Saturday, December 8, 2012

USDA chief: Rural America becoming less relevant - Associated Press -

    Voters in American's rural counties voted for Mitt Romney by a 61-38 % margin...Too bad that group only represents one in seven voters and the urban areas disagreed.
     US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says rural America is becoming less relevant....
Evidence of that, he says, is the inability to pass a farm bill.
    The Secretary is likely correct.
     We are out of step with much of American because rural Americans are more self-sufficient.  That's a good thing, but it doesnt keep you from being not imporatant.
USDA chief: Rural America becoming less relevant - Associated Press -

Use of New Media Can Aid Small Business

   On Saturday evening, we were nearing 10,000 on the number of hits on the story about all night New Year's Parties at three local bars.
    It must be a story of interest, as even though it was linked to Newzjunky, the numbers are three to four times what normally happens when linked.
     In fact the story is only a little over a thousand hits away from my all time most popular blog story...that was about a kerfuffle in Alexandria Bay between the mayor and visiting bikers.
    In a world where advertising costs prohibit many small businesses from getting their message out, the Internet, blogs and sites like Newzjunky are a godsend.

Tipping is not a City in China

   With hockey so successful at the Fairgrounds Arena, I  know how hard working our part time concession help are.  At games like last night they cranked out four figure numbers in just three hours.
    As a long time member of the hospitality industry I realize the value of tips and since these folks are part timers I think they should be able to get tips. Current City policy prohibits that.
    As long as the tax laws on reporting through TEFRA are met, I don't see the problem. Obviously you don't want to solicit tips but good service should be rewarded and those who offer tips shouldn't have to be told they can't.
     Of course I have an entrepreneurial background, so my views may be tainted.

Saving Bucks Means Giving Up Some Old Friends

        As cable gets more expensive, some folks looking for value are finding other ways of feeding their TV.....Off-air signals are back !...So is streaming off the Internet. Astute shoppers can find ways to replicate cable at much less cost....
       But how do you put a price on the cable personalities ?  There's Liz...and the kid who does movie reviews...and the three very pretty weather girls....the tall traffic lady...and of course Bill Carey's mellifluous tones...And the finess lady, Marcie, who is always on the ball.

        Sometimes you have to look at value as well as price.
Cut the cord and say goodbye to cable

WATCH: Cops confront Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher hours before 'murder-suicide,'

      Police in Kansas City confronted killer/football star Jovan Belcher just hours before he killed his girlfriend and then killed himself.
      The encounter was on a city street where Belcher was asleep behind the wheel of his parked car. After learning he was a Kansas City Chief, officers let Belcher go into a nearby apartment building where he said his "girlfriend" lived.
       Lot of NY residents a little tipsy but sleeping in their parked car know the drill when you are not an NFL player.
WATCH: Cops confront Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher hours before 'murder-suicide,' race to Arrowhead Stadium in dramatic video -

Obama and Boehner Continue to Compete With Santa for Holiday Attention

       Both the White House and the GOP House are accusing each other of blocking a resolution to the 'fiscal cliff.'
       I will leave it to you to  decide who to believe.
       What's wrong with the mandated cuts due to take effect on January 1 ?   What's wrong with the tax hikes that take effect, allowing everyone to pay a little bit more....
       Cuts in spending for the Republicans....Higher taxes for the Democrats...
       Seems like everyone would be happy just letting what's in place happen.
       This is increasingly just a media event.
Obama: Republicans blocking middle-class tax cuts

WDT: Fort Drum undecided on punishment for soldier who flew upside-down flags to oppose Obama

   The soldier flying the flags at her home upside down to protest the reelection of President Obama is no newcomer to the Army.  SFC Melissa Coss got a speaking-to over the protest and she took the flags down at her Lewis County home.
    As an E-7, she had enough years in to have known her actions would likely subject her to some kind of command intervention. While the local Army post said it was undecided on a punishment, I suspect her prospects for making E-8 have dimmed.
     As for the Obama campaign, you'll remember they came up with their own official seal for the new President back in 2008. That's a flag Ms. Coss could have got in big trouble for desecrating.
Watertown Daily Times | Fort Drum undecided on punishment for soldier who flew upside-down flags to oppose Obama

WDT: Old Newsboys Day, Like Old Newspapers Struggle in a Changing World

     The Old Newsboy fundraiser for the Salvation Army is getting tougher to hold as in todays world there is less relevance to the very concept of young men being the distribution network for a newspaper. The idea of selling papers with the proceeds going to fund Christmas relief efforts by the Army is laudable, but I wonder how many people under age 50 would think to participate in a program where they buy something they don't normally buy?
Other Communities Hold Old Newsboy Days for Charity

       Delivering papers used to be one of those things young men did to 'build character', learn business skills and earn money. It was also a source of labor for the newspaper industry. The notion of getting up in the wee hours of the morning to venture out and do hard work is a little out of date, so adults deliver them nowadays.
     Maybe someday, there will be an Old Bloggers Day, but we are likely too self absorbed to do such a thing.
      Another Salvation Army fundraiser I would think is having trouble is the kettle drive. People don't have cash on them as much and credit card accepting kettles have not his NNY yet.
Watertown Daily Times | Old Newsboys Day finds new volunteers but lags in donations

Friday, December 7, 2012

Salvation Army Seeing Record Number Of Families In Need « CBS Minnesota

While it may vary from town to town, its fair to say every community has its share of those in need during the holidays. Remember to help out...Not just at the kettle but in whatever other way you can.
    Salvation Army Seeing Record Number Of Families In Need « CBS Minnesota

Mayan apocalypse: panic spreads as December 21 nears - Telegraph

    I will absolutely not worry about the fiscal cliff until after December 21, the day the Mayan calendar predicts the end for all.

   It only makes sense...Why get worked up over nothing ?
Mayan apocalypse: panic spreads as December 21 nears - Telegraph

Hockey a Hit So Far

    This year's emergence of professional hockey at the Fairgrounds Arena couldn't have come at a better time, what with the  NHL kaput and fans in need of the kind of hard charging and exciting hockey provided by the Privateers of the Federal Hockey League.
Tonights Game at the Fairgrounds

     Tonights game like many attracted a good crowd and I have been making a point of talking to fans, workers and others about how the whole thing is going.
     Moving the Privateers here is something Councilman Smith brought to my attention and following the ArenaGate episode, it seemed  a great initiative to ramp up use of the facility.
     It has worked well, and all the feed back I get is positive.....Other groups still get their time there.....the concessions are working well....the quality of play is excellent.
     It will be good to look back at the season when it ends to see if what's gone one can be built upon.  Good team effort.

The Military Knows It Has a Morality Problem -

    Is the Petraeus infidelity scandal the tip of a broader issue of moral decay in the armed forces ?
    This article in the conservative National Journal makes that case citing adultery, sexual abuse, cashing in, battlefield misconduct and a bunch of other things that suggest there is something amiss after a decade of war.
     Of course, you can write an article shopping a narrative quite easily. There are always things you can string together in a magazine article.
     I think if there are character issues its because the armed forces operate within the context of a society where anything goes and everything is no one's fault.
     You could have written the same thing in the Viet Nam era...lot's of pot smoking, adultery, massacres and black market stuff....It always goes on. It's called life.

The Military Knows It Has a Morality Problem -

Transsexual hooker takes stand against fireman ex and accuses him of violence during their split -

     That's the difference between upstate and downstate...If our Fire Chief said he had a trannie problem, I'd tell him to take the truck to AAMCO.
      In NYC its a different story altogether.
Transsexual hooker takes stand against fireman ex and accuses him of violence during their split -

Jacintha Saldanha: Family's grief at 'suicide' of nurse who transferred DJs' hoax Kate Middleton hospital call | Mail Online

   A stupid radio hoax by a pair of Aussie DJs turned terribly sour when the butt of their joke committed suicide after being embarassed by the phony phone call.
    A nurse tending to Princess Kate was duped into thinking Buckingham Palace was on the line and she relayed information about Kate's hospital stay. Turns out it was a hoax.
DJ Mel Greig Was In on Tragic Hoax

     It was all very funny til the veteran nurse....humiliated and shamed....took her own life. Real funny.
Jacintha Saldanha: Family's grief at 'suicide' of nurse who transferred DJs' hoax Kate Middleton hospital call | Mail Online

Allen West spent $18 million in losing effort

    Spending $4.2M to get elected to Congress may seem like  a lot...It is but that's what Democrat Patrick Murphy spent to win his Florida district....
    His opponent, incumbent Republican Allen West spent over $18M.....On a Congressional race !
If Only He's Had Another Couple of Million...Crazy Spending in Florida House Race

    A pol told me this past year, you better have a least a year of your life and three million dollars if you want to run for Congress. (How many of us have that ?)  It's clear now, even that amount may not be enough in many districts.
    We are rapidly getting the best Congress money can buy.
Allen West spent $18 million in losing effort - Tarini Parti -

Pearl Harbor dead remembered on 71st anniversary

    There's been a lot of world changing events in the interim but for those coming of age on this day 71 years ago, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a life shaping day.
     The event is still acknowledged in Hawaii, but for most, its just a December day as history has a way of putting all events in perspective.
      It's still a day that lives in infamy, but there are other such days too, 9/11 being high on that list.
My Way News - Pearl Harbor dead remembered on 71st anniversary

Steve Behm, Retired Broadcaster and Bon Vivant

     Since his retirement from radio in LA,  my friend and former Watertown radio icon Steve Behm seems to have become a professional Facebook poster.
      He's in Tennessee...he's all over the country posing in front of landmarks....eating all sorts of pictures with all sorts of attractive women...chroncling his retirement for all of us to see.

     It makes retirement look like retirement home or shuffleboard all day. Just posing and telling us about how good a time you are having.
     Steve, keep up the good work so we can all live vicariously through you.

WDT: Time For The Periodic Story About Spending Bed Tax $$$

    Hotel owners got a bed tax because of the notion its up to government to promote their business and fill their rooms.
     Every once and a while the media goes to them and creates a narrative about how the government should spend the money as if its a separate and distinct pot of cash the tourism industry controls.
    It's not.
     The 3% occupancy tax was put in place during an era when government was growing and lawmakers were grasping at revenue streams. That's how we got school districts taxing cell phone bills and cities taxing cable bills.
     Government can spend money on tourism promotion whether or not there is a bed tax, and the fact the occupancy tax was written up to divide the money certain ways or attempt to proscribe its spending was more a function of providing the political cover at the time for its passage.
     Kind of like creating a lottery and then assuaging anxiety over its morality by saying its for the children. 
      If the hospitality industry wants to lobby for bigger appropriations for promotion of their product, they are welcome to do so. I will grant you having the bed tax makes that easier, because you can argue that the public money being spent is not coming from the "taxpayers".   That's a slippery slope as I have sat at many a meeting where public funds are expended for museums, zoos and concert promotions all on the premise that it's not "taxpayers" money.
      In many ways a "tourism" fund is in effect 'walking around money' for local boards when people come to them asking for some money. Doesn't make it bad, it just means that's what it is. 
Watertown Daily Times | Hotel operators want to see more bed tax revenue spent on promotion

Marijuana's health effects: Memory problems, addiction

   While marijuana is billed as a tax producer and generally benign recreational drug, experts say it does have its health impacts including dependancy, memory loss, mood changes and other things that mean there is a price for its widespread use.
    With the drug now legal in one state and the trend likely to continue, its use will pose issues for employers as its use could affect performance and judgment in certain ways.
While initial laws try to encourage its use in private settings, you know darn well it will creep into public venues and users will be emboldened to light up where they please as they did at the Space Needle in Seattle two nights ago. Anyone who believes a 21 year old age will be enforceable is clearing smoking it.
    It's one of those things where prohibition didn't work, but encouraging its widespread use is of dubious value too.
Marijuana's health effects: Memory problems, addiction

Texas Won't Mess With NY When It Comes to Spending $$$

    A floundering Florida in recent years left New York still in third place in population according to the 2010 Census behind California and Texas.
     But when it comes to raising and spending money, NY comes in a solid second ahead of the Lone Star State despite having six million fewer people.
     New York also leads the nation in lottery sales with seven billion dollars wagered...and with more casinos on the way, we will be one state full of gamblers.
    Capitol Confidential » Census state fiscal data, or: We’re No. 2! We’re No. 2!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

In Deferiet, The Political Play of the Year

   The newly appointed Mayor of Deferiet was on display tonight at the Bernier Carr Christmas party.  Janet Zando pulled off a brilliant move as she got herself appointed to the vacant mayoral seat after the incumbent was defeated by a write-in candidate who then declined to take the oath.
Mayor Janet Zando and Me
        Mayor Zando is a niece of the longtime County Legislator Gino Zando, but her ascent in Deferiet politics is nothing short of amazing.
        I also ran into mayors from West Carthage, Herrings and Gouverneur at the soire held at the Black River Valley Club.

Congressman Owens Frustrated Over Fiscal Cliff Talks | WWNY TV 7

        Congressman Owens says he is frustrated over the lack of information on the "fiscal cliff" talks....Sir, don't let it bother you...That's how parties work...Deals are cut at the leadership level and you vote for it.
         Just the way it is.
Congressman Owens Frustrated Over Fiscal Cliff Talks | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Pot Smokers Light Up in Northwest

P   Now that pot smoking is legal in Washington State, is the War on Drugs losing its long time argument that weed is the gateway drug to a life of perdition. ?
Pot Heads Gather Under Space Needly to Light Up
      There are still many ministerial issues to be worked out in Washington, but the camel has the nose under the tent and the prohibition on pot seems to be unraveling.

Cutting Consumption on Lighting is Possible with New Bulbs

   It's very hard to judge the trend in your Grid bill when there are so many factors that go into monthly usage, but I think my consumption is down along with the bill as a result of a big changeover to LED lighting both in and outside of my Pearl Street buisness.
   While a bit pricey, the bulbs and fixtures do provide lots of light for less money.
    I would recommend conversion, paticularly of outdoor fixtures. In a year or so, the prices will become even more attractive.
Energy Saving Lighting Alternatives: LEDs, CFLs & OLEDs – T. Rowe Price

WDT: Listen to Governor Rendell ?

    Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says NY would be crazy not to allow fracking to recover vast amounts of natural gas, but the Governor may be underestimating the sanity of NY pols who think prosperity comes from raising wages by statute rather than developing resources for jobs.
    Albany continues to yield to the DEC crowd and is preventing the issuing of rules on fracking. Everybody knows there should be rules and precautions, but the process could help the upstate economy.
     Demographics and elections are leaving upstate with less and less of a voice and the state's environmental lobby is littered with zealots.
Watertown Daily Times | Fracking

I-781 to Fort Drum opens today | NCPR News

    A nearly $60M connector road from I-81 to Fort Drum opens today, although a more formal dedication involving the Governor is expected in the coming weeks.

   I-781 is suppose to ease the flow of traffic from 81 into the post, although its high cost is a little staggering. This is the first three number Interstate spur north of Syracuse, but it's not likely there will be anymore limited access highways built.
    I-781 to Fort Drum opens today | NCPR News

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rex Puts Himself on the Line With Sanchez Start on Sunday

   JETS coach Rex Ryan took the traditional choice...he went with the high payroll guy to be his starting quarterback on Sunday versus the Jacksonville Jaguars.
    Mark Sanchez will start and not Greg McElroy, who rescued the team last Sunday after the long-struggling Sanchez was benched.

     The Jags are 2-11, so they may be right up Sanchez alley....but he was unable to handle a horrible Arizona team four days ago.
      Still Jets' starter, Sanchez out to prove himself - Yahoo! News

Sharpton blasts NY Senate power sharing deal - Times Union

   Governor Cuomo says he will work with whomever supports his agenda...And many think the Governor gave tacit support to the Independent Democratic Caucus, who took their five members and cut a power sharing deal with the GOP.

    However, the shadow behind NYC Democratic Senators says the deal stinks...Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC commentator, says the party sold out its minority base by cutting a deal with Senator Jeff Klein.  Rev. Sharpton says the Caucus only has one black member.....that would be Senator Malcom Smith who joined the group this week.
Sharpton blasts NY Senate power sharing deal - Times Union

Upside Down Flags Reported Down...

    A Fort Drum soldier flying her American flags upside down to protest the reelection of President Obama has folded her cards after apparent pressure from her commanders.
    The flags are down as post officials said they are "monitoring" the situation.
Update: Drum 'Monitoring' Copenhagen Flag Situation | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Response Brisk as Only Three Gin Mills Plan New Year's Bashes

   SO FAR, 10,000 People Have Read About New Years Eve. Tickets are in short supply for the all nighter at Fort Pearl.  Stop by and get yours today !

Three bars in Jefferson County have filed and received permission to be open all night on New Year's Eve.
    They are Fort Pearl and Clueless in Watertown and Skiff's in Alexandria Bay.
     Those wanting the permit must have applied by November 16 and paid a $61 fee for the permission to be open from 3 AM to 8 AM
     While bars in Jefferson County close at 2AM, all bars are allowed to stay open till 3AM on New Year's. No Lewis County bars applied and in the Big County, only Maxfields in Potsdam is in for the all-nighter.
     At Fort Pearl, we are selling advance sale tickets for the party for $5.  They are required for admission. 
      The Skiff's party should be fun. That's a nice bar and the resorts in the Bay are within walking distance.....Can't go there though, as I am working that night along with Diana and Colin Burns.....The Sheriff's son.

I Love NY Bureacracy

      I spent a half an hour on hold today waiting to talk to someone from the Department of State about an assumed name certificate I mailed back on November 7 and the check hasn't been cashed...I assume it was lost in a great pile in the capital.
     The lady I got on the phone was very nice even though she couldn't find my filing. She did explain how I could re-file by fax and how to pay by card. So I downloaded that form and checked the box for "expedited" service at an extra fee.  They also had "same day" and "two hour" expedited fees, but they were too pricey.
     We will see how this works.
      This is what I get for doing things by the book......Still cheaper than paying a lawyer three or four hundred bucks to type up a form.
       I think Governor Cuomo has to start telling his employees to open letters and deposit checks right away...That's how its done in the real world.

Bernard H. Brown Jr. Named 2012 Israel A. Shapiro Award Winner

   Congrats to Bernie Brown from Bernier Carr Engineering for being named as this year's Shapiro Award for Citizenship.  Mr. Brown is CEO of the firm which is located in the former Navy Reserve Center on Mullin Street...
Shapiro Winner Announced Today at Flower Library
    Just reusing that building deserves an award but Bernie does a lot of good things and the honor is well deserved.
    The Shapiro Award is awarded by the Chamber of Commerce.
Bernard H. Brown Jr. Named 2012 Israel A. Shapiro Award Winner

Study: NY Easiest Place to Buy the Devil's Brew

      New York State has a third of it's "minors" admitting they drink and many say they have no problem getting the Devil's Brew. 
       The reason is a large swath of the population just doens't support the current drinking age....Many do, but from college presidents to police chiefs, the support is spotty for what is viewed as hypocritical and unenforecable and in many cases unwanted regulation of adult behavior.
       Since lowering the drinking age is politically impossible, we will continue with a tolerance  of drinking on the down low with occasional expressions of outrage and stepped up enforcement here and there.
       Fact is a lot of people don't consider a twenty year old with a beer to be "underage drinking."  It may be illegal, but with all the things 18+ people participate in as adults, the 21 year old age was never destined to succeed.
        New York easiest place for teens to illegally buy booze, a new study reports -

Critics say Jeffrey Klein, the new co-leader of the state Senate, just craves power  - NY Daily News

   Democrats say he is too ambitious...too craven...too desirous of power and position...
Meet rogue Democrat and now Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx.
    Mr. Klein won his fifth term this year as the nominee of both the Democratic and Republican parties, although obviously it's being a Dem that got him where he is.
     Now he has positioned his "Independent Democratic Caucus" into a five person power grab that Dems call a "coup". He even dates one of the other members.
      Mr. Klein says he is practicing a new kind of coalition politics that is needed in Albany. Democratic stalwarts are thinking in the old paradigm. We won. We get the perks. We decide on the agenda.
       Critics call Mr. Klein a Judas, and in cutting the deal the GOP may find its not as much in power as they are used to in the upper house.
       After seeing what happened in 2009 when the Dems briefly controlled the Senate, and having followed the careers of the NYC pols that dominate their caucus,  Mr. Klein's gambit (by the way, ambitious, self-serving pols are not new) is a symbol of his own ambitions, but he may provide some moderation in a state where we are always just a whisker away from higher taxes and more regulation.

Critics say Jeffrey Klein, the new co-leader of the state Senate, just craves power  - NY Daily News

While President Seeks Higher Rates for the Rich, There's No Talk of Other Ways to Reform Taxation

   While the President fixates on marginal tax rates in his bid to make the rich pay "their fair share",  there is a body of evidence the rest of the tax code is so loaded with special treats, that the rate hike is just catnip for the "middle class" that just reelected Mr. Obama.
    The home mortgage interest deduction is not used as much by those with lower cost housing, as it may or may not provide much more than the standard short form deduction.
     For high end home buyers, the deduction is very advantageous, hence the notion deductions should be more the focus and that a rate increase will do little to raise money from people well versed in avoiding taxes.
      The middle class and poor are being fooled by the debate over rates. The way taxes are levied by all levels of government creates a far more complex and vexing situation than the President lets on with his very simplistic yearnings.

Mortgage deduction is popular, but few claim it

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Maple City Mayor Visits Pearl Street

   Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson stopped by Fort Pearl this evening as he was in town for some calling hours.
    Hizzoner and I caught up on last year's elections and on what is going on in our cities. Mayor Nelson is also President of the NY Conference of Mayors, so I got some of the scoop on things at that level too.
Mayor Visits Fort Pearl
   We talked about his race last year....about the new city manager in the 'burg and about the common issues facing us all on the budget front. His City Council just approved a new budget.
    Mayor Nelson says he enjoys his post and harbors no further political ambitions other than the good work he does in the sleepy riverside city.

Bob Costas calls Jovan Belcher commentary “a mistake”

      Good for him...He admitted the gun control commentary offered up during Sunday football was wrong.
       Bob Costas of NBC delivered the opinion piece in the wake of Saturday's murder/suicide involving KC Chiefs player Jovan Belcher.
       We now know he had a habit of abusive relationships and was drinking and more with another woman the night before he went and shot to death his girlfriend and the mother of their child. In a very nice touch, this craven murderer did the deed in front of the three month old as well as his own mom who was helping take care of the child. Then he went to the stadium and offed himself in front of his coach.
      Guys like this are not an argument for gun control...they are an argument against the silly, immature gangster culture in much of professional sports.
         Now for this shrine to Belcher set up at his Long Island home.......Give me a break..  The guy murdered a woman and left an infant an orphan. I don't celebrate anybody's death, but the shrine is part of what's wrong with society. People are actually looking at the perp as the victim.  Good grief !

Bob Costas calls Jovan Belcher commentary “a mistake”

Political Sleight of Hand Yields Senate Coalition -

    Nothing galls the true believers more than the notion that party labels don't mean that much anymore....such it is in Albany where the GOP has teamed up with the five member Independent Democratic Caucus to run the Senate after January 1st.
    It may seem a loss for the left, but the deal will allow so called "progressive" issues to come to the floor for a vote...Things like minimum wage hikes  and campaign finance reform.
     It's just the Senate will not be run by NYC Democrats who botched the job three years ago.  
      Earlier I referred to Sen. Dean Skelos as the Mark Sanchez of Albany....Still true as he is the starting QB only as long as there are no setbacks....then the fans will abandon him quickly.
      Democrats have called the coalition a "coup".  Middle Class Mike calls it heresy and thinks the Governor is a Pontious Pilate-like figure for not doing something to stop it.
Albany pols confirm agreement to team up -

Queens Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith is joining with Republicans in coalition -

    Insiders call him "smiling Malcolm", but Democrats are likely not smiling as Senator Malcolm Smith of Queens is joining the Indepenent Democratic Caucus, which reportedly will team with Republicans to keep the GOP in charge of the State Senate.
     Followers of Albany remember Senator Smith was in the leadership role for a time during the disastrous and brief Democratic control of the Senate a couple,three years back.
    He says that showed him how dysfunctional Albany can be.
    Who would have thought Patty Ritchie would have Smiling Malcolm to thank for keeping all those majority perks. She should call Gray's and have a poinsettia sent to him.

Queens Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith is joining with Republicans in coalition -

Queens father fatally crushed by train after deranged man flings him onto Midtown subway tracks -

       A 58 year old Queens man name Kim Suk Han was crushed by the Q train yesterday and a photographer caught the man's final seconds alive trying to struggle back on the platform after another deranged straphanger had pushed him on the tracks.
       You wonder why more people weren't scurrying to trackside to help lift the man, but its hard to know exactly how it played out. The photographer says he was using his camera flash to alert the train.  It's a creepy scene.


Queens father fatally crushed by train after deranged man flings him onto Midtown subway tracks -

WDT: Why The DC Talk on Middle Class Tax Rates is Specious

    As we follow with rapt interest the debate over middle class tax rates and increasing the top marginal rate for those rich SOB's, it's good to take note of all the little niche taxes paid by well, the middle class and the rich SOB's.
     The hotel occupancy tax is one of those things that adds to the cost of middle class families taking a vacation. Betcha never heard of it phrased that way.
     There is also sales tax on that hotel room, unless you are another government entitity, then you don't pay either.
     A franchise fee here...a surcharge there (remember the 911 tax ?). Don't forget excise taxes on everything from bourbon to tires.
      The taxes you hear talked about on the news are only a small part of the wide ranging array of levies you face....
      You middle class SOBs.Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson County bed tax revenue continues to grow

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cuomo rejects proposals to increase booze tax, place limits on bars -

   Governor Cuomo is fighting the crazies, but if the Middle Class Mike/Al Sharpton coalition seizes the Senate, who knows what might happen ?
   The Governor has rejected his own Health Department's call for higher taxes on alcohol....When all else fails in the capital, tax sin...The sin taxers forget we live in a country where two states just approved sale of pot....
    In NY, people are skirting cigarette taxes in droves and as one of the few cash businesses left, the purveyors of the Devil's Brew can adjust their tax burden at will.
    These simpletons and latter day Carrie Nation's just don't get it.....Escapism is in.
     The Governor clearly watches his gal pal Sandra Lee's holiday specials which feature holiday drinks....Message....there's nothing wrong with enjoying yourself.
Cuomo rejects proposals to increase booze tax, place limits on bars -

Buerkle's Capitol Hill office relocated to basement; Maffei begins transition |

   Losing is bad enough, but in the Congress you get relegated to a basement cubicle in your final weeks as the incoming Member gets situated....
   I guess its reenforcement in case you really hadn't realized you had lost.
Buerkle's Capitol Hill office relocated to basement; Maffei begins transition |

Boehner Sends Cliff Counter, But Revenue Too Light for White House -

   Republicans say they want $800B in new revenue...The White House says that is not enough...The parlor game goes on in DC over the "fiscal cliff" with a GOP proposal out today.
    Can I say I don't believe anybody's numbers.....All these cuts and revenues are theoretical and just big numbers designed to impress.
    In's all bullshit.
Boehner Sends Cliff Counter, But Revenue Too Light for White House -

Council Supports Woolworth Project

   City Council will act in two weeks on a motion of support for the developers of the Woolworth Building. Lawmakers are supportive of a request to provide land for parking and agree to a tax deal.
   The building received a boost today as it was learned the NY Restore  grant has been increased back to its original $2.5M.
    Council also approved a zone change on Coffeen Street for parcels east of Sboro's Restaurant. A special use permit was defeated for a Morrison Street parcel.

What Do Dean Skelos and Mark Sanchez Have in Common ?

      Fighting and trash talking in the state's Senate Democratic caucus is making it hard to herd the cats and form a majority, according to the Daily News' Ken Lovett.
       The comparison of the Independent Democratic Caucus to the "Four Amigos" from a few years back has rankled Sen. Jeff Klein, leader of the caucus.
        Efforts by rabble rouser Al Sharpton to inject himself into the process (he's not elected to anything) and a possible leadership fight among Democrats has complicated what seems to be a numerical advanctage in the upper house.
      Meanwhile many are wondering how GOP Majority Leader Dean Skelos could have bobbled away the advantage.
      Senator Skelos is rapidly becoming the Mark Sanchez of the Republican caucus and may be headed for the door as well.

There’s More Where That Came From (Updated)

Pearl Street Bar Czars

     Two Pearl Street bar magnates gathered Sunday night to discuss the day's football games as both our teams won.
     Steve "Shootie" Romig and I opened our bars back in 1985 and are both still kicking, although Shootie maintains a much more leisurely schedule.
      There are fewer and fewer neighborhood bars and sharing the block with Steve has been fun over the years.

‘Fiscal cliff’ proposals fail to add up to amount needed - City & Region - The Buffalo News

    Maybe we shouldn't get caught up in all the media hype about the 'fiscal cliff' and how we have to avoid it all costs.
   So what if tax rates revert to pre Bush levels and as for the FICA reduction put in place a couple of years back, that needs to expire too.
    An analysis of the rival proposals shows none of them balance the budget anyway.
    Besides, who among us doesn't believe there will be another crisis orchestrated for months down the road and that the media will talk endlessly about the horrible fate that awaits us ?

     I have heard "wolf" enough times....It's like those end of the world predictions we chat about but don't take seriously.

‘Fiscal cliff’ proposals fail to add up to amount needed - City & Region - The Buffalo News

Lawmakers to Discuss Woolworth's Future Monday | WWNY

      The meandering fate of the Woolworth Building leaves City Council with a familiar conundrum. Do nothing and the result is certain. Do something and the same may happen but there is a chance the centerpiece building of downtown survives.
     The day of reckoning for the building has been coming for some time and that's why the City's three living mayors have penned a joint letter in support of the building's latest developer and latest effort at salvation.
       Council will be asked to formally affirm support for developer David Gallo's plans for an eight figure rehab financed with the help of the NYS tax credits and grants.
       Lawmakers to Discuss Woolworth's Future Monday | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Dicker: GOP Plans Court Delays to Keep Control If Only for a Time

    It's the Albany way....Fred Dicker reports on a secret GOP plan to keep up court challenges in two close but likely losing efforts for upstate seats, thus denying Democrats an actual majority come January and allowing the Republicans to organize the upper house at least temporarily. That means perks.
     It's another sad commentary on the obviation of election results through endless lawyering. It now appears Senator Stephen Saland has lost his Poughkeepsie seat by 1700 votes but the GOP is willing to keep up the court fights just to prevent the seating of the new senator. The other district in doubt is closer but experts do not think Republican George Amedore can prevail either.
       The year began with most observers concluding the GOP would hold their majority, but voters seem to have forgotten the dismal Democratic majority of 2010 and Obama/Gillibrand coattails flipped the house.
      Add to this the angling of the Independent Democratic Caucus and we head to New Year's with control very much in doubt.
         Then there is Governor Cuomo, who seems content to watch a weak and wobbly Legislature bow to his will.
        Albany is back.
Republicans aim to delay election results to get majority leader -

Sunday, December 2, 2012

NY Post: Fans Want Plug Pulled on Sanchez Years

    An on-line poll shows JETS fans want Mark Sanchez gone...Only five percent say he should start next week's game against the Jaguars.
    Fifty-five percent want Greg McElroy, who won today's game, and 40% want Tim Tebow.
     Coach Rex Ryan would be nuts to start Sanchez.
McElroy replaces Sanchez, leads Jets over Cardinals — VOTE: who should start next week? -

Superintendents say many school districts will be insolvent in 4 years - City & Region - The Buffalo News

      So, if you know you are going to "run out of money in four years",  why not use some of that vision, leadership and superior education to do something.
     Could be consolidations...could be something else....
     The superintendents are the smart guys in the room, and if they aren't the money is there....Just raise taxes. A guy just got elected President by promising to do just that.
Superintendents say many school districts will be insolvent in 4 years - City & Region - The Buffalo News

JETS Rebound Behind McElroy at QB

      After an ineffective Mark Sanchez was benched, third string backup and former Alabama star Greg McElroy led Gang Green to a 7-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals in a positively ugly game in the Meadowlands.
      McElroy played his first NFL game and threw his first ever big league TD pass to erase a 3-0 Cardinal lead.
      The JETS defense was spot on but Sanchez three three picks in the first half and was unable to score following his humiliating 49-19 loss to the Pats on Thanksgiving.
      The JETS move to 5-7 and face Jacksonville next week.
      The question is, will coach Rex Ryan use McElroy to start against the Jags ?
      McElroy had led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season in 2009 and SEC and BCS championships.

Freedom of Expression or a Step Too Far? | WWNY TV 7

   This story has network news written all over it...A Fort Drum soldier living in Copenhagen NY flying her US flags upside down to protest the reelection of President Barack Obama.
    FOX would love it as a way of advancing the narrative that our military heroes are wary of the President....and MSNBC would love it as an example of latent racism among the birther crowd.

     In any event, once this hits an assignment desk in the real world, something will likely happen.
     As for the owner of the flag, if she is a soldier I am sure there will be some counseling from her boss on Monday about just who the Commander in Chief is.
Freedom of Expression or a Step Too Far? | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

the circus: Booze is the Buzz in the Bay

      A move is afoot to distill spirits in Alexandria Bay. Businessman Roger Reifensnyder, who I believe was into swimsuits at one time, is planning the Dark Island Distillery for a spot in the Bay, although the mashing operation will occur at his farm in Hammond, he says.
     The Thousand Islands had a history during Prohibition of bootlegging booze from the wets in Canada to the dry United States.
       The Bay needs to be more edgy, so let's hope this effort succeeds.
the circus: Booze is the Buzz in the Bay

As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price -

    In a country where the political leadership continues to boast how it "created" jobs....It's always interesting when the occasional news story comes along disputing the conventional wisdom about the kind of "economic development" that has gone unquestioned in recent decades.
    Evidence continues to mount that is contrary to current practice, and routine approval of tax breaks, while still the norm, is meeting some resistance.
    It's an interesting debate that is going on everywhere.
As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price -

Gay Marriage Spoof Video Sends Homorous Message to Straight America

   A humorous video supporting same sex marriage provides a chuckle but also underscores this one time taboo codified in laws touting "defense of marriage" is now increasingly accepted.
    Three state approved SSM this year in referendum and that brings to nine the number of states where such unions are legal. The Supreme Court is pondering whether to take a case involving the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1990s measure to give worried pols cover on the issue.
     Women marrying women and then lighting up a doobie to celebrate. Times they are a changing.
The Unsolicited Project: Woman vow to marry boyfriends in gay marriage spoof | Mail Online

High Times in Seattle Create Whole New Set of Bureaucrats

      For years it's been going from seed to market with regularity, but with Washington State voters approving the sale of marijuana, the state Liquor Control Board is being tasked to create the regimen for selling and taxing what is now illegal and sold on the down low.
      The Board says its going to have to hire a expert on guide them on how to control the product the way alcohol is. 
      If its like NY, you'd have liquor stores selling pot but unable to sell the potato chips that go with it.
       Liquor Control Board to invent a pot market, from seed to store | Local News | The Seattle Times

Holiday Tipping Guide for 2012 -

    The range of occupations expecting a tip is expanding. Letter carriers, personal trainers, dog walkers, housecleaners, doormen, small city mayors, and school teachers are all listed in a guide on who to tip and how much.
      I would think the doorman at one of those ritzy Fifth Avenue addressses must pull in some cash this time of year and who wants a dirty look all year every time you come home.
       If you have the means and the service is good, there's nothing wrong with a gift, but with some occupations it seems awkward, but it shouldn't. What's wrong with handing an underpaid local reporter a $20 for the job they do ?
     Holiday Tipping Guide for 2012 - How Much to Tip For the Holidays

Hungry Dolphin "Traumatizes" Youngster as Parents Videotape It for Posterity

        When you read this account of a dolphin biting a little girl at Sea World in Florida, you can just imagine the lawsuit.  An eight year old whose "favorite" animals are dolphins who is mentally traumatized after the animal lunged up out of the water and grabbed her arm.
      Of course the kid was holding a tray used to hold fish people were throwing to the dolphins...and she was told repeatedly not to pick up the tray. Seems to me the kid got a lesson in following instructions and in being cautious around wild animals.
Honey, Hold These Fish While Mommy Gets Evidence
   The parents say they are not looking to sue, but by going to the media, they will surely get calls from helpful attornies. Their friends will tell them they should sue.
The parents will surely angle for a settlement. Who wouldn't like an extra, say 20 or 30 grand, just for a little bite mark from Flipper ?

Girl, 8, bitten by dolphin at SeaWorld | News - Home