Saturday, February 26, 2011

What's Wrong With Being a Honky Tonk ?

I am at Pete's watching web cams of people in Skiff's in Alexandria Bay...Is this a great country or what ?....
There are some energetic and innovative promoters in the Bay and they hold the key to the village's future...It was a fun place when I was coming of age....The oldsters in the day called it a 'honky tonk."
So what.
People go places to have fun they don't have at home. There is nothing wrong with providing that atmosphere and certainly nothing wrong with making money off it.
If I hadn't been working today, I would have gone to the Polar Bear Dip.....It's something different to do on a drab late winter day. Let's hope there was no one eating chili not prepared in a NY State approved kitchen....That's a line the Bay need not cross !

Qaddafy Has Crossed the Line One Too Many Times...Is Its Time for Him to Die ?

Remember when Saddam Hussein was being toppled, among the last acts was a rally in a square in Bagdad where the despot whipped up his remaining followers for the benefit of cameras....Well thats kind of what Qaddafy's rally in Tripoli's Green Square looked like yesterday against the backdrop of a country he is less and less in control of.
The Libyan strongman thinks he can restore order through force and everybody will go home and forget about recent events. Qaddafy doesn't realize the skids are greased under him and all the countries, including ours, who restored relations of late are cutting him loose.
Its hard to imagine him fleeing so must he be killed ?....There is no room for a trial, just as one for Hitler would have been a foolish charade.....He played hardball and in the league he is in, losing means death...The sooner the better.
Armed pro-Gadhafi gangs roll in Libyan capital - Yahoo! News

Budget Coming to a Head....But Reform Will Be Difficult

The Governor's Medicaid reform team has reported and its supposed to mean less trips to the ER for the poor who will supposedly be prevented from using hospitals as their first stop for minor health issues...
This Tuesday the Governor's panel on mandate reform reports...That will be interesting, but with today's fuss in Wisconsin, don't expect our state Legislature to touch anything that labor wants untouched...That includes the Wicks Law and the Taylor Law. Any restrictions or revisions to these laws will quickly be cast as eliminating collective bargaining and that will mean the unions will crack the whip...
Once Ron McDougall says 'oh no you don't' even NNY lawmakers tremble.
State of Politics Blog

Polar Bear Dip Brings Back Last Year's Frigid Sensation

The Alex Bay Polar Bear Dip is today and while there will be no motorcycles, the sensation from last year...a precocious girl named Britnee says she will be jumping again this year....sure to create an Internet sensation when later posted by .
These are the kind of fun events that bring people to the sleepy St. Lawrence River village and give the bars and restaurants a much needed mid-winter boost.
We will look for highlights soon. - Alexandria Bay - Alex Bay - Web Site With Attitude !!

Sarah and Todd Palin's 'silent marriage', doctored nude photo and 'tanning bed' skin | Mail Online

Must reading for the left, as a bitter former aide to Sarah Palin writes a tell-all book, which among other things claims she walks around the house in a open bathrobe.
Also, its alleged she and husband Todd have a silent marriage, although when I saw them in Auburn in 2009 they seemed to be talking.
These tell alls, along with the instant read of history books from politicial leaders must keep the printing people in business, but with everybody hawking a book, I am not sure the public is any more literate or informed.
Sarah and Todd Palin's 'silent marriage', doctored nude photo and 'tanning bed' skin Mail Online

WDT: Mercy Chugging Along Despite Dire Future

Things seem to be running smoother at Mercy Health Care on Stone Street, or maybe they are just getting better press...In any event seeing the facility in a better light is refreshing. It also suggests to the more rebellious the shame this large and venerable facility is slated for abandonment when a new nursing home opens (if funded) in 2013.
A major impediment in the whole history of Mercy is the people who own the building never had a political or social constituency for their venture and were seemingly unable to develop one. They were also reviled by state regulators who in the end forced the issue.
One of the issues that led to the abandonment plan was the people with the money and the people who owned the facility were never in sync.
It is good to see levels of care improving at Mercy. As discussions progress on the future of the facility, no scenario should be passed over.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

WDT: Ten Birds Slain in Latest Stab at Moving Pesky Crows

Those who wanted harsher action to scare away the crows got their wish this week as USDA crow chasers killed ten birds in a late winter gasp at getting the pesky birds to move on.
Council members had called for the lethal method of crow dispersal after previous efforts declared a success were not enough.
The theory behind the lethality is that when birds see their comrades fall from the sky, they will deduce the need to move away. Flocks of crows in the tens of thousands light on many upstate cities in the winter seeking warmth.
City Council had voted four to one that it wanted the lethal methods after getting tired of fielding calls from constituents angry over crow waste.
Watertown Daily Times Crows killed to scare off roost

Gay is the New Black in Liberal World of Identity Politics

It has been one of those jobs traditionally held by women, because it involves invitiations, center pieces, menus and color schemes. That of course is a subtle form of gender stereotyping. Now a man has been appointed to the post of White House social secretary, but the Administration and MSM seek to further another stereotype by making a big deal over the first male in the post being openly gay.
Who cares what Jeremy Bernard does in his own social and sex life?
This is a week when President Obama is reaching out to gay activists, with this appointment and with his declaration he will no longer enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.
In the world of identity politics,everything is about being the "first ever (fill in the blank). Must be gay is the new black in touting first evers.
The most pressing challenge for Mr. Bernard is keeping the Salahi's out of White House social functions.
White House social secretary: Jeremy Bernard named social secretary -

Gaddafi? Kadafi? Qaddafi? What's the correct spelling? -

I am not the only one wondering why so many credible news outlets spell the name of the Libyan strongman differently. As was pointed out on the HOTLINE the other day, there is no standard transliteration frm Arabic to English......
You can Google the different spellings and get a different set of stories for each.
Gaddafi? Kadafi? Qaddafi? What's the correct spelling? -

Does Donald Trump Have a Flesh-Pressing Problem?

Pressing the flesh is the most basic party of campaigning....But the Donald doesn't like to shake hands...Considers it barbaric.....So how will he run for President, if he does. Just have to tough it out I guess, and keep some hand sanitizer nearby.
Does Donald Trump Have a Flesh-Pressing Problem? -- Daily Intel

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spitzer ----- Another Woman...Kathleen Parker Let Go at CNN

Eliot Spitzer couldn't make it happen with Kathleen Parker, the respected veteran journalist paired with the former Governor on the ill-fated 'Parker-Spitzer' program on CNN.
She is gone...but the former NY Governor gets to stay on with the flagging crew at CNN.
I think Ms. Parker made a mistake signing up for this assignment. Sometimes things are not as they appear...but sometimes they are...such was the case here.
Kathleen Parker Splits From CNN's 'Parker Spitzer'

Libya: Obama calls Cameron and Sarkozy for possible military intervention plan | Mail Online

The folks on Fleet Street at the Daily Mail are providing what I think is some of the best coverage on the evolving drama in Libya. This is a big story and probably more so than a bunch of Wisconsins worried how much they pay for their health insurance.
Libya: Obama calls Cameron and Sarkozy for possible military intervention plan Mail Online

Gov. Cuomo To Lawmakers On His Budget Plan: You'll Eat It And You'll Like It... Or Else | New York Daily News

Governor Cuomo is taking a page from the Paterson playbook in threatening to send up budget extenders that include the cuts he wants if lawmakers do not agree to his proposed spending plan.
I like the technique as it doesn't let the Legislature off the hook for failure to approve a spending plan. Lawmakers don't dare not vote for the extenders as it would mean their relatives who have state jobs would be laid off....
Governor Cuomo's proposal are not all that radical......The Legislature should approve them.
Gov. Cuomo To Lawmakers On His Budget Plan: You'll Eat It And You'll Like It... Or Else New York Daily News

Gawker: Rep. Lee and the Cross Dressers ?

So that's why.....Rep. Chris Lee's recent resignation seemed a bit harsh for the indescretion of a personal ad and a shirtless photo post on Criagslist.
Now Lee's good friends at Gawker reveal there are trans-gender women claiming to have been in contact with the Congressman.
That would probably be OK in a NYC district....but not in Carl Country.
Gawker — Gossip from Manhattan and the Beltway to Hollywood and the Valley

Protesters Hit By Gunfire as the Regime Strikes Back

Qaddafi, Khaddafy, Gaddafy.....Pick your spelling, but the aging and demonstrably crazy head of Libya is striking back...opening fire on protestors and seeking to gain the upper hand in an oil rich nation seemingly slipping from the grasp of he and his family.
Don't count him out...Killing people has a way of getting the folks in line....However, the bloodshed threatens foreign intervention and it will be tough to bind up the wounds of the past two weeks.
The Libyan strongman looks to be in his death throughs...but he seems inclined to take many with him.
Protesters hit by hail of gunfire in Libya march

WDT: County-PJ Dispute Hard to Figure Out

I have trouble even following this spat between Jefferson County and developer PJ Simao. I know all the players and really don't have an opinion on the merits of either party...I did find out from unofficial Town spokesman Steve Duffany this AM that the town had offered to build a road for PJ in exchange for allowing a town water tower on his property. Apparently the deal fell apart.
Apparently a church owner with nearby property did agree to a road for land swap.
My observation....and I am not an auditor.... is that horse trading type deals between unrelated matters are seldom a good idea in government. It would be like if I had DPW pave my lot in exchange for a sewer easement. The matters should be dealt with separately and with a paper trail. (In my hypothetical, the easement should be paid for and the paving should be done by me through a private contractor.)
As we saw with the flap over a mayor's statements at an obscure Alex Bay village board meeting, anything can go viral these days and there are no quiet, handshake deals.
Strikes me there was a bit of that ad hoc dealmaking that led to current disputes.
Hope my good friend Judge Gilbert can sort it all out in our lifetime.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

WDT: School Mandarins Trek to Albany Next Week

If the Governor is being unfair to small, rural, poor school districts, is more lobbying the answer ? We will find out.
Local administrators make the trek next week to what is called the 'Tin Cup Brigade." That's when local governments go to Albany and ask for more...They usually get it.
Watertown Daily Times School leaders taking case to Albany

National Popular Vote Law is a Scheme to be Avoided

The National Popular Vote legislation being shopped in state legislatures is an end run around the US Constitution in an effort to ensure the national popular vote winner is always elected President. The measure, once adopted in state's adding up to 270 electoral votes, would require the electors in that state be ones who would vote for the national popular vote winner in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Currently a slate of electors for each party is elected and they cast ballots in December for whom they want (usually the party designee). Two states, Maine and Nebraska, long ago opted out of winner take all and select electors by Congressional District.
This indirect election of President and Vice President has been criticized, particularly in 2000 when Al Gore had the greater number of popular votes but lost the Electoral College tally due to the combination of states won by George W. Bush.
Assemblywoman Addie Russell hastily jumped on the band wagon in NY, sponsoring such a bill, although she has since changed her mind and withdrawn her sponsorship.. It sounds very democratic to advocate for this, but it is a clear circumvention of the Constitution and its intent. Those wishing an end to indirect election of the President should seek to amend the US Constitution, and not concoct a scheme where NY electors would be compelled to vote for a candidate who did not win this state.
I understand amending the Constitution would be difficult, since the approval of 38 state legislatures is needed....That's the whole idea...It's not supposed to be easy.
Ms. Russell trlls me she has abandoned this ill-advised bill. Good...there are plenty of other more pressing state issues.
Watertown Daily Times NNY lawmakers wary of popular vote measure

WDT: "Rampant" Drinking Forced Open Container Easing in A Bay

"Rampant" drinking is the reason Alexandria Bay Mayor Terry Robb says is the reason the village board recently loosened the open container ban. Drinking the devil's brew will be allowed on certain streets during select festivals including the much talked about motorcycle rally in June.
In discussing the changes with the WDT, Mayor Robb said he does not want to encourage outdoor drinking, but certain events require a looser approach to the long standing outdoor prohibition. Signage will have to be installed to tell revelers where they can imbibe.
The measure and the debate over it has created record traffic on this blog after the mayor made disparaging remarks about "bad bikers" at the motorcycle rally. Local Alex Bay blogs stoked the fire with calls for the mayor's resignation and claims he was discouraging people from visiting the normally sleepy St. Lawrence River resort.
Watertown Daily Times Alexandria Bay to loosen its open container law

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lish Lady Leads Fashion Parade in Downtown

A local businesswoman is teeming up with one of the area's most talented photographers to bring some style to the local retail scene.
Alicia Reed is owner of Lish, a clothing boutique on Court Street and her latest photo shoot features some excellent work by local photographer April McClintock who has her studio in the Paddock Arcade. These two young ladies are examples of the good things in Downtown Watertown.

TV 7: Ritchie "Not Especially Supportive" of Sales Tax Request

Will Patty kill the golden goose by not supporting home rule legislation that will allow Jefferson County to maintain its 3.75% local sales tax. Seantor Patty Ritchie's home county is still at 3%, but if facing a tighter county budget scenario.
In Jefferson County the sales tax went up .75% in 2005 and under a distribution formula the county, the City of Watertown and all the towns and villages get a piece.
Senator Ritchie says she is not particularly supportive of the home rule law....Sales tax cuts two an alternative to property tax it spreads the burden across all citizens including visitors to the area. Lately, this has allowed the Canadian shopping surge to bring more dollars to local government.
The argument against sales tax is it allows local governments to escape all the "pain" that Albany lawmakers like to talk about.
It's an interesting scenario as the current distribution agreement also has reversion language should the rate drop, so the towns, villages and the city would see their percentage share of the local tax increase leaving the county the one proportionally absorbing the bulk of the decreased revenues.
Of course, it would be argued not renewing the tax is a tax cut for all citizens.
Maybe I let the cat out of the bag by recently discussing sales tax numbers publicly......Something seldom done.
Ritchie "Not Especially Supportive" of Sales Tax Request WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Corwin Says No Shirtless Photos on Facebook for Her Once in Congress

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin looks like the likely successor for former Rep. Chris Lee who resigned recently after a shirtless photo of him appeared on Facebook.
Ms. Corwin joked that if elected she will not appear on Facebook and seems an upstanding credible choice for the GOP. Governor Cuomo controls the timing of the special election, so he will delay it until a viable Dem surfaces.
Assemblywoman Corwin is heir to the talking phonebook fortune, which her family developed and later sold. She says she spent 36 years in the private sector before getting into the Assembly a couple years ago.
State of Politics Blog

Poll: New Yorkers Favor Merit Over Seniority

A shocking 85% of New Yorkers favor an end to "last in, first out" when it comes to teachers....A new Quinnipiac Poll shows six of seven New Yorkers favor merit over seniority. Of course that's one of those surveys that edges folks towards the conclusion. Who's going to vote against "merit" when it comes to teaching their children ?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been asking for the right to use merit in deciding which teachers will be let go due to budget cuts, but the current system protects those with time in the job.
Polls aside, I can't imagine the Legislature approving such a clearly anti-labor measure.
Quinnipiac University

WDT: Woolworth Owner Changes Course

The owner of the Woolworth Bulding in downtown Watertown has told the WDT he is not going ahead with plans for a hotel at the site, but instead will pursue renovation into apartments.
Difficulty in putting together the finances for a hotel is the reason. There are several hotel projects already afoot and even with state money pledged to the Woolworth Building, the economics did not pan out.
The Woolworth Building is now vacant, but is a cornerstone to the city's downtown and making it viable has been a priority for City Council. We have been quietly urging the developer to come up with a Plan B, as time is ticking on the state money.
Watertown Daily Times Owner alters strategy for site

No More Defense of Marriage As We Know It

It was President Clinton who signed it 15 years ago but its the Obama Administration that unilaterally ended the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The Justice Department has decided the law is unconstitutional.....All of a sudden, after all these years.
In 2008, Barack Obama said marriage was between a man and a woman...must be gay marriage is polling better and the President feels he has enough cover to take the new stance in advance of his 2012 reelection.
Breaking: President Obama Orders DOJ To Stop Defending The Defense Of Marriage Act - UPDATED New York Daily News

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gov. Cuomo: My Religion Is My Business | New York Daily News

Governor Cuomo says his religion is his own business, and that's a firm rebuff to a Vatican advisor who opined this week the Governor should be denied Communion due to his living arrangements and his support for abortion rights and gay marriage.
I don't think the Governor owes anyone an explanation...There's a lot of people who take Communion who do all sorts of bad things......If he is wrong in taking the sacrament, it will get sorted out in the end.
Gov. Cuomo: My Religion Is My Business New York Daily News

Hey Cathy, How's That Weather Search Coming ?

The weather is slowly edging towards what's up with a permanent replacement for Rick DeFranco ?....The Lucky 7 advertised for someone after Rick followed his heart to Big Sky Country. His commercials still linger and weekend weatherman John Kubis is doing the duties...even some commercials.
Wonder if anybody applied...Its a good place to work and a great town if you have made peace with the onward and upward sentiments we all have just out of college.
I thought a couple of the YNN weather people would be good...Carrie Cheevers or Vanessa Richards....There are lots of others right out of school...but this is not an entry level job...
Wonder if Cathy will give me a jingle and let me know what's up so I can let you all know ?
Maybe they will stick with Kubis. You see the weatherman is the closest thing we have to a celebrity in Watertown, so inquiring minds want to know !

WDT: Koch to Rally for Reform

If I weren't busy Tuesday, I would go to Albany to rally with Ed Koch for redistricting reform...Love going to those type of events, and Hizzoner did call the HOTLINE last fall.
So far no NNY lawmakers have signed on to the bill.This isn't something you embrace without the OK from leadership and the calculus will be made who wins and loses in the bill....I suspect Senate Republicans are not going to like shrinking the standard variation for population from 5% to 1 %.....That could cost upstate a seat.
Still, I have enormous respect for Mayor Koch getting so involved in the reform agenda. I read his book for those of you who only think I read Palin prose.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

BBC News - Libya unrest pushes Brent oil price to $110 a barrel

As reports surface that the failing regime in Libya may sabotage oil fields, the price of crude is up and some are saying it could reach $200 barrel, meaning $5 per gallon gas...maybe even higher.
It will be nice to see Qaddafi deposed, but not at the expense of driving my four wheel drive guzzler !
BBC News - Libya unrest pushes Brent oil price to $110 a barrel

New Senate Map Has Another Variable.

Footnote to Senate redistricting. As we recall from a couple years ago the number of Senators can be changed...It went from 61 to 62 when Sen. Bruno wanted an extra GOP seat.
There will be a move afoot I hear to go back to an odd number of Senators to break ties...(since party members cannot think independently)
It would be hard to expand the body to 63, so there may be an effort to get it back to 61, something the current thin GOP majority may oppose.

Vatican:Unmarried Gov. Cuomo is guilty of sacrilege and should be denied Communion

A top Vatican advisor says our Governor should be denied Communion due to his views on abortion and same sex marriage, along with his cohabitation with Sandra Lee, the Food Network star who is the Governor's girlfriend.
Old school thought says in the Catholic Church, you pass on the sacraments if you haven't been playing by the rules...For instance, we need to know how long since he has gone to confession....
The issue came up after the Governor took Communion following his recent inauguration.
Unmarried Gov. Cuomo is guilty of sacrilege and should be denied Communion, Vatican adviser says

WDT: Salt dispute to cost county $381,827

If there were competitive elections at the local level, this salt contract would be a great issue....Lots of great rhetoric you can use about pounding salt, or rubbing salt in the wound and maybe even some salty language about county lawmakers.
Watertown Daily Times Salt dispute to cost county $381,827

WDT: Comptroller to Join Politics of Treasurer Race in Jefferson County

The NYS Comptroller is considering an audit of Jefferson County finances after Treasurer Nancy Brown turned a resignation speech into a littany of complaints about the county's fiscal practices. Mrs Brown also tells the WDT she will not be leaving office until Governor Cuomo appoints someone to fill out her term, creating uncertainty about who will be running for the office in the fall.
It will be tough for a Republican candidate to get traction in a climate where the GOP led Legislature and administration is under a cloud over allegations of no-bid purchases.
Meanwhile Republicans are asking why the Treasurer never spoke out till now...That's a good question.
The Treasurer's job has been viewed as that of chief bookkeeper for too long. It is a constitutional office with oversight responsibilities, especially in a system where the county administration is not elected and the Legislature races are seldom contested.
There is an opportunity for someone with the right political and business skill set to tackle a run for Treasurer...But really, someone with those skills likely has a job and is trying to raise a family. Such a person would quickly conclude a run for this office is too risky......
The Governor's appointee....which is being kept secret by prominent Irishman and Dem Chair Sean Hennesey.....will be put in at a time of the party's choosing and it's doubtful the GOP will be nimble enough to offer an alternative.
Watertown Daily Times Comptroller's office considers audit of county

WDT: Let the Drawing Begin....But According to What Rules ?

There are few things more 'inside baseball' than the dark art of redistricting legislative boundaries. It would seem simple. Take the number of the people in the state and divde by 62 (the number of Senators) and that's how many people are in each district.
But the parties tweek the system to gain an edge. Democrats passed a law to count prison inmates not where they lived on Census Day....but where they lived then they got busted. Republicans have used a plus or minus 5% guildeline to create more districts with fewer people each across upstate, so they can sustain a majority in a state stacked against them.
Proposed redistricting guidelines would cut that slop factor to 1% and across 62 seats that could move one or two seats into more Democratic areas.
Redistricting is supposed to (in the minds of the insiders) take the same mass of people, rearrange the lines and get a different result more favorable to whomever has control of the process.
Sometimes this gerrymandering produces laughable looking maps on the map like the "barbell" district connecting urban Rochester and Buffalo by a thin strand of land along Lake Ontario.
When you add party politics to incumbent protection and sprinkle some identity group politics, redistricting gets pretty complicated. This year will be no exception.
Watertown Daily Times District changes could be huge

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Muammar el-Qaddafi Cracks Down in Frightening Reign of Terror in the Capital

No Facebook Revolution here with a sympathetic military looking to easy the despot from power....This is hardball as Libyan strongman Muammar el-Qaddafi is hunting down foes and killing them...leaving the populace frightened and likely less willing to join a rebel surge that has left many Libyan cities and towns outside Tripoli's grip.
Qaddafi says he will fight to the last drop of blood and went on TV Tuesday to whip up the faithful...They responded with fervor...Meanwhile foreigners are fleeing and oil production has slowed.
If only Katie Couric would visit Tripoli to fill us in.
Muammar el-Qaddafi

7 News Special Report: "The Pension Mess"

Whether its a mess is open to debate, but the state retirement system is surely imposing an escalating burden on those funding it....All this after years of skating along, the Day of Reckoning is here as TV7 reports this week.
7 News Special Report: "The Pension Mess" WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Tom Golisano: Reform The Electoral College

Former Rochester businessman and three time gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano has a new pet project....He has brought together his old cronies Steve Pigeon and my old friend Laureen Oliver to lobby for elimination of the winner take all Electoral College system of electing Presidents of the United States.
Golisano announced his project today.....I remember Laureen from the early days of the Independence Party.
Tom Golisano: Reform The Electoral College New York Daily News

Harry Reid: Time for My State to Outlaw Cat Houses

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he wants his state to end legalized prostitution in Nevada's rural counties. Senator Reid says the brothels are an impediment to economic development because families coming to the state will see signs for the 'Shady Lady Ranch' and other cat houses from their car windows.
If he is worried about vice, Senator Reid may have to have an "adult conservation" as he calls it on other alcohol and gambling, which likely cause more grief for families than the regulated brothels.
Of course we know there is no prostitution in our Nation's Capital.....But they do have some hot looking lobbyists...Just ask a certain ex Congressman from Buffalo.
Harry Reid: 'The time has come for us to outlaw prostitution' - Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 9:45 a.m. - Las Vegas Sun

Vogue Sees Sandra Lee In Martha Washington’s Kitchen

It's actually good that Sandra Lee is technically not the First Lady by virtue of marriage....As the -semi First Lady (as Liz calls her) she doesn't have to answer to anyone except the fashion world who love her love of white clothing.
Ms. Lee knows how to pose and provides the political MSM an interesting diversion.
Vogue Sees Sandra Lee In Martha Washington’s Kitchen (Updated)

Unions Don't Exist to Give Things Away...Sooner Realized the Better

With key labor agreements due for renewal on April 1st, the CSEA and PEF are said to be antsy about the Governor's threat to achieve cost cutting or lay off up to 9800 state workers.
Unions are there to bargain for wages and benefits for workers...not bargaining them away....The unions can be reasonable but would be foolish to abandon their core mission. If the employer (in this case the State of NY) cannot afford or does not want to afford current staffing levels then the management decision is the same as in any business. You cut the number of workers and if needed cut the number of functions to be performed.
That is the Governor's job...A one year beating up of union benefits only kicks the can down the road.
Right sizing the work force and tougher negotiations in the future are needed.
It's naive to think union members are going to stand there while their gains are bargained away in exchange for promises to keep people working who may or may not be needed.
Open seats at the table - Times Union

Most Think Phony Sick Calls Wrong....But Many Say Its OK

I guess it's encouraging to see seven of ten readers here think it's morally wrong to call in sick when you are not...Of course the readership here is likely more old school, and more conservative than the populace as a whole.
To the one third who think its OK....Shame on you.

WDT: Superintendent Punts on Budget Changes

It was hard to read this story without wondering, 'what are these people thinking?' Now I don't want to pile on volunteer school board members like those in the General Brown District, but it disturbs me a superintendent...especially one of the highest compensated in the region, wants to hire a consultant to tell the District how to deal with changes in state and federal aid.
The whole justification for a superintendent every five miles is they have the knowledge, insight and management saavy to preside over a school system. It seems when the going gets tough, the superintendent wants to punt and essentially is saying 'don't look to me to decide anything.'
This story should have included a summary of the superintendent salary and benefit package, so parents and taxpayers could judge this proposal in a proper context.
Watertown Daily Times Budget worries General Brown

Qaddafi’s Grip Falters as His Forces Take On Protesters -

Before offering an observation on the Libya situation I note New York Times is spelling the Libyan strongman's name with a "Q" while many other media spell it with a "G". As is Gaddafi vs Qaddafi. So which is it ? It's a minor point, but it is confusing for those of us brought up to worry about spelling someone's name right.
No matter how you spell it, Muommar seems to be watching his forty year old regime slip away, but we see little...Perhaps its a lack of Five Star hotels in Tripoli, but the celebrity anchors who descended on Cairo for the much celebrated, Facebook Revolution are absent from the more foreboding nation next door.
Given the high profile of Qaddafi over the years...his frequent dust ups with the US....his role in the Lockerbie tragedy...and his role in Arab politics, the Libyan upheaval is of great interest.
It looks like the Colonel who certainly wasn't blessed with good looks will take many people with him as his regime falls. Those willing to take him on are brave people indeed, as Qaddafi is about as close to evil as you get this side of the River Styx.
Qaddafi’s Grip Falters as His Forces Take On Protesters -

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cuomo Digs In And He Needs To Against Barron and Company

NYC Councilman and Freedom Party Gubernatorial candidate Charles Barron was heckling Governor Cuomo yesterday...."Tax the Rich" and "Stop the Cuts" he ranted.
Mr. Barron is well positioned to advocate the status quo, although he best watch himself on definining what is rich...As a City Councilman he is paid six figures and his wife is a Member of the Assembly.
These are the kind of people Andrew Cuomo needs to stand up to. They are spenders who have made careers off the politics of reparations and victimhood.
Cuomo Digs In

WDT: Andy's Food Police Swarm Morristown Chili Festival

This is how it all started in Tripoli....the people got tired of pointy head bureacurats and regulators upsetting their goat stew festival....
A normally docile populace seemed to get a little testy towards big government as health inspectors swarmed a chili festival on a Sunday afternoon.
Watertown Daily Times Inspectors swarm Morristown Chili Cook-Off

Libya protests: Gaddafi flees Tripoli as parliament building set alight | Mail Online

Things don't look so good for Col. Muammar Gaddafi even though his thuggish son is pledging to fight to the last bullet and eradicate foes.....Meanwhile Libya is aflame and the country's strong man is said to have fled Tripoli while entire swaths of the country our in rebel hands.
Few on this side of the pond are losing sleep over Gaddafi's woes.
Libya protests: Gaddafi flees Tripoli as parliament building set alight Mail Online

Defense leaders fear fear military-civilian 'disconnect'

This story caught my eye as I was chatting last night with an E-5 who has just left the Army very disillusioned with US foreign policy he says no one back home seems particularly interested in in...Particularly the effects of repeated deployments on retention and the clear disconnect between much of American culture with the culture of military sservice.
Depute the rah-rah about fighting them over there instead of here, I wonder how many really feel any sense of ownership with the endless war in Afghanistan.
Defense leaders fear fear military-civilian 'disconnect' - Philip Ewing -

Dicker: Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos Sabotaging Cuomo's Spending Cuts

For all the talk of "radical" change NY budgeting, the status quo Legislature is watering down Governor Cuomo's efforts to bring even modest cuts in spending.
Dicker reports GOP Senate Leader Dean Skelos is paying lip service to cutting spending as he is "jelly spined" in his fear school aid cuts on Long Island and Upstate prison closures will cost him his narrow majority next year. While there are those who want to see significant changes, the political mantra in NY still rests with spending, spending and more spending.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Silver is so marinated in the broth of the United Federation of Teachers and other left wing groups that want to keep spending through enactment of tax the rich proposals the Governor opposes.
There will be no April 1st budget and the Wisconsin model reassures the spenders that there will be national support in the form of the White House and DNC for their actions.
Insiders: Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos sabotaging Gov. Cuomo's spending cuts -

WDT:Another Village in the Cross Hairs

If you read between the lines on these dissolution stories in places like Mannsville and Herrings you can see a couple of things. One is government closest to the people can govern pretty economically, and the issue of dissolution is becoming a full employment program for consultants and facilitators.
There are oh so many taxing jurisdictions in the state but going after tiny villages because they are easy to get rid of of, may in some cases make sense but by no means addresses cost of local government.
The exploding costs do not come in these villages like Mannsville where the local electeds have to answer to their next door neighbors.
Some villages may disappear, especially if they do not provide a nexus for community identity for the people living their. However, the push to nudge villages into the dust bin is not the panacea some believe, as the large growth is in counties and school districts.
A much broader approach to reforming the structure of government is needed than just picking off the low hanging fruit of tiny villages.
Watertown Daily Times Village eyes dissolution

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hard Workin', God Fearin' Folk from Heuvelton Are OK By Me

After a week of screening, I am confident we have found the right person for daytime bartending at Fort Pearl. I know it's the case because she is a Heuvelton native who knows Patty Ritchie, now a Senator and rescuer of chili festivals.
While interviewing the young lady she said she originally came from Patty Country and went to school with one of the Senator's children.
She liked the Senator and I quickly concluded any protege of Patty is OK for me.
We will be introducing her on the Fort Pearl blog as soon as she has completed a couple days of training with Diana.

Trevor....Great Race But This Bud's Not for You

Twenty year old Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 today....he is 364 days away from being able to celebrate as an adult...although I am sure if he wants a beer, he will get one. While alcohol is not the be all and end all of life, there are so many adults denied this social custom and forced to do it in secret. Whenever I talk to a 19 year old GI back from Afghanistan or a person supporting themselves and already raising a family, or someone away from home at college...I think its time to set the age of majority at 18 for everything.

Drug Store Robbed

Who would think there would be a drug store robbed at 10 on Sunday morning ?
That's what happened at Seaway Plaza, where a man is said to have handed a note to Kinnie's staffers demanding drugs.
Police are investigating.

Tenth Mountain Wounded Vet Jeered at Columbia University

When you look at the rhetoric in Madison or this story about Columbia students jeering a 10th Mountain war hero, you wonder whether the Left listens to their President's calls for civility in public discourse.
Anthony Maschek spent two years at Walter Reed after being shot up in Afghanistan and while speaking up about ROTC on college campuses, he was shouted down by Columbia University students who claim the program preys on low income students.
Can't we have just a basic level of courtesy for someone in a wheelchair ?
Wounded Iraq veteran jeered for speaking in Columbia University ROTC debate -

WDT: School Scores Not Fault of District Leaders

OK, the NYS Education Department sets the standards...NYS Ed is run by educators...And so when local districts fall short meeting criteria, can't someone just step up and say we owe it to the the taxpayers and to the children to do better ?
Instead the quotes are all about excuses...all about how the state changed the standards...
Hey, we all play by the rules set and when I looked at the tables of results the other day, the substandard graduation rates in Watertown stood out. They weren't my numbers or my goals or conclusions...
I would be getting ahead of this curve...hold a press conference...go on a talk show...explain all this and what you are doing about it.
To all the superintendents...these are your numbers....your peers came up with the methodology. No excuses please.
Watertown Daily Times More schools fail to meet standards

WDT: City's $13,165,565 Fund Balance Being Debated

This is what public policy debate is all about. Bringing up an issue like fund balance accumulation and using various vehicles to articulate it are what I enjoy about politics. It's not personal or vitriolic...just a healthy debate about your money. Today's WDT story is another opportunity to focus on not just how we spend your money but also to explain the process of funding local government.
The broad brush bromides about "pain" and cutting don't always tell the full story as the means of funding governments differs from place to place.
In times when the debate is framed by rhetorical food fights like what is happening in Madison, it's good to remember the late Paul Harvey's kicker phrase...'and now the rest of the story.'
Watertown Daily Times City holding $13,165,565 balance

Newzjunky - 9/11 Firefighter to Open 'Philly's Finest' Cheesesteak Restaurant

A Philadelphia retired smokeeater is finding downtown Watertown an inviting place as he plans to realize a dream an open an authentic Philly cheese streak restaurant. Congrats to Christopher Russell for his endeavor on Court Street where a Japanese eaterie is also being readied.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Russell recently at a Hospice fundraiser and he is thrilled at his new business venture and we welcome those who come to Watertown and see it as an opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Newzjunky - 9/11 Firefighter to Open 'Philly's Finest' Cheesesteak Restaurant