Archive | October, 2005

Meta-post du jour

31 Oct


Thanks to Eden Town Board candidate Christina Abt for mentioning me to the News in today’s blogging article.


31 Oct

Boston got snow before we did.

“Fair and Balanced”

31 Oct

More like “Biased and Unbalanced

JUAN WILLIAMS: You can try to minimize it, but the fact that you have Scooter Libby, so involved in justifying going to war, and in the posture of trying to smear a critic of that justification. I think is pretty revealing and pretty damaging to the Bush White House. I think they’re going to have to rebuild a sense of trust with the American People. And that’s why when Brit asked this question, why did he have to lie, he felt the need to lie if he did lie, but by all indications he’s going to say I didn’t remember it quite the way this person remembered and all the like. That’s not very strong in my book, and I think Fitzgerald did a terrific job on Friday. But the reason he felt the need was to make it clear that he was not involved in what really was a conspiracy to defame Joe Wilson.

BRIT HUME: Juan, somebody needs to hose you down.

1. What a great rebuttal from Brit Hume, who’s, like, totally unbiased.
2. What great symbolism to use the night after they paid tribute to Rosa Parks.

1789, here we come

31 Oct

Evidently, Bush satisfied the first of Trent Lott’s choices.

It’s being reported that Bush is selecting Sam Alito for the SCOTUS.

Alito’s nickname is “Scalito”.

An end to one bit of whining

31 Oct

Whenever the issue of charter schools comes up, we invariably hear whining from the teacher’s union types who bitterly complain that the charter schools take money away from the traditional schools, and we don’t even know if they do a good job.

They do a good job. And with poorer students.

Publicly funded charter schools first opened here in 2000. Fifteen charter schools – 13 in Buffalo – enroll more than 5,500 elementary and high school students, and many have long waiting lists. While charter school enrollment has grown dramatically, enrollment in traditional Buffalo Public Schools has fallen to 36,050 from 46,000 in 1999-2000. Two of the local charter schools are sponsored by the Buffalo Board of Education. The rest received charters from the state.

Charter schools have fewer contractual restrictions than traditional public schools and greater flexibility in establishing school hours, work rules and assignments. They are publicly funded and are open to all city students through lotteries.

In an effort to close the achievement gap between the charters and the traditional schools, Williams is preparing a reform plan that will revolve around a longer school day and an extended school year – both trademarks of charter schools.

In five years, the Buffalo School system has lost 10,000 pupils, yet Rumore and others tell us that too little funding (i.e., a budget larger than that of the City itself – $600+ million/year) is the problem. As I posted about months ago, the City of Buffalo’s school funding comes out to $19,000 per year, per student.

I think Helfer’s line that education is the civil rights issue for the 21st century is dead-on. It’s also the way for Buffalo to climb out of the muck and mire of the industrial revolution and join the information age.

At $19k per student, I think that if you asked every parent in the Buffalo City Schools if they’d like a voucher for that amount to spend on tuition at any private or public school in Erie County, they’d be thrilled.

Because it’s not about the teachers or their union, it’s not about the teacher’s union’s president, it’s not about the board of education, it’s not about the schools superintendent.

It’s about the kids and their families. If the system isn’t serving them satisfactorily, then they deserve options. These kids only get one chance.

Buffalo News for Helfer

31 Oct

I really ought to get a subscription to the News. I usually glom onto someone else’s paper or read it online, but I didn’t get a chance to peruse it yesterday, and I didn’t check out the website until late in the day.

The News has overwhelmingly lent more coverage to Byron Brown. David Coffee analyzed the actual number on I had assumed that the News would merely repeat its half-hearted endorsement of Brown that it gave in September.

But I was wrong.

To everyone who says that the News is just a liberal rag, I’ll point out that this year, the 2-time Giambra endorsers have endorsed the Republican candidate in every major race. Howard for Sheriff, Canavan for Comptroller, and now Helfer for Mayor.

I get a sense, however, that the editorial board is writing these endorsements:

1. Reluctantly;
2. At the insistence of higher-ups; and
2. Under protest.

When the News endorsed Howard, it said that the Sheriff’s department needed change, and that Fieramusca would be the agent for that change.

When the News endorsed Canavan, it said that independence was the most important factor in this year’s Comptroller’s race, and clearly as compared with Canavan, Poloncarz is the more independent of the three candidates.

Don’t forget that the News also endorsed an intemperate Whalen – who is Giambra’s political mentor – to become Erie County’s fiscal watchdog in September, too. Is Hormoz Mansouri e-mailing his picks to the News’ editorial board, or is it the Partnership or, hell, maybe it’s Buffett himself.

When the News endorsed Brown over Gaughan in the primary, it indicated that Gaughan had ideas and vision, and described Brown as a wishy-washy milquetoast.

Now it comes around to saying that “wishy-washy milquetoast” is decidedly not what we need from a mayor.

Well, why didn’t it reach that conclusion in September? Are the people of Buffalo not to be trusted with a November race involving ideas versus ideas?

I like Helfer, and I’m not one of these knee-jerkers who say he’s George Bush in disguise. The News actually takes a race, endorses a candidate, and does it for all the reasons I’ve been bringing up for months about Byron Brown – a nice guy, but no agent for change and reform.

Read the whole thing.


31 Oct

Happy Halloween, everybody.

We were talking last night about candy you’d get as a kid on Halloween that you’d never get any other time of year. I always remember getting Mary Janes only on Halloween back then.

I don’t really eat a lot of candy bars, so pretty much everything fits that bill nowadays. But I get lots of kids, so I’ve got almost 10 lbs of candy in my hall closet ready & waiting. That oughta do it.

Notice that they don’t sell the Halloween bags of candy by count anymore, but by weight? I figure I’ll get over 100 kids, so I probably overbought in anticipation of that.

We got Kit Kats (my favorite) and Kit Kat assortment (white chocolate and triple chocolate). We got Reese’s cups (also a fave) along with an assortment of inside-out Reese’s cups and white chocolate cups (noticing a pattern?). We also got some Snickers, some Almond Joy (awesome), and just in case we run out, we got some Hershey’s miniatures. I like the Mr. Goodbars in there, but I’m not a huge fan of Hershey’s chocolate by itself.

Back in Boston, we lived in an apartment building and got zero trick-or-treaters. Now, I practically have to finance the candy purchase.


30 Oct

Everyone knows by now that OJ is looking at property in Niagara County. He looked at one house on Lincoln in Lockport, across from the high school, but the scuttlebutt is that he’s more likely to buy rural. Gasport or Middleport. Maybe we’ll bump into him at Udder Delights in Gasport some summer eve. He was recently seen eating at the Basket Factory in Middleport (went in 2002, but wasn’t particularly overwhelmed. And I couldn’t find Middleport on a map anyway. We were just passing through).

When asked, potential neighbors don’t seem particularly concerned. After all, he only allegedly did those two murders, and they were 11 years ago.

Upstate Update

30 Oct

Check out Craig’s new endeavor.


30 Oct

The Beast has a good overview of the most recent Mayoral debate. To sum up: “No wonder no one cares about local politics.”

They also point out something interesting about the News’ Mayoral poll: Ladies last.