Tag Archives: Rep. Tom Reynolds

A Pox on Both Your Houses

18 May

Is it any wonder that Jack Davis is running a close third at 24% in recent NY-26 polling. Or, to be more exact, Not Jane Corwin is running at 24%. The strength of third party candidates is a direct reflection of the general opinion of the electorate on the two main nominees. Democrats are thus seemingly content with the choice of Kathy Hochul, as is reflected in the 2% draw of Ian Murphy. It may help that Ian Murphy can’t has balance between humor and serious policy position. Incidentaly, he can’t has mandatory FEC filings either, as far as I can tell. In any case, having learned their Kryzan/Powers/Davis lesson of two and half years ago, Democrats sorted themselves out in time for a special election this year.

Republicans, on the other hand, are unhappy with their party’s choice. This bodes well for the future, though not the immediate present.

Jane Corwin is the least desirable of the three main archetypes Republicans have rolled out to voters since the election of President Obama. The Congressional midterms were dominated by tax cutting, true believer Tea Party types, who managed to swing to the right of (former) Senator Bob Bennett of Utah, for instance, and in disowning President Bush’s over-spending, convinced voters that they really, finally, were going to be the one’s to cut the budget. So far they have bandied about with side issues, enjoyed modest though real success (converting President Obama from a Stimulator to a Budget Cutter is no small feat) , and are meeting the wall of reality in the opposition to Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan.

Archetype #2 is the distinctly Southern brand of social conservative, which believes opposition to the teaching of evolution in school is a matter of such public import that it leads as a major policy plank of their election platform. I may disagree with their policy substance and priority both, but at least they often fairly represent their districts.

New York seems saddled with Archetype #3 – the Empty Vessel. The special election for NY-23 proved true Tea Partiers don’t do well enough up here. Likewise, the evangelical appeal is not broadly culturally appropriate. So we are left with the hollow opposition. In Chris Lee, Jane Corwin, and Chris Collins, one is encouraged to find whatever one is looking for. Safe Republican platitudes about lowering taxes and fiscal responsibility. A business-veneer meant to denote trust and competence: “If [insert-Empty-Vessel-name-here] can build a business in New York under our onerous tax and regulation climate, they must be good!”

But underneath, there lies only the forgotten wisp of a shadow of policy positions. Chris Collins has the most going for him, but struggles to succeed beyond only the lowest of low-hanging fruit (note: cell phones and picnic shelters are a start, not the end). Chris Lee had the instinct to attach himself to Brian Higgins, but not much else. Jane Corwin is the emptiest yet, and her failures reveal a national Republican flaw.

Articulate defense is required when approaching a third rail of American politics. Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan is not for the faint of heart and vacuous of policy background, and unfortunately, the large number of social conservatives, true believers and Empty Vessels recently elected do not have the nimbleness to do the fight justice. By using the buzzzword “voucher,” Ryan excites the Right and opens countless openings for opponents to fearmonger a Democratic version of Deathpanels. Paul Ryan hates your poor old grandma and wants her dead – that’s why he’s gutting Medicare.

Of course, Medicare already is a voucher system without the voucher. The government provides the money (i.e. voucher), you go see a private doctor, and the government pays. You never see the voucher, but one can think of age and citizenship as the invisible substitute for one. Healthcare conglomerates certainly understand this, and already see Medicare patients as walking cash registers. Introducing the actual voucher into the mix adheres to a basic economic theory that when someone knows the cost of a service, they will seek a best value. When costs are unknown to the purchaser, its easy to end up with the highest end product full of features you would never have purchased yourself. At its basic level, Paul Ryan’s plan is about introducing economics into healthcare, a controversial opinion and a realm that only the uninsured currently occupy. The current economics-free Medicare System will be broke in an ever-shrinking 13 years. The choice is not between the current system and vouchers. The choice is between vouchers, and something yet to be articulated, as Democrats still bury their head in the sand, searching for votes.

Defending, discussing and advocating for an stark ideological position like this takes policy understanding and rhetorical faculties either Jan Corwin does not have, or is unwilling to learn. Paul Ryan’s Plan is not a policy position that defends itself. Corwin is only now understanding this. Her solution is to play video games. Tom Reed’s solution is to talk to voters.

Congressman Tom Reed took over for (faux?) cancer victim and tickle-fight extraordinaire Eric Massa, representing the Southern Tier in the 29th District. While Corwin cancels campaign events, Reed is holding a remarkable series of town hall meetings and forums with constituents to discuss the budget deficit and what to do about it. He has ideas and he talks about them, with voters. It sounds positively revolutionary, and that’s sad.

How far metro-Buffalo Republicans have fallen. Tom Reynolds was the last of a line that included Jack Kemp and Bill Paxon – representatives of Buffalo with national standing and influence. I’d even take moderate and dependable Jack Quinn at this point; he is head and shoulders above what passes for the party’s candidates now. In retrospect, last Autumn’s crowning of the Erie County GOP machine as the state leader was a bit premature. Paladino’s defeat of Rick Lazio now looks more like a hyper-surreal sign-of-the-times than a true indicator of the future. There is no second flash in this pan.

Buffalo does not seem destined to find another of Tom Reynolds’ stature any time soon. My colleague Alan Bedenko dismisses Reynolds in his endorsement piece of Kathy Hochul:

Chris Lee and Tom Reynolds were basically placeholder Republibots. Reynolds came from a background where he had to work for a living, so his main function in congress was to grow his own political clout and power, which has since enabled him to go to work as a lobbyist. He was always more interested in the Beltway game than western New York, except when Jack Davis’ campaign spooked him in 2006 . . .

I disagree, and would not lump Reynolds in with what has come later. It may be that Reynolds grew to care less about WNY, but in one important respect, Tom Reynolds embodied the WNY culture. He was our native son grown up, moved away, and done good. We followed his newspaper clippings intently. When he appeared on national television, so did Buffalo. Like the Bills, he made us nationally relevant. He fulfilled our desire to still matter.

It is perhaps also befitting of Buffalo that I would be nostalgic for our political past instead of promoting the future. Oh well.

Not too long ago, but before the Fonz and the Amherst Bear competed for shark jumping headlines, I predicted Corwin would win, based purely on registration. Chris Smith predicted the opposite. In the last several days, the odds seem to be tipping in his favor. The Rothenberg Political Report gives the edge of Hochul because of the Democrats have the edge in the enthusiasm gap. I would agree, though the enthusiasm in question seems to be for a Democrat winning, and not for Hochul personally.

No matter who wins, the new Congressman or woman will join a shrinking WNY delegation consisting of Buffalo-First and National-Unknown Brian Higgins, Failed Parliamentary Trick Promoter Louise Slaughter (who lately excels mostly at getting high speed rail funds for NY districts other than her own), and the aforementioned Reed. The Obscure, the Tired and the Diligent. Which luminary will we add to this constellation?

Mr Clout is now Principled on Pork?

17 Mar

You can take the man out of politics, but you can’t take the politics out of the man.

Tom Reynolds is suddenly anti-pork, or was it, as Heaney suggests, a final middle finger to his constituents?

I’ll always remember him thusly:

Who's Afraid?

15 Aug

Jack Davis and the Republican Party, that’s who’s afraid.

Just one week out after peddling a story accusing Jon Powers of running War Kids Relief into the ground and enriching himself in the process, the Jack Davis campaign goes back to its bitter well of desperation and trots out a story that Jon Powers was arrested in Ohio for cursing out a cop. A flat-out lie.

But Powers spokeswoman Victoria Dillon saw the incident differently. She said Powers was with college friends and fellow veterans in the area, and denied at the time and denies now that he ever used obscene language in addressing the officer. She also offered to produce witnesses to back up Powers.

“At a time when he’s under investigation and running from revelations of election fraud and bribery, the Davis campaign is practicing the lowest form of politics by distorting simple facts,” Dillon said. “Jon was written a ticket for jaywalking, never arrested and never showed any disrespect to law enforcement.”

But a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Heights Municipal Court said Powers changed his plea of not guilty to the original Class 4 misdemeanor charge to “no contest” in connection with a minor misdemeanor on Jan. 11, 2005, and that there was no mention of jaywalking in the final disposition of the case.

Dillon disagrees.

“When you look at the full statute, jaywalking is part of that statute,” she said.

A review of the Ohio criminal code defines a number of offenses that would constitute disorderly conduct — but not jaywalking.

Dillon, however, countered that it would refer to a section outlining “hindering or preventing the movement of persons on a public street.”

Powers was fined $25 and assessed $65 in court costs.

Gosh, that’s a lot of paragraphs for a $25 ticket. Powers wasn’t arrested. And he didn’t plead, and wasn’t found, guilty. And he paid a ticket. If Davis wants to paint Powers as being a one-time, one-man jaywalking spree, then that’s fine. But it doesn’t change the fact that Davis has nothing whatsoever to run on as a candidate. Oh, and when the Powers campaign offered to put McCarthy in touch with other people who witnessed the event? McCarthy wasn’t interested. He was all about covering the politics of it – not the facts.

Davis has nothing else to do, really. The two-time loser ran in ’04 and ’06 in a fit of ongoing pique against the Republican Party, which couldn’t be bothered with his concerns about free trade and blew him off. Because his message against free trade was so palatable to people whose jobs are threatened with exportation, he had overwhelming support in both races from organized labor and the Democratic Party faithful.

Not so this time, Davis finds himself completely bereft of endorsements. No one is supporting him except the people he can pay off. Whether buying their votes with cheap gas, or by paying off the wives of Independence Party leadership in Monroe and Erie Counties in order to get a leg up, Jack Davis will do and say anything to get elected. The gas giveaway was tantamount to him standing on a street corner handing out lit with $50 bills attached, yet he bleats on about being a “patriot” who isn’t trying to buy an election. Monroe’s IP chair was fired for accepting what the party called Davis’ bribes. Erie’s chair is such damaged goods that even his friend Joe Illuzzi has called for his replacement.

So, Davis is left sitting at his corporate/campaign HQ, getting his spokesguy to release absolute and utter falsities. Memo to Jack: it won’t get you any more traction to tear down Powers, and no one – no one is going to change their minds and back you again. As Genesee County Democratic Chair Charlie Mallow put it,

As many other letter writers have shown, Jack Davis doesn’t know what issues matter to Democrats because….he doesn’t care to know them. During the last two elections, Jack didn’t go out and meet anyone because he wouldn’t campaign. Jack is above all that. Jack thinks that he can just buy an election with fancy two sided color mailers. I already received five of them in the mail. Rip off musical ads and buying people off with cheap gas are more of his most recent techniques. Those things don’t constitute reasons to vote for someone. Ideology and platform do.

And Davis isn’t the only one.

The Republicans also hit Powers yesterday on the War Kids Vet non-scandal.

Erie County Republican Chairman James P. Domagalski [said] “We need leaders in Congress who believe in transparency and accountability.”

Well, that’s interesting, isn’t it? For the Republican Party to interject itself into a Democratic Primary? Fascinating indeed to trot out various and sundry Chairmen of the Republican Party to comment on – well, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary.

Domagalski wasn’t such a loud proponent of transparency and accountability when it came time for Tom Reynolds to answer questions about Mark Foley. Instead, the Republican version of “transparency” and “accountability” was to issue limp denials surrounded by innocent children.

And all of this short-term-attention-span-disorder points to only one thing – the Republicans are petrified of running Chris Lee against Jon Powers.

Career politician Tom Reynolds has been suckling on the public teat since 1974, and Lee is his hand-picked suckle-cessor. Are you better off now than you were in 1989? 2000? 2004? 2006?

Alice Kryzan? She supported Reynolds monetarily and defended Hooker Chemical, the polluter/murderer of Love Canal. Jack Davis? He’s a horrible campaigner and is, frankly, easy as hell to beat (see Tom Reynolds ca. 2006). Chris “Tabula Rasa” Lee would have no problem bloodying either of these two.

The Republican Party is scared of Powers because they know their brand is tainted, they know they are bereft of ideas, and they know that they are partly to blame for the decline of the 26th District. Who has represented this district in the past few decades? Tom Reynolds? Bill Paxon? Jack Kemp? And in that time, the population loss for New York has been so stark as a result of a failure of vision and leadership that Kemp went from representing the 39th district to the 36th district, and now we only have 29. We lost 30 and 31 in the 2000 census. We lost 32 – 35 in the 1990 census.

Chris Lee has nothing to run on. Apart from his stellar maxing out of local Republican donors, I haven’t seen one story – one fresh idea come out of that campaign. I haven’t seen one positive proposal put forth that would reverse years’ worth of benign-but-pork-laden-neglect from the likes of Tom Reynolds. And what could Lee possibly know of the problems facing the average voter in NY-26? I don’t know a lot of multimillionaires for whom the price of a gallon of gas dents the family budget to the point that “staycation” has entered the vernacular. I don’t know a lot of multimillionaire scions who can really relate to the notion that New York is in a recession, the federal government can’t even get cross-border stuff with Canada right, and whose only real solution is to drill s’more.

It’s no wonder that the Republicans are petrified of Powers. That’s why, when the Form 990 for War Kids Relief –

– War Kids Relief which, incidentally, Jon Powers started up after his tour of duty in the Iraq war, and saw that Iraqi kids were ripe for the picking by jihadists to be slaughtered through attacks on American troops, decided that if the US wasn’t going to pay any attention to trying to give them hope for a future, he would try to do something. And he did. And War Kids is an ongoing concern from which he did not pay himself $66,000, contrary to the lies put forth by the 26th’s own Montgomery Burns and his stenographer, Bob McCarthy, and continues to do outreach to Iraqi kids to underscore the fact that America isn’t their enemy, but wants to help them. The effort was not only a success, but it was a noble success, at that.

– that’s why, when the Form 990 for War Kids Relief is posted, I hope that Jon Powers marches down to Republican Headquarters at the Statler Building and delivers it in-hand. And I hope that he then challenges the Republican chairs to come close to matching what Powers has done to fight for his country, to honor his home, and to try to do something – anything – to ensure that Iraq’s next generation remembers America and Americans as being their friends, their friends who helped them and cared for them, and gave them an example of what life could be, without war and oppression.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan issued his own response:

“I wonder how many people at that press conference put their lives on the line in Iraq. How can they criticize someone who braved the horrors of that war and then willingly returned to help the many children from families that were killed or displaced by the war?

“The fact that Republicans are intervening in a Democratic primary indicates their desire to avoid facing Jon Powers in November,” he added. “Haven’t we had enough of this swift boat sleaze?”

Why, someone might almost suspect that Davis colluded with the Republicans to hit Powers from two fronts.

UPDATE: Buffalo Bean has an image of the citation itself. Note the right margin: where it says “Defendant’s signature (If minor misdemeanor)”, at the scene, Powers refused to sign the ticket because he adamantly stated he never cursed the cop out. When he was faced with the choice of being arrested or signing the ticket, he signed it with the words “I never said that.” I never said that.

For the uninitiated and dumb, a ticket is an allegation – it is the officer’s claim that Powers said these things in a crowd. Powers denied it then, denies it now. This is why we have trials. This is why Powers pleaded no contest. Since Buffalo Bean has the ticket, I trust he also has the documents showing its disposition.

UPDATE: Here are two guys in suits calling on Jon Powers to release the Form 990 that was due today and has been filed, and will answer all of their questions. Fucking cheap stunt from two guys who probably never gave two thoughts for kids in Iraq before yesterday when the cameras were rolling.

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UPDATE: Robert Harding says Davis had three attacks against Powers – youth, disorderly conduct, and War Kids money. He’s out of ammo. All that stands between Jack Davis and obscurity now is a couple weeks’ time.

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

2006: The one Debate

14 Aug

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Yes, Ex-Republicans, We Can

30 Jul

Some of the Republican bloggers talking about the 26th race, (who evidently have little to write about when it comes to Chris Lee), have linked to me with respect to the “Jack Davis is a former Republican” post. They thrillingly write what can be summed up as: aha! Jon Powers was a Republican too! Alice Kryzan gave money to Tom Reynolds!

Well, no shit sherlock(s). Reeding komprehenshun. Not yours.

As I wrote yesterday, I, too, am a former Republican. The point of the post had little to do with former Republicanism and more to do with…

Jack Davis is now saying that other candidates are flawed because they accept PAC funds. Yet he himself proves his charge to be untrue. After all, even after giving all those thousands to conservative candidates and PACs, Dick Cheney still refused to give Jack Davis the time of day when he came to Buffalo in 2002. Davis’ first run for congress was an anti-Cheney temper tantrum.

In the end, it’s all about the money to Jack Davis. If his money can’t get conservatives to listen to him, he’ll use it on himself. His misguided anti-Powers temper tantrum has everything to do with the fact that Powers is trying to take what Jack things is rightfully his. After all, he bought and paid for it.

Just like Jack Davis tried to buy himself the IP line by basically paying off Tony Orsini’s wife’s do-nothing Florida corporation or the resigned-in-disgrace Blanca Semidey-Colon.

But there is something to point out to my Republican blogging friends that’s also pretty interesting. They’re all former Republicans. I wonder why?

Eight years of what amounts to a pathetic attempt by government-despising Republicans to govern has turned loads of people off to that particular political party. They’ve taken borrowing and spending to new, hitherto-unseen heights. They have divided and conquered. They have lined up American troops at the border of a sovereign nation and invaded and occupied it based on a flimsy-at-best and false-at-worse pretext. They have sanctioned and approved the use of torture against people locked up without charge (so we can’t really determine just how bad they are or might be) so as to obtain oftentimes useless information given more in an effort to make it stop than actual truthiness. Those are just a few reasons why there are loads of ex-Republicans out there. It’s become a fundamentally un-conservative party. Except maybe when it comes to letting gay people marry.

Oh, and yesterday it was revealed that the Justice Department, which is supposed to – above all – uphold the law and, one hopes, be a meritocracy, promoted and demoted people based on a political purity test rather than experience and merit. It is American tradition that loyalty is not due the head of state, rather to our flag and constitution.

So, yes, Virginia, there are many ex-Republicans out there, and chances are many of them live in the NY-26. Maybe they haven’t switched affiliation yet, but I’d be willing to bet that, at a bare minimum, the foundering economy makes their zeal for the GOP somewhat diminished. Which means that no matter who is the Democratic nominee come September, they will more likely identify with and support the young vet and teacher from Clarence, or the doddering old industrialist from Akron rather than the unemployed millionaire heir who helped sell out the company to out-of-towners. I’m sure Lee will do well in with his base. The Democrat, too, will have his or her base. But the enrollment advantage that a generic Republican might otherwise have in the 26th is, I think, a mirage.

While this blogger characterizes voters in two blocs – liberal and conservative – I think the average American can’t be pigeonholed like that. Most regular general election voters don’t fit perfectly into either box. They’re a little of both. And that’s where the Republicans, and their pseudo-Collins choice, have, I think, made an error.

Say what you want about Tom Reynolds, he comes across as a regular guy who speaks plainly and matter-of-factly. There’s nothing flashy about him, and he’s a guy who was a Realtor and insurance agent before he started his long political ascent. Chris Lee?

Chris Lee's Views: Pablum

1 Jul

After much ribbing about the non-existent and/or empty “views” section of his website, Republican candidate for Congress in the 26th district has finally gotten around to having some.

I am running for Congress to bring real change to Washington, D.C., restore accountability, get people to stop the partisan bickering and start solving the problems families are facing. This is what Western New Yorkers are demanding, and it is what they deserve.

By working together we can make these things happen, and we can get Washington working again for Western New York.

If we do that then we can help create jobs at home, lower taxes for hard working families, develop a real energy policy, and ensure access to affordable healthcare for all Western New Yorkers.

Washington working for Western New York. That’s a great idea. Um, what’s his predecessor been doing along those lines for the past 10 years? It’s all platitudes cribbed from some primer on how to run as a Republican but sounding like a Democrat. Republicans don’t give a shit about “affordable healthcare”. They’re far more concerned with taxation of the wealthiest 1%, not “hard working families”.

The most important thing for our families is having jobs not just for us, but for our children. Right now Western New York is facing the challenge of entering a 21st century economy and not having enough jobs for our children. Fortunately, Western New York is well equipped to face these challenges. We have a world-class workforce, excellent educational institutions and a work ethic second to none. What needs to happen is the government, in Washington and Albany, needs to get out of the way and let businesses do what they do best – create jobs. When I am elected, I will fight everyday for policies that increase the incentives for businesses to take risks, be entrepreneurial and ultimately create jobs.

How is Washington in the way, and would he do to get it out of said way? Taxes and spending, evidently – no surprise, coming from a Republican candidate. The problem is that the Republican party has put the Democrats to shame in terms of the growth of government and government spending at the federal level since George W. Bush came to office. Why are we to believe that Lee would not help perpetuate that state of affairs? Bush has grown government, kept taxes low to help the budget deficit balloon, engaged in nation-building adventures in the middle east and then shortchanged them when it got difficult.

Definitely Washington is broken. Definitely Albany is broken. What can Lee as a congressman do to fix Albany? Again – platitudes that sound phenomenal but have no meat to them.

Lee also says we need a “comprehensive energy policy”:

– Lessen our dependence on foreign oil by increasing American made energy through exploration;
– Promote new, clean, reliable sources of energy;
– Encourage conservation, and;
– Increase investment in research funding for alternative energy.

Respectively, how, what, how, and what? The call from McCain and Bush has been for drilling everywhere. Respectfully, that’s like putting a Band-Aid on an amputation site. Nice sentiment, but it would take literally years – if not a decade – before any such drilling would have any effect on the market. Furthermore, conservation is now in full effect, given the cost of fuel. Price is up, demand is way down. So, if all this is run by the market, why does lower demand equal ever-higher prices?

Again – demand for gasoline has been dropping, yet the price continues to rise. The idea that this is just market forces at work doesn’t fly. In 2008, it is high time that we develop and reach a consensus on a fuel for personal conveyances to replace petroleum. We’re using technology that’s over 100 years old.

Lee also believes that health care is an issue. The buzzword is “market-based”. Anything the Republicans recommend will be characterized as “market-based”, while they will criticize the Democrats’ plans as being “socialized medicine”. Meanwhile, all of the plans being suggested are market-based. No one is proposing socialized medicine.

While Mr. Lee complains that WNY is not getting its fair share of federal dollars, he also argues:

I will fight for a more transparent and fair system that will ensure real earmark reform. Any dollar being spent by the federal government should be done so in the light of day not behind closed doors. I want to change the way Washington does business by ensuring that we have an open system that holds our leaders accountable. Just like a CEO would want, Western New Yorkers deserve to know exactly how their money is being spent – that can only happen with a more transparent and accountable Washington.

How? What sort of transparency is he proposing? And which is it? More fair share, or fewer earmarks?

In other news, Chris Lee held a fundraiser last night. It was a swanky affair at the Marriott on Millersport. All of the Republican glitterati were in attendance, and Tom Reynolds introduced Lee to the crowd. Illuzzi was there enjoying the free food, making subtle threats, and writes:

I had the pleasure of attending what was truly an “All-Star” fundraising event last night kicking off NY 26 Congressional Candidate Chris Lee’s fundraising efforts.

Congressman Tom Reynolds declared the event to have set a new record for a first time candidate’s congressional fundraising event. Over 300 people in attendance!!! Early estimates are over $175,000 raised at the event.

That averages out to over $580 per person.

Lee is an unemployed child of wealth who inherited part of the sell-out of his father’s business. He’s pledged to spend $1 million of his own money on the race. Will he, like Chris Collins, forego his federal salary if elected? I recall Jack Davis making that pledge 2 years ago. Why should taxpayers cut a six-figure check with benefits and pension for a millionaire heir?

Paterson and Gay Marriage

30 May

The other day, Governor Paterson declared that New York would recognize gay marriages performed in Canada, Massachusetts, and California.

Naturally, some are up in arms about it. Outgoing crap Congressman Tom Reynolds said,

This is a terrible decision, directed in a secretive and abusive manner, designed to circumvent any sort of public hearing or comment from the New York people. The Governor should full well know the rightful role and prerogative the legislature has in the rule of law in this matter.

Therefore, I am calling on the Governor to suspend this ill-advised executive directive. I intend to call the Catholic Conference, the New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, legislative leaders and other interested parties to assist in looking at the options available in helping cease and desist the Governor’s directive.

Frankly, this is yet another example of a New York Governor abusing his power to disregard the legislature, the rule of law and most importantly the people of New York. Whether it is trying to issue drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants or attempting to recognize gay marriages this pattern of circumventing the legislature and the will of the New York people is not only troubling but should not be recognized by the legislative or judicial branch or the public as a whole.

Why?

I mean, why not just consider my Massachusetts marriage invalid in New York State, too? It was entered into outside the purview of New York statute and law, after all.

I understand that there are people who are opposed to this quite strenuously on a variety of grounds. Primary among them is religion. But when you subtract relgion from the argument, what are you left with? What is the reason why we shouldn’t just let gay people get married to each other? Does it really cheapen or weaken heterosexual marriage? Then ban divorce. Is it really equal to letting pedophiles marry kids, or letting people marry pets? Of course not, and it’s just idiotic to suggest that.

Watch liberal pinko commie Bill O’Reilly tackle the issue with a gay marriage opponent:

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UPDATE: There’s a debate going on in comments, where some are alleging that Paterson’s directive to state agencies that they recognize same-sex unions entered into legally out-of-state is an improper usurpation of democracy and the rule of law. Naturally, I disagree strenuously.

But I wanted to add that I listened to Paterson’s statement on this issue just now, and to his rationale. For instance, New York State has no such thing as “common-law marriage”, but other states do. We have traditionally recognized the validity of those unions when those couples come to New York.

Furthermore, Paterson’s order is based on a February 1st 4th Appellate Division decision, (penned by Republican Supreme Court Justice Erin Peradotto), in the case of Martinez v. County of Monroe, linked to here. (.pdf) The key point and rationale:

For well over a century, New York has recognized marriages solemnized outside of New York unless they fall into two categories of exception: (1) marriage, the recognition of which is prohibited by the “positive law” of New York and (2) marriages involving incest or polygamy, both of which fall within the prohibitions of “natural law” (Matter of May, 305 NY 486, 491; see Moore v Hegeman, 92 NY 521, 524; Thorp v Thorp, 90 NY 602, 605; see generally Van Voorhis v Brintnall, 86 NY 18, 24-26). Thus, if a marriage is valid in the place where it was entered, “it is to be recognized as such in the courts of this State, unless contrary to the prohibitions of natural law or the express prohibitions of a statute” (Moore, 92 NY at 524; see also Thorp, 90 NY at 606; Van Voorhis, 86 NY at 25-26). Under that “marriage-recognition” rule, New York has recognized a marriage between an uncle and his niece “by the half blood” (May, 305 NY at 488), common-law marriages valid under the laws of other states (see Matter of Mott v Duncan Petroleum Trans., 51 NY2d 289, 292-293), a marriage valid under the law of the Province of Ontario, Canada of a man and a woman both under the age of 18 (see Donohue v Donohue, 63 Misc 111, 112-113), and a “proxy marriage” valid in the District of Columbia (Fernandes v Fernandes, 275 App Div 777), all of which would have been invalid if solemnized in New York.

We conclude that plaintiff’s marriage does not fall within either of the two exceptions to the marriage-recognition rule. “[A]bsent any New York statute expressing clearly the Legislature’s intent to regulate within this State marriages of its domiciliaries solemnized abroad, there is no positive law in this jurisdiction” to prohibit recognition of a marriage that would have been invalid if solemnized in New York (May, 305 NY at 493 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see also Van Voorhis, 86 NY at 37). The Legislature has not enacted legislation to prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages validly entered into outside of New York, and we thus conclude that the positive law exception to the general rule of foreign marriage recognition is not applicable in this case.

(Emphasis added.) So, as you can see, there is not only legal precedent, but legal justification and rationale for what Paterson did, which is merely to implement the holding of the 4th Department across all state agencies and entities.

That’s how a democracy works.

My Time Coming … Any Day, Don't Worry About Me, No

6 May

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Whilst endorsing Chris Lee as the sole Republican candidate for NY-26, outgoing rep Tom Reynolds took a swipe at County Executive Chris Collins – the guy who’s not a politician, ‘member?

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds promised today to “enthusiastically and tirelessly” work for Republican Christopher J. Lee to succeed him in Washington, while also swiping at Erie County Executive Chris Collins for failing to join the effort.

The retiring congressman appeared with Lee at Republican Headquarters in the Statler Towers to laud Lee’s “no-nonsense approach to cutting taxes and eliminating bureaucracy.”

“He knows just exactly what Western New Yorkers are thinking,” Reynolds said.

But the congressman also thrust a jab toward fellow Republican Collins, who had backed businessman Rick Lewis for the post and continues to discuss the race with other Republicans.

“I’m an old school politician,” Reynolds said. “So I believe that county executives from our area ought run the government and county chairmen need to do the politics.”

I would quibble with the notion that a multimillionaire who sold out his locally-based company a few months ago knows “exactly what Western New Yorkers are thinking“, but the swipe was a funny.

Davis' Millionaire Amendment

22 Apr

I’m always tickled by the argument that money = free speech in politics. It was the argument made by opponents of McCain-Feingold, and it’s being used by curmudgeonly obnoxious Jack Davis in the Supreme Court.

Under the “millionaire’s amendment”, if a candidate for congress self-finances by more than $350,000, his opponent can raise more money from individual donors than would otherwise be permitted. In Tom Reynolds’ case in 2006, it would have been triple the amount legally permitted.

Except for one thing.

Reynolds did not avail himself of the law. Really, Davis has nothing whatsoever to complain about.

Using Davis’ logic…

“Political expression is at the core of the First Amendment,” said the lawyer, Andrew D. Herman, who said the law inhibited Davis’ right to express himself by giving Reynolds the right to raise three times as much from individual donors as normal candidates could raise.

…bribery is nothing more than an exercise of protected political speech. If I bribe my congressman to do something on my behalf, what could be more political speechy than that?

So go for it, Jack. Protect the right of millionaires to self-finance election campaigns and call a leveling of the playing field violative of your first amendment rights.

I can only dream of having $7 million to piss away over the course of 6 years.

NY-26 – Not. For. Effing. Sale.

2 Apr

This Bob McCarthy article steamed me up. There’s a laundry list of eager swots looking to convince party bigshots that they can buy their way into Reynolds’ open seat. So-and-so will pledge $3 million in personal funds; so-and-so will pledge $1 million in personal funds, etc.

So are only the ridiculously wealthy worthy?

It’s evident that I’m a supporter of Jon Powers in this race. Jon isn’t rich, and he hasn’t been able to pledge hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money towards his own race. Instead, he’s spent uncountable time, precious shoe leather, and when he meets prospective voters, the connection he makes is worth more than a five-figure loan to one’s own campaign account.

Republican sources say his inability to so far attract big Democratic donors shows his fundraising has a long way to go. But Powers says he’s satisfied with the fact that 65 percent of his donations are $50 or less.

Powers’ “inability to so far attract big Democratic donors” is partly due to the fact that the biggest counties in the district haven’t endorsed anyone yet. The Republicans have loads of names, few of whom can be bothered to run. The Democrats, by contrast, have too many candidates talking about running.

Today, some other website leaked the results of only part of a poll showing Jon Powers to be largely unknown in the district. That’s not really surprising, is it?

If one took a poll measuring the public perception of Michael Powers (who has declined to run) or Anthony Baynes (who has declined to run) or Jordan Levy (who was out before he was ever in), or David Bellavia (heard of him? He’s a Republican running in NY-26), the results would no doubt be rather similar. Ever heard of Stephen Hawley? If you’re in Genesee County, maybe. Not very familiar here.

Naturally, Jack Davis has name recognition coming out the wazoo. He’s run for congress twice, spent a lot of money on ads galore, and almost won last time out. Jon Powers has been doing the retail politicking that gets him one-on-one with voters. He invariably connects with them, but it’s far, far too early to spend megabucks on profile-raising TV ads right now.

In his stump speech, Powers says that, in the service, some lead by rank, and others lead by example. Using it against Reynolds, he states that, for too long, the representative from New York’s 26th has led by rank. Jon pleads to lead by example.

I have a feeling there are a lot of people who are going to be pulling rank on Jon in the following weeks. Rank based on money, and rank based on longevity in public service.