Saturday, December 29, 2012

Foreign Students at Pete's

    Pete's Restaurant is quite a melting pot...I just met a couple of young men visiting our city from Russia and Norway.

Pearl Street Pub Welcomes 2013 After Good Year in '12

    For all the talk of a flagging economy, the year gone by on Pearl Street was much improved from 2011, although talking numbers is dangerous in NYS as you don't want to give the impression you can afford some fines.
    Of course, my idea of a good year is different from some...Being able to pay the bills...making improvements in the business....paying the employees well....and being able to eat at Pete's whenever I want...That's success to me.
Jackie from Paychex chats with Airman Emily...Two Stars of a Successful 2012

    I am optimistic about 2013, although I know deployments will take a toll. Our new look and new branding as the Pearl Street Pub should be a plus for the year ahead and we all look forward to greeting you, starting with Monday night at our all-night New Year's Eve Party.
    Happy New Year from Pearl Street !

OMG What's that Hoodie Say ?

   Is there a coarsening of society ?...a series of messages and double entendres that leads to all sorts of social pathologies.
   Take this hoodie from a vineyard worn by a lovely middle age professional woman from Watertown. It's kind of a chuckle for those rounded pebbles in the stream of life....But what of the young and impressionable who might think the joke is carte blanche for something else ?
       Can't we just return to a simpler time when piety reigned and a finely turned ankle was the most pronounced sexual imagery around ?  That time the late Alex Duffy talked about when he related stories about the madams on Court Street far away from the more dignified parlors of dignity and decorum south of First Pres.
        I guess not.

Latest Hate Crime Doesn't Require a Bushmaster...Just a Push Master

    What law can we pass to stop this latest fad among the homicidal,the crazies, and the haters ? A 31 year old woman who told police she hates Hindus and Muslims pushed a Queens man in front of the No. 7 train and killed him.
     Long before this, I was never one to stand near the edge of the platform till the train got there. I don't need to be first on that bad.
Woman charged with murder as hate crime after shoving man in front of subway -

Pete Rose Gambles on Reality TV to Resurrect His Image -

        That's a Hall of Fame fiance Pete Rose has and now he has his own reality show with her....Just can't get a ticket to Cooperstown.
         Baseball's all-time hit king is 71 years old now and will have to find validation through a hot wife and a reality show.
TLC's "Hits & Mrs." documents life of Pete Rose and fiancee Kiana Kim -

Biden, Owens Get an Overdue Raise

       Vice President Biden will get a $6400 raise come April and Congressman Owens a $900 raise as a result of President Obama lifting a pay freeze for federal workers. Obviously the electeds get the publicity, but the government bleeding out $1.6Trillion a year is still spending, and well it should.
       President Obama won the election and there was no doubting his agenda.
       Besides, federal workers need a little love, especially the VP.
       I don't mind the raise because I believe you have a right to get what you pay for. Regrettably, our problem is not what Congress is paid, as its a tough job to land.......Our's is spending problem, or so we are told.
      Since there seems to be no consequence to such spending (been going on for years) maybe the President is right ?
Obama Orders Pay Raise for Biden, Members of Congress, Federal Workers | The Weekly Standard

NYPOST: Neighbor Ruins Her Life Helping Crazy Neighbor

    So it was a 24 year old neighbor woman who went with the Webster, NY man to Gander Mountain and bought the weapons ultimately used in the the Christmas Eve shootings of two firemen and the wounding of two others.
   Dawn Nguyen went to the store with the William Spengler and while he picked out the weapons, she claimed the guns were for her and police allege she knew the shooter was not able to buy guns due to his previous felony conviction for killing grandma with a hammer.
      It's not uncommon for people to ask someone else to stand in for them to get around a government rule. Buying guns has a lot more profound implications than having someone else turn in a lottery ticket just to avoid that child support lien.
Gal bought guns for upstate fireman killer: cops -

The Washington Post: Deal Said Near, But Getting There Means Deficit Reduction Walks the Plank

    Now they are saying a deal is within reach on the "fiscal cliff" but it sounds like the deal totally abandons the notion of deficit reduction in favor of the shiny ornnaments of so called middle class tax cuts and restoration of spending slated to be cut under 'sequestration'.

      No where is there discussion of the fate of the FICA payroll tax which is due to revert to 6.2.% after a couple years at 4.2%.....Just what did that reduction accomplish ?
     Now people who get a little year end raise from the boss will know it will all go to Washington. Those not in line for a raise will have to tighten the belt a little in 2013.
Agreement within reach on ‘fiscal cliff’ deal - The Washington Post

WDT: Watertown businessman to host “gun forum” at Dulles building Jan. 4

      Watertown businessman Bart Bonner has rented the State Office Building auditorium for a "gun forum" on January 4. Mr. Bonner wants local police and state electeds to discuss with the public issues related to school safety, mental health and gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook killings.
      Mr. Bonner is an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment, but holding the forum shows how much this incident has impacted public debate over these issues.
Watertown Daily Times | Watertown businessman to host “gun forum” at Dulles building Jan. 4

Friday, December 28, 2012

Amid Fiscal Stalemate, Media Counts Hours Likes Its A Moon Launch

      All weekend we will hear a media countdown on the "fiscal cliff". Most people don't seem to be paying much attention as a range of taxes stand ready to rain down on us.

      Amid Fiscal Stalemate, How to Handle Tax Rate Uncertainty -

Rockettes to join Mayor Bloomberg on New Years Eve

   There are just some things you get to do as Mayor of New is hanging out with the Rockettes on New Year's Eve and then taking them out to your favorite Manhattan bar.

    Mayor Bloomberg's bar tab will be hefty, but for the lucky gin mill owner where he stops it will be a hefty ring and some very good optics
Rockettes to join Mayor Bloomberg on New Years Eve

Asian Women, Pedicures and Nouveau Riche Guys.......

    It doesn't surprise me that celebrities and rich guys get pedicures as money entitles you to sensory pleasures...But at Pete's I am listening to a local luminary carry on over his pedicure to the point of showing photos of some Asian woman working on his feet.
     I mean it was to the point of obsession, so I am intrigued.
     It's still a class issue..Guys on Pearl Street don't spring for pedicures...Guys on Loomus Drive apparently do.....Of course isnt' that the street where the owner of the High Life lives ?
Pedicures for Men | Men's Health News

DiNapoli: Local Governments Still In The Red

   Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says local governments are still struggling......Tom, maybe its in large part due to the escalating contribution rates for the defined benefit pension plan you and the unions insisted on keeping.
    Mr. DiNapoli, who is a nice guy, says localities are slip sliding away....
    Of course, not all situations are the same. For instance , statewide about 40% of local budgets come from the property tax. In Watertown that's about 20% as we live off sales tax.
      The solution is local governments which are closest to the people, have to decide what to cut and what to just charge more for....
      DiNapoli: Local Governments Still In The Red

Teenagers burn themselves with salt and ice in dangerous new craze that leaves them disfigured forever | Mail Online

      Here's the latest rage....but at least they can't get a beer.
Teenagers burn themselves with salt and ice in dangerous new craze that leaves them disfigured forever | Mail Online

Albany in 2013....Guns Become a Priority, But What Else is Being Cooked Up in the Capital ?

   A month ago I would have figured minimum wage would be the big legislative push in Albany, but the Newtown tragedy is going to compel lawmakers to feel they have to pass some kind of gun law, even though NY already has strict laws and the matter will likely become the subject of federal action as well.  For lawmakers, its low hanging fruit.
     For those who follow such things, the parlor game for 2013 is seeing how impotent the GOP is in the Senate since their power hinges on the support of Senator Jeff Klein's Independent Democratic Caucus and a disloyal newly elected Dem in NYC. Most observers  think it will all blow up quickly if the GOP takes a stand against the Governor, who gave tacit support to the coalition on the proviso they do his bidding.
        It will be interesting to see if Governor Cuomo's grip on the political culture holds or starts to fade.

Silver expects early gun control action - Times Union

What were your top North Country stories of 2012?

    Retrospectives are the order of the day this time of year, along with stories on New Year's resolutions. The resolution stories are evergreens as they are the same every year, but top stories of the year ? Well, that's open to debate.
     In Watertown government there was the hiring of a new city manager and the landing of a hockey team at the Arena.
      In politics, there was the Congressional race and the emergence of a new team of state representitives who are in office for the foreseeable future.
       I don't recall a lot of tragedy beyond the normal.
       What are your thoughts on top stories of the year ?
What were your top North Country stories of 2012? « The In Box

Final Results...Obama Win by Three and Only Two States Changed

Who Won The Popular Vote In 2012?

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver proposes early voting |

   New York's voter turnout was only 46% in a Presidential year, but that's no reason to adopt the "early voting" seen in too many other states.
   People should vote at the same time and they should have to make an effort. Speaker Sheldon Silver's proposal for early voting may well pass in liberal NY where Democrats would see it as a means of getting more of their potential peeps out.
   Those who want or need to vote early can go in to the BOE and cast an absentee.
    There are probably improvements to the present system that would be a good thing, but currently in our area there are no lines and generally no problems.
    Early voting is not a good idea.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver proposes early voting |

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Even in the Game That Means Nothing, Tebow Doesn't Get a Shot

   Mark Sanchez is back taking the snaps this Sunday for the finale against Buffalo after fill-in QB Greg McElroy suffered a concussion as a result of the eleven sacks he endured last Sunday against San Diego.
    With the Tebow experiment a disaster, the JETS look like they will stick with their overpaid QB next year.
     Meanwhile, an analysis included in this link shows Sanchez is not worth anything near what he is being paid....Like that isn't obvious.
    New York

Begging His Pardon...Cuomo Goes Skiiing Instead

   Governor Cuomo has not issued any pardons so far at this year's end...He didn't last move...
    Pardons never provide good press...usually no press....but can be bad press and for a guy said to be running for President, why give foes the knife to stick in you ?
Begging His Pardon

Sledding an Easy Narrative for Media to Fill Space in the Dead of Winter

     Over at the Thompson Park sledding hill today, dozens of young people were enjoying the heavy snow even though it slowed their descent. There was curiosity over the media visits as a debate is afoot over how fast is too fast and how to stop those who are too fast.
     It all started with a complaint that the hay bales were too bruising at high speed and that led to a proposal to restrict sledding to the lower portion of the hill.
     That denied a "rite of passage", or so said one Councilman and so the fence was delayed pending bid solicitations for special elastic fences to slow the fast.
      For the media, this could be the pit bull story of the winter months...Easy to digest, easy to get visuals, no research required.

Blog turns tables on gun map paper -

   After a NYC area newspaper printed the names and addresses of suburban residents with handgun permits, a local blogger posted names and addresses of employees of the Journal News. That's funny.
   With the Internet the little guy can put up a little bit of a fight. But be careful, these publishers all have expensive First Amendment lawyers on retainer and they will use them on occasion to browbeat the uppity and the irreverant.
Blog turns tables on gun map paper - Katie Glueck -

WDT: Let's Run Government Like a Business,But Not Too Quickly

     Republicans always say government ought to be run like a business, and the GOP led County of Jefferson (13-2) is going to start accepting credit and debit cards in 2013.
      It's actually a Democratic Treasurer who is instituting the change, but that shouldn't bother the Party of Lincoln.
      That put's the county only nine years behind my business in using plastic and about on par with kid's lemonade stands who are likely using card validators attached to their cell phones.  In fact local florists and stereo shops have used credit cards for a long time as well.
Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson County to accept debit and credit cards next year

Euclid Heads Through the Northeast Thursday -

   The forecasts were right on this one as over a foot of snow fell on Watertown, but by mid morning main roads are mailman was just here and I see a fair amount of traffic.
    Tis the season and for those who need the snow, here you are....This is enough to get us into the new year.
     By the way, when did they start naming winter storms ?
     Euclid ?  That's so .....weird.....
Euclid Heads Through the Northeast Thursday -

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cops told NBC not to use gun clip -

   Did NBC break the DC gun law for dramatic impact ?  Sure sounds like it, although one might say the law is too broad if something like this results in prosecution of David Gregory.  I mean its not like he's a Plaxico Burris , is he ?
Cops told NBC not to use gun clip - Katie Glueck -

Sledding Debate Pits Thrill-seekers Against Nervous Nellies

    Sledding is something we all remember back to the days when that Flexible Flyer sled was under the tree for lucky kids. Then came flying saucers and various other sledding devices for young thrill seekers.
   It can be dangerous. I remember siding into a stump in suburban Washington as a youngster. It was a bell ringer.
   In Watertown, families have long slid down the hill at the entrance to Thompson Park, off the circle. The hill is a good spot and invites the adventurous to climb to the top for a more harrowing ride...So much so, bales of hay have been at the base of the hill to stop speeding sledders. It's a hard hit colliding with the frozen bales.
    One young couple I talked to today had been to the top and said it was scary and that they saw a family of spectators get "wiped out" by a sled careening down the hill.
    That's why a proposal came about to fence off the upper section, while one Council member wants none of that, instead wanting the City to purchase netting to catch high speed sledders headed for the road.
     A "sled at your own risk" sign seems odd  now that there is an acknowledged hazard in some eyes.
    I think its best to keep sledding at a level where kids and families can safely enjoy it. It's sledding, not the Olympics.

Quality Time With Kari and Other Boxing Day Activities

     Today I sat down with Kari Plumpton to buy some radio spots to promote our upcoming New Year's Eve party at the Pearl Street Pub. She was her usual affable and helpful self, although I felt I was buying a car.
     In any event, the spot is cut and Johnny Spezzano will be giving out free tickets on Thursday and Friday, so listen up.

    Also today I had lunch at the Herrings Inn, which was a pleasant experience and I stopped by Verizon to return a cord I mistakenly left with after transfering data to my new I Phone.  Other than that I am watching it snow at 10:20 in the evening, and expect no further business tonight, although it wasn't a bad day after Christmas...It's hard to overcome the weather gloom.
    Tomorrow there is a dedication ceremony for I-781 being held at Fort Drum. The Lieutenant Governor was scheduled to appear, but I don't know what the weather will do to all that.

Snow Storm Coming.........Media Wags Have a Talking Point

      It's weather hype and panic day in advance of what could be significant snowfalls Thursday. It's not a snow Armegeddon, but a little preparation never hurts. Make sure the snowblowers and generators are ready. Fill up the car tank. Get you errands done today.
      After the common sense preparations, then proceed to clear the shelves at the supermarket, buy copious amounts of batteries, milk and eggs. Everyone you run into, repeat increasingly dire snow projections and buy all means, hug your kids.
       After a year of easy weather, we are do for a little of the "white stuff" as the veteran newstalkers on TV 7 would say.
       On FOX the talker just called it a "deadly storm" headed our way....Maybe I better panic.
7-Day Forecast for Latitude 44°N and Longitude 75.91°W

Christmas tree ornaments for one Staten Island family were provided by The White House -

   There are still people without power due to Hurricane Sandy. About a thousand Con Ed customers plus over 8000 homes in the Far Rockaways too badly damaged to accept electricity.
      Meanwhile a snow storm is approaching the Northeast, and while that's not unusual given the date, there are still some people who have had enough of the weather for this year or for a lifetime.
Christmas tree ornaments for one Staten Island family were provided by The White House -

Revealed: How TSA agents 'laugh at travelers' while viewing naked images

   So think doctors don't have a chuckle now and then in the OR or that cops don't chat about the six hundred pound defendant. It's only natural to break the tension and tedium of some jobs.
    Government employees sitting in a sealed room looking at x-rays of people has got to be one boring job and if someone very hot, bizarre, with an unusual package or whatever comes along, someone is going to say "hey, check this out."
     If some have their way, we'll be x-rayed more rather than less.
Revealed: How TSA agents 'laugh at travelers¿ naked scanner images in backrooms while flirting with each other and smoking e-cigarettes' | Mail Online

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

'Rape-provoking' miniskirts and crop tops banned by king of Swaziland with offenders facing six months in jail | Mail Online

          Maybe Rep. Todd Akin should head for the Swaziland, the African monarchy where the king says he is banning mini-skirts and other provocative women's clothing because it provokes rape.  You can get six months in jail....
          Native Swazi dances featuring varying states of undress as still legal, just that Western style naughty is outlawed.
          While the West has long ago abandoned the days of the "finely turned ankle" being an attraction, it's a stretch to try and regulate mini skirts...
'Rape-provoking' miniskirts and crop tops banned by king of Swaziland with offenders facing six months in jail | Mail Online

Gillibrand’s political conversion — from NRA ally to gun-control advocate -

       Senator Kirsten Gillibrand may have changed her tune on gun issues, but none of that was a secret last month when she won a whopping 72% in her election to a full six year term.
        It is true that Ms. Gillibrand was liked by the NRA when she was a Member of Congress from a rural upstate district. It even came out in the media that she slept in her Columbia County home with a gun under her bed....That story was quickly shelved when as the appointed successor to Hillary Clinton, Ms. Gillibrand had to answer to different masters in the Democratic hierarchy.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

       I remember one time at a Watertown presser making a reference to the gun under the bed as a signal of upstate affinities by the new Senator. I got a quick elbow to the ribs from the prominent Democrat running the event.  I never heard or read anything in the media again.
       I understand people's positions evolve and events like Newtown do have a real impact, but the Senator's change was clearly an accomodation to her new political position and the possibility of a primary back in 2010. Remember at the time she had been a party to dissing Carolyn Kennedy and there was talk she would have a primary challenger.
        Senator Gillibrand is as solidly established in her office as one could be. She's more popular now than the other US Senator.

Gillibrand’s political conversion — from NRA ally to gun-control advocate -

Police probe NBC's David Gregory on gun clip

 Did the Peacock Network's David Gregory break DC's gun law when he waved what appeared to be a 30 round clip during an interview Sunday with the head of the NRA ?
   The DC gun statute clearly states even possesion of such a magazine, even if not connected to a gun, is a violation of the District's strict gun laws.
    Police say they are looking into the incident which means the media can use the "police launch probe" headlines.
    I doubt anything will come of it, but its an interesting unintended consequence of such a law.
Police probe NBC's David Gregory on gun clip - Katie Glueck -

Christmas Day Online Sales Surge Predicted

    Shopping doesn't stop at sunset on Christmas Eve anymore...On-line the sales have begun and tomorrow before dawn stores will open for the post holidays clearances.
     When you walk around the wonder where all that stuff goes that doesn't sell...especially the holiday specific products.
     There can't be that many dollar stores to sell it all too at a deep discount. Or can there ?
Christmas Day Online Sales Surge Predicted

Christmas and New Year's Definately Days to Reflect and Look Ahead

   Northern New Yorkers awoke to a dusting of fresh snow as a white Christmas was the order of the day and seasonal temperatures are expected through New Year's.
Local Florist Has Snowy Driveway at His Country Estate

    Most people I know have the traditional feasts on tap and I'm glad I was able to celebrate the holiday last week with family in NC.
     It's not the actual day on the calendar, it's the intent. Today I will be working, but its not really work as you see friends and get to socialize all day. Stop by and have a Catdaddy and egg nog !  I have one Catdaddy-loving customer who has been waiting all year to try it with egg nog. Hope he makes it in.
     It's a melancholy Christmas for many, including of course the survivors of yesterday's brutal shootings in Webster, NY.   Many of our neighbors are readying for another tour of duty overseas and we wish them well.
     Watertown looks back at the year gone by. At City Hall its gone well with a smooth change in management, a new hockey team bringing fun during the NHL lockout, and the successful addition of Sunday hours at the Library.
     A special holiday thank you to John Krol who helped me out by his transition stewardship of the city and help in CM recruitment.
      Thanks to my employees at the Pub as we ready to work a busy New Year's Eve and look to a successful 2013.
       And thanks to my collegues in City government for their dedication in the year gone by.
        Time to get up and go to work. Enjoy your day and don't eat too much.

Tax Cuts for the Rich and the Odd Coming in NY This January

    Get ready for the news stories about all the new laws taking effect January 1st. Among them is one exempting the purchase of home solar panel arrays from state sales tax.
      Why ?  If a family buys a new furnace to heat their home, they have to pay sales tax, but a well-to-do eccentric who wants to buy solar panels gets a freebie.
       What ever happened to the pols and their middle class tax cuts. Middle class people don't buy solar panels as a rule unless they have a particular interest in the technology.
        There is a new feel good law on banning e-cigarettes for those under 18.
        The state's millionaire income tax surcharge is expiring, meaning a tax cut for rich people. Again, where's the middle class tax cut we would expect in a state run by Democrats ?

New law bans e-cigarette sales to minors in New York state |

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cuomo, Schneiderman React To Webster Shooting

   Another shocking shooting incident has left not just firefighters grieving over the killing of two smokeeaters and wounding of three others responding to a blaze in Webster, near Rochester. The 62 year old gunman killed himself.
Slain Firefighter Tomasz Koczowka at his Day Job as a 911 Dispatcher

    It appears to have been an ambush, although much surely remains to be known.
Today, during a Christmas visit to our fire department, those on duty were talking about the tragedy and like me wondering why anyone would target responding firemen.
    Of course the state's top pols chimed in too.
Cuomo, Schneiderman React To Webster Shooting

Dog Park I Visited Attracting Many Pooches

   That Apex, NC dog park I reported...excuse me....told you about...while on vacation in NC recently is apparently doing well.
    After a grand opening earlier this month, the two acre park has over 100 dogs registered, paying a $30 annual fee to romp leashless in the Carolina pines.
    It was the first time I had seen an actual dog park after all the debate in Watertown over building one.
    Apex is a more affluent exurb of Raleigh and their park is adjacent to municipal offices on what is called the Town Campus in Apex.
      In Watertown, we have focused on supporting an already existing dog park at the local SPCA as the politics for building such a thing municipally won't happen.

Two Rochester Area Firemen Shot and Killed Responding to Early Morning House Fire

    While details are still sketchy, two firefighters in the Rochester suburb of Webster are reported dead after a gunman opened fire on firefighters responding to a house fire. Up to four firemen may have been shot.
     The Christmas Eve tragedy is under investigation and there is no active shooter at the moment, according to police at the scene.
2 firefighters killed, residents being searched and evacuated | Democrat and Chronicle |

Marines to undergo random Breathalyzer tests -

   As some American states legalize weed, the few and the proud are seeking to essentially prohibit alcohol from the ranks by imposing a random testing program in which .01% gets you into counseling.
    We live in a country where even a Mormon Senator can blow a .11...How can you expect Marines to live with such a standard ?
What's In That Canteen ?

    It's all in response to alleged binge drinking in the military. Today's senior officers must have lived sheltered lives.
     Besides, aren't tests without probable cause a violation of one of those Amendments Marines so gallantly preserve, protect and defend ?
Marines to undergo random Breathalyzer tests -

Mormon Senator Gets a DWI

         Police in northern Virginia bagged a US Senator for DWI, and a Mormon to boot.
Senator Michael Crapo of Idaho blew a .11. He had previously told the AP he doesn't drink, and a .11 is probably on the low side for a Senator.
        Senator Crapo quickly apologized, said he would deal with the consequences and had no further comment.
         The Senator is a Mormon, whose members profess not to drink alcohol. About 25% of Idaho is Mormon.
News from The Associated Press

Governor's "Confiscation" Remark Catches Dicker's Ear -

    Governor Cuomo's suggestion in a radio interview that confiscation of so called assault rifles is one option in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, but experts say there are over a million such weapons in the hands of New Yorkers and taking when would require compensation costing over a billion dollars.
     Meanwhile sales of the rifles have been brisk as gun fanciers fear a looming crack down from a Governor preparing to enter a national stage.
     The Governor's comment certainly lends credence to the notion that some seek to disarm America and see tragedies like Sandy Hook as the means.
      A New York legislature now aligned with the Governor might well embrace such a proposal.
New York state can’t afford assault-rifle buyback -

Romney didn't want to run for president, son says

     It's hard to believe anyone is running for President who didn't want to run.  Mitt Romney's eldest son says in a Boston Globe interview his dad was a reluctant candidate talked into running by wife Ann.
     Tagg Romney suggests that reluctance contributed to the loss. Maybe it wasn't the gifts Mr. Romney said the President gave to his core constituencies.
       If its true Mr. Romney was ho-hum about running, his loss is not unusual. Running for office like that takes a singular, craven, obsessive quest for power. To give up everything in life and spend months and years raising money, stumping for votes, currying favor, studying up on issues....well, how many people are willing and able to do that ?
      It's not for the weak-kneed or passive.

Romney didn't want to run for president, son says - FRANCE 24

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Final Numbers Show Indy Party on the Wane

   Among New York's minor parties , the Independence Party line continues to slide in importance, with NNY final results showing Rep. Bill Owens drawing twice as many votes on the WFP line as Matt Doheny got on the Indy line.
    The same was true in several upstate Congressional races, and of course the Indy line didn't even have a candidate for President. A few years back that was not the case.
     New York's system of "fusion" voting allows candidates to combine the totals for the multiple lines they are on. It was thought "uniting" the GOP, Conservative and Indy lines would defeat Democrats.
    It didn't and the Independence Party struggles for significance and will face a crossroads in 2014 as the gubernatorial race determines ballot status and position. Whether Governor Cuomo allows his name to be used for that purpose is unknown and its clear whatever token GOP challenger is chosen will not be a draw for the party that stands for not much of anything.

WATCH: 'Call me crazy,' NRA says the public wants armed guards in schools -

   As the NRA reitterates its view that school security trumps restrictions on gun sales as a means to curb future Sandy Hooks,  the public seems less impressed.
   People I talk to who aren't anti-gun warriors are simply asking why the NRA is so strident....They are strident because that is their role in this drama, but its a risky strategy as many clearly want something done.
    I don't know what happens next, but it is clear from bar chatter that the Newtown killings had an effect on opinions far beyond what other shooting incidents had.
WATCH: 'Call me crazy,' NRA says the public wants armed guards in schools -

White Christmas and a Little Less Green in 2013

       It's official. We will have a White Christmas !
        All those for whom that is important will be happy and for the Grinches, it hopefully will be but a few inches and not too much extra work.
    The shopping frenzy should wrap up today and then its time to enjoy the season with friends, whether it's at home, at McDonalds or with us at the Pearl Street Pub.
    Best wishes for a white and joyous Christmas and don't let the media wags get you down with talk about the fiscal cliff.
     Just realize that no matter what happens the increase in the FICA tax will take effect and that means you will have a thousand dollars less to spend next year if you earned $50K a year. That tax is not part of current discussions.
       So that middle class tax cut they talk about is just not letting the marginal rate revert to 1990s levels and the FICA tax is being billed as stimulus that we all knew would go back up so the media will not call it a "hike".
       In 2013 , switch from Budweiser to Busch, from latte to coffee and no more Coach handbags and you'll be just fine.

Twenty-five years later, Tawana Brawley Hides from View While Her Enabler Shines

   Folks who see the slimmed down Al Sharpton travel the corridors of media and political power these days may not remember how the Reverand became so famous 25 years ago.
    It's been a quarter century since Reverand Al helped hype the now infamous race-based rape claims by 15 year old Tawana Brawley,  later proven false.
Tawana Brawley Flanked by Al Sharpton and Attorney C. Vernon Mason.

    Ms. Brawley now lives in Virginia working as a nurse in Richmond.
     Reverand Sharpton is a celebrity on MSNBC who is courted by national politicians for his sage advice.
     Twenty-five years later, Tawana Brawley hiding from spotlight -

Naughty Or Nice? Retailers Use Smiles To Fight Self-Checkout Theft : NPR

   Those self checkout gizmos at stores still require oversight and supervision as customers have trouble operating them or in some cases attempt to steal by not scanning all items.
     I have used the one at Home Depot, but usually avoid the one at the supermarket as I usually am only buying lemons and limes and don't know how to ring them up. Besides, I don't mind a few minutes in line for some human interaction.
      In my corner of the retail world there will never be self checkout, because of the issues involving proof of age and judging whether the person should be served.  Although technology could probably be devised for such a bartender, it would be very expensive and show up first in the chains.
     I remember years ago when NCR marketed devices you hold a glass under and it dispensed pre-maid mixed drinks.  It never caught on due primarily to the fact customers are paying for the human interaction and to have someone make the drink for them.
    Its one of the few arenas where service cannot be replicated by a machine.
     Naughty Or Nice? Retailers Use Smiles To Fight Self-Checkout Theft : NPR

Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza’s brother Ryan Lanza on Facebook: I still love my brother, despite school massacre -

   Social media gives everyone an audience they might otherwise not have, but few are interested in the musings of the brother of the Sandy Hook killer. Or are they ?
    Ryan Lanza obviously lost his mom and brother, and we know that creates conflicting emotions.
     Facebook has become many people's vehicle for talking about any and everything in their families from illnesses to God knows what.
Newtown Home of Adam and His Mom Was Legacy for Marriage to Wealthy Dad

     Ryan Lanza has a legitimate beef as the national media initially identified him as the killer in the hours after the massacre. There were suggestions he had been arrested as an accomplice although not anywhere nearby.
      He may want to talk to a lawyer about all that,but unless one will take it on contingency, he surely cannot afford access to the courts.
      By the way, who is the father and why have we read nothing about his parenting of the shooter ? Wasn't he responsible at some level, even though he was divorced ? He at least deserves a media stakeout at his house, although he and his new bride left their Stamford home for hiding shortly after the shooting.
       I wonder if the father will arrange for the burial of his son, or will he be just left in the morgue to be disposed of as a homeless person would ?
Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza’s brother Ryan Lanza on Facebook: I still love my brother, despite school massacre -

WDT: Preparing the Battlefield for 2014 ? Or a Serious Desire to Know What's Happening ?

    A county legislator is teeing up the ball for the 2014 election for Sheriff by asking for a possible outside investigator of a series of misconduct and personnel issues concerning the police agency.
    While dependent on them for appropriations, the running of the department is really not the duty of the County Legislature as the office of Sheriff is a constitutional position, elected by the public.
      It's one of the few such positions left.
       The debate over the propriety of the running of the department or the behavior of its employees will and can be the subject of the next campaign, whether or not Sheriff Burns decides to run.
       While it would be tough for an internal candidate to run due to recent events, it is still the job of voters to make the judgment.
        Names are already being talked about from both parties. A lot will depend on what the incumbent does....whether he runs...doesn't run...moves on to something else earlier...
        Republicans would like to win this one back. They hope the misconduct issues and the jail expense issue will help them. Time will tell.

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