Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stuff

   Today is Day One of the Treasurer Watch....With Jefferson County bean counter Nancy Brown retired, we wait to see who the Governor puts in the office....Whoever it is will likely run unopposed as the GOP concedes it has no one seeking to be the county's fiscal watchdog.
    Another political night at Pete's this Wednesday as City Judge hopeful Eugene Renzi holds a soire....Its widely thought a former Miss NY will be among the attendees.
    Don't forget school budget votes on Tuesday from noon to nine....School Boards are also elected that day.
     Two City Council meetings this week...Regular one on Monday and a budget meeting on Tuesday at 6PM

"Volunteer" Who Alleges Davis Hit Him Is Corwin's Assembly Chief of Staff

Republicans could actually lose a special election for Congress in western NY....a race they were expected to win easily with Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, an attractive and wealthy candidate.....
Her opponent was Erie County Clerk Kathleen Hochul.....
Then third party candidate and millionaire Jack Davis got in and what looks to be a concocted confrontation with a Corwin staffer has left the GOP candidate off message and hiding her chief of staff from reporters. Corwin's problems explaining the GOP Medicare plan has created an opening for Democrats who never expected to take the long Republican seat vacated by philanderer Rep. Lee.
The Buffalo News is endorsing Ms. Hochul and with tons of money pouring in and Mr. Davis scoring in the 20s in polling, this race is up for grabs.
Special elections often become proxy wars with national scope as the operatives and the money needs somewhere to go in the off season.
"Volunteer" Who Alleges Davis Hit Him Is Corwin's Assembly Chief of Staff wgrz.com

An Institution Turns 100 on Mill Street

Watertown's past is both rich and storied and a big part of that is the Northside Improvement League which celebrates its centennial with a dinner tonight.....As the League has aged there has been doubt it would reach 100, but a new group headed by President Joe Parker and his wife Brenda are trying to breathe life into what has been a social, civic and political powerhouse for decades.
When I first ran for Mayor, the Friday night meetings were essential, and having key Northsiders like Bruce Dempster, the Bajjalys, or Tom Loftus on your side was the difference between defeat and victory...
In my first primary against Amy Saiff and Jim Brett it was huge Northside margins that carried me.
The dinners, the dances, the pool in the back room, the youth sports, and the political advocacy all mattered....It was the League that originally stood for adequate bridges bridges between what till 1869 was the Villages of Watertown and North Watertown. There was also the Village of Juhleville, where I live now.
Civic and fraternal clubs are not as prominent as they once were, but the Leagues location and ample building offer the opportunity for a renewal.
Congratulations to the League on 100 years...With many more to come.
You Haven't Lived in Watertown

TV 7: Baker Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $790K From Knowlton Technologies

This is from the "if it seems to good to be true, it is" category. A purchasing agent at Knowlton Technologies admitted to stealing nearly $800K from the firm by submitting fake invoices from a paper company for good and services never received.
The fellow involved was a hail fellow, well met type....active in local clubs and always willing to buy you a drink...or so I am told...
Its never easy to say if someone is living beyond their means...or if so, why and how....
We see so many of these type of crimes, especially in so called not-for-profits. Maybe it should have been caught by some kind of check and balance, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday business, things get overlooked and what seems obvious now was not so obvious before. Lingering suspicions become "I should have knowns."
Anyway, it appears the money was spent locally.....Some would call that "stimulus."
Baker Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $790K From Knowlton Technologies WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Concert Looks Like a Go on July 1st

      Despite the fiscal demise of the Syracuse Symphony, musicians from the SSO look like they will be performing July 1st in Thompson Park. The annual concert draws large crowds and Watertown activists led by former Mayor Tom Walker are salvaging the popular event.
     Contributions towards the event are being collected by the NNY Community Foundation at 120 Washington Street, Watertown NY 13601

Governor Seeks Your SAGE Advice

Governor Cuomo's Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (SAGE) is in place and asking for public suggestions for improving the delivery of government.
The SAGE Commission is supposed to propose the elimination of 20% of state created entities...The various authorities and commissions that serve as backwaters and niches to deal with single issues and employ people who need jobs, or at least need a paycheck..
I had a nice chat with Tug Hill Commission director John Bartow who is fighting to survive the SAGE process after getting a Legislative reprieve. Mr. Bartow believes the Commission does good work and that efforts to eliminate fail to address the many other less valuable agencies the Governor has so far shown no interest in getting rid of.
I agree there are a lot of fiefdoms tucked away in NY's world of unelected, unaccountable agencies....
Tug Hill is certainly not the most egregious of these but still will have to survive a process in which they begin with a target pinned to them.
I still believe such agencies are "inside baseball" and the public routinely views them all with a jaundiced eye. Few people know what they are or what they do.
SAGE Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Friday, May 13, 2011

Woman Gains Right to Do Eye for an Eye Transaction

Here's a little of that old school Islamic justice one can relate to...Some jerk doused a woman's face in acid and blinded her....She didn't roll over and now has won a court's permission in Iran to inject acid into the eyes of her attacker...It was slated to come down today....
That kind of justice would make some of these wife beaters who populate our police blotter think twice.
Eye for an eye: Woman blinded by scorned lover is given permission to throw acid into his eyes by Iran court Mail Online

Is Condi the Palin of 2012 ?

Former Secretary of State Condi Rice is being mentioned as a running mate for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels who is looking for and more like a candidate. With most concluding that Mike Huckabee takes a pass to stay on FOX and Mitt Romney struggling with the MA health plan, the Midwest Governor looks like a viable choice.
As for Ms. Rice, she would have been a good choice in 2008 but was too tied to the Bush Administration.
Actually she would be a good choice for the top of the ticket too, but it seems there is still a reluctance in some quarters to consider a woman...hence Hillary's problems in '08.
Ms. Rice would pose a problem for the MSM who like to play the race card and don't like the notion of a black Republican.
Secretary Rice is always well spoken and knows foreign policy better than the community organizer we have now.
RealClearPolitics - Getting to Yes for Mitch and Cheri Daniels

Birthday Without Blogging (Not By Choice)

   Had a pretty good birthday yesterday, even though my blogging capabilities were hampered by the Google woes.
     Nice surprise at Pete's when a school board candidate called over and bought dinner and everybody sang happy birthday....
      Cake at City Hall and a visit to Fort Pearl from a Congressional hopeful along with numerous Facebook well wishes made for a great day.
     Thank you one and all.

The News Never Stops In NY-26 | New York Daily News

Use to be special elections were quiet affairs with the dominant party holding its seat...Now they are national circuses and in the case of NY 26 in Western NY , its a three ring circus with a third party millionaire candidate tripping up the attractive millionaire GOP woman's once thought certain grip on the seat...
Now the Patty Ritchie of Buffalo....Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul, is thought to have a chance to win against Assemblywoman Jane Corwin and Tea Party canidate Jack Davis, who this week had a dust up with a news photographer.
The money is flowing and Buffalo TV is abuzz with ads...Rochester too as the district stretches that way too.
For the politically inclined among us, these races are great entertainment....
The News Never Stops In NY-26 New York Daily News

Latest Leak: Osama Had "Porn"

All that fuss about Islamic sensitivities after the killing of Osama bin Laden....the bathing of the body...the white shroud...the Islamic funeral at sea....and then we leak a story about "porn" being found at his house...
But it's all about keeping the matter in the public eye and this drip, drip , drip of tid bits of the raid is all about doing just that...
XXX porn stash among evidence seized by Navy SEALs in raid at Osama Bin Laden compound

Aubertine Back in NNY for Some Politicking for His Boss

     Former Senator and current Ag Commissioner Darrel Aubertine was the designated talker today at JCC as Governor Cuomo's "People First" campaign came north....
     The message is clear...Pass the tax cap, marriage equality and ethics reform.....or else face the wrath of voters...
    Now I am not sure voters are as ginned up over these issues...
     Many local government and school officials oppose the cap....gay marriage is always controversial and ethics reform is tough to grasp since we all think Albany is crooked no matter what...
    The Governor has created a simple three piece agenda he can market in order to build on his widely praised budget.
    Tougher issues for the Governor loom ahead as his commission on efficiency and efforts to achieve mandate relief face an uphill battle.
     The tax cap may provide the impetus for mandate relief...Let's hope so.
      There is some irony in Mr. Aubertine's visit in that he now has to advocate for gay marriage even though he has publicly opposed it before.

Blogger is Back and So Are We !

    We are back !......

     After a two day malfunction, Google's Blogger system is apparently up and running.  When you are used to musing in print round the clock, a little technical difficulty prompts some serious withdrawal.
      I will get back to work this afternoon and am sorry some of our stories and your comments got lost in the shuffle.
     

Thursday, May 12, 2011

WDT: Flower Fountains Ailing Again

We are not getting rid of the fountains in favor of flowers....Part of having heritage is preserving it, not knocking it down when it breaks....The Flower Library is the jewel of the City and the fountains are part of it....
Had some cake at City Hall today for my birthday...I skipped my morning granola bar at Brew Ha Ha to make up for it. Thanks to staff for the recognition......Everybody asked if I had plans for this evening...I think I will go out to dinner....Maybe at Pete's
While I was at the office I heard the DEC fined the City $100 for moving some dirt....Good grief....
Watertown Daily Times Library fountain repairs weighed

Local Top Cops Put the Arm on Dunk and Company Over Noisy Bikes

   There goes all the fun in life as the fight against noise reaches local garages doing motorcycle inspections.
   Sheriff Burns and Chief Goss have penned  a letter to local inspection stations threatening to report them to DMV if they slap a sticker on a bike accused of being too noisy...A reader wrote me claiming local shops including Iron Block are no longer inspecting motorcycles without stock exhaust systems.
    This is an alternative method to fight the tendency of younger and some middle aged males to revel in the loud and throaty sound of an altered exhaust.
    Now this is a threat and an imposition on small business.....The flip side is the law says you need an adequate exhaust and many oldsters are being startled by noisy bikes.....
    I don't have a bike anymore, but with the statute of limitation now passed, I will confess I altered my exhaust by knocking out the baffles in the pipe...I now confess my sins and ask the Sheriff and the Chief for forgiveness.....
    

Orange County Fights the Subtle Bigotry Against Lifeguards

Is it an outrage that lifeguards at Southern California beaches make six figure incomes ? How is their job any less important than a policeman, a teacher, or hospital administrator ? Certain occupations are always relegated to lower pay scales....Its a form of discrimination against toned and tanned young men and women willing to run into a teeming ocean to save lives.
Why shouldn't a lifeguard at a pool make the same as a firefighter ? I mean if you are drowning, wouldn't you want a lifeguard more than a school superintendent ?
Lifeguarding in OC is totally lucrative; some make over $200k - Orange Punch - The Orange County Register

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Council: No Lower Taxes....But No Higher Either

    A majority of City Council recoiled at the notion of reducing the property tax levy, instead preferring to keep the rate static in view of pending escalations in retirement costs....
   A proposal by City Councilwoman Roxanne Burns and I to reduce the levy by 5% was rejected, but there was some acceptance of my proposal to pay for the Zoo aviary renovations out of current year dollars rather than bond for it.
   Lawmakers reviewed budget items and other issues with the Big Three department heads from police, fire and public works.
    Council accepted an offer from Library Board President Maxine Quigg to appear before Council on Tuesday to lobby for a seven day a week library.
    Council next meets Monday for its regular meeting.

Nerf Pistol Seized At Case Middle School

   I noticed the Watertown School District is putting out press releaes on gun related incidents in the wake of the kerfuffle over a BB gun resulting in suspension of a student at Wiley Middle School....
   Today's release mentions one student with a "nerf" pistol toy...A full scale probe is underway...Good grief !
    The need is felt for lots of transparency and that is fine, but the public and media will lose interest after a couple of these announcements....
    Rules are rules and toy guns don't need to be there, and at some point the Superintendent's best judgement has to be acceptable..Publishing the names of the parents would help too...
    It might be interesting to have a tick-tock every day of people hauled down to the office for discipline.....I suspect the appetite would diminish when the kids of news barons did something boneheaded.
  
  

Blog Readers Favor Same Sex Marriage...

   While the readership of this blog along with myself is accused by some of being knuckle dragging, tea partying, right wing kooks, our survey on same sex marriage surprisingly (to some, not me) shows 65% support.
    I attribute this not to a proponderance of progressives, but a sort of live and let live libertarianism among readers.
      Same sex marriage will eventually be approved in NY State, mostly because people's attitude and tolerance for different things has changed.
     It's surely not everyone's number one issue, but most people I talk to are ambivalent. Which is to say, they are comfortable with it passing.

County Opts for Weighted Voting

In a tip of the hat to the "good old days" the Schenectady County Legislature has opted not to redistrict as a result of the census but will instead use weighted voting to compensate for differing populations between districts. This but results from the many towns in New York counties. Redistricting guildelines resulting from court decisions dictate only those entities larger than an average district can be split between districts. It becomes hard to make the map pieces fit together.
In Jefferson County, only the City of Watertown and the Town of Leray can be split. This has resulted in slivvers of LeRay being attached to multiple districts just to even up the population. Since much of LeRay is Fort Drum and people living there show no interest in local affairs, the new Census will result in two districts with virtually no voters.
Given the constraints of town boundaries, the only way to equalize districts is to change the number of seats up or down...Reducing puts lawmakers out of a job and increasing raises the cost of the body....
So Schenectady County opted to apply weights to its current districts. Will Jefferson County do the same ? I doubt it as it is easy to keep using LeRay and all its non-voters as equalizers.
This is all a result of the one man-one vote concept that attempts to ensure all people receive equal representation.
Weighted voting passed - Times Union

Osama Bin Laden's son Omar slams Al Qaeda leader's death as criminal and may sue US | Mail Online

Osama bin Laden's son Omar says he may sue the US over the killing of his dad......Omar says the commando raid that resulted in the death of bin Laden was a "criminal" act.
In what court does he sue ?
Omar lives a good life and is married to a British woman . He should enjoy life and the money he has. This Father's Day, he should forget about dad.
Osama Bin Laden's son Omar slams Al Qaeda leader's death as criminal and may sue US Mail Online

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Keep the Guns and the Hookers Away from Our Schools

Its so bad in the Bronx, a law is proposed to impose stiffer penalties for prostitutes operating within 1000 feet of a school....Is it really that bad, or is Senator Ruben Diaz just grandstanding again ?....He was one of the Gang of Four involved in the "coup".
These guys got too much time on their hands...
State of Politics Blog

Council Learns of Denial for Home Rule Request.

     I explained to City Council tonight why Senator Patty Ritchie would not sponsor a relatively innocuous home rule bill to allow the City Council to set death certificate fees at levels up to what the State already charges....
    The Senator declined to sponsor the bill as Democrats are salivating at being able to link her name to a list of taxes and fees...Even though the fee would have been voted in by City Council.
    Ms. Ritchie is being roughed up by Dems for her support of continuing the local sales tax at 7.75%......Again, its a tax voted by locals but requires consent of the Legislature in Albany....
    Two years ago, Congressional hopeful Diedre Scozzafava discovered all those inoccuous home rule requests were suddenly branded as "voted for new taxes" votes blamed on her....
    Ms. Ritchie doesn't want to leave herself open to the same charge....
     I don't blame her.

Indians win delay in collection of cigarette tax - Courts - The Buffalo News

You need a scorecard to keep track of the Indians-cigarette tax saga....A judge has restrained the State of NY from collecting taxes on sales to non-Indians....but I suspect the gig may be up as the State will lean hard on the source of major brand cigarettes, making it impossible for the Indian smoke shops to get inventory....
The Tribes certainly have their share of lawyers in tow...
I am hoping they block the Thruway again so we can see how fast Albany backs down.
Indians win delay in collection of cigarette tax - Courts - The Buffalo News

Cuomo: "Pass The Bills - Or Don't Come Home" | New York Daily News

Lets see....Tax Cap...Ethics Reform and oh yes, Gay Marriage....Those are the Governor's priorities as he launched a "people's tour" in Syracuse.....
Mr. Cuomo is not the ubiquitous TV presence some national politicians are, so when he comes out to speak there is hightened attention....
The Governor is leaning on the Legislature to get his agenda done and Mr. Cuomo had a few words with Senate Republicans whom he accused of engaging in Albany Speak.
I still say before this is all over, you will be surprised at who votes for what.....Speaker Silver will be forced to accept a tax cap and some GOP Senators will be voting for marriage equality.....
Cuomo: "Pass The Bills - Or Don't Come Home" New York Daily News

IDC Says Same-sex Marriage Could Boost Economy By Nearly $400M

Here's a new argument for same sex marriage....It's an economic development tool ! Albany lawmakers are touting what they say is nearly $400M in economic activity related to opening up the institution of marriage....
Yes, we would have more marriages at City Hall...More fees, more photos...Then there's the honeymoon packages at Bonnie Castle, and a whole new career field as a gay wedding planner.
Of course, if you think its blasphemy, the economic development argument doesn't hold water......But for a job hungry state, any whiff of hope will find an audience.
IDC Says Same-sex Marriage Could Boost Economy By Nearly $400M

Election News: School Board Contest and an Old Face Making a Comeback ?

School Board seats are not that sought after and the public shows little interest in the elections which are tucked away on a Tuesday in May, long away from the usual election day in November.
This year's City School Board election features three candidates running for two seats. While a recent gun incident at Wiley School has peaked interest in district activities, the real issues are budgetary.
Candidate Liz Slack-Joles told me she is focused on padded administration including a six figure principal at one tiny elementary school with only 7 teachers.
Incumbents Ken Netto and Yvonee Gebo are also seeking another five year term.

In another election note, soon to depart County Treasurer Nancy Brown may not have a clear path to run for County Legislature this year in District 11. Former Rutland Supervisor Ron Cole is being talked about as a candidate on the Democratic line. Ms. Brown resigns from her countywide office on Friday and said she may challent freshman lawmaker Robert Ferris in District 11, which currently includes the towns of Rutland and Watertown.
Two Incumbents, Former Member, Contest for Two Watertown Board of Education Seats

WDT: Budget Talks Finally Begin Tonight

The recently proposed City budget has produced little reaction from the public, but lawmakers tonight will schedule a public hearing on the spending plan. It will be at next Monday's Council meeting. The budget holds property taxes at current levels, although an expanding fund balance has prompted me to conclude that tax relief for property owners should be done. Several weeks ago I suggested a 20% decrease in the levy as a starting point for discussions as the current fund balance is well above generally accepted levels.
Other options are to continue to accumulate fund balance as a hedge against future expenses, especially expanding pension costs. Council could also add various capital projects.
Lawmakers last night decided to use tonights and tomorrow nights session solely for budget deliberations and put off discussions on a baseball contract and Washington Street water issues until next Monday. Council members felt those topics would crowd out the budget discussions they wanted.
Watertown Daily Times City to deliberate on spending plan

State set to get tax on Indian cigarette sales - Courts - The Buffalo News

Armed with a favorable court ruling, the Cuomo Administration is poised to do what previous Governor's could not....Collecting taxes on cigarettes.
It is estimated $500,000 a day in taxes could be collected, but again the government crowd may not understand the elasticity of demand, as when massive taxes are laid on the product...It would likely greatly reduce sale, s and revenues may not be what they think.
The taxes would supposedly apply to non-Indian purchasers. Prvious efforts have folded over fears of violence on the reservations.
The crackdown comes after an onerous tax was rolled back this week on the state's other cigarette retailers.
Indians have vowed to continue fighting the tax, but insist they will not initiate violence, even though the threat of bloodshed is the only proven way to get the state to put its tail between its legs....
State set to get tax on Indian cigarette sales - Courts - The Buffalo News

Monday, May 9, 2011

Old Foe Blasts Blankenbush For Tax Hike (Updated) | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY | North Country Politics

Democrats are itching to hammer Assemblyman Blankenbush and Senator Ritchie for their support of home rule legislation that keeps the local sales tax at 7.75%.....Its a little disingenuous, but typical of today's politics...The Dems have discovered the value of labeling home rule legislation as tax hikes...The County Legislature and other local governments are the culpable parties, if you want to blame anyone.,....
It's all grist for the mill, but I don't think the local Dems are against this tax which allows more local government....We all just wish the local governments would compensate the public by lowering the property tax levy....
Old Foe Blasts Blankenbush For Tax Hike (Updated) WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY North Country Politics

Controversy Erupts Over Gun Incident At Wiley School | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY | Local News

This is the problem with secrecy and "executive session".....When it comes out, people feel cheated...So it is with this "gun" incident at the Wiley School in Watertown....If its serious enough to suspend or expell someone, it's serious enough for the great unwashed to known about it.....
Controversy Erupts Over Gun Incident At Wiley School WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Lakewood 4th grader opens fire on classmates with BB gun - KDVR

Those who say a BB gun at school is OK may want to think again...It's wrong and the parents of the Wiley School kid deserve the kick in the ass.
Lakewood 4th grader opens fire on classmates with BB gun - KDVR

Legislature Relents...Cigarette Vendor Fees Lowered...Rebates on the Way

   Here's a story you won't read in the MSM and certainly the State isn't putting out press releases...
   Under pressure of a court imposed restraining order the past two years, the Legislature has backed off on a decidely anti business tax on cigarette vendors.
   The old $100 a year fee will now be $300......Two years ago it was raised to a sliding scale of $1000 to $5000...That meant a small business like me was paying a grand to sell butts and convenience stores, drug stores and grocery stores were paying $2500 or $5000 based on gross sales.
   The State never went out of its way to point out that vendors need only pay the $100 as the higher fees were stayed by the court. Many vendors paid the higher amount and will get rebates for the two years.
    I will stipulate that smoking is bad for you. That's why smart people don't smoke. The fiction that punishing small business is the way to deal with that is just that...a fiction.
    Thank you to whomever fought this in court and to the judge to who kept the restraining order in place.

Lots 'O Meetings for Council This Week

   Three City Council meeting on tap for this week. Tonight is a session to review clerk applications and talk to some applicants. Tuesday and Wednesday are budget review sessions.
    The recently authorized audit of Recreation Department finances starts today as well.
     There is also a proposal to re-route water to a proposed nursing home through the Town of Watertown to avoid installing pumps to deal with a water pressure issue. Council is also being asked to address the lack of an agreement to allow the collegiate baseball team, the Wizards, to play at the Fairgrounds.

A "Treasure Trove" of Overused Words and Phrases

    Every big news story produces it's share of overused cliches.
    With the bin Laden killing, I would like to nominate "treasure trove".  What are your observations ?

WDT: Who's Cooking Those Fish ?

Could yesterday's chili be today's bullheads ? The Mothers Day fish fest in Oxbow may attract state attention....Senator Ritchie better have her North Country Way of Life Response Team on the ready in case the DOH get's it in their head to eliminate Mother's Day.
Watertown Daily Times 'It's a tradition for them to come'

Newzjunky: Wiley Principal Concerned About School Board's Decision to Allow Student to Return After Incident

A school principal is publicly taking on the School Board only days before a school board election. Wiley School principal Patti LaBarr has sent an email to the Board protesting a decision to allow a child back in class after a gun incident.
I don't recall what the incident was, as it was likely kept on the QT. The principal says a plan to allow the child back in class is dangerous and disruptive.
Parents and the public need to know what this incident is all about.
By the way, let's not here about "executive sessions".....The decision to send a letter to a public body represents an announcement by the administration of whatever this is.
Wiley Principal Concerned About School Board's Decision to Allow Student to Return After Incident

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Obama Didn’t Lose Sleep Over Decision To Kill bin Laden

President Obama told 60 Minutes there was only a 55% certainty Osama bin Laden was in the house in Pakistan where the terror czar was killed last Sunday. That seems a low number to mount such a mission. The President also speculated the house could have housed a prince from Dubai and that would be troublesome. Surely the level of certainty was better than 55-45 that it least it was an Al Quaida safehouse.
Mr. Obama did the interview days ago when the mantra was that it was a million dollar luxury compound, something now known as not true. Mr. Obama went to his pet interviewer Steve Kroft, with whom he has done several 60 Minutes gabfests. The President called the mission the longest 40 minutes of his life since he awaited a doctor's prognosis on his sick daughter years ago.
  While he said the run up to the raid was a secret to even his senior staff, the President skirted a question on whether Mrs. Obama knew about the pending raid.
The victory lap has been taken and the ball spiked...Now what about that pesky deficit Mr. President ?
Obama Didn’t Lose Sleep Over Decision To Kill bin Laden

Duffy Headlines Pride Agenda Rally

Rochester's former top cop and now Lieutenant Governor is the point man tomorrow in favor of gay marriage....LG Bob Duffy will represent Governor Cuomo at the Gay Pride Agenda rally in Albany....It's part of the escalating and much better organized push this year for passage of same sex marriage in the Senate...Proponents need to pick up eight votes from the most recent tally in 2009.
Either there is going to be some change of heart or some serious horse trading to get the votes...I still think prisons for marriage is still possible and I know there are some of you repulsed as such political horse trading. Its only the emotions of gay marriage that make this any different than tax cap for rent control, which will happen.
Duffy Headlines Pride Agenda Rally

NYP: Hard to Get NYC to Take Your Money ? The State Will Take It

City owed big bucks from state roll of unclaimed funds - NYPOST.com

Mothers Day 2011

      Today is Mother's Day and it's certainly a day for Scott Gray to sell posies, but its also a day to honor the person who is always there for you.....
      You always hear that expression..."I'll be there for you."  Moms are the ones who mean it without having to say it.
      Mother's Day has been part of our landscape since President Woodrow Wilson declared it so.
      Happy Mother's to my Mom and to all others on their day.

WDT: Revival of Creekwood Project Raises School Issue Again

As one who is a student of imaginary lines, I have long pointed out that the soon to be built Creekwood Apartments on the City's north side is going to use kids as pawns and human chattel in the battle between school districts.
While the project is in the City and does overlook North Elementary and Starbuck Elementary Schools, decades old boundaries place some of the land in the General Brown School District, meaning kids can wake up looking out their window at an elementary school, but would have to be bussed to another district miles and miles away..
When I raised this issue when the project was first proposed, the GB district lawyered up and the state education department quickly ended talk of disrupting the sanctity of these boundaries.
It's likely not "all about the children", but is really all about the money..Enrollment means cash.
Its long been a silly situation as residents of nearby Plaza Drive were in the same situation, but nobody ever said much.
Public schools are primarily funded by the State of NY and parents should be able to send their kids where they want and where makes sense.
I was at North Elementary on Friday for some athletic ceremonies for kids...It was a great environment and I met teachers, students and parents who cared about what they were doing. I am not one of those who argues that people are better or worse based on which side of a line they live.
Whoever can order these changes should, and lets not litigate it. Short of that the Watertown District should offer to let any child at Creekwood attend the nearby schools, regardless of who techinically can claim ownership.
This time it should really be about the children.
Watertown Daily Times School question resurfaces

Secret Life in a Shrunken World, Domestic but Dark - NYTimes.com

This NYT story about Osama bin Laden's final years is a pretty interesting account of a pretty mundane life...A character tangential to the "radical Islam" and "Muslim Brotherhoods" the media carries on about...
By the time of his death he was a remote symbol of an anger and rage fully capable of continuing in his absence. He was clearly not some man-behind-the-curtain, controlling armies and cells around the world.
Bin Laden was still a symbol and as such was dangerous to a degree, but he was far from the imposing figure who shook the USA in 2001.
Anyway, its interesting to read up on how he lived these past few years...Turns out we all had the wrong idea, at least those of us who figured he was in a cave, or dead from the kidney disease he apparently didn't have.
Bin Laden’s Secret Life in a Shrunken World, Domestic but Dark - NYTimes.com