04/26/06 11:18 - 45ºF - ID#24633
Tony Snow is now the White House Press Secretary, which I think is an interesting transition. Of course, there are swarms of pleibes out there frothing at the mouth saying "of course, he worked for Fox News" but, as said pleibes naturally don't know a damn thing about the subject matter, they wouldn't realize that he's been a sharp critic of the president.
If you've been paying attention at all to local politics lately you'd know that Joel Giambra has been advocating the legalization of *some* narcotics. Anybody that knows me knows how I feel about it - we should be doing this shit like Amsterdam does. I'm not talking about cocaine or its derivatives... marijuana only. I believe that if marijuana should be illegal than so should alcohol, as alcohol has been the cause of more social ills than marijuana ever, ever has. I have no idea why Giambra broke this one out - its completely out of left field. He is teaming up with a group called LEAP - former and current law enforcement and judges who believe that controlled legalization of certain drugs will actually help law enforcement by lowering crime. In all honesty I'm split on whether or not we'll see legalization in my lifetime.
04/20/06 02:17 - 70ºF - ID#24632
04/20/06 11:27 - 58ºF - ID#24631
Why we do what we do
Fast forward to this week - we did visit a company in Haiti with the same problems. We aren't recommending them and I hope that they either change their ways or go out of business.
04/19/06 04:50 - 68ºF - ID#24630
2. This is a bit of a surprise for me, but to be honest I'm glad for him. I don't suffer fools easily and I don't know how Scott McClellan did for 2 years... the press corps are a bunch of blithering idiots.
3. Wal-Mart vows to continue growth despite opposition. What opposition? You mean the activists? Guess what - until its unprofitable for Wal-Mart to operate you aren't going to even phase them with rhetoric.
4. This one truly makes me sick, especially since West Coast tech companies have been complicit in getting political dissidents in China arrested, or possibly MUCH worse. Fuck China, and fuck their President. P.S. Bill Gates still looks like an 11-year old prepubescent boy.
5. Let me get this right. Mexico harshly criticizes the USA for wanting to enforce border security and deal effectively with illegal immigration, but Mexico itself doesn't want to follow its own advice? Fuck Mexico too.
04/18/06 12:55 - 54ºF - ID#24629
1. I find myself in the uncomfortable position of ALMOST agreeing with Shrillary on an issue. She and Senator Reid are championing a new program that would federally fund the morning after pill and programs designed to reduce abortions. The bill would also provide funding designed to support low income women that choose to carry babies to full term. You can read about it here -
My view on this is that abortion is the most barbaric thing our society allows. Therefore finding ways to reduce abortions is a good idea. The problem is, how do we go about that? One argument is that abortions wouldn't be as necessary if people simply were more responsible, so abstinence should be the focus. Another argument is that we should make access to contraception easier and more affordable, and the result would be a general decline in abortions. I think it would be hypocritical to support a ban on abortions and at the same time reject any realistic prevention initiatives. Ultimately the issue is, how do we go about prevention?
Handing out RU-486 isn't the answer, but I don't see why we can't come up with something that would make it easier for women to access birth control. I think that is a reasonable idea. Supporting women that choose to carry babies to full term though? We already do that - its called welfare, and there are ALOT of people out there that abuse the system and keep popping out babies because the more kids you have, the more govt. money you are allowed access to. I still have a few questions about this though, and I think no matter what there needs to be some abstinence programs also. Sex ed cannot be one-sided. Anyway, read the article and decide for yourself!
2. Purdue University grad student arrested for threatening to kill the Prez, his administration, Republicans, and also threatening to rape and mutilate American and British women. Cookoo!
The student's lawyer is suggesting that he is covered under the First Amendment because he never would have actually carried out the threats. Number one - how do we know that? Number two - First Amendment is not absolute and you cannot threaten to kill the POTUS and expect to hide behind the Constitution.
3. Al Gore is releasing a movie related to his lectures about global warming.
You lefties will like this one. Hell, I'll check this movie out whenever its available. This is supposedly an article about the movie, but Richard Cohen inevitably and predictably starts bashing Bush and suggests that Al Gore would actually be the perfect candidate for President in 2008!! This is alarming because I agree with Mr. Cohen. I would relish Al Gore running against someone like George Allen because all we'd have to do is drag out sound clips of Al Gore speaking over the past few years and the R's would win by a landslide. In particular I think Americans would be interested in the speech that Gore gave in Saudi Arabia, essentially bashing America and being paid by the Saudis for it. Thats it Mr. Gore - stir up the Middle East and talk trash about the USA, then run for Prez. I think Richard Cohen dipped into my ziplock bag of vegetables when I wasn't looking.
04/18/06 10:33 - 48ºF - ID#24628
I'm glad to see some dialogue about the casino - (e:dcoffee) makes some points that I agree with, and it seems like I'm united with most people out there that think that this thing is a bad idea.
If you oppose the casino, or support the idea... why? I'm kind of curious about it.
For me, I see the casino this way - its good for the Senecas (tax free land in the city of Buffalo?) and for the developers but its horrible for the populace. Casinos are never investments in the traditional sense. This isn't something that is going to benefit our city in any meaningful way because a casino isn't like a mall. People go to casinos not to buy things but to risk things, and in most cases the money stays directly in the pockets of the people who build and run the casinos. Local dollars will not get recycled back into our economy... traditionally casinos are black holes for dollars. Usually this is tourist dollars, and this is what the supporters of the casino are arguing for and banking on.
My sentiment is this - WHAT tourists?!? People don't come to Buffalo to see Buffalo - people come to Buffalo to see Niagara Falls. Theres no guarantee that building a casino is going to bring in tourists when you already have two casinos 20 minutes away. We are arguing about building an attraction for the sake of tourism that has already been built twice over in other areas. In our case they would be local dollars being sucked in by the vortex, and I have a serious problem with that because our area cannot afford to waste the money. You might say, "Josh, I think that if people want to waste their money at a casino, so be it... if they don't want to waste their money than they shouldn't gamble." I tend to agree. However, if people don't want to waste their money gambling, then why bother to build the casino in the first place? Take a look at Niagara Falls. Do you see a city that is rejuvenated by the casino? That place is a ghost town... even more so than when the casino was simply the convention center. Here's a thought - if we want to attract tourists and compete against Niagara Falls, or possibly lure them away from NF to dump a few tourist bucks here, why not build something DIFFERENT than what you'll find in NF and that has a more tangible and realistic revenue scheme?
I completely object to what Mike Niman (my favorite non-journalist) said recently in the Artvoice. He and I agree that building this casino is a bad idea, but for different reasons. Mike Niman suggests that this casino would affect the poor the most because they can least afford to gamble. This is absolute baloney. When do you ever see poor people in ANY casinos? That suggestion is an absolutely hollow argument because there is no factual basis to be able to make that assumption on. Poor people as a segment of the population do not gamble that much, and if you don't believe me you can go ahead and spent a week in Niagara Falls to study the clientele.
What Mike Niman is really saying is this - "Poor people, we are trying to protect you from yourselves, because I, Mike Niman, believe that you are too stupid and irresponsible to be able to handle yourselves if a casino is built." This is a perfect example of the nanny state. I believe in personal liberty first and foremost. If you want to go bankrupt in a casino as far as I'm concerned that is your right as an American. Suggesting to hold off on building a casino because you think that the people can't handle the responsibility is absolutely ludicrous. It might be true, but we simply cannot begin restricting what we build or do because a select group of people think they are smarter than the poor people - "daddy knows best!"
04/14/06 11:37 - 52ºF - ID#24627
Judith Einach, Byron Brown
My take on it is this - I don't agree with Einach politically at all. She's hard left and I did not vote for her. However - I completely admire her dedication to the area, and the truth is that despite her losing to Brown it was good of her to volunteer her talent and intelligence to Byron Brown, whose administration apparently lacks such qualities. You cannot deny Judith Einach's pedigree with respect to her commitment and fervor for improving our area. Just a tip o' the hat from your local Elmwood Republican. I wanna give Judy a hug over this one because I truly believe that she is a good, committed person and she got the big time railroad treatment from the ignorant ones downtown. Our area needs 100,000 Judith Einachs. I might ask for some political diversity in that 100,000... but imagine what we could do if we had a large, vocal, zealously committed group of people like Judith?
Did these people even think about what they were doing before they did it? She was fired (ahem, excuse me, "told to leave") by Brown's communications director, Peter Cutler. Since when does a communications director get authority to fire anybody anyway? What a crock of shit this guy Cutler is... and apparently according to other city employees Cutler has autonimously made decisions and consented to things without Masiello's knowledge. Who is calling the shots down at City Hall? Apparently its not Byron Brown. What we're seeing here is exactly why good people don't get involved in trying to improve the local situation. You have political operatives, these hired goons, guarding their turf and protecting their guy... at all costs. Cutler is a textbook example of slimy shitstain operatives who subvert their own boss on occasion, and at the same time try to punish people employed by (or volunteering for, apparently) the city if you dare be critical. These people are paid to keep local politics as opaque as possible. City Hall is a bastion of totalitarianism. Peter Cutler has been professionally bending the truth for years, and now Mr. Pavel and Pete are trying to cover it up and essentially call Judith Einach a liar. Lets take a look at the credibility and professional history of the parties involved... who are we to believe, Cutler and Pavel, or Einach? Sorry Petey. You are a child compared to Judith Einach.
Don't like criticism, Pete? Don't like criticism Byron? FUCK YOU. BOTH OF YOU ARE TERRIBLE AT YOUR POSITIONS AND SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY. How's that for criticism? I support Judy Einach here, and the truth of the matter is that it takes an impossibly high amount of insecurity, ego and immaturity to perpetrate something like that. You are both guilty and deserve to be ejected from your positions as fast as possible before any more damage is done. What are you going to do if people disagree with you outside of your own controlled fascist, law breaking environment? Send police to their house and escort them out of Buffalo?
Josh's Reflection On Byron Brown's First 100 Days In Office
Byron Brown isn't even a Buffalo native... he can't possibly understand the issues of this city. He is a leader by title and not by example. Nobody outside of City Hall and select districts in the city respects Byron. Byron was elected because he is a Democrat. PERIOD. It had nothing to do with the "job" he did in Albany, or any political pedigree, or excellence in past performance.
Byron Brown has showed a shocking lack of judgment concerning the people he surrounds himself with. People like Pete Cutler are in it for self-preservation and he doesn't give a damn about you or your desires to improve our city's situation. This is the type of person that Byron Brown feels are the best people for the job? Absolutely shocking. I thought that Byron Brown was a "mayor of the people" - at least thats the line he's using. Ironically it was stolen from Judith Einach. If Byron is a "mayor of the people," then why does he have police guarding his office from those ne'er-do-wells... you know, the peons who actually elected him, THE PEOPLE? Why does Byron Brown's e-mails go to Peter Cutler and not to Byron Brown? Even Masiello published his own e-mail address. Where was the leadership during the Police ticket fiasco this winter? Byron Brown was in his office hiding behind his desk and his police guard.
Why is it that Brown's administration is locking down City Hall like it has? Do these people realize that City Hall belongs to us and not them? As my employees, I expect the Mayor and his people to serve the community. They have done nothing but serve themselves. Get rid of the excess security - Masiello didn't need it, Griffin didn't need it, and you definitely don't need it, Byron.
Absolutely nothing has been achieved during Byron's first 100 days in office. Nothing is even on the slate for achievement. Leadership is a buzzword and not a policy of the Brown administration - take a look at Byron Brown's actions and you'll see clearly that there is no leadership at the top. A true leader would have jumped at the chance to talk about the ticket fiasco in a rational manner, and a true leader would have backed the people up and publicly questioned the police's true motivation. Bottom line - it was a union contract issue and the Police Commissioner should have been publicly chided by Brown. Instead, he made one public comment about it then went back into hiding. Even if he agreed completely with law enforcement, the manner in which he approached this problem showed a complete lack of sensitivity to the populace and insulted the collective intelligence of the community. Leaders don't hide - chickenshits hide. Byron Brown is a chickenshit and not a leader... the first 100 days of his tenure are proof.
Leaders know how to choose, motivate and appropriately monitor their employees. Byron has completely lost the plot in this regard. Byron Brown has absolutely no control over the people that work for him. The manner in which Judith Einach was handled begs the question - did Byron Brown even know what was going on? Mayors pass off a lot of details and issues to their administrations, so naturally Byron Brown isn't going to be worrying about volunteers. Because of the profile of Judith Einach, however, Pete Cutler and the cronies should have known that this situation was going to make City Hall look absolutely terrible. Are there any directives being handed down from Brown's office? The lack of leadership and direction is completely beyond question.
In short, Byron Brown is a NYC import with a proven track record of abuse of power, incompetance, contempt for the populace, cronyism and a complete lack of leadership. I told you all that this was going to happen back in the fall - things are actually worse than I imagined. We need to abort. These people need to be thrown out immediately and fed to the private sector, where a vast majority of the bullshit they perpetrate isn't tolerated. 100 days has been too long for Byron Brown. No damage was done, thankfully, but that is strictly a result of Byron Brown doing nothing. Byron, Pete, all of them have proven their incompetance and abusive nature in record time. For the good of our city we have to begin proceedings to remove Byron from office. Unfortunately, people that care are outnumbered by the people that don't. I'm using this space to personally impune and criticize Byron Brown until he isn't mayor anymore - hopefully all independant media will do the same and keep our officials in check.
04/12/06 02:55 - ID#24626
Global Warming, Local Politics
A caveat; ultimately this is my journal, and I really only talk about things I care about and want to talk about. The bottom line is this - I write for myself and could care less if nobody reads this shit. This is MY space. People constantly are picking my brain, and I have no issue with that whatsoever. Do not mistake my willingness to discuss a broader range of topics, however, for abandonment of my current topics.
Allow me to clarify my position on global warming. Whether or not the world is rising in temperature is beyond question - the question is, why is this happening? Its never been possible to irrefutably link human activity and global warming - this is problem number one. The bulk of the science related to global warming is being proliferated by people with an agenda - problem number two. No idea is credible when the results come before the reasoning, and MANY people that profess that man is responsible for global warming are guilty of this.
Does that mean that the people with the agenda are wrong? Not necessarily. If you read the research, the best that people have been able to come up with is we simply don't know for sure why its happening... the best we can say is that solar variability combined with other factors (such as human activity) are likely the culprit. Based on the science currently released, I'm compelled to believe that this is occuring as a result of solar cycles, with the minor part being played by humanity. Is human activity THE reason why the world is getting hotter? Absolutely, positively not. Is human activity contributing though? I believe so.
I'm a believer in moving away from oil - for political, environmental and technological reasons. We know that we could be or are likely to be contributing somewhat to global warming - that alone is enough for me to believe that we need to find new ways to generate power. If we can reduce or eliminate any effect we may be having on the environment, flip the bird to OPEC and innovate in technology that could benefit the entire planet - sign me up YESTERDAY.
In other words - I want to achieve the same things that the envirofascists want to achieve - just for different reasons. I actually want the same conclusion as the people that are convinced that its "our" fault. Ultimately it won't mean a great deal, as India and China are likely going to be buying up the oil that we wouldn't be buying anymore... will the great enemy be China and India then, or is this somehow still going to be America's fault, people? The movement to give up oil and will have to be a global movement or else its going to be meaningless. Sooner or later we're going to have to make the first step so lets be proactive.
Okay - local politics. This was a great suggestion - more dialogue needs to happen about local issues, and since this is a locally oriented site this is an ideal place to be talking about the local dirt. I'm just going to give a general idea about what I think about the local situation, and maybe touch on a couple local hot button issues.
Buffalo will never get fixed anytime soon. Why? Because most people in this city just don't give a shit. Voter apathy, no political pressure to institute meaningful change, bickering, arguing about who is going to get payola, corruption, cronyism, racial overtones, overtaxation, no visionary leadership for decades - you name it, Buffalo has it as a problem.
The problem, first and foremost, is voter apathy and the apathy to change that is a direct result of the voter apathy. Politicians in this city are routinely re-elected despite little or no tangible results. To an outside observer, the position we are in must be ridiculous and deserved. As long as the local voters either can't or don't want to DEMAND results from these people, nothing is changing. Local politicians routinely take the voter for granted because they can.
The casino - Any deal that benefits the state more than the city should be abandoned. To me this doesn't make any sense purely from a business standpoint. Its not clear to me that this is necessary at all - the best argument I've heard is that its going to bring in jobs.... so lets do it! There are a lot of ways to bring jobs to the area without having to resort to building a casino... which if you ask me is the bottom rung. We need jobs to be sure, but lets not hastily take a bad deal related to a shady business sector merely out of desperation. This city habitually considers wacky proposals. What happened to the IT corridor they had envisioned? Why is it that our region missed the economic boat during the Clinton years? Why is it that we've never had leaders with the ability to adapt to and attract new segments of business? The economic outlook of the city IS NOT hinging on whether or not we're going to build a casino... things cannot get worse if we don't because we're already at rock bottom. I'm waiting to be convinced that building a casino is progress.
The bridge and the waterfront - This one completely infuriates me. The local officials are more interested in arguing about minutia than actually achieving anything. This is the perfect stereotypical example of why nothing gets done here - big egos, small brains. Everybody that is involved with this project should be removed... and if you really want to get something done, bring in a group of people that are not affiliated with the people and companies with the most to lose on this "deal." The officials working on the bridge and the waterfront projects are absolute poison, and deserve to be reprimanded and exposed as such publicly.
190 tolls - There is no reason for them. Its abusive and is a drain on a flatlined economy.
Racism - Buffalo is one of the most segregated cities I've ever been to or lived in. Anybody can go to the East Side and see that black neighborhoods are largely neglected. Its embarassing and inexcusable. If our area is ever going to get out this rut, ALL of us are going to have to get there together, take collective responsibility and do what needs to be done in order to improve our situation. Both white and black people are very racist here - its time to stop ignoring it, confront the problem, understand the problems and work together to fix them.
Giambra - He's incompetant. However, to try to pin Erie County or Buffalo problems onto the Republicans is dishonest and hypocritical. So is the implication that Giambra is the only local politician to have ever hired family members or friends to work for local government - Artvoice and The Beast are particularly guilty of this one. We do not live in a Republican stronghold and never have - Democrats have dominated local politics for over 100 years in our city, so lets not be silly. Our problems are a result of DECADES of systematic, damaging and immoral practices on behalf of our elected officicals, and a vast majority of those politicians have been Democrats over the years. Giambra did not create the mess we're in, and while I think he isn't fit for the job he's in, he cannot be legitimately blamed for our ills. In my mind, the Red/Green budget fiasco is Exhibit A for why he shouldn't hold office. He completely insulted the area's collective intelligence on that one. ANY politician that hires unqualified or underqualified people for positions purely because of favor or nepotism should be scrutinized heavily.
City Hall - Our City Hall is a microcosm. Its a miniature world all its own, where bureaucracy and inefficiency rule the day. Contempt for the taxpayer is company policy downtown, and is written all over the faces of EVERY. SINGLE. EMPLOYEE. Your money doesn't belong to you, you see... it belongs to THEM. They believe that they know best concerning how to spend "their" money so there is no need for a control board, despite decades of evidence explicitly displaying just how rife with incompetance our officials have been for years upon years. After all, none of this is our fault - its the states fault, right?
Ticketing in the city - Don't even get me started on this one. Jason and I have paid over $500 on tickets this winter, not because I'm a lawbreaker... its because there isn't enough parking on the Strip and during the winter people are almost guaranteed to get tickets because they are FORCED to either park on the street or in the lot next to Globe Market... which up until a year or so ago was a safe place to park for years. Set the obvious parking problems in the city aside for a second. Ultimately this is about Police enforcement, which I have no problem with. What I DO have a problem with, however, is playing games with the public, hiding or denying the REAL reasons behind the enforcement increase and expecting the public to go along with it. Citizens here aren't stupid - we know that its because of the union contract. Don't play games with peoples lives and money, lie about your reasons then expect the public to be on your side.
04/12/06 11:05 - ID#24625
1. Advocates of the global warming "theory" bullying and removing funding from scientists who disagree? Yes, according to the Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. Theres even a Buffalo reference in this one -
2. Moussaoui jurors hear Flight 93 tape. I'm conflicted over this one - I wouldn't ever want to hear that thing.
3. That crazy bastard in Iran celebrates his country's barely scratching the surface of harnessing nuclear energy - not that anyone actually believes that his intentions are peaceful. Anyhow, here you go -
4. (Some) illegal immigrants get fired after being issued a verbal and written warning that if they left work to protest that they would be fired. Now they are "fighting for their rights?" WHAT FUCKING RIGHTS might they be referring to? See, this is what upsets me about the illegals right now - the assumption that breaking laws, doing things the wrong way and ignoring clear rules shouldn't go unpunished bedause... well... they feel like it. I have absolutely no sympathy for these people that got fired. Read for yourself then decide -
5. GOP leaders uninterested in making illegal immigrants felons - see, this I can agree with and I think everybody would agree that this makes sense. The immigration issue is a difficult one, but I don't think its practical to a) make these people felons, or b) try to deport them all.
6. RED ALERT - Oprah is okay with being a rich lady!
7. Giuliani victim of a smear movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 style.
04/11/06 11:53 - ID#24624
1. So much for the "McJob" assertion that many falsely assert is the case in our economy -
2. A student was expelled from a Baptist college in Kentucky for coming out. I'm mixed on this one. I think its wrong to expel a student because of sexual preference, but on the other hand if you enroll at a "holy roller" college and openly proclaim your homosexuality its blatantly obvious that you are going to end up on the losing end, right or wrong. Read the article and judge for yourself -
3. Here's a subject that I'm very tired of hearing about, but I have to mention it. French student protest. I feel very comfortable about my smug laugh over this thing going on in France. That country will never, ever compete on any serious level with the USA economically because of their federally mandated benefits. The government tries to fix the problem with youth unemployment, then in a very typical French manner back down when a bunch of teenagers, who don't know shit about shit, protest en masse. The law has been pulled off the table, yet the protests continue! Fuck France... their citizens deserve what they get.
4. Just another example of a liberal in the classroom polluting the learning environment with political tripe that ends up getting said teacher in boiling hot water.
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