Archive | June, 2006

Informatics begets Library & Information Studies and Communications

30 Jun

UB’s School of Informatics is no more.

Click here for a sort of post-mortem/wake/roundup podcast & linkage.

World Trade

30 Jun

Renault-Nissan-General Motors Alliance?

Don’t laugh.

If that’s what you want

30 Jun

If some asshole in Rome wearing purple or red robes wants to excommunicate scientists and researchers who perform stem cell research, that’s all well and good.

But for fairness’ and consistency’s sake, any such cleric should forever be legally prohibited from ever receiving any sort of treatment or cure that might someday be discovered as a result of that research.

“Well, father, we do have a cure for that terminal disease we just diagnosed for you, but it was developed through stem cell research, so I’m prohibited from offering it to you.”

You can get anything you want

30 Jun

NYCO says:

…just as Eliot Spitzer re-created the office of Attorney General, by virtue of his huge poll lead he has apparently created a whole new office: Governor-PreElect.

She also quotes from the Brennan Center blog:

How virtuous or talented the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Majority Leader might be is irrelevant; concentrating so much power in the hands of two people in and of itself represents a breakdown of representative democracy. Only by standing up to their leaders and reforming house rules can the rank-and-file legislators begin to correct this power imbalance.

Standing up to the leaders.

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and he’ll be shunned. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may end up with the crappiest offices, and no committee assignments and no one’ll pay attention to them. And if three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in, telling Shelly and Bruno to stuff it and walking out, they may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in telling Shelly and Bruno to stuff it and walking out. And friends they may think it’s a movement.

NYCO thinks that Spitzer – the prospective governor figure of the “3 men in a room” needs to be a “Great Pumpkin” who can stand up to the legislative leaders. But I think that it’s just as important – if not more so – for the legislators themselves to swallow some pride, grow some balls (or ovaries, as the case may be) and stand up to the junta that runs our state government.

That, and legislators in Albany need to start acting in a bipartisan manner and start getting bills passed that are in the best interests of all New Yorkers regardless of party affiliation or special interest membership. Stranger things have happened.

Ricky Bobby

30 Jun

Please let this be as good as it looks:

From Autoblog:

Will Ferrell plays Ricky Bobby, a dominant NASCAR driver “who could only count to number one”. The “big hairy American winning machine” is accustomed to placing first, with his childhood friend Cal (played by Days of Thunder vet John C. Reilly) close behind him. However, things get tough when a leg-shaving French Formula One driver (Sacha Baron Cohen, best known to most of us as Ali G) challenges him for the top spot. The trailer reveals plenty of spoofing on previous racing movies, and we’re betting that the combination of Ferrell and Cohen will produce comedic gold.

The Real Story on State Aid

30 Jun

I don’t think that I have ever agreed with anything the Buffalo News has printed as much as I agree with today’s editorial.

What bothers us is the system under which all this money flows. The state takes too much from its taxpayers every day and in good years returns some of it in dramatic gifts promoting lawmakers’ re-elections.

Because of its high business and personal tax levels, New York can’t hope to attract a Silicon Valley chip maker unless it makes an exception for that one company – and its 2,000 jobs and construction work – by negating for it the taxes everyone else has to operate under. To get the $3.5 billion plant, taxpayers will provide $1 billion in incentives.

Instead of cutting a $1 billion deal with one company, why not cut taxes and spending by billions for all companies? There were 7.41 million employed New Yorkers at 502,948 non-farm businesses in 2003. Cutting taxes for all of them would create far more than 2,000 jobs. Tax cuts would make the state more attractive to secure more business and jobs.

I’m just wondering when the rest of the voting public is going to figure this out as well.

Cheekto-twister

30 Jun

Nothing like a tornado to mess up a getaway day afternoon commute.

Where do I begin?

30 Jun

Parent of a child in Buffalo Public Schools: “We demand that you give our children a proper education!”

Buffalo Public Schools: “You’re right. We’re going to require your child to attend summer school to get up to speed.”

Parent of a child in Buffalo Public Schools: “No way, we’ve got a family reunion to go to!”

When I read stories like this, I really don’t know where to begin…

About 3,100 pupils who just finished prekindergarten through second grade were recently informed that they must attend summer school, but many parents have called “with all types of excuses” why their children won’t attend, said Rosalyn Taylor, assistant superintendent for school operations.

Taylor, speaking at a public forum held by the Buffalo Local Action Committee, also defended the district against heated charges by the committee that the social promotion policy was hammered out without their input and that an alternative school set to open in September will become a “dumping ground.” The meeting, attended by about 75 people, was held at the Buffalo Museum of Science.

“Our problem is that we weren’t involved in the process,” said Abdul Halim Muhammad, a minister of the Local Action Committee. “Slavery is over with. Don’t give us some token participation. It’s got to be substantive. It’s got to be real.”

Just a sad state of affairs in our public school system.

Transactions

30 Jun

Doc Type: D1A
Doc Group: DEED
CFN: 2006126606
Date/Time: 06/07/2006 16:42
Book Type: D
Book/Page: 11114/7684
Pages: 2
Consideration: $167000.00
Status: S
TT ID#:
Tax ID#: TT200525173
Legal 1: AMH 56 12/7 S61 C2210

Parties
D CHADWICK GEORGE F
D CHADWICK SHIRLEY B
R GIAMBRA MICHELLE

Long Legal 1 Town Map/Hostel/Parcel Zip Prop Type
AMH 133 PIN OAK DR

Draw your own conclusions.

Is Regionalism The Answer?

30 Jun

So, 25 towns and 16 villages of Erie County each have their own general purpose government with elected officials, services, multiple school districts, etc.

However, 19 of these towns and villages do not have their own police force to act as first responders to crime within their particular jurisdictions. The Erie County Sheriff’s office provides that service. Your tax dollars in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, West Seneca, and other towns go to supply road patrols to the other towns who have decided not to establish their own police force. Does it seem fair to you that the citizens of Clarence, Grand Island, Springville, and others can avoid the cost of patrol cars, officers, benefits, pension plans, and police infrastructure and focus their dollars elsewhere? The justification heard from the citizens of those towns is that they utilize only a small portion of county dollars and it’s a fair distribution.

Well, the four year plan approved by the Erie County legislature and the Erie County Executive has asked these towns and villages to pony up a portion of the cost for their road patrols. Not surprisingly, each of these municipal governments has told the County to cram that plan down their collective cramholes.

The communities were asked to respond to the county by Saturday. Most are expected to decline to sign a contract with the county to pay for the service. Springville already has a contract with the Sheriff’s Department for 20 hours of dedicated service, and has been told that it was sent a letter by mistake.

Giambra does not expect a positive response from any of the remaining communities.

“We’re probably headed for some sort of legal fight that would be nice to avoid,” he said.

Regionalism is not the panacea to all of our problems but, when it comes to providing certain services, it makes a lot of sense. It makes sense when it comes to Industrial Development Agencies, Water Authorities, Libraries, Sewage Authorities, Housing Authorities, Highway Maintenance, and Public Safety. It allows our government to focus efforts, achieve economies of scale and eventually reduce overall spending.

What do you think of the idea of consolidating all municipal police forces under the umbrella of the Erie County Sheriff’s office? Do you share my opinion that we would have less competition for state and federal funding while being able to equall distribute public safety costs? What are the drawbacks to such a plan?