Archive | September, 2010

The Complete Dicker/Paladino Confrontation

30 Sep

CBS 6 from Albany has the complete video of Carl Paladino going from slow burn to volcanic in mere seconds; this adds much more context to what happened than the cell phone video from last night.  It shows Dicker asking Paladino a very simple question.  Specifically, Dicker asks Cuomo what evidence he has that Cuomo had had extramarital affairs while married to his ex-wife, and whether or not making that accusation is going into the “gutter”.

Paladino refuses to give a straight answer – because he has no such evidence.  Instead, he changes the subject to the as-yet unproven suggestion that NY Post reporters and photographers invaded the privacy of Suzanne Brady and her 10 year-old daughter by Paladino.


Carl responded today with Liz Benjamin on Capital Tonight:


Frankly, Carl doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  Fred Dicker isn’t complicit with Cuomo or working in concert with the Cuomo campaign, and for Paladino to suggest that is absolutely insane.  Apart from the quiet Buffalo News, the New York Post is potentially the best media friend Paladino could expect to have in this state.  But because Paladino is too busy fighting with everybody and everything, he’s just throwing around accusations blindly.  When the whole thing blows up in his arrogant face, Carl backs up to “I’m not politically correct”.

Sometimes, it’s not about being politically correct.  It’s about being an adult and responding like an adult to adult questions from reporters.

And I don’t buy the photographs-through-the-window story for a second.  What possible value would those photographs have to the New York Post?

Anyhow, here are some cute bears having the same argument:


Rape Fantasies, Lies, and Videotape

30 Sep

Why hasn’t Fox News reported on James O’Keefe’s bizarre attempt to lure a CNN reporter into some sort of weird pornographic rapist’s fantasy?  This is the kid who conspired with Andrew Breitbart and later Fox News to falsely accuse ACORN of misdeeds, resulting in a rush to knee-jerkedly kill ACORN for having the audacity to help poor, mostly Black, Americans buy homes and register to vote.

In O’Keefe’s worldview, women are whores and sex objects.  He was as detestable a human being last week as he is today, yet for over a year, he’s enjoyed the comfortable accolades from movement conservatives for his dishonest entrapment-activism.  Oh, and Breitbart’s own muckracking site has been silent on the matter, too. Maybe it’s a 5th Amendment invocation? We’re just asking questions.

Collins’ Choices, Deals, and Priorities

30 Sep

For almost three years, we at have been detailing how Chris Collins’ “governing” style alternates between dictatorial and transactional. The cynicism of the Collins administration (and Grassroots) was most vividly displayed in 2009, when Collins halted county management of federally funded social programs like WIC and health clinics, but directed $300,000 in cultural funding to an organization that claims County Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams’ husband on its board of directors.

Transactional, bullying politics is par for the course for Collins, and Grassroots will make political deals against the most basic interests of its mostly poor, urban constituency.

But now, Collins is proposing budget cuts that affect the white, the affluent, and the suburban. So, as you might expect, now there’s an outcry. Whereas in the past, the county’s outlay of funding for cultural organizations was set by a nonpartisan review board called ECRAB (cultural resources advisory board), controlling about $5 million in funding in 2010. It’s an imperfect, but fundamentally fair way to determine which culturals will receive public support, because there is no doubt that they add to the quality of life in WNY and if they lose that support and go out of business, no one really wins.

In 2011, the money will be reduced by about $500,000, and Chris Collins is bypassing the nonpartisan CRAB and instead unilaterally making the decision as to which organizations will stay in business and which ones won’t. According to Matt Spina, here are the winners:

10 cultural institutions in line for aid

Zoological Society of Buffalo : $1,465,000
Buffalo Museum of Science : $905,000
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra : $825,000
Albright-Knox Art Gallery : $535,000
Historical Society : $385,000
Darwin Martin House : $140,000
Burchfield Penney Art Center : $92,000
Hamburg Natural History Museum : $41,000
Graycliff : $32,000
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site : $21,000
Total : $4,441,000

Theaters especially have been completely cut out from the proposed funding, because Collins says he only wants to fund culturals that attract visitors from outside the area.  I find it hard to believe that the Hamburg Natural History Museum attracts Torontonians and Clevelanders, so that puts the lie to that explanation, and I wonder who it is who made the deal with Collins for that $41k.  But Shakespeare in the Park and Explore ‘n More, which mostly serve the very Erie County residents who provide this funding?  They lose.  If they have to shut down, so do we.

Because the chosen 10 supposedly attract outsiders, Collins is happy to provide the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors bureau – which he controls – with well over $7 million – that’s three million dollars’ worth more funding than the culturals that enrich the lives of people already living here. $7 million to attract tourists to see the above-listed 10 places.  I guess they can cross the bridge to the Shaw if they want to see theater productions. (7.7% of the Shaw Festival budget comes from government grants).

So, these cuts should come as no surprise, yet the hue and cry from supporters of cultural organizations will be swift and vicious.

But Chris Collins has decided that cultural tourists matter more to him than the people who live here and pay the taxes being allocated.  It’s a big win if an unsuspecting tourist comes here to spend money, because it’s a net export and a way to earn tax dollars without providing any real services.  Us freeloaders here who pay the highest property tax rates in the country can go pound stone, demanding things like “police”, “fire”, and other services in addition to our unreasonable demand for a “good quality of life” for our high taxes.

I don’t fundamentally disagree with the idea that not every cultural can qualify for funding all the time, but Chris Collins is the last person I want making those micromanaging funding decisions.  If he wants to reduce funding by a few hundred thousand dollars, that’s fine, but he should permit the advisory board to make the allocations.  Because the ECRAB hasn’t made any political deals with any of the recipients or their benefactors.

I’m not sure when the people in WNY will tire of Collins’ “like a business” BS schtick, but I presume it’s when the county is facing a big deficit and we’re back at a 2004-ish square one.  Because fundamentally, nothing has changed between the way in which the county is run when Giambra was around and today.

Access and Issues

30 Sep

When you grant access to the Buffalo News to write a puff piece about Cathy Paladino and Carl’s 10-year old child by another woman, not his wife:

and when you grant access to the New York Post to write a similar puff piece about the same subjects:

Then you can’t complain if the “kid” is made an issue in the campaign. And you can’t rightly complain if the press wants to get the other woman’s side of the story. You can’t sit down with Andrea Peyser and discuss the whole thing over a “meatball hero”, and explain how your values prevented you from suggesting abortion, but somehow permitted a decade’s worth of deception and silence to your wife.

Just saying, you can’t have it three different ways.

Chris Lee & the Zadroga 9/11 Health Care Bill

29 Sep

Today, the House passed the Zadroga 9/11 Health Care Bill 268 – 160. Named for a New York City police officer who responded on 9/11 and died in 2006 from a respiratory illness that’s been causally linked to exposure to chemicals in the air on that day, the bill provides a $7.4 billion fund for the medical expenses and other compensation to those whose health is similarly affected.

To pay for it, Congress closed a loophole exploited by many nominally American, and multinational corporations whose headquarters are removed to foreign tax havens in an effort to avoid or minimize exposure to US corporate income taxes. The Zadroga bill closes that loophole and requires those companies to pay taxes on income earned from business in the US.

The sole member of the New York State congressional delegation to vote against guaranteeing health care and monitoring for the heroes of 9/11 was Chris Lee from NY-26. Lee’s objection? He can’t STAND the government having the job-killing audacity to expect companies making a profit in the United States to actually pay income taxes on those profits. Only the little people pay taxes.

So, there you have it.

When given a choice to stand with the heroes of 9/11, or to stand with tax-avoiding multinational corporations, Chris Lee stands with big business.

Here’s Where Carl Paladino Threatens to Kill Fred Dicker

29 Sep

(With updated video courtesy WIVB). Fred Dicker is the dean of the Albany press corps. Well-respected and thorough, he writes for the right-wing Murdoch rag the New York Post. He’s been at it for decades and has received every award available for him to receive.

As the scrutiny from press corps outside Buffalo intensifies around the locally untouchable developer, Paladino made a vulgar, pointless accusation about Andrew Cuomo’s first marriage to Kerry Kennedyolder news is hard to come by.

When Dicker confronted Paladino – a belligerent egomaniac – Paladino struck back with threats up to and including, “I’ll take you out”. Let me rephrase this:


Republican Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino threatened to murder columnist Fred Dicker.

I don’t really know what the hell Carl’s problem is – if he’s willing to go nuclear on Cuomo’s failed marriage (which ended long ago), then Carl’s protestations against inquiries into his own sordid personal life ring hollow. You can’t have it both ways. Evidently, Carl’s campaign doesn’t like that a grown woman with whom Carl slept 10 years ago was spoken to and photographed by the NY Post.

But I hope people like Dicker keep pushing, prodding, looking, and provoking. We already know Paladino doesn’t have the character to be governor. We already know he has no strategy for policy success should he win. We’re coming to learn he doesn’t even remotely possess anything approaching the temperament to handle life as a public servant.

I think Billy Batts is Fred Dicker, and Carl is Tommy DeVito, and Dicker sort of told Carl to get his f-ing shinebox.

Paterson’s Albany

29 Sep


Mogadishu West

29 Sep

Thanks to the New York Times, the people of the world have learned that Buffalo is a terrible and strange place, devoid of regular people or normal life.  It is squalor and despair.  It is a civic existential crisis.

Empty of shops, it is instead full of empty people leading rudderless, meaningless lives where the only positive trend is in the number of Paladino signs being sought by flannel-clad, snowbound, axe-murdering rubes.

A city where even ennui comes to die, Buffalo is best reported on from the confines of one’s hotel room – a second-rate Priceline mainstay in a third-rate hellhole.  The remainder is best seen from the back seat of a cab, or the parking lot of a Rite Aid.

I can only presume that Ms. Dominus’ cab ride shuttled her from BNIA to the Hyatt and back.  Should she ever have the misfortune of being assigned another story on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, I have sent her an invitation by email to show her that there’s more to Buffalo than Paladino, empty Main Street storefronts, and longer-form versions of Gertrude Stein quips.

Meet Cynthia Appleton #SD59 #NYSenate

28 Sep

Now that Jim Domagalski, Pat Gallivan, and David DiPietro will all be battling to split the right-of-center vote three ways in Volker’s SD-59, Wyoming County nurse Cynthia Appleton is uniquely positioned to give the Dems a pick-up in the state senate.

Meet Cynthia Appleton.


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Sharron Angle, Tea Party Hypocrite

28 Sep

Tea Party candidate for US Senate from Nevada, the detestable Sharron Angle, says this about Obama’s health care reform:

Angle’s prior aversion to government-run health care — at least for others — has been no secret. She openly touts her intent to “Repeal and replace Obamacare” on her website, and even claimed recently that such broad legislation was actually unnecessary because there was “nothing wrong with our health care system.”

“Our healthcare system is the best in the world,” said Angle of the American system, once rated37th-best in the world, in August. “Our doctors are the best…The access is not what is being denied.”

Despite Angle’s contention that access to health care is not an issue, more than 18 percent of Nevada’s population is currently uninsured, nearly 3 percent higher than the national rate.

And in 2009, Angle railed against mandated health care coverage even for autism treatment and maternity leave.

“You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need. They just passed the latest one, is everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under ‘autism,'” Angle said, using air quotes for the neurological disorder. “So, that’s a mandate that you have to pay for. How about maternity leave? I’m not going to have anymore babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Those are the kinds of things that we want to get rid of.

Anyway, Sharron Angle receives her health insurance through the federal civil service retirement program – that’s a federally-run single-payer program that you and I fund.

She’s one of those tea partiers who minds the “redistribution of wealth” only when she’s not the direct beneficiary.