Archive | February, 2012

AV Photo Daily: Leap Day Edition

29 Feb

Old and New Too Old and New Too by tark9

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Acropoversy

29 Feb

Yesterday, the Buffalo News wrote about the controversy surrounding the Acropolis; a “he said, she said” recitation of the two sides’ accusations against each other. If that was all you read and knew about the situation, you’d have no idea who was telling the truth, and who was lying, or who is being unreasonable.

By contrast, the Dining Rumor has a well-reasoned and persuasive take on the situation surrounding the expansion and playing of music at Acropolis.

“The question here is not about Paul’s character, or whether or not he runs a good business — the issue at hand is how the intended changes will adversely affect the Elmwood Village residential community.” This is the complaint, put as succinctly as possible, and it is this complaint alone that needs addressing. So, how does Paul’s quality of character or quality of business relate to the question of how a “new” Acropolis will affect Elmwood Village living conditions? DIRECTLY. The negative response from “Elmwood Villagers” is emotional, irrational, and just plain fearful if they are going to, as many of them do, concede the points that Paul is a) a man of character, integrity, and upstanding citizenship and b) that he runs a quality business. My question is — how does updating, renovating, increasing, or altering Acropolis’s business imply that Paul will attend to the new aspects of this business with any less quality or integrity than he attends to it in its current form? Will he be less conscientious? Will he care for it less as it grows? If Paul’s a good guy, and he runs a good business, how will the expansion change the acceptable manner in which he’s run his business to this point? Unless this is just lip service, to ease the criticisms of Paul’s business into people’s ears.

The neighbors’ complaints seem to be that Acropolis’ changes may lead to drunken people doing drunken things – something that didn’t happen when it was a postage stamp-sized diner. But, as Dining Rumor points out,

The complaint of drunken rabble, carousing down Elmwood Avenue due to a DJ event hosted by Acropolis is patently ABSURD. In the walkable three blocks of Elmwood on either side of West Ferry there are over a dozen establishments with liquor and late night hours. To say that Acropolis featuring a DJ or serving liquor poses a singular threat to peace, quiet, and clean lawns in the Elmwood Village is ridiculous. The Blue Monk churns out a college crowd hopped up on high octane beer…hipsters, twentysomethings, and thrill seekers rove the streets from Bullfeathers to Thirsty Buffalo to Faherty’s and back again…even Cecelia’s has played host to the occasional late night, out of control frat party. Why is Acropolis being singled out? The names of the owners of those other establishments don’t come up in a discussion of the behavior of their piss-drunk patrons; no one is giving them quite so much hell.

Chris will be writing more about the Acropoversy soon, but make no mistake – it is a parable; the very embodiment of every single thing that’s wrong not just with Buffalo and her government, but frankly with a very small, but very loud, self-important, and entitled minority of people who have anointed themselves as the protectors of some Elmwood fantasyland where peace and quiet reign in one of the most bustling parts of the city.

This is a combination of entrenched political ineptitude and corruption, of myriad regulations that average people are unable reasonably to navigate, of a fundamental difficulty in getting business done in town, and of dealing with people who think they have a right to dictate how a business can and should conduct itself.  You shouldn’t have to hold community meetings to expand your existing business onto an existing second floor. You shouldn’t have to apply for and obtain license after permit after license – many of which the city doesn’t make it clear you need. More importantly, you shouldn’t have to retain the services of a high-priced fixer to navigate the bundles of city red tape. (That’s literally how it’s done in third world countries.) But the real offense comes from people who object to a grown-up place catering to a grown-up clientele, serving booze and playing music in a city environment.  

The notion that the city and alleged “neighbors” are punishing Acropolis before a single noise complaint has been lodged is outrageous. And furthermore, if it’s peace and quiet you’re after, you live in the wrong place.  

Enjoy

29 Feb

President Obama replies to conservative lies about the rescue of the American auto industry.

Lloyd to Buffalo: Kickstart Our Second Truck!

28 Feb
Lloyd's Taco Truck No. 3

Lloyd's Taco Truck No. 3 by gmeadows1 on Flickr

First, it was the Community Beer Works that used crowd funding service Kickstarter to help finance its growth, now Lloyd Taco Truck is turning to Buffalo, using Kickstarter to help fund a second truck. From their press release: 

Moving forward on their quest to bring Western New York fresh and delicious food, the owners of Lloyd Taco Trucks launched a campaign today to purchase a second food truck, Lloyd Dos. Click here to view the web page. Using Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, the effort will help mobilize customers and allow supporters to pool additional funds needed for the truck’s down payment. Patrons’ generosity will not go unnoticed, as they will receive enticing rewards for their participation.

“We are extremely grateful for the warm response we’ve received over the past year and a half,” said Peter Cimino, co-founder of Lloyd Taco Trucks. “We get requests to bring the truck to new locations on a daily basis. We wish we could satisfy our fans’ Lloyd cravings more often, so we are asking them to kindly support the cause and pledge at whatever level they are able.”

Kickstarter provides a means for business owners and entrepreneurs to offer unique products and experiences in exchange for monetary support. The system is “all or nothing funding,” which means a project must reach its goal before time runs out or receives nothing. Lloyd fans will have 30 days to pledge their support toward the company’s $12,500 goal.

“We imagined what would be most valuable to our fans, including exclusive and priceless offerings,” said Chris Dorsaneo, co-founder and chef of Lloyd. “Rewards include a year’s supply of burritos, a private five course meal with wine pairings, and even a Lloyd speed pass, which moves the bearer to the front of the line every time.”

Pledge levels start at $10 and offer a variety of accumulating rewards for each gift. All donors will get to sign the truck, receive a Lloyd bumper sticker and a free taco. Those pledging $2,000 or more will earn a catered party for up to 50 guests with a personalized menu featuring their favorite Lloyd specials.

About Lloyd Taco Trucks

Lloyd Taco Trucks is a traveling Buffalo food experience serving fun, fresh, Taquería style food. Childhood friends, Peter Cimino and Chris Dorsaneo, conceptualized Lloyd when they realized Western New York lacked palatable, affordable street food options. The timing was right when Dorsaneo moved back to Buffalo after working around the country in high end restaurants and resorts, and Cimino sought an entrepreneurial concept to take Buffalo by storm. Tomatillo pork tacos, braised beef burritos and tricked out nachos are the menu staples that keep hungry Buffalonians coming back for more. Lloyd has won many esteemed awards, including Artvoice’s “Best Street Food” and Buffalo Spree’s “Best Tacos in Western New York.”

AV Photo Daily: 2/28/12

28 Feb

Buffalo Sunset Buffalo Sunset by W Alex Fisher

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Grisanti to Receive Endorsement of Other Horrible Transactional Fusion Party

28 Feb

At 1:30 pm today, a press conference will be held in Buffalo to announce that the Independence Party, which is neither independent nor really any sort of political party with any firm ideology or platform aside from the personal ambitions of its leadership, will endorse Mark Grisanti for re-election. 

This comes quickly on the heels of the recent announcement that the Conservative Party, which is hardly conservative nor really any sort of political party with a firm and consistent set of policy positions except for a generalized abhorrence of gays, modern society, and taxes, will attempt to throw WNY under a massive bendy bus by endorsing reprehensible homophobic retread Chuck Swanick – star of the mid-last-decade county financial meltdown – in a deal cut with former Pedro Espada patronage hire Steve Pigeon.  With Espada’s indictment, Pigeon finds himself needing something more to do than just ally himself with Albany-based cults.  

Also, Swanick received the endorsement of the reactionary homophobic bigots at the improperly named “National Organization for Marriage“. 

If you want to stop how pitifully transactional our local politics have become, and begin cleaning things up; if you want to promote good policy and less patronage-laden dealmaking, abolish electoral fusion in New York State. 

Just Like Lincoln

28 Feb

On Wednesday night, the Erie County Republican Party will be giving its “Lincoln Leadership Award” to former Attorney General and rumored Brian Higgins challenger Dennis Vacco. 

What exactly is it about Vacco that made the GOP associate him with – of all people – Abraham Lincoln?  When you think of Lincoln, you think of leading the nation through an existential constitutional crisis, a civil war, emancipation, abolition of Southern feudal estates,  and other pretty pivotal events that plotted the course of the United States into the modern world.  

 So what is it in Vacco’s past that makes the GOP consider him in the same breath with Lincoln?  Indulge me a poll: 

<a href=”http://polldaddy.com/poll/5987539/”>What Makes Dennis Vacco Most Like Abraham Lincoln</a>

 

$50,000 fine for casino lobbying allegations.

Representation of Haggerty.

Mass firings at AG office.

Drawing out the 1998 AG election uncomfortably long, using NYPD to conduct door-to-door investigations.  

Columbo family scion claiming to have had a “hook” in Vacco’s office

The Morning Grumpy – 2/28/2012

28 Feb

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

1. Dan Herbeck published a profile of local attorney and political power player Adam Perry in the Sunday edition of The Buffalo News. Yesterday, Jim Heaney came around to add the meat to the skeleton that was Herbeck’s article.

For example, Perry’s official bio lists him as general legal counsel to Community Action Organization of Erie County, which historically has been a landing spot for many members of Grassroots, the political club closely aligned with the mayor. You might recall the COA’s former president, a Grassroots stalwart and one-time Common Council member. His name is Brian Davis. He’s been in the news a bit.

Hodgson Russ has given Brown’s two campaign committees $12,100 since he first ran for the job. Perry, individually, has given another $6,925.

Perry has also anted up $9,347 for 10 candidates and committees aligned with Brown, starting with then State Sen. Antoine Thompson ($2,525) and North Common Council Member Joe Golombek ($2,000) when he ran against Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, Brown’s arch-rival. Perry also donated $500 to Grassroots.

Heaney’s article links out to nearly a dozen sources and paints a much broader picture of Perry’s allegiances and duties. Thanks, Jim.

2.For several months, beltway pundits have repeatedly asked the same question, “Why won’t republican voters embrace Mitt Romney?”. I’ll tell you why. He’s an asshole. An uncompromising asshole. Not in the cool, “Oh that son-of-a-bitch got me again” kind of way, but the old fashioned, “Holy shit, that guy is a real fucking jerkoff” kind of way. In WNY parlance, he’s Chris Collins.

Politics isn’t business. Helping retired people or badly maimed veterans with their health care needs isn’t “efficient.” If you were a businessperson, you’d do anything to keep those veterans out of your hospital. It’s not the job of a businessman to feel sad about the consequences of cutbacks for your marriage, your employees, your grandma, or your community. But it should be the president’s job. The inherently destructive nature of a dynamic market economy means that lots of people are suffering on any given day thanks to forces beyond their control. Romney’s strength is that he understands those forces better than anyone in the race, but his weakness is that he doesn’t understand the suffering.

Mitt Romney was born on third base, thinking he hit a triple and has no idea to relate to people who deal with the rigors of American life. His lack of empathy shines through to a nation of people looking for a leader.

“If people think there’s something wrong with being successful in America, then they’d better vote for the other guy, because I’ve been extraordinarily successful and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people.”

He can’t win.

3. The anti-intellectualism, it burns. College education is a plot to turn us all into pinko secularists and wanting kids to go to college makes one a “snob”

We have now reached the once unthinkable point in this presidential race where even higher education has come up for debate. At a time when our global competitors are churning out engineers and scientists at a faster and faster rate; at a time when the industries of the future require not only a college education, but more and more advanced degrees; and at a time when the economy is becoming more demanding of innovation than ever before, one of the leading candidates for the GOP nomination calls the president a “snob” for wanting “everybody in America to go to college.” Really?

According to Santorum, you should probably homeschool them as well. Why expose them to critical thinking and different perspectives, right?

My soul similarly rolls over and groans whenever Santorum uses the phrase “home-schooling.” I first heard about it in the dim days when the John Birch Society was a going thing. (Young folks, I don’t blame you for not believing that this organization held that President Dwight Eisenhower was a “conscious, dedicated agent” of the Soviet Union.) Some benighted McCarthy-admiring parents decided to pluck their children from the clutches of “commies” teaching our kiddies their godless doctrine.

I feel sorry for the poor kids whose parents feel they’re qualified to teach them at home. Of course, some parents are smarter than some teachers, but in the main I see home-schooling as misguided foolishness.

Teaching is an art and a profession requiring years of training. Where did the idea come from that anybody can do it?

To deny kids the adventure and socialization of going to school, thereby missing out on the activities, gossip, projects, dances, teams, friendships and social skills developed — to deny kids this is shortsighted and cruel. I think of the mournful home-school kid watching his friends board the school bus, laughing, gossiping and enjoying all that vital socialization we call schooldays.

Homeschooling is a particularly bizarre strain of the evangelical and libertarian communities and ultimately denies your children many of the experiences that help craft them into well-adjusted adult members of society. You’d deny your child exposure to differing viewpoints, cultures, and curricula due to your own ideological xenophobia? Supplement their education with your own, but don’t lock them away from life, that’s just odd. Join us in the pool of normal society, the water is fine.

4. How does government create jobs? It goes a little something like this.

Envia Systems, a battery maker based in California, announced on Monday what it called a “major breakthrough” in lithium-ion cell technology that would result in a significant increase in the energy density — and a sharp reduction in the cost — of lithium-ion battery packs. Envia is financed by the Energy Department and G.M. Ventures, the venture-capital arm of General Motors, as well as other investors.

Envia, which was founded in 2007 and has licensed some technology from Argonne National Laboratory, was awarded $4 million in late 2009 by the Energy Department’s ARPA-E program, which finances advanced energy research. As a founding principle, the program was designed “to develop lithium-ion batteries with the highest energy density in the world.”

With a little bit of seed money from the government, this company has created a technology that can be developed and sold to global manufacturers. They’ll seek further funding to scale production to meet demand and their suppliers and vendors will benefit as well. Also, because General Motors is involved, it gives them an advantage over foreign competition. Hooray, America.

5. Ezra Klein asks why we allow the political parties to determine what’s “left” and what’s “right”. And what it means for our nation.

Perhaps my biggest frustration with the U.S. news media (and yes, I am a card-carrying member) is that we permit the two parties to decide what is “left” and what is “right.” The way it works, roughly, is that anything Democrats support becomes “left,” and everything Republicans support becomes “right.” But that makes “left” and “right” descriptions of where the two parties stand at any given moment rather than descriptions of the philosophies, ideologies or ideas that animate, or should animate, political debates.

He goes on to point out a few examples.

Supporting a temporary, deficit-financed payroll-tax cut as a stimulus measure in 2009, as Republican Sen. John McCain and every one of his colleagues did, put you on the right. Supporting a temporary, deficit-financed payroll tax-cut in late 2011 put you on the left. Supporting it in early 2012 could have put you on either side.

Supporting an individual mandate as a way to solve the health-care system’s free-rider problem between 1991 and 2007 put you on the right. Doing so after 2010 put you on the left.

The problem is that most Americans are prone to the changing winds of politics and are left without a compass. This is where the press is supposed to come in and where the current “he said/she said” methodology of “fair and balanced” reporting kills us. As Jim Heaney wrote last week,

I always thought my job as a reporter was to figure it out – after all, I was the one with the time, training and resources – and provide readers “the best obtainable version of the truth.” This required me to do my homework, get things right and write with clarity – “telling it like it is,” in the words of Howard Cosell.

This is why I’m so glad Heaney is back on the job. More journalists should think like this, else we risk trafficking in stenography.

Fact Of The Day: 50% of the shares in Domino’s Pizza were once traded for a used Volkswagen Beetle. Those shares were later sold for $1,000,000,000.

Quote Of The Day: “The god excuse. The last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument.” – George Carlin

Video Of The Day: “Movie: The Movie” by Jimmy Kimmel

Cartoon Of The Day: Lovelorn Leghorn – Foghorn Leghorn

Song Of the Day: “Taste The Floor” – Jesus and Mary Chain

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com

AV Photo Daily: 2/27/12

27 Feb

Welcome To Hell

Welcome to Hell by July_01_2010

 

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Potential Failbug Infestation

27 Feb

Chuck Swanick left office about 8 years ago, and when he did, everyone was sick of his careerist political transactionalism.

And his sweaters.

Endorsing Chuck Swanick is like endorsing genital warts. No one likes it, and it’s really dirty.

So, it only takes about 8 years to attempt a political comeback, complete with support from one of the most detestable, transactional, valueless minor fusion party bosses – all because Republican Mark Grisanti had the audacity to vote his conscience on same-sex marriage. Why Swanick – aside from the fact that he’s a political rehash who evokes vivid memories of only the most recent financial county meltdown? 

“Chuck Swanick is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-Second Amendment and a fiscal conservative,” said Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo.

Peas in a pod of closed-minded hatred, sweatervests, pompadours, and failure.