Archive | May, 2014

Kathy Weppner’s Clownshoes : Now With Guns and Corn!

30 May

As we learned yesterday, Kathy Weppner’s online campaigning is as haphazard as it is opaque. Not content with scrubbing all evidence of her radio show and pre-2014 online existence from the internet, Weppner posted – and removed – her rootin’, tootin’, shootin’ 2nd Amendment video from her husband’s YouTube account – all within the span of about 16 hours. (Her YouTube accounts are here, here, and here.) 

She also now boasts two separate Twitter accounts – @kweppner and @weppner4ny26. She recently added the latter, in a likely move to try to counteract the blistering parody account of @kathyweppnerny26. Both of Weppner’s Twitter accounts have blocked me because “Str8 Talk”. 

It’s just getting to that tipping point where funny turns into crazy. This campaign is unlike any other I’ve seen since moving to western New York 13 years ago, and that includes Paul Fallon announcing his congressional run in the nude.

Weppner isn’t joking. She’s serious, and that’s what makes it so bizarre. 

To underscore the completely unprofessional embarrassment that the Weppner campaign has become, consider that the Tweets reproduced below remained online at least 6 hours after she scrubbed the video itself, and as of Friday morning, the @weppner4ny26 Tweets were still touting a non-existent YouTube link. 

This is “Common Core Kathy“, so concerned about how the evil gubmint and how the N0bummer goons are ruining not only America, but childhood itself. “Amendmet“. 

 

I don’t think the 2nd Amendment covers the country’s right to bear arms, but the people’s” right to bear arms – and that’s precisely the sort of distinction people like Kathy would make if a dirty librul made that same error. People like Kathy also now conveniently pretend that the “well-regulated militia” piece is just a throwaway, and make-believe that the 2nd Amendment was set up to let people overthrow the duly constituted representative democratic republic, rather than to protect it. 

She Tweets it again: 

Wait for it…

The video itself, posted to YouTube within hours of a madman taking his guns out for a spree, was absolute artistry. As with all of Weppner’s YouTube offerings, the lighting was horrible, the sound echoed, and the read was wooden – as if someone had told her to take it slowly because she usually comes across as unhinged. The emotionless stuffing of the pistol in her pants then led to painfully awkward camera angle changes. Many of you likened it to an SNL skit. 

Weppner only appears in front of friendly audiences. She can’t take the heat on Twitter, she can’t take the heat on Facebook, and so far she hasn’t been seen anywhere except on YouTube (when not immediately scrubbed), and in front of Republican audiences – Republican audiences that, if serious, should be completely embarrassed by her. 

They tolerate it, though, because she is the right’s unfiltered id. The Republicans know they have no shot against Higgins whatsoever, so they let Weppner run a self-funded hobby campaign on her own. What she does is placate the Palinist tea party wing of the party and gives them something to do this summer. 

At least they’re taking an interest in the environment, since Kathy has made the Lake Erie algae blooms a campaign issue. Never mind that the blooms are due to phosphorous fertilizer runoff, septic tank leaks, dog feces, and storm drains. The phosphorus comes into Lake Erie almost exclusively from Ohio’s Maumee River. The solution is for Ohio to urge its farmers to switch to a different fertilizer, or to more carefully apply existing ones. But somehow, Weppner blames Brian Higgins because corn is used to make ethanol, which is added to most gasoline blends. What Weppner ignores is the fact that just about every report also blames weather patterns and overall climate change for the algal blooms

Researchers are now closing in on what caused the spike in dissolved phosphorous. “What we found is that it is a combination of agricultural practices that have been put in place since the late 1980s and into the 2000s, combined with increased storms, particularly higher intensity spring rain events,” Don Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan, told Circle of Blue. Scavia is the principal investigator of the EcoFore Lake Erie project.

According to models used in the EcoFore project, climate changes alone would not be enough to create the observed rise in dissolved reactive phosphorous. Instead, the models showed that current weather patterns, when coupled with agricultural conditions in the 1970s, did not create a problem.

“We reversed the order of the years in the model and we did not get a big influx of DRP,” Scavia said. “So it’s not the storms alone, but rather a combination of storms and new agricultural practices. At least, that’s what the model shows.”

Changes in agricultural practices include:
• A shift toward more fall fertilizer applications instead of spring applications.
• The use of broadcast fertilizer applications that do not incorporate fertilizer into the soil.
• An increase in no-till field management that leads to a build-up of phosphorus in the top layers of soil.

I think someone told Weppner that the waterfront is Higgins’ strongest issue, and that she should try to attack that first. But the “report” she posts can only be described as an unreadable piece of nonsense that seems more at home in an online bulletin board than a campaign website. For his part, Congressman Higgins has been working to protect Lake Erie as far back as the time when Weppner’s radio show archive was still online. More here and here and here and here

I’m somewhat at a loss to explain how a Congressman from New York is responsible for corn growing in Ohio for ethanol, but I’m sure Kathy will post a video about it and then promptly scrub it!

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2nd Amendment and Kathy Weppner

29 May

According to the silly lady, the founders of our country supposedly included the 2nd Amendment so that our servicemen and women could keep their arms and use them to commit treason and insurrection. 

I’m pretty sure the intended purpose of the 2nd Amendment was the exact opposite of that. But here’s a chillingly awful video that Tea Party Kathy released on her husband’s YouTube account. My favorite is when she stuffs the pistol in her pants. 

UPDATE: As you can see, Weppner removed this video. I looked at her other accounts – Friends of Kathy Weppner and Weppner for Congress, and it doesn’t appear there, either. Most of her videos appear on an account labeled “Dr. Weppner”

Weppner has already made herself famous by scrubbing just about any trace of her pre-2014 existence from the internet. Now, the scrubbing takes place in real time. 

Tim Kennedy’s Just Desserts

29 May

Tim Kennedy sold out his principles, his party, and his constituents when, in 2010, he executed a Steve Pigeon-brokered deal to align the majority Democratic county legislature with Republican County Executive Chris Collins. The figurehead leader of that coup was Barbara Miller-Williams, who has since returned to the legislature, and Kennedy was happy to let her take the brunt of criticism at the time. 

Through his actions, Kennedy handed a de facto legislature majority to the Republicans and to Collins, leading to devastating harm to the most vulnerable members of our society and a wide variety of policy decisions that were penny wise but pound foolish. The “reform coalition” reformed absolutely nothing, and merely served as a springboard for Kennedy to run for the state Senate against a guy who had been there forever and was just as toxic. 

When Kennedy last ran for re-election to the senate, County Legislator Betty Jean Grant – who had been among the most vocal and fearless critics of the “reform coalition” coup – launched what seemed a quixotic write-in campaign against him. In the end, she lost by only 139 votes, according to the Board of Elections. (Grant maintains that she won). 

Last cycle, Kennedy donated $85,000 in campaign funds to the Pigeon-Mazurek “AwfulPAC” or “WNY Progressive Caucus” (which was hardly “progressive”, and is now defunct). His obvious purpose was to punish Grant, and although she won re-election, Miller-Williams defeated Grant ally Tim Hogues. 

We now come full circle, as Kennedy flips and flops on abortion, and Grant’s effort against Kennedy becomes more organized. 

Last night, the county Democratic committee endorsed Grant over Kennedy. And of course it did – why reward someone who has worked tirelessly against the committee and its candidates with an endorsement? But as you read the press release shown below, note that county chair Jeremy Zellner’s last paragraph is Kennedy getting cockpunched. 

The Erie County Democratic Committee’s Executive Committee today overwhelmingly endorsed Legislator Betty Jean Grant for New York State Senate, District 63. 

The Executive Committee, which includes leaders from each town in the county and the City of Buffalo, credited Grant with her long history of standing up to powerful interest groups on behalf of the average citizen.  “Betty Jean Grant has shown unwavering support for the Democratic Party’s platform and philosophy,” said Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner.  “There is no second guessing when it comes to her commitment on jobs, education, health care and social issues.  Legislator Grant has always consistently supported the issues that are the bedrock of the Democratic Party.”

Grant’s support on the committee extended far beyond her base in the City of Buffalo, “I am proud to note that I received endorsements and nominations from suburban towns and among leaders in the pro-choice community.  I look forward to campaigning throughout the district and talking with voters from all backgrounds and points of view. I vow to work closely with Governor Cuomo to continue the momentum that Western New York has achieved.”

Zellner dismissed criticism that the endorsement amounted to insider support from party bosses. “Our Executive Committee is designed to represent a cross section of our community. In addition to representatives from each town and city in the county, we have seats for labor, education, the private sector as well as the LGBT community and African American and Hispanic leaders.  Legislator Grant’s support comes from the grassroots up. The public has grown cynical of politicians who trot out substance free, feel-good initiatives at home, while running back to Albany to surround themselves with the worst elements of our political system.

This will absolutely be a race to watch. 

 

Kathy Weppner: Solving All the Problems

28 May

Below is a speech that was given by an ostensibly serious candidate for Congress. She jolts between a plethora of issues, and puffs herself as having a “really good reputation” and that she’s “reading everything”. Her selling point is that Buffalo needs a “loud” and “strong” voice in Washington. 

She also hits Congressman Higgins for not being in Buffalo enough. (What?!) 

Brian Higgins’ power is not here in Buffalo. He should be here listening to us; no town hall meetings on any issues, he doesn’t want to hear from us. And then he goes there and comes back as fast as possible, and then doesn’t listen to us at all. He should be staying in Washington and getting things done for us. That’s where his power is. And that is what I’ll do. 

I quite literally don’t get the logic. She complains that Higgins isn’t here enough, and in literally the next sentence complains that he should stay in Washington. 

Of course, Higgins holds “Congress on your Corner” events all the time, and has a district office and even a phone number and email address for anyone who wants to voice their opinion

Maybe he’s not listening to shrill tea party types because their ideas are shit. 

Check out this read, as Kathy Weppner records a campaign message, but posts it to her husband’s YouTube account, and omits the federally mandated campaign disclaimer. Watch as she starts out by honoring our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, but then uses their sacrifice for electioneering purposes. 

 That’s ok, I guess. 

On Memorial Day, she was literally campaigning on the graves of the fallen. 

Place the Stadium on the Peace Bridge

27 May

The Bills – I’m not a football fan and pay only casual attention to the team’s fortunes. The effort that’s now underway to find them a new location for a new stadium affects the whole community, fans or no. You can use this handy tool from 19 Ideas to place the stadium wherever you want

Chances are they’re not going to change the location, but they might do what Foxboro did and build a new stadium next to the old one. 

I predict that this will devolve into a typically Buffalonian mess. Despite the best efforts of the Governor and the consultants and counsel from places where things are occasionally accomplished, Buffalo will buffalo the “new”.  There will not be an alternative location. There will not be a new stadium without the state and municipalities spending big money on a home for a business that takes in $256 million in annual revenue and is valued at $870 million

Ours is a community with a lot of longstanding socioeconomic crises, crumbling infrastructure, and a glut of things that we still operate as if it was our 1950s heyday.

Consider that the Peace Bridge expansion project was first proposed in 1997 – 17 years ago. Now, we have an activist group advocating for the de facto removal of the 1927 bridge. It was 2009 when the Public Bridge Authority publicized its five alternatives for a signature companion span. 

But, maybe this time we’ll get out of our own way, right? 

 

All in the (Howard) Family

24 May

Sheriff Tim Howard has hired his wife to be on “Scientific Staff Reserve”. I have feelers out to see what background she has in law enforcement, and whether Howard created the position for her, or if she filled an existing one. 

Via Facebook


Via Facebook

 

County Leg: Making it Rain

23 May

The County Legislature bipartisanly took the bold step of literally just wildly throwing money – $5 million of it – at the beleaguered road network. Surely our roads are in need of repair, thanks to a brutal and relentless winter, but is it too much to ask Republican legislators to actually set up a plan, or maybe name some priorities, before they shame everyone to spend money so prospective opponents can’t label them as anti-road? 

Seriously. This kind of spending is typically what Republicans criticize Democrats for.  But it’s ok if it’s roads, because almost all county roads are in the suburban districts. 

We need to review the county road network, which grew without control under the old Board of Supervisors, and determine what roads should be maintained by the regional government, and which should revert to local control. 

Buffalo Flyover

23 May

A very cool video by local filmmaker Scott Gable

Also DRONES!1!

Buffalo Flyover Reel from scott gable on Vimeo.

Kathy Weppner’s Common Core Piece

23 May

Maybe we need Common Core, y’know? Perhaps this blog post by silly radio lady Kathy Weppner is the best argument yet for stronger national ELA standards. Because seriously, reading this vomit of all-caps, conspiracy theories, re-hashed Facebook memes, and lies will make your head spin. 

Correcting Weppner

//www.scribd.com/embeds/225689567/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=true

Unhinged Lies, Debunked

22 May

They were sore winners last year, and they’re sore losers this year. I suppose I prefer the latter, but let’s examine facts vs. fantasy. 

– 3,531 people voted in the Clarence school election Tuesday. This was the third-largest turnout in Clarence history. If you eliminate last year’s aberrant budget fiasco, it was the largest turnout in Clarence history

– The school budget – largely unopposed – won by a whopping 77% margin. It was the highest margin since 1995

– The three top vote-getters for school board each received approximately 2,500 votes. The demolition crew urged people to plunk – to vote only for – Mr. Worling. He received about 1,000 votes. Anyone who suggests that turnout was “low” or “sleepy” is delusional; the usual turnout is historically closer to Mr. Worling’s entire vote count

As I described at some length here, the taxpayers – parents, students, and seniors – who came out to support our schools worked very hard on a shoestring budget to out-work the opposition. The demolition crew’s butthurt, however, is strong today

Regard: 

How many bullshits? So many bullshits

May 20th came and went – and most taxpayers didn’t even notice.

Bullshit.

As I pointed out above, third-highest turnout in history. In 2012, the total turnout was 1,664. In 2011, it was 2,019. In 2010, 1,664. In 2009, 1,087.  Average turnout in Clarence school elections peaked at 2,881 in 2005, but is historically around 1,500 in a typical year.

In 2014, turnout was more than double what we get in a typical year. Taxpayers noticed – they just happened to notice that the corporate-funded anti-school destruction crew doesn’t have the best interests of the schools, the citizens, or the town at heart.

And that buzzword – taxpayers. Am I not a taxpayer? Is there some suggestion here that the 2,500-or-so people who voted in favor of the schools are not as much taxpayers as the 1,000 school-destroyers?  Who are these people who self-identify as only one thing – a taxpayer

They use the monicker “taxpayer” to shield themselves from the fact that they seek nothing less than a wholesale destruction of the public school system in town. They pretend to be on the side of schools, but after they broke the schools last year, this particular woman didn’t bother to help fund restoration of programs. She’s on the side of her own self-interest; community be damned. Don’t buy the charade. 

This year’s School Board election hinge on voter turnout. With a more reasonable budget on the ballot, anti-taxpayer groups flew under the radar. This year’s school board vote once again became a sleepy event populated by school insiders.

Bullshit.

Interesting Freudian slip there – “school insiders”.  I’m not a “school insider” unless, of course, I’m inside a school. I have kids in school, so technically that makes them “insiders”.

The author of this malignant screed is no longer an insider, but she was a few short years ago.  You see, her kids went through the Clarence schools, free from any threats from any right wing hate mob looking to do palpable harm to their educations. But now that her kids are out of the system, it’s ripe for destruction. She got hers, now fuck everyone else. It’s the new American way.

Let me add this horrible anecdote from a correspondent: 

You better believe they’re coming after the teachers. [Tuesday] night, Ginger Lahti (wife of board member Jason and sister of board member Roger Showalter) confronted my son, a junior, in the CHS parking lot. He was holding ASK signs and chanting “quality teachers and quality education for our students.”

She said to him, “You’re not doing this for the students; you’re doing this for your teachers so they can make more money. Your teachers brainwashed you.” Later, she pointed to Mr. Worling and said to [my son], “He’s not your enemy – the teachers’ union is your enemy.”

[My son] was really upset about it, because he loves his teachers and oh yeah – his father is a teacher! Ginger certainly chose the wrong kid to confront! And last year, [Jim] Murphy confronted [my son] during the voting day demonstrations. He also told [my son] he’d been “brainwashed” and that he’d “be better off being homeschooled.” These people have ZERO respect for teachers!! In fact, they have straight-up contempt. It’s disgusting.

Bullying schoolkids? Accusing them of being brainwashed, whilst simultaneously trying to brainwash them? Nice crowd of people, who can’t pick on someone their own size. 

That Murphy guy. He’s a trip. One of our volunteers went to where the anti-school crowd was bribing seniors with pancakes to get them to help destroy the schools (it didn’t work – hardly anyone showed up.) She’s a young mother, and had her infant with her while volunteering. As she was leaving,

… it was to Jim Murphy shouting at me… “You need your baby to protect you”.. That came out of nowhere because everyone was very pleasant to us while we were there.

Just awful people. Protect her from what, precisely? That’s a straight-up threat. Murphy used to be on the town’s Democratic committee. Some Democrat – working to destroy public education, a tool of the town’s big developer, bullying kids, threatening mothers. Glad we’ve sanitized the committee of such despicable malcontents.

Anyhow, Tuesday’s “sleepy event” was (if you take away 2013) the largest turnout in history.  

And we’re “anti-taxpayer” now? I am a taxpayer. In fact, the author of the anti-school post paid $2,400 in school taxes last year. I paid $4,300. Is that taxpayer-y enough for you? I’m also a citizen of a society – a society that guarantees kids a quality education from K-12. 

As a sign of just how brazen they were, taxpayers were openly disrespected at Meet the Candidates night when ALL THREE ANTI-TAXPAYER CANDIDATES FOR SCHOOL BOARD  PLEDGED SUPPORT FOR EACH OTHER – AND FOR LAST YEAR’S FAILED 9.8% BUDGET INCREASE.

Bullshit.

Maybe you felt disrespected, but taxpayers weren’t disrespected, and neither were you.  (Actually, it was a wholly cordial event and no one disrespected anyone, except in someone’s Randian fever dreams.)  At the Meet the Candidates forum, the ASK slate of candidates didn’t express “support for each other” at any time. That is a blatant lie. They did, however, indicate that they would have rather eaten the 9.8% increase and maintained programs, social workers, librarians, classes, clubs, teachers, and electives, rather than lost it all.   (Here is a compendium on my 2013 series on the budget mess.) 

It’s called getting a good return on a comparatively low investment. We have a cost-effective, fiscally responsible school district that maintains excellent results for minimum taxpayer exposure

You can’t make this stuff up. And this inexplicably blatant anti-taxpayer action paid off as the three all coasted to victory amid slack voter turnout.

Bullshit

High voter turnout. And they coasted with historically high voter turnout. It’s just that we turned our people out and yours stayed home. Maybe they were fatigued by your hateful, false propaganda. 

I was petrified Tuesday night as they called the results. I didn’t know they did it in ballot order, so when they said Worling’s name second, my heart dropped. Nothing was a sure bet, and I never once underestimated the financial wherewithal or bitter hatred that our opponents harbored for us and our cause. This wild rant merely confirms it. 

Our cause wasn’t spendthrift communism, but the maintenance of excellent and cost-effective schools. 

Clarence is the #3 district in WNY. It is also the third most cost-efficient district in WNY. It is fifth lowest in per pupil spending in WNY. You get the biggest bang for your school tax buck in Clarence. 

Our voters, frankly, came out because they’ve had it with the demolition crew’s propaganda and lies. 

The gambit should have served as a warning that the anti-taxpayer groups have concluded that the sleeping giant that awoke last May to strike down the 9.8% increase has returned to its slumber.

Instead, the move mobilized their base, and the three enjoyed the support of same 2500 votes that have traditionally been available for union-backed candidates in a Clarence School Board race.

Bullshit.

“Anti-taxpayer” again. I don’t quite follow the logic in the two preceding paragraphs, but it is a lie to suggest that 2,500 people typically turn out to vote for a certain bloc of candidates; “union-backed” or not. (You’re starting to see, I gather, their real bone of contention – that teachers are remunerated for their labor.)

Historically – at least in the past decade, and when you omit 2013 – about 1,000 people show up to vote in favor of the budget and for the highest vote-getters for school board. When you lie to people, you’re insulting everyone’s intelligence. The data aren’t that difficult to obtain, and lies are easy to debunk.  

It’s easy to understand why.

Last year’s failed budget brought record numbers to the polls, and the resulting tide went against the union types. This year, there was no such galvanizing issue. Taxpayers were too busy with everyday life to waste time when the budget wasn’t being contested.

Bullshit. 

No, you were just wasting our time by opposing a reasonable proposition to, y’know, keep our kids safe. Bus breakdowns don’t affect your family, but they affect thousands of others. It doesn’t matter – you got yours, right? You were wasting our time by pimping out some guy who can’t even be bothered to send his kids to the district. No one was energized by Worling and his half-assed non-answers to reasonable questions about a district with which he has no contact whatsoever.

How about I ask to become a member of the board of Central Christian Academy and tell them how to run their business, even though I don’t even know where it’s located?  

Such a lackadaisical electorate was no match for 2,500 school insiders who show up reliably each year to protect their families’ meal tickets.

Bullshit.

Meal tickets? What brand of insanity is this?  There’s not one single person in my group who is connected to the school district in any way beyond sending kids to it. We’re fighting for our kids’ education – not some fantastical “meal ticket”. If you ever needed to know how much contempt this particular person has for the schools, the teachers, the students, and parents – there’s your answer. 

It’s hard to blame them. This is the system we’ve chosen. It’s up to us to put up – or show up.

There’s always next year.

We see your contempt for the taxpayers who treasure our schools and our kids’ educations. We see your lies and how you’re trying to manipulate the facts. We know that you have nothing but malice for the kids and their teachers; for the parents, board, and administration – (even though you don’t bother to show up to board meetings.) 

Honestly, I don’t think New York is right for you. If you’re looking for low taxes and really shitty social services, I’d recommend Mississippi or maybe Florida.