Archive | September, 2005

NYS needs jobs

27 Sep

The Rochester paper cuts right to the chase:

Recent public pleas for an improved overall business climate in New York were nothing new. But it’s worth noting that this message, which has wide concurrence, seems to be resonating more than usual.

The state Legislature must build on this welcome mindset by adopting laws and policies that make doing business in New York more attractive.

That’s it, in a nutshell. The Democrat-Chronicle has more.

And there’s nothing complicated about some of the obvious solutions offered by the report to high taxes, a suffocating debt load and expensive energy and insurance costs. No wonder New Yorkers continue to leave the state in droves. Upstate’s tax burden, for example, is 22 percentage points above the national average.

New York must get serious about reducing spending and taxes as well as getting rid of burdensome mandates and regulations. Now.

While the Rath Building and 92 Franklin are also bleeding us, they’re only using a steak knife. Albany’s using a machete.

Medicaid Fraud – what’s the big deal?

27 Sep

This editorial from the Daily News is quite interesting. Mostly because I haven’t seen any local news outlets cover this.

Waste, fraud and abuse in the state’s bloated Medicaid program are costing taxpayers billions of dollars a year, but the officials responsible don’t seem to get what all the fuss is about.

Hauled in front of legislative hearings this week to explain why they’re fighting a forest fire with water pistols, the Albany bureaucrats sputtered out an incoherent defense that boiled down to: Everything’s fine, and it’s not our fault.

I don’t recall hearing or reading of these hearings. Why? The abuse and defrauding of New York’s already-bloated Medicaid program should be splashed across the front pages of every NYS paper, and the top story on all the local news programs. I know – if it bleeds, it leads – but Medicaid abuse, fraud, and bloat bleed us every day.

Representatives of the Health Department and the attorney general’s office, which share responsibility for Medicaid fraud control, each claimed their operations are top-notch, second to none, national models. Yet when lawmakers brought up numbers suggesting otherwise – such as the relatively few dollars recovered compared with New York’s total spending – suddenly those same cutting-edge programs didn’t have anything like the staffing, money or legal authority needed to do the job.

If Spitzer is to win next year, he’s going to have to start going after Medicaid abuse as vigorously as he goes after corporate securities fraud. Otherwise, the Republican nominee will portray him as ineffective and overzealous when it’s business targets, and not at all zealous when the health care union is in the picture.

Not that the Legislature is blameless in this mess. It let the $44.5 billion Medicaid program get so complicated that it practically invites abuse. Those who want to follow the rules can’t figure out how. And anti-fraud measures Gov. Pataki periodically sends to lawmakers disappear into a black hole. A plan to end overuse of Medicaid-funded ambulette services, for example, died when ambulette owners hired Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s son as a lobbyist.

It makes you sick, doesn’t it? It makes what goes on in Erie County look like child’s play.

The best we can hope for is that maybe, having gotten the finger-pointing out of their systems, officials can start fixing what’s broke. Beefing up the anti-fraud squads with a few hundred more auditors and attorneys would be a good start. They could easily recoup enough cash to pay for themselves several times over. We look forward to seeing the want ads soon.

Our local media, however, are silent on this very important issue.

The biggest eyesore

27 Sep

I’d like to know what you think is the biggest eyesore in downtown Buffalo.

I’ve got two nominations:

1. The City Court Building.
It looks like a smokestack from the outside, and is horrible to use. Four courtrooms per floor on 10 floors. The parts are numbered without regard to the floor they’re on, which leaves people clogging the elevators to go to the fifth floor to find Part 5, when Part 5 is on the third floor.

2. This Thing outside the Convention Center:

Many moons ago, Figmo brought up the name of an online application where people could donate money towards a larger project. This piece of detritus on Franklin needs either to be demolished or renovated. One or the other.

What it tells me is that not one person in county government has the wherewithal to contact local businesses to see if they’d sponsor the renovation of that sign.

In any event, it just contributes to the wrongheaded mentality that people have of Buffalo being blighted and nasty.

Primary Challenge wins one

27 Sep

Evidently, Cindy Locklear has narrowly defeated incumbent Tim Wroblewski. That’s pretty much what Primary Challenge was gunning to do in most of the legislative districts. Although none of them would probably admit it, it’s quite probable that PC and the groundswell of voter discontent last fall and winter contributed to DeBenedetti, Kuwik, Swanick, Cusack, and Dusza to simply drop out this time around.

Voter discontent needs to spread statewide over the next 18 months. Erie County is small potatoes compared to the complete and utter dysfunction that is Albany, New York.

And I heard ’em say…

26 Sep

I wrote a piece for Buffalo Rising’s City section entitled, “Nothing’s Ever Promised Tomorrow Today.”

Yeah, I’ve been listening to Kanye recently.

How not to lead

26 Sep

“Being a conservative Republican in Massachusetts,” he told a GOP audience in South Carolina, “is a bit like being a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention.”

Bada-bing. For months, this blue-state governor has been pitching himself to conservatives in a way that campaign experts say is highly unusual — perhaps even historic. Instead of talking about his home state with the usual lip-quivering pride, Romney uses it like a vaudeville comic would use his mother-in-law: as a laugh line.

Mitt Romney. He came to Massachusetts from Michigan. He’s done pretty well for himself, living the good life in the Mormon-friendly (formerly) dry town of Belmont.

He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, and he’s now going around making bad jokes about Massachusetts in a way that’s wholly inappropriate for a governor. What a fucking asshole.

Sunday

26 Sep

In the mood for some free home-cooked food from around the world? Then try out the the International Cooking Club’s (ICC) grand opening event!

When: Sunday, October 2, 2005 (rain or shine)

Time: 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Where: The front lawn at 189 Saint James Place, Buffalo, NY 14222 (right off Elmwood, near Bidwell Parkway)

Cost: Absolutely free!

What: Learn more about the International Cooking Club while sampling international recipes!

E-mail any questions to: Chari-Lynn at buffalointernationalcookingclub@yahoo.com

X-tra Bonus: This will take place at the same time & the same vicinity of Forever Elmwood’s First Tour of Kitchens event. Why not stop along the way?!

To the 3 or 4 of you out there:

26 Sep

Meanwhile, in cloud cuckoo land:

IP Chairman Tony Orsini did lose the convention Chair; actually Orsini convened the convention, but did not seek the chair. Orsini says, “he would not have been elected chair.” So he opted to allow his opponents to name the chair. The vote went for Amherst’s Chris Drongosky. The Amherst Drongosky faction arrived in a limo & hummer but to no avail. Well qualified (R) Amherst Town Attorney Tom Jones did not get nominated, nor did Judge Frank Caruso.

Drongosky’s claim in a rather silly Amherst web site, run by an individual, Jim Tricoli who suffers to a limited extent from mental illness, claims to know who the Repubs would endorse Monday night. Not true like most of the nonsense on sicko’s web site. Tricoli’s web site reminds me of the local blogs; same guy, Alan Bedenko, friend of (D) Comptroller candidate Mark Poloncarz, birds of a feather, writing to himself, maybe 3 or 4 others. Not one word of truth in his vacuous diatribes, i.e. the man is & out & out liar, he makes this stuff up as he goes along. But he will get casper milk toast, pundit Kevin Hardwick, “WBEN Bauerle colleague,” (Now there is a recommendation) to promote him, but with no results! This is a problem in WNY the only legitimate blogs belong to the TV stations.

Have you ever had milk toast? It’s delicious.

[UPDATE: Posts-for-cash had a change of heart & the paragraph that names me and Hardwick is now gone. Wonder why.]

So?

26 Sep

What’s up with the one on the right?

The Abt Campaign

26 Sep

Check out the latest from a real, genuine campaign blog.