown city judge race

Just so all candidates for judge (other than Supreme Court) know....judicial races do no need an out of party authorization or Wilson-Pakula. A judicial candidate merely gets signatures for any and all of the state's six parties and has to file an acceptance with the petitions. Would-be candidates do not need to court anyone or take anyone to dinner...although they are welcome to do so.
Watertown Daily Times Attorney Caughlin enters Watertown city judge race

WDT: Indian River Awash in Money

It's called "impact aid" and it's special federal school aid to districts with large military related student bodies lving in housing that is not part of the tax base....In the Indian River district that means $11.2 million this year and an ability to rely very little on property taxes.
The WDT reports Indian River is "relatively awash in money" and has been adding positions while other districts have cut positions. Now Washington is looking for cuts as another authorization of borrowing expansion looms in April.
Will federal school aid be cut ?
Watertown Daily Times Schools' impact aid faces uncertainty

Cuomo: Public Must Become the Agent for Change

What the Governor will say today in Watertown was foreshadowed yesterday in Jamestown where Andrew Cuomo deivered a 35 minute speech calling for the public to become agents of change.
In essence, Mr. Cuomo says there has been no change in Albany because the public has not really demanded it.
He is right...the dialogue (at least that reported in the media) is all about restoring school aid, getting grants, saving prisons, and granting tax breaks.
Those who really want less government don't get the megaphone of the media...That goes to the school superintendents, labor bosses, politicians, heads of social agencies and media barons who have relatives working in the aforementioned occupations.
All of those special interests will be on display at JCC today carefully watching to make sure the man they voted for doesn't try to upset their apple cart.
Cuomo calls on residents to insist on changes - Politics - The Buffalo News

WRVO: Ritchie Readies to Chair Ag, Defend Prisons (2011-01-13)

One of the ironies of representitive government is on display as our new Senator says she will do everything she can to prevent any NNY prison closures, even though we all know the state government has to be cut in size.
Senator Patty Ritchie has five prisons to defend while the new Governor has said prisons don't exist to be rural jobs programs.
With prisons scattered across so many Senate districts, it is very hard to make cuts, and of course that's the idea....The system is resistant to change because while all of us will say we want a balanced budget...we will in the same breath want no new taxes and no cuts affecting our communities or schools.
Smaller prisons in older facilities with high per inmate costs would be the low hanging fruit...That means the one in Ogdensburg and Watertown's Dry Hill Prison located in a former Air Force base would seem to be at risk.
We will get a first hand listen to the Governor's "vision" for New York at a State of the State redux at Jefferson Community College.
WRVO: Ritchie Readies to Chair Ag, Defend Prisons (2011-01-13)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Palin Gets Some Support....But Still Took a Beating in the MSM

While the MSM quickly ginned up condemnation of Sarah Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel" as anti-semitic, two prominent NY Jews came to her defense. Former Mayor Ed Koch and Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind say her statement was fine and attacks on her may in Koch' words be "mysogeny."
The speed with which her video statement was dismembered and condemnations issued indicates her core complaint is true, although I think the former AK governor missed an opportunity to be a broader based politician. She is picked on, but you cannot keep publicly claiming that. While her remarks made sense when read, the publicity on her address didn't leave her favorably compared to her White House nemesis who delivered a very good speech hours later in Tucson.
Because the phrase "blood libel" had its roots in Judaism, its one of those terms that will immediately be labled anti semitic by the left, who may feel they own the religion.
Koch, Hikind and actually Mayor Bloomberg all stuck up for Palin, but she still ceded that days PR battle to Mr. Obama.
Koch, Hikind Defend Palin

WDT: Lack of Financing Kills Restoration of Woolworth Building...Other Projects Doing Well

Good and bad news for downtown Watertown.....
All of the apartments at the renovated Franklin Building are now rented according to Neighbors of Watertown chief Gary Beasley....Also this morning it was revealed the Ag Building is fully occupied and plans are proceeding for a Japanese steak house on Court Street.
But some setbacks too. Plans for a hotel at the Woodruff Building seem doomed and the owner of the building seems to want to seek a residential/commercial mix. Also the planned purchase of the Masonic Temple by a Jewish civic group also appears to be a non-starter, according to reports.
While I think the Woolworth scenario can happen, I am not optimistic the Masonic Temple really has a viable use.
We will see.
Watertown Daily Times Lack of financing kills restoration of Woolworth Building

Cuomo Trip Brings State of the State Home to All of Us

Friday's appearance by Governor Andrew Cuomo at Jefferson Community College will be a reitteration of the recent State of the State Address.
That's the word from the Governor's office who called again today to tell me about the morning party at the College. I am the welcomer, although I assume Senator Patty Ritchie will be introducing the Governor...That's fine and as it should be....I want our new Senator involved.
The new Governor is the best hope we have to move the state away from the abyss....I will listen closely to his remarks.
We are the second stop on the talk-to-the-people tour and it should be a good event.
Last year's election was perfunctory...That's why all of us could suspend attention even to the point of helping minor party candidates hoping to make a statement...Now its crunch time and I for one plan to be supportive of the Governor's agenda, as I understand it.
We all look forward to welcoming the new governor to Watertown in the morning.

Prominent City Pooch Celebrates 15th Birthday

Wearing the reddish brown coat God gave him and accented by an understated leather collar, my dog Zeppelin stopped by the HOTLINE today to celebrate his 15th birthday.
Born January 1996 and duly licensed in NYS, Zeppelin was that doggie in the cage at Salmon Run Mall when I met him. He has been a healthy specimen, and barely contributes to the vet's lifestyle.
Zeppelin is still active but also enjoys being indoors, especially in the cold months. He has appeared in parades, but currently prefers a pig ear over politics.

WDT: Officials see Mercy complex up close

The first steps towards developing a plan for the Mercy complex on Stone Street occured this week as city officials and DANC director James Wright toured the decades old and mostly vacant former hospital turned nursing home.
The facility is large and offers old wards and clinics out of use justaposed to areas full of life with residents and staff.
The current operators, Samaritan Medical Center, plan to vacate the complex in two years when a new nursing home is built on Washington Street.
Issues like ownership and potential future use will be the challenges and as many minds as possible need to be brought to the table over the next to years.
Watertown Daily Times Officials see Mercy complex up close

Newzjunky - IHC Students Learn the Importance of Local Government

Yesterday's visit by IHC students to City Hall was one of those times when you are glad to be in politics. It was good for them in their education and good for us to meet a new generation of residents.
While it's easy to dismiss such events as "press release politics", I thought Newzjunky.com did a great job capturing what transpired.
Today, I have an meeting at 8:30 of Advantage Watertown, a citizen committee that monthly debates local issues. I am looking forward to the give and take.
Tomorrow, I have the honor of introducing Governor Cuomo at his session at JCC....Its the first visit by the Governor to Watertown since his election.
That should be an interesting speech, as we have heard so much about dire times, it will be good to see the Governor deliver the message in person.
Newzjunky - IHC Students Learn the Importance of Local Government

Gillibrand On Meeting With Giffords

Yesterday's meeting between Senator Gillibrand, Rep. Deborah Wasserman-Schultz and wounded collegue Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was by any measure a touching occasion chronicled in this Air Force One interview transcript.
Gillibrand On Meeting With Giffords

Senator Gillibrand Witnesses Eye Opening

Senator Kirstin Gillibrand of New York was among a handful of female lawmakers present in the room when Rep.Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes several times.
The delegation of friends from Congress were joined by Ms. Giffords husband Mark Kelly in the hospital room on the campus of the University of Arizona.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opens eyes for first time since Tucson shooting

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Reveals Wounded Member of Congress Opens Eyes for First Time

In a startling announcement of further progress in her recovery, President Obama told Arizonans tonight that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since last Saturday's massacre at a Tuscon supermarket.
Mr. Obama told a packed University of Arizona arena that he had visited Ms. Giffords with her husband ,astronaut Mark Kelly.
The President delivered a moving and concilliatory address.
"For those who were harmed...those who were killed...they are part of our family...an American family, three hundred million strong."
The President skillfully called for a change in discourse without indulging those seeking to link the tragedy in Tucson to certain individuals.
It was a well crafted and well delivered speech in front of a crowd that often cheered like it was a hoop game and not a memorial service.
Despite the distraction, Mr. Obama remained somber and focused as he acknowledged the dead, wounded and those who rose to the occasion to help out.
AZ Governor Jan Brewer delivered gracious remarks thanking the President for his words of comfort and his visit.

Some Public Authorities Thumb Nose at Us

Dozens of public authorities are on a delinquent list for failing to fail reports and audits....No local NNY agencies are on the list showing compliance with the law. That's a good thing, as the new requirements, no matter how cumbersome, are designed to provide transparent government.
The attorney general should subject these entities to the scrutiny and sanctions any of us would face if we failed to file required documents.
January 2011 Delinquent List

IHC students tour Watertown City Hall

Students visiting City Hall today say they learned a lot about what goes on and that city officials do a lot more work than they thought....While they hear about careers in government from the city manager and me, they got some candidate advice from soon to reture city judge James Harberson.
"Don't waste your money on law school," the judge said. Harberson told students becoming a lawyer may not be worth leaving college with a hundred thousand dollar loan. Like most judges, Harberson has been less than pleased by having judicial pay frozen for years.
The students saw the City Hall wedding chapel and heard a discussion on community service revolving around the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's inaugural speech.
These were great students, all of whom have goals, values, manners and are hopefully a little more knowledgeable after today's class.
IHC students tour Watertown City Hall - YNN, Your News Now

Palin Calls Criticism 'Blood Libel' - NYTimes.com

One think about Sarah Palin is that she can push the buttons of the hysterical left...Her eight minute video lashing back at her being villified for the Tuscon shootings is drawing fire for Palin's use of the term "blood libel".
Now she is being called anti-semitic as the phrase has historical context in Judaism.
Tonight President Obama will provide the rhetorical salve for the deaths and injuries. MSM outrage at Palin was fade into pronouncements of the brillance of Mr Obama's remarks.
Palin Calls Criticism 'Blood Libel' - NYTimes.com

Cuomo Coming Friday for JCC Town Hall

Governor Andrew Cuomo will hold a town hall style meeting to promote his budget agenda this Friday at 11AM at Jefferson Community College. It will be the second stop in a series of appearances statewide to rally support for budget cuts and reform and realignment of government.
We welcome the new Governor to our City.

JFK 50th Anniversary to Highlight Civics Trip to City Hall

This morning during a visit to City Hall by seniors at Watertown's IHC, we will discuss the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address. The students are coming to discuss the issue of service in elected office and to learn a bit more about their city government.
The session is one I am glad to host and is being done in conjunction with the US Conference of Mayors.
JFK 50th Anniversary at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's Online Store

Raises Continue and Pension Costs Escalate...Tough to Be Austere in Albany

While the Cuomo Administration has been talking pay cuts and freezes, New York's top cops were getting big raises last month as the acting Superintendent of State Police was bumped over $20K to nearly $180K a year, that's more than the Governor.
The reason is that union contracts so lucrative for so long have elevated supervisor pay so high that a promotion to management is a pay cut.
Meanwhile, some of the state's judges who have not had a pay hike since 1999 are actually talking about forming a union for jurists.
But there is some austerity going on. The per diem for lawmakers has been reduced by six dollars a day due to deflation in hotel rates the past year.
Lawmakers receive a salary of $79,500 each plus $165/day per diem while in the capital. They also can receive additional leadership stipends for chairing a committee.
What's not going down are pension costs. On Monday, City Council was given a sobering outline of the escalating costs of funding pensions. Crow hazing led the newscasts.
Top state cops won big pay hikes as Gov. Paterson was planning layoffs of 900 state workers because of budget shortfall - NYPOST.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cuomo Takes It To The People

It will be interesting to see if Governor Cuomo includes stops in our area on his Take It To The People Tour....Mr. Cuomo only made one Watertown appearance in the 2010 campaign and that was during the summer. Granted he really didn't have to do anything, but his job is more daunting this year, trying to gain support for taking away free sh--.
The Governor's budget comes out February 3rd...Watch the howling being then.
Cuomo Takes It To The People

The Latest on the Local Judge Races...Jefferson and Lewis Counties Screwed by Syracuse

I was talking to a distinguished jurist tonight who filled me in on possible developments in local judicial races.
One is a possible spirited race for City Judge as the Hon. James Harberson faces mandatory retirement at age 70.
Local attorney and Democrat Keith Caughlin is said to be considering a run for the open sight. The assistant city judge Eugene Renzi is considered a possible GOP candidate if he is willing to give up his private practice. Mr. Caughlin is active in Fort Drum issues and his wife is a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugh Gilbert.
Speaking of Judge Gilbert... He cannot run again as he is 70, although he likely will be appointed an acting judge for up to three two-year intervals. That is something available to retired jurists.
The appointments will allow Gilbert to still hear cases in Watertown, as the likely run of two Democratic Syracuse City Court judges will nix the arrangement where a Jefferson and Lewis County resident will get to hold a seat.
The Lewis seat of Judge McGuire is also open after his retirement. Former DA Mike Young is the GOP choice but will have trouble winning in the Fifth JD against the two Syracuse judges, since so much of the population in in Onondaga County. Lewis County Judge Charles Merrill has also been mentioned but may be aced out by the Syracuse judges.
Town of Watertown Justice James McClusky will be the Republican candidate from Jefferson County, but he too faces long odds....The only Republican likely to win is Oneida County's Ray Meier, a former State Senator.

Ailes Says Toning It Down Is a Good Idea

FOX News President Roger Ailes has wisely told his staff to tone down rhetoric in the wake of the Tucson shootings. Will Jeff Immelt do the same at MSNBC ?
While the shootings were the responsibility of one man, it is a good time for everybody to quit shouting....And there is plenty of it to go around.
Meanwhile, a memorial service attended by President Obama is slated for Wednesday night in AZ.
GlobalGrind.com

Jerry to Take Worker Cellphones Away

Our tiny $10Billion budget shortfall in NY sounds puny compared to California's $25 Billion. Now Gov. Jerry Brown will have to rely on his Jesuit days for a sense of austerity. He is starting by cutting the state's 96000 cell phones in half.
These aren't the 70s anymore and Governor Brown has his hands full, but like Andrew Cuomo he knows the system and how it works. Maybe he will make a difference.
Governor to disconnect 48,000 cellphones in hands of state workers [Updated] PolitiCal Los Angeles Times

Yikes...Another Spike in Phone Anxiety is on the Way

When I was young, car dealers would cover their windows and put new models on giant turntables as the September debut of the new models was a source of amazement and excitement...Now all cars look the same and you can see them on the Internet anyway...
These days the collective gasp of excitement seems to revolve around the introduction of a cell phone model....The MSM gets all worked up over the latest I-something and how many Apps it has.
With my Voyager phone increasingly cranky and the touch screen balking more often, I have to consider a new phone....Should it be the latest and greatest that Verizon offers. ?..or something already in circulation...
I have been to the Verizon store a couple of times in recent months...Its not the cost that bothers me..its the complexity...As soon as the clerk tells me there are 15,000 apps, the Luddite in me surfaces and I race for the door.
Now people like my friends Scott Gray or Tom Constanzo always have to have the latest gadget....And I like to think I am smart enough to figure things out, I just don't know if I want to.
I was in a funeral home in Carthage yesterday, standing in line talking about the stuff you talk about with strangers and three teens were on the couch playing a video game on their phone, oblivious to the feigned and authentic mourning around them.
You see, I don't need to be able to do that, so I am not sure if this "iPhone5" is for me.
An iPhone 5? A Verizon iPhone? Leaked photos and video fuel rumors about Apple's next gadget

Newzjunky - SMC Unveils Plans for Senior Living Campus on Outer Washington Street

Samaritan Medical Center has publicly outlined its plans for a $46 million dollar senior residential complex on a steep hill east of Washington Street near the city limits.
The plan is the result of a deal between the hospital, the county, the Watertown Housing Authority and the NYS Health Department. The project requires the acquisition of school district and city owned land and also would be the death knell for Mercy Healthcare. The move has sparked a debate over re-use over building new and about what to do with the massive former hospital on Stone Street.
City Council members will tour Mercy in the coming days and hope to begin a dialogue with current owners of the building to come up with a plan for mitigation or re-use.
It will be a vexing issue for years to come.
Newzjunky - SMC Unveils Plans for Senior Living Campus on Outer Washington Street

No AFLOCKOLYPSE on a Monday Night as Crow Hazing Remains Non-Lethal

The "move along folks" approach to getting those pesky crows away from their usual roosts began Monday night as federal agents joined with city police in a noisy but non-lethal hazing effort. The annual ritual is designed to prevent flocks of the birds from roosting in trees and leaving their waste on homes, businesses, cars and people below.
The phenomenon is caused by crows coming into the city at night to get warm and happens in many New York cities. The US Department of Agriculture program has been able to move the crows in the past.
Watertown Daily Times CROW HAZING GETS UNDER WAY

Loughner Registered Indy Who Didn't Vote Last November

Oops....He is not a Republican...and he didn't vote last November despite a spirited Tea Party challenge to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords....Crazy gunman Jared Loughner was registered as an independent in Pima County, AZ and voted in 2006 and 2008.
The Fix - Jared Lee Loughner was a registered independent, didn't vote in 2010 election

Owens Says He Feels Safe in His District

North Country Congressman Bill Owens says he will not increase security around himself following Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. Mr. Owens says people are put off by a body guard and that he doesn't feel the need in NNY.
Rep. Owens also said Rep Giffords is a friend of his whom I frequently spoke to as both served on the House Armed Service Committee.
North Country congressman a friend of shooting victim » NEW TODAY... » Press-Republican

Monday, January 10, 2011

Here's a Story That Will Shock You

The controversial Westboro Church in Topeka KS plans to picket the funeral of the nine year old shot to death Saturday in Tucson. You gotta read what this lady says...I can't possibly summarize it.
Utica Daily News - Local and national news for Utica, The Mohawk Valley and Central New York. - AUDIO: Church will picket Arizona slain girl's funeral

Loughner appears in court; Giffords remains in intensive care

A court appearance for a reviled young man and another briefing holding out hope for recovery against very long odds....The debate continued on the tenor of political discourse in the country. Day three of coverage of the Arizona shootings and this WP story is a pretty good summary.
Loughner appears in court; Giffords remains in intensive care

Roger Stone: Trump Would Be Giant Prez Candidate

For those looking ahead to 2012 who are not content to reelect the President, the Donald is having his name floated by our friend Roger Stone.
I think Barack Obama will be tough to beat, as long as the economy shows modest improvement and some kind of deal (no matter how phony) is reached on deficit reduction. Mr. Obama will tack enough to the center on a few issues to keep his coalition of Dave Mance RINOs in tow, and despite the carping by the hard left, where else will they go ?
The Donald is smart and has charisma but can rub some the wrong way. He is very successful and not an insider.
We will see if Roger is right.
Roger Stone: Trump Would Be Giant Prez Candidate

Gov. Cuomo to hold a "summit" this week with Legislative leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver to win their support for sweeping reforms - NYPOST.com

Governor Cuomo is hosting a "reform summit" including a dinner with noted reformers, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.
Gov. Cuomo to hold a "summit" this week with Legislative leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver to win their support for sweeping reforms - NYPOST.com

Sarah Palin removes 'target list' as 'vitriolic rhetoric' blamed for Arizona shooting | Mail Online

Sarah Palin removes 'target list' as 'vitriolic rhetoric' blamed for Arizona shooting Mail Online

Bloodshed and Invective in Arizona - NYTimes.com

The NYT opines shooter Jared Loughner was beyond mental illness, but was part of a "widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance" ravaging the nation. The ambiance argument has been used before. When President Kennedy was killed in Dallas, there was much chatter about the anti-Kennedy, right wing political mood in that conservative southern city. The Oklahoma City bombing was blamed on conservative talk radio.
Go ahead and read on and we'll see what you think.
Bloodshed and Invective in Arizona - NYTimes.com

What Do You Do About These Type of People ?

Everyone of us has encountered one or more of these people whom if they went on a shooting spree, we would look back and say 'that doesn't surprise me.'
Yet what do you do about it when vague suspicions surround someone ?
Arizona shooter Jared Loughner had a weird backyard shrine shrouded in camo. Everybody on his street says he was a loner. The Army rejected him and a community college booted him out after multiple teacher complaints....One teacher said he feared turning his back on this guy for fear he would be shot. In contemporaneous emails, other students outlined their fears, to the point of thinking about an escape route from the classroom.
The day of the shooting a clerk at a Wal-Mart declined to sell him ammunition because he was so creepy, but Loughner just went to another store and bought some.
It's all coming out now, but the fact is what do you do about it? You do what the one lady in this link did. You sit by the door.
44 - Jared Loughner's behavior recorded by college classmate in e-mails

WDT: Education Hierarchy Picking at Cuomo Already

That didn't take long...the carping has begun in the North Country about our new Governor's efforts to contain costs in education through a competitive funding mechanism that the local paper reports may place smaller school districts at a disadvantage.
The state's 700 plus school superintendents and NYSUT will be a potent force for the status quo.
I don't know if a reconfigured, competitive-based funding formula is good or not...But everyone knows the system of education in NY is organizationally top heavy with a superintendent every five miles throughout upstate. Since education is in essence a state run program, one must look at the bulk of state programs which are administered at a county or regional level.
That is I believe what Governor Cuomo has in mind, and I feel various administrators should not begin stoking the fires to make it more difficult for our elected representitives to do in Albany what is needed to get the State back on track.
Watertown Daily Times Cumo's plan may hurt local schools

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Carolyn McCarthy readies gun control bill - Shira Toeplitz - POLITICO.com

A Long Island Member of Congress says she is drafting new gun control legislation....Rep. Carolyn McCarthy ran for Congress after losing her husband to a gunman on the Long Island Railroad. Rep. McCarthy is reacting to the Arizona shootings yesterday perpetrated by a seemingly deranged 22 year old using a legally purchased handgun.
The Tuscon shootings will become a wedge issue in no time.
Carolyn McCarthy readies gun control bill - Shira Toeplitz - POLITICO.com

City Council to Ponder Evaluations and Mercy Future

Monday City Council starts its Charter mandated review of the city manager and city clerk...And we welcome a new assistant to the manager to the third floor.
Council will also hear a presentation from Samaritan Medical Center officials about their proposed new nursing home on Washington Street, behind the Savory Cafe.
In particular, the hospital is looking to acquire a piece of city-owned land. They are also trying to acquire property from the school district and the adjacent Sisters of St. Joseph.
Council members are very interested in Mercy Healthcare and are likely want to discuss the timetable for closure and the prospects for the site. Over the coming week, lawmakers will take tours of the facility and its my hope heads of other agencies will follow suit in the weeks to come as we all have a stake in the future of the complex of buildings on Stone Street.

Sports and Politics are the Home of Military Metaphors

Is it right to "target" lawmakers for defeat ? Or for a quarterback to throw the "bomb" ? Is military or firearms imagery appropriate to use as a metaphor ?
Key Democrats are attacking the SarahPAC ad showing 20 Congressional districts where Democrats are targeted for defeat. The map issued by Palin had shown crosshairs. Sen. Dick Durbin also criticised Palin's use of the phrase "don't retreat, reload" during a recent episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska on TLC Network.
Implicit in all this is that elements on the right have fueled the atmosphere where excitable people could be motivated to commit act like yesterday's Tucson shooting that killed six.
Is it Palin or is it the hate so easily spread by the ubiquitous nature of the Internet as FBI Director Mueller has suggested.
Of course there is always the "carpet bombing" of a district with an "air war" of TV ads...Or you can have a "surgical strike" with targeted direct mail or you can dispatch WFP "shock troops" to a district.
There are "attack ads" and "preemptive strikes" followed by "rapid response teams." There was Carl Paladino threatening to "take out" Dicker.
Point is in political speak, there is no shortage of militaristic talk. In that sense, we are all a little guilty.

Jared Loughner Described as Pot-Smoking Loner Who Was Kicked Out of College

What a loser this guy is.....
Jared Loughner, suspect in Tucson shooting tragedy, said to have ranted on government 'brainwashing'

Shooter's Rants and the Connection to Public Discourse...Is There One ?

The perp, Jared Lee Loughner, in the shooting in AZ that left six dead and a Member of Congress fighting for her life is being described as a "detached loner". Isn't that always what is said in these cases ?...and in the modern age we get instant "insight" from Facebook and MySpace posts.....
Even the MSM is describing Loughner as "obviously disturbed." The stage will be set for an insanity defense.
Of course there are efforts to ascribe a political motivation to what happened.
There is a caustic nature to political discourse, much of it fueled by media...Everyone watches their favorite network for reenforcement of their views, and some of it is bad. I see what people write in comments on blogs like this. Perjoratives fly with ease and people get worked up.
"This is not the nice United States of America we all grew up in," said Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in reference to what happened in Tucson.
The message is that words have consequences...They do, and particularly in areas like the 8th Congressional District where immigration is hotly debated.
Loughner has written that most people never read the Constitution and that American dollars are worthless as they are not backed by gold or silver. He claims to have read the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.
He is out there, but the question that will be debated is what is proper discourse.
It will be interesting, but will break on predictable lines.

WDT: WB Mason Coming to Watertown

This is an interesting story....WB Mason, the office supply company advertised a lot on Yankee games, is buying out Lyng's Office Supply on Factory Street, bringing significant marketing and product resources to a store long a fixture locally but unable to compete with the big chains.
This is clearly a trend in retailing but it also sounds good as it will keep a viable office supply outlet in downtown.
This week there was also the acquisition of another local business...as Maines acquired Puccia Produce on Howk Street. Again, its economies of scale and a chance for a locally owned business person to transition out as the market changes.
The value of chains is always debated, but when they can bring investment and product into a market that can be a good thing.
Watertown Daily Times Office-supply businesses combine

Falling Crow Zone?

Got a call yesterday from channel 7 asking what is the City going to do with any dead crows resulting from its crow hazing program which begins Monday evening....The 'move along folks' technique to move the nettlesome birds away from properties includes noise and pyrotechnics to scare the birds which come into the City in colder months seeking heat but also depositing waste on buildings, cars and sidewalks.
Part of the program involves shooting crows to send a message to the birds there is danger in the status quo.....Using their immense cognitive abilities the birds will conclude they best move after seeing the crow next door fall from the sky.
The US Department of Agriculture has had success in moving the birds around and that is likely the best one can hope for.
As for the media question on what will be done with the dead birds, I referred that to the city manager.
Watertown Daily Times City releases further details of plans to drive crows away

WDT: Anti Tobacco Zealots Seek to Regulate Convenience Stores

Let's get this straight...The anti-tobacco activists (paid with government money) are lobbying the Legislature for more laws to try and drive down the sale of a product that same Legislators have raised taxes on in order to balance their budget....but since none of these people understand markets, much of the sale of said product has migrated to Indian reservations and the black market as smokers balk at paying ten bucks a pack.
Yet the truly adult venue of a liquor store (21 and over only) is not allowed to sell cigarettes, but drug stores (places of healing) are.
Before the Legislature passes WIGS (wine in grocery stores), they should use these ready made adult-only venues called liquor stores as the sole place to allow sale of cigarettes.
Watertown Daily Times Locals join Albany anti-tobacco event