Tag Archives: rant

The Gentleman from Buffalo

7 Apr


1. By way of answering Paladino’s pandering on the “open border” welfare issue, he’s right – we didn’t vote for that. New York implemented residency requirements that were struck down as unconstitutional in 1971. While the 1996 TANF welfare reform law had expressly permitted states to impose welfare residency requirements, and while New York did go ahead and implement them, the Supreme Court ruled in 1999 that the residency limitations on TANF benefits was unconstitutional.

“Citizens of the United States, whether rich or poor, have the right to choose to be citizens ‘of the state wherein they reside,'” Stevens wrote, quoting the 14th Amendment. “The states, however, do not have any right to select their citizens.”

So, Paladino can promise to implement unconstitutional residency requirements on welfare, but to what end?

2. Paladino comes out against gay marriage because that’s just not how a marriage is traditionally defined. Hasn’t he lost every scintilla of moral authority to dictate to anyone what their marriage should look like, and to whom they should be married?

3. I’m loving the Pataki poster in the background. If ever there was someone who didn’t deserve a cult of personality, it’s Governor Pataxme.

Video via Albany TU

Hatred is Hatred. Violence is Violence. Terrorism is Terrorism.

11 Jun

This morning CBS interviewed the young son of the security guard who was shot yesterday by a lunatic Nazi at the Holocaust Museum, of all places. The little boy was so sweet, wearing glasses that were a bit too big for him, and he was about 7 or 8 years old – a bit young to understand the implications of all of this, but old enough to know something horrible had happened to his daddy. My oldest daughter is the same age.

What von Brunn did was senseless, tragic, and fed by years of hatred. Frankly, what happened shouldn’t have come as any surprise, having read a lot of what this idiot wrote. But seeing that little boy, whose father died yesterday for no reason whatsoever, filled me with rage.

Even if you believe, as von Brunn did, that the Jews were in a conspiracy with the Blacks to keep the white man down – a frankly insane, paranoiac belief to have – what would possess you to bring a rifle to a museum and start shooting random people? This guy was no stranger to the Nazi movement. He was an active, inflammatory spokesman for anti-Semitic causes and fringe “the Fed was set up by the Rothschilds to control world banking for the Jews” ideology. He had once gone to jail for 6 years after an aborted attempt to kidnap Fed members, including Paul Volcker, back in the 80s. Online, he agitates against Jews and Blacks and calls on “Aryans” to take violent action.

If the “only thing we have to fear is young brown men with elaborate names written in squiggles” crowd is serious about wanting to detain people indefinitely, perpetually and in perpetuity without charge, then I suggest we add people like von Brunn to that list. Why isn’t he and his ilk at Guantanamo? They’re as ideologically dangerous and prone to violence as any Qaeda member.

Either that or a “Rockefeller Law” type penal code that puts terrorists who commit, conspire to commit, or incite violence like this away for life without parole. In which case this madman could have continued to spout his BS behind a few feet of concrete and bars.

I’m not advocating for this – I’m just wondering why those who do aren’t treating equal things equally.

There’s another Timothy McVeigh out there right now. He listens to fringe right-wing shit on the internet. He probably watches Glenn Beck, and listens to Limbaugh. He talks to his co-workers about typical conservative talking points, but occasionally freaks out his more mainstream conservative buddies with a slip of the tongue revealing his anti-Semitism or racial animus. They brush it off, figuring he’s just a bit whacked. He attends gun shows and has amassed a veritable arsenal that he tends to like a pet. He owns copies of insane books like the Turner Diaries and figures it’s a handbook for direct citizen action. The current economic crisis may have affected him somehow – lost job, lost house, lost wife – it has only made him more desperate. Someone is to blame, and in his sick mind it’s the Federal Government, international Jewry, the Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, the UN, and other easy targets. He already attends tea parties, but was disappointed they don’t advocate taking up arms. He posts to all sorts of bulletin boards, including Stormfront, Free Republic, Beck’s 9-12 project, and says some whacked out things that range from using direct to indirect language to advocate for immediate violent action.

These people are out there – this guy is out there – and he hates you and everything you stand for. These people are as dangerous as any Qaeda terrorist, even though they didn’t train in Waziristan and don’t make people uncomfortable on that short domestic hop from Baltimore to Orlando.

Why are these serious threats being treated differently?

And when imbeciles like Glenn Beck incites his mouth-breathing viewers to go to war against the US Government, will he be held accountable when someone bombs a federal building? When Rush Limbaugh incites further hatred by questioning Barack Obama’s place of birth and highlighting his race, will he apologize for doing so when some tragedy happens? No. They’ll both wrap themselves around the 1st Amendment rights guaranteed them by a government they hate.

What a Bullsh*t State this Is

17 Feb
Shhhh.  Their brains are sleeping.

Shhhh. Their brains are sleeping.

The premier statewide liberal political blog highlights the fact that assemblyman and congressional candidate Jim Tedisco cost the taxpayers about $40,000 in free cars to himself and staffers. On what planet – under what circumstance – does an assemblyman or state legislator of any sort need or deserve a free car? Do what those of us in the dreaded private sector do, and get reimbursed for the mileage on your personal vehicle when traveling on state business.

To make it even more bizarre, Tedisco’s commute from home to Albany is 20 minutes, and he’s billed $21k in gas and oil reimbursements.

There’s also a report that Governor Paterson gave staffers a super-secret raise in the midst of a hiring and pay freeze and epic state fiscal imbalance.

The entire system is set up for cronyism, waste, unfairness, and appears to be backed up by a sense of greatness and entitlement that the ignorant and incompetent in Albany seem to have.

Legislative work in the state of New York is not supposed to be a glamor profession. It’s not supposed to be a ticket to the high life. It’s not an invitation to pair stupidity with arrogance and fleece the ailing taxpayers day in, day out.

A million taxpayer march. That’s what we ought to organize – taxpayers from around the state marching on Albany, expressing their outrage at the secretive, byzantine thing that passes for state government in New York. If you’re not wicked pissed, you’re not paying attention.

Some of What I Did In Order to Eat Turkey

1 Dec

After a 6 hour flight to San Diego, we could have taken a $10 cab ride to our hotel, but I had a rental car to pick up. I found San Diego’s airport to be small and clusterf*cky. After retrieving our luggage, we walked over to the area where the shuttle buses took us to Thrifty’s location nearby. The bus took a circuitous route, first to Terminal 2, and then through wads of rain-soaked traffic to Thrifty’s confusing, difficult-to-reach lot off-site.

Upon arrival, there were about 6 groups of people waiting outside to retrieve cars. I walked in and was third in line. It was 8:30 PM PST, and there were three people behind the counter.

Then two.

Then one.

Then none.

They would rotate in and out without rhyme or reason. The one person who seemed to hang out behind the counter the longest was dealing with a very noisily surly family that had reserved a compact car but needed at least a minivan or SUV for them and all their shit. They insisted that they had called and spoken with the “owner” to change their reservation the day before, but no evidence of such call or change was forthcoming from either side of the ridiculously lengthy standoff.

The other employees took excruciatingly long to complete people’s check-in, and once all the insurances had been offered and rejected, after all the Garmins and fuel options had been explained, offered, and rejected, the clerk would disappear out to the lot for tens of minutes. There was at least one 10 minute span of time during which no customers were being attended-to by clerks behind the counter.

I tend not to be too vocal about my exasperation with untenably long customer service failures, but I was starting to mutter colorful curses in Croatian, so as not to offend people with a full-on “mother f*cker” or “how the f*ck complicated is it to rent someone a f*cking car” in public.

Meanwhile, my wife and kids (for whom it was significantly past bedtime) were waiting outside in the fresh air/rain, where periodically 737s and DC-9s would roar mere tens of feet overhead on their final approach to the runway, the end of which was located 1/2 block away.

Finally, the surly family that couldn’t fit their bedouin-camp’s worth of belongings and people into a Hyundai Sonata went outside to deliberate their next move, so my turn came around. I had booked the “wild car“, which guarantees a mid-size or better car for a compact price.

I was given a wheezy, smelly Ford Fusion with 30,000 miles on it, still dirty from sand and discarded Cheerios. It was dark and rainy out, and the lot was poorly lit, so I didn’t inspect it for damage before leaving. I loaded everyone and everything into its stained beige velour confines, and as I was leaving, I had to show my paperwork to some kid by the exit. I did so, and he asked for some form that I hadn’t seen. It was the “I inspected the car” form. I took it, scrawled “D/N INSPECT” on it, handed it back to him, and went on my merry way.

My last two car rental / travel experiences had been in the comparatively super-organized Fort Lauderdale airport, where Thrifty’s cars & counter are in an adjacent parking structure, convenient as can be. Also by comparison, Buffalo’s airport has state-of-the-art rental car facilities versus that of San Diego.

Despite its predilection to over-revving when accelerating to highway speeds, and its odor of smoke and feet, the Fusion got decent mileage, had a big trunk, and performed reasonably well. It enabled us to spend some time on the beach at Coronado, and checking out the views in La Jolla, Point Loma, and Sunset Cliffs.

San Diego itself has transormed itself from a sleepy border town into a world-class city, complete with thriving downtown entertainment districts, high-rise condos, a massive waterfront convention center, great shopping, a downtown ballfield, and an accessible waterfront with actual stuff to do. Hell, they even have a modern commuter rail system.

I will say, however, that 70 degrees and sunny year-round can get boring. There’s nothing like 30 degrees, cloudy, snowy, & windy to make you truly appreciate it when we do get 70 and sunny. Also, while we do have the aforementioned cold, snow, and wind, we do not have persistent drought, frequent massive fires, or earthquakes. And last I checked, there was no massive drug war going on in Niagara Falls or Fort Erie, Ontario.