Archive | April, 2010

Thank You

27 Apr

Although I was unable to attend the festivities, I learned via text and Facebook that I won Artvoice’s Best of Buffalo – Best Local Blog award. Although Chris pulled out all the stops, what we’ve proven here is that negative campaigns don’t always work.

Seriously, though, the category itself is somewhat silly. What we ought to do locally is have a local Bloggy award where we select the best personal blog, best political blog, best advocacy blog, Tweets of the Year, etc., throw a party to raise money for some worthy cause, like ReUse, and have some fun with it.

Because all of the people nominated deserve some recognition, and I can rattle off another 10 or 20 bloggers and microbloggers who deserve to be nominated.

What categories am I missing?

Touchiest Campaign Ever®

27 Apr

Carl Paladino’s wife seems like a really nice woman, and I can’t blame her or his campaign for setting up an overly friendly look at Paladino’s character issues. Who better to try and defuse questions concerning his decency than his wife? It’s genius.

But the taintlicking “article” then takes a weird detour into what we’re supposed to believe is internal campaign discussions about potentially damaging information. Roger Stone’s mini-me, Michael Caputo claims that the campaign set up:

  • Focus groups to gauge reaction to the out-of-wedlock kid issue.
  • Focus groups to gauge reaction to the emails featuring an historically derogatory term for black people, and also horsefucking videos.

The candidate’s and campaign’s reaction to the release of the emails in question reveals that this is utter bullshit.  There is no way – no chance – that Paladino and his campaign retained the services of a pollster or marketer to gauge reaction to the emails.  This is because Paladino still doesn’t think the emails were any big deal.  They’re just jokes.  Everyone does it.  Everyone forwards jokes containing the word “ni**er” and videos featuring graphic horse-on-woman sex.  Right?

Just the other day, Paladino doubled down on the dumb by sending around this pathetic excuse masquerading as a poignant parable about how sending horsefucking videos to your buddies is exactly like loving your friends and going to heaven.

He doesn’t comprehend what’s wrong with them, and his WBEN-listening, tea party constituency is eating it up. He speaks to them – to their insecurities, to their inferiority complexes, to their prejudices, to their misguided but earnest victimhood.

That Buffalo News article featuring Mrs. Paladino was very nice, and I suspect that it was set up to ensure that the Buffalo News writ large wouldn’t join WNYMedia.net, WGRZ‘s Josh Boose, and the News’ Jim Heaney as persona non grata on the Touchiest Campaign Ever.®

The Thick Skin Express.

But it wasn’t news, and gave Michael Caputo an opportunity to spin what’s been a truly stunning display of clumsy campaign mismanagement.

CanalSide Destin

26 Apr

On the one hand, I totally understand a governmental entity demanding concessions in exchange for granting huge breaks to a private business.

On the other hand, I totally understand businesses balking.

Whilst on vacation, I happened upon a place in Destin, Florida called HarborWalk Village. It’s right at the edge of Destin, on its harbor, right next to where the fishing boats dock. Parking, by the way, was free and convenient. The centerpiece of HarborWalk Village is the luxury condominium development that features a water taxi to take you to a nearby beach. The relatively small area is charming, walkable, and packed with locally owned businesses selling everything from hair wraps to $300 running shoes. There are also about 5 bar/restaurants right along the boardwalk where you can enjoy a nice meal with a sea breeze and watch the boats come and go.

I had earlier jokingly tweeted that I was at a Bass Pro at a mall and that it was “just like CanalSide”. When I later noted that I was at HarborWalk, Brian Castner noted that this was, in fact, like CanalSide and directed me to this post of his.

He’s right, of course. CanalSides are a dime a dozen. Development of a waterfront area that features, you know, stuff people might want to do and see, is a no-brainer, regardless of the weather. We use crutches galore to explain why we can’t, why we won’t.

But we can and we should.

We pat ourselves on the back for making patently obvious decisions. It would be like asking for a medal for figuring out to use our noses to smell. CanalSide, or something like it, should have been built years ago. I guess we should be somewhat thankful we waited this long, because, well, just look at what this city threw up in the name of development at various points in the last 30 years. Most of it is shockingly horrible.

If the city wins and gets its precious Community Benefits Agreement, do we win? Do we lose? Does the project get done?

You’re all watching the Sabres game right now, but you’re all ignoring the fact that Buffalo’s real spectator sport – its real pastime – is making the same mistakes over and over again.

Instead of a CBA, what CanalSide needs is legislation designating it a reverse Empire Zone, where sales tax is waived so that the tax benefits flow directly to the consumer.

What A Difference A Day Makes

25 Apr

I know we have a rapid fanbase of political junkies here at WNYMedia, but I occasionally tire of the horse race (pun intended), what with the late yet looming Albany budget, continued Buffalo patronage pits and Paladino equine porn. So, instead, let’s talk about the actual #1 story in Buffalo this weekend: the Game 5 win of the Sabres down at the arena.

There is nothing like an old fashioned beatdown to change your opinion about a team, eh?

[HTML1]

In my imagination, Paul Gaustad is slowing pushing his fist into Chara’s broken nose while they are at the bottom of the pile.

I’m the kind of fan that owns a couple jersey’s, but make the choice of jersey to buy very carefully. They have to epitomize what I like about the team – hard work, scrapiness, heart. Obviously, I am not an owner of an Afinogenov, Connelly, or Roy jersey.

No, my three are Gaustad (old school white, like at the Winter Classic), Mair (new third jersey) and Miller (2010 Team USA). And when I watch the Sabres, I want those three guys to do well. I was in heaven Friday night. Gaustad finally showed up, had a bunch of hits, key faceoff draws (one for an assist to Grier) and clearly got under Big Zed’s skin. Mair scored the opening goal less than two minutes in, and he has stepped up his hitting game all series. And of course, you can’t say enough about Miller. No only does he stand on his head, but he has the best moustache – mutton chop combo in the city.

There was a lot to love in the game: tons of blocked shots (many from guys laying down in the lanes), timely scoring, physical domination, and a lack of quit. I felt pretty down about the team over the three game losing streak. They haven’t won the series yet, but suddenly it seems possible. And even if they lose it out, I’ll feel a lot better going into the post season after seeing this team’s heart finally appear – I wasn’t sure it existed at all at times. I’m a much happier Sabres fan in general this weekend.

There has been a lot of talk about Sabres who haven’t shown up for this series yet: Connelly, Roy, Pominville (less so) and Stafford. What we don’t hear about is the Bruins who forgot they were in the playoffs. My number one is Milan Lucic: hitter, fighter, and goal scorer – everything Buffalo wishes it was more of in one package. But currently Lucic has been a non-factor, sitting at zero points in 5 games, a couple shots and a 13 penalty minutes. Humph. If he was a Sabre, we might have run him out of town by now (see: Torres, Raffi).

I have a theory on Lucic’s disappearance, however. I think he’s remembering back to last February every time he goes to make a hit – he’s scared Mair is going drop him on his ass and then wet his nose again while he’s sleeping:

[HTML2]

That’s the kind of team I want to be a fan off.

Carl Paladino, Sending Smiles

24 Apr

Carl Paladino just wanted to send you a smile and let you know he’s been thinking of you…according to his latest electronic missive.

In his email to undisclosed recipients (at least he’s learning), he sent some horrible parable about heaven and hell (see, he IS a religious guy, conservatives) followed up with the following explanation about why he loves forwarding emails to hundreds of people indiscriminately.

From: Carl Paladino [mailto:CPaladino@ellicottdevelopment.com]
Sent: Sat 4/24/2010 4:31 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: FW: This explains why I forward jokes, and it says it all

Soooo. Now you see, sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding stuff to us without writing a word.  Maybe this will explain it.

When you  are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do?   You forward mails.  When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.  When you have something to say, but don’t know what, and don’t know how…you forward stuff.  A ‘forward’ lets you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still  loved, you are still cared for.

So, next time you get a ‘forward’, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile.

I’m glad Carl has taken the liberty of making it so crystal clear!  He’s just thinking of his hundreds of acquaintances in the public sector, media and business community when he forwards jokes!  Why didn’t he just say so?  Boy, don’t we liberal media elites have a lot of egg on our face!  I guess this kind of honesty is why he’s paying Michael Caputo to poke reporters in the chest and do the worst public relations/image repair job in political history.

Let me try and put Carl’s email explanation in context for you.  Here’s how the email should have read:

From: Carl Paladino [mailto:CPaladino@ellicottdevelopment.com]
Not Actually Sent: Sat 4/24/2010 4:31 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: FW: This explains why I forward jokes, and it says it all

Soooo. Now you see, sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding stuff to us without writing a word.  Maybe this will explain it.

When you  are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do?   You forward videos of a horse performing anal sex to completion on a woman.

When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward racist images of black people facing death!

When you have something to say, but don’t know what, and don’t know how…you forward a racist picture of the President dressed as a pimp and the first lady dressed up like a whore.

A ‘forward’ lets you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still  loved, you are still cared for and by the way, you need to see this video of a woman deepthroating a sausage!  It’s awesome!  Hey, hope all is well with the wife and kids, here’s a video I saw on Stormfront of Obama getting ready for the inaugural ball.

So, next time you get a ‘forward’, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a horrific racist image or illegal porn video!

The Tea Party People

23 Apr

There have been several efforts made in recent weeks to figure out who exactly makes up the tea party constituency.  With all the studies and polls and demographic research happening, you’d think we stumbled across a rare species of two headed turtles or the mysterious and never-before-photographed pipsquack bird.

Previous polls have been conducted traditionally with phone banks and surveys.  However, the tea party is primarily organized online and it makes sense to measure activity online.  If for nothing else to sample the data in a new way.  And not with some easily manipulated online poll, either.

PBS has conducted an exhaustive online search of tea party directories, Facebook pages, and other social networks to measure the location of most tea party members.  The results are not scientific, but they are pretty interesting.

First, here is the map drawn from the total number of active tea party participants in the country, broken out by county.  Areas shaded in green are those with the higher concentrations of tea party members.

Next up is a sampling of tea party participants per 10,000 residents in any given county.  For every 10,000 people in Erie County, 2 people are actively involved in the tea party.  Careful, one might be right behind you!

The darkest areas indicate the “highest” level of participation with 10 in 10,000 residents being registered or active online.  If this is a movement, I think Dale Volker has had larger ones during his morning grumpy.

What is pretty clear from this sampling is that the primary centers of the tea party are in boom town counties which suffered the greatest hits during the housing crash and recession.  The other data point of note is that the areas with the highest concentration of tea party membership appear to be very solid republican counties in red states.  I know, I’m shocked as well.

Aside from all of this ongoing research and demography, there is pretty clear evidence that the tea party movement isn’t anything especially new.  It is a loose confederation of right wing citizens.  Traditional “Ron Paul” libertarians (who have been singing this song for years on the margins of American politics) make up the original core of the movement.

However, after Sarah Palin scared most of the fearful neo-cons that the Islamofascistsocialist black man was coming to take their guns and liberty, those traditional libertarians now have company.  The neo-conservative, Christian base has decided to bully their way into the Thomas Jefferson tent at oppressedwhitemanteapartypalooza.

Tea Party supporters are likely to be older, white and male. Forty percent are age 55 and over, compared with 32 percent of all poll respondents; just 22 percent are under the age of 35, 79 percent are white, and 61 percent are men. Many are also Christian fundamentalists, with 44 percent identifying themselves as “born-again,” compared with 33 percent of all respondents.

Shorter version of the above story, McCain voters make up the majority of tea party participants.  The same people who cheered on Sarah Palin at rallies in 2008, watched Sean Hannity’s nightly expose on Jermeiah Wright, and told John McCain that Obama was a muslim, etc. are all loyal members of this new “movement”.  It’s not a movement.  It’s the same old Republican base with new and improved packaging, tri-cornered hats and a crippling lack of irony.

What makes it a political force is that they have one of the world’s largest media companies promoting their agenda on America’s top cable news network, in The Wall Street Journal, in The New York Post and on the top syndicated radio programs and widely read websites like Drudge, Breitbart, Fox properties, etc..  Because they have control of such a significant stake of U.S. media, they are driving the conversation on other networks and outlets.  Fomenting the anger and fear as far and wide as possible that the black man and his merry band of half-assed socialists are coming for your freedom.

Now that anger over the healthcare reform bill is dying down, the economy is slowly improving and infighting amongst the loose libertarian/Ne0-Con tea party groups is beginning, will they be a force in November?  Can their media machine sustain the roar of last summer and this spring?

I suspect they will be…a force for Republicans to deal with in the primaries.  They’ll slice off votes from moderate Republicans, challenge long time incumbents and generally pull the larger party to the right.  See, Paladino, Carl.

When the tea party fringe is introduced to the rest of society and a wider demographic base of voters that is gradually shifting younger, more diverse and better educated…their platform will go over like Paladino’s horse porn in church.

If Democrats can play to the central themes and appeal to centrists and moderates, I suspect Officer Barbrady might have the best advice on how to deal with the tea party “movement”.

The GOP Objects…To Everything

22 Apr

The GOP is holding up President Obama’s executive branch appointees at an unprecedented rate.

Although the bulk of the news coverage on nominations has focused on a few nominees singled out for very public attacks by the GOP and right-wing activists, it’s the lower profile nominations that most clearly illustrate the Republicans’ “Party of ‘No'” strategy. In dealing with those nominees, the GOP has undertaken a relentless and irresponsible campaign of obstruction that has frustrated the timely confirmation of the President’s nominees and diverted critical time, energy, and focus from other, equally critical business of the Senate.

Just last night, the Senate invoked cloture on the nomination of Lael Brainard, to fill the critical position at the Treasury Department of Under Secretary for International Affairs. The vote on this “controversial” nominee, who had been held up for almost four months: an overwhelming 84-10.

For most of the Senate’s history, the vast majority of judicial and executive branch nominees have been approved fairly quickly and without much controversy. Indeed, up until 1949, delays were so rare that the Senate did not even have a rule for cutting off debate through a cloture motion. Most frequently, nominees were confirmed not by roll call votes, but by unanimous consent.

No more.

Under President Obama, Senate Republicans have refused to agree to move forward on even the most routine nominations, slowing down the process of confirmation and grinding the business of the Senate to a halt. GOP leaders have objected to unanimous consent agreements and demanded cloture votes they have no expectation of winning simply to chew up valuable legislative time and constrict President Obama’s ability to enact his policies.

Your national GOP in action…

[HTML1]

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says about halfway through the video, this is “shizpoodledog”.

From 1949 (when Senate rules were changed to provide for cloture on nominations) through 2008, cloture votes have been forced on only 24 executive branch nominations.

The GOP forced 9 in the first 13 months of the Obama administration and they are currently obstructing over 100 Obama nominees in the US Marshall’s Office, Federal Courts, State Department, and other various mid-level positions.

Combine all of this with the GOP’s unprecedented abuse of the filibuster and you have a national party which is completely disinterested in governing…in the midst of two wars and a massive economic recession.

Shizpoodledog, indeed.

Paladino: No Soup For You!

21 Apr

“I bring values, resiliency, a thick skin and I’m not afraid to be confrontational.” – Carl Paladino

It would appear that by “thick skin”, Carl meant “hyper-defensive”.

In response to this tire fire of an interview with one of the weakest reporters in Western New York, Josh “Straw Man” Boose of WGRZ’s mildly regarded Red Coat brigade…

[HTML1]

Carl Paladino and his campaign manager Michael Caputo (the Scott Farkus and Grover Dill of Buffalo) sent the following to their Facebook supporters:

It goes on and on, painting Carl as the innocent victim of a coordinated media smear.  It ultimately leads to this:

I approached Boose as they parted and told him in no uncertain terms that I did not appreciate him calling my friend a racist. I tapped on his chest as I let him know that I have been in this business twice as long as he and I don’t play gotcha with reporters.

For his careless and aggressive reporting, Boose is now banned from covering the Paladino for Governor campaign. We have informed WGRZ that they remain invited to cover our crusade to take back Albany – but Boose is not welcome anywhere near Carl Paladino.

Goodbye, Josh Boose. We hardly knew ye.

He has now banned WNYMedia, Jim Heaney of The Buffalo News and Josh Boose of WGRZ from covering the campaign.  I suppose we can cover it, we just don’t get to ask any questions or interact with the candidate.  It would appear the criteria for being banned is writing anything critical or factual about Carl.  Anything written or broadcast about his tens of millions of dollars of business with the State of New York, the hundreds of thousands of dollars he has donated to Democratic political candidates, his lifelong registration as a Democrat, his extra-marital affair, his “bonus” child, his hobby of forwarding illegal pornography and racist imagery to people in the community or his lack of an actual platform…all of this is a ticket out of the circle of trust.

It’s also fascinating that Carl is turning into the Soup Nazi of gubernatorial candidates.  He demands that we ask our polite questions (which he deems acceptable), move to the left and not engage in any analysis or further debate.

[HTML2]

WGRZ is in a tough spot, they have a responsibility to inform the public, but they can’t let public figures dictate terms to them.  They can state that a candidate doesn’t get to choose his reporter or tone of coverage and no longer cover Carl’s campaign.  Or, they can send Boose out to every Paladino event and point out that Carl won’t “answer tough questions”.  If you’ve been watching WGRZ News for any amount of time, I’m pretty sure you can figure out which choice they’ll make.

At this rate, the only people left to cover Carl’s campaign will be Carl’s official campaign blogger Howard Goldman (a former WNYMedia blogger) and tea party activist/Paladino campaign supporter Rus Thompson…oops, he’s also a WNYMedia blogger.

The other part of this email from Caputo that is interesting is the constant change in campaign tactics on the email fiasco.  To the public, writ large, Paladino admits that he forwarded the emails, without qualification, and has apologized numerous times.

Inside his own camp of obedient supporters, he still maintains he “allegedly” forwarded emails and that this is a coordinated effort by Brian Higgins and the “liberal media elite” to tear him down.  This internal communication is subtle confirmation bias and wagon circling for his base.

Let’s be clear, Carl sent emails featuring a video of a horse performing anal sex on a woman to completion and several emails featuring racial slurs and imagery.  These were NOT sent to a small group of close friends, they were sent to hundreds of people, repeatedly, over ten years.  The people on the list were public figures, media personalities, business leaders and elected officials.  Occam’s Razor moment for Carl, one of the hundreds of people to whom you sent those emails found your new allegiance to the Republican Party and Conservative values to be hypocritical and sent them on to the media.

It’s just the way it is.

Fun With Videos (NSFW)

21 Apr

The WNYMedia.net response to Carl Paladino’s response:

[HTML1]

Running as the “values, resiliency, and thick skin” candidate…

…at least he’s got “resiliency”.

Erie County Patronage Authority

21 Apr

Except for the fact that it’s always been thus – which seems to be the chief justification for just about anything in WNY – why is it that the Erie County Water Authority Board continues its existence as a patronage pit?

Aaron Saykin embarrasses everyone except Jack O’Donnell:

[HTML1]