Archive | April, 2014

When Kathy Told Rush She Was Going Galt

30 Apr

Courtesy of @KathyWeppner4NY, Here is the audio of Kathy Weppner’s (R-Galt’s Gulch) pledge to His Rushness that she and her husband are going to earn less before Obummer’s cadre’s take it all.

http://telly.com/embed.php?guid=1IH4DKR&autoplay=0

Is anyone going to follow up with her on this? Has Dr. Weppner, in fact, cut back his hours so as to protect his income from Barry’s commissars? Also, when can we expect to see her audio and text archives come back online? Is there something she’s hiding?

One Month

29 Apr

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The difference between March 31st and April 29th.

Revisiting the Tea Party Schism

29 Apr

There was once a listserv called “ReformNYS” that, for some time, was a collection of outrages and calls to action shared among the Ron Paul libertarian wing of the local tea party. It never really had many ideas about reforming New York State, and it’s managed to reform exactly nothing.

By contrast, the Palinist wing of the tea party has found multiple causes celebre about which to agitate, thanks in large part to the NY SAFE Act, which places restrictions on people’s ability to massacre, e.g., almost 2 dozen schoolchildren in a matter of seconds

Now? The Ron Paul wing’s listserv has devolved into this:

The author of that garbage (he posts something almost every day along these lines, always ending with a demand that the reader “wake up”, was a leader of the tea party movement back in 2009 – 2010. Chris Smith and I wrote extensively about Allen Coniglio’s weird obsessions and his sudden political activism that began around January 2009. With stuff like this:

Buffalo Tea Party organizer Allen Coniglio told me that Paladino is a “decent person” and that this story is a smear.

Coniglio made it clear that he and the Buffalo Tea Party denounced the content of the e-mails and “do not support any racist positions of any kind. ” This story, he said, was the kind of thing he’d come to expect from the media and liberal activists.”…

…People are different (ed. from the 18th and 19th century) because there are many more unproductive slackers due to big government, new slaveholder interventions and slave breeding programs. People of the type created by these programs would not have existed in any measurable quantity as there would have been little possibility of survival prior to the advent of the modern welfare state.

Slacking is now in the genes of the people who have been on welfare for 3 or 4 generations or more and these people are now, for all intents and purposes, societally worthless, ineducable and probably beyond redemption.

Yes, they are different because they have been bred to do nothing but slack and vote for Democrats by their slavemasters Jackson, Sharpton, Farrakhan, Reid, Kerry, Kennedy, the Clintons, etc..

Sounds eerily like what got cowboy hat welfare queen Cliven Bundy in trouble this past week.

Suffice it to say that one of the guys who was instrumental in bringing the Tea Party Express travel write-off to Buffalo is now circulating the crap reproduced above.

Cop Block WNY’s Debut

28 Apr

A police officer is empowered to use reasonable force to overcome resistance and effect a lawful arrest. Once a person is subdued and in custody, however, smacking, hitting, or kicking the suspect is straight up brutality. If you hit a handcuffed suspect who’s lying on the ground, you’re basically torturing him.

But why? They don’t appear to be asking him any questions. They’re not trying to get information – there’s no evidence he’s giving that the courts can suppress.  They appear merely to be battering him for the sake of it.

That is to say, there’s a fine line between using force lawfully to subdue a suspect who is resisting arrest, and sadism. So, I’d love to know what precipitated this.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind people that your smartphone’s shape is like a widescreen TV, but only when you hold it horizontally. If you take video in the vertical aspect, that video is going to suck.

 

In the News

27 Apr
Blue Sky Optimism

Blue Sky Optimism by ardvorak79

A few things worth reading in the Buffalo News:

Colin Dabkowski has quickly become a must-read every Sunday. His columns are direct, pithy, and insightful. This week, he weighs in on the city’s revival of its public arts program.

Although I’m not a huge fan of nostalgia, I think that Bruce Andriatch’s look back at his time at a defunct Olean-area restaurant and hotel is poignant and interesting.

The News’ endorsements for the upcoming school board election are notable for being exclusively Caucasian in a predominately African-American district. It would seem that there will be a lot of whitesplaining going on over the next year. But understand that when Paladino’s agenda is unsuccessful, he’s going to have to own that and he won’t have any “sisterhood” to blame anymore.

Buffalo’s own news historian guru, Steve Cichon, has begun curating the “BN Chronicles”, highlighting interesting stories from the News’ archives. Nestled between stories detailing America’s intervention in the Mexican Revolution, there’s this 1969 story about moving the Williamsville toll back past the Transit exit (never happened, we’re still arguing about it), a Buffalo Bill selling cars during the off-season, a story about fledgling gay rights in 1984, and a 1969 piece about “high speed rail”.

Sacred Heart Academy refused to print an alumna’s same-sex marriage announcement in its alumni periodical. The woman in charge of the magazine expressed that she was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“I’m very sorry that we can’t publish your pictures and your good news in the Cordecho,” Sister Edith Wyss wrote. “We had a similar request several years ago and we did publish that announcement of the marriage of an alum to her partner. We did expect some negative response and we got some.

“However some readers of the Cordecho also contacted the Diocese of Buffalo. The bishop sent a diocesan official to meet with us at SHA to make sure that we understood what we had done,” Wyss wrote. “In their view, we were publicly supporting same-sex marriage. In our view, we were supporting our alumnae.”

The bottom line, according to Wyss, was that the Cordecho – published three times a year in winter, spring and fall – could not again print news or photos related to same-sex marriage.

One person posted a comment on my Facebook wall, indicating that Nardin has no problem announcing alums’ same-sex marriages, so all of this is a bit odd. But then, read what Buffalo’s bishop has to say:

“I am grateful that the leadership of Sacred Heart Academy has done the right thing and has not compromised its Catholic mission and values. While Sacred Heart is not a diocesan school, it is a Catholic school within the diocese, and I have responsibility for Catholic identity there and in every Catholic school, diocesan or not.”

Yet Pope Francis famously said, “[i]f someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” While not a full-throated endorsement of same-sex marriage, it’s certainly more loving and tolerant than what Buffalo’s bishop has to say. 

Sacred Heart Academy reportedly has no problem cashing homosexual students’ and alumnae’s checks.

I’m Offended You’re Offended

25 Apr

It’s a jokey thing to do – “pardon the butter lamb”. Erie County Executive Poloncarz did that sometime during that week before Easter when Polish WNYers rediscover their old neighborhood.  This attempt at humor (you can’t really pardon a thing that doesn’t live) has outraged at least one person,

In what at first appeared to be a harmless political stunt, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz ventured over to the Broadway Market to pardon a butter lamb today. For some community leaders in touch with their Christian faiths, it wasn’t so harmless after all.

“It is clear that Mr. Poloncarz and his staff are blatantly ignorant to the significance of the butter lamb and its portrayal of Jesus as the Lamb of God. The title Lamb of God was given to Jesus by the Apostle John to clarify to the flock that in giving his life for mankind, he embodied the ultimate sacrifice,” said one Catholic political insider. “For Mark Poloncarz to think he has the ability and authority to pardon that sacrifice, eliminating it’s necessity – even if it was just a political stunt – is incredibly offensive. We are in the midst of the holiest week in the liturgical calendar, and there is just no room for such ignorance.”

The first reaction a reasonable person might have might be, “lighten up, Francis”.

The second reaction might be to pose a question. If the lump of butter molded into a lamb shape and sold in a box is such a holy portrayal of Jesus, why are we cutting it with a knife and eating it? Are we all Romans, symbolically sacrificing a dairy portrayal of the Messiah?

It was a joke – a marketing stunt.  It was an effort to promote Buffalo, the Broadway Market, our Easter traditions, Polish heritage, and the company that makes the butter lamb. Google it, and you’ll notice that the stunt worked – it was picked up as a “weird news” story on the AP wire, and  ABC, MSN, Fox, the Times of Malta,  and the Washington Post all ran the story.  Poloncarz didn’t just pardon any old lamb, but one manufactured by the Malczewski company, which gleefully promoted the Poloncarz pardon on its Facebook page.

How does the “Catholic insider” jibe his offense with Exodus 20:4 – 6?

Maybe don’t be so offended. He wasn’t really pardoning anything, and the butter lamb isn’t Jesus. 

Weppner Word Salad

25 Apr

Buffalo’s own Sarah Palin, Kathy Weppner, has updated her website with “issues”. To say that these items amount to incomprehensible word salad is a wild understatement. My favorite is how guns will protect from the evil of power outages.  I distinctly remember how, during the October Storm, my neighborhood devolved into a post-apocalyptic hell where roaming bands of zombies attacked homes, seeking rotten food and working powerstrips. I found that a Glock was the best substitute for a cellphone during that time.

Or maybe not. Maybe everything was just fine and, to date, I’ve managed to live my life without uttering the phrase, “gosh, I wish I had a gun with me in this particular situation”.

Seriously, these passages look like they were written by a 3rd grader whose parents listen to Rush Limbaugh in the car. The only things missing are flags, eagles, a Lee Greenwood soundtrack, and some patriotic emoji.

Weppner’s Policy Word Salad

//www.scribd.com/embeds/220244172/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

The Oligarchy of Complacency

24 Apr

We pat ourselves on our collective civic backs for our social, economic, and political “one step forward, two steps back” way of life. We – all of us – swallow and regurgitate a party line about the virtues of this region’s supposedly exceptional good neighborliness and unique qualities. That’s great.

What we have is a dearth of busy people doing busy things. I don’t mean work to exhaustion and ignore your family and friends type busy things, as depicted in that horrible Cadillac commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.  I mean that old-fashioned notion that if you work hard, you’ll earn decent money, and that your kids will be better off than you.

It’s tough here in Buffalo. This article from a recent ex-pat explains it pretty well, albeit anecdotally.

A Princeton scholar declared that the US is no longer a representative democracy, but a straight-up oligarchy. When the Supreme Court declares that there’s no more racial discrimination, that the wealthy and corporate interests can spend unlimited sums to influence elections and government under the pretext of money being “speech”, and when our broadcast “news” sources either broadcast inane shouting matches that resolve nothing, or else devolve into PLANEWATCH ’14, we keep ourselves complacent and ignorant.

I’ve spent the last couple of days attending the funeral of a great man who changed the country more times than the average American bothers to vote. He did it quietly, without seeking the spotlight, but he maintained a basic integrity – are you doing something because you want to, or because it’s convenient?

Buffalo isn’t really much of an oligarchy. It’s just a mess. Sure, it matters if you’re well-connected and you belong to the right club and you flit around in the right circles – it’s how Larry Quinn can raise $34k overnight to run for a thankless position with a feckless Board of Education so he can align himself with his friend – a malevolent right-wing lunatic. We need more worker-drones to make collection calls, do sales at Geico, and otherwise to support a cyclical low-rent service economy. Add in a dash of parochialism and tablespoons of resentment politics, and now you’re cooking up a Rust Belt stew of mediocrity and low expectations.

You do have your bread and circuses going for you, which is nice.

The area sort of needs a revolution, but both Occupy and the Tea Party have it wrong. We don’t need everyone to carry a gun, nor do we need someone to nationalize the means of production. The startup movement in Buffalo has it right – we need people to create things and ideas. Most will fail, but the few that succeed can lay the groundwork for a brighter civic, socio-economic future that isn’t mired in back-handed nostalgia or stasis. We need a revolution of higher expectations and achievement; a revolution where Donald Trump and Carl Paladino are seen for the malignant thugs they are, and not as deep-pocketed, straight-talking heroes who are going to put those poor in their place. We need a revolution where three or four tower cranes aren’t a point of discussion, and where we create a new batch of good old days for which future generations can someday feel nostalgic.

A Farewell to Mr. Burke

21 Apr

The timing was somewhat tragically apropos.

On Saturday, my best friend from middle school and college called to tell us that his dad had died. When we got the call, we had just reached the 6th floor of the Newseum in Washington. My friend’s dad had been, at one time, the Vice President of ABC News and the President of CBS News. My love for politics and journalism is due, in large part, to David Burke. He led an incredible life and welcomed some sarcastic, obnoxious fat little Republican Croat into his home as if he was a member of the family. 

Mr. Burke was brilliant and inspiring. He attended Tufts University, and later received an MBA from the University of Chicago. He came from a blue collar background, and had a great passion for labor issues. He worked with later Secretary of State and of Labor, George Schultz, to produce “The Public Interest in a National Labor Policy” for the Committee for Economic Development. This report laid the foundation for national labor relations policy. His work on these matters led to Mr. Burke being named to President John Kennedy’s Labor Advisory Council in 1960. 

He led a life that could fill volumes of memoirs. After working for the White House, Mr. Burke became Chief of Staff to Senator Edward Kennedy.  Interviews that Mr. Burke gave in the 1970s about his time working with President Kennedy and with Robert F. Kennedy are available here and here

He spent time at the Dreyfus Corporation in New York before becoming Chief of Staff to Governor Hugh Carey, and was instrumental in saving New York City from an imminent bankruptcy in the late 70s. In the 90s, President Clinton appointed Mr. Burke to be the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, overseeing the Voice of America, and he was named to the New York Daily News’ Board of Directors during the paper’s bankruptcy, and helped save it. 

The Broadcasting Board of Governors gives an award in journalism in Mr. Burke’s honor every year, and Tufts’ Tisch School has a Media and Public Service internship named after him. 

Mr. Burke helped to spark my interest in news and journalism. My friend, Terence’s birthday party in December 1980 involved us kids sitting silently on the floor next to Sam Donaldson doing the nightly news – the top story was John Lennon’s murder a week earlier. I was staying with the Burkes on the Cape when ABC correspondent Charlie Glass was about to be released from captivity in Lebanon. Mr. Burke arranged for me to meet with the executive producer of World News Tonight when I was considering a career in broadcast journalism. He was a big believer in the importance and power of journalism in a free society. When CBS started to cheap out on its news division, he left. When Senator Kennedy faced a tough re-election campaign in the mid-90s against some Romney fella, he arranged for me to meet the Senator, and I watched a barn-burner of a speech in a Waltham IBEW hall. 

Mr. Burke was most recently a member of the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library, where he was also a member of the Profiles in Courage Award committee. 

Mr. Burke led a life that was intimately intertwined with his roots and the turbulent times.  He was talented and fortunate enough to have intimate involvement with the political and social upheaval of the 60s, the economic stagnation of the 70s, the international turmoil of the 80s, and was an elder statesman by the 90s. He was the behind-the-scenes negotiator, leader, and fixer.

My family and I send all our love to the Burkes as they say good-bye to this giant of a man.

WBEN: Fascism Advocacy

13 Apr

Over the next week, consider for a moment that the radio station that brings you the traffic and weather together in the morning, along with a roster of commentators whose extremism builds as the day rolls along. 

But in the last few months or so, the station’s operations director, Tim Wenger, has developed for himself something of a largely off-air personality. In some ways, it’s even more malignant than that of his top talkers. He conducts himself like the most deluded and hateful trolls on the WBEN Facebook page. 

Consider Wenger’s completely unprofessional and false attempt to shame WEDG’s Josh Potter, and this series of horrible, reactionary pronouncements from Wenger’s own Twitter account, as well as the control he obviously enjoys over the WBEN Twitter and Facebook accounts at various parts of the day.  

Whatever personality Wenger is trying to manufacture for himself, it’s horrible and repugnant. 

It culminated in these two Tweets from him, one of which was, of course, simultaneously posted to the WBEN Facebook page. 

No, actually, I’ve never felt like “throwing a shoe” at any American political figure. Mostly because I’m not a violent moron, but also because I feel secure enough in the political system and in debate and discussion that “throwing a shoe” or otherwise committing an assault and battery doesn’t enter into it.  Remember when an Iraqi reporter threw a shoe at President Bush? Did Wenger think that was acceptable? Reasonable? Rational?

I didn’t think it was persuasive or appropriate. People enter politics, and they should expect to be vetted, scrutinized, and questioned. They should not expect to dodge physical assault. They do not deserve battery – no matter how much you disagree with them. For everyone who thinks Hillary Clinton deserves to be hit by a shoe because of Benghazi, I can probably find you two who think that Bush should be behind bars for war crimes. 

So, there’s nothing at all funny or appropriate about someone throwing a shoe at George Bush or at Hillary Clinton. Anyone who thinks differently is no different from a fascist blackshirt, trying to do with violence what they can’t do with words. It is beyond un-American. 

 

The video Wenger loves shows a small handful of protesters minding their own damn business. They had in no way attacked, provoked, or otherwise antagonized the two servicemen who attacked them. You can see in the last few frames, one protester with his hands to his side – he’s asking to reason with them.

In response, they curse at him – this from Tim Wenger, who just can’t tolerate the profane blogs. It’s ok to say “fuck” if you’re a Marine intimidating, assaulting, battering, and robbing a couple of guys on a moped. 

That protest, by the way, took place in Albuquerque.  The people on the moped were protesting an epidemic of police brutality in that city, culminating in the homicide of an unarmed homeless man. The people on the moped were exercising their right to free speech, protesting police shootings. Their use of an upside-down flag wasn’t an act of disrespect – the upside-down flag is a distress signal, used in many protests as political speech indicating that the republic is in danger. Go look at the title card for “House of Cards”.  Should belligerent and ignorant young men throw shoes, perhaps, at TVs displaying it? 

There is nothing to love about what that Marine does to the protester, whether he’s an “ass” or not. (More profanity! Shock! Horror!). Engaging in street fights with political opponents is what the blackshirts and brownshirts did in the 20s and 30s. That is the only context within which this assault and robbery of a flag can be viewed. The only lens through which we can see this as acceptable or lovable behavior is the lens of fascism. 

 

So, understand that Buffalo: the guy who runs operations for the Entercom corporation locally is a proponent of violent, fascist behavior. He is an outspoken, unabashed fan of violence and intimidation for political ends. To say this is un-American is a dramatic understatement. But even more insidious is that – whether he holds these views sincerely or not – he is encouraging that sort of behavior from the malinformed people listening to WBEN who think Michael Savage is too liberal. 

Tim Wenger and WBEN are encouraging violence against people who hold different political views from them. I don’t know why this is not a big deal. 

If this was happening in the 1930s, this newsreel would be appropriate: