Archive | November, 2006

His View

30 Nov

Normally, I bypass the My View column in the Buffalo News. At best, I skim it. But I read today’s from start to finish and urge everyone to stick with it.

The shorter “My View”? Thanksgiving is a fraud because the Pilgrims and their ancestors; nay Columbus and his progeny, were very bad indeed to the aboriginal peoples of North America. OK, that’s nothing I haven’t already heard. It even made it into a Sopranos episode.

But then the column went off on a tangent so wild I could scarcely believe it.

The best line I read today?

If that was not enough, I am against Thanksgiving because it ushers in the painful death of 45 million turkeys.

Do you eat boiled turkey on Thanksgiving? Didn’t think so.

Not only should you feel instaguilt for the genocide of the American Indian and instaguilt over the maltreatment of some turkeys by some turkey farmers, but also,

Thanksgiving, more than any holiday, is also a testimony to the gluttony, hedonism and sloth that has become part of the American fabric while people in Third World nations like Darfur starve.

More than Halloween? So, I should shun Thanksgiving because of a genocide in which my ancestors didn’t participate, because some turkeys are poorly treated, and because people are starving in Darfur so I shouldn’t have a turkey dinner. Got it.

Welcome to conditioning.

Lohan on Altman

30 Nov

Surprise, Lindsay Lohan is barely literate.

I am lucky enough to of been able to work with Robert Altman amongst the other greats on a film that I can genuinely say created a turning point in my career.


Nomenklatura, he says

30 Nov

Jim O responds.

Pundit–you’ve been sniping and griping at me and Free Buffalo for almost two years now.

What’s it all about?

What really matters is that we were right about BP from the start while your group was wrong.

We opposed it; you supported it.

First off, have the decency to throw some links in there. My group wasn’t wrong about anything, Jim. There isn’t a factual error in there. There was an expression of support – you can agree or disagree with it, but it’s neither “wrong” nor “right”. Go and read the report (pdf). We prepared it based on the contents of the MOU and our discussions with Bass Pro and representatives who dealt with Bass Pro out in Auburn, New York. We supported the deal as set forth in that MOU.

But the MOU is null and void now. The deal – if any – probably won’t resemble the MOU in any meaningful way. Indeed, it’s no longer the City of Buffalo, but the Erie Harbor Redevelopment Corp. that’s dealing with Bass Pro. I can’t criticize or support something about which I know nothing. You, Jim, apparently have no problem with that,

We pointed out that BP was only spending $22 million and you disagreed.

We said the project would take too long because of bureaucracy.

We said there was no deal and it turns out there wasn’t and isn’t.

The record speaks for itself.

So, what’s the point of the rally? Tell me – what was the point of it except to get you some TV time? Are you disappointed that Bass Pro isn’t here? Are you happy that Bass Pro isn’t here? Are you disappointed that our politicheskaya klassa is so dysfunctional that they can’t throw money at a retail project and get it done in 2 years, or are you happy about it?

It was a publicity stunt – the only goal was the airtime. Nothing positive for Buffalo or the community or poor people or the downtrodden. Just Jim O & friends getting on TV. Typical Buffalo “we suck and we’ll always suck” cynicism.

Of course, you’re happy that Bass Pro isn’t here, and you’re happy about the dysfunction. So just say so. That political dysfunction got you your desired result.

As for last night, we had 11 people there and 12 at the Grill where our celebration continued.

Really? Channel 2 says:

five friends from the taxpayer group “Free Buffalo” toasted the two year anniversary on the announcement that Bass Pro was coming to Buffalo.

These go to 11?

Yup. The record does speak for itself.

We’re essentially a volunteer organization with little money. Because I had spent some time on the county budget–where, no surprise, you stand with the status quo and big budgets–this BP thing came up on me fast.

I stand with the status quo only because you say I do, Jim. No, I don’t advocate eliminating all spending and taxation. I also am not really big into having the county go into receivership or similar because we refuse to follow an Albany mandate. I’d prefer to change Albany – where the real problem lies – rather than the county, which can’t really do a whole heck of a lot of the stuff that really counts.

If advocating for the abolition of county government and for a comprehensive reform of Albany including but not limited to a constitutional convention = me standing with the status quo, then long live the status quo.

After I attended a meeting to try to keep my local and great Catholic school open, I came home at about 9pm and sent out the notices. So, in 20 hours, we set up an event that got us live on 4, covered by 2, 7, 930 970, and lots of internet coverage. And we had 12 people there on very short notice.

You went to a meeting to keep a school open? You mean to maintain the status quo?

You had 5 people there, and bully for you as the go-to guy for all things anti-taxation for getting press coverage. Hooray for you.

One of the big problems around here and it’s been true for as long I can remember, is that whenever anyone comes forward to change anything, they get their heads handed to them and everybody knows it.

Pundit, the political class LOVES you!

I have no control over who loves me and who doesn’t, but the insinuation is that I’m a shill for someone, and that’s absolutely not the case.

In 2 years, Free Buffalo has represented sound and fury, signifying nothing. The political class must love you, too as the spokesman who rails against them.

I said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s a lot easier to be against something than to be in favor of it.

Things to Do

30 Nov

Friday December 1st, the WNY Coalition for Progress will hold a “Cocktails with the Coalition” informal get-together at Pearl Street Grill at 6pm. You can RSVP and find out more at

On Monday December 4th, we will hold a final meeting of volunteers for Santaland, which will take place on December 9-10 and 16-17. If you can give a few hours of your time on any one of those days, we’ll need all the help we can get, so please join us at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (742 Delaware Ave) at 6pm next Monday.

County Budget

30 Nov

HT to Rus Thompson, here they are in pdf format:

Book A – Operating Funds (61 MB)

Book B – Special Funds (51 MB)

Message and Summary (43 MB)

(UPDATE: Links fixed)

Ralph Phillips – Convicted Murderer

30 Nov

Ralph Phillips shot and killed Trooper Longobardo. Ralph Phillips is a murderer and deserves to spend the remainder of his life in prison. His apologists are all over the TV saying that he pled guilty just to protect his alleged accessory-after-the-fact girlfriend and daughter, but that’s bullshit. He pled guilty knowingly because he is guilty. To hell with him and the smirk on his murderous face as he walked into Chautauqua County Supreme Court. He’s no hero. The people who jokingly served Buckyburgers last summer know precisely where they can stuff them.

He’ll be in Buffalo this morning on the escape charge.

Bass Pro

30 Nov

It’s been two years since the announcement, and as usual, the cynics have again been proven right and reasonable. I used to be a proponent of the Bass Pro project because it’s not just $66 million in corporate welfare, and anyone who says so is merely engaging in rhetoric.

For the record, I’m no longer in favor of the Bass Pro project – nor am I opposed to it – due to the fact that the deal has changed significantly since the original MOU was signed back in the stone age. The delay in getting a final deal has been unreasonable. I can’t give an opinion on it because I don’t know what the hell is being discussed, I don’t know what the hold-up is, and I don’t know what the deal looks like anymore. The intramodal station seems to be gone. I have heard nothing more about the Great Lakes heritage museum. Will there still be a dock out back? Will the Aud stay or be torn down? We have no details as to what’s being discussed now, and as usual for New York State, it’s being held behind closed doors with not a ray of sunlight being shone on the process.

Yesterday, Free Buffalo held a facetious “celebration” of the Bass Pro store, right down to the hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic champagne. Free Buffalo doing its best Nelson Muntz impression.

I know that Free Buffalo opposed the public money being spent to fix up the Aud, tear down the Donovan building, and build a parking lot, but I’m somewhat at a loss as to the point of this particular stunt. If you’re opposed to it, you should be pleased that it hasn’t been built. Right? Why wasn’t there a similar “celebration” of the e-zone, or the Uniland megaproject on the Outer Harbor?

Ostrowski told Stefan Mychajliw:

“We are further away from a deal today, than we were two years ago. And Buffalo, not only cannot build a sporting goods store in two years, they can’t sign a contract to build a sporting goods store in two years. We have no problem with Bass Pro coming to Buffalo. We do have a problem with throwing 66-million dollars at them, when there are private companies in this area that are not getting that treatment,” added Ostrowski.

Good point. Maybe Dick’s and Gander Mountain should get $66 million, too. (Hey, this sarcasm thing is fun!)

How does he know where the deal stands? As the leader of a group that exists to promote Buffalo, I don’t understand why he would put on a stunt like this to mock the deal and ridicule the city of Buffalo. Buffalo already suffers from a bad self-image, and is already the butt of jokes nationwide. Why add to that? I think it’s sad, not something to mock.

Instead, if you disagree with the public money being spent on Bass Pro, go sign Buffaloi’s online petition. That is a far more positive way to express one’s disagreement with a controversial deal like Bass Pro, and doesn’t hold the City of Buffalo up to ridicule.

Cute Ute Invasion

29 Nov

The utility of a wagon, the convenience of high road clearance and seating position, the safety of AWD or 4WD, and gas mileage in the reasonable double-digits. This is going to be a growing segment in the next several years, at least until the spectre of $3.00/gallon gas is lifted, if ever.

First came the redesigned Toyota RAV4. The new version is more of an evolutionary design and the only way I can tell a new on from the previous generation on the road is by the LED rear taillights.

The new Honda CRV/Acura RDX came out just recently, and both are quite good-looking cute utes. My first view of the new CRV literally turned my head.

Domestically, Ford released pictures of the all-new Ford Escape at the LA Auto Show. It looks like ass inside and out. Whereas the CRV and RAV4 don’t pretend to be trucks, the Escape does – it pretends to be an Explorer.

There is only one way to describe the interior – plasticky.

On the other hand, GM is showing that it gets it. The current Saturn Vue is just weird-looking. The new one is quite the looker:

Taking a cue from the RAV and the CRV, the new Vue makes no bones about its unibody car underpinnings and doesn’t try to look like a shrunken Tahoe.

Even the interior is a great leap forward:

The V6s will get a new 6-speed automatic transmission. The 4-pots will come with a 5-speed manual transmission. Saturn is slowly becoming into what it probably should have been all along – the American branch of GM Europe’s Opel division (the Vue will sell in Europe as the Opel Antara). Coming down the pike is a proper Vue hybrid.

Also coming soon, the Volvo X60 cute ute:

and the Volkswagen Tiguan (still in concept form here)

Compare the GM/Saturn interior above to the VW concept interior. They’re pretty darn similar, which means the General is doing an excellent job.

HT Autoblog

Ali G on the Farm

29 Nov

Yo. Respeck.

B-list, baby

29 Nov

B-List Blogger

Try yours here.

HT Jen