Tag Archives: Facebook

Collins’ Facebook Page: Curious

13 Jun

Chris Collins, like any semi-competent politician, has a Facebook fan page for his run to represent NY-27 in Congress. It has about 3,500 likes, and 6 people talking about it. 

3,530 is a big number. After all, the Erie County Republican Committee’s Facebook page has only 615 likes, with “11 people talking” about it. 

Where did all of Collins’ likes come from? Could he be using a service to manipulate the number? Did he transfer over his likes from when he was County Executive? The guy who beat him last year has only about 800 likes

It’s unclear when Collins set up this Facebook page – it says “joined Facebook” on April 26th, but there’s a mis-dated entry of April 2011 thanking people for circulating petitions for his Congressional run. 

So, let’s say the Collins for Congress fan page was created sometime in mid-April 2012. Between May 12 and June 12, 2012 – as the campaign against David Bellavia has heated up – only 114 people “liked” Collins’ page. What this means is that he accumulated 3,416 likes between mid-April and mid-May.  The page itself features only about 20 posts, 8 of which were put up in April.  What was so compelling that attracted over 3,000 in April? 

April 19, 2011 (a letter dated April 19, 2012) 1 post
April 26, 2012 5 posts
April 29, 2012 1 post
April 30, 2012 1 post
May 2, 2012    1 post
May 4, 2012    1 post
May 8, 2012    1 post
June 1, 2012    3 posts
June 2, 2012    1 post
June 12, 2012  3 posts

The trajectory of “likes” on the page also fits a particular pattern – a low one.  


 Where did the other 3,000+ likes come from, exactly? 


The Morning Grumpy 5/3/12

3 May

All the news, views, and filtered excellence that’s fit to consume during your morning grumpy.


1. On Tuesday, Alan wrote a blog post about President Obama starting off the general election season on offense, rather than playing defense against Mitt Romney. I replied with the following comment:

Within weeks, the Republicans will put his ass right back on defense. They’ll attack him where he is strongest, it’s the Rove strategy.

The killing of Bin Laden will be discredited and conspiracy theories around it will make John Kerry’s Swift Boat fiasco seem tame.

Well, I appreciate a good opportunity to pat myself on the back. Within 24 hours of the release of that Obama2012 campaign video, the swiftboating of President Obama began.

On Tuesday night, Veterans for a Strong America, a political action group led by Joel Arends, a lawyer and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released an ad attacking Obama for exploiting the killing of Osama bin Laden.

I’m still a little unclear, is Obama a socialist terrorist hugger who is always apologizing for America or a football spiking braggart? Anyhow, Hannity, Limbaugh and the rest of the right wing media mafia will continue pounding this home until election day. Next up? How Mitt Romney actually saved General Motors and the American Auto Industry over the objections of the Obama Administration.

2. Keep buying those Apple products!

Apple currently keeps about two-thirds of its $97.6 billion in profits abroad.

While some of Apple’s monumental success is due to the undeniable popularity of its products, the Times reports that Apple “has devised corporate strategies that take advantage of gaps in the tax code.” This has ultimately saved the company (and thus cost the public) as much as $2.4 billion a year, according to a recent study by a former Treasury Department economist.

Apple fights for favorable tax policies in the United States with a formidable army of lobbyists. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Apple spent $2.3 million on lobbying last year and its lobbying expenditures have been steadily increasing over the past decade – in 2000, it only spent $360,000 on lobbying.

What a great American company.

3. 40 years of workers being left behind. AKA, the reason behind the Occupy movement.

From the article:

Particularly striking is the fact that for years leading up to the 1970s, productivity gains were broadly shared, as theory predicts. Then the linkage abruptly broke. What explains the shift?

Yeah, what could it have been?

“The continuing growth of the wage gap between high and middle earners is the result of various laissez-faire policies (acts of omission as well as commission) including globalization, deregulation, privatization, eroded unionization, and weakened labor standards,” he writes. “The gap between the very highest earners — the top 1 percent — and all other earners, including other high earners, reflects the escalation of CEO and other managers’ compensation and the growth of compensation in the financial sector.”

The article and the study it references note that this isn’t a global problem. It’s an American problem.

4. Here’s an article which eloquently supports a point I’ve been trying to make for at least a year. Why Facebook won’t matter in five years.

Facebook is the triumphant winner of social companies.  It will go public in a few weeks and probably hit $140 billion in market capitalization.  Yet, it loses money in mobile and has rather simple iPhone and iPad versions of its desktop experience.  It is just trying to figure out how to make money on the web – as it only had $3.7 billion in revenues in 2011 and its revenues actually decelerated in Q1 of this year relative to Q4 of last year.  It has no idea how it will make money in mobile.

Facebook was never meant to be a mobile company and they don’t have the core competencies required to become a mobile company. Now, they are about to become a public company, which means they will slowly curtail innovation and focus on shareholder return and risk mitigation. They will innovate, like most large public technology companies, through acquisitions. Even then, the street will judge those acquisitions on the short term and turn bearish on the stock if it becomes too reliant upon the strategy, which is why Mark Zuckerberg raced to acquire Instagram prior to Facebook’s IPO.

Will someone build a better social network? Probably not, but someone will invent a mobile or augmented reality technology that makes traditional social networks obsolete.

5. How would America be different if rational, realist adults were in charge, rather than emotional reactionaries?

#7. A normal relationship with Israel. Realists have long been skeptical of the “special relationship” with Israel, and they would have worked to transform it into a normal relationship. The United States would have remained committed to helping Israel were its survival ever threatened, but instead of acting like “Israel’s lawyer,” Washington would have used its leverage to prevent Israel from endlessly expanding settlements in the Occupied Territories. An even-handed U.S. approach would have taken swift advantage of the opportunity created by the 1993 Oslo Accords, and might well have achieved the elusive two-state solution that U.S. presidents have long sought. At a minimum, realists could hardly have done worse than the various “un-realists” who’ve mismanaged this relationship for the past 20 years.

Someday, we might return to a rational foreign policy, but not right now it seems.


Fact Of The Day: Homosexual behavior is found in at least 1,500 species of mammal, fish, reptile, bird, and even invertebrate. I hope those fish know that Rick Santorum believes they’re going to hell.

Quote Of The Day: “Death gives meaning to our lives. It gives importance and value to time. Time would become meaningless if there were too much of it.” – Ray Kurzweil

Video Of The Day: A Real Life Robinson Crusoe

Laugh Of The Day: “Grapes vs. Grapefruit” – Gary Gulman

Song Of The Day: “The Way I Walk” – The Cramps

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The Morning Grumpy – December 14th

14 Dec

All the news and views for you to consume during your “morning grumpy”.

1. The local post offices have averted a manufactured crisis which would have led to the closure of the local mail processing facility on William Street, and dozens (if not more) of branches.

The U.S. Postal Service announced it will delay closing those facilities until May 15 of next year in wake of pressure from 14 U.S. senators, including Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

The senators said they wanted time to work on postal reform legislation.

“In New York, more than 1,000 jobs, 100 post offices and seven area mail-processing centers will continue serving their communities while Congress works on reforming the Postal Service to ensure its survival,” Gillibrand said.

The national conversation about the need to reduce costs in the US Postal Service, shutter local offices, and change the business model has been focused on the reduced need to sustain regular physical mail delivery. Usage of private services like FedEx, UPS, and DHL has increased while more people utilize email, text messages, and social networks for communication. Makes sense, right? Well, somewhat. The USPS is a vital communications link for rural Americans and provides a regulated manner for distribution of government and personal communications. It might need some restructuring, but the closure of thousands of local offices and the reduction of nearly half the labor force is a manufactured crisis.

Though the USPS runs as an independent “business”, its finances are tied to the federal budget as postal employees participate in federal retirement plans. In 2006, Congress passed something called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).

Under this legislation, the USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do.”

The mandate has essentially set the postal service up for failure, which was obviously the entire point of the legislation.

I don’t know about you, but I like efficient, reliable, trustworthy mail delivery at competitive prices from the USPS.

2. Why don’t Democrats defend government?  While Tea Party ballbags scream like unhinged lunatics that government needs to be reduced, costs need to be eviscerated, and Americans left to fend for themselves in an austere darwinian world, where are the Democrats who fight for government? Who advance the case that government is inherently a good thing?

It is undeniably the case that all of our ideological battles in this country eventually come down to government. Its size and scope and legitimacy—that is to say, the questions of political philosophy—and then, even if one acknowledges some degree of legitimacy for it, the practical question of whether it can do anything right. Conservatives and Republicans have been, as we know, making mendacious but awfully effective arguments on both fronts for three decades. And it gets even worse: In a cruel and surreal and self-perpetuating farce, Republicans let government fail while they are in power (FEMA in New Orleans, financial regulators and the crash) by not executing the missions of the agencies in question, and then, after the failure, turning around and chortling: “See? Government can’t prevent these things!”

Oddly, no one on the liberal side really defends government much. In the progressive solar system there are groups devoted to every specific issue and cause you can name, but there is no group I’m aware of that is devoted to the simple premise of standing up in public and saying: Government does this, and it’s good.

Will someone ever make the case? If not, why not?

3. Is our cultural addiction to Facebook making us miserable?

Since our Facebook profiles are self-curated, users have a strong bias toward sharing positive milestones and avoid mentioning the more humdrum, negative parts of their lives. Accomplishments like, “Hey, I just got promoted!” or “Take a look at my new sports car,” trump sharing the intricacies of our daily commute or a life-shattering divorce. This creates an online culture of competition and comparison. One interviewee even remarked, “I’m pretty competitive by nature, so when my close friends post good news, I always try and one-up them.”

Analyzing my Facebook feed from the past couple of days, you’d think that my friends and family were some of the most successful, happy, well-balanced and organized people in the world. The thing is, I know most of them are struggling to maintain a balance between their responsibilities and find happiness, just like everyone in the world.

4. 2011, an incredibly eventful year

I don’t think this video, as robust as it is, captures everything. But, it comes close.

5. One of my favorite headlines of the year comes from Andrew Sullivan “Newt Gingrich Is A Dumb Person’s Idea Of A Smart Person”, as he links to this post,

I have been perplexed for some time why Newt Gingrich is routinely acknowledged even by his bitter enemies within the Republican Party as a “genius,” but the answer turns out is simple: he acts exactly like one of those obnoxious elitist intellectual know-it-alls that the right-wing no-nothings think is the hallmark of an intellectual. He is constantly reminding us of his doctorate in history; he routinely claims he understands issues more deeply than anyone else; he has made a career of denouncing or (when he had the authority) eliminating professional expertise that might challenge his own certain pronouncements; and he is a veritable fount of crackpot “big” ideas (mining minerals on the moon, protecting the United States from sci-fi doomsday scenarios, and “fundamentally transforming” everything as a first step to doing anything.

Fact Of The Day: On this day in 1979, “London Calling” by the Clash was released.

Quote Of The Day: “One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.” – Robert Kennedy

Song Of The Day: “Clampdown” by The Clash

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chrissmithbuffalo[@]gmail.com

About that Facebook Lawsuit

13 Oct

Paul Ceglia might be playing games with the lawyers and judge as far as discovery is concerned, but I’m hearing from multiple sources that he has effectively sold shares in his lawsuit to various people who were willing to “invest” in his litigation and “own” a piece of his supposedly anticipated judgment or settlement recovery.

It also helps a reputed grifter fund a very costly hail Mary of a litigation.

Apparently, that’s not illegal, or a violation of a lawyer’s ethical rules. I think it’s unfortunate when the direction of a lawsuit is directed by someone who is neither a party nor his attorney. It may also explain why this apparent disaster of a case is still kicking.


Stories for Jamey

3 Oct

In the wake of Jamey Rodemeyer’s recent suicide, a great deal of attention has been paid to bullying. Since Rodemeyer was quite clearly a victim of bullying for the last several years in two separate schools in the Williamsville School District, the attention is needed and deserved.

I will note, however, that people generally don’t take their own lives unless there is an underlying psychiatric issue at play – some form of anxiety or depression.  We’ll never know if the psychiatric issue was something with which he could have coped, absent the bullying. A scan of his Tumblr reveals he either didn’t like Facebook’s newsfeed, or didn’t like the content he saw in his – it’s not clear.  On September 11th, he posted “hate my parents so much.”  On September 13th, he posted that “my parents just said they never wanted me to be born.” On September 14th, he discussed the fact that he was a cutter.

If true, it means Jamey Rodemeyer had larger issues than just bullying. I guess it’s a cautionary tale for parents to be hypervigilant about what your kids are writing and doing online.

It was revealed in the Buffalo News that some parents are quite disappointed with the school district’s reaction to Rodemeyer’s suicide. Clearly, this is a teachable moment about mutual respect and awareness of bullying, but the Williamsville district is remaining largely silent, with the exception of a rather rote grief counseling memo to parents, which has since been deleted and replaced with this.  At a school dance the other day, Rodemeyer’s former bullies targeted his sister, Alyssa, and expressed happiness over Jamey’s death.  One of those kids has been suspended. Personally, I don’t think that’s enough, but our legal system isn’t adequately set up to really deter or punish that kind of ugly behavior.

At this point, I don’t understand why the community doesn’t have the names of those specific bullies who tormented Jamey, and who continue to torment his sister. I can’t fathom why we don’t have names, the parents’ names, and loads more details about these vicious people who have no capability to interact in contemporary society.

The response I received after what I posted about Jamey’s situation was overwhelming. Many parents, students, and former students reached out to tell me their horror stories – that the bullying is pervasive at Williamsville North, that the administration does nothing to stop it, and that it’s an inherent part of the culture there. My heart breaks for kids who have to go to school afraid – afraid at embarrassment, humiliation, beatings, and other forms of harassment and battery. That they get no relief or help from the adults who work there is even sadder. Here are some of their stories:

When I first entered high school I was excited.

I would be meeting so many new people and be able together involved in so many new things. High school, I thought, was going to allow me to open up and be myself. This was not exactly the case. 

Being involved with the Drama Club, spring musical and many different choral groups attracted a lot of attention. Some positive and some negative. By my friends I was know for being charismatic and outgoing, very friendly and confident. But to those who didn’t know me I was the gay kid who didn’t “act black” that was a freak for being involved with theatre and gymnastics. 

A lot of the boys in my gym classes would make a show of changing when I was around. Asking what I was looking at. It got to the point where I would wear my gym clothes under my school clothes and go through my day wearing two pairs of clothes. 

I was nervous about coming out of the closet because I feared being ridiculed worse than I already was. My sophomore year I wound up dating a girl that I fooled myself into having feelings for. That was the year that “The List” came out. There was this horrible list with things written about people that were just plain rude. Mine was “Brandon Obrian: Your black and gay and that sucks.” I laughed at first, just ignoring the fact that it was about me by saying how they spelled my name wrong. But as soon as this list circulated the entire school I could feel people’s eyes on me and I knew what they were thinking. 

My junior year was mostly fine. It was the year that my father had passed away and I think that most people felt bad for me. For what they knew I was already quiet. But now I was quiet and sad. I want to say that everyone was sympathetic. But not many were.

My senior year in may of 2010 I finally came out of the closet. Deciding that I was graduating soon and that I no longer cared what the people I went to school with though of me. I never made a public announcement, but my Facebook said that I was dating a boy, and not one from our school. My profile was also update to say that I was interested in men. 

A lot of people were proud and over all happy that I had finally become comfortable with myself, but there were still some that would ask me inappropriate questions about my personal sex life that felt were an invasion of my privacy. 

Along with all of that I have had encounters with straight boys from my school that pretended to be gay to see what they could get me to say or do or admit to feelings that they thought that I had. 

After high school I have found life easier. I have yet to meet any people who are disapproving or think that there is something wrong with me. College has proved to be much more welcoming and accepting. 

High school was, at times, a tragic experience for me. And it was something that I had kept bottled up inside and didn’t share with people. Though I had at some times reached out for guidance I did not ever receive the help that I needed. This was especially worse in middle school when a certain teacher said nothing and did nothing about my being harassed as it happened in front of her. The only solution she could think of was to force the the boy to sit next to me and give a halfhearted apology. 

Seeing those who bullied me in high school after graduating is always an awkward experience. But I don’t let their past cruelty affect my behavior. I have learned that being bullied is not something to cry over and that the best revenge is success. My goals and dreams have motivated me to keep positive and stay strong even when I felt very down and nearly suicidal. All I have to say is that things honestly do get better. I used to hate myself and my life and wished that I was different. But now I love myself and I am happy with my life and the positive direction it is going in. – Brandon Michael O’Brien

Well I have been bullied a couple times,

I’m graduated now but I was wearing a skirt to school and it wasn’t a short skirt, it was longer and because of what I was wearing a bunch of people literally circled around me in the hallway and made fun of me till I cried. I had to be taken to the office so they could call my parents and bring me different clothes. It was a horrible experience and bullying needs to be stopped. – Anonymous

My name is Giselle Binette,

Jamey was one of my closest and truest friends. He was like a little brother to me. We would always talk about Lady GaGa and discusses her new videos and songs. I remember when we kept talking about the VMA’s and how amazing her performance was. I also remember way before that, all the times he was there for me when I was down. I loved him like my own brother. He was the brother I never had.

I have an event on Facebook in honor of him: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=253420008030411

We miss him very much, but finally, with hard work. GaGa retweeted me and my friends and she will be talking with the President about this.

We want bullying of any forms to be a crime. I want this done for Jamey.

We all miss him and love him SO very much ❤

I hope God is taking great care of him. R.I.P. ❤

I also wanted to say,

That the people who bullied him, should be ashamed… I apologize for not really focusing on that, but I just wanted to show the good that is happening such as GaGa and us trying to get a law for Jamey!

But, I really think the bullying at North is AWFUL. Many schools are awful, and it needs to stop. I understand bullies have self problems, but they do not need to take it out on such beautiful people like Jamey.

BUT, remember to not be mean back. Because violence begets violence.


Bullying at North is not taken care of like it should be.

I was bullied for years at North and no one ever stepped in to stop it. I was being made fun of and these bullies intentionally did things that would hurt me (vandalize my locker, etc). The administration said they could never really step in and do anything because they didn’t see or hear these things being said or being done. It was awful having to go to school every day knowing that these bullies may do or say something to me. I was scared to go to school because of them. I never wanted this to happen to anyone else because I knew how hard it was to wake up everyday and have to go to school. I wish Jamey didn’t have to experience all that pain. I hope the administration, government, etc step in and do something about bullying before it gets worse than it already is. – Anonymous

I went to Williamsville North and I can truly say it was the worst 4 years of my life.

You acquired the feeling that very few cared for you especially due to administration changes that occurred when I went there. I will always remember how North shut down a club that was supportive of the gay community without any justification, they just required it to be shut down. I’m not sure of all the details, but I distinctly remember this and I’m not too sure how the situation ended up. The weird thing about all the bullying that occurred at North was that it mostly seemed like it was always just “cyber-bullying.” Everyone was too afraid to express themselves because they were too concerned about maintaining their image and frankly, the majority of Williamsville kids suck and are too cowardly to take a stance. It’s a shame when someone with enough courage and pride comes along like Jamey and they’re persecuted because of they are one of the very few at that school to be themselves. My thoughts and prayers go to Jamey’s family and friends. Rest in peace, Jamey, you’ll have forever made a difference in this world. – Anonymous

Well I’m a senior at Hamburg High School,

and I myself have been the bullied and I have also been a bully myself. Bullying is a terrible thing now a days. Facebook and twitter doesn’t really help either knowing 43% of teens claimed to have been cyber-bullied in the past year.

People just don’t understand how harmful bullying can be until something like this happens. If you see bullying going on, go to your school counselor and alert them about it as quickly as possibly so good people like jamey can live their life to the fullest without a person making fun of them for their sexual preference, race etc.

All in all, something needs to be done about bullying. Some sort of bill that punishes you for it. RIP JAMEY NOH8 – Anonymous

Having just graduated from North

I can say North was comprised of 65% that minded their own business, 25% that became ridiculed for either their appearance, sexuality, race, and other factors, with just 10% of the student population thinking they were above the rest. That 10% of kids made it very apparent that they thought their status rose above others. I recall a time in 2010-2011 where a gay couple would be holding hands in the halls and everywhere they walked, students would gather together to whisper about their relationship. There were times where some students trying to impress others, would scream out derogative at the couple. If we live in a society today where peoples concerns are based upon hate, gossip and social status, oh what has the world come too. People need to really understand how to build true sustaining relationships between others. Learn how to spot out acts of hate. Conjure up belief in yourself that you can stop it. Do something before its too late. Everybody just wants to be treated with respect for what they stand for. – Anonymous

I went to williamsville north and graduated two years ago.

It was a great time in my life because my parents gave me the power to brush off bullying when i was younger. Everyone gets made fun of and everyone pokes fun of other people. If you claim you never have you are lying. This is a tragedy because no one took the time to empower this kid and give him the strength to move on.I myself was made of of i was extremely small growing up and took a lot of stuff because kids knew i couldn’t do anything. so instead i either looked the other way or i outsmarted them and went at them harder. I had friends who were “fat” and were made fun of because of it. i had friends who made choices that got them made fun but they were all able to move on because there was a general understanding in my grade that people who were bullying were weak themselves. Bullying is never going to go away, im sorry but its true. You cant honestly believe that a law should be made against being mean. It is the parents/school/administraion’s job to give kids the tools to defend bullying early in life. The other part of this is how victims have no real way of getting out of it. Think about it a bully picks on a kid. the kid tells on the bully he gets suspended. IF YOU THINK THAT THIS BULLY ISNT GOING TO COME BACK HARDER HALF THE TIME YOU ARE HIGHLY MISTAKEN. In past time if someone picked on you you challenged them fought them or made fun of them back. Unfortunately the schools have taken these defenses away from victims because apparently standing up for yourself is against school policy. I feel awful for this kids family friends and everyone around him. may he rest in peace. – Anonymous

Commenting in 2011

18 Jul

Margaret Sullivan is right; the Buffalo News comment section has become more civilized.  Making people own their commentary is a good idea, and we’ve been having a lot of discussions lately about the way in which we allow comments, and whether they add much value anymore. Furthermore, much of the commentary takes place on Twitter or Facebook, post-sharing on those platforms. It was on Twitter, for instance, that someone validated my point that noise from the skyway is a non-issue at the Inner Harbor.  Going forward, the commenting system is going to have to change to reflect contemporary realities and capabilities, rather than further relying on decade-old technology with Gravatars.


Jack, We Don’t Like You

11 Mar

Carl Palindino

4 Jan

I think it’s interesting that Carl Paladino has singled out Elizabeth Benjamin to hector with his semi-literate Facebook rants.  They amount to little more than a madman’s shouting, replete with unsubstantiated, borderline libelous accusations, and a laundry list of slights, real and perceived.  Apparently reveling in his notoriety as a nasty, offensive crank, Paladino has become western New York’s Sarah Palin – his political relevance is thin, maintained only by Facebook status updates.

Despite the fact that Benjamin is but one of many reporters covering the Albany beat, he’s singled out the prominent young female for his screeds.  Not only does he know they’ll get maximum attention, but I think it reveals a latent misogyny.  It also reveals the fact that he blames his loss on the press, and it is now his sworn, mortal enemy.  Right down to the billboard on the side of an empty rusting hulk of a Paladino-owned building – an example and metaphor if ever there was one.

If he doesn’t like the way she conducts her YNN show, then he should get his own. He can call it “Mad as Hell with Carl & Friends”.

(HT Marquil at EmpireWire for the cartoon)