Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston Messed Up in Hours Before Death

The last hours of Whitney Houston were a metaphor for what her life had become. Photos from the night before her passing showed a clearly messed up Whitney still ravaged by substance abuse.
Her death on the eve of the Grammy's results in a ready made tribute event. Who wasn't awed by her performances in the 80s and early 90s ?
Whitney Houston emerges from a nightclub looking worse for wear Mail Online

Saturday Night Caucuses

   Mitt Romney won the CPAC Straw Poll, while this evening we are on the edge of our seats awaiting the Maine caucus results.
   The Republican race may not have that much suspense but its something to watch.

New York's Powerball Jackpot Bumped to $325,000,000 For Saturday

The new higher priced Powerball tickets has produced the desired results...Bigger jackpots that stimulate sales...The annuitized value of the jackpot is now $325 Million, leaving us all to wonder what would we do with that much money....
First, before he has a chance to call, I'd give some to Rande Richardson so I could have one of those legacy grant things going on for a while. Then I would make sure Mom and my brother are all set...
I would make sure John Rice is relieved of the drudgery of running a liquor store. There are some other friends I would help out...even though they are quite successful...Let's see there is Tammy, then there's ...well there's...I will have to think about that...
I would help out my employee Diana....then I'd go see Paul Bouchard and buy one of those new Beetles, so I could have a summer and a winter car. I would pay that $10K to Krol myself and avoid further discussion...
There are many charities I would like to help like the Urban Mission, Hospice, Habitat and others.
I would absolutely let the banks fight over who gets my deposits.
There would be a monster week-long party at Pete's as I would out-Ralphie Ralphie in buying drinks.
I would buy some free speech and that wouldn't be good for some people.
And I would still have lots left to do interesting things with.
New York's Powerball Jackpot Bumped to $325,000,000 For Saturday

City Family Spends Cold Weekend in a Warm New Home

    Congratulations to the Shear Family...Jamie, Jennifer, Samantha and Andrew...Today they dedicated their new home at 126 West Lynde Street. It was built by volunteers from Habitat for Humanity.
    This corner lot had been the sight of a long-blighted property and the new home makes the corner sparkle.
    Habitat has built several houses in the City and has been a reliable partner in redevelopment.
     Numerous groups and businesses helped too including a church group from Hanover, PA and soldiers from Fort Drum.

Stepping Over a Dollar to Pick Up a Penny

OK let's tackle the cost of what Mr. Krol proposes. First, is $10K an astounding figure for professional services ? Well, last year the City paid $12K for a cursory audit of Parks and Recreation just to find out the extent of that problem. That was rung up over a couple of weeks and there was no fuss over it because the media never reported it.
In 2002, the City Council spent a boatload of money ( I am getting the numbers researched) on an early retirement buyout of Jerry Hiller so that he could retire at age 57 instead of 62. That was part of the effort to move him out of the manager's post. In 1994, I believe there was a buyout of Karl Amylon, something not happening this time around.
There are the soft costs and opportunity costs of changing managers and there are the travel and logistical costs of candidates coming for interviews. Advertisements cost money too. Then there is the cost of lawmakers doing the routine vetting of resumes and backgrounds on an ad hoc basis by five different members, with the resulting suspicions and agendas, real or imagined.
Routinely, government entities spend larger amounts on retreats, consultants, focus groups, mission setting sessions and God knows what else. I generally reject a lot of those activities.
In this case, I feel Mr. Krol provides the means to allow the Council to do its job which is to select, interview and debate the candidates they will eventually choose a candidate from.
To get to that point, someone all five can trust has to ascertain the need, codify a job description, recruit appropriately, score the applicants against the matrix of qualifications, obtain decisions from Council, arrange for visits, tours and meetings with Council and help, if needed, reach a final decision and then negotiate a deal with that person. All of this has to be done professionally and with discretion that protects the applicants and does not unduly roil emotions in the City workforce.
Meanwhile, the Council has its normal dutics to tend to.
I stand by my recommendation, although as a retailer I would have priced it at $9995 for appearance sake.

Lawmaker Balks At $10K Pricetag For City Manager Consultant WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Local News

Everybody Wants To Be a "True Conservative"

This is the year everyone is arguing they are the "true conservative" in the Republican party, so it's only fair we get to listen to all of that too.
That is the thrust of Kellie Greene's challenge to Matt Doheny in the GOP Congressional primary.
That is in essence the argument on the Presidential level, where Mitt Romney is assailed as a "Massachusetts moderate" and for those with a little age, a "Rockefeller Republican."
Used to be that's what Republicans were, especially in this state.
These people would go nuts at the notion of a Javits Republican.
Now all we have are Elmer Gantry Republicans, who only talk about their "values" and their "faith based" approach to telling us all what to do. You can see it all at the CPAC conclave in DC this weekend.
The true conservative would be in the Ron Paul mode, who is willing to say no to spending and I bet would say no to I-98.
Paul can't win, and there are no real conservatives. Just pretenders, worshiping at the altar of Reagan, the way a generation of Democrats used to venerate FDR.
NCPR News - Greene says she's the "true" conservative in GOP primary

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why I Thought It Was News

    Yesterday I wrote about the Hancock Street rogue dog....Is it news that a stray dog is being fed by neighbors ? Not really....Is it news that a resident is annoyed at the dog and wants it caught ? No, probably not. Was anyone bitten or mauled ? No.
    So was my Mizzou training bogus ?...Do I not know news after being out of the biz for so many years ?
    Well, I thought it was news that Jefferson County has 300 man hours of time into chasing a dog over four years on a couple acres of thicket on a hill contained by city blocks. I also was intrigued at the use of the $135 tranquilizer/meat balls.
    I am sympathetic to the Soluris as I have known them for years and I understand the frustration of the dog warden in chasing the wily pooch.
    I subscribe to the "boy that's interesting" school of journalism. Things you talk about around the water cooler or say "wow, did you hear about that."
    That may be why I am just a blogger...Wouldn't know news if it bit me.

Freshman Assemblyman Makes Case For Shorter Session, Lower Pay | Politics on the Hudson

So just who is going to run for NYS Assembly if the session is only three months and the pay is only $35,000 ? Really, seriously...who will drop everything in life...give up whatever they are doing to support their family and take that gig....The only possible group would be lawyers who can weave legislating in with a private practice.
A Rochester Assemblyman looking for a headline has made the proposal.
Freshman Assemblyman Makes Case For Shorter Session, Lower Pay Politics on the Hudson

WDT: Cloudy Weather for Challengers

In another subtle way incumbents have an edge, this whole redrawing of districts certainly doesn't favor challengers who didn't know where they would be running till very late. With a June 26 primary possible, there will be less time to react and build a campaign.
Incumbents are in perpetual campaign mode, so uncertaintly isn't so bad for them.
Petition requirements may be reduced if the primary is early, but the only possible local primary is for the GOP Congressional nomination between two candidates who have yet to appear on America's Favorite Noontime Talk Show.
Watertown Daily Times Uncertainty clouds political process

Maggie's on the River Owners Announce Changes

The owners of Maggie's on the River say they plan to tone down the nightlife that led to not having a liquor license. Whether that get's them a license again, I don't know.
I do know there is no subsitute for an owner being in charge. I have seen many, many people over the years thinking they can hire general managers, bar managers, kitchen managers and the like....It's a restaurant/bar in Watertown. It's not Greenbriar.
Bars and nightclubs are a tough racket, and having your own money and reputation on the line makes you more responsible. The license is your livelihood and you have to protect it.
It will take a lot of billable hours and contrition in Albany to get a license issued again. What it should take as well is a management and business plan that sends a message of responsible stewardship. A lot of public money went into other improvements in the neighborhood, including the infamous "deck". The conduct and running of the nightclub was a disappointment.
Things happened because they were allowed to happen. As one who has made mistakes admidst years of hard work, I know these setbacks provide the opportunity to change things for the better.
Best wishes on making the necessary changes to this scenic spot on the River.
Maggie's on the River Owners An nounce Changes

Tormey Lauds New Judges

   So often people make a point of telling you what you did wrong....It was nice of Fifth Judicial District Chief Administrative Judge Jim Tormey to stop at City Hall today to tell me how pleased he is with the progress two new judges are making in clearing a case backlog.
    Judges Eugene Renzi and Catherine Palermo are tending to cases and Judge Tormey praised them both. Not that I had anything to do with the election of Renzi other than voting for him, but I did appoint Judge Palermo who Tormey called an "excellent choice".
     It's good to see the assembly line of justice running smoothly thanks to the efforts of the judges and staff in City Court.

Dog Update

    Got a call from the dog warden today and hear that the family worried about the rogue dog on Hancock Street is actually being harassed by people calling to say they should be nice to the dog that for four years has roamed the neighborhood living off food left by well intended animal lovers.
   Today the dog was in the Soluri yard again. Dog supporters had placed meatballs on his dog dish in an apparent in-your-face to the County, which was using tranquilizer meat balls to try and catch the pesky pooch.
     In any event, please don't harass the Soluri's. They are nice people and just want the stray removed from their property for safety reasons.

WDT: Horse diaper law rejected

Gouverneur has decided against putting diapers on horses....The home of the popular LifeSaver candy rejected a law to regulate the droppings of horses belonging to the Amish which use village streets.
Watertown Daily Times Horse diaper law rejected

Pension Flap Raises More Questions and Answers

The revocation of pension credits to eleven employees of the local IDA is a complicated issue dating back over a decade. Local economic development entities cropped up and have really functioned as government entities and the employees were hired as such. The actual payroll arrangements were through the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, and more recently have been defined as leased employees.
There are a couple of issues. One is what the Comptroller has ruled that these agencies are not eligible for participation in the State Retirement System. There is a body of legal opinion saying they are, as they have to comply will all the reporting and oversight rules of local governments. However, it's widely thought the Comptroller did not want a bunch of new entities in the system and has ruled accordingly. The ruling unfortunately collides with the lives of 11 people.
All that being said, the employees involved will likely take issue with the terms of their hiring and the clear representation that they are public employees. In short, you shouldn't need a $400 an hour lawyer when you take a job. That's going to be the difficult issue as employees explore their options relating to the agencies involved.
If sustained, there are lots of questions. What happens to employee contributions under Tier VI ? What happends to employer contributions over the years. ?
This is a tough one to unravel and there will likely be many lawyers in the hunt before its all done.
In the meantime, this is an issue that is unsettling to the agencies involved. Whether this arrangement was correct in the first place is an issue to be debated, but the people involved deserve better than the Comproller's protracted probe has given them.
One other resolution would be legislative, although its not clear that would be considered.
Feedback: Employees Stripped Of Pensions WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for Local News

Masonic Building Gets New Owner....Hopefully New Life

       A Chaumont area artist has apparently bought the tax sale certificate for the Masonic Temple building in Watertown in hopes of developing a multi use arts center. That tid bit came out yesterday at a meeting of Advantage Watertown, the ad hoc discussion group on downtown issues.
      At this point it's a wait and see approach as it's private property and what happens is up to the new owner.
      Also on hold downtown is the Woolworth Building project which is stalled presumably for financial reasons. There is concern the state monies committed to the project may evaporate if there is not progress soon.
      Advantage Watertown advises City Council on development issues.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Exclusive: County Has 300 Man Hours in Search for Rogue Dog on Hancock Street

       For 46 years the family of Tony Soluri has lived in one of the City's best spots...At the end of Hancock Street hill, looking out over a swath of the northside...with a pool and a deck where the Air Brake retiree, his wife, kids and grandchildren can enjoy a bit of country in the big city.
      For the last four years, the Soluri's have had to share their paradise with a rogue dog living off the land and immune to the efforts of the dog warden to catch him.
     The lab/pit mix roams the thatch covered steep hills along nearby Cleveland Street and is aggressive to the Soluris. They are afraid of the growling canine and dog warden Todd Cummings has been unable to help despite some 300 man hours spent chasing the dog. The latest tactic....$135 drugged meat balls the well fed dog won't bite on.
     Neighbors feed the dog...they built it a dog house on the hill and city police have declined to join the hunt.
     Meanwhile the Soluris and Mr. Cummings hope people will stop feeding the dog, and that someone will catch the canine and end the stalking that has consumed their retirement.

WDT: Maggies Under Water

I am normally a defender of bar owners, but at some point you have to decide between egregious sales and safety and decorum. The situation on Newell Street was not something I was involved in, but I read the police reports on Newzjunky....I could tell an ill wind was blowing.
Maggies had become the go-to night club in Watertown....a multi floor party spot on the Black River...Great concept, but you can't afford to attract attention through fights and cops.
Now they have no liquor license....It doesn't surprise me. With enough money the situation can be reversed, but there needs to be a different management ethos for the joint to survive.
Watertown Daily Times Maggie’s liquor license denied

Krol Proposal Sent to Council

    Today I sent out the proposal from former Maple City Manager John Krol for helping facilitate the city manager search for Watertown. Council members received their packet on the issue today.
    Since the Times and others have suggested I lead on the matter, I am.....This is my approach...Affordable, local, professional, and immune to individual agendas.
    The proposal from Mr. Krol will be on the City website tomorrow.

Powerball Jackpot Balloons

The increase in ticket prices has produced the kind of big, big jackpot that attracts customers to the Powerball game offered in NY and other states. The prospect for a cash value prize of nearly $200 million is enticing. I would think at some point the original and now rival LOTTO game played the same days of the week would die on the vine but so far it lingers on.
Powerball tickets are available at all Lottery agents.
Powerball - Home

Newzjunky: SLA Says No License in Force at City Nightspot

Newzjunky reports there is no alcohol being served at a popular night spot due to a lack of a valid license. I don't know the specifics but I do know what the renewal process is. It involves sending a form, a check and a bond document.
The lack of a license for whatever reason shuts off the tap for now at what has become the city's busiest watering hole and a spot that has attracted attention due to police blotter activity.
Liquor Authority Temporarily Bans Alcohol at Maggie's on the River

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Various Thoughts of No Great Importance on a Wednesday Night

     Thursday I will forward to City Council the proposal from the former Ogdensburg manager to help give structure to the Council's search for a new manager in Watertown.
     John Krol outlined the issues in such a search at a meeting with on Tuesday and promised to prepare a more formal outline for Council to ponder.
      I sent an email to the Kellie Greene campaign today formally offering her a guest spot on an entire HOTLINE show next week.
      I noticed on her FACEBOOK page a photo of her with Maricopa (AZ) County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. There were also pictures of her at the recent Chili Cook Off in Watertown.  I would lose the AZ references as while rubbing shoulder with big pols there is interesting, it also allows the carpetbagger charge to flourish.
      An interesting function of human nature is that crows and not taxes, spending or managers, seems to be the issue that is capturing the public's attention.
     On radio, that's what the calls are about and in person I get more comments on crows than anything. Like every upstate city, efforts have been focused on hazing, but the public fascination with crows may explain why 'hang 'em high' rhetoric has some traction.

Gunman with grudge against Middletown mayor shot to death while storming City Court |

A man with a grudge against the Mayor of the City of Middletown, NY was shot to death today as he stormed the city's courthouse.
Gunman with grudge against Middletown mayor shot to death while storming City Court

Sorry Danny, You Caught Me on a Bad Day

   Normally I am pretty reserved on the HOTLINE. Today, Danny Francis said something that set me off and I was a little loud. I startled my Mom who was listening on the streaming version.
    To make a long story short, I called Danny to say I was sorry for losing my temper.
That shouldn't happen, although it never hurts to have people think you are a little crazy.
     Of course I have said I will speak my mind more often since the election. I will just have to modulate the volume when doing so.

Cuomo Responds To DiNapoli Criticism: Albany Pols Resisting Change

Governor Cuomo is sparring with Albany again, telling those who will listen that capital pols are resisting change...Heading the resistance is Comptroller Tom DiNapoli who is a nice guy but clearly a tool of the public unions who want no change to the expensive defined benefit contribution system in NY.
Speaking in Syracuse the Governor says Albany lawmakers only see spending more money as a solution.
Good luck in changing anything Governor...You had your year last year and they will wear you down, the way they did Governor Pataki. Remember when George became the ally of 1199 SEIU head Dennis Rivera. By then he had been neutered by the system.
Cuomo Responds To DiNapoli Criticism: Albany Pols Resisting Change

Could Buy a Lot of Shirts With $5000

New York's Open for Business, but always willing to collect a few fines too.
An Albany-area pizza shot has been whacked for over $5K because it failed to provide enough company shirts for employees....If you work five days a week, you must be given five shirts. That's probably good business sense, but why does the state have to profiteer off it ? Well, its the same reason lots of state agencies have become shake down artists...
It's all about the cash.
Any way you slice it, state's fine takes a bite - Times Union

A Lot of People are Counting on Us to Do the Right Thing

The coverage of last night's City Council meeting was kind in that it glossed over the raw emotions and suspicions that need to be overcome in the search for a new city manager, but also in the determination of who will function in the role on an interim basis when Manager Mary Corriveau retires this spring.
After meeting with the four Council members this past two weeks, I proposed a hands-on process where Council makes the key decisions while relying on professional advice on keeping a process on track. We stayed away from head hunters which are costly and can produce dubious results.
The low key presentation by former Maple City manager John Krol seemed to me a reasonable and rationale way to manage expectations, egos, agendas and ultimately the selection of a manager.
Mr. Krol had reasearched the experience Council had in two previous searches including the grueling 13 month search after the departure of Karl Amylon in 1994. It's not rocket science and good hiring practices are already in print in materials from the International City Manager Association.
However keeping a process on track and retaining the confidence of Council members already rubbed raw over recent events would benefit from the steady hand of a trusted and respected figure like Mr. Krol.
There were different views last night, but I believe there was a general consensus on this approach.
City Council Gets Advice from Former City Manager

Santorum revives campaign with wins in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota - The Washington Post

Just when the MSM has it all decided, the voters say 'not so fast.'
Voters in MN,CO and MO yesterday delivered a body blow to the GOP's inevitable nominee. Rick Santorum won a non-binding primary in MO by thirty points. He also won caucuses in MN and CO, both contests won by Mr. Romney four years ago. In all three states Mr. Romney received far fewer voters than he got in a much more competitive primary four years ago.
After Saturday's win in Nevada, conventional wisdom had Romney the nominee. Now there is doubt.
As for Mr. Santorum, he may now become the alternative to Mr. Romney as the primaries continue. There is a reality to votes last night. It really didn't allocate delegates and Mr. Romney still has the edge in that category.
Santorum revives campaign with wins in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota - The Washington Post

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Council Hears Proposals on Recruitment

I attended a City Council meeting tonight and while I'd like to write about it, I will defer to the professionals in the AM.
   Former Ogdensburg City Manager John Krol was nice enough to come down and help shape a recruitment process. He had some great suggestions and I look forward to hearing from him on a proposal to help us further.

Doheny: ObamaCare On The Attack Against Religious Liberty

As a practicing Catholic, Mr. Doheny says he is outraged over requirements the health plans of faith based employers have to provide things like contraception, morning-after pills and sterilization which may be against the beliefs of the employer.
It's part of ObamaCare and the outrage is part of the latest GOP/FOX News outrage. Actually there are other things in ObamaCare that could be considered troublesome although not as emotional.
For instance, the City Council is restricted in implementing new contribution percentages for new hires because to do so would eliminate a "grandfather" clause for publicly run health plan. If the contributions are changed too much even for new hires, the guidance is that a whole slew of preventive medicine procedures would have to be included in what is covered. While the theory is this would decrease costs long term, in the short term it would raise costs.
This runs the risk of derailing the implementation of 25% contribution levels for new management hires. It also creates a situation where single person plans can pay up to 26% towards premiums but family plans only 19%. This increases the effective subsidy of family plan employees and may prompt employers to look even more favorably on hiring single people or married people where the prospective employee is on another plan.
There are all sorts of unintended consequences to the mandates of ObamaCare. Some may seem nice, but they are costly and take away choices traditionally made closer to home.
Doheny: ObamaCare On The Attack Against Religious Liberty Doheny for Congress

Recruitment Effort Begins

        Tonight's City Council meeting is a first step towards recruitment of a City Manager. Lawmakers will meet with retired Ogdensburg manager John Krol to gain advice on ways to approach the process.
        The meeting is open and begins at 7PM in the Council Chambers.
        City Manager Mary Corriveau's retirement announcement last night means the recruitment can proceed without ambiguities.  The differences over events up to this point cannot impede or obfuscate the task ahead.
        It will be an interesting time ahead, but the City is in good hands with the current manager, and existing staff. 
       Tonight's discussion should be interesting.

Manager Retirement Not Slowing Progress on a Range of Issues

Newzjunky caught the lead even though it was not listed in the agenda. The retirement announcment from City Manager Corriveau was one of several noteworthy items in a lengthy City Council meeting. Meanwhile progress is being made on several unresolved issues. After the annoucement, I noted the Manager's continued hard work and professionalism in the three weeks following the Council vote on her contract.
Council learned the searches for two posts in the Recreation Department resulted in 15 persons taking a Civil Service test last Saturday for the number two job and a similar number in the hunt for the Superintendent job. A decision on that post is expected soon.
On the issue of a Court Street property lost to taxes, the previous owner was the only person to submit a proposal for redevelopment and lawmakers so far seem inclined to accept his offer, despite concerns on whether he can follow through.
Council also heard loud and clear from a couple of Casey Street residents still upset with the running of an audio shop next door. The residents say the owners and employees of Audio Arsenal are deliberately cranking up car stereos in order to annoy them. While it's primarily a neighbor dispute, the City has attempted to use its new noise ordinance to resolve the matter, but so far the dispute continues.
The metal recycling center on Pearl Street was approved, and some other matters of note came up in executive session.
On street naming, I ask for drafting of a revision of city code to ensure Council approves street names on private developments.
The Council meets tonight at 7PM to discuss the search for a City Manager.
City Manager Corriveau Retires Amid Contract Quandary

Sandra Lee celebrates the Giants Super Bowl win with the team -

As NYC readies for a parade today to honor the Super Bowl champ Giants, we learn Governor Cuomo's Food Network partner missed Andy's Super Bowl party for the real thing. Sandra Lee was in Indianapolis where she partied with the team at a gala event.
Meanwhile on the other side, Patriot's QB bride Giselle Bundchen had some choice words while being heckled by Giants fans, but you know what....I am with her for sticking up for her bubby Tom while being taunted by some folks with limited manners. Come, on . You don't heckle a guy's family in an airport.
Sandra Lee celebrates the Giants Super Bowl win with the team -

WDT: McCluskly Commercial Cited

I thought this ad was incredibly hokey, but the Supreme Court race spot for Jim McCluskly featuring his daughters has won an award. Of course the biggest reward was Mr. McClusky finished number one in the race for four seats on the bench last fall.
Watertown Daily Times Local News, Sports, Features, and Community Information for Jefferson County, St. Lawrence County, and Lewis County in Northern New York

Monday, February 6, 2012

NFL, NBC Apologize After M.I.A. Flips Bird During Super Bowl Halftime Show

No need to apologize...and no need for the FCC to levy fines....Flipping the bird to Americans has gone on for's especially prevalent in self absorbed folks who derive much of their income and wealth from us. Rapper M.I.A. marred the Super Bowl half time show only in that her stunt (statement) dominated news coverage of an otherwise fun and entertaining event.
The middle finger is not that unique or profound anymore...M.I.A. joins a long list of grandstanders getting paid for their sanctimony and outrage.
NFL, NBC Apologize After M.I.A. Flips Bird During Super Bowl Halftime Show « CBS New York

Council Receives Retirement Letter....Moves Ahead on Manager Search

      City Council tonight received the retirement letter from City Manager Mary Corriveau stating she will be finished up at City Hall by the end of April at the latest.
      The notice comes three weeks after Council passed a resolution saying they would not renew her employment agreement.
     The interim period so far has been marked by hard work and professionalism, and a desire to conclude a variety of initiatives and issues.
      Meanwhile I have called a Council meeting for tomorrow night to meet with former Ogdensburg manager John Krol to hear a presentation about ways to proceed with a search.
      Also tonight Council approved a special use permit for a metals recycling center on Pearl Street across from Shootie's.

Saving Money on a Monday

   Today was a day to save some money...After years of non use I finally cut my home phone....It wasn't easy but paying $30 a month for something that gathers dust doesn't make sense....
   I do still have a Verizon land line at the bar along with Internet service and cell service. So I still contribute to their corporate well being.
   Another pet peave of late has been escalating credit card processing charges. So I called Global Systems, with whom I have done business for eight years, and I made a fuss. They redid the rates and I will be paying a lot less. It's a competitive business and I am not one to change providers endlessly, but I wish I had been a good consumer sooner.
   Next on my agenda is cable.  Direct TV is making all sorts of solicitations and my tenant just switched due to the loss of MSG (hockey).  I don't care about hockey but the rates are lower on satellite and I may switch. There is only so much extra you can pay for the privilege of watching Liz Benjamin. Heresy to say so, but these days money is tight. I will see what can be done...but that has to wait till tomorrow.

Cuomo, Senate Republicans set to battle over gerrymandering -

The proposed State Senate boundaries do just about everything to favor electing that one or two extra GOP senators needed to maintain a Republican majority....only problem is the Governor is threatening a veto..not out of fairness but more likely under pressure from his own party and the so called goo-goo's (good government groups.)
In return, Dicker reports the GOP is threatening to hold up the Governor's 2012 agenda and return Albany to chaos unless the tweeked boundaries are retained.
It's reassuring that the more things change the more they stay the same. However, it is important to retain a split legislature, and the only way to do that is to nuance the drawing of lines.
It's the old bromide that voters don't pick their representitives.....politicians pick their voters.
Cuomo, Senate Republicans set to battle over gerrymandering -

Giants to Get Parade Post Haste

Recently there was a mini-flap over the lack of a parade in NYC for returning vets from Iraq. Mayor Bloomberg said it wasn't appropriate at this time.
The Giants win the Super Bowl at 10 oclock Sunday night and the same Mayor has a press release out within hours announcing a ticker tape parade Tuesday for the gridiron champs.
Somewhere there is some irony in it.
Anyway, the parade will be fun for New Yorkers and will allow a lot of people to skate out of work in Manhattan. It will also provide gobs of overtime to city employees.

Counties Argue for Mandate Relief...Again

It's no coincidence local government leaders were in Albany last week talking about mandate relief. Groundhog Day week is a great time to do so as like in the movie its an exercise in doing the same thing over and over.
Mandate relief is the topic that allows local officials to deflect criticism of taxes and spending and its talked about every year. Of course, the mandates are all in place to appeal to one constituency or the other. Very often they are the pet issues of the public employee unions.
I know all my representitives and I have know all the ones in the past thirty years. They are not intentionally insensitive or indifferent. It's just that changing many of these things is beyond daunting.
The lesson is that enacting a mandate is dangerous as getting rid of them is tougher than removings ticks from a dog. At least with ticks you can burn 'em off with cigarette.
Watertown Daily Times Local leaders discuss mandate relief at NYSAC conference

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Was Madonna the Best Halftime Show Ever ?

Not only were fans treated to a great football game, but Madonna's halftime show may have been the best ever. Her performance and some amazing staging and choreography dazzled even the most grizzled long time watchers of the Super Bowl.
Madonna changed her outfits without a malfunction and put a little of her spicy eroticism in the act but not enough to cause a stir.
Super Bowl 2012: Madonna suffers only a small slip up during spectacular halftime show Mail Online

Giants Crush Pats 21-17

     In what was a thriller of a Super Bowl the NY Giants continued their incredible post season with a 21-17 whipping of the Pats.

WDT: A Benign Story About Me Watching the Super Bowl

Times political scribe Brian Amaral is developing a nose for news as can be seen in this interesting but otherwise meaningless bit of prose about me. At least he isn't including asides about Howard Stern, Quick Draw or Madames.
Watertown Daily Times Graham, a Jets fan, is pulling for the G-Men

WDT: Owens, Doheny campaigns plan to mirror Obama, Romney

The Congressional race will indeed mirror the national race, but if it does that may aid the incumbent, as President Obama is popular in a region where 'free stuff' is popular.
Mr. Obama carried the North Country in 2008 even winning such storied GOP counties like Oswego.
In terms of occupation, Matt Doheny is very much like Mr. Romney with strong expertise in business, finance, taxes and jobs. The downside is that all of that is easily cast as "vulture capitalism" which may fly with some in NNY who are struggling.
I have always thought Doheny's conversancy in finance was a plus and that flip chart commericals a la Ross Perot could be instructive and humanizing. Instead we will see the consultant driven spots about corporate greed on one side and the evils of Nancy Pelosi on the other.
This campaign is very predictable. Most of the votes are frozen in amber and the contest is over ten or twenty thousand people scattered in the nooks and crannies of NNY....Those folks are persuadable.. Most of the rest including the readers of this blog are not.
Watertown Daily Times Owens, Doheny campaigns plan to mirror Obama, Romney

Lowering the Barr for the Presidency

Finally a candidate we can chuckle over...a candidate for the 99%...Roseanne Barr says she is seeking the Green Party nod for President...She claims she is serious. The blue collar comedienne can also sing the National Anthem.
News from The Associated Press

Predictions Anyone ?

   When it comes to the Super Bowl, I think Tom Brady's Pats fall prey to the not-as-good-a-record, but surging-at-the-right-time Giants.
    I am thinking a score of 31-21.
    What do you think ?

WDT:Butler: Go Ahead Crows...Make My Day

The Wyatt Earp of City Council wants to start shooting crows again in a bid to scare the bejeesus out of the pesky birds in hopes they will roost somewhere else. Councilman Joe Butler, Jr. has called for "lethal" methods to be used in the hazing war against tens of thousands of birds making the City their home in winter.
The crows are creating a messy situation downtown and in some neighborhoods.
This has become an issue across upstate NY with Auburn, NY the unofficial crow capital. Auburn has been grappling with hiring of a city manager the last nine months and has just hired a man from Las Vegas to head up their city. I wonder if experience with crows was a factor in their hiring ?
When the Times called and ask me my opinion, I told them I had other things I am dealing with at the moment. Since its a sweeping issue, I would call on Governor Cuomo to convene a crow summit to come up with a solution.
Watertown Daily Times Butler: Crow hazing should include shooting birds

Mitt Romney’s Nevada caucus win: What it means

I was looking over the headlines used for Mitt Romney's win in the Nevada caucuses. "Massive", and "Overwhelming" come to mind as the MSM closes ranks behind Mr. Romney, who certainly does hold most of the cards after five contests.
However, it looks like a low turnout caucus in the Silver State and the Romney margin was under 50%. Four years ago he got 51% in a race against more noteworthy opponents. Also, Nevada is a bit of a lock for Romney as he gets all of the 2o% of voters who are Mormons.
Mr. Romney's primary opponent, Newt Gingrich, is now reportedly in debt and keeps blaming the MSM for not covering his speeches. What about those 19 debates ?
They all got covered.
It seems Rick Santorum has a better chance ot derailing Mr. Romney, but his best hope is to do well enough in the remaining primaries to have a shot at being considered for running mate.
Mitt Romney’s Nevada caucus win: What it means - The Washington Post