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 21, 2012

Newt Blisters Mitt in Palmetto Primary

With two good debate performances and a wobbly week for Mitt, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich cruised to a 12 point win in the South Caroline Presidential Primary.
In three contests, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Mr. Gingrich each have a win....Experts have said SC is determinative of who the GOP nominee will be....Those experts and insiders...most of whom backed Romney...will have to offer another analysis after watching Mitt seize defeat from the jaws of victory.
Next stop is Florida, where Romney's money and ground game will be harder to overcome.
South Carolina primary results: Newt Gingrich wins - Alexander Burns - POLITICO.com

Greek + Italian= Too Many Calories

    It was an ethnic confluence of culinary delights today as the new part time judge with a Greek mom and Italian dad was sworn in.
    Judge Catherine Palermo's mom brought homemade baklava to the swearing in to complement the Italian cookies from Alteri's bakery that the City provided.
     None of this is good for those of us counting calories.

Emotional Day for Family of First Woman on City Bench

    Connie Noun of Webster NY near Rochester was the proudest mom in Watertown Saturday as she watched her daughter Catherine Palermo sworn in as part time City Judge...The first ever female judge in Jefferson County (with the exception of town justices)
It was also an exciting moment today for friends, family and those who just thought it an important moment.  Judge Catherine Palermo was sworn in during a noontime ceremony. Judge Eugene Renzi delivered the oath with former City Judge James Harberson and Supreme Court Judge James McClusky in attendance. Assemblywoman Addie Russell was also there as were the two Councilmembers who voted to ratify my appointment. The two who voted against her stayed home.
    Judge Palermo was appointed earlier this month. I chose her from a field of five candidates after extensive interviews with other judges, lawyers and users of the Court.
    The new judge called today the most important in her life and a career altering moment.
     She will continue her private practice, but will hear her first City Court cases on Friday.
     In written comments, Fifth Judicial District Chief Judge James Tormey praised the appointment and many in the bar did as well.
     She is bright, well spoken and hard working. Judge Palermo will serve the court well.

Romney Barely Wins CT Straw Poll

It was just a straw poll but a 29%-28% win for Mitt Romney in his back yard in Connecticut is hardly inspiring. The Nutmeg State is one of those with a more centrist GOP perfect for the Romney message...Problem is he is not catching on beyond the insiders who all still insist he is the best candidate to go up against President Obama.
I don't think any of them will win....Obama by four to six points with only Indiana flipping back in the GOP column.

Daily Kos: Kirsten Gillibrand trying to have her cake, and eat it too, on PIPA

With the left and right walking away from SOPA and PIPA legislation, New York's junior senator remains a big supporter of anti piracy legislation that many see as a threat to the growth and creativity of the Internet.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand claims the bills need "tinkering".
Daily Kos: Kirsten Gillibrand trying to have her cake, and eat it too, on PIPA

Making Fargo Sexy Draws Ire of North Dakotans

Nightlife isn't what you think of when travelling to Fargo, ND and a new tourism ad has been pulled for being too sexy for North Dakota tastes....Arrive a guest...leave a legend...
Racy North Dakota tourism ad draws backlash - USATODAY.com

Patty Postman ?

Senator Patty Ritchie is on Facebook today with photos of her doing door to door outreach in Oswego County. If she shows up at your door or in your garage, let us know.
(20) 'NEITHER RAIN NOR SNOW...'

Iowa GOP declares Rick Santorum winner of the Iowa caucuses - The Washington Post

Despite pressure to call it a virtual tie, the Iowa GOP has officially declared Rick Santorum the winner in the recent caucuses, meaning a Gingrich win in SC today would leave Mitt Romney one for three instead of the three for three it looked like a week ago.
Voters headed out at 7AM in the Palmetto State as polls show a surging Newt Gingrich in a position to win the pivotal primary and deliver a blowo to Mitt Romney who has much of the GOP establishment in his corner including the state's governor.
It will be an interesting Saturday night.
Iowa GOP declares Rick Santorum winner of the Iowa caucuses - The Washington Post

Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA and PIPA dead, for now - Jennifer Martinez - POLITICO.com

Hollywood donations to the Democrats may be on old now that the on-line piracy legislation the film industry wanted is delayed indefinately....All this after a massive outrage over the bill which could have had unintended negative effects on the Internet and creativity.
This is a mini win for Congressional hopeful Matt Doheny who got on the right side of this issue and blasted away at Rep. Bill Owens who had cosponsored the act.
SOPA and PIPA dead, for now - Jennifer Martinez - POLITICO.com

State Sanctions Lying By Its Underage Agents in Booze Stings

      The Cuomo Administration has issued new guidance to kids they use to make underage drink buys...In language published recently the SLA says if asked, the youngsters are encouraged to lie about their age. Previously, these youngsters were told if confronted with a question about age, they could not lie.
       This is a morally bankrupt policy as when I was growing up there was no greater insult than being called a liar.  Now the youth are taught to do so in service to the state.  Many of those used in stings are students planning careers in criminal justice. Is it OK to lie on the witness stand too ? Is that what NYS is teaching ?
        The new policy was made available in an Empire Restaurant and Tavern Association newsletter out this month.
        Obviously merchants are supposed to request proof but this latest deception also raises the issue of just how far the state will go to entrap and how poor an example it is willing to set for young people.

Community to Buy HSBC Branches Spurned by First Niagara

Community Bank will be getting the orphaned branches of HSBC in NNY after First Niagara said it didn't want them as part of its purchase of HSBC operations in New York State.
Community already has a presence in the area, but with branches in close proximity now, its certainly an open question what happens to the buildings in Watertown.
Community Bank System, Inc. Strengthens Core Upstate Markets by Acquiring 19 Branches - MarketWatch

Newt Gingrich 2010 tax return - The Washington Post

Newt and Callista Gingrich' 2010 tax returns list income of $3.1 million and a federal tax liability of $994,000. Meanwhile Mitt Romney again stumbled on the question of tax returns in last night's debate.
A question pointed out that Romney's dad, was the first Presidential hopeful to release tax returns back in the 1960's.
Newt Gingrich 2010 tax return - The Washington Post

Gingrich Hammers Obama-mania Media

Newt Gingrich rocked last night's CNN debate with his condemnation of the last minute hit piece on ABC featuring the Speaker's second wife claiming that in the 1990s, Mr. Gingrich wanted an "open marriage".
Gingrich called the raising of the issue at the beginning of a Presidential debate was despicable and the outburst drew howels of support from the crowd and even a standing ovation.
Mr. Gingrich is surging in polls in SC and could win tomorrow's primary.
Mitt Romney is still the favorite and the establishment choice....But Mr. Gingrich is providing the sizzle.
Meanwhile President Obama visited Disney World where he touted jobs and was at Harlem's Apollo Theater last night playing to the base.
Gingrich blasts 'destructive' news media as he denies asking ex-wife for an 'open marriage' during GOP debate Mail Online

WDT: Tick Tock of Contract Demise Explored

There is no doubt opposition to the reappointment of City Manager Mary Corriveau was well known by all parties over the past several months in particular. Two years ago, there was a spirited debate over her reappointment and in the ensuing two years the manager's foes were emboldened by the Parks and Rec situation and other matters thought to be indicative of a style of management three members were sufficiently uncomfortable with to vote the way they did.
The past will not change and my goal is to determine what happens next and how best to position the City to deal with it. Several scenarios are possible and during recent discussions that was evident.
In a perfect world succession would be smooth no matter what the circumstances and aside from the current situation it is evident that succession plans are needed in the event of permanent or temporary absence from office.
Arguing over the tick tock of what led us here is understandable, but I have been focused on what to do should a vacancy occur as this system of government, whatever its positives, places inordinate authority in one appointed office and filling that role is a challenge.
Whatever happens next, we will move on and build on good work done.
Watertown Daily Times Burns: City manager knew of contract’s fate

DiNapoli defends pension system

NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has named himself keeper of the flame in defending the state's expensive and often abused public employee pension plan. Governor Cuomo is proposing a modest plan to allow new hires to opt for a 401 K style, defined contribution plan.
The current plan is generous and often gamed in totally legal but expensive ways. Currently, contribution rates for local governments will exceed 30% of salary for some employees by 2015.
All of that is driving up property taxes and leading to cuts in services and staffing.
The Governor's proposal is the long term solution to preserving a fair and affordable plan that allows for fixed, predictable costs for the employer, and portability for the employee.
Mr. DiNapoli has powerful allies in seeking to preserve the present system and like in any argument, he raises some valid points.
However, the hard facts are NYS and its local governments cannot afford the present course and the Governor's plan is one of many reforms needed for long term.
DiNapoli defends pension system - Times Union

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Greene Has Lots of Friends in High Places (in Arizona)

Since I follow politics, I check up on the Facebook page of the soon to announce challenger to my friend Matt Doheny. Kellie Greene is to announce in Watertown on February 1st....
She appears to know lots of prominent state elected officials....Unfortunately they are all from Arizona where she lived until recently. On her page, Ms. Greene strikes a pose with AZ's Secretary of State and various state lawmakers.
When people ask me what her candidacy is all about, I say the proof is in the press conference.
You will be able to see if she is surrounded by supporters. If there are none, it will be tough to even meet the petition requirements to get on the primary ballot.
Since it would be politically risky to be spotted at her presser, even as just a gawker, her best bet to meet the political class is to head up Arsenal Street to Pete's after her event at the Ramada.
(19) Kellie Greene

High Test Bud Light Debuts.....Panned by My Three Person Panel

     The folks at Eagle Beverage came around today pushing the newest Anheuser Busch product....Bud Light Platinum.
      It's not light at 137 calories, but it has a whopping 6% alcohol content...I tasted it. Just what the market doesn't need. Something to get drunk twice as fast but you wouldn't be able to command a twice as much price.
      It's aimed at the younger, urban demographic I think....I asked two 60ish customers to try it as well....They didn't like it either.
       There is an ultra low calorie Labatt product coming out called Blue 52. That might gain some traction...
       But as for Platinum....It's kind of like a Colt 45 for the suburbs...I'll pass, thank you.

Fort Drum - New Kissing Guidelines

Standards are tough to enforce, especially these days when everyone is a free spirit and spurns authority....well I guess its always been that way....
Anyway, it was a chuckle reading the IG at Fort Drum trying to describe when kissing is OK and when its not...when you can hold hands and when you can't.....
They even have an acronym...PDA..Public Displays of Affection.
It must have been a rough day for the IG when he saw those Navy gals smooching on the dock after one returned from a sea tour.
Fort Drum - The Mountaineer Online

Then There Were Four.....Perry Drops

With his campaign on life support and no prospect for winning the nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry is dropping out and endorsing Newt Gingrich, perhaps giving the former Speaker a shot at winning the SC primary.
Perry Dropping Out; Will Endorse Gingrich - Alex Roarty - NationalJournal.com

Ceremonial Swearing In on Saturday for New Judge

    This Saturday at noon, part time City Court Judge Catherine Palermo will be sworn in by City Judge Eugene Renzi.
     While Ms. Palermo was appointed by me earlier this month and has been working with the court on getting settled, I felt a more formal swearing in was a good idea.
      This is obviously a special moment for Judge Palermo's family, and the public is invited to join us in the Council Chambers at noon on Saturday.

Santorum Won Iowa....Recanvass Shows

Turns out Rick Santorum won the Iowa GOP caucus afterall, even though the 34 vote margin and the votes from eight precincts never to be tallied would suggest its essentially still a tied....However, the recanvass of results in the party run caucuses does give Mr. Santorum something to talk about and takes away the narrative that Mitt Romney won the first two faceoffs and is headed towards a third win in SC.
Mr. Romney is still the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination, but the campaign in the Palmetto State didn't go all that well this week with a mediocre debate performance and all sorts of questions about Mr. Romney's tax returns.
    Tonight, another twist as ABC airs an interview with Newt Gingrich' ex wife that some say could be problematic.
Santorum, Romney Tie in Official Iowa Caucus Count - Niraj Chokshi - NationalJournal.com

WDT: Editorial Raps Council

As the major city in the region, the actions this week of City Council, are not ever going to be just "personnel matters" discussed in executive session.
Tuesday's vote on a resolution to notify the current manager of Council's intent not to renew her contract has a history dating back years and months. This Times editorial speaks for itself.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown Council mishandled manager’s dismissal

WDT: What Comes Next ? Good Question

It feels a little like 2015 in the early months of 2012, as positions are staked out on the status of the City Manager and what to do if, as some lawmakers want, she departs later this year.
This is serious business and agendas are evident.
If a change occurs as a result of the Council's actions, we do not need free agents cutting deals or making promises.
I was in the middle of one of these transitions in 1996 and watched one on the sidelines in 2003....One thing's for sure. Herding cats is not as easy as it looks, and finding the talent and skills needed is not easy, nor is finding someone anxious to walk into the briar patch.
Certainly it can be done and what has to be done will be done.
Watertown Daily Times With city manager’s pending departure, what comes next?

Photography icon Eastman Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. – USATODAY.com

My family has its roots in Rochester and both parents worked for Eastman Kodak when I was young. In fact in my younger years, I was born in CA where my father ran a regional processing facility and later we lived in DC before his passing and a move back to Rochester where mom went to work for Eastman Savings and Loan, an in house bank serving the tens of thousands of Kodak employees in that city.
Annual bonuses given out each spring were a major factor in the local economy and the city prospered as the World looked to Kodak to chronicle the images of life from snapshots to motion pictures.
A whole range of products based on technologies that seemed timeless....Kind of like phonograph records.
Now the stock is worth pennies a share and Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 protection in hopes of saving what is left.
Photography icon Eastman Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. – USATODAY.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gingrich: I'd like Palin in my administration - POLITICO.com

As Secretary of State....That would be fun and put a pretty face on the old U-S of A.
Gingrich: I'd like Palin in my administration - POLITICO.com

You Go Art ! Sciorra Walks Off With a Bag of Cash

As someone destined to never make the 1%, I think the $141,000 settlement Art Sciorra got for getting fired as Ogdensburg City Manager is a great deal. No six months pay for Art, as Council skampered to pay its way out of the months long and messy KnoxGate scandal that left the Maple City in turmoil.
Efforts to fire Art for cause went nowhere and Council folded quickly in a bid to put the episode behind them.
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg city manager terminated, agrees to $141,000 payment

Owens Taking a Hit Over SOPA

Obamacare, the deficit, Iran....the typical issues a guy like Matt Doheny might talk about in his bid to unseat Rep. Bill Owens.....
Along comes something called SOPA...the Stop On-line Piracy Act....a sweeping measure intended to stop theft of Hollywood work product.....
It also pretty much stymies the whole Internet by allowing anyone to shut down anyone else by mearly alleging theft of copyrighted product.
Suddenly free marketeers on the right and Internet nerds on the left are joining forces and beating the stuffing out of Mr. Owens and other Members of Congress who support the measure.
For Mr. Doheny, it's a chance to have a Kumbaya moment with President Obama who has rapped the law.
Today, the Internet giant GOOGLE put a black box on its site to show solidarity with stop SOPA folks.
In politics you never know when an issue will rise up and bite you in the ass.
Lawmakers who support piracy bills under fire - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

Cuomo Pension Reform the Right Step

Governor Cuomo's call for a new pension tier and an option for a 401K style plan for those who want it seems on the surface a good stab at much needed pension reform.
While the public employee unions howl, the Governor's plan merely moves the state closer to what the private sector is doing. This proposal would only affect future hires.
The current system has local governments contributing 20 to 30 percent of salary with no employee stake. Years of expanding benefits and gaming the system has left the current defined benefit system hopelessly costly.
Cuomo proposes pension overhaul for future public employees in budget plan - NYPOST.com

WDT: Council Action Precipitated by Severance Concerns

While City Council did pass a resolution to put the City Manager on notice of their intent not to renew her contract when it expires April 30, the move was in part precipitated by the language of the contract itself.
With no notice by January 31, a failure to reach a successor agreement would result in a six month severance payment and that sword over their head clearly places the Council in a position three of them didn't want to be in.
The only way notice can occur is by an affirmative act of the Council and that means a resolution had to be passed in public session. With so many matters in process, I feel the City's interests would best be served by continued use of CM Corriveau's institutional knowledge and relationships. There is also the issue of how do you treat a 27 year employee who has worked diligently in anticipation of retirement at an appropriate time.
There is always a risk to those employed in positions like this, as the area's two municipal managers know.
The resolution presented last night was drafted hours before the meeting and I didn't see it till it was offered up in executive session. I was not surprised at the sentiments but am hopeful cooler heads can prevail and these differences can be resolved.
Watertown Daily Times Watertown City Council won’t review city manager’s contract

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ogdensburg Lawmakers Fire Sciorra

In the Maple City , City Manager Art Sciorra has finally been fired and presumably gets a severance deal. The Council in Ogdensburg relented on efforts to fire Sciorra for cause and just decided to let him go with the severance deal outlined in his contract.
Sciorra says he plans to move on and city officials wished him well...
Ogdensburg Lawmakers Fire Sciorra WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Watertown, NY Local News

Dog Ban Passes and Other Council News

    After passing the dog ordinance by a four to one vote...City Council delivered  a 3-2 vote to put the City Manager on notice not to renew her contract when it expires April 30.
     A long simmering resentment and dislike of the manager by some Council members finally resulted in the vote, which had been talked about on the QT for months.
      In order to let the manager's contract expire April 30 without any severance obligations, the Council had to give notice 90 days ahead of time...Tonights vote did that, although it does not preclude a successor agreement.
      Council members Burns, Butler and Smith voted in favor of the notice.
      As for the long debated dog ban, it passed easily.

Allentown: Yuengling becomes biggest U.S.-owned brewery - Morning Call

The sleepy central PA town of Pottsville now is home to America's largest domestically owned brewery...What with Bud, Miller, Coors and the like owned by foreigners, that leaves Yuengling as the largest.
Yuengling is available in Watertown through AJ Missert and came to NNY in 2005. It's a decent hearty brew and I visited the brewery a couple years back.....
Pottsville is like a trip back in time, but it has a charm and I enjoyed the visit.
Allentown: Yuengling becomes biggest U.S.-owned brewery - Morning Call

Cuomo Budget on the Street

   The state budget is out and aid to cities is unchanged. Meanwhile the proposed Tier Six pension plan is out there too....
     I will have to read up on the details, but if it includes a defined contribution component, that would be a plus.
     There will be weeks of fighting over teacher grading...but that doesn't affect me.
     

Senator Facebook......Getting Around the MSM

Whether its demanding her MSG back on cable; congratulating the Syracuse Orangemen on their undefeated season, changing water levels, saving prisons, fighting for our schools or tapping a maple tree, nobody hypes themself more on the Internet than Senator Ritchie.
Aided by her media spinmeisters including former Journal editor Jim Reagen, the Senator keeps the message flowing as a rate that makes me look like a neophyte with my little blog.
Last year old media spent a lot of time going after me through surrogates about bypassing the media gatekeepers through my Internet ramblings. The Senator has taken direct access to the public to a new level and received no criticism....Nor should she....
I like reading about what she is doing, where she is going and while I know a lot of it is hype, I think I'm smart enough to figure it all out.
Patti Ritchie is the North Country's first Facebook Senator.
(13) Patty Ritchie

WDT: Library Marble Needs Repair

The other day I was talking by the Library and before the big snow the city engineer was busy measuring the pieces of stone on the fountains in front of the Flower Memorial Library. Fountains and other pieces of marble on the historic structure need repairs and I agree with the Times that it needs to get done. We went through the usual exercise to try and get Albany to pay for it through a grant, but now that that didn't work, it is time to fix this treasure so the outside looks as good as the inside.
Watertown Daily Times Library repairs

WDT: Budget Release Means Winter is Half Over

Governor Cuomo's proposed state budget is out today, but it's not nearly as anticipated as last year. The deficit to overcome is smaller and in the past year prison closures been done and soak the rich taxes have been enacted.
What's left is teacher performance grading....adding another pension tier...and starting the ball rolling on casino gambling.
We will see the details today and you will hear all the usual arguments and bromides. The unions will carp. The Legislature will fight for the kids and working families, and local governments will rattle their tin cups.
Tis the season in Albany. It is a busy season at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Albany what with hosting all those people lobbying and all the fundraising receptions for the pols.
Watertown Daily Times Cuomo to unveil budget today in Albany

Monday, January 16, 2012

South Carolina GOP debate: Mitt Romney pressed on Bain, tax returns - Alexander Burns - POLITICO.com

Despite instances where he stammered and "grasped for balance" , Mitt Romney did well enough with his tightly scripted presentation to avoid peril to his frontrunner status and his likely path to the GOP nomination.
South Carolina GOP debate: Mitt Romney pressed on Bain, tax returns - Alexander Burns - POLITICO.com

Even Ted Ford Says Romney is OK on the Bain Issue

       Local Democratic activist and husband of a self avowed socialist Ted Ford told me today that he supports what Mitt Romney did at Bain Capital. "It's a wonderful thing what he did...it's the way the system is supposed to work," Ted told me today while chatting about the NY23 race.
         Ford says there is much about Mr. Romney's views he doesn't like including calls for deregulation. Ted still supports President Obama for reelection.
        "I liked the way Andrew Carnegie started with nothing....it was wonderful."  Ford said he did not agree with the way he handled workers in the Homestead Strike, but nonetheless Ford says he believes in capitalism.
          Bain Capital  has been a source of controversy for Mr. Romney and led challenger Rick Perry to call it "vulture capitalism." Not so says the oracle from LaFargeville.
         "Part of the process is there are winners and losers," Ford said.  "There is some necessary pain, but on balance I believe that's the way things should proceed."
         Ford chided his charming bride Marie for her socialist leanings. "Marie loves the occupation folks till she get's close enough to smell them," Ezra said.
          
      

WDT: Doheny hits Owens again on SOPA after Obama comments

Congressional candidate Matt Doheny remains focused on Rep. Bill Owens and has been sparring witht the Congressman of late over the Stop On-line Piracy Act or SOPA. Mr. Owens is said to have supported a version critics say would undermine the free and open nature of the Internet.
It's a kind of inside baseball type of issue, but it shows the back and forth that will go on for months as Mr. Doheny and Mr. Owens square off in one of the nation's most watched races.
First we have to draw a new district, but most expect few changes other than the 23 becomes a 21 with NY losing two more seats.
Watertown Daily Times Doheny hits Owens again on SOPA after Obama comments

Conspiracy Buffs Weigh In On NY 23 Interloper

      Today's HOTLINE had more than a little discussion of the former AZ woman claiming to be seeking the GOP Congressional nod in NNY. Duff was claiming conspiracy.
      His theory is that  its either a DCCC or a Tea Party plot to throw Matt Doheny off stride for what is expected to be a very competitive race against Rep. Bill Owens.
      I find it hard to believe somebody would be moved here from AZ just to stir up trouble since Kellie Greene has no chance at the GOP nomination after months of campaigning, positioning and schmoozing by Doheny. He has a lock on the minor party nods and the organization to win a GOP primary even if Ms. Greene could muster a petition drive that would survive scrutiny. She is unlikely to garner much publicity beyond blogs as the local MSM has a disdain for outsider candidates.
       A person running for city council in Watertown can get in late and figure it all out as you go along...Not so with Congress...The stakes are high...so is the price tag and the impediments placed in the way of those who watch "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" and think thats the way it works. Nonetheless Team Doheny is very aware of her actions and I suspect is following things just to be sure.
       I betcha Ms. Greene did find the new non-stop service from Watertown to Chicago helpful in getting back to AZ for her weekend fundraiser.

"Dirty Jobs" Abound But an Increasingly Dainty America Won't Take Them

A guy who knows about success, education and jobs testified before Congress recently. Mike Rowe hosts "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel.
Mr. Rowe says we promise "shovel ready" jobs in America but don't encourage anyone to pick up a shovel. Mr. Rowe's point is that not every needs to go to college and that there is a "skills gap" in this country with many jobs going unfilled in the trades, construction and other fields not in vogue with professorial crowd.
Try to find someone to rake leaves...
Mike Rowe testifies before US Senate about the skilled trades - YouTube

New Benefit Policy on the Agenda Tuesday

    While the dog law will get the headlines, a more obscure resolution on Monday's agenda is of interest.
      Council will adopt a new benefits policy for non-union employees who are new hires to the City.
       It will require a 25% contribution to health insurance premiums, which is the amount now paid by Council's two contract employees, the manager and clerk.
      While the immediate impact is minimal, it does further send the message there is a real cost to benefits like this as 25% of a family plan is about $300 a month.
       This is a measure I advanced again last year and it comes to a vote tonight.
       Current contribution levels for management employees is about 15%.
NOTE-The dog law was not listed on the agenda page but is in the stack of resolutions and ordinances. In any event it will require unanimous consent to be voted on Tuesday. Without that, it rolls to the next meeting. That is the most likely scenario.
   

New York State Senate Republicans have a huge campaign war chest - NY Daily News

Patty Ritchie won't need a dime of it as she is a lock for reelection, but other Senate Republicans are not so sure...that's why the GOP has been shaking the money tree. Senate Republicans now have a $4.82 million war chest compared to $200K for the Dems...
Of course, all but a couple Democratic seats are absolutely non-competitive as in the 80 to 90 percent range, if not unopposed. GOP Senate seats are not quite as lopsided and need some TLC in the form of CASH.
Redistricting is also a key to holding on to the 32-30 edge, which could end up 32-31 with the extra senator being added.
New York State Senate Republicans have a huge campaign war chest - NY Daily News

WDT: Maple City Hoping for Resolution Tuesday

Once again this week, Ogdenburg wins the award for most anticipated City Council meeting with promises being made the Art Sciorra situation will be resolved....I can only assume it will be through a settlement on his departure, but there is a chance of his reinstatement.
I know there is criticism of the Knox Street home, but I have never been clear how reflective that has been of his overall performance.
Watertown Daily Times Ogdensburg council hopeful city manager’s situation will be settled Tuesday

Gov. Cuomo plans use the budget money to enforce teacher evaluation systems - NYPOST.com

Talk of education reform and a teacher grading system linked to state aid has the teachers' unions up in arms. Governor Cuomo is expected to including teacher grading as part of his proposed state budget out tomorrow.
It is a tough fight because Speaker Sheldon Silver is a strong ally of the teachers unions and Senate Republicans are fearful of NYSUT and the UFT as they only have a one vote majority.
Teacher grading is one of those things that sounds good, but implementing a system that's fair and effective is another story. It may be one aspect of a series of reforms, but in and of itself, I am not sure it achieves fiscal benefits that are measurable.
Gov. Cuomo plans use the budget money to enforce teacher evaluation systems - NYPOST.com

Sunday, January 15, 2012

WDT: Greene Fundraises in AZ ? You Betcha !

I normally wouldn't check Brian Amaral's blog on a Sunday night, but he had an interesting post tonight about that Sackets Harbor (until very recently, Arizona) woman who has said she wants to seek the GOP nomination for Congress in the North Country. Doing so would pit 43 year old Kellie Greene against the GOP's 2010 hopeful and current front runner Matt Doheny.
Now we learn Ms. Greene returned to AZ last week and is doing a little fundraising among friends. Last week she spoke to a Tea Party gathering at Watertown's Flower Library.....
It's still a stretch to go from apartment dweller in Sackets with no network in the North Country to viable challenger to the well established Doheny. But it gives the political class something to talk about, and that is always welcome.
One theory is she is a Democratic plant to disrupt the Doheny effort....That seems awfully conspiratorial, but I did have a couple people suggest it....
I was reading some of her Facebook material and she lists the name and phone number of a campaign consultant. If I were a cub reporter, I might be calling that # to see what this is all about.
Watertown Daily Times Greene fundraiser tonight in AZ

Huntsman Says He's Quitting G.O.P. Race - NYTimes.com

Another fallen soldier in the GOP Presidential race.....The NY Times reports Jon Huntsman is planning to quit as early as tomorrow and endorse fellow Mormon Mitt Romney.
Mr. Huntsman has failed to electrify Republican primary voters but did finish in third place in New Hamphire. He also obtained some key newspaper endorsements including South Carolina's "The State".
With Rick Perry now in the role of dead man walking, the only vaguely viable challengers to Mr. Romney are Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich....
As a fellow Mormon, Mr. Huntsman has no chance of being a running mate to Mr. Romney. He could be a future Secretary of State in a Romney Administration.
Huntsman Says He's Quitting G.O.P. Race - NYTimes.com

Dancing Girls Outshine the Captain in Rescuing Passengers

Reports are the captain was not willing to go down with the ship....in fact it was a group of British dancers on board to entertain who stayed on board till the end helping paniced passengers to safety after the Costa Concordia disaster off the coast of Italy.
The young ladies ignored orders to tell the passengers everything was OK and instead donned life jackets and helped out.
The captain was said to have gone ashore early in the process of evacuating over 4000 passengers.
Costa Concordia: Sinking cruise ship survivors describe nightmare scenes Mail Online

Eli Manning Hail Mary Pass One of Many Giants Highlights in Win Over Packers

Congrats to the many Giants fans in NNY as their team defeated last year's Super Bowl champs. New York bested Green Bay 37-20 to move on to the NFC Championship Game next Sunday in San Francisco against the 49er's. In the other divisional game today, the Baltimore Ravens won a spot at the AFC game with New England.
Eli Manning Hail Mary pass to Hakeem Nicks before halftime leads Giants over Packers, into NFC Championship game agaisnt 49ers - NYPOST.com

Graham (not me), Scott: It's over if Mitt wins S.C. - POLITICO.com

With six days left till the third in the nation vote in South Carolina, more than one insider says if Mitt Romney wins, it's race pretty much over for the nomination.
A convincing win and I would say yes too...but a mid twenties squeaker...not so sure...
Graham, Scott: It's over if Mitt wins S.C. - POLITICO.com

Perry Defends Urinating Marines and Compares Himself to Moses

Rick Perry is right in a sense...the behavior of the Marines who urinated on dead Taliban is not worthy of the full court press for prosecution of what was no doubt an instance of bad judgement during the stress of war. The Administration in Washington is busy condemning the act for the benefit of World opinion.
Whomever took the pictures needs a talking to as well, but that's the way today's world is. The incident reflects poorly on those involved and by extension the entire country....but it's not indicative of the actions of all and is in the end one of those dehumanizing vignettes from war we don't like to see happen...but it does happen.
Rick Perry's other statement of the day has less credence...He compared himself to Moses, who he says was also a poor public speaker.....
Perry Defends Urinating Marines - Alexandra Jaffe - NationalJournal.com

Andy's Ex Cashing In on Outrage

As we know, money is evil if its made restructuring failing companies but if you are professional liberal do-gooder, its OK to make tens of millions of your advocacy.
Kerry Kennedy is one of those who preaches against corporate excess and the one percent, but lives the live of Riley as she is paid huge sums for her outrage. The NY Post reports on her consulting work in support of critics of oil drilling in Ecuador. Ms. Kennedy, the ex-wife of Governor Cuomo has made a lot of $$$ from being a public relations consultant and could make lots more as a potential recipient of a portion of a judgment against Chevron because of environmental issues related to oil drilling.
The Governor was still better off moving on to his new mate who makes an honest living on the Food Network.
Kerry Kennedy makes tens of thousands of dollars as “p.r. consultant” in Ecuadoreans’ lawsuit against Chevron - NYPOST.com

New York prepares to bet on online lottery games - Times Union

With Senator Frank Padavan no longer in office, the MSM no longer has a go-to person for a pithy quote on the evils of state sponsored gambling....The man who coined the phrase "video crack" would no doubt be aghast at the notion you wouldn't even have to travel to a bar, store or casino to gamble. You can do your gambling with the state on-line in the future.
NYS will move slowly, but they have gotten an OK from the US Justice Department that such things do not violate federal law.....The ruling is its OK if the government is running it.
That 50 cent sign in pool or the buck a square football pool is still illegal, only because the state is not running it....Albany needs to find a way to run sign in pools and football squares itself, so no one will have to feel swarmy about participating in or running one.
New York prepares to bet on online lottery games - Times Union

Quaint Miss America Pageant Still Held

On the day the Green Bay Packers play the Giants, a 23 year old cheesehead from Kenosha, WI has enough to celebrate. Laura Kaeppeler is the new Miss America. None of us follow pageants as much as we used to when Bert Parks officiated, but its still a way to celebrate beauty and talent in a non-salacious way. With the more soft core TV events like Victoria's Secret, Miss America seems quaint.
Remember the scandal when Vanessa Williams, whom I met when she became Miss NY at the pageant in Watertown, got the boot for smooching with another girl ?
Now in NY, she could marry the woman and no one would blink.
Laura Kaeppeler: Miss Wisconsin is Miss America 2012 winner Mail Online