Archive | May, 2006

Wes Clark In The No Spin Zone

31 May

Ordinarily, I leave the Wes Clark updates to BuffaloPundit but, I just had to mention Wes’s appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s nightly screamfest. O’Reilly had him on to discuss the alleged Marine Corps murders at Haditha in Iraq and Rep. John Murtha’s comments on the situation. Clark handled himself with dignity and class and looked very Presidential.

Needless to say, it didn’t go too well for BabaBilly…he tried to bark at a retired four star General about military history and he got pwn3d.

Click here for the video goodness at Crooksandliars.

Buffalo to Garden City

31 May

Capitol Connection notes the “stark” differences between Buffalo’s Convention and Garden City’s.

At least the air conditioning is working well down there.

Hillary’s Video

31 May

HT to BuffaloGeek, the movie that was shown before Hillary’s speech is online right here.

WBEN – Blitzkreig Edition

31 May

Did you tune in to WBEN this afternoon/evening?

I did – I wanted to hear the traffic report, but it was off the air.

At around 5:50 I tuned back in, and I could hear Tom Puckett reading the news very faintly – as if they were talkin through a tin can.

Soon, Tim Wenger, Sandy Beach, and even Tom Bauerle and Ron Dobson joined the fun, and probably one of the best nights of Buffalo AM radio in a long time went to air.

There had been a power outage out by Sweet Home, and WBEN (actually all of Entercom’s stations) was affected. To make matters worse, their emergency generator didn’t work. Instead, the engineers somehow managed to get them back on the air, and they all sat around the engineer’s room passing a wired handmike back and forth.

No computers, no accuweather, no traffic, no phone calls, no nothing. Just a bunch of guys hanging out, eating pizza and shooting the shit during a blackout. They somewhat gently debated and discussed topics such as the casino and the Sabres, and seemed to be having a jolly old time.

The quality was so bad, it sounded like I was listening to a forbidden BBC shortwave broadcast from behind enemy lines.

But it was compelling, and it was funny, and they were enjoying themselves under those strange circumstances. Ultimately, that’s what makes for good radio; not screaming, angry callers. Not the Teresas of the world.

The Hillary Video

31 May

Before Hillary came on stage to accept the democratic nomination for US Senate, the crowd was shown an 18 minute biopic. It’s starts off with some lip biting sentimentality from Bill and pictures of everyone that hates her. It blossoms into how much she has done for New York pre and post 9/11 and how she’s been so great that people have really changed their opinions of her.

The theme is that Hillary doesn’t care about the naysayers…she cares about YOU.

Excuse me, I think I think it’s getting a bit dusty in here…no, I’m not crying!

Anyhow, here’s the video:

Clicky Clicky Clicky Hee-ah

What is Hillary Up To?

31 May

To paraphrase Dieter from Sprockets, the speculation about Hillary’s run (or not) for the White House has become tiresome for me. Is she? I don’t think so. But I could be wrong. How’s that for decisive?

Seriously, was today’s speech really the kick-off for her Presidential run? Yes and no.

Stylistically, I thought her speech was pretty darn good. Her delivery was flawless, and she got a bit of anger in her voice when called for.

As far as content, she covered a lot – from environmental protection, to growing New York’s economy by simultaneously researching alternative energy sources, to kitchen-table economic issues, to the fact that the Bush Administration has substituted facts with ideology. She hit on all the key issues that people are concerned about.

She sure sounded like a candidate running for federal office. The Senate.

Back to “yes and no”.

I don’t think she’s decided to run in 2008, but I think this speech (and this campaign) is/are indeed a dress rehearsal for a future Presidential run. If the themes that she struck reverberate with voters in New York, and Democrats in other races around the country adopt those same themes, and they reverberate as well in Peoria as they do in Binghamton, then maybe she figures she has a shot in 2008. Or maybe 2012. Or beyond.

Call it a trial balloon. Call it throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks.

And as I left the convention, I could picture the Senator huddled with her advisors coming up with 4 or 5 themes to run on in 2006, and carefully crafting them in such a way so that they could be applied successfully and effectively anywhere in the country. Has she done it? Will she strike a chord with moderates and liberals alike?

This line will go a long way towards attracting middle-of-the-roaders:

Democrats need to not only criticize, but provide alternative solutions.

What’s notable about Clinton is that she has two records on which to run – hers and her husband’s. She took advantage of that today, comparing the budget surpluses under Bill to the deficits under George II.

Come November, she and the other Dems throughout the country will be playing to that 70% of the population that has had it with George Bush and the Republican Congress. The substitution of evidence with fairy tales has been sad to watch; the fact that the Bush Administration had not long ago worn it as a badge of honor is horrifying.

By using their former boast against them, Clinton may have something onto which moderates – people who aren’t political hacks for either side – can latch.

You win primaries by appealing to the wings. You win elections by appealing to the center. Today, Clinton appealed to both.

Eliminating the Digital Divide

31 May

Government functions best when it is transparent, accessible, and fosters participation. Opening up the power of the network and bridging the digital divide expands access and creates a better world.

The network also provides a means of communication that is above the filter of the mainstream media. How many local news outlets provided gavel to gavel coverage of the NY Democratic convention coupled with excellent photographs and serious/snarky commentary? Only one. Citizen journalism has created a new mechanism for the people to get a fuller picture of the events that affect them.

Richard Daley gets it, Eliot Spitzer gets it, the Mayors of Philadelphia and San Francisco get it…any chance Byron Brown will soon get on the bandwagon?

Chicago could soon become the world’s largest Internet cafe now that the city hall has put out a request for bids to build a city-wide wireless Internet system.

“In technology, as in too many other areas of our society, there’s a wide gap between the haves and have-nots,” Daley said. “It’s known as the digital divide – and the people on the wrong side of the divide generally have lower incomes and less education.”

I never thought I would see the day…Richard Daley, man of the people Also, he’s right.

According to one estimate the city cited, even though Internet use has been on the rise among most Americans, 80 percent of households with incomes below 50,000 dollars a year remain unconnected.

That is an incredible number of people who do not have access to information, educational tools, government services, and knowledge. Network access is quickly becoming a necessity if one wishes to participate in the new economy. Can we afford to leave so many of our citizens behind?

For my Republican readers, it’s not a matter of cost. Governments in Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco are partnering with private firms to provide the equipment, software, and support to make this happen.

The city of Chicago will offer the long-term use of its infrastructure, such as street lights and lamp poles to a private firm or consortium to use to set up the antennas used to broadcast a high-speed wireless network.

The provider would have to: commit to keep rates low; provide access even in the city’s poorest neighborhoods; offer free access in schools, public parks and other destination “hot spots”; and support digital inclusion projects to make computers more widely available to low-income residents.

Hot damn, this sounds exactly like the plan I proposed earlier this month! See, I’m not just a hack…


“When we make modern computer and Internet technology available across Chicago, we are giving every person in Chicago the same chance for a good life,” Daley said.

“We’re improving our children’s education. We’re working to end poverty. We’re creating a more modern, sophisticated workforce. And, most important, we’re creating hope and opportunity.”

Gee, I wonder if Buffalo would benefit from such a plan…

The convention ends

31 May

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” was the last song played as the assembled dignitaries filed out to a media horde. Indeed.

The convention is adjourned at 1:13 pm; ahead of schedule, believe it or not.

A couple of final photos, and I’ll do an epilogue later.

Hope you enjoyed the liveblogging. These things don’t come around that often, so it was a fun thing to see and be a part of.

Hillary Clinton

31 May

Here it comes…the designee of this convention is Hillary Clinton. The nominations are closed. “Aye” resounds through the hall.

The lights dim.

A movie. Bush gets boos.

There’s Lazio right in her face again. I won’t summarize the whole movie, because I’ll bet it’ll be linkable within hours.

I think the movie’s name should be “Kudos”

I’m also betting that there’s a helluva light show or something when she takes the stage. Music is reaching a crescendo – the movie’s almost over.

And it’s done.

Here she comes. The crowd goes nuts. Lights back on.

This will be an Everlasting Love” plays.

She accepts the nomination. (Surprise!)

She thanks a whole mess of people, including her husband (who gets a standing ovation). She quips that she’s had the same hairdo for a long time, looking at the film.

She sounds themes of personal responsibility and service. Strong educations, the dignity of work with a fair wage, strong communities, and “Working together.”

We are free because of our values. We need to invest in the stuff that makes us stronger and smarter.

FYI – I’ve been updating the Flickr set as we go along.

“I believe in a government that makes decisions based on facts” and that seems to be a rarity in Washington nowadays, she quips. Moynihan once said that everyone’s entitled to their own opinion – but not to their own facts.

The administration doesn’t find consensus and reach to solutions that will work, because they jettison inconvenient facts.

She has a plan for clean energy that will benefit us in New York – alternative fuels that will ease our dependence on imported fossil fuels.

ULSD engines being built in Jamestown; Corning building particulate traps. We need federal policy that creates a framework to enable the development of alternatives. Oil companies ought to put a portion of their profits towards alternative energy development.

She wants to create a strategic energy fund – invest in alternative energy, or else contribute to the fund.

We can become a net exporter of alternative energy technology & create thousands of jobs.

We also need to protect the environment. State and federal policies to protect & clean up New York’s environment is needed.

“Stand with Me” starts every agenda item.

Now, we’re on to healthcare: we spend more on healthcare than any other country in the world; 1/3 goes to administrative costs, yet not everyone is insured, and by international indicators, we don’t even have the highest quality healthcare in the world.

She says we need quality, affordable, accessible healthcare to every single American. It’s 1993 all over again.

Stand with Me – Manufacturing; a country that doesn’t make anything can’t maintain its standing internationally. We need to enforce rules against countries that don’t pay by the rules. China is alluded to, but not named viz. currency manipulation & IP protection.

Stand with Me – to raise the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t been raised in a decade. She introduced a bill to tie the minimum wage to Congressional pay raises.

Stand with Me – ensure that schools do their job and offer preschool. College needs to be affordable, and Congressional cuts have been “reckless” because kids can’t afford to finish school.

We need to help students in order to grow in the global economy.

We need to fix FEMA – Katrina was a disgrace, and the administration destroyed FEMA, which had been working under the Clinton administration, and stuffed it with cronies who did nothing and left people to fend for themselves. (she had some anger in the voice).

Enact the 9/11 commission recommendations – and NY should get its fair share under “threat-based” funding for our first responders.

Let’s win back respect for our country.

Let’s stand by our troops and remember those who have given their lives – putting a sticker on the back of the car isn’t enough – let’s make sure they have all the protection they can get, and we can give.

Let’s make the Bush Administration take the blame for its mistakes, and let’s put together a plan to enable the Iraqis to really create a government that will permit American troops to come home.

Let’s make decisions based on reality, not ideology;
Facts – not politics
Real solutions are needed.

(crowd is hushed)

It’s more important to actually accomplish the missions than to put up a sign that says “Mission Accomplished.”

Let’s stand against “voodoo economics” and return to the path of fiscal responsibility we had just 5 years ago thanks to a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress.

Let’s stand against the silencing of scientists who have the nerve to warn us about global warning. We need to stand up for science and for evidence.

So, part of the theme is to attack Bush & company for not being reality-based.

Democrats need to not only criticize, but provide alternative solutions.

When the election comes around in November, we’ll again know that the American journey will continue, and we can stand up for the Empire State and the country, and send a message far and wide:

America is Back.

Light show, balloons, confetti.

Clever closing number: “We gotta get right back to where we started from

Segue to “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” but the Michael McDonald version.

At the very end, all the nominees took the stage, as did some guy named Bill Clinton.

Hillary Clinton’s Nomination Begins

31 May

Co-chair Denise King begins the process. Chuck Schumer will put her name in nomination.

Schumer plugs Redlinski’s, Charlie the Butcher, and otherwise praises Buffalo for the great place it is.

“The Democrats are rising, on the go, and it’s true in NY & throughout the country.”

And it’s official. The crowd goes wild.

I wish I could channel Rick Jeanerette for this stuff.

Schumer starts and ends his speech by holding a replica Stanley Cup aloft.

“We are the party presenting ideas and candidates to New York and the nation that will have them coming back to the Democratic Party in droves in November.”

Hillary peeps waving signs like mad.

He mentions some farmers he met in Orleans County who weren’t “Democrats…yet”, and that they originally didn’t know what to make of Clinton, but now they dig her.

He calls her a great Senator in the sense that our founding “fathers…and mothers” intended.

She has been a fighter for New York, and has delivered for New York. Bioinformatics. Acid Rain. Helicopter factory in Binghamton.

Two people will second the nomination; the first is Leecia Eve.

“Welcome to one of the greatest cities in America…my hometown of Buffalo.” That was nice.

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn seconds (thirds?) the nomination. She gives a nice speech about Clinton’s fighting for Title IX issues.

No other nominations.