Tag Archives: News

Bauerle and the Newsworthiness of it All

12 Jan

Consider for a moment why the Buffalo News story about Tom Bauerle’s apparent psychiatric episode exists. This sort of thing happens every day, and when there’s no arrest, it won’t even make it into “Police & Courts”. The cops were called, so it might merit a names-redacted story in the Amherst Bee blotter.

We knew of this story on Thursday. Geoff Kelly and I looked into it, spoke with sources, and otherwise weighed its newsworthiness against the obvious privacy issues concerning a psychiatric episode of a public figure. We didn’t roll with it because (a) let the man get help; and (b) let’s don’t cheapen the seriousness of mental illness. With no arrest, we didn’t think it was worth aggressive pursuit.

The News disagreed, and I ask you to consider the question of newsworthiness.

I hope Bauerle – with whom I vehemently disagree on most everything – gets the help he needs. I hope that his right to possess firearms is curtailed, as this sort of psychiatric episode is exactly why the mental health provisions of the NY SAFE Act exist.

However, this is a personal medical matter and one affecting perhaps his neighbors, but not you or me.

Here is the audio clip everyone is talking about, from December 30th. It is chilling.

http://www.trendingbuffalo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/bauerle12-30-13.mp3

Sloppery

3 Jan

1. I alternated between WBEN 930-AM, the Buffalo news station, and a Torontonian station, 680 News (CFTR) Friday morning. WBEN did the list of closings, traffic & weather, news, and featured several interviews with people who work outside, commenting on what it’s like to work outside (breaking – it’s cold when it’s cold, and hot when it’s hot). 680 went through its repetitive pattern of news, weather, traffic, sports, business news, and commuter issues. There was no talk of school or business closings. Just typical big-city news. It was a fascinating comparison. 

2. Cold feet? The warmest socks I ever owned were marketed in the US as “Swiss Army socks”. They aren’t anymore, but you can buy them online from the Swiss manufacturer, Rohner. The original is CHF 28 (about $32), and shipping is a flat $10.60 for orders under $160. I am still looking for an American retailer who carries them, but they’re worth every penny, IMHO. 

3. Even with very low temperatures, somewhere in Buffalo there will be a guy walking around today in shorts and boots. 

4. I coined a new word yesterday wholly by accident – “sloppery”. It is a portmanteau of “sloppy” and “slippery” and described the super-fine powder causing people with crap tires to slide around the roads Thursday and Friday. 

5. Speaking of which, get yourself some snow tires

6. My predictions for 2014 are contained in this article for the print edition of Artvoice

7. Trina Tardone and Emily Trimper, come on down! You’re the next contestants on, How Creepily Did Dennis Gabryszak Sexually Harass You?! (That makes 6 accusers. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; but where there’s a blazing inferno, shit’s going down.)

7. Nickel City Chef 2014 tickets go on sale today. They may already be sold out. 

 

Did You See the Mayoral Debate & Other Things (UPDATED)

15 Aug

1. Federal prosecutors may soon ask  to exhume a dead convicted drug dealer who died while awaiting sentencing. Well, there’s a death certificate, but the government has reason to believe the guy’s not dead. An ingenious getaway attempt, if true, to escape on paper. This would make a great script. 

2. I watched the last half of last night’s mayoral debate. Unfortunately, not one channel saw fit to broadcast it live on TV. I had to find a stream online (and thanks to the magic of Apple TV, we were able to Airplay it to the TV after all). The local media – Channels 2, 3, 4, and 7 and YNN all abrogated their responsibility as FCC licensees to inform and educate the population. It is unconscionable that Channel 4, who had one reporter acting as moderator and another on the panel, couldn’t see fit to preempt a couple of Merv Griffin game shows to get this debate to as wide an audience as possible. Absolutely disgusting. 

You can watch it here at WIVB.com. Mayor Brown seemed petty and defensive – his closing argument implored voters to pick him over a bunch of “novices”. Burn.

But when the sitting Mayor can’t accomplish simple, promised reforms in his seven years in office, why not consider the novices? I also think Tolbert’s work history is far more extensive and accomplished than Brown’s, and Rodriguez was a Marine. Denigrating their backgrounds and experience is hardly a winning strategy for someone who went from being a legislative staffer to the Common Council to the State Senate, and never stood out for bold initiatives or ideas, but relied instead on the power of the political machine. 

For their parts, Bernie Tolbert acquitted himself well, but Sergio Rodriguez was a standout. He was conversational – he didn’t sound like he was reading off a script or memorized group of talking points. He was answering questions in a way that really connected with an audience that was audibly hostile to the sitting Mayor. Tolbert’s substance was very similar to Rodriguez’s, and they pressed the Mayor relentlessly on crime, jobs, and education. 

The only advantages I think Brown has now is his massive, loyal-by-necessity machine, and his huge pile of cash. Well, they’re actually pretty huge advantages when you put it that way. But in terms of connecting with voters and really questioning the engagement and competency of a Brown Administration which is taking undue credit for progress with which it had nothing to do, Tolbert and Rodriguez have a real shot if they can get their messages out. You could hear, if not feel, the frustration and dissatisfaction rolling through the assembled crowd. 

When Rodriguez and Tolbert said they wanted to make the city more business-friendly by streamlining permitting, lowering fees, increasing predictability and uniformity, and setting up a “one-stop shop”, Brown said the city was working on it. 

Working on it?! You’ve BEEN THE MAYOR FOR SEVEN YEARS. YOU CONTROL – WITH ORWELLIAN EFFICIENCY – EVERY EXECUTIVE FUNCTION IN CITY HALL. SEVEN YEARS AND YOU’RE STILL “WORKING ON IT?” City Hall is – and has been – a fetid swamp of bureaucratic sloth and mendacity.

When describing Yugoslav communist self-preservation, corruption, and stasis, Milovan Djilas wrote that a “New Class” had been created, comprised of dictatorial bureaucrats. In Buffalo, we have the same phenomenon – marginally educated people hired and retained not for their merit, but for their politico-financial loyalty to the bureaucrat-di-tutti-bureaucrats, Byron Brown. Forget the “political class” of WNY – our larger problem is this new patronage class. They are neither working class nor transitioning into middle / upper middle class; they have instead carved out their own patronage class whereby your social mobility is founded on the political ties – and donations – you make, rather than your labor, smarts, or merit. It takes seven years to do simple things because the patronage class is united in its opposition to any reformation of the bureaucracy that guarantees it its oft-redundant jobs. 

Byron Brown cannot take on the patronage class because his entire political career is founded on their interdependency. 

The candidates can talk about downtown domed football stadiums until the cows come home, but there is a huge question mark hanging over the city of Buffalo that Mayor Brown hasn’t even seen – much less answered – in the 7 (SEVEN!1) years he’s been occupying the 2nd floor of City Hall. 

3. The Congressional Republicans’ descent into nihilistic brinksmanship continues apace. When your only philosophy and platform is to hate Obama and deny millions of people access to affordable health insurance, I guess that’s what you’re left with. 

Darkness

24 Apr

As it turns out, Boston Marathon bombing suspect #1, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was indeed influenced by an enigmatic, extremist hate group. 

Alex Jones’ “infowars” – the go-to radio show and website for ignorant, disaffected lunatics who see conspiracy everywhere. To call Jones fans the lunatic fringe would be unfair to the comparably responsible and informed members of the lunatic fringe. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frightfully bellicose and didn’t incite violence.

 

Libel and Hopeful, Anticipatory Racial Animus

19 Apr

Yesterday afternoon, the FBI released photographs of the two suspects wanted for the Boston Marathon bombing. Despite being Bababooied by some cretin from Alex Jones conspiracy site “infowars”, within 6 hours after their images being released, the two were located in Cambridge and on the run. In the meantime, one was shot dead and injured by his own bomb in a shootout, and the other is the subject of a massive manhunt in and around Watertown – a suburb just to the west of Cambridge. 

But on the day of the bombing, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post was alone in reporting that 12 people had died in the bombing. It reported this relentlessly until police confirmed that only three had been killed.  No correction, it just stopped. 

Maybe the fact that the Post can’t hack people’s emails and voice mails has adversely affected its reporting quality. 

Throughout the week, amateur sleuths on 4chan and Reddit have been poring over raw images and video of the marathon finish line to try and find out who did it. Running guy, guy on roof, guys with black caps – all were ultimately cleared. But there was also the tan kid with the blue jogging suit with the Nike duffel and his friend with the white cap and a black backpack. 

On Wednesday, the New York Post basically named blue jogging suit and his companion as the suspects. Put their image on the front page. 

Turns out, blue duffel is a nice kid from Revere who is a track star and was supposed to run the Marathon, but ended up being guilty only of being a Moroccan immigrant.  Gawker wants to know why the New York Post’s editor remains silent about his alleged pigfucking, alcoholic incompetent racism”. By 2pm, the Post had to – probably reluctantly – acknowledge that these two weren’t the bombers. 

American fascist, squadristi commentators were drooling over the possibility that the marathon bombers might be Arabs. 

These were taken yesterday from a publicly accessible Facebook page that is branded and operated by the Entercom Corporation. Ha ha they don’t look like Irish kids, these two innocent Arab-Americans who happened to be in the area of the first bomb.

Entercom’s Facebook Page’s terms of service read as follows, 

When posting on our page, please respect the views of other members and users of our page. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but please bear in mind the often sensitive nature of our work and the views and opinions of those that use our services. Entercom will not tolerate racist, homophobic, sexist or abusive comments and will remove any post or content from our page which, in Entercom’s opinion, is likely to cause distress or upset to other users of the page. Please note that our page is accessed by minors and accordingly posts and contributions should be suitable for individuals of all ages. 

Entercom reserves the right permanently to remove unsuitable content from the page and shall have no liability for any loss or damage caused by or in connection with such removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from contributing to the page and Entercom accepts no liability for any loss arising out of or in connection with such removal. Entercom may report to Facebook all users posting inappropriate or offensive material and shall not be obliged to reinstate any individual it blocks.

Entercom tolerates nothing but racist, homophobic, and abusive comments. Even from its own hosts – both on Facebook and on the air. 

We don’t know the race of the two suspects, (some names have been floating around, and AP is reporting that they’re brothers from Chechnya. None of it has been confirmed on the record), and it doesn’t much matter. Wherever they came from, they are terrorists and they are murderers. One is dead, but the other – we can only hope – will be apprehended and then sent into the general population at the local holding center. 

For anyone to gleefully speculate – based on libel – on the race of the suspects reveals a dramatic lack of humanity and decency. I hope Nike duffel kid and his friend get some very good and aggressive legal counsel.

UPDATE:  Never one to acknowledge fault, the felinophile fascist has another smart take this morning. 

So Many News, So Little Time

18 Oct

1. What potent form of crack is WIVB smoking by hosting a second televised NY-27 debate between Chris Collins and Kathy Hochul at 10:30 pm on a weeknight? No one saw it, no one knows what happened, and I don’t get why they’d do that at all. Evidently, WNLO will re-broadcast it at 11:30 am today, so everyone who was getting ready to go to bed for work last night, will be at work and miss it today. (You can watch it here). Democracy! 

2. The other day I pointed out that Chuck Swanick is running as the candidate for homophobes. He confirmed it to Bob McCarthy, and “resumed” his campaign. From the sound of it, Swanick seems to be running in an effort to harm Grisanti, but some things I’ve read from Swanick supporters are quite negative towards Democrat Mike Amodeo, as well. It’s yet another episode of horrible people doing horrible things. I’ll add that the Conservative Party – the line on which Swanick is running – is embroiled in a dispute between its chairman Ralph Lorigo and some rank & file members to determine whether that entity will ever endorse Democrats again. Lorigo is pushing rule changes that would, e.g., ban the CP from ever again endorsing anyone with a Working Families Party endorsement. I have a better idea – let’s get rid of electoral fusion and these facile, patronage-laden cross-endorsements altogether! All these hacks would have to either find honest jobs or at least go hack it up somewhere else. 

3. While voter ID fraud is such an infinitesimally small problem that it hardly qualifies as a “problem”, it would seem as if the right-wing is busy registering voters in Virginia and then throwing some of the registration forms in a dumpster. Good luck to those new registrants trying to vote, right? 

4. Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital bought Sensata Industries in Illinois. 170 jobs will be lost in Illinois as Sensata relocates its operations to the People’s Republic of China. The people about to lose their jobs and livelihoods are protesting.  This should be a national story. 

5. Mitt Romney was caught on tape telling business owners to tell their employees how to vote

I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope — I hope you pass those along to your employees. Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I think that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision and of course doing that with your family and your kids as well.

There’s a certain egotistical pathology at play here – people come to work for work, not to be lectured about politics. Much less threatened. Some CEOs have already taken Romney up on the idea, threatening to fire everybody if they don’t vote for the candidate from Michigan/Massachusetts/Utah/California. Not to be outdone, fascist front group “Koch Industries” sent this to employees of its subsidiary Georgia Pacific: 

While we are typically told before each Presidential election that it is important and historic, I believe the upcoming election will determine what kind of America future generations will inherit.

If we elect candidates who want to spend hundreds of billions in borrowed money on costly new subsidies for a few favored cronies, put unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses, prevent or delay important new construction projects, and excessively hinder free trade, then many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.

When you resort to threatening your employees to vote a certain way, you’ve crossed a line from free speech into intimidation. The 1st Amendment broadly protects political speech, but not threats.  Make no mistake – this is pure, unadulterated banana republic shit. 

6.  If you own any of these:

 

Then chances are you’re white, male, and over the age of 45. You think Sean Hannity is great, you hate that Bauerle tolerates gay people, and you think that Carl Paladino is God’s gift to politics. You read WND.com as either a primary or secondary news source. You stopped going to Free Republic a couple of years ago, but you think that Michelle Malkin has the right mixture of sarcasm and gravitas. Also, you completely freaked the fuck out when the country elected a black (you insist on calling him mixed-race or half-black) President in 2008. You believe that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii, but was born in Kenya to devoted communists, and set up through a wide conspiracy – that’s taken place over 50 years – by Democrats, the SDS, Kenya, world Islam, Indonesia, the KGB, and an associated roster of communist cadres to take away the United States and replace it with a Leninist dictatorship. You self-identify as a tea party activist, but in reality you’re just a racist omniphobe who has – at least once – uttered the phrase, “keep the government out of my Medicare”. 

7. You know that funny line from the debate the other night, when President Obama explained how his administration helped ensure equal pay for women through the Lily Ledbetter Act – a law Romney would have opposed – and how Romney parried by explaining how he demanded a list of qualified women to hire for his cabinet in Massachusetts in 2002? Yeah, he didn’t ask for it. It was waiting for him when he took office. Another lie

8. So, as far as I can tell the right wing freakout over Benghazi has to do with what the Obama Administration said about what happened that day; whether it was a calculated terrorist act or a spontaneous thing that arose out of the protests about that idiotic anti-Mohammed “movie”. This is coming from a party that took us to war in Iraq over pretexts that changed as often as the direction of the wind? The day of the Benghazi attacks, there were protests over the movie. There were also protests over the movie in Cairo. The protest in Benghazi was around the consulate, while the Cairo protests were by the embassy. Instead of letting the government’s investigation continue, the right wing is politicizing an attack on Americans on American soil. It is a stark reminder of Obama’s speech where he said we’re one America. The Republican Party disagrees most strenuously, and their central platform since 2008 has been to disprove Obama’s assertion. 

Meta?

16 Jul

ICYMI, Dan Rather is reviewing HBO’s the Newsroom for Gawker

Among the issues dealt with in this episode: The fact that we journalists are reluctant to call lies… lies (and thus seldom if ever do.) How anchor persons deal, and don’t deal, with the celebrity aspects of their jobs. What an ego-centric job anchoring is. Office romances, especially among young staffers. And the dangers of going on the air in the early stages of big, breaking news with early reports and rumors, even when your competition is running hard with them; the gut-checks demanded by the pressure of such situations.

Things I especially liked (and know to be true based on my own experience): How a newsroom springs to life when a big breaking story hits. (The example they used is the Giffords shooting in Arizona.) How it’s nearly always true that some good reporter gets fixated on some “way out” story (The example for this is the “Big Foot” story that won’t die.) The sleepless nights of anchormen (and women), who, if they are any good, have more of them than most people—sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for trivial ones.

Retirement

30 Apr

 

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com, the newest editorial cartoonist for Newsday‘s Hudson Valley sites.

Occupation

3 Oct

HT Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Live, From Rochester – It’s Buffalo!

14 Sep

Here is the video of WNYMedia.net’s Marc Odien appearing on the Rachel Maddow show last night on MSNBC.

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