Tag Archives: voting

The Morning Grumpy

30 Jun

6/30/2011


I have a voracious appetite for internet memes, video, podcasts, news and analysis, so each morning I’ll share several links that you can consume during your “morning grumpy”.

1. Last week, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation announced the completion of a new “restaurant” at the Inner Harbor. This is what it looks like:

What was supposed to be announced instead of this slanty-roofed Kone King replica was a restaurant at the Naval and Military Park. Well, that worked out as well as expected.

A waterfront agency was expected to approve $200,000 in April to pay for the buildout of a restaurant with an outdoor patio at Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park.

Then the mayor, who said he had been left out of the loop, put the brakes on the project. Now, a refreshment stand on the wharf, but not the restaurant in the museum, will be opening Friday.

Essentially, Mayor Brown wanted the restaurant contract to be directed to former Erie County Legislator George Holt, who turned down the opportunity. Then, the usual palm greasing, crumb hoarding, and backroom haggling began and we end up with a half-assed lean-to which will serve up snacky cakes.

The ECHDC, always desperate to please the Mark Goldman and his 40 friends, decided to put a positive face on this “food shack” and asked for the community for input on what to name the “exciting new development”. Seriously, what exactly are we paying the people at this authority for at this point? Let’s just put Mark Goldman on contract, hire Fred Kent from PPS to do some more Google Image Searches for us and have Goldman’s millionaire brother Tony laugh at the very idea of investing his own money into Canalside. I’ve had enough.

Reminder, the waterfront would have looked something like this, right now, if we hadn’t completely restarted the process:

2. The bane of our political existence is two party rule and First Past The Post (FPTP) voting. It leads to electoral fusion, minimizing variance of opinion and a system which encourages consolidation of power. A solution would be something called Instant Run Off Voting.  Learn about it here and watch a video that explains it in a very simple fashion.

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3. An economist blogger has been writing an ongoing series about health care system “memes” that continue to permeate our debate, even when evidence shows them to be false. The introductory post in his series contains links to all entries. This particular entry is about the myth that “tort reform” would result in a significant reduction in national healthcare spending. I link to it today because I watched the documentary “Hot Coffee” last night and you should as well.

For better or for worse, whenever many are asked about how they would help control the cost of the health-care system, tort reform always seems to be one of the first things offered as a solution.

This image should sum up the argument against tort reform nicely.

4. The Economist created a useful interactive graph displaying state-level economic, political, and demographic data. The screenshot below shows GDP numbers by state:

Click here to read the full story

5.new report out of Brown University estimates that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq–together with the counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan–will, all told, cost $4 trillion and leave 225,000 dead, both civilians and soldiers. That doesn’t include the current Libyan conflict nor incursions into Yemen. In estimating the $4 trillion total, they did not take into account the $5.3 billion in reconstruction spending the government has promised Afghanistan, state and local contributions to veteran care, interest payments on war debt, or the costs of Medicare for veterans when they reach 65.

6. On to lighter fare, ever wonder how a hard drive works? It’s extraordinary technology.

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7. Yeah, Grover Norquist is completely rational. Fast forward to 5:30 in the video. I know he was in a jokey environment and all, but Norquist truly believes it is never acceptable to ever raises taxes on anyone in America under any circumstances. This guy is at the heart of the current conservative movement.

8. What’s happening with the national debt ceiling? Here’s an explanation.

9. I’ll close with a life lesson from Leon. Rough language, but advice worth hearing. Curb Your Enthusiasm returns to HBO on July 10th.

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New York State Marriage Equality Vote Friday

15 Jun

In the middle of yesterday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo submitted a bill to the legislature that would provide equal marriage rights to gay couples. The bill is expected to make its way through the Assembly, and then move on to the Senate, where a dramatic vote is likely on Friday.

The bill exempts religious institutions from being compelled by the state to recognize or solemnize same-sex marriages. The bill memo is here. The text is here:

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Cuomo had indicated that he wouldn’t submit the bill until he knew he had the votes for it to pass.  But that’s what they said in 2009 when the “Democratic”-led Senate tried it.  At that time, however, it was set up right before an election and was defeated because some senators of both parties saw it as a direct threat to their ability to obtain the Conservative Party endorsement.

As of right now, 31 Senators have expressed support for the bill – one shy of passage. Locally, Senator Mark Grisanti has gone from a “no” vote to “undecided”, indicating that he’s philosophically in favor of the law, but his Catholicism is making it difficult to vote for it.

If you have a moment, call or write your state Senator – especially if it’s Grisanti – and urge him or her to vote in favor of passage of this bill.  Here’s what I wrote on Grisanti’s Facebook wall:

Senator, I’m not a constituent, but I’m a pretty moderate Democrat, just like you’re a pretty moderate Republican. I know you think that civil unions is the same thing as marriage, but it’s not. The proposed statute specifically exempts religious institutions who oppose the concept, so there is no trampling whatsoever on religious freedoms. This is about the freedom of loving couples to legalize and, if they wish, solemnize their lifelong union and commitment. Making that happen would be a huge leap for liberty, freedom, and equal rights as promised at the founding of this country. I urge you to vote in favor of legalizing love.

Hoyt Declared Winner in A-144

24 Sep
New York state flag

Image via Wikipedia

From a Sam Hoyt press release this afternoon:

After a final count completed today by the Erie County Board of Elections, Assemblymember Sam Hoyt is the winner of the democratic primary. Unscanned, affidavit and absentee ballots were counted, which all showed an increase for Hoyt. The Board of Elections oversaw the unbiased process with representatives from both the Hoyt and Golombek campaigns present.

“I am grateful that the primary is finally behind us and that the Democrats in my district have chosen me to represent them in the fall election,” Hoyt said. “It is time to end the fighting and the bickering and to work together on solving the enormous problems facing this region. I am hopeful that my opponent and his supporters will join me in my quest to defeat my Republican challenger and then work with me as I return to Albany to fight for our great community.”

The initial count from the voting machines was 5,168 for Hoyt and 5,001 for Golombek. The combined count of the unscanned, affidavit and absentee ballots increased Hoyt’s lead from 167 votes to 257 votes.

About that Accused Murderer in Corfu, NY

19 Mar

Faily McFail (R-Failberg)

Faily McFail (R-Failberg)

You may recall Scott Doll, the endorsed Republican candidate for mayor of the village of Corfu, was arrested not long ago for murdering his business associate.

Doll’s name remained on the ballot, and amazingly, he garnered about 30% of the votes cast.

Todd Skeet won an easy re-election as mayor of Corfu tonight, but the vote count that will probably get the most attention is the 47 ballots cast for Scott Doll.

Doll is the GOP candidate accused of murder. The unusual Corfu election has received a little national news coverage.

Skeet received 109 votes.

Doll was scheduled to be released on bail tonight, pending trial. He will be subject to electronic monitoring.

I’m also telling you that if this cat was a Democrat, it’d be mocked like gangbusters all over the radio today. Not just because he’s a Democrat accused of murder, but because a full 30% of the voters figured it’d be cool to take a chance on him. Who walks into the voting booth and thinks, “I’ll vote for the guy in the can for murder?”