02/20/06 07:59 - 24ºF - ID#28308
Womens Hockey Bronze
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/19/06 10:26 - 10ºF - ID#28307
Posted 2/17/2006 9:06 PM Updated 2/17/2006 9:14 PM
Google rips Justice Department in court papers
By Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO - Google criticized the Bush administration's demand to examine millions of its users' Internet search requests as a misguided fishing expedition that threatens to ruin the company's credibility and reveal its closely guarded secrets.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company delivered its indignant critique Friday in a 25-page brief that marked its initial legal response to the U.S. Justice Department's attempt to force the online search engine leader to comply with a 6-month-old subpoena.
The Justice Department has until Feb. 24 to respond to the papers that Google filed Friday. A hearing for oral arguments is scheduled March 13 before U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose, Calif.
The case has attracted widespread attention because the Justice Department's demand to peek under the hood of the Internet's most popular search engine has underscored the potential for online databases becoming tools for government surveillance.
Hoping to revive an online child protection law that has been blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justice Department wants a random list of the search requests made by the millions of people who visit Google during any week.
The government believes the search requests will help prove that Internet filters aren't strong enough to prevent children from accessing online pornography and other potentially offensive websites.
Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and Time Warner's America Online already have provided some of the search engine information sought by the Justice Department. All three companies say they complied without relinquishing their users' private information.
But Google has steadfastly refused to hand over the requested information, a defiant stance that the company reaffirmed in a brief that depicts the Bush administration as heavy-handed snoops and technological rubes.
In one particularly scathing section, Google's lawyers ridiculed the government's belief that a list of search requests would help it understand the behavior of Web surfers.
"This statement is so uninformed as to be nonsensical," the lawyers wrote.
Although the Justice Department says it doesn't want any of the personal information, Google contends its cooperation would set off privacy alarms and scare away some of the traffic that has driven its success.
"If users believe that the text of their search queries into Google's search engine may become public knowledge, it only logically follows that they will be less likely to use the service," Google's lawyers wrote.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is opposing the Bush administration's effort to revive the online child protection law, also filed a brief Friday in support of Google.
"This subpoena is the latest example of government overreaching, in which the government apparently believes it can demand that private entities turn over all sorts of information about their customers just because the government asserts that it needs the information," the ACLU's lawyers wrote.
Google also said it doubts the government would be available to shield the requested information from public scrutiny. The company maintains the data sought by the government could provide its rivals and website operators with valuable insights about how its search engine works.
As it battles the Justice Department, Google is cooperating with China's Communist government by censoring some of the search results that the company produces in a country that restricts free speech.
That odd juxtaposition has caused civil rights activists to applaud Google for defying the U.S. government while the champions of human rights and free speech jeer the company for bending to China's will.
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/18/06 01:11 - 13ºF - ID#28306
Cars and Street cars
I don't know if I agree with putting Cars and the Metro rail on the same street in downtown Buffalo. I think it is a great idea. I know they do it in Toronto but we arn't toronto. I don't know if the streets are wide eoungh to do that and have parking I think they may be out of there minds. I think it would be awesome if they could pull it off and make downtown amazing. But I think the Idea is Silly Delaware and Elmwood both go downtown. So I'm a kinda mixed on the idea. One issue that I havn't read about in the below article is Sprawl. As much as I do like to go to the mall the mall and all those shopping plazas is what keeps people out of DT Buffalo. Why shop Downtown if everything you need is at the Galleria Mall or a plaza that is ten minutes away. I don't think the Train Killed DT at all I think it was stores moivng out to malls. I used to always ride the train downtown all the time. It is great for after sabres and Bandits games (going tonight). This project will take a lot of time and a lot of money and I'm not sure if it is worth it. I think doing this is premature what happens if they take the skyway down. Granted it is a big if but that would effect traffic so much. I guess I have to admit that Often Buffalo fucks things up and does things wrong and if they don't do this right people will get killed by trains and cars and there will be a huge mess. In any event for those that take the time to read the article I would like to hear your views on this mater.
Main Street makeover would go back in time, see return of cars
Plan to revive downtown would have automobiles share road with trains. This could happen as early as 2007.
By JOHN F. BONFATTI
News Staff Reporter
Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News
As early as next year, cars will again resume their place in the Main Street traffic flow, alongside Metro Rail trains. Proponents say their return will restore vitality to the downtown area, while opponents believe the cost is too steep.
Automobiles were banned from nearly all of Main Street downtown when Metro Rail was built in the 1980s, although cars had shared the street with trolleys for many years before those were removed in 1950.
Cars and trains will share the road again, according to the city's plan for a Main Street makeover that, while not extreme, will reverse a decision that some say accelerated the downturn of downtown.
"As far as I'm concerned, they destroyed the whole heart of the city," said Buffalo resident Charles Griffasi, who has lobbied to return cars to Main Street almost since they were banned two decades ago.
Griffasi might finally get his way as early as next year, at least for the first segment of the plan in the Theater District. The city has $6 million of the $12 million it needs, and city officials say they are confident they can obtain the rest.
It's estimated that about $40 million more will be needed to complete the job for the entire length of Main Street.
Construction would occur in four stages, with no stage taking more than one construction season to finish.
A final design plan is expected by fall, but one thing has been decided: cars will travel on the same track bed that carries the transit cars. And because of that, the train's existing stations will be changed. A few might even be eliminated.
"The stations take up quite a bit of space now," said John M. DiDonato of DiDonato Associates, the Main Street firm in charge of the redesign. The new stations won't "dominate the streetscape like they do now."
The plan now is to tear down the existing Metro stations and replace them with smaller ones, likely made with glass and stainless steel, DiDonato said.
Engineers are figuring out what to do with the poles that supply power to the rail system. Currently, they are between the two sets of tracks.
Some poles will be moved "no matter what, because of turn lanes and that type of thing," DiDonato said, but designers are considering moving all the poles to the side of the tracks. Curbs will be cut at points to allow for parking - the current plan is 150 spaces. Surveys indicated parking was a priority for merchants, restaurant owners and residents. Crosswalks will get special paving, and sidewalks will be redone.
"We'll be doing the sidewalk areas in different types of concrete, like stamped and exposed aggregate," DiDonato said.
The overall look will be designed to make the area more welcoming, he said.
"Right now, you have a lot of uninviting, hard to maintain and worn out areas, everything from the track bed, which is cracked, to the sidewalks, which are heaved," DiDonato said.
Proponents say bringing cars onto Main Street will help restore vitality to an area that "most nights, you could shoot a cannon down," said Michael T. Schmand, executive director of the downtown development agency Buffalo Place. "We want to change that."
Schmand pointed to surveys showing that, since 1987, Main Street property values and retail space declined nearly 50 percent while vacancies increased by nearly 25 percent.
Buffalo's pedestrian mall is "probably too long," according to Dave Feehan, president of the International Downtown Association, who said the city was "probably better off" restoring cars to Main Street.
"You probably have four or five years before you get a critical mass of residents downtown," he said. "During that time, it's going to help things rather than hurt things."
There are those who don't think returning cars to Main Street is a good idea, including developer Paul Ciminelli, a member of the Buffalo Place board.
"I don't know if it's the highest and best use of $40 million," he said, adding that he feels the money would be better spent encouraging the fledgling residential community.
But two downtown residents said they welcomed the move.
William Smith manages the Ansonia and Sidway buildings and said most of the residents "are all for it."
Ansonia Center resident Jim Burke, who has lived downtown for 18 years, said the Main Street traffic will "bring people downtown, and the more people downtown, the better."
Downtown merchants expressed a variety of opinions, with some saying the plan may be too late for them.
"I think they've taken too long to do it, and they've already killed business on Main Street," said Judy Fuentes, owner of Grever's Flower Shop at 537 Main St. Sam Gullo of Crinzi and Gullo Jewelers, which has been in Ellicott Square since 1957, believes it will take more than cars on Main Street to fill those vacant storefronts.
"I think what will attract people and cars is business," he said. "Part of the plan should be recruiting small businesses, not large ones, that people can pull up and run into, like you would on Grant Street or Elmwood Avenue."
Eric Smith, general manger for Ultimate Restaurants, which includes the City Grill at 268 Main St., looks forward to the traffic.
"It would be extremely beneficial not only to the businesses on Main Street but to downtown as a whole," he said.
But he remains skeptical. "I don't know if it will happen," Smith said. "They've been speaking about it for so many years now."
Solid political support
This time it's different, officials insist.
Some construction on the rail line is inevitable, according to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, because much of the infrastructure needs to be replaced.
"The track bed rehabilitation would have to be done as part of its natural life expectancy," NFTA Executive Director Lawrence M. Meckler said. "It makes sense to do it as part of this entire project."
And there seems to be solid political support. Mayor Byron W. Brown called putting cars back on Main Street "one of my top priorities in terms of our federal legislative requests."
The city's representatives in Washington, including Sens. Charles. E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, said they are committed to finding the money to complete the project.
"We can get this thing fully funded," said Rep. Brian M. Higgins, who said the plan will gather momentum once it's started.
"Our ability to get future phases funded is dependent on our ability to show progress and complete the first phase," Higgins said.
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/17/06 07:14 - 23ºF - ID#28305
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/16/06 08:17 - 42ºF - ID#28304
I read two articles in todays Buffalo News about The Silos and the Casino. Apprently the Sencas have had plans made up for the new Casino that include knocking them down and Keeping them and working them into there plans. I think the fact that they at least are considering keeping them may be a good sign who knows what will happen there are still legal battles going on. The other article was about those legal battles and that was interesting. It was about how cheap the indains got the land and that if they got more land then they needed for the casino that it could violate the state compact with them.
I Have read about a couple of possible constrution projects. One was about the New Burchfield Penny Center. They make it sound as if it is a sure thing. I guess one complaint is that there wasn't much community invovlement in it and it isn't predestian friendly. The other article was about how the person who owns the buildings on Elmwood near forest where Skunk Tail Glass, Mondo video and a few other places wants to turn that area into a Hotel with underground and ground level parking and shops. They didn't say if all those houses would come down or if they would be built into it. I assume that they would be torn down. I guess calling this post Changing Buffalo isn't really correct yet because none of these projects has started officaly yet. For example Niagara Falls has supposed to have gotten I'm guessing about 30 differant big time devolpments that never happend.
In sports local boy Travis Meyer from the Meyer Brothers family didn't medal in the olympics. That is to bad. I was hoping he would. There is a real nice article about him in the paper. When I have more time I want to talk about the Google and Yahoo issue of helping China Sensor there web use there are a lot of issues there to be covered from the few articles I have read about it, but I want to hear some thoughts on TV about it also before I chim in. I want to know all my facts before I talk about it with the computer savy people on this site.
Preserving or obstructing?
Saving historic buildings is a fierce passion for some, but others feel an 'everything must be saved' philosophy is hindering Buffalo's growth
By MARK SOMMER
News Staff Reporter
The historic value of the H-O Oats grain elevator has been a subject of debate, with preservationists touting the tourism potential of elevators near the Erie Canal terminus.
Preservationists in Buffalo can be found in the trenches, trying to stop 19th century buildings from being torn down, or saving hulking grain elevators from meeting the wrecking ball.
But not everyone applauds such efforts.
From average citizens to developers, some local people see preservationists as obstructionists who want to save every blighted building in an aging city. They do so, critics charge, without regard for feasible reuse, prospects for restoration funds or how their actions discourage investment in the city.
"There is definitely a school of thought - and quite a large contingent of people - who very openly take the position that everything must be saved. I don't think that helps the city in terms of moving forward," said Richard C. Baer, a member of the Buffalo Preservation Board, the city agency that considers changes to historic structures.
"I think preservationists are choking the city with the things they are doing," said Ernestine Aberle, a Buffalo native who lives in Clarence and opposes spending $76.5 million to restore the historic H.H. Richardson complex.
"I'm all for preserving things from the past, whether it be family customs or buildings, but it can get way off balance."
Critics point to several buildings they believe preservationists have gone overboard to save: the Vernor Building in the Theater District, the Balcom/Chandler House on Niagara Square and a 19th century building next to Pano's restaurant on Elmwood Avenue.
Preservationists are hardly a monolith. Some focus on buildings with clear historical value, such as the Richardson complex, while others are concerned about maintaining the historic integrity of neighborhoods that include structures less highly regarded.
But all believe the city's future can be found, in part, in its past.
"Preservationists have visited other cities and know that quality economic revitalization occurs when the fabric of the built environment is invested in, rather than demolished in the name of progress and easy profits for developers," said Dennis Galucki, executive director of the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier.
The Pano's battle
A recent battleground between preservationists and those who think they go too far is the building next door to Pano's, a popular Elmwood Avenue restaurant. The 1893 structure is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Restaurant owner Panagiotis Georgiadis applied for a demolition permit in September 2004 to tear down the building. He wanted to replace it with a dining patio and more parking, and later offered to incorporate design elements from the building.
Preservationists insisted that the building was essential to the Elmwood Avenue streetscape. They pressed their case with picket lines and at public hearings, attracting the support of some politicians.
Georgiadis said his supporters voted with their feet, boosting his business during that time to all-time heights.
The case is in the courts, but the experience, Georgiadis said, landed him in the hospital.
"I got a bleeding ulcer, and since then, I don't care about this house anymore, or this city. I just go to work every day. I think [preservationists] are parasites," he said.
Baer, the Preservation Board member, is another critic.
"I think of those of us on the Preservation Board as being pragmatists," said Baer, who works as a construction consultant in Angola.
Baer said he is sympathetic to developers because he recognizes obstacles and delays can make redevelopment of historic buildings untenable.
"They just drag out beyond the developer's patience or ability to financially make it work," Baer said.
Tim Tielman of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture, can recite dozens of downtown buildings torn down through the years, most prominently, Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Administration Building in 1950.
Tielman blames the city's failure to penalize irresponsible owners and its lack of interest in citizen concerns for forcing preservationists into action.
"These complaints about "preservationists' are not about preservation. They're about power," Tielman said.
"For 50 years, the decisions about the future of our city and how our money was spent was the exclusive province of the business and political elite," he said. "Today, on the margins, citizens are making themselves heard. Hooray for them."
Preservationists also point to many run-down buildings that were nearly demolished in recent years and are now success stories.
Recent examples include: the 1863 George Squier mansion on Main Street, now home to Literacy Volunteers of Buffalo & Erie County; the former Holling Press on Washington Street, which opened last year as mixed-income housing; and The Church, the former Asbury Delaware United Methodist Church, at Delaware Avenue and Tupper Street, now reborn as an art gallery and, soon, a performance hall.
That's why Baer also said a debt is owed to activists like Tielman.
"I've always said I couldn't be a Tim [Tielman], but I think of the Erie Canal Harbor and [buildings being rehabbed at] Main and Virginia, and I'm sure many more that would probably be gone if he hadn't jumped into the fray, as mad as it makes developers," Baer said.
Developers aren't fans
Not surprisingly, many developers see preservationists as impediments to progress.
"There are a lot of projects people would like to see saved that are not saveable and may ultimately be a hindrance to development," said Benjamin Obletz, president of First Amherst Development.
The company owns Lofts at Elk Terminal near the Cobblestone District and is restoring the row of mostly 19th century buildings at Virginia and Main streets.
Carl Paladino, chief executive of Ellicott Development Co., who was vilified by preservationists for demolishing the Harbor Inn in 2003, is more blunt.
"I think the preservation effort is tempered by the Preservation Board. Beyond them, you have a bunch of extremists who have no appreciation whatsoever of how to help our city move into the 21st century," said Paladino, who has converted two historic downtown buildings into housing and is planning others.
The fate of the H-O Oats grain elevator, on Seneca Nation of Indians land near the Cobblestone District, has stirred perhaps the most recent controversy. Preservationists have promoted tourism potential in the collection of grain elevators near the historic terminus of the Erie Canal and suggested the H-O Oats silos could be turned into a hotel.
Paladino, who sold the grain elevator to the Senecas in October, recommended that the silos be used for signs, and was told the idea would be considered.
But he fails to understand what preservationists see in them.
"We have enough grain elevators to show the next few generations," said Paladino. "There's nothing particularly unique about the H-O grain elevator compared to the 17 other ones in town."
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/14/06 06:47 - 35ºF - ID#28303
One Anti-Valentines day site you may enjoy
Below is some art work I found on line doing a google search. I think they are preaty cool looking.
Another interesting site.
That reminds me about this really cool lady I knew online. I can't remember how we met exactly. She seemed preaty cool and we got along great. She was having some problems. So I being a Nice guy thought I should send her some roses. I almost did then talked to her on line a few days later. Turned out she hates roses, good thing I didn't send them. Another strange story was a guy at work in a training session mentioned he sent his wife flowers but they put the wrong name on the card. People at her work know him so they had no idea who this other guy was. That must have been very interesting and a little humilating but still funny. Hope eveyone has or had a great day.
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/13/06 08:14 - 25ºF - ID#28302
Eve of Evil
That is right today is the eve of that evil holiday Valentines Day (maybe i'm over doing it a bit but oh well). I'm supposed to be going out with the family for desert or something but have no idea what time. I wish I was artistic so I could draw a black heart with some black Roses and maybe like a bloody dagger or something. Then I could post it here.
Onto better things so far I have really been enjoying the Olympics. I look forward to seeing Womens Half Pipe on TV tonight it should be awesome. Granted they don't go as big as the boys but still good stuff. I may have missed the ski jumping. Luge is interesting also along with Bobsleigh.
Here is a concert that I may wind up going to.
There is a third band at this show also whos name I just blanked on.
I know there was something else I wanted to talk about but I can't remember what. Was it the hot ness of all the (e:peep) ladies in the pics. Was it that sleeping on sunday nights is diffacult sometimes. Was it that I still set off those scaners they have by the doors at Walgreens, Tops, Eckard, Rite aid and Target. Was it that I really need to find some great concert to go to. Someone at work is going to see Motley Crue friday that would be awesome.
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/12/06 11:50 - 20ºF - ID#28301
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/11/06 01:49 - 28ºF - ID#28300
Location: Buffalo, NY
02/08/06 08:00 - 17ºF - ID#28299
Location: Buffalo, NY
- body art
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