The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?

The Vortex... Urban Legend or Is It Real ?
Second Annual Event Starts at Five PM Friday at Thompson Park

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Polar Dip Thrills Crowds in A-Bay

   An enthusiastic crowd lined the shores of the St. Lawrence River at Bonnie Castle Resort in Alexandria Bay this afternoon to enjoy the Polar Bear Dip to benefit the River Hospital.
Over a Hundred Jumpers Dressed in Costume Took the Plunge
    The weather was pleasant, although a misty rain lingered. Temperatures were near forty and there was no wind. Bonnie Castle and the waterfront bar looked much better than last year now that new owners are there. Frankly, last year's event in the Rum Runner Lounge was ghetto, but it was much improved and cleaner this year.
 

Purple Girl Was Actually Quite Pretty With the Hood Off
 
            The real mystery going in was who would be the star coming out...I don't think Brittnee jumped, as I didn't see her and all the pre-event hype was over LaFargeville native and Rochester resident Jennifer Lynn Wansha. I recognized her from Newzjunky and introduced myself. She was quite charming and I met her dad as well.
Jennifer Tells Me There is a Meaning to Every Inch of Ink on Her
 
     I saw a few other people I knew and had a good time, but had to leave about an hour into it to get back to town.
      The event also celebrates the tenth anniversary of the River Hospital, a project that has survived despite the efforts of some in health care to sink it.  People in the Bay are truly proud of their community spirit in supporting the hospital.
A Good Time Was Had By All

Dueling data: Crystal Ball Needed to Judge Andy's Smooth Future

       In a thank you note to supporters of her reelection bid, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner talks of her stepping up as a leader to change the "business as usual" approach to financing cities. What she got for her effort was a pledge by the hacks to cut her off at the knees, but not everyone is being dismissive.
    A professional number cruncher from Monroe County says Mayor Miner's concerns over "pension smoothing" are justified.  Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini is also a financial analyst and his look at the future varies from Andy's people.
    Let's be charitable and call it an honest difference of opinion between good and honorable people.
    Let me add my concerns. The Governor's plan assumes all will remain as it is now.
    Those who stick with current high pension rates and tough it out may think lower projected rates in the out years will make up for tough decisions now. Could be.
     My experience in politics suggests otherwise.
     Once rates for the non-smoothers (presumably a minority of local governments) drop below the fixed rate the clamor will be on as the smoothed cities and towns will be facing another crisis and will want their rates lowered. Since they will have the political center of gravity, they may get their way. There goes the savings.
    What about the propensity of the Legislature to add pension "sweeteners" once there is a perception rates are moderating ?
     Also, history suggests the Tier Six incarnation of the NYS Retirement System isn't going to be the last tier. In 25 years, we could see many more changes. (Don't forget, the legal gaming of the system will continue as well)
      This is the danger in maintaining a defined benefit system predicated on unrealistic market returns and subject to the shifting sands of the political process.
       A Member of Assembly told me recently the present system is needed because workers can't be trusted to plan their own retirement.
       I might suggest Albany, with all its budgetary nooks and crannies, cannot be trusted to run something this big and costly.
       I won't use terms like "gimmick" as that only antagonizes Eagle Street at a time when we need state help on certain issues.
       I do strongly support Mayor Miner and Supervisor Assini in saying this issue is frought with peril and the easy solution with the easy name of "pension smoothing" may not play out as offered, no matter what good intentions there are now.
Dueling data: What would pension smoothing cost Syracuse? | syracuse.com

Florida survivalists training kids as young as 9 to handle heavy weapons - NYPOST.com

     Survivalists living at a camp in Florida are training their young kids to defend the Second Amendment. One photo shows a nine year old holding a rifle.
Meet Brianna
 
      We don't have survivalist groups in NNY, or do we ?
Florida survivalists training kids as young as 9 to handle heavy weapons - NYPOST.com

Gillibrand: Howz 'Bout Some Free Stuff for Business ? - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

   Picking winners and losers is what government intervention in the economy is all about and Senator Gillibrand was upstate this week touting a 'Made in America' bill to hand out grants to select companies.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in Utica

    Nothing new in the concept.
     I've been in business for 28 years and am still waiting for a Senator to propose the Omnibus Neighborhood Bar Preservation Act of 2013.
Gillibrand announces 'Made in America' bill - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

Obama Seeks to Invalidate DOMA - Josh Gerstein - POLITICO.com

    To save Congress the hassle of having to embrace same sex marriage, the White House is seeking Supreme Court intervention to invalidate the portion of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that bans gay couples from receiving any benefit of marriage in federal tax law or entitlements.
      Without all that, marriage is just a personal and spiritual committment between two people. An abstraction. By filing briefs to invalidate DOMA, the Obama Adminstration is provided full throated support to the concept of marriage equality, but they are doing it through the courts without a messy legislative fight.
Obama brief fuels marriage fight - Josh Gerstein - POLITICO.com

WDT:Jefferson County SPCA sets March grand opening for Petco adoption center

     Sometimes good marketing and good business go hand in hand. PETCO is opening an adoption center for the SPCA in its Arsenal Street store, providing a means to place pets in homes as a lesser price, but also centering the SPCA operation in their store, where all the accesories are on sale.
    I was in PETCO the other day and the new facility to be dedicated March 9 looks very nice.
Watertown Daily Times | Jefferson County SPCA sets March grand opening for Petco adoption center

Bob Woodward: Obama’s sequester deal-changer - The Washington Post

     No less than Bob Woodward, the famed Watergate reporter and chronicler of Washington's inside workings, says the President himself initiated the idea of the "sequester" as a means of cutting spending, despite protests to the contrary.
     President Obama has been busy campaigning against the sequester and its "meat cleaver" approach, but it in fact arose out of a 2011 deal to raise the debt limit, one of those many crisis that now has become a historical blur to us all.
     Now with the cuts looming (that is what Draco does after all, he looms) , Mr. Obama would have you believe none of this was his doing.
      Either you want to cut spending or you don't. In my lifetime, there is no seeming downside to prolifigate spending, so let's just keep doing it. I am not losing sleep over the sequester as I know there will be another cliff just months away, in case I feel the need to be upset.
Bob Woodward: Obama’s sequester deal-changer - The Washington Post

Friday, February 22, 2013

Capitol Confidential » NYSUT is happy that teacher pensions can remain hidden

   Do we need to know teacher pensions ? So we can pick out the most egregious and be outraged ?
    I don't think we need to know...We already know the current defined benefit plan is easily gamed and too expensive for taxpayers.
    But do we need to know individual teacher pensions ? Probably not.
Capitol Confidential » NYSUT is happy that teacher pensions can remain hidden

New Guilfoyle Home is Large With Room for Growth

    Guilfoyle Ambulance has dedicated its new 77,000 square foot home in the former Covidian plant on Faichney Drive. The 120 employee firm was located on Newell Street in cramped surroundings.
   Their new digs actually offers more than enough space, so Guilfoyle has created classrooms and a conference center in honor of the late Bruce Wright, whose widow and family run the firm.
    It's a nice building they will never outgrow. It offers a venue for many events, and the owner, Charmaine Wright, hopes to sell the former HQ on Newell Street.
    I took a tour this afternoon and appreciate the Wright's investment in Watertown.

Will I Be a Columnist for the Boston Globe ?

   One of my radio bosses is reportedly in the running to be an owner of the Boston Globe.
Bruce Mittman is said to be in the hunt for the paper.
Inside Radio, The Most Trusted News in Radio#.USfxUaUsnng

Times Union:The Employer Fights Back....Defrocked DOT Worker Gets an Earfull from Andy Staffer+

    Here's a state employee forced to retire and take a $57,000 a year pension after admitting to falsifying payroll records and misusing e-mail and phones at work.
    Like most things of this nature, everything is kept tamped down until a Cuomo Administration staffer went on a radio show and talked about the disciplinary history of the former DOT engineer....That came after the former worker had publicly blamed his departure on getting in trouble for talking to the local newspaper.
     Sometimes it pays to shut your pie hole.
       Cuomo aide hits back at engineer - Times Union

Yes, There's Danica, but at Least One Local Woman Also a Trail Blazer

   Danica Patrick's pole position start at Sunday's Daytona 500 is the most public example of women in auto racing, but not the only one.
   I know a local woman who has worked for me for some time who toils all summer driving her own car at local tracks.
Brianna Ramsey Behind Wheel of Her Car Last Summer

    People like Brianna also provide a role model for girls seeking to break into male bastions.
     Meanwhile, a ratings bonanza is expected for Daytona as new fans take a look at the sport.
Danica Patrick could change auto racing, sports forever

WDT: Flush with optimism — and cash — Regional Economic Development Council prowls for projects

   Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Councils are a different way to approach an age-old problem. How to effectively dole out state money to local projects.
    Everybody in government who wants to spend money always first asks, "can we get a state grant ?" The Councils are supposed to weigh in on those questions before state agencies decide on spending priorities.
    Deciding what projects are "regionally transformational" is the new mantra and that requires a different way of looking at things.
    It still comes down to who gets the cash.
Watertown Daily Times | Flush with optimism — and cash — Regional Economic Development Council prowls for projects

WDT: Air Brake PILOT amendment is precursor to new product line planned for facility

       If an amended PILOT for a local firm is to be approved, it will be done at a regular meeting of the three taxing jurisdictions. It cannot be signed otherwise. If, after review by staff, it's voted on and approved, I will be glad to sign it, as I am sure will the chair of the County Leg and the president of the School Board.
      That's the sequence.
       As for the Air Brake, they are my neighbor and it seems their new President is very committed to ensuring the local plant's future. In fact the city manager and I visited the plant last month to see what we can do to help on a range of issues. As always, one cannot help but be impressed with the operations there.
Watertown Daily Times | Air Brake PILOT amendment is precursor to new product line planned for facility

Be bolder in tax break reform - Times Union

    I don't know if the Governor's "pension smoothing" will work, but I do support his efforts to curtail the practice of handing out....or in most cases, selling...various tax exemptions in the name of "economic development."
    Mr. Cuomo's proposed budget seeks to restrict things like sales tax exemptions which are handed out by IDAs in exchange for fees.
     Hey, I regularly invest in my business and would love to not pay sales tax on building materials and services....But I think I should pay my "fair share."
     You see , it's not taxation that bothers me so much, it's the hand outs for the well-connected, the "not-for-profits" with six figure executive directors, and various others who get to transfer title for a day to avoid taxation.
      Let me make it as clear as I can....The elected representitives are charged with deciding who has to be subjected to the confiscatory power of government through taxation.
      Why are these unelected bodies, bureaucracies and lawyers given the power to obviate taxation in exchange for God knows what ?
      I know....let the professionals do it. Well, I've had enough and have seen enough, although I bear no personal animus towards those who do such things.
Be bolder in tax break reform - Times Union

Zumba prostitution case: Pizza delivery boy tells how Alexis Wright stripped in front of him | Mail Online

      And where's the crime ? A pizza deliveryman brings an eight dollar order of spaghetti and meatballs to the office of alleged "Zumba Prostitute" Alexis Wright....She answers the door in a towel and while looking for money, drops the towel, gives him $40 and says "keep the change", and the free eyefull.
      All part of testimony trying to prove just what was going on in  a Kennebunk, Maine fitness studio, where in a much publicized raid last year, authorities claimed Ms. Wright was selling sex along with fitness to the pillars of the community.
Customer Alexis Wright Delivers Too

      Pizza delivery can be tedious and aren't stops like that one how you get through the week feeling this job isn't so bad after all ?
Zumba prostitution case: Pizza delivery boy tells how Alexis Wright stripped in front of him | Mail Online

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Volkswagen XL1 will be world mpg champ

   You better call Walt Young (class of '73) right now and get your place in line to buy one of these new Volkswagens that gets 261 MPG.    The new gas/electric hybrid goes into production soon and Walt will take care of the pretty ladies first....followed by his dear friends and classmates and then the rest of you.
     Volkswagen XL1 will be world mpg champ

That's what you call jungle juice! U.S. Marines drink COBRA BLOOD in Thailand forest training exercise (and they weren't even forced to do it) | Mail Online

    That's why they are Marines....the few, the proud. Able to drink snake blood on cue.
That's what you call jungle juice! U.S. Marines drink COBRA BLOOD in Thailand forest training exercise (and they weren't even forced to do it) | Mail Online

-Here We Go Again...Lawmakers Propose Pension Sweeteners- syracuse.com

      This is why pension reform is a dubious prospect in New York. What sounds like a plan today can change as pension sweeteners come into play.   This is also why the Governor's "smoothing" plan is criticised. The assumptions change as the system is raided.
     The biggest sweetener I remember was in 2000 when the employee 3% contribution was just eliminated for anyone over ten years....That and other variables in the formulas for computing benefits can and will make Tier 6 obsolete in a few years.
     While the pols and MSM will repeat the 'blame Wall Street' mantra, there is no doubt this kind of defined benefit system will be problematic and unpredictable for years to come.
    By the way, I was a guest on WTNY this morning to talk about the issue. Did anyone hear the show ?

New York state lawmakers propose sweetening state worker pensions | syracuse.com

The Journal | The misguided view of those who want a sales tax increase

      While even the Chamber of Commerce has joined the chorus in St. Lawrence County for an increase in the sales tax from seven to eight percent, a local media leader is arguing the public is misguided in its clamor for higher taxes and that the County has done little to reduce spending.
      The way you get this hike approved is to created a public stampede for higher taxes on the premise property taxes will go down. They will not. They will stabilize for a time while the impact of higher revenue is absorbed. This tax hike, along with a minmum wage hike is a big drain on the local economy, Ms. Lyon opines in the Journal.
    She is right, but the deal is just about done...It looks like the tax will rise.
The Journal | The misguided view of those who want a sales tax increase

Cuomo Seeks Truce With Sportsmen By Proposing Lower License Fees

     It's virtually unheard of for government to reduce a fee, so one wonders the reason behind Governor Cuomo's accross the board proposed cuts in hunting and fishing license fees. Mr. Cuomo made the proposal as part of amendments to his proposed budget.
    Since what goes up never goes down, I assume the license fees are an effort to reach out to the sportsman and gun crowd angry over passage of the NY SAFE Act.
Cuomo's budget proposal would lower hunting and fishing license fees | syracuse.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Capitol Confidential » NYSUT supports smooth ride on pension financing

    The teachers union supports Governor Cuomo's pension smoothing, and that's no surprise as the smoothing takes away any immediate need to make unpopular decisions to cut positions or deny raises.
      What's clear is that there will be winners and losers under the smoothing proposal. Those who opt in versus those who tough it out for five or six years until contribution rates come down.
Capitol Confidential » NYSUT supports smooth ride on pension financing

Detroit's financial crisis now in governor's hands - Yahoo! News

     The City of Detroit has some $14 billion in debt and no way out....Now Michigan's governor has to decide what to do.
Welcome to Motown

      One observer says it's time to take the checkbook away from the "politicians", but maybe its time the voters insist on representitive government that is responsible.
       Detroit's financial crisis now in governor's hands - Yahoo! News

DiNapoli: Syracuse Facing ‘Long-Term’ Problems

   Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is likely getting some pleasure by publicly praising Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner for criticising the Governor's "pension smoothing" plan.
Mr. DiNapoli has not opined on the smoothing plan and says Mayor Miner is confronting her city's systemic problems.
     Meanwhile, yours truly has been invited on WTNY's Morning News Thursday at 7:30 to discuss pension smoothing.....
DiNapoli: Syracuse Facing ‘Long-Term’ Problems

NYSUT Files Legal Challenge Against Property Tax Cap

   Teachers have filed suit to get the state's two percent tax cap tossed on grounds it arbitrarily exacerbates the disparity between rich and poor school districts.
    The tax cap was not absolute anyway and was a hallmark of Governor Cuomo's first two years.
    NYSUT Files Legal Challenge Against Property Tax Cap

Smoking ban in cars could come to New York | NBC-WKTV News Channel 2 - Utica News, Weather, Sports - | Local News

    Imagine how embarassing it is for New York progressives to realize two good-old-boy Red States have banned smoking in cars before the Empire State.....
    It's for the children and is likely to come to NY, but its amazing Arkansas and Lousiana have such a law and New York doesn't.
          Smoking ban in cars could come to New York | NBC-WKTV News Channel 2 - Utica News, Weather, Sports - | Local News

Plow Rumble a Sign of a Snow Morning

   It must have snowed last night as I hear the plow rumbling around the parking lot outside. Guess I will have to get up and look out the window to see the extent of it all.
Three more weeks of real winter left.
   

NYDN Investigates The Independence Party Of NYC and Discovers What I Have Known for Years

     Gee Celeste, you could have ask me years ago how organizing a county committee is done under NY election law and how an enterprising soul or group of souls can control a party line with essentially a phantom committee.
      In NYC, the disciples of the late Fred Newman and the current Lenora Fulani have for years made a business out of owning the Indy line, as have others in various counties.
       To an extent the same thing goes on in the major parties as county committees are not really much of anything either. The shallowness is just amplified in a a minor party.

       So when you read a headline that a "party" endorses someone, realize it's not a large group of like minded people. It's one person, who understands the system and controls the result. With public funding of campaigns and pols not hesitant to stroke large checks, controlling the line has its advantages.
        That it took so many years for the Daily News to "discover" how its done is evidence of how the system works well for those who work hard at it.

NYDN Investigates The Independence Party Of NYC: Day 3 | New York Daily News

  Old Enought to Drive a Car....Old Enough for a Lap Dance ?- NY Daily News

       What a mixture of the old fashioned with today's hedonism.  Holding a birthday party for your 16 year old son at the local bowling center...the kind of party common back in the day when even as teens we bowled in leagues and had our own ball. 
A Different Type of Mom, For Sure

       Then mom's special treat show up. Strippers who perform intimate lap dances with the teens.  That's where is kind of strayed from the days of yore.
        Eighty people were there including other adults and it seems it all went fine till somebody saw a photo on Facebook and got all outraged...then everybody got all outraged and the 33 year old Albany area mom was arrested.
         The message is clear....That darn Facebook is no darn good.
New York mom charged with child endangerment after hiring strippers to perform lap dances at her 16-year-old son's birthday party, police say   - NY Daily News

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Council Urged to Get Smart on Pension Proposal and Thank Syracuse Mayor for Aiding in the Debate

    City Council was running on three cylinders tonight and that prevented voting on the latest revision to the Privateers franchise agreement. Council discussed the request for a PILOT amendment for NYAB and many questions were asked, including why they want one as opposed to just opting out of the current one to get lower taxes.
     I led a discussion of the need for Council to be well informed on the debate over "pension smoothing" and I presented the analysis done in Syracuse along with other material both pro and con.
     It's an issue all elected bodies will face, but not one not discussed much in local media because its kind of complicated.
     I took time to acknowledge and thank the Syracuse mayor for stepping up with contrarian views and pointing out the need for everyone to approach the issue with eyes wide open and not merely look at the advantages in the early years which would relieve elected bodies of the need for any tough decisions.
    Council also heard from opponents of flouridation again and from one man complaining about trash outside local bars. Said the man, they could at least clean up after the misery they sell to society. I do.
   

Vrrrrrm...

    This year the Pearl Street Pub is a sponsor of a street stock race car owned by  Rob Martin of Watertown.
     Mr. Martin and his bride Sarah are patrons of the Pub.
         Rob races this summer at the Can-Am Speedway in LaFargeville.

Gates Supervisor Makes Miner’s Case

    Darn these people who know something...Financial analyst and Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini has looked at pension contribution numbers and determined that Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is not the heretic the Democratic establishment has labled her.
   Mr. Assini says local governments should get smart and have their eyes wide open before buying into the 25 year rate lock at levels below what they are now but perhaps above what they will be after five or six years.
   There are many other factors Mr Assini says should be considered.
    Mayor Miner has been ostracized by Democrats for her temerity in challenging Governor Cuomo.....For not standing with the Governor is I think how it's phrased.
    This is why I have asked our Council to be engage in following the debate as a decision of some consequence may be forthcoming.
    The NY Conference of Mayors has endorsed the plan but that doesn't mean it's the best plan for everyone.
     It is a plan that purports to borrow against future Tier Six savings. Whether that makes it a "gimmick" is certainly a question of semantics, and maybe a matter of fact.
    

Gates Supervisor Makes Miner’s Case

Bloomberg takes gun fight to Chicago - POLITICO.com

    Maybe he will try to take large sodas away in the Windy City next.
    Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes to stay politically in-the-hunt by dumping millions into select races like in Chicago where he is trying to defeat a pro-gun rights female candidate seeking the House seat vacated by Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Mayor Bloomberg Takes His Political Fight to Chicago

    The surely-Democratic seat is now ground zero for the anti-gun fight being waged by the Mayor.
     Mayor Bloomberg spent over $100M of his fortune on getting himself reelected four years ago.
      Bloomberg takes gun fight to Chicago - Maggie Haberman and Alex Isenstadt - POLITICO.com

Sen. Marchione Says She Doesn't Want Pension She Earned - Times Union

    What does how she spends the money have to do with anything ? A state senator says she is donating her double dip pension to charity, as if its anyone's business how  Senator Kathy Marchione spends it.
     Like many in her position she came from a government job and "retired" from the system before actually taking the oath as a senator. Goes on all the time in offices as high at Lieutenant Governor and who knows, it may have happened locally with some town or village office. With contribution rates over 20%, not participating in the system as a Senator is actually a good thing.
     Claiming you donated your pension to charity is grandstanding.  Give the money back to Tom DiNapoli if you don't want it. Besides, who polices where her money goes. At some point giving $66K a year away will get old when your own family has needs.
    After all, charity does begin at home.
Sen. Marchione donates her pension - Times Union

WDT: Use of Drones Raises Concerns

   As the debate increases over the use of drones in domestic air space, some raise the specter of civil liberties and Fourth Amendment issues.
   Drones used to stalk and spy on people. Drones used to sidestep privacy. And not just the government's eye in the sky, but private drones watching for all sorts of reasons.
    Makes you want to stay indoors.
Watertown Daily Times | Drones at home

WDT: Burger Story a Symptom for the MSM

      The danger the Internet poses to local media was on display this week with the story about nine-patty burgers being test marketed locally and being reported on internationally in the Daily Mail On-Line, while local media didn't get around to covering the novelty story till a week or so later.
       There was a time not long ago when all sorts of news, from public record filings to inane novelty stories, could be sat on and become news on the gatekeeper's schedule.
       That has changed as consumers find things themselves on the Net, often with the help of aggregators like Newzjunky or Drudge.
       Old News offers a level of depth that has value, but competing in real time is a mantra for survival and success these days.
        Without meaning to be offensive, when I saw the Jake's Burger story locally today, I said to myself, gee that's old news, as I read it elsewhere days ago.
Watertown Daily Times | Triple-Triple Burger provides spectacle at Jake’s Wayback Burgers

It's good to be state Sen. Malcolm Smith, who used $100G in campaign funds on lodging, meals, travel and entertainment last year - NY Daily News

       The state senator known as "Smiling Malcolm" has good reason to smile as politics allows him to lead a pretty nice lifestyle with dinners at LeCirque, trips to Shanghai and golf outings in Florida, all paid for by campaign fundraising.
Senator Malcolm Smith

        For lawmakers with power to yield and usually no opponents to worry about, the money machine is a great way to augment your lifestyle regardless of the job's salary.
        Senator Malcolm Smith is living large, and as a member of the five person IDC, he likely has enhanced fundraising opportunities.
It's good to be state Sen. Malcolm Smith, who used $100G in campaign funds on lodging, meals, travel and entertainment last year - NY Daily News

Monday, February 18, 2013

O'Reilly: I heart Stephanie Miner

      Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is getting attention from her broadside against Governor Cuomo's budget and his approach to pension reform.  Columinists are hearting the first term mayor, who says she intends to remain in her post as State Democratic Co-chair.
      Whether right or wrong in her criticisms, Ms. Miner cannot afford to back down.  She needs to deliver her message that on matters of mandate relief and pension reform, the Governor should double down and not just look at 2016.
      The party hacks and various caucuses who "stand with" whomever they are supposed "stand with" want her scalp, and while I don't know her beyond a brief handshake last year, I like her attitude.
       Go Orange !
O'Reilly: I heart Stephanie Miner

WDT: Two Watertown men cited with pot possession

     Wonder how long it will be in NY till these type of crimes are not crimes anymore ?  Seventh degree possession ?  Hope we don't have to drive these people back and forth to jail in Albany.
      Pot and a pill...George Thorogood could probably write a song about it.
Watertown Daily Times | Two Watertown men cited with pot possession

Be bolder in tax break reform - Times Union

    A county legislator forwarded me this T-U op/ed on a Cuomo proposal to reign in the practice of local IDAs issuing tax breaks galore with little to show for it.
     Issue is, would the same local legislator publicly support the Governor's proposal ?
Be bolder in tax break reform - Times Union

148 years later, Heart of Dixie Ratifies 13th Amendment- NYPOST.com

      Some things take a little while, and the pace is slower down South.
      Earlier this year, Mississippi officially ratified the 13th Amendment, the post-Civil War change that outlawed slavery.
       148 years later, slavery officially over in Mississippi - NYPOST.com

Cuomo-Miner: Beyond the sparks of the dispute, Upstate cities that don't work | syracuse.com

      The Post Standard sounds like it doesn't want its mayor to go down the tubes and is sort of defending Mayor Stephanie Miner for her criticisms of Governor Cuomo's budget proposals as they relate to cities.
     The paper says the Mayor can be confrontational but is part of a bipartisan coalition in CNY including County Administrator Joanie Mahoney and the Sen. John DeFrancisco, both ostensibly Republicans.
      There are systemic problems in upstate cities and no one is better positioned to lobby on the issue is the Lt. Governor Bob Duffy who is the former mayor of Rochester.
       Cuomo-Miner: Beyond the sparks of the dispute, Upstate cities that don't work | syracuse.com

Celeste: Miner To Be Taken Out (and not to dinner)

      Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse is going to be "taken out at the knees" and chased out of her role as State Democratic Co-chair. Downstaters used those type of analogies. It's just the way they talk. I learned that from my years of dealing with Indy leadership.
      It's all because she had the tumerity to trash Governor Cuomo's proposal on "pension smoothing" and even penned an OP/ED in the NY Times critical of Governor's plan.
       Observers say Mayor Miner will step aside to concentrate on her reelection campaign.
      It will be interesting to see if Eagle Street aids Ms. Miner's expected primary challenger in this years race in the Salt City.
The Daily Politics | New York Daily News

Invitations Going Out for Saranac Tasting Soon at Pearl Street Pub

   While watching Morning Joe this AM, I look ahead to a President's Day and a day off from the HOTLINE.
   So I have been sending emails to the Governor and LG, my federal and state lawmakers, and others inviting them to join all of you on February 28 at 5PM for a sampling of Saranac Beer products hosted by Matt's Brewery marketing director Meghan Fraser.
Saranac's Meghan Fraser During Visit to Watertown Last Year

    Ms. Fraser is visting the Pearl Street Pub in Watertown courtesy of Eagle Beverage, distributor of Saranac, Utica Club and other fine brews.
    The public is invited to join Meghan and the staff at the Pearl Street Pub for this celebration of upstate brewing.

Cuomo Finds Himself in Obama's Shadow on Minimum Wage

      Governor Cuomo seems to have been upstaged by President Obama's 'I'll see your $8.75 and raise you a quarter" approach to minimum wage legislation on the federal level.
     The Governor is now seeking to recast his own push for a higher state minimum wage as part of the President's effort. Mr. Cuomo may even drop the wage issue from his own budget bills to avoid a fight with Senate Republicans, although frankly that would not be much of a battle, as we saw in the recent gun law debate.
     Just weeks ago, Mr. Cuomo stole thunder from the POTUS by quickly passing a comprehensive gun law following the Newtown shootings.
      The Governor spoke this weekend in Albany before a key part of his base, a gathering of the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators.
Cuomo recasts pay hike debate - Times Union

Danica Patrick Wins the Pole and Wins the Publicity Race Week Before Daytona

     NASCAR gets its season off to a high profile start with Danica Patrick's win of the pole position for next week's Great American Race, the Daytona 500.
     Winning the pole at this race will give Ms. Patrick a week of non-stop hype heading into the start of the 2013 racing season. The first female to be top qualifier at Daytona already dominates coverage of the sport and is well spoken representitive and a marketing powerhouse for herself and NASCAR.    

Danica Patrick stars on, off track after historic day

Dicker: Gov. Cuomo fears weak GOP opponent in re-election bid could hurt presidential aspirations

     I don't know if this Dicker analysis makes much sense. Fred muses that Democrats fear a weak GOP candidate in next year's reelection of Andrew Cuomo as governor because a blowout race will not give Mr. Cuomo the national boost he needs for the 2016 Presidential race.
      I would think a comfortable win...which he will get...would affirm his national ambitions.
      There are a couple of county executives who may oppose the incumbent in 2014 and while both are credible candidates on the issues, the Cuomo margin will be in the mid 60s, which is healthy even though NY is a very blue state.
Gov. Cuomo fears weak GOP opponent in re-election bid could hurt presidential aspirations - NYPOST.com

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Obama golfing with Tiger Woods in Florida - NYPOST.com

      Wow,  the POTUS gets a President's Day weekend round of golf with none other than Tiger Woods, who took the week off from the PGA tour.
       Mr. Obama is an avid golfer and his wife and daughters are in Colorado this weekend. 
      If it weren't for all the onlookers, I'll betcha Tiger could show Mr. Obama the time of his life in Florida.
Obama golfing with Tiger Woods in Florida - NYPOST.com

Blade Runner Crushed Skull With Bat, Then Finished Her Off With a Few Accidental Shots Through the Door - NYPOST.com

       Remember last year when the plucky and courageous South African was shopped as a hero on TV for running in the Olympics using carbon prosthetics in place of his missing lower limbs.
       Oscar Pistorius, so authorities now say, is just another woman beater who elevated himself to woman killer with the baseball bat to the head culminating in the shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp....Ms. Steenkamp's death is catnip to the tabloids as she was a stunning model and ironically an advocate for the cause of violence against women.
        The Blade Runner is now the blade gunner, charged with premeditate murder and the papers...at least the ones people still read...are festooned with her photos.
        Like A-Rod and Bonds, various NBA and NFL thugs, philandering golfers and certain bicyclists, the athletics-media cabal continues to sell human interest stories that inspire and often disappoint.
          As for the Blade Runner, how was this fairy tale ever going to work ?
Oscar Pistorius may have beaten girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp with bat before shooting her: report - NYPOST.com

WDT: Carthage Central Ponders Punishment by Heat for Budget Woes

      Turn the A/C off (except in the superintendents's office where cool heads are needed). Seems the new budget threat is not giving the children their air conditioning.
Hate to sound like the days of yore, but I went to school in the same latitude as Carthage and we opened the windows and day-dreamed about heading across the street to Puff's.
      Besides...threatening no A/C is hardly a solution to the structural budget issues facing the state's 700 plus school districts and their 700 plus superintendents and 700 plus administrative staffs.    
Watertown Daily Times | Carthage Central may decrease cooling at schools

Airline Merger May Boost Watertown Airport | WWNY TV 7

       It is being hoped the mega merger between American Airlines and US Air will accrue to the advantage of Watertown Airport, were American's commuter line has been doing quite well with its non-stop service to Chicago.
       The Airport had languished for years with carriers coming and going, and Jefferson County has done a good job turning the facility around since taking it over. Legislator Barry Ormsby and others deserve a thumbs up on this one.
Airline Merger May Boost Watertown Airport | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

Dip Nears...Bay Wonders if Brittnee is In or Out

     The sleepy wintertime village of Alexandria Bay is coming to life as the annual Polar Bear Dip nears to benefit the River Hospital which is also celebrating its tenth anniversary. The Dip is being held Saturday with jumping starting at 1PM.
     The Dip has become de rigueur for many hoping to prove their stoicism by jumping into the Frigid St. Lawrence in front of a boisterous and large crowd lining the shore at the Bonnie Castle Resort.
      Fan favorite Brittnee Kriner is a mystery as there are hints she may not participate. A woman from Rochester is being touted by organizers as the new Brittnee.
     In any event, aside from the more flamboyant jumpers are a long list of those leaping to help the tiny hospital stay afloat.
(4) 23rd Annual Polar Bear Dip

WDT: County Brass Say Sheriff's Dead Wrong on Jail Costs

   The spat continues...the GOP dominated County Legislature has a new spreadsheet out showing bunking inmates in Albany County actually is less expensive than building new capacity at the Watertown jail, while Democratic Sheriff John Burns responds that only six of 15 legislators have ever visited the jail and that the county study doesn't take into account the daily grind on people of shuttling people back and forth.
    Whether or not Mr. Burns seeks reelection in 2014, I would think this would be an appropriate front burner issue and let the parties debate both sides for the public.
     It's clear an election is needed to end the partisan bickering over jail overcrowding.
      By the way, the Sheriff was the guest on Live at Five on Friday. I missed the show. Was there any news made there ?
Watertown Daily Times | County saves by paying to board inmates elsewhere, data show

Tough NY gun law could jeopardize jobs in one town - CBS News

      Jobs, jobs, jobs...Over one thousand of them, plus their spinoff are reportedly in peril in the small village of Ilion, NY where officials fear other states' efforts to lure the Remington Arms plant elsewhere as a result of New York's new gun law.
      If it happens, it surely is not a significant price statewide for those who see the law as a needed effort to make the state safer from gun violence. It does point to the upstate/downstate split on the issue that is also resulting in a handful of county legislatures passing resolutions urging repeal of the SAFE NY Act.
      Meanwhile, business at the Ilion plant is said to be brisk. Remington is not commenting on the reports to lure them elsewhere.
Tough NY gun law could jeopardize jobs in one town - CBS News

Obama treats himself to boys’ weekend in Florida  - NY Daily News

    America's royalty is off on separate but equal vacations with the First Lady and daughters on a ski trip and her old man, the President, off with the boys for a golfing vacation in Florida.
President Obama Arrives in West Palm Beach

     President Obama gave a speech in Chicago on Friday about the need to build a larger middle class, but the trip to a post, private club in the Sunshine State is more upscale.
    Obama treats himself to boys’ weekend in Florida  - NY Daily News

Ban on pub crawls proposed by New York City Councilman Micah Kellner - NYPOST.com

    In the city where you can't drink a large soda, one busy body city councilman wants to ban so-called "pub crawls" where organized groups of revelers walk from nightspot to nightspot, usually on major holidays like St. Paddy's Day.
     In NYC the 50 members of the City Council are each paid in six figures so they likely figure they have to do something, but I suspect people who misbehave on a pub crawl can already be busted for disorderly conduct.
     Ban on pub crawls proposed by New York City Councilman Micah Kellner - NYPOST.com

What The Independence Party Wants

   I was reading this story about the Independence Party of NY and what it wants legislatively this year. I didn't know the party had any platform, and now that it does, will I look at those who are on Line E differently ?

   No, I won't because I know under New York's system of fusion voting, people just get extra lines for strategic reasons and not because they believe in a platform and a checklist of issues.
   What The Independence Party Wants