Saturday, December 29, 2012

Union Thugs With Assault Rifles

So, to all those gun nuts who want to arm schoolteachers, weren't these the same teachers characterized by you idiots as a bunch of violent union thugs in recent months? Forgive me if I seem confused by this.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Politics Getting in the Way of Starving Old People

Too bad there are such entrenched interests on the left. If only the greedy old people and the poors on food stamps and Social Security would get up off their lazy butts:
Congressman Chris Gibson said he's pushed hard for a bi-partisan agreement to reduce the nation's deficit over the long term, but politics are getting in the way.

"What you see is entrenched factions on both sides on the left and on the right that don't want to move and that's not helping our country at this point," said Gibson, a Republican.
Do tell us more, congressman. On one side you have poor people who have actually PAID for their "entitlements" of approximately $1200 per month, and on the other you have people who spend $1200 on breakfast.

It's no contest. The rich are simply overburdened.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Crapo's "Apology" is All Hot Air

So, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) was busted for DUI in Virginia over the weekend:
Idaho Sen. Michael Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said.

Police in Alexandria, Va., said Sunday that the three-term Republican was pulled over after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m.
Normally, this kind of thing wouldn't be that big of a deal. People are human and make stupid mistakes, even U.S. senators. But there is something that bugs me about this. Crapo is a Mormon, which means he's supposed to teetotal as a matter of faith:
Our body is a precious gift from God. To help keep our bodies and our minds healthy and strong, God gave a law of health to Joseph Smith in 1833. This law is known as the Word of Wisdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:1-21).

In addition to emphasizing the benefits of proper eating and physical and spiritual health, God has spoken against the use of:

Coffee and tea.
Illegal drugs.

God promises great physical and spiritual blessings to those who follow the Word of Wisdom. Today, the scientific community promotes some of the same principles that a loving God gave to Joseph Smith nearly two centuries ago.
Mormons can't even drink a Coke. Seriously. So, when a Mormon gets pulled over for DUI, this is a bigger story. Especially given that anyone in law enforcement will tell you that a person drinks and drives an average of about 80 times before getting popped by the cops. In other words, it is extremely likely that Crapo has been at this for a very long time, only now getting his deserved comeuppance.

And this is what bugs me about sanctimonious right-wingers. They all talk endlessly about how society should bow down to their perception of morality, a morality almost none of them actually practice themselves. Add Crapo to the long list of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Republicans.

It's the hypocrisy, stupid.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

LaPierre: "Call Me Crazy"

Don't mind if I do:
“If it’s crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy,” LaPierre said.
It appears he's yet to develop any ironic self-awareness.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So, the the GOP's poster-boy for right-wing extremism has gone to meet his maker:
Robert H. Bork, whose failed Supreme Court nomination in 1987 infuriated conservatives and politicized the confirmation process for the ensuing decades, died Wednesday at the age of 85.

The former Yale law professor and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had a history of heart problems and had been in poor health for some time.
For the incurious among us, Bork's true legacy was the firing of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox:
On May 19, 1973, Cox took a leave of absence from Harvard Law School to accept appointment as the first Watergate special prosecutor. Cox's appointment was a key condition set by the leadership of the U.S. Senate for the confirmation of Elliot Richardson as the new attorney general of the United States, succeeding Richard G. Kleindienst, who had resigned during the spring of 1973, as a result of the Watergate scandal. That summer, Cox learned with the rest of America about the secret taping system installed in the White House on orders from President Richard M. Nixon. During the next few months, Cox, the United States Senate Watergate Committee, and U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica struggled with the Nixon Administration over whether Nixon could be compelled to yield those tapes in response to a grand jury subpoena. When Sirica ordered Nixon to comply with the committee's and Cox's demands, the President offered Cox a compromise: instead of producing the tapes, he would allow the Senator John Stennis (a Democrat from Mississippi) to listen to the tapes, with the help of a transcript prepared for him by the White House, and Stennis would then prepare summaries of the tapes' contents. Cox rejected this compromise on Friday, October 19, 1973. On Saturday, October 20, 1973, Cox held a press conference to explain his decision.

That evening, in an event dubbed the Saturday Night Massacre by journalists, President Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to dismiss Cox.[4] Rather than comply with this order, Attorney General Richardson resigned, leaving his second-in-command, Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus in charge of the Justice Department. Ruckelshaus likewise refused to dismiss Cox, and he, too, resigned. These resignations left Solicitor General Robert Bork as the highest-ranking member of the Justice Department; insisting that he believed the decision unwise but also that somebody had to obey the president's orders, Bork dismissed Cox. Bork also considered submitting his resignation, but Richardson and Ruckelshaus dissuaded him from resigning, arguing that Bork had to remain in office to ensure continuity of the administration of the Justice Department. Upon being dismissed, Cox stated, "whether ours shall be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people to decide." His successor as special prosecutor was Leon Jaworski, named by Bork.

The dismissal of Cox suggested the use of independent counsel, prosecutors specifically appointed to investigate official misconduct. Ultimately, Congress enacted a law to provide for a procedure appointing independent counsels, a statute that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 1986. This statute, which had an expiration date inserted on its original enactment, expired without renewal.

Ultimately, on August 8, 1974, after the U.S. Supreme Court voted by 8 to 0 to reject Nixon's claims of executive privilege and release the tapes (with then Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist recusing himself because, as an assistant attorney general during Nixon's first term, he had taken part in internal executive-branch discussions of the scope of executive privilege), Nixon announced his decision to resign as President.
Bork was a crypto-facsist swine. I'll not shed a single tear for him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Amedore Claims Win, Tkaczyk Says "Not So Fast"

Assemblyman George Amedore thinks it's over in SD-46:
Republican George Amedore declared victory Monday in the race for the state’s new 46th Senate District, though Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk’s spokesman said there are still outstanding objections to be ruled on and Amedore’s declaration is premature.

Amedore, citing a 39-vote lead over Tkaczyk, issued a statement claiming victory and thanking his supporters.
Tkaczyk has good reason not to concede. Unlike the race between Saland and Gipson, Tkczyk still has a path to victory:
“There are still hundreds of outstanding objections that have to be ruled on by the Appellate Court,” Tkaczyk spokesman Gary Ginsburg said in a statement. “These ballots include votes cast by election inspectors that voted early at the direction of both Republican and Democratic election commissioners and hundreds of affidavit ballots that were thrown out because of minor errors. When all the votes are counted, Cecilia Tkaczyk will be certified the winner of this election and will represent the residents of the 46th Senate District.”
I would agree with this. 39 votes isn't enough of a margin to declare victory when there are "hundreds" of ballots still out there. If all the ballots are counted, Tkaczyk wins, as the vast majority of challenged ballots are typically cast by Democratic voters (and the vast majority of those by persons of color, which is all just a big coincidence, I'm sure, and not an indication that the GOP is run by a bunch of racists, shutupshutupshutup!).

The judge is set to rule on Christmas Eve. Hopefully he puts a lump of coal in Amedore's stocking.

Monday, December 17, 2012

When You've Lost Joe Scarborough....

The NRA has had our elected officials wrapped around its little finger for far too long. It's time to confront them and make them defend their insane obsession with the kinds of weapons that should be used only on a battlefield.

And perhaps Scarborough is right, that this time is different. I'm not so sure. The weeks surrounding the Columbine massacre were filled with similar incidents. I remember thinking at that time that we had reached a breaking point, and that now our elected officials would act. They didn't. I was wrong.

So, will they this time? I'm skeptical. But I do know that my right to keep and bear children, as one writer put it over the weekend, trumps your right to keep and bear arms.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why Does Fox & Friends Hate Christmas?

"Holiday" party? Aren't Fox employees all members of the Jesus club? After all, Bill O'Reilly rants on endlessly about how the term "happy holidays" is tantamount to murdering Christ all over again:
Deck the halls and man the battle stations. The fight has resumed.

I'm referring, of course, to the so-called War on Christmas, a yearly call to arms by those whose Christmas cheer is under siege. Or so they claim ... fear ... and warn.

[. . .]

Every right-thinking person needs to "stand up and fight against this secular progressivism that wants to diminish the Christmas holiday," he fulminated recently to that night's guest, Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. "We have to start to fight back against these people."

"You know, Bill," Huckabee said gently, "the nature of most Christians is not to get into a fight and a squabble."

"But you're gonna LOSE!" warned his host.

Turning the "No-Spin Zone" into a holiday war zone, O'Reilly is all for keeping Christ in Christmas.

At the same time, he proclaims that everyone — no matter their faith — should call a Christmas tree "a Christmas tree" and knock off their whining.
Looks like O'Reilly should start this counteroffensive within his own place of employment, bunch of secular-humanist do-gooders that they are.

Cuomo Wants Disclosure in Campaign Finance

I think states have a lot of say when it comes to people having to report campaign spending, so maybe this is a way to shine a light on exactly who is funding a particular super PAC:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York to be a “progressive leader” in reforming its campaign-finance laws, he said in a radio interview Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to public radio’s Karen DeWitt, Cuomo said he will unveil a package of reforms in his upcoming State of the State address that would require politically active groups not registerred in New York to more broadly disclose their donors.

His proposal, he said, will go further than recent disclosure regulations from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics—which regulates lobbyists—and a plan laid out today by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who regulates non-profits.

“We’re going to work on a piece of legislation for next year that will part of the State of the State that rationalizes the entire system,” Cuomo said. “The JCOPE regulations I think were a good start; I think we need to go further. The attorney general’s jurisdiction is helpful; I think we need to go further.”
There are essentially no federal rules in place, so someone with millions of dollars can come into a state and spend like crazy without anyone knowing where the money is coming from.

Let's hope this legislation has legs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monserrate Gets Two Years in Prison

A slap on the wrist, but better than nothing:
Hiram Monserrate, a former New York City councilman and state senator who acknowledged misusing about $100,000 in city money to help pay for one of his Senate campaigns, was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison.

Mr. Monserrate, 45, a Queens Democrat, pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud and conspiracy in May. On Tuesday, he told a judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan that his misuse of the money had been motivated partly by his zeal to help poor and disenfranchised people.

“I am ashamed and deeply sorry for my lapse in judgment,” Mr. Monserrate said in court, adding, “I wanted to make a difference.
Yeah, you made a difference, alright.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Will Saland Concede?

Sounds like it's going to be soon:
Ballots were still being considered Monday in the closely contested race for the state’s 46th Senate District, but in the 41st Senate District one candidate declared victory even though the counting had not been completed.

[. . .]

Saland on Sunday evening issued a statement saying his attorneys would no longer challenge any ballots. He said as of Friday, the margin between him and Gipson had shrunk to 1,181 votes with 2,267 absentees and nearly 1,400 affidavits still to be counted.

“Although we have gained a significant number of votes during the recount, and the margin has been greatly reduced, I have used the weekend to reassess our standing,” Saland said. “Despite these gains, it is becoming apparent that we may not gain enough in the end to ultimately be successful.”
So, when is he going to throw in the towel?

And nothing has apparently changed in SD-46, with George Amedore holding a 110-vote lead over Cecilia Tkaczyk. The article mentions the nearly 900 challenged ballots that need to be dealt with, but it doesn't say anything as to when this will be resolved. Gonna be at least a few more days, it appears.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rand Paul is as Dumb as a Box of Rocks

The senator from Kentucky is suggesting that the GOP get out of the Democrats' way and allow them to pass whatever legislation they want. And what do we need to do to make this happen? Seriously, if this is what he wants, it's totally okay by me. You clowns have been obstructing the recovery for long enough. Get out of the way and let the people who actually want to fix the economy do so.

Democrats will happily own the recovery that will follow. Bring. It. On.

Christie Rejects State-Run ACA Exchange

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tell me again how moderate Chris Christie is. But, it's all good. The feds will come in and do a much better job than the local yahoos.

And I agree with Governor Dean. These guys really couldn't be any more clueless. Christie and his right-wing pals are inadvertently helping push this country toward a single-payer health insurance system. Keep it up, guys.

The "Fiscal Cliff" Will Reduce 2013 Deficit by $720 Billion

Yes, you read that headline correctly. So, why are the deficit hawks running scared over this? This is what you guys have wanted all along, and next year you just might get it:
If all you wanted to do was to reduce the deficit as quickly as possible, here’s one very simple way to get it done: Go off the fiscal cliff.

Do so would result in about $720 billion in total austerity in 2013, and it would bring down the deficit that year in some of major ways, including $180 billion from income tax hikes, $120 billion in revenue from the payroll tax, $110 billion from the sequester’s automatic spending cuts, and $160 billion from expiring tax breaks and other programs, according to Bank of America’s estimates.

So when businesses and politicians fret about the economic fallout from the fiscal cliff, they’re reacting to the consequences of dramatic deficit-reduction in the short-term. It would save the government hundreds of billions of dollars next year, but would also take away the equivalent 4.6 percent of GDP through tax hikes and spending cuts—a sharp fiscal contraction that economists say would be a drag on growth in a still-tepid economy.
Did you catch that? Economists are worried that we would pay off this debt too quickly, which means less government spending and a further drag on the economy. Virtually all of the current debate is about whether we should reduce the deficit by a lesser amount. I'd be interested to hear what the folks over at the Liberty Coalition have to say about this.

Remember this when you're sitting at the neighborhood tavern or chatting around the water cooler.

More Angry White Guys

Faux liberal Andrew Cuomo and his pals in the GOP Independent Democratic Caucus are set to ensure that virtually no minority voices will be heard in the next legislative session:
New York is one of the most diverse states in the nation, with 3.5 million Hispanics, 2.8 million blacks and 1.5 million Asians. More than 40 percent of its residents are minorities.

Yet all of its statewide elected officials are white politicians. And in Albany, Republicans and a group of dissident Democrats have taken control of the State Senate by forming a coalition that would consist almost entirely of white lawmakers.

The coalition would prevent the Senate Democratic caucus, which includes 14 blacks and Hispanics and is the only legislative caucus in Albany led by a nonwhite person, from taking power. Democrats have 31 of the 63 seats in the Senate, and are expected to win seats in two districts where votes are still being counted; Republicans have 30 seats.
Cuomo and the so-called Independent Democrats are a bunch of racist assholes. I will never support Cuomo for president. I'll vote for nutjob Cynthia McKinney before I'll vote for Cuomo. Swine.

That is all.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

McConnell Filibusters His Own Bill

A parody of a mockery of a sham:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wanted to prove on Thursday that Democrats don’t have the votes to weaken Congress’ authority on the debt limit. Instead they called his bluff, and he ended up filibustering his own bill.

The legislation, modeled on a proposal McConnell offered last year as a “last-choice option” to avert a U.S. debt default, would permit the president to unilaterally lift the debt ceiling unless Congress mustered a two-thirds majority to stop him.

McConnell brought up the legislation Thursday morning. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) initially objected, seemingly proving the Republican leader’s point that it cannot pass the Senate. But then Reid ran it by his members and, in the afternoon, agreed to hold that same vote. This time it was McConnell who objected.
The Senate GOP would filibuster their own grandmothers' pensions.

And McConnell overreached, apparently believing that the Democrats would blink. They didn't and they won't.

Finally, Simpson-Bowles Explained

If you, too, are confused about the so-called Simpson-Bowles plan to locate the Lindbergh Baby reduce the deficit, Alex Pareen over at Salon lays it out in easy-to-parse language:
Not many people know this but “The Simpson-Bowles Plan” is magic. It is whatever you want it to be. It will fix the deficit and grow the economy and it does it without raising taxes on anyone, unless you want to raise taxes on some people, and then it does that. It cuts all government spending but in a way that doesn’t hurt Medicare or The Troops. If you stand in front of a mirror and say “Simpson-Bowles” three times David Gergen and Gloria Borger appear out of nowhere and praise your wisdom and seriousness. “The Simpson-Bowles Plan” gives you Your Country Back and makes it the ’90s again, or the ’50s, or whatever past decade you wish it was, when things were better. Simpson and Bowles were two kindly wizards and they granted America three wishes but dumb Washington, D.C., is too Partisan to make the wishes. Obama and the Republicans need to Grow Up and Get Serious and Pass “The Simpson-Bowles Plan,” everyone in America agrees.
The deficit debate -- and the deficit itself -- aren't the problem. Washington, D.C., is the problem, as it's currently filled with hucksters and psychopaths who have no qualms about watching old people starve to death. And if you think that's a radical statement, you haven't been paying attention. Read the whole thing for an epic take-down of what is sure to turn out to be really horrible policy.

Hugh Reynolds Makes a Funny

At least, that's what I think it has to be. Either that, or he's talking about a different Terry Bernardo:
The executive will not be happy to see Terry Bernardo back for another term. She’s a bear for research, with a talent for connecting policy decisions to campaign contributions, motive to action.
If this is Hugh's roundabout way of saying, "throws mud unscrupulously to see what sticks," then perhaps I am in agreement with Reynolds.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Knife in the Back

That's about how I would describe this if I were a Democratic state senator in New York:
Imagine that in some alternate universe, in 2010, President Barack Obama had encouraged Sens. Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, and Mark Pryor to create an "Independent Democratic Caucus" that would caucus with Republicans and deprive the majority of control of the Senate?

How angry would that make you? Well, that's exactly the sort of thing you could expect from a President Andrew Cuomo, considering he's doing just that in New York today.
Cuomo just sold the state senate down the river. And this flaunts the will of voters, who quite clearly returned the state senate back to Democratic hands. These so-called independents are a bunch of traitors and should have any and all party support withdrawn from them.

And, just to add, I will never support Cuomo for president, and I'm glad I voted third-party when he ran for governor.

Corruption During Sottile Tenure?

We have dueling stories in today's Freeman, both of which sling mud at their respective subjects. The first is one by Paul Kirby in which Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo reprimands former Kingston Mayor Jim Sottile for taking a job with a developer that had business with the city during Sottile's administration:
Mayor Shayne Gallo says his predecessor, James Sottile, created an “appearance of impropriety” when, after leaving office, he took a job with a developer who was instrumental in obtaining a modular home for a local not-for-profit agency.

Sottile’s 10-year mayoral tenure ended last Dec. 31, and he went to work soon after for developer John Palmucci, who Sottile says was able to secure a modular home, at cost, from a third party for an Ulster YouthBuild project. The home was paid for with money from the city’s federal Entitlement Program funding.

According to both Gallo and city records, the modular home, which now stands on Catherine Street, was purchased for $62,775 in 2011.
The article goes on to say that Sottile's administration skirted federal housing laws when it came to the purchase of this modular home, and that Sottile should not have taken this job as it appears improper.

And Gallo has a point. A developer could, for example, provide a golden parachute to an outgoing executive for certain "considerations" for the company while he or she remains in office. Having a rule that bars elected officials from certain types of employment for a specific period of time (a year, two years) is prudent and helps to prevent corruption. Gallo is right when he says that Sottile should have known better.

On the other hand, how did Sottile benefit from this deal? Corruption, which Gallo is definitely implying, requires the person at the receiving end to have accrued some sort of shady financial benefit. The article and Gallo don't go there.

Reading between the lines, though, let's say, totally hypothetically, that a developer wanted to recoup losses on a modular home it had sitting around. The problem is, they don't have a buyer for it. So, they approach the mayor of a local city/village to take the thing off their hands. The mayor says, "Sure, the city/village will buy it, but I personally want a piece of the action." The developer says, "Okay, no problem." But how do you get the payoff to the mayor? Well, you could offer him/her a nominal job at your development firm once he or she leaves office and funnel the kickback to him via a legitimate-seeming paycheck. It happens all the time, folks.

But is this what happened here? No idea, as the article doesn't offer anything in the way of a smoking gun. It's just Gallo throwing mud at Sottile. Is there a "there" there? Maybe. And if there really was this kind of corruption during Sottile's tenure, throw the f*cking book at him. The Freeman probably doesn't have the resources to turn this into a full-blown corruption investigation, but it should do everything it can to look into this, nonetheless.

Not to be outdone by his replacement, Sottile shoots back at Gallo -- and in the same edition of the paper, no less:
Former Mayor James Sottile suspects Mayor Shayne Gallo harbors hard feelings toward him because he did not support the current chief executive’s bid for a city judgeship several years ago.

Sottile said that could be the reason why Gallo has been openly critical of the past administration, particularly the way it oversaw the city’s Office for Community Development.

“I think it could be the fact that he was not appointed judge,” Sottile said. “It could be related to that.”
Sottile says that Gallo going after him is nothing more than sour grapes. Perhaps. But this seems unlikely to me. How does this benefit Gallo? Why do it now, when Sottile no longer has any power? Payback? If so, then Gallo has a very long memory, and would have to be a very embittered person. After all, he now has Sottile's old job, right? It doesn't make sense that this is nothing more than revenge. But I could be wrong.

So, maybe there's something serious going on here. And, given that the money came from HUD, the feds might have something to say about all of this. And they don't screw around. Has Gallo's office been in contact with any federal agencies regarding potential corruption during the Sottile administration? This would be a very good question to ask Gallo. Maybe someone at the Freeman will let their readers know what he says.

This could turn out to be nothing, or it could be a big story. But we won't know until (if?) local reporters start turning-over more rocks.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cuomo "Optimistic" Over Sandy Aid

Let's hope he's right. I, however, believe that the House GOP "leadership" will behave like a bunch of spoiled children:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo emerged Monday from meetings with top Obama administration officials and congressional leaders "optimistic" that Congress will act quickly to provide tens of billions of dollars to help the state recover from Hurricane Sandy.

"People are still reeling from this trauma, and New York needs help," Cuomo said after meeting with Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii); Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the panel's senior Republican; and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who is chairwoman of the panel's subcommittee on homeland security.

"New York has been there for other parts of the country when they needed help," Cuomo said. "We're asking for the same today. So far, I'm optimistic."
Again, I hope I'm pleasantly surprised and the House does the right thing. But, as the Beghazi witch-hunt demonstrates (politics are supposed to stop at the water's edge), the GOP are capable of changing their entire platform, as long as it hurts President Obama's ability to govern effectively. For the GOP, the means and the end are the same thing. To them, power is everything. So, I would expect them to exercise this power. And it's also a great way to punish liberals (New York), and deliver some payback to the latest GOP apostate (Chris Christie).

Costas Said What Needs to be Said

There are few things that Americans are as passionate about as guns. Americans fetishize guns to the point it becomes creepy, as if the NRA should be reclassified as a religious organization. So, what Bob Costas did is remind us of what most rational people already know: there are almost as many guns as there are people in this country -- think about that for a moment -- so random killings sprees are the price we pay for having such easy access to firearms. There is no two ways about it. If you love guns, and don't want any gun control laws, then you need to understand that there's a chance you'll be shot dead next time you go to the mall or any other public space.

And what was Costas's heresy? That we "need to have a discussion." For that, he is being castigated as the second-coming of Che Guevara and Benedict Arnold. I'm not surprised by this characterization, as the gun nuts are among the most wound-up paranoids this country has ever produced. Any encroachment on their right to keep an bear arms = Hitler. I'm guessing that Costas, though, is a bit surprised by the vilification and the vitriol. Welcome to my world, Bob.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Chipman: Freeman Wrong on Landfill Remarks

Well, that certainly didn't take long. Town of Rochester Supervisor Carl Chipman says that he never said he was in favor of siting a landfill in the town, and that the statement Freeman reporter Patricia Doxsey attributed to him was misconstrued by the paper.

And I think Chipman has a point. His statement was that he is "willing to talk" about using the Town of Rochester as a potential landfill site. That's very different than being "open" to the town hosting the landfill, as the Freeman's very misleading headline suggests.

But don't blame Patricia Doxsey. She's actually one of the few good reporters in our area. And there doesn't appear to be anything misleading in the text of the article itself, so she did her job.

The sensational headline, however, certainly got them some clicks, even though it was actually false. And, as headlines are almost always written by editorial staff, this screw-up is on Doxsey's bosses, not her. And there is no other way to parse this one. Chipman didn't say what the headline attributes to him. The paper published a false headline in order to generate web traffic.

I'm no fan of Chipman's right-wing politics, but this was bad journalism by the Freeman. And this could (and often does) happen to Democrats, so push-back against this kind of thing is a worthy endeavor.

The Freeman should print a correction and apologize to Chipman.

Holding the Northeast Hostage

I've been watching the Governors of New York and New Jersey, and the mayor of New York City, as they begin to tally the damage from Superstorm Sandy. Cuomo at last count was going to seek $41 billion, while Bloomberg has said that the city needs $9 billion from the feds. That's $50 billion before you get to New Jersey, which is likely to be another $40 billion. Throw in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, and the lesser damage to points south, and you have a storm that will probably exceed $100 billion in damage (Katrina cost $108 billion, so Sandy is likely to be even more expensive in the long run).

So, here's my question: will the GOP hold the Northeast hostage and refuse to appropriate these funds? We are, after all, snooty East Coast elitists who think we know it all. Why should congressmen from red states have any sympathy for our degenerate Hamptons' lifestyle? The storm was probably god's payback for gay marriage, right?

My guess is that the GOP nihilists in the House will actually enjoy inflicting as much pain as possible on us Obama voters. Take a look at the debt ceiling negotiations if you don't believe me. Hopefully I'm proved wrong, but I wouldn't count on it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Where are the Women?

This would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that these clowns have a role in the governance of this country:
It was somewhat disappointing, though not particularly surprising, when House Speaker John Boehner announced yesterday that the GOP's 19 House committee chairs will be occupied exclusively by white men starting next year.

For one thing, the current Congress has only a single minority chairperson — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a Hispanic woman.

For another thing, the GOP itself is composed almost entirely of white men: Of the 234 (or 235) Republicans that make up the 113th Congress, only 20 are women, seven are Hispanic, and one is African-American.

Compare that with the Democrats, who, for the first time, will count white male lawmakers in the minority.
For the GOP, a true reflection of this nation begins and ends with white male privilege. If you want to see a party that truly represents the diversity of this nation, you have to look at the Democrats.

But, don't worry. Speaker Boehner fixed everything:
After days of pressure from Republicans and Democrats alike, House Republican leaders finally put a woman in charge of a committee Friday afternoon. But if Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the House leadership thought choosing Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) to lead the House administration committee — making her the sole female committee chair in the House — would put the issue to bed, they appear to have been mistaken.

Democrats and advocates for women in politics say Miller’s appointment feels like “tokenism” — and say the gender makeup of the House’s committee chairs will follow the GOP to 2014.

“I’m not sure which was worse: House Republicans refusing to have any women Chair a Legislative Committee or only appointing a woman to Chair the Congressional Housekeeping Committee,” said one Democratic official.
Housekeeping committee. Ouch.

But I don't know why anyone is complaining. These committee chair appointments are a reflection of the modern GOP, the party of angry white males.

Bernardo Watch: Wishful Thinking

If you had asked me six months ago whether Terry Bernardo's post as chairwoman would survive January's upcoming reorganization meeting for the county legislature, I'd have said "no way." But county legislators are a particularly timid species, and they have weak spines from an evolutionary perspective. Thus, they are particularly susceptible to the wind conditions. You can often observe them in their native habitat with their fingers in the air.

Robin Yess wonders if Bernardo will weather the storm, and she's commissioned an online poll asking readers who would be the best replacement. Drop by and weigh in. Bartels gets my vote, as she consistently demonstrates that she knows what she's talking about and is a good progressive.

But when it comes to Bernardo being bounced fro her leadership post, I'll always wager on timidity and entropy. In other words, it's far easier to chicken-out and do nothing than it is to do hard work.

But it cannot hurt to let your county legislator know that you would prefer someone as legislative chair who isn't using the office like it's a human resources department for her and her freeloading pals.

SD-46: Challenged Ballots are 90-Percent Democratic

Good news in the race for SD-46. While Republican George Amedore maintains a 110 vote lead in the ballots counted thus far, there are still close to 900 challenged ballots, 90 percent of which were cast by Democrats:
With all machine, absentee and affidavit ballots in the district counted, Amedore leads Tkaczyk by 110 votes out of some 126,000 cast, but there are 877 challenged ballots, Work said. He said about 90 percent of the challenged ballots were cast by Democrats and only 10 percent by Republicans.
Wow, I had no idea there would be such a disparity. Ninety percent is seriously lopsided. But, the GOP hates it when liberals vote, so the fact that nine-of-ten challenged ballots were cast by a Democrat (and likely a person of color) is a symptom of the party's overall problems with race and democracy.

As for SD-46, the way I figure it, Cecila Tkaczyk needs to see about 20 percent of these ballots approved in order to ensure victory by a razor-thin margin. I did a little poking around regarding the rate at which provisional ballots make it into the final total, and found news articles that show that anywhere from 20-70 percent of provisional ballots are typically rejected.

This is not good news for George Amedore. Stay tuned.