The BuffaloPundit has teamed up with wnymedia.net, and has a new home. http://buffalopundit.wnymedia.net Please update your favorites, links & browsers to that address, or (better yet) www.buffalopundit.com. The blogger space, which began as a humble "WNY for Clark" blog in September 2003, will remain here. Thanks for your readership and support, and thanks to wnymedia.net for the hosting. The blog known as BuffaloPundit is dead. Long live BuffaloPundit.


Love is in the air

Look at the two lovebirds. Look at them holding hands, loving each other. Look at them sending a message to al Qaeda and other islamist radicals; the leader of the free world holding hands with a despotic Wahhabist monarch-in-waiting. Look at me, paying $2.29 for gas two years after we invaded a country with massive oil reserves. Look at Bush, and what he said while campaigning for the job he's held since 2001:
In January 2000, with oil prices at nearly $28 a barrel, Bush called on President Clinton to ``jawbone OPEC'' to get prices to retreat. ``What I think the president ought to do,'' he said while campaigning in New Hampshire where heating oil prices were soaring, ``is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say, `We expect you to open your spigots!''' Two months later Bush was in Florida and suggested as president he would use his ``political capital'' with Mideast producers. ``These are countries where it wasn't all that long ago that a President Bush helped Kuwait,'' he reminded voters, alluding to his father and the Gulf War. ``I think Americans ought to be asking where's all the capital we earned overseas after defending some of our OPEC nation friends?'' Bush said in October during a campaign speech in Knoxville, Tenn.
Indeed. Heh.

Surprise, Surprise

Thruway tolls are about to rise.
"Most Thruway drivers will see their tolls rise by at least 25 percent come mid-May, under a plan given final approval Monday by the New York State Thruway Authority. The higher tolls, which could hit some truckers with rate hikes as much as 130 percent, will help pay for a $2.6 billion construction program along the highway system over the next seven years, including repairing aging bridges and bringing new 'highway speed' E-Z-Pass toll lanes to congested barriers like Williamsville. "
If you got rid of the toll lanes altogether, the congestion would evaporate completely. How's that for an idea, Albany?

Can you see me rolling my eyes?

The unions' lovefest with Byron Brown continues. Now the PBA has endorsed Brown, and according to the article posted at politicswny.com, it's basically because the PBA figures they'll get even sweeter deals with a Mayor Brown than with Masiello or someone else. The thing that really got my goat was, when asked how much the PBA was willing to spend to support Brown's candidacy, Meegan replied, ""At least one dollar more than the Partnership," Meegan quickly replies. "I guarantee we’ll do at least that" Ugh.

Bloggy goodness

The Buffalo Blogger hasn't been heard from in almost 3 weeks. I know he's having server issues, but I hope all is well and he resumes blogging soon. Also - please note Jen's new address. Amend your links.

April 29th

Wow. Has it already been six weeks? I'll be at this page at around 3pm on Friday.

Radio Silence

Right now I have some bloggy changes in the works for this humble page. That's why there was no posting yesterday - I was preoccupied with learning a new system and trying to export this blog to a new one. So far, I've been unsuccessful. If all y'all would be so kind as to change your links to this page to http://www.buffalopundit.com, it will make the transition relatively seamless. Thanks for your readership and support.


Revitalize Buffalo update

Revitalize Buffalo plans another meeting 7 p.m. April 28 at the Delaware Park Casino.
"Are you tired of hearing about the decline of Buffalo? We are. Do you believe that Buffalo is a great city with an even greater quality of life? We do. We are Revitalize Buffalo. Instead of waiting for someone else to do something, we realized we needed to take action. Our vision is to help build a smarter and cooler Buffalo and to mobilize the bright, creative and hard-working people of Buffalo and the region. "One of the biggest challenges we face is the current view of the community. The perception desperately needs to be changed. Yes, we have problems with the economy and politics. However, there is no better time to get involved with revitalization. We are at a crossroads. Both the city and county need help getting out of the red and back in the black. "We are working on "building an urban experience.' We are going to link up a lecture series with an activity in the city. So for instance, we will have someone talk about the new biomedical campus being built downtown, how to get a job at the campus and then have a tour of the campus. We will also have someone speak to the large artist population and then visit art galleries in the area. "A larger focus of the group involves buying a building in the downtown area, revitalizing it and offering space to small businesses at low rent. Once one small business is successful, others will want to build around it. "There are ways to learn more about us. Come to our next meeting April 28 at the Delaware Park Casino. Check out our Web site at www.revitalizebuffalo.org and e-mail your thoughts and ideas to amy@revitalizebuffalo.org. We know there are hundreds if not thousands of closet Buffalo fans out there. Maybe you don't want to speak up because everyone else around you is complaining. Well, we need your voice. We need you to help us change the climate of the community."
Schedule permitting, I'll be there.

Raining on my parade

Aside from it being somewhat of a miserable day, my mood was further dampened by my one-year-old state-of-the-art automobile's windshield wipers and washers completely malfunctioning today. Windshield wipers are a pretty basic automotive amenity, and the technology behind them is pretty old and well-tested. Windshield washers are also standard issue on just about every car available in the world, and have been around for decades. Why, even my 1994 Honda Civic had intermittent wipers that never, ever failed to work as designed. Yet the wipers and washers on my 2004 European sedan have fritzed out on my. Hoo fucking ray.


WNY Progress Report - WHLD 1270am, Tue 4pm

The WNY Progress Report - WHLD 1270am, Tue 4pm has its own website.


Dear People of Faith: Our country is not supposed to be a theocracy. Please keep the religion where it belongs: in your homes and places of worship. Keep it out of government and policy. Love, BuffaloPundit

Time to huck the tea

I picture New York politicians - from every corner of the state - thinking and thinking and thinking about new things that haven't yet been taxed. Today's brilliant idea is NYC mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer. He wants to tax stock trades if elected mayor. In response, the NYSE bought an e-trading firm, which can easily be based in, say, New Jersey. The link above is to the NY Post, and the writer's staccato prose is painful to read. But the points made are valid: just like shipping moved to Elizabeth many moons ago, what's to stop the NYSE from doing the same? It's just so stupid. (HT Upstate Blog, which doesn't have permalinks)

Dissing the media

The pressure must be getting to them. This morning, WBEN reported (but it's not on their site) that the Leg passed new rules for reporters yesterday. Reporters can no longer approach & report on the legislature while it's in session, nor can they speak with legislators while they're on the floor. Also, reporters can't hang around one certain exit, enabling media-shy legislators to slip out without having to answer questions. Hey - who are we to hold them accountable?

Extreme makeover

Dear Citizens of WNY: Here's what we need to do to stop the bleeding. Let's work together to make it happen. Love, BuffaloPundit

New York lagging behind

Dear People of the State of New York: We can do better. George Pataki is a miserable failure. Love, BuffaloPundit

From each according to his work rules ...

Tummy tucks. Hair transplants. Nose jobs. Breast Implants. Your tax dollars at work. At least they could kiss us while they fuck us.
"Cosmetic surgeries are driving up Buffalo's health insurance costs by at least $1 million a year as many uniformed employees, their relatives and retirees get tummy tucks, hair transplants, nose jobs, breast implants and other elective surgeries. Police officers, firefighters and other employees who retired before 1995 are eligible to receive the most costly coverage. Traditional insurance plans for families cost more than $14,000 a year, and Buffalo pays 95 percent of the tab for eligible employees who have at least four years of service. This is the same city that is cutting the size of its police force, closing firehouses and raising the garbage user fee to balance its budget.
Hey - from each according to his work rules & to each according to his demands. Excuse me. I'm going to be sick.

The adults are in charge

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone's not out to get you. Did you think that the Clinton impeachment was merely payback for Nixon? You're right, according to octogenerian former adulterer Henry Hyde.
Republican Congressman Henry Hyde made some surprising comments Thursday on the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton. He now says Republicans may have gone after Clinton to retaliate for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Hyde is stepping down after this term

Borrow & Spend

It's time for the national democrats to take a page from the Reagan playbook. The republicans have been demonizing dems as being "tax and spend"-ers since the 30s. The party operating under the name "Republican" has become the party of borrow & spend. Here's your fiscal conservatism:
The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved $81 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a spending bill that would push the total cost of combat and reconstruction past $300 billion.
I don't have a problem with Afghanistan, and think that the war and reconstruction in that country were wholly justified. Iraq is a different story. Think of the good that $300 billion could have done here. In America.

George "I'm not Tom DeLay" Holt in action / inaction

The news coming out of the Erie County Legislature in the last few weeks is surreal. For anyone who has always wanted to visit a banana republic, c'mon down to Erie County. The only things missing are the palm trees. Back on March 4th, the legislature passed a budget package which included a reduction of staffer salaries. As of this day, those reductions have not been enacted. Channel 2 and I want to know why.
Mychajliw: 'How come the Legislature didn't start cutting staff salaries like it was supposed to be on March 4th? Legislator Denise Marshall: We still have not found out that answer. And we believed that was going to happen. Mychajliw: 'So correct me if I'm wrong, but Legislative staffers are still getting paid the same amount of money as they were the beginning of the year, even though on March 4th, there were thousands of dollars in cuts made? Marshall: That is true. That is true.' Since the Legislature did not bring up the furlough proposal for a vote, remaining Legislative staffers earning up to $91,466 a year are still getting paid the same. Mychajliw: 'The March 4th budget is really clear: salaries were supposed to be reduced but they weren't. Whose responsibility is that? Legislator Lynn Marinelli: The staffing falls with the Chair (George Holt).' Mychajliw: 'So, ultimately, wasn't it Chairman George Holt's call to reduce salaries starting on March 4th? Marinelli: Yes. Mychajliw: How come he didn't do it? Marinelli: You'll have to ask George. I'm the Majority Leader, not the Chairman.' We did try talking to Holt, who kept walking by our cameras at the Erie County Legislature. Legislature Chairman George Holt: No comments, sir.
We have a legislature chairman who is late on sales tax payments from his business, who is under investigation by the FBI for the crooked CBC deal, and who funnelled county taxpayer dollars (member money; i.e., pork) to his brother's Texas charity - money which was supposed to go to help Holt's constituency here in Buffalo. George Holt makes Tom DeLay look clean as a whistle.


Interesting Media Grad project

Hat tip to TheTalkArena.com. A grad student at UB (North) will do pretty much whatever you want on the remaining Thursdays (today & next week) in April. Chris Barr is available on Thursday It's for a media class and seems somewhat interesting, if not downright wacky.


What will we tell the children? "The time has come that the American people know exactly what their Representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know...I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure, not isolation." - U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, 11/16/95

From Stalinism to Fascism in one day!

Well, some might argue the two are identical. The innocent American citizens of the Muslim faith who were detained at the Q-L bridge for the apparent crime of attending a Toronto conference entitled "Reviving the Islamic Spirit" have sued US Homeland Security. I know some think I'm beating a dead horse, but since this is the attitude that these people are up against, I'll keep on beating, thanks.

American Muslims detained at the border as they returned from a religious conference in Toronto sued the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday alleging they were targets of ethnic and religious profiling.

The five Muslims, all U.S. citizens, say customs officials detained dozens of others from their conference in December, subjecting them to interrogations, fingerprinting and photographing. Four carried U.S.-issued passports; the other had a New York state driver's license, which is an acceptable form of identification at the Canadian border.

Quite honestly, a driver's license is acceptable form of ID, but it's not proof of citizenship, and anyone who crosses the border with merely a driver's license isn't being smart. You should bring along proof of citizenship; social security card, voter registration card, birth certificate, naturalization documents, e.g. But there's no excuse for detaining the passport holders. So, if not merely profiled for Muslim-sounding names or Hijabs, why were they stopped?

"In this instance, we had credible intelligence that conferences similar to the one from which these individuals were leaving were being used by terrorist organizations to fundraise and to hide the travel of terrorists themselves," said Kristi Clemens, spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection...

...Sawsan Tabbaa, 43, an orthodontist in Buffalo, took her four children in the family van for their third trip to the conference, which featured imam Hamza Yusuf. Yusuf is a prominent scholar who visited the White House in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to pray with President Bush and endorse his plans for military action.

Tabbaa, who wears hijab, said that at 2 a.m. Dec. 27 she arrived at the border checkpoint where agents asked her about the conference and instructed her to wait inside the customs building. Inside, she said, "I saw all the people from my Islamic community."

Tabbaa, a Syrian-born naturalized citizen, said agents refused to let her leave unless she submitted to fingerprinting. After several hours, she said, a female agent escorted her to a room to demonstrate the procedure.

"She just grabbed my hand and [began] fingerprinting it," Tabbaa said. "I was just forced to do it. She grabbed my hand."

Gosh, it swells me with patriotic fervor to know that Homeland Security would rather detain and fingerprint law-abiding citizens who look different than actually conduct an investigation into the conference which alarmed them so. It's bad investigative work, bad police work, bad public relations, bad protection, bad decisions, and otherwise bad, incompetent, and stupid. The real threat isn't from Muslim Orthondontists day tripping to Toronto with their kids, it's from overzealous, uninformed, undertrained, poorly supervised Homeland "Security" people. A real terrorist could have slipped by undetected while these GI Janes and Joes gave extra scrutiny to the dentist. I wish the plaintiffs luck.

The Soviet Socialist Republic of Erie County

CОВЕТСКИХ СОЦИАЛИСТИЧЕСКИХ РЕСПУБЛИК ИРИЙ КОУНТИЙ Our own Erie County Legislature has employed a common Stalinist/Orwellian trick - when the actual history is messy, just alter the record! Why, I'd not be surprised to find Al DeBenedetti's face airbrushed out of future photos of the leg. Specifically, to quote the Snews:
"Without comment days ago, the Erie County Legislature approved the sanitized minutes of its late-night session of Dec. 8, when members ramming through a 2005 budget turned their collective back on their own rules. The Legislature's record of that night, now official, makes no mention of the procedural errors that triggered a trio of lawsuits, one of which continues. "
And who, might I ask, was behind the messiness in the first place? Why the hack's hack, Chuck "don't call me a Democrat" Swanick and George "I plead the 5th" Holt. They set aside Leg rules on December 8th to ensure that a $1.1 billion budget for a governmental body that we don't even objectively need gets passed asap. What with Holt's office refusing to pay rent on certain legislators' offices, one almost feels like Cusack, Ranzenhofer, DeBenedetti (et al) are today's Zinoviev, Trotsky and Kamenev.

Adelphia Sold

Adelphia was sold to the Time Warner / Comcast joint venture. Good. I never liked Cablevision.

Lawyers, Guns & Money

Hi there. I'm for gun control. I think anyone who wants to own a gun should have to be licensed, take a safety course, and pass a test. Especially for guns capable of easy concealment. If you need a license to own a car, etc. Which means that, assuming that this guy was properly licensed under whatever current scheme we have, the guy in this story is why people should be permitted to have guns. Good for him.

Cheesecake Refinery

I'm very partial to a bunch of chain restaurants that don't exist here. Chief among them are the Cheesecake Factory (which I call refinery), and California Pizza Kitchen. I also like Chevy's and Bertuccis. My all-time fave is probably the Border Cafe in Cambridge & Saugus. A Trader Joe's would be nice, too. I'm such a geek that I've actually sent emails to some of the chains, begging them to come to WNY. So far, no luck. But my luck might be changing. Craig comments on an article about a possible (and needed) $50 million expansion at the Walden Galleria. Pyramid wants to create a village-style entry and add some hitherto-unknown restaurants to the mall. (To get an idea of what they're probably after, check out the Eastview Mall in Victor (near Rochester)). Among them is the Cheesecake Factory. I don't want to get into Craig's whole Bass Pro commentary. Instead, I have two words: Avocado Eggrolls.


Rochester - T.O. Ferry update

Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle has a cool update on the CATS ferry, which has been bought by the City of Rochester and should be up and running again by this summer. Last year, Toronto didn't really seem to give a shit; its terminal building consisted of a few trailers, there was little publicity; most of which trashed Rochester. It seems that everyone involved has learned some valuable lessons from the CATS' original and short-lived demise.
"As opposed to last year, when the launch of the international service piqued little interest in Canada, the atmosphere surrounding the ferry this year is markedly attentive... ...A joint Rochester-Toronto task force was formed to make sure the mistakes of the past weren't repeated. For example, the task force — comprising representatives from Rochester, Toronto, Toronto Port Authority and the province of Ontario — has focused on issues such as Canadian customs and publicity for the ferry. The task force has also reached out to Tourism Toronto and the Greater Rochester Visitors Association. Officials declined to provide details about upcoming marketing campaigns, but said the strategies would be announced soon. Rochester also has benefited because CATS — which engaged in some tough negotiating in its effort to make a profit — is out of the way. "I am not saying that CATS was necessarily wrong in their stance, but as private sector people, they had little patience for the style and pace of governmental deliberations," Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. said. "The city was able to capitalize on that frustration, and immediately establish good working relations with all of the key government players." Another major advantage in the eyes of Canadian leaders was the hiring of Bay Ferries Ltd., an experienced Canadian company that runs three ferries in eastern Canada and Maine. CATS had no experience operating a vessel. "The hiring of Bay Ferries was the single most important thing they could do for the stabilization of the service," said Lisa Raitt, president and chief executive of the Toronto Port Authority. "This is a company that has a track record."

Oh, to be Paulie Walnuts

Paulie Walnuts on the Sopranos once refered to someone as a "malignant c***". He could have been referring to Ann Coulter, who regales Time Magazine this week with tales of neo-McCarthyism. But not only is she the Volksische Beobachter's Page 3 girl, she's also a cretin. She complains about the photo of her that poisons the cover, referring to it as an "elongated funhouse photo", and that it is technicolor proof of liberal bias. She admits, however, that she didn't read the article.


I'm somewhat busy today, so posting will be light. I watched the newest installment of the US version of the Office last night, and I still like it. Sue me. I do, however, thing that Carrell's character is a lot meaner than Gervais'. The WNY Coalition for Progress' Progress Report had its premiere broadcast yesterday afternoon on AM-1270 WHLD. For an amateur program, it sure sounded professional. Great work. Apparently I gave a bit of a shock to the guest when I argued for abolishing county government. Good. People need to be shocked. I don't remember if it'll be Also watched the Amazing Race last night and was satisfied that Lynn & Alex came in last place. I didn't like their attitudes. As usual, Waveflux.net has the definitive roundup of last night's doings & undoings. (Thanks for the traffic yesterday!). But I still have to give all respect to Rob & Amber for playing the race brilliantly and more effectively than any prior team I can think of. And they haven't fought with each other once.


abOUT Magazine - The Queer Voice of Western New York and Southern Ontario

Up on the blogroll goes abOUT Magazine - The Queer Voice of Western New York and Southern Ontario. Welcome.

Western New York Coalition For Progress Update

We've got a radio show. It's on in like 2 minutes on WHLD 1270 AM. The WNY Progress Report brought to you by the WNY Coalition for Progress goes on the air today April 19 at 4 PM. We'll be talking to James Hartman about the Erie County Budget Crisis and examining the state of the Republican Party from the other side of the fence, and the numbers to call in are 855-6848 and 855-6862. Thanks and we hope that you like the show.

Spitzer's at it again

With action like this, Spitzer will chase out all lawbreaking companies that include deceptive automatic renewals in their contracts. And here, we see Spitzer quite clearly chasing the booming identity theft industry out of New York State. Talk about obvious, here he blatantly attacks unlicensed physicians in New York. How many more jobs must be chased from NY?!

When Wilmers Speaks...

Our local politicians really ought to STFU and listen.
"Our elected leaders and legislative bodies -- including the (Erie County) Legislature, the (Buffalo) Common Council and the Buffalo Board of Education -- fight with each other and amongst themselves,' he said. 'At one time or another, all have been public embarrassments. 'And speaking of embarrassment? Has there been any worse than the reports in the national media that Proctor and Gamble, when it learned of a particular supply shortage that had resulted from Erie County's financial problems, sent us a free truckload of toilet paper? People remember stories like that,' he said. Wilmers has been one of the original members of the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority -- commonly known as the Buffalo Control Board -- since its inception in 2003. Of the city, he said, 'You can't spend what you don't have. When a city's population and tax base both decline, its government must get smaller. There are, however, many in the city unwilling to accept that fact of life.' To improve conditions in the region, holding the line on new taxes would be a start, Wilmers said. 'Living within our means is crucial. But we must do much more. Even if we do not undertake government consolidation, our many governments must work together to limit duplication and reduce costs ...' And, he emphasized: 'Civility must become our norm.' It's time to stop arguing, he said, and instead, 'forge a new social compact. It's time to work together.' "
Unfortunately, Wilmers might as well be farting in a breeze.

Habemus Papam

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Cardinal today.
"Ratzinger, who took the name Benedict XVI, appeared on the balcony of the Vatican Basilica to greet the people and deliver his first papal blessing... ...In the Vatican, he has been the driving force behind crackdowns on liberation theology, religious pluralism, challenges to traditional moral teachings on issues such as homosexuality, and dissent on such issues as women's ordination.
At 78, Ratzinger is only 6 years younger than John Paul II was at his death. Ratzinger is also a reported former member of the Hitler Youth, and a confirmed former member of the Wehrmacht. Yipee. And he kind of resembles Palpatine: That being said, I don't know if Ratzinger's Nazi affiliations 60 years ago are particularly relevant. What is, to me, relevant, is what he has to say about priests sodomizing young boys.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the pope’s top doctrinal official, has endorsed the idea of the American bishops performing a public day of penance connected to the spiraling sexual abuse scandal in the United States.
Oooo. That'll be a deterrent.
Then, four years ago, some of the men tried a last ditch effort, taking the unusual step of filing a lawsuit in the Vatican's secretive court, seeking Macial's excommunication. Once again they laid out their evidence, but it was another futile effort — an effort the men say was blocked by one of the most powerful cardinals in the Vatican. The accusers say Vatican-based Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican office to safeguard the faith and the morals of the church, quietly made the lawsuit go away and shelved it. There was no investigation and the accusers weren't asked a single question or asked for a statement. He was appointed by the pope to investigate the entire sex abuse scandal in the church in recent days. But when approached by ABCNEWS in Rome last week with questions of allegations against Maciel, Ratzinger became visibly upset and actually slapped this reporter's hand. "Come to me when the moment is given," Ratzinger told ABCNEWS, "not yet."
Swept under the rug. Finally, in 2002 the Boston Globe did a piece on the scandal, and noted that Ratzinger had
''watered down'' the rules for confronting priest sex abuse that were established by the US bishops in Dallas in June. He said the changes weakened the role of the lay boards and in the end, as Doyle put it, continued ''with the view that church law is somehow above state law.''
The Vatican's reaction to the priest pedophilia scandal is a joke, and Ratzinger's obvious involvement in the cover-up is disgraceful. How can Ratzinger lecture to the faithful about morals with a straight face?

Who hates America?

It's the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings, which were perpetrated by a Niagara County native. I want to make a political point here, and I'm sorry it's on the backs of 168 American martyrs. The next time someone raves and rants to you about how the left hates America, and how Bush hatred is getting out of hand, or some other bullshit, remember back 10 years. Remember the first half of the 90s when the reaction of many on the right to the election of centrist democratic President Bill Clinton was to join militias in order to protect themselves against the coming rahowa, or some other such bullshit? They told us about the government's black helicopters, which were surveilling their every move. We had the violent and heavily armed cult of David Koresh, which could have just complied with a warrant, but instead waged war against the US government. We had the Montana freemen, who had terrorized the local populace, and resisted arrest for weeks. How many times did you read back then about people who allegedly loved their country, but hated the government? These were right wing fanatics - some of whom mixed religion into their paranoid political hysterics. They truly hated America. Which leads us to Tim McVeigh. This clean-cut veteran got caught up in the whole mythology of the victimization of white males, read the Turner Diaries, and things went downhill from there. It resulted in the then-worst act of domestic terrorism. The leftists and anarchists make a lot of noise, and oftentimes make complete asses out of themselves. They sometimes even break a window or two. They might even hurt someone - that is quite patently behavior that I don't condone. But they never parked a Ryder truck outside a government office and set off a massive explosion of fuel and fertilizer that murdered 168 people, including little children in a daycare center. By the way: in McVeigh's own words, (to Fox News, predictably,) he explains his rationale for bombing the Murrah building:
Knowledge of these multiple and ever-more aggressive raids across the country constituted an identifiable pattern of conduct within and by the federal government and amongst its various agencies. For all intents and purposes, federal agents had become "soldiers" (using military training, tactics, techniques, equipment, language, dress, organization, and mindset) and they were escalating their behavior. Therefore, this bombing was also meant as a pre-emptive (or pro-active) strike against these forces and their command and control centers within the federal building. When an aggressor force continually launches attacks from a particular base of operation, it is sound military strategy to take the fight to the enemy.

McVeigh was merely an early user of what is now known as the Bush doctrine.

Protecting the sanctity of marriage

This is rich. Via Jesus' General, we learn of a Tennessee state senator who asserted that granting marriage/civil union rights to homosexuals would destroy the institution of marriage. Turns out Senator Miller isn't just a homophobe. He's a hypocrite, too. You see, Senator Miller cheated on his wife with his legislative aide. Of course, since it's not about the sex, but the lying, Senator Miller (R) initially denied the affair, but is now beginning to come clean about it. Miller's also pretty blunt about his homophobia. Although he denies being phobic of anything, he quite obviously is. Also interesting, Senator Miller apparently grew some facial hair to prove his virility in response to the outing of his brother. When a democratic state senator proposed adding a ban on adultery to Tennessee's "defense of marriage" act, Senator Miller did not sign on. Surprise, surprise, as Gomer Pyle might say.

More Yankee than Dixie. What a relief.

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English
35% Yankee
10% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern
HT to Craig & Ali.

Knowing when to bow out

Can you believe that Nancy Naples came this closeto becoming a freshman congresswoman? Just five months later, her political career is finished. What a difference a few months and a fiscal crisis can make. Honestly, a woman who can't be an effective watchdog over her own family finances has no business being a public watchdog. A woman who favors political patrons at taxpayers' expense has no business being in government any longer. Have fun back in the private sector, Ms. Naples. At least there, it might be easier for breaches of fiduciary duty to be caught & punished.


I'm not a practicing Catholic, so I really don't care whom they select as Pope. I hope they avoid the rumored-former-Nazi Ratzinger, though. The reason I don't care is that the Catholic Church could be doing a lot more good for its faithful if it would change a bit. I know all the Cal Thomases and George Wills and Rush Limbaughs and Charles Krauthammers of the world (none of whom, AFAIK, are Catholics themselves) will argue vociferously that the whole point of the Vatican is to avoid change, standing as a shining beacon of conservatism in an otherwise godless world. Or something like that. I'll leave it to your imagination to decipher what sort of change I mean. But the spectacle of a bug on the CNN screen with a "chimneycam" for Smokewatch '05 is really too much for me to bear. I personally find all religion to be about 50/50 between fairy tale and superstition, but people gathering in St. Peter's Square to watch a chimney begs the question - don't these people have somewhere else they need to be? If I sound bitter about the whole thing, it's because I am. This is a church that has systematically enabled and protected child molestation by its clergy. The clergy who manage somehow to escape criminal prosecution (due to statutes of limitation or other barriers), are not excommunicated by the church. But if a Cardinal voting for the Pope utters a word about the conclave to a journalist or anyone else not sworn to secrecy, he can be excommunicated for that. I would argue that a priest anally raping a young boy is more deserving of excommunication than leaking information about some anachronistic little drama. It's all about perception, and in this case the perception is that the Catholic Church in 2005 has its priorities way, way out of whack.


Hope you enjoyed my sampler of pics from London.

Westminster by Night Posted by Hello

Look left Posted by Hello

Shopping near Portobello Road Posted by Hello

Inside the British Museum Posted by Hello

The Prime Meridian.  Posted by Hello

The view from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. The skyscrapers of the Docklands are visible in the background.  Posted by Hello

Piccadilly Circus at night Posted by Hello

The view towards Buckingham Palace Posted by Hello

Westminster Abbey Posted by Hello

Outside Westminster Abbey Posted by Hello

Trafalgar Square Posted by Hello

Inside the Tate Modern Posted by Hello

St Pauls from the Millenium Bridge Posted by Hello

Henry the VIII and his...armor Posted by Hello

Caution! Posted by Hello

The Tower of London Posted by Hello

When's the last time you saw a memorial to animals in war?  Posted by Hello

The view from the London eye Posted by Hello


The 10 Crappiest Things About Downtown Buffalo

I think this piece in the Buffalo Beast just about nails it on the head. Especially numbers 10 - 7, 4-2.

The Apprentice

Sir Alan Sugar: the British Donald Trump? The show was actually rather good. Too bad we can't see it here.

Mark Poloncarz For Erie County Comptroller

Hell yeah, I endorse Mark Poloncarz For Erie County Comptroller


This morning’s weather – sunny, cloudless & 44 degrees – is a carbon copy of the weather in London yesterday - the Royal Borough of Westminster, to be exact. Needless to say, I didn’t want to leave. I have wanted to visit London since before I was a teenager, and finally did so this past week. My wife and my intrepid, tireless and fearless 4-year-old enjoyed it, too. Last Thursday, we drove out to Toronto’s Pearson Airport for a 6-hour hop across the pond. We lucked out with the weather, which cooperated most of the time, and was gloriously perfect about half the time. We saw all the major sights: British Museum was awe-inspiring; Tate Modern was fascinating; National Gallery was beautiful; Tower of London was entertaining; London Eye was phenomenal; Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s were like stepping into history. The prices, however, were abominable. The dollar trades at about $1.95 per pound, but the British prices are equivalent to American ones; a grande coffee at Starbucks might cost $2.00 here, but it’s £2.00 there; so it was close to $4.00. I’m lucky I didn’t rent a car, since gas costs the equivalent of $6.50/gallon. When’s the last time you spent $40 for pancakes, yogurt, and an omelette at a diner? Anyway, food-wise we enjoyed Pret a Manger, Eat!, Belgo Centraal, Yo! Sushi, Square Pie, and S&M Café near the Spitalfields market. We also ate at a few pubs, etc. Shopping? Harrod’s is a tourist trap. Selfridges was really a beautiful shop, and the best food hall. Fortnum & Mason was kind of like a museum. Marks & Spencer was somewhat uninteresting, but did have a good food hall – everything is sold under their own brand. Spitalfields Market was really cool, and Portobello Road on Saturday was crowded and nutty, but the side streets are worth exploring, too. I was sorry I missed Borough Market, though. It’s bittersweet coming home, really. In many ways I envy their lifestyle. I wouldn’t mind if Paris was a 3 hour train ride away, or the Alps were a 1 hr flight. But it’s good to be home.


Cheers to Craig formerly of Buffalog, currently of North Coast Online for his kind words. The site looks great, Craig.


I'm baaack

D'ja miss me? Is there still a budget crisis? Has Joel resigned yet? Is Holt under indictment yet? Coming back from the airport today, WBEN at the top of the hour had as its top headline some murderer in Florida who had been a sex offender had confessed. The third story was local, involving local gangs having a couple three shootouts involving AKs and the like. Seems to me the latter is the bigger local story.



This is it. I'm going on hiatus for about a week, starting today. I'm going to try to run a feed or two on the site, so at least some content will change. I am not bringing a computer, so I doubt that I'll be posting much of anything over the next week. So, enjoy the week. Don't break anything while I'm gone.

Dead Horses

David Torke from Fix Buffalo says that I should stop beating a dead horse. This coming from a guy with a one-issue blog. It is wrong to detain American citizens simply because they (1) look Muslim; (2) have Muslim-sounding names; or (3) attended a conference in Canada on religion. It's a shame that this sort of abuse of civil liberty is considered a "dead horse" by some. Pastor Niemoeller on dead horses:
Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist. Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat. Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich nicht protestiert; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter. Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich nicht protestiert; ich war ja kein Jude. Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.
When the Nazis arrested the Communists, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Communist. When they locked up the Social Democrats, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Social Democrat. When they arrested the trade unionists, I said nothing; afterall, I was not a trade unionist. When they arrested the Jews, I said nothing; after all, I was not a Jew. When they arrested me, there was no longer anyone who could protest.
All in all, to me, these sorts of dead horses are a bunch more important than a vacant house.

Downtown livin'

Let's not dwell on the negative, 'kay? Lest anyone think we're all about doom, gloom, etc., here's some great news for downtown Buffalo.
: "An independent analysis of the downtown Buffalo housing market predicts that the urban core could support 1,900 new residential units over the next five years. 'Believe absolutely that Buffalo is at the beginning of what is possible in terms of downtown housing. You have enormous possibilities and potential,' said Laurie Volk, lead researcher for the report on the future of the downtown residential market. "
How do we help this market grow? We need more condos to sell, and less rentals. Also:
Offering gap financing to assist developers who take on projects that require hefty upfront costs and lengthy payback periods. Marketing aggressively to boost awareness of downtown housing opportunities. Targeting surface parking lots in emerging urban neighborhoods as building sites. Making city permit and inspection processes developer-friendly to encourage creative reuse of existing downtown structures.
Downtown has so much potential, and it's so very ripe for the picking.

The Political Class

Jim Ostrowski: A Milovan Djilas for our time?! The self-important Mr. Ostrowski responds to non-existent rumors that make him feel important, and says this:
"Here's the bottom line. Free Buffalo's agenda is opposed by, you guessed it, the political class. These people have been living high on the hog for 45 years at our expense. There is little they won't do to keep their hold on power. They'll lie, cheat, defame, corrupt justice and God knows what else. Mendacity is the foundation of their entire enterprise. I know. I've been on the receiving end of their malice for 27 years. The irony is that their bitterness betrays their own estimate of what privileged lives they lead. They realize how difficult it is to make a living in this town in the non-union private sector. They are so bitter and fight so hard and viciously against us because they don't won't to be private sector saps like us! What's the matter, people, don't want to work the nightshift at a convenient store for seven dollars an hour? Neither do we, but that's the economy you gave us. Free Buffalo!!!"
I didn't know all of you worked the night shift at the convenience store! I ought to tell my boss about that - I've been neglecting my convenience-store duties. I also didn't know that every person who is not a member of Free Buffalo is a member of the political class. Heck, I guess I'm a member of the political class. Pundits of the World, Unite!


Amazing Race

As always, Waveflux has the scoop. Brilliant as ever. My comments are there.

Who needs Primary Challenge, anyway?

Many of you are aware of Primary Challenge, which was set up recently to run primary challengers against Erie County incumbents. So far, they have yet to announce any candidates, and their rules are somewhat restrictive. If you have ever been a committeeman of any established political party, you are barred from participating in Primary Challenge. Seems like a rather idiotic and short-sighted rule which might very well exclude qualified and interested candidates. According to WNY Media Network, several candidates have already announced that they're challenging incumbents.
"Kenmore Town Board Member Michelle Ianello, Kris Powers announced their candidacies today. It also looks more and more likely the 'Chicken wing King' Drew Cerza, will also throw his hat into the ring sometime this week. So far all this without the help of a Political action Commitee, who has yet to file proper paper work with the Board of Elections. "

Volker swings back

WNY Media Network has the full text.
"First, in partnership with Thomas Suozzi (President for the NYS County Executives Association and County Executive of Nassau County), Joel Giambra traveled around the state pushing for Medicaid Reform, specifically a cap on this health program for county governments. Last week, the State Legislature did just that and placed a cap on the Medicaid Program. In fact, the same Thomas Suozzi who Joel Giambra likes to mention in his reform movement recently sent me a letter thanking me and the members of the State Legislature for passing a cap on the Medicaid Program (See Attached Letter). It is obvious that Joel Giambra and Thomas Suozzi are not on the same page. "
Volker calls Giambra's sudden embrace of Suozzi's movement a marriage of convenience. He's right. It must be KILLING HRH Joel I that he has to share the spotlight with Suozzi, who has OWNED the Medicaid/reform Albany issue for over a year.

Gotcher passport?

You're gonna need it. By 2007, each and every person crossing the US border at any of the WNY bridge crossings must show a valid passport or NEXUS card. No more drivers' licenses, no more birth certificates. You're going to have to bit the bullet and pay the feds $50 for your passport if you want to cross the border. Canada is likely to do the same. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, however. A passport is really the only document that constitutes proof of citizenship. I'd actually prefer a national id card, if only because it fits in your wallet, and you don't have to remember where you put your passport. Maybe they could lower the price for people who live within 50 or 100 miles of the border. (It'll never happen). $50 is probably kind of steep for a lot of people, and the application process can be time-consuming. Anyway, here's your NEXUS application form for quick border crossings between CDN & USA; Here's your passport application form. To our Canadian friends, here's YOUR passport application form.


NYS Thruway Authority: Bleeding you since 1954

What do you get when you combine a bureaucracy with cold, hard, cash? Business as usual in New York State. The Thruway sent in its executive director to tell us why the Thruway needs higher tolls. Most people didn't buy it. Although the toll hike would be the first since 1988, it'd be 25% for cars. Leave it to a NYS Authority to eff up the timing on something like this: gas prices are already at all-time highs, and taxes from gas sales in NY already go to pay for road maintenance (supposedly).
Several trucking officials said their rates will increase far more than the 35 percent - some said it will be close to 100 percent - claimed by the authority, once the various classifications for weights and number of axles are taken into consideration. Fleischer acknowledged that is true and said the authority is studying recalculating and simplifying the toll schedule for trucks.
I-80 is free, and it runs parallel to the I-90, only about 200 miles south. What do you think the truckers would do if tolls increased here by 100%?
Several speakers brought up the fact the Thruway was supposed to have been toll-free by now and said if the authority hadn't been given the responsibility for the State Barge Canal, perhaps it wouldn't need an increase. 'We were clearly hoodwinked' by the promise the road would be toll free by 1996, Bill Joyce of the New York State Motor Truck Association said. Thruway tolls 'should be a pure user fee. The canal should not be supported by higher tolls,' he added. He and other truckers said the toll increase amounts to a $6-an-hour hike in operating costs. Mark Janis of Path Truck Lines said his firm is just emerging from bankruptcy and the increase will jeopardize more than 100 jobs.
Hoodwinked is a good word for it. Same thing happened on the Mass. Pike, which was supposed to be free by 1986. At least Bill Weld abolished tolls West of Springfield, and removed toll barriers on the Pike extension in Newton. But a certain group is all for higher tolls. Can you guess which group that might be? Come on, I know you can do it! That's right:
But Mark Kirsch, business agent for Operating Engineers Local 17 representing 1,400 construction workers, said the construction project will create jobs. But, he said, the tolls need to be a true user fee 'and not disappear into the general fund.'
"We're for higher tolls, but only if they go directly into our members' pockets." Michael Leydecker of the American Council of Engineers said investing in the Thruway will be good for the economy as well as maintaining safety and speed of travel. Dave Swarts, Kathy Hochul, Marc Coppola, and Richard Fontana all called for the removal of the insidious 50-cent tolls in the City of Buffalo, as well as moving the Lackawanna barrier further West. When you exit the Thruway in Albany, Rochester, or Syracuse, you do not get hit for another 50 cents on the 690, the 490/590/390, or on the 787.


I commented on it some months ago: back in January, a group of Americans of the Muslim faith traveled to Toronto for a conference entitled "Renewing the Islamic Spirit." To our government, that conference was a suspected terrorist recruitment drive. But instead of sending some undercover officers to attend the conference, they merely detained any and all Muslim-looking people who crossed the Q-L bridge that day, as well as people who declared to US Customs that they had attended the conference in Toronto. Law-abiding American Citizens who had done nothing remotely wrong were detained at the border for hours, and fingerprinted. They want answers, and rightfully so. The feds sent some poor prick up to Buffalo to calm the restless. He didn't do shit.
"About 50 people assembled for a forum at the University at Buffalo to hear a top adviser on civil rights with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security address their concerns about that incident and to clarify U.S. policies. Daniel W. Sutherland, officer for civil rights and civil liberties, spoke at length on the government's good intentions but said he was unprepared to address specifics of the incident. 'There are multiple pieces to that puzzle,' Sutherland said. 'If you're looking to me to give you the answers from A to Z on that, you're going to be disappointed.' Indeed, Dr. Sawsan Tabbaa, a Syrian-born dentist and UB instructor who was among those stopped and fingerprinted when returning from the Toronto conference, was not mollified. 'After four months, I was expecting an answer to the main question: Why?' Tabbaa said after the 90-minute forum. 'I thought he should be more prepared, I guess.' "
If Mr. Sutherland had been more informed, he would have given away state secrets, Dr. Tabbaa. The detention of people based on their religion or attendance at a conference in Canada isn't based on anything resembling probable cause or reasonable suspicion. I know the rules are different at the border, but I don't think those rules permit the government to trample upon the freedoms of speech and assembly, as occurred here. Hopefully, the government will get smart and give these people the answers they're looking for. I hope they've retained counsel.

They were asking for it

As much as the right-wing echo chamber insists, INSISTS that dems denounce, DENOUNCE lefties like Ward Churchill, who have the audacity to espouse controversial and oft-idiotic opinions, there seems to be no counter to that. Of course, Ward Churchill is merely a professor at a University, which is supposed to stand for the free exchange of ideas - no matter how loopy. The problem is that the right's loopiness extends to our United States House and Senate. Having learned that people in general don't like the federal intervention in the Schiavo matter, and its concomitant assault on family and states' rights, the right-wing is now gunning for "Activist Judges" - the flip-side of "trial lawyer", I suppose. Texas Senator John Cornyn gave a speech on the floor of our esteemed United States Senate, commenting negatively against the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the execution of people between the ages of 0-17. Arguing that the criminal justice system of the United States should be more like that of Sudan and Saudi Arabia, Senator Cornyn said this:
It causes a lot of people, including me, great distress to see judges use the authority that they have been given to make raw political or ideological decisions...sometimes, the Supreme Court has taken on this role as a policymaker rather than an enforcer of political decisions made by elected representatives of the people. I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. . . . And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in, engage in violence. Certainly without any justification, but a concern that I have."
What this patent asshole is saying is that the Brian Nichols - the murderer-rapist who shot Judge Rowland Barnes and three others in Atlanta last month was merely blowing off some righteous steam and expressing his distaste for activist judges. Only one other such shooting made headlines in the past year; a disgruntled plaintiff in Chicago shot the husband and mother of a federal judge who had ruled against him in his medical malpractice suit. So, it's now acceptable to murder judges because it's their own fault: much like the chick who wears a mini-dress to a frat party, they're just asking for it. The right-wing is all for personal responsibility, unless it's against it. Sickening.

Albany Dysfunction

Here's how the Niagara Falls Reporter's David Staba characterizes the bullshit and back-patting out of Albany
"'As a member of this house for 11 years, I am more proud than ever,' said Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, a Democrat from the Bronx. Arroyo and others in the Assembly and Senate then actually applauded each other managing to sort of get their jobs done on time, as required by the state Constitution, for the first time in two decades. It's a bit like the entire crew at your local fast-food outlet spontaneously applauding after getting your Triple Mega-Cheeseburger from microwave to counter without it getting dropped in a bucket of old mop water or being spat upon by a disgruntled fry guy. So what if your soda was flat, and the cashier forgot to give you your change? "


The pundit family is going on a well-deserved and long-overdue vacation. Therefore, posting will be sporadic if not downright non-existent for a short while. To that end, if anyone's interested in guest blogging, let me know asap at buffalopundit -at- gmail.com I'd be much obliged.


Make your own South Park character

Make your own South Park character. Here's me:

Switch on Buffalo

This deserves a plug. Back in January, a Buffalonian wrote this letter to the Buffalo News:
I would like to see Buffalonians focus on the positive aspects of our city, rather than whining about all that we have lost in the past few decades. In that spirit, I would like to suggest that we celebrate the Pan-American Exposition every year. One of the biggest attractions was the Electric Tower, which was first lit on May 5, 1901. It celebrated our region's generation of hydroelectric power and was emblazoned in tinted lights of blue, green, ivory and gold. The tower, of course, is long gone. But the city still has neighborhoods full of fabulous turn-of-the-century residences - everything from simple Victorian farmhouses to Delaware Avenue mansions. For the month of May, why don't we neighbors in Allentown, Elmwood Village, Parkside, Delaware Park, etc., trim our homes with lights every night to celebrate our architecture as well as this heritage? Will tourists come in droves to see our new version of the "City of Light"? Perhaps. Regardless, wouldn't this be a way to instill pride, celebrate Buffalo and herald the start of our fabulous Buffalo summers? Cynthia Hammond Buffalo
From that sprung "Switch on Buffalo". Here's their press release [pdf]. So, if you live in the city, help turn Buffalo into the "City of Light" this May and every May and celebrate our rich architectural heritage.

St. Rudolph of Giuliani

Democracy in Albany reports that Giuliani is apparently too busy making money to run for governor. That might sound biased, but I can't imagine he's petrified by the prospect of taking on Pataki in a primary. (alliterative!) Also: Giuliani earned a $100,000 speaking fee at a Tsunami relief fundraiser in South Carolina. He donated $20,000 of that to Tsunami relief, and pocketed the rest. Whaddaguy! That's not a donation, that's a tip.


I grew up calling it the Pan Am building, and it'll always be the Pan Am building to me, even if it's now got "MetLife" emblazoned on it. MetLife sold the Pan Am building to Tishman Speyer Properties, LP. Try fitting that on the building. They say they'll keep the MetLife sign on. If they had any guts, they'd replace it with the Pan Am sign and return to New York a bit of its past. And by the way - there's still a Pan Am in existence, but it's a parody of its former self.


It snowed like a bastard yesterday. I was up around St. Cats and Niagara Falls, and it was a white-out on the QEW. Nasty, nasty stuff. Even though the ice is melting, you can see the snow in the pictures. I hear that Mayville in Chautauqua County got 37 inches. The I-90 between the NYS border and Erie, PA was closed. Even Boston and Colden got over a foot yesterday.

BuffaloPundit recommends

Seriously, I love Beck. This new album blends his more serious songwriting with his inventive, wacky "two turntables and a microphone" stuff. And if you buy it through this link, I'll see a few pennies.


Off Main Street

Today's edition is a doozy. First up: Nancy Naples refused to pay a $250 bill to Casa-di-Pizza. The food was ordered by Giambra's office for a luncheon celebrating Bruce Fisher's promotion to sole-deputy-CE. Naples said: "this is an unacceptable expenditure of taxpayer dollars...to be quite frank, processing of this request by your office is quite offensive to the clerical staff reviewing this that [sic] are losing their jobs." Next up: Because Joel Giambra has no class, and less tact, he's persona non grata up in Albany. Lobbying does not equal pissing people off, Joel. But apparently, that's all he can do. His pleas will fall on deaf ears. Finally, former Milwaukee mayor John Nordquist was in town a few weeks ago, and this exchange occurred:
Asked how Milwaukee avoided the sort of budget crisis that's crushing the county, Nordquist revealed his remedy. "You just steadily cut the budget, a little every year, no matter what," Nordquist said. "That way, you never hit the wall. You stop cutting, you get a crisis."
That sort of thinking is news to the politicians around here, and is a declaration of war to the unions. But it's just the sort of thinking New York needs.

The dumbing-down of America

I'm quite sick of catch-phrases like "the dumbing down of America" or the "culture of life" vs. the "culture of death". But this letter in today's Buffalo News is evidence of the former. Apparently, birth control started the "culture of death." That also, apparently, sparked "thousands of acts of physical and sexual abuses and horrific murders." I didn't realize everything was peace, peaches, roses and tweeting birds before 1960.

Earth to Albany: You Suck (pt 2)

Daddy, I want to lobby, too! From the Times-Union:
ALBANY -- Kenneth Bruno, the son of state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, said Thursday he has left New York's top-grossing lobbying firm to start his own company. The younger Bruno said he expected to have some gold-chip clients. "This is an exciting opportunity and I'm looking forward to continuing to represent my clients effectively," he said.
Thank you, daddy, for my last name.
Bruno's father is the most powerful Republican in the state Legislature.
What good is it having a republican governor and senate if taxes and fees keep going up in massive giveaways to unions and lobbies?
The new firm will be called Albany Strategies, and Bruno said he expects to represent Cablevision, Magna Entertainment, Yonkers Raceway and the New York Ambulette Coalition, among others. Cablevision owns Madison Square Garden and Magna is one of North America's most powerful companies in the horse racing industry. "It's highly unusual for someone to break out on their own and have that kind of client list, so he must be providing some service his clients really like," Horner said.
I'm sure it's all legal. But why? Where's the outrage?

Kevin Hardwick has a Posse

Kevin Hardwick has a radio show on Saturdays on WBEN. Too bad for him no one really listens to am radio on Saturdays, but I respect him, wish him well, and hope they move him to weekdays and stick Limbaugh someplace else. Yesterday, Giambra was on and he called for the resignations of Tokasz and Volker. Not gonna happen, but he's making some points: Point #1: I'm not the villain any more; love me. Point #2: I get it. Well, as to point #1, he can eff off. His bumbling and his ego turned a fiscal mess into a genuine, full-blown crisis. That's not leadership; that's idiocy. As to point #2, it's about fricking time. He claims now to want to join up with FixAlbany's Tom Suozzi to help get rid of all NYS legislature incumbents. Since FixAlbany has existed since last year, I question why Giambra is so very late catching that available bus.

WBEN listener services

First of all, Tom is NOT unbiased and was never presented to be so. He is a talk show host with opinions. He also, by the way, is a conservative but has his OWN ideas and opinions.
That's all he has - opinions. It's facts of which he could use more.
As for the "poor family" on the air with Tom when Terri Schiavo passed away? They called to thank us for handling it in such a compassionate manner. I'm more concerned with their reaction to how it was handled. We had no control of how the timing worked out. Thanks for listening and for taking time to comment.
He's right. They were probably THRILLED to be Tom Bauerle's little exclusive du jour. After all, the entire extended Schindler family was only too eager to whore themselves out to any and all media outlets that would have them. Tim Wenger Operations Manager/Program Director WBEN/WGR/WWKB 716 843 0611 716 843 0250(fax) twenger@entercom.com


How do you know it's April in Buffalo? When you're shoveling 3 inches of slushy snow off your front walk. I love the snow, but it's enough already.


April Fools

The folks at the Corner are in rare form. Michelle Maklin's gone off the deep end.

Bauerle's gaffe

I heard about this, and then heard WBEN play it a mess of times yesterday: Bauerle was interviewing Terri Schiavo's aunt and uncle yesterday morning. I'll let Christopher Bird from WNY Media Net take it from here:
About an hour or so into TB's show, the news came out the Terri Schiavo had died. WBEN & Tom Bauerle took it upon themselves to be the first to tell the Blakes that their niece had died. Instead of going to a break, telling them off air and letting them go, Tom Bauerle told them live on the radio. When I heard this, I was outraged. I couldn't believe that even TB would sink this low. Tom had just got through a rant blasting people who were attempting to profit from this whole debacle and then there he goes creating the sound bite of a lifetime. Talk about an opportunist! If the above wasn't bad enough, I made my way over to WBEN's website. The lead article on their site was about the death and A LINK TO THE AUDIO TO LISTEN TO TERRI'S AUNT & UNCLES REACTION TO HER DEATH when they found out. I've been searching for the right words to describe this. The only two that keep coming to mind are SICK & DISGUSTING.
Bauerle's such a tool.


Democracy in Albany hits it out of the park today with a truly hilarious commentary on Albany, the idiots running things there, and the state of our state government generally. Some choice quotes:
The Times Union ran a cover story about the first Albany tulip blossoming. 17 angry letters to the editor were received claiming that the TU is biased because the tulip that blossomed was in front of a “liberal tax raising surrender monkey so gay he wants to get married to Saddam, that is how gay he is” person’s house and that in reality the first tulip was in front of the of the Republican State Headquarters. State Republican Chairman Stephen Minarik declared the Democratic Party the “Party of Death” after someone picked the tulip in front of the republican headquarters. Minarik then sent the media photos of several prominent democrats holding flowers. Hillary Clinton claimed that, while her husband had deflowered many, she never killed a flower in her life and quotes the bible to prove it (“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth”). Chuck Schumer was seen making a phone call and promptly received $1 million from FTD and the sweet smelling floral lobbyists and, in general, flourishethed.
The latest Quinnipiac poll reported that in a head-to-head match up, Governor Pataki would lose to That Guy on The Corner Who Pushes the Crosswalk Button All Day. One respondent quoted that, “TGOTCWPTCBAD (T-bad) really knows what he wants and sticks to his plan. He’s like Reagan that way. T-bad has my vote.” Eliot Spitzer filed a lawsuit against all NY Republicans. Stephen Minarik promptly responded by calling Spitzer a “republican killer” and then cited Spitzer’s rather impressive approval ratings with Democrats, Independents and some “crazy-assed Republicans” as evidence.

Some watchdog.

Nancy Naples: some watchdog. Not only is she the "I didn't do it" kid, but she's also a liar.
When Erie County Comptroller Nancy A. Naples parceled blame to her husband for their late property tax payments over the years, she insisted she always has met the tax deadline on property she owned alone. Naples explained that she has been a homeowner since 1973 and owns a rental property in the Town of Tonawanda. 'I was never, ever late on any of my taxes,' she said. 'Not true,' Town of Tonawanda Clerk Cal Champlin said. The Buffalo News asked him to retrieve data on the townhouse, on Queens Guard Walk, that Naples rents out. Town records show Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District taxes arrived six weeks late in November 2001, incurring a penalty of $109.60. And the school tax arrived three weeks late in 1994 - her first year as county comptroller - requiring an extra $55.69.
Some watchdog.

Earth to Albany: You suck.

Hooray for us! We passed a budget on-time! We're reformed! We're not dysfunctional! It's reminiscent of a Chris Rock sketch about people wanting credit for stuff they're supposed to do: I take care of my kids! Whaddaya want, a cookie? Well, they did indeed pass an on-time budget for the first time in 20 years. But at what cost?
The Legislature on Thursday tossed aside two decades of partisan battling and public ridicule to enact an on-time budget that raises spending at twice the rate of inflation, sharply increases aid for schools, caps future Medicaid costs for counties and raises taxes and fees by more than $1.3 billion.
Sweet Jesus, we're the most highly-taxed state in the Union, and our legislature is INCREASING taxes and fees by a billion-plus dollars? Spending is raised at twice the rate of inflation? Are they KIDDING ME? Albany had better get its head out of its ass and look around. Look around at the rot. Look around and see the exodus; the brain drain. Look at cities and counties at or near insolvency; at or near the imposition of control boards. More taxes, more fees, more unfunded mandates, more reason for people and business to move or stay away. But they "cap" the counties' share of Medicaid, but only because that's been making headlines. Upstate is withering. Albany's quite evidently part of the problem. The slash & burn cutting of Erie County's budget because it was an emergency should serve as a wake-up call to Albany, but won't. Now is the time for Albany and other NY governments to review their entire operations with a critical eye, and start cutting the fat with a scalpel, before they have to cut meat & bone with an axe. But since only four entities run the show: Milquetoast Pataki, Spendthrift Silver, "What crisis?" Bruno, and the Gimme Lobbies, there won't be any real reform, there won't be any thoughtful analysis. Instead, they'll keep taxing and spending until there's no one left to tax.

Front Park

Earlier this week, the New Millenium Group announced its proposal to re-locate the US duty free/gateway plaza for the Peace Bridge, and completely re-construct Olmsted's Front Park. A "Grand Gateway" consisting of two rotaries would enable traffic to move freely onto Niagara Street, helping to revitalize that corridor. A direct link onto the I-190 would also be moved & improved. Since they finally agreed on Shared Border Management, it really is high time that Buffalo took full advantage of that. Kudos to the NMG for a great idea. I hope it happens.

Taxes, taxes, taxes

Craig links to a George Will column extolling the virtues of a national sales tax bill being proposed by John Linder, a Republican House member from Georgia. The proposal is for a nationwide 23% sales tax, and would abolish the IRS and, therefore, the lobbyists on K street. We'd replace the lobbyists with a thriving black market. In Erie County of New York State, as it currently stands, our sales tax would be 31.25%. If I buy a computer at $2,000, that's $625 in sales tax. If I buy a car for $25,000 (pretty cheap, nowadays), that's an extra $7,812.50 in sales tax. Which will be financed. Over the course of years. Yippee. If I buy a $40 shirt, that's really a $52.50 shirt. What they'll do, of course, is what they already do in Europe and mark the prices with the sales tax included, so it's not in your face. Except when a German buys something with 16% VAT, he's got paid health care with that. Even a Canadian with 15% (in Quebec, close to 20%) sales tax gets national health. If you want to abolish the IRS and K Street, all you need to do is lower the income tax rate, abolish all deductions, and do the old Steve Forbes tax-on-a-postcard proposal. Only you can't make it flat for everyone: 0-10,000 income = 5% 10,000 - 50,000 income = 10% 50,000 + = 15% Corporate = 15% Or something along those lines. I'd also abolish the income tax on social security income, for good measure. The only way this thing sells is if they take Republican Congressman Sensenbrenner's wonderful words in support of universal health care, and implement them: "the measure of a nation's commitment to the sanctity of life is reflected in its laws to the extent those laws honor and defend its most vulnerable citizens." Indeed.

Desperate to change the subject

Tom Delay, currently under investigation for being a corrupt little monster, had this to say yesterday in response to a family's personal tragedy:
"We promised the Schindler family that we will not let Terri die in vain," Mr DeLay said.

"We will look at an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president."

He also said:
Mrs. Schiavo’s death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo’s friends in this time of deep sorrow.
The republicans have declared war on checks & balances. They have declared war on separation of powers. They are only for those particular parts of the constitution that fit their agenda. They have declared a holy war of revenge against the judges, doctors, and lawyers who fought to carry out Terri's wishes, as well as against Michael Schiavo himself. Mr. Delay just yelled "fire" in a crowded theater.