Tag Archives: 2010

A #Paladino Question

21 Sep

It occurred to me last night that this video represents pretty much the one and only time Carl has been caught off-guard with no pugilistic talking points and nothing coherent to say in response to tough questioning.  Why is that?

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Excelsior.

4 Aug

The state legislature passed the budget last night. It was 125 days late – the second-latest-ever – and it lurches towards bridging a $9 billion shortfall by raising taxes and fees. Most notably for already recession-weary New Yorkers will be the abolition of the state sales tax exemption on clothing costing less than $110. You can do your clothes shopping in Pennsylvania, again.

Spending, naturally, will increase overall by 2.4%.

There was no debate on the floor of the State Senate.

There will be a billion dollars’ worth of savings through across-the-board spending cuts, and a measure was passed that would have long ago adversely affected Dale Volker. From now on, convicts serving time upstate will no longer be counted as part of the local upstate population. Instead, they will be counted as residents of the communities they lived in when arrested. Had this been in place previously, Volker’s district may have been abolished altogether, and this will have serious implications when districts are redrawn.

The SUNY autonomy plan was withdrawn, and UB 2020 holdout Bill Stachowski didn’t get his way, as usual. Although he relented on this issue, he claims that a “framework” or “outline” of some future agreement on SUNY was reached, but ideas aren’t bills, and bills aren’t law. The Assembly’s budget bill omitted SUNY, and the Assembly had left town, so the Senate never took up the issue in its final vote.

In the end, the “tough choices” that were made in Albany consist of panicky hole-filling. The interests of downstate and upstate New York have never diverged more, and never before has the downstate legislative leadership more starkly disregarded upstate’s needs. The reforms that are done are too infinitesimal to be granted the monicker “gradual”, and fundamental solutions to longstanding chronic problems with state governance are ignored.

New Yorkers – already taxed higher than most Americans – will be taxed even more now, and an already unattractive state for people and business will become even uglier. While downstate hits the occasional economic speedbump, upstate has been in an ever-widening sinkhole for two generations, and the current governmental structure ensures our perpetual influence-free status.

Excelsior.

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.

Lexus GX460

14 Apr

I agree with Consumer Reports that you shouldn’t buy the Lexus GX460 SUV, which is a swankier version of Toyota’s 4Runner. But I think you shouldn’t buy it because it’s a stupid poseur truck. It serves no purpose whatsoever except to show off to the neighbors.

It may have failed a Consumer Reports emergency avoidance test, but it long ago failed the WNYMedia douchebag avoidance test.

For the money – $52,000 – you can get a beautiful luxury sedan that won’t tip over during emergency maneuvers due to its lower center of gravity, and most come with AWD nowadays. Try the BMW 5-series, a loaded 3-series, an Audi A6, Infiniti M35, or even the Lexus GS350. If you’re buying domestic, try the Cadillac STS or DTS, or a loaded CTS. I’m also quite impressed by the brand-new Buick 2010 Lacrosse, which I think has the nicest exterior and interior of any American car right now, and comes damn close to competing with the Germans and Japanese.

You’re welcome.

PolitiFAIL Championship: Dale Volker vs. WNY Voters

1 Apr

State Senator Dale Volker

Dale Volker is so detestable that his own party chairman is considering a run against him – something unthinkable in local Republican politics.

Dale Volker is so detestable that there are a solid three (3) Republicans altogether running against him right now. David DiPietro, Lenny Roberto, and potentially Jim Domagalski.

Dale Volker is such a hypocrite that he and his staff cost the taxpayers over $1 million per year to basically do nothing except redistribute tax money.

Dale Volker is such a horrible human being that he and his surrogates bully, smear, and threaten people who politically oppose him or dare to run against him.

Dale Volker, were he a cop for the past 40 years, would have been a dirty one.

Dale Volker thinks you’re a dick.

Dale Volker has been in Albany for 40 years and has absolutely nothing to show for it, except for a reputation as an asshole and a big fat public pension.

Dale Volker hates “downstate people” (read: Jews, blacks, hispanics, other non-Germanic ethnics).

Dale Volker pretends to tolerate kids in his presence.

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Dale Volker pretends to be personable and approachable.

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Dale Volker meets with constituents at picnics and says words that do not correlate in any way to what the constituent is saying. The word is “doddering”.

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Dale Volker blames all of his problems on a noun beginning with the adjective “downstate”.

Dale Volker is tight with the unions.

Dale Volker supports the anachronistic and unnecessarily harsh Rockefeller drug laws, because his political career is thoroughly dependent on inmates, who count as “constituents”, even though they’re mostly from downstate, and cannot vote.

Dale Volker, to put it another way, owes his political career to the disenfranchised.

Dale Volker is from WNY, but wears a bolo tie.

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Dale Volker purports to represent his ridiculously gerrymandered district by railing against taxes and fees, yet he was very very recently a senior member of the Senate majority.

He’s nothing but a lot of talk and an expired badge. If there is any politician locally who deserves to be ejected from office and sent to live out his days in a bungalow near Siesta Key, chomping on a bland early bird dinner at 4:30 at some half-assed diner, berating the help, yelling at random minorities, and driving his tan Buick very slowly in the left lane, it is this septuagenarian, do-nothing malignant toad.

WNY Voters

Who aspires to mediocrity? Who strives for adequacy? Who rails against Albany, yet helps maintain a 95% incumbency success rate for the state legislature? Who listens to semi-literate, uninformed nonsense on AM radio and believes it to be true? Who re-elects dummies over and over? Who complains about party politics and party machines, yet refuses to get involved in local or countywide committees? Who bitches about the status quo, yet maintains a sub-50% turnout rate? Who has an intimate knowledge about, e.g., American Idol, but can’t identify their Assemblyman or Senator?

WNY has been in decline for 50 years. What we have managed is to identify the problems. What we have failed to do is adequately address them, or elect people who might do so. We don’t even have the wherewithal to look to nearby cities and regions so we can mimic what they’re doing.

40 years of failure? Or are we our own worst enemy?

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PolitiFAIL Final Four, Byron Brown vs. Dale Volker

31 Mar

Byron Brown’s failure stems from his promise.

In 2005, so many people had so much hope that this young, energetic, bright son of Montserratian immigrants could yank this city out of years and years of status quo cronyism.  He would implement new technology to help track city work and ensure that it was done more efficiently, saving money.  He would employ the best and brightest.  A new mayor for a new Buffalo.

Astonishingly, unnecessarily, his first term was marred by mediocrity, pettiness, and inaction.  Yes, good things have happened in town, but many of them thanks to the state or federal government.  Everyone wants to like the Mayor, and everyone really roots for him to succeed – to rise above the political power plays he engages in with his enemies, real and perceived.

Time after time, he and his cronies disappoint us.  Time after time, the political games distract us from real problems, harming our ability to find real solutions to them.

Yet after a first term of mediocrity, he wasn’t just re-elected, he was re-elected overwhelmingly.  In landslides.  A rout or two, in fact.

Byron Brown has the political capital to be a real agent for positive change in this city.  He has the unique ability to appeal to all city residents and bring them all together for the greater good.

The moment he decides to do that, we’ll let you know.

And then there’s Dale.  An Archie Bunker type who was heard this week on the radio bitching and moaning about the “downstate people”.

Dale, here’s a clue:  we’re not stupid.  We know that when you berate and blame “downstate people”, you’re talking about New York City Jews and minorities.  You might as well just man up and admit it; just call it what it is.

And this divisive, ignorant little toad, he of massive ego and sense of entitlement, continues to get re-elected thanks more to sharp elbows than merit.  Unlike Byron Brown, no one expects – or gets – great things from Dale Volker.  He is not a transformative figure.  He is not a guy who appeals to anybody except the beneficiaries of his member item largesse, and angry, threatened octogenarians.

So, with Dale we expect devastating mediocrity, and get exactly that.  For 40 bloody years.  Volker costs the taxpayers over a million dollars per year to do absolutely nothing.  Seriously, name one thing Dale Volker does that can’t be done some other way by some other government actor.  You can’t.  I can’t.   At least the Mayor goes out there and promotes Buffalo.

Dale Volker goes out there and promotes the antediluvian status quo.  There isn’t a new idea about anything rattling around in that empty head, nor has there been in two generations.

So, which is more insidious – great promise wasted, or 40 years’ worth of a D-minus?

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Common Council Approves Domestic Partnership Benefits

30 Mar

At the regular meeting of the City of Buffalo Common Council held today, the Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance amendment sponsored by Council Members David Rivera and Michael LoCurto establishing Domestic Partnership Benefits for city employees.

After a thorough review of the potential costs associated with the domestic partnership benefit, the Council Members voted to approve the amendment with the following stipulations:

  • Both domestic partner members are of the same sex
  • Both persons currently share or have shared a common residence for at least six months as evidenced by proofs of residency required by the City’s medical insurance provider
  • Both persons are financially interdependent as evidenced by proofs of financial interdependence required by the City’s medical insurance provider.

This legislation extends to the registered domestic partner and eligible members of the families of city employees health, medical and dental benefits, and will take effect in 30 days.

(From a Common Council Press Release)

PolitiFAIL Elite Eight: Casey vs. Brown

30 Mar

One could credibly make the argument that Casey and Brown are, politically, the same person.  As Colin Eager put it, Casey is Willie Tyler to Brown’s Lester.

Since Casey and Brown’s political histories are so tightly wound together, who is more responsible for the FAIL?

Is it Byron Brown, the likeable guy who rose from Grassroots activist to Gorski aide to Councilman to Senator to Mayor?  Or is it Steve Casey, who has gone from Gorski aide to Brown aide?  Is it Byron Brown, whose Senate career highlight was a few streets being re-named, or Steve Casey, whose entire career can be summed up as: Steve Pigeon wannabe.

The best analogy to pop culture I can make is to suggest to you that Steve Casey is Grima Wormtongue to Brown’s Theoden.  Not a perfect analogy, and exquisitely nerdy, but it takes up the issue of evil, which the Lester/Willie example doesn’t.

Casey’s misdeeds are legion, and they are the stuff of Buffalo political legend.  Live in his neighborhood and dare to put up a political sign in support of a candidate whom City Hall doesn’t support?  Watch out.  Piss him off at City Hall?  You could find your computer vandalized.  Write something unflattering about the Mayor?  No soup for you.  He allegedly managed Brown’s mayoral campaign on the state’s dime, on state time.  He led city inspectors to harass a neighbor whose garden he didn’t like.  He took a good idea – Citystat – and made sure it was thoroughly politicized beyond all recognition, thus rendered toothlessly useless.

Like the portrayal of soup guy Al Yeganeh in Seinfeld, Casey’s the Byron Nazi.

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This is all a long-winded way of saying Steve Casey is a Volkeresque, Pigeon-flavored asshole, and one wonders why Byron Brown lets it happen.  Unless Byron Brown is also an asshole.  In which case, who’s the bigger asshole?

Who is our political goatse?

There are no stories, necessarily, about Byron Brown doing similarly petty things.  By all accounts, Byron Brown is not just a guy who you want to like – he’s a guy most people do like.  He has stumbled with the handling of his kid’s joyride, and the BERC disaster was truly epic, and one gets a very strong sense that it was just the tip of a corrupt iceberg.

The problem here pivots back to Casey .

Part of the reason for Byron Brown’s presence this far in the tournament is that he is an enabler.  He’s like the wife who knows that daddy beats the kids when he gets drunk, but keeps buying booze anyway.  Petty power plays are like crack to Steve Casey, and Byron Brown is the guy who gives him a lift to buy his shit.

The rumor going around this past year had to do with the fact that the city suddenly found itself without a lot of department heads and key appointees – they saw City Hall as a mere stepping stone.  Byron would sit in as like a caretaker mayor for a term, not make any big mistakes, and then move on to Congress, thus paving the way for Antoine Thompson to become mayor.

A more arrogant and chilling scenario, I could not paint.

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So, the issue is: who is more at fault for the general disappointment – the failure, the broken promises and crushing of the high expectations people had for the Brown administration?  Is it the puppet or the puppetmaster?  Is it the shrewd, sharp-elbowed, tactician, or the mild-mannered, likeable enabler?

This one, dear reader, is harder than it seems.

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PolitiFAIL Elite Eight: Volker vs. Thompson

30 Mar

The decision here comes down to this: do you vote for the guy who’s been in office for 40 years and been instrumental in fucking up the State of New York in general, and WNY in particular? Or do you vote for the guy who aspires to do just that?

Thompson’s problem is that he makes stupid mistakes, which makes people pretty much think he’s stupid. You don’t gain the confidence of voters by railing against a bill you co-sponsored. You don’t inspire a lot of confidence by being flip-floppedly incoherent on Hiram Monserrate’s expulsion.

In a normal place, Thompson would be so easily defeated in any fair election that it would make people’s heads spin. But this isn’t a normal place, and our voters are a bit askew, as well.

I’ll bring this up again because it’s so telling. When asked why we even need a State Senate, this is the best Thompson could come up with. Not good enough:

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Ah, but dear reader, if there were any other competitor, it would be a blow-out for Antoine. His opponent, however, is Dale Volker – a malignant cancer; a polyp in the colon that is Western New York.

Volker is a veritable piece of shit who has been in office probably since before you were born. He’s that old fart going 30 in the left lane, driving the tan Buick of our politics. His tough-guy pandering to cops and corrections officers stems from the fact that without Attica and other correctional facilities, his district would cease to exist.

His political survival is dependent on murderers and rapists.

A renowned asshole, Volker dispatches sycophants and surrogates to bully and threaten political opponents on a regular basis. He is so bad that even the Republicans and teabaggers hate him.

He is so odious, in fact, that even Jim Domagalski – the chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee is considering a primary run against him.  Primaries are like kryptonite to Republicans.

That’s as if Len Lenihan decided to run against Bill Stachowski.

Both of these guys are useless entities in a useless legislative body. Good luck choosing the guy close to retirement vs. the guy who’s just getting started.

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