Archive | May, 2008

How Far She's Come

31 May

When Hillary Clinton began her quest for the Presidency, she was despised by a good half of the electorate-at-large.

Now? In late May 2008? She’s despised by a good half of the Democratic Party, too. Not because she’s a woman. Not because she’s a Clinton. Not because she’s from New York. Not because she’s opinionated and strong.

She’s despised because she’s a sore loser, and she’s playing the feminist victim card in a way that cheapens both words.

Any suggestion that her loss in the primaries has to do with sexism or unfair media treatment is patently false, and truly pathetic. If that’s the message she wants to send to her supporters, so be it. She lost fair and square partly because of the mismanagement of her own campaign. I hope all of this nonsense is somehow worth it for her.

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Gee, Ya Think Crystal Barton has it in for Jayvonna Kincannon?

31 May

I think that in many ways, Jayvonna Kincannon has Crystal Barton to thank (curse, really) for the fact that she could neither attend her senior prom nor her graduation ceremony.

Jayvonna could have gone to her prom Friday night, and her graduation ceremony, if she had admitted at a suspension hearing Thursday that she hit a teacher at a charity basketball game, according to attorney Cheryl Smith Fisher. But Jayvonna and several witnesses insisted she pulled her arm away after a teacher grabbed it twice, causing the back of her hand to hit the teacher’s.

Anyone who doesn’t believe that Barton has/d it in for Kincannon from the moment this whole issue went public is being naive. The administration was waiting for an excuse to completely fuck Kincannon, and the basketball game incident gave them that opportunity.

We don’t really know what happened at that ballgame, because there are two stories out there. But I suspect Barton’s motives a lot more than Kincannon, who has been victimized enough, thank you very much.

It’s one thing to suspend someone illegally and improperly. It’s another to take away prom and graduation. Those are irreparable harms.

Paterson and Gay Marriage

30 May

The other day, Governor Paterson declared that New York would recognize gay marriages performed in Canada, Massachusetts, and California.

Naturally, some are up in arms about it. Outgoing crap Congressman Tom Reynolds said,

This is a terrible decision, directed in a secretive and abusive manner, designed to circumvent any sort of public hearing or comment from the New York people. The Governor should full well know the rightful role and prerogative the legislature has in the rule of law in this matter.

Therefore, I am calling on the Governor to suspend this ill-advised executive directive. I intend to call the Catholic Conference, the New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, legislative leaders and other interested parties to assist in looking at the options available in helping cease and desist the Governor’s directive.

Frankly, this is yet another example of a New York Governor abusing his power to disregard the legislature, the rule of law and most importantly the people of New York. Whether it is trying to issue drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants or attempting to recognize gay marriages this pattern of circumventing the legislature and the will of the New York people is not only troubling but should not be recognized by the legislative or judicial branch or the public as a whole.

Why?

I mean, why not just consider my Massachusetts marriage invalid in New York State, too? It was entered into outside the purview of New York statute and law, after all.

I understand that there are people who are opposed to this quite strenuously on a variety of grounds. Primary among them is religion. But when you subtract relgion from the argument, what are you left with? What is the reason why we shouldn’t just let gay people get married to each other? Does it really cheapen or weaken heterosexual marriage? Then ban divorce. Is it really equal to letting pedophiles marry kids, or letting people marry pets? Of course not, and it’s just idiotic to suggest that.

Watch liberal pinko commie Bill O’Reilly tackle the issue with a gay marriage opponent:

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UPDATE: There’s a debate going on in comments, where some are alleging that Paterson’s directive to state agencies that they recognize same-sex unions entered into legally out-of-state is an improper usurpation of democracy and the rule of law. Naturally, I disagree strenuously.

But I wanted to add that I listened to Paterson’s statement on this issue just now, and to his rationale. For instance, New York State has no such thing as “common-law marriage”, but other states do. We have traditionally recognized the validity of those unions when those couples come to New York.

Furthermore, Paterson’s order is based on a February 1st 4th Appellate Division decision, (penned by Republican Supreme Court Justice Erin Peradotto), in the case of Martinez v. County of Monroe, linked to here. (.pdf) The key point and rationale:

For well over a century, New York has recognized marriages solemnized outside of New York unless they fall into two categories of exception: (1) marriage, the recognition of which is prohibited by the “positive law” of New York and (2) marriages involving incest or polygamy, both of which fall within the prohibitions of “natural law” (Matter of May, 305 NY 486, 491; see Moore v Hegeman, 92 NY 521, 524; Thorp v Thorp, 90 NY 602, 605; see generally Van Voorhis v Brintnall, 86 NY 18, 24-26). Thus, if a marriage is valid in the place where it was entered, “it is to be recognized as such in the courts of this State, unless contrary to the prohibitions of natural law or the express prohibitions of a statute” (Moore, 92 NY at 524; see also Thorp, 90 NY at 606; Van Voorhis, 86 NY at 25-26). Under that “marriage-recognition” rule, New York has recognized a marriage between an uncle and his niece “by the half blood” (May, 305 NY at 488), common-law marriages valid under the laws of other states (see Matter of Mott v Duncan Petroleum Trans., 51 NY2d 289, 292-293), a marriage valid under the law of the Province of Ontario, Canada of a man and a woman both under the age of 18 (see Donohue v Donohue, 63 Misc 111, 112-113), and a “proxy marriage” valid in the District of Columbia (Fernandes v Fernandes, 275 App Div 777), all of which would have been invalid if solemnized in New York.

We conclude that plaintiff’s marriage does not fall within either of the two exceptions to the marriage-recognition rule. “[A]bsent any New York statute expressing clearly the Legislature’s intent to regulate within this State marriages of its domiciliaries solemnized abroad, there is no positive law in this jurisdiction” to prohibit recognition of a marriage that would have been invalid if solemnized in New York (May, 305 NY at 493 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see also Van Voorhis, 86 NY at 37). The Legislature has not enacted legislation to prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages validly entered into outside of New York, and we thus conclude that the positive law exception to the general rule of foreign marriage recognition is not applicable in this case.

(Emphasis added.) So, as you can see, there is not only legal precedent, but legal justification and rationale for what Paterson did, which is merely to implement the holding of the 4th Department across all state agencies and entities.

That’s how a democracy works.

Steve Casey: CIA Material

30 May

The ACLU has an ongoing FOIA demand and lawsuit for documents related to the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.

Below is a page from a CIA Office of the Inspector General review of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program.

So, we know they waterboarded suspects, and the rest, as the ACLU suggests, is left up to one’s imagination.

This sort of governmental transparency and openness is reminiscent of Buffalo’s own City Hall. See here, and here, and here.

At least the City of Buffalo is in good company.

Also – as an aside – the City’s FOIL policy is a story in and of itself. An administration that ran on CitiStat and transparency has implemented GIGO on one, and completely shut down the other.

And furthermore, the audit of the Mayor’s Impact Team underscores the complete ineffectiveness – or possibly gaming of – CitiStat, which is only as good as the information it is fed. Seems as if the system can be rigged to spit out whatever predetermined conclusion the administration wants – it all depends on the data going in. Its failure to discover longstanding malfeasance in that department leads one to wonder what other events of colossal FAIL remain undetected.

Innovation

30 May

According to Autoblog, Honda is selling a crazy amount of Civics lately because they get great gas mileage. By contrast, the hulking Ridgeline and new Pilot aren’t expected to sell quite as well.

Later this year, Honda is expected to add another 2,000 jobs as it begins to build Civics in Indiana, as well. That plant will be Honda’s seventh in North America. Honda has sold 34,163 units of the Civic in North America through April of this year, which is 8.2% more Civics sold on average per day than in 2007. For comparison’s sake, Toyota has sold 32,435 Corollas, Ford has sold 23,850 Foci and Chevy has sold 18,636 Cobalts so far this year.

By contrast, domestic automakers are pretty much caught off-guard by the sudden demand for fuel efficiency over body-on-rail behemoths.

In the article, Autoblog said that the switch from building Ridgeline/Civics would be “effortless”. The first commenter called bullshit,

Effortlessly? Do you work for Honda PR?

No, I’m quite sure there will be quite a bit of money and effort going into this

The responses pretty uniformly reply, yes effortlessly:

By pressing a switch the programs for the robots change, the track system gets narrower, the arms get closer and production changes from a Pilot to a Civic. Ive seen it done.

10 years ago a flex plant was one where two vehicles off of the same platform were built simultaneously, like a Camry or Avalon or Silverado and Tahoe. Now you can get completely unrelated in every possible way vehicles made on the same line.

and

About 10 years ago they began redesigning all of their assembly lines to be able to assemble any model that is currently in production, so that they can do exactly what the article discusses.

There are still logistics involved, but nothing like the wholesale re-configuration that would be required in a traditional older style plant.

and

So much for “Buy American”. Ford and GM are firing American workers, while Honda gives them jobs back. “Support America, buy Japanese” should be the new slogan.

You get the idea. There’s also an interesting discussion about legacy costs for US manufacturers versus merit pay employed by Japanese non-union shops.

Graphs for Friday

30 May

Cities Speak

30 May

Via Richard Florida’s blog, this essay:

Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.

The surprising thing is how different these messages can be. New York tells you, above all: you should make more money. There are other messages too, of course. You should be hipper. You should be better looking. But the clearest message is that you should be richer.

What I like about Boston (or rather Cambridge) is that the message there is: you should be smarter. You really should get around to reading all those books you’ve been meaning to.

When you ask what message a city sends, you sometimes get surprising answers. As much as they respect brains in Silicon Valley, the message the Valley sends is: you should be more powerful.

(Read the whole thing here)

What is Buffalo saying?

Young Hillary Clinton

29 May

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HT Ben Smith

Walkable Communities: Everywhere But Here

28 May

This story in the Buffalo News is frustrating as all hell. My own town of Clarence has two quaint little shopping districts – the Four Corners and the Hollow – and then there’s Transit Road. Two of three of those are walkable. Guess which.

I honestly cannot fathom why anyone in suburban Buffalo would be opposed to the idea of a walkable neighborhood. Would it kill people to be able to walk down to a corner store or florist or dry cleaner or coffee shop? I’m lucky. I can do that. There are loads of people who can’t, and I’m shocked that a lot of them don’t want to.

Walkable neighborhoods don’t just give you exercise and gas savings. Walkability helps build community. You see your neighbors. You walk by their homes. You become a regular at a local business. Buffalo’s suburbs need more – not less – walkability and mixed-use neighborhoods. But the suburbs aren’t the only victims. Any shops at Waterfront Village?

The Town Centre development that Benderson wants to build in Amherst is a start. It will feature retail, hotel, residential, and commercial in the complex. In Lewiston, there’s the Village at Oxbow – the first new walkable community being planned and built in WNY. I guess, as per the News article, it behooves those of us who support these sustainable, walkable communities to show up at town board meetings and speak in support of them.

How much Buffalo area progress has been stanched by an exceedingly vocal and obnoxious minority>

A Good Border Decision

28 May

New York’s Enhanced Driver’s License – it’s fortified with vitamin proof-of-citizenship.

New York is the second state to have an enhanced drivers’ license approved by the Department of duct tape Homeland Security. In order to obtain the new license, you’ll need to present proof of citizenship at your local DMV, and pay $30 on top of the regular charge for a license. In return, you’ll get the new license, which will have your information embedded in an RFID chip, which will be automatically read by the border patrol’s computer.

The licenses will be available beginning in August and will look a bit different from regular licenses. Now, if they could integrate this program into Nexus, it would be teh awesome.

The paranoid lunatic fringe need not apply.

(Photo courtesy Glenda @ Flickr)