Archive | August, 2006

Is anyone else excited about this?

31 Aug

Each time I read a story about this project, it seems to be more and more likely to actually happen.

A planned alternative fuels plant along the Buffalo River stands to benefit from an ethanol tax credit plan proposed Wednesday by Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

Schumer, D-N.Y., used the planned RiverWright Energy plant site, at the foot of Childs Street in Buffalo’s Old First Ward, as the backdrop to unveil his proposed Ethanol Stimulus Act of 2006.

“This is a win-win-win for Western New York and Buffalo,” Schumer said, as he introduced a plan to provide tax breaks and accelerated equipment depreciation schedules for new ethanol plants located in areas of the country where ethanol is scarce.

About two weeks ago, I went on a boat ride down the Buffalo River and got a close up view of the grain elevators. I never really appreciated their true majesty as I usually see them in the distance from the I-190. I moved into the camp that they were worth saving as long as we could find a reuse for them as I’m not a fan of saving them for posterity with no real use.

The proposed ethanol plant is just such a use and I’m psyched that the project is privately funded and scheduled for completion in 2007. The design company that was brought on to retrofit the existing grain elevator into an ethanol production plant has demonstrated success with previous projects and is evidently well regarded in the industry.

Take a look at the spinoff employment and business that the Buffalo Ethanol plant will create:

Services required: Surveying, Electrical contractors, Plumbing contractors, Mechanical contractors, Welding contractors, Asphalting services, Sitework contractors, Rental of heavy-duty equipment, Control contractors, Grain Handling, Tank Erection, Steel Erection and Fabrication

Commodities required: Various construction materials (e.g. painting materials, mason tools, sand, gravel, ready mix concrete, cement, asphalt, concrete blocks), Electrical supplies, Carpentry and plumbing materials, Equipment & accessories of information technology, Electrical tools & accessories, Various office & accommodation furniture, Cleaning supplies, Supplies for IT equipment, Fuel supply, Safety supplies, Mechanical equipment and supplies, Pumps, valves and seals, Centrifuges, Compressors, Large and small tanks, Boilers, Condensers, Chillers, coolers and heaters, and Chemical supplies

Real spinoff development, real jobs, real entrepreneurial opportunities, and real progress.

Sounds good to me.

No Big Surprise

31 Aug

People out here are sick & tired of Albany.

the poll of 2,492 residents statewide and 362 in Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties found the westerners in a far surlier mood than their already fed-up neighbors:

• While 27 percent of voters statewide rated state government as “poor,” that jumped to 45 percent in Western New York.

• When asked about quality of life, 27 percent statewide said it was worse over the past five years, but 42 percent thought so locally.

• Sixty-nine percent of Western New Yorkers say the economy has worsened over the past five years, compared to 40 percent of statewide residents who feel that way.

• A whopping 58 percent of Western New Yorkers rated the state poor on keeping taxes from hurting growth, compared to 36 percent across New York.

But people don’t seem to mind paying the taxes we pay, so long as the money is being spent in as prudent a way as possible. That was what two people on the public payroll said, anyway.

One person says:

“I don’t think I could get out,” she said. “I want to move away from here . . . New York State, I want to say, stinks. That’s putting it mildly.”

Swift says she sees a ray of hope in the possibility of Eliot L. Spitzer becoming governor. As attorney general, he helped her family get money back from a propane price gouger.

“We got our money back,” she said. “I’m going to elect him. I think he’s good.”

*Gasp* that Spitzer – making the state unfriendly for propane gougers.

Our own Geek gets in a plug for his candidate of choice – Suozzi – and adds:

But most importantly, Smith said, he believes Western New York suffers from apathy and that events like Old Home Week are needed to get people here to make them less willing to accept the status quo.

“We need to start to demand better,” he said. “The only thing we demand in Buffalo is average. It’s sad. We need to demand more from our government and our leaders.”

Justin Azzarella, executive director of Forever Elmwood, doesn’t see how anyone would be surprised to hear that Western New Yorkers are unhappier than residents of other parts of the state.

The Power Authority relicensing agreement and toll barriers on the Thruway have left many here jaded, he said.

“They’re not satisfied with the product,” Azzarella said of what state government has provided for this region in return for all of the tax revenue Western New York generates.

But he believes change is coming.

“There’s this new energy of people in the area who say: We don’t want this,” he said. “And we are beginning to have elected officials who are saying the same thing.”

All I really want in Albany is a functioning democracy. Allow debate, take power away from the three-men-in-a-room, set controls, limits, and stricter regulations on lobbyists to ensure that, e.g., Joe Bruno’s son can’t lobby the Senate. Get that going, and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

Incidentally, Chris Byrd makes an excellent point, discussing Geek’s distaste for Spitzer:

This on one hand is a fair assessment of where Spitzer is in the eyes of many and a fair assessment of how people in these parts need to start thinking.

On the other hand, it reminds me of complaints we saw about Byron Brown last year before being elected, but a lot of the same folks who critcized Byron last year are slowly turning into believers.

Last year, I thought Byron Brown was teh suck, but have come around to thinking he’s a pretty damn good Mayor. Point taken.

Another Debate

31 Aug

Yes, but will Spitzer show up?

Chamberlains – all of us

31 Aug

Donald Rumsfeld says we’re all Neville Chamberlain.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld compared critics of the Bush administration to those who sought to appease the Nazis before World War II, warning Tuesday that the United States is confronting “a new type of fascism.”

Donald Rumsfeld is an asshole. Because if anything, his bungling of Iraq has enabled extremists to annex the Sudetenland that is the Sunni Triangle (using his metaphor – with which I disagree).

I haven’t heard any serious people in the States suggest that we appease al Qaeda or its surrogates anywhere. On the contrary, most Bush Administration opponents argue that the Pentagon and White House aren’t doing nearly enough to combat terrorism at home or in Iraq.

So, if we’re Chamberlain, does that make Rumsfeld McNamara?

Is this awesome, or what?

31 Aug

I picked a good few days to take off, because this weather is absolutely glorious. Up here in Toronto, the high yesterday hit the low 70s, and anytime you passed by a north-south corridor, you’d get a blast of cool air off the lake. I’ll have some pictures up when I get home. Given that this week is the wingfest and the weather is supposed to be sucky thanks to the remnants of Ernesto, it makes these few days of cool air and blue skies all the sweeter.

One note, however – it doesn’t really feel like a vacation when you’re still in the same NBC-CBS-ABC market. Resting our feet yesterday evening, I watched all the local channels and concluded that I had missed a very slow news day, indeed.

Dysfunction Junction

30 Aug

I’ll never understand why candidates for statewide office don’t rally the troops in Upstate New York and instead focus on downstate politicos. Sure, there may be more money down there but, there is a discordian mafia in this area that is just waiting to hop on the bandwagon of a candidate who listens to and understands our problems. We’re fed up we’re looking for answers.

When a Rochester think tank asked thousands of New Yorkers this spring how they viewed state government, it found an overwhelming number are plain mad at the ways of Albany.

But in Western New York, respondents to the poll are more than angry. They’re downright seething.

If someone would have hired me to consult on the Tom Suozzi Gubernatorial campaign, I would have told the man that he should spend his time and money motivating upstate voters to rise up and vote no to the status quo. It’s a risky strategy, but no less likely to fail than begging downstate hacks for money and trying to motivate a group of voters committed to the status quo.

There is a sizable majority of people up here that will vote for a thoughtful and reform minded candidate for governor, regardless of his/her party affiliation.

Upstate voters are a puzzle wrapped in an enigma inside a conundrum…we’re pissed and we’re apathetic. Why? Because we keep being presented with empty suits like Spitzer who couldn’t be bothered to piss on us if we were on fire. We need change and we need it now…and the first candidate that figures out how to speak to us will lead a revolution.

It’s time to demand more of our politicians and it’s time to finally say that average just isn’t good enough.

UB Football

30 Aug

I’ve been back in Buffalo for two years and it has never even crossed my mind that attending a UB football game might be a fun thing to do. Let’s be honest, the team has sucked for the better part of a decade.

Being the eternal optimist that I am, I’m going to throw some support behind new UB Head Football coach Turner Gill and support the team.

By “support”, I mean going to watch them play Temple University tomorrow, the only team that scored fewer points than they did last year. If they don’t win this game, against the universally described “worst team in college football”, well, I dunno what to say.

I’ll have a few beers with the BFLOBlog boys before the game. If you want to stop by our tailgate on the way in, give me a call. If you don’t have my number or email address, I probably wouldn’t want you to stop by anyhow.


Net Neutrality

30 Aug

If you’re not familiar with the current debate on Net Neutrality, you should be.

Network Neutrality — or “Net Neutrality” for short — is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Net Neutrality ensures that all users can access the content or run the applications and devices of their choice. With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It’s why the Internet has become an unrivaled environment for open communications, civic involvement and free speech.

Here’s a short video that explains the issue:

Why is it important? Let, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, explain it:

A Note to Google Users on Net Neutrality:

The Internet as we know it is facing a serious threat. There’s a debate heating up in Washington, DC on something called “net neutrality” – and it’s a debate that’s so important Google is asking you to get involved. We’re asking you to take action to protect Internet freedom.

Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can’t pay.

Creativity, innovation and a free and open marketplace are all at stake in this fight.

Thanks for your time, your concern and your support.

Eric Schmidt

Take Action:

  • Sign the online petitions at ItsOurNet and for Internet freedom
  • Join and as we deliver thousand of petitions to Senator Charles Schumer today at 130 S. Elmwood today at Noon.
  • “Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success…A number of justifications have been created to support carrier control over consumer choices online; none stand up to scrutiny.” – Vint Cerf, Co-Developer of the Internet Protocol

    “The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true. Let us protect the neutrality of the net.” – Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web


    30 Aug

    Many have suggested that I institute a mockability rating for Bauerle. Problem is, I seldom listen to him. The baseline for what I have heard, however, is a 9.

    If others listen to him religiously, send me an email and I’ll record your thoughts here.

    Yesterday, on the way to T.O., I listened to him go on and on about the transgendered teacher in Batavia, and I’d give that whole show & discussion a 9. Just because the press is excluded from a public meeting and attendees had to sign a confidentiality agreement doesn’t make Batavia Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany or Maoist China.

    You see, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao didn’t have public meetings where people could speak their minds. They instead held rallies to hail the great leader.


    30 Aug

    Read what the Hatemongerer’s Quarterly has to say about Buffalo. Bastards.

    Timothy McVeigh is from Pendleton in Niagara County, so that joke’s flat. Niagara is spelled wrong. But it definitely lives up to its hatemongering name. 😉