"Liberals resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems" -- Washington PostWhen an ideology stumbles, its adherents can always turn to alcohol -- or to conspiracy theories. It is easier to recover from alcohol. Conspiracy thinking is not only addictive, it is tiresome. It precludes the possibility of interesting policy debate or genuine disagreement -- how can you argue with a plot?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Posted by Lucy at 8:35 PM
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
"You don't have to go through a red light to get a ticket for running one," gloats the Democrat and Chronicle today.
Even when you stop at the red light, if the nose of your car is past the white intersection line on the road -- the red light cameras get you. Nothing to do with safety. It's all about cashflow. The City Council president let out the dirty secret: not "We'll have safer streets," but "We're going to make a lot of money."
Meanwhile, in the Free States, citizens vote down red light cameras.There's no way to rule innocent men. . . . [W]hen there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted -- and you create a nation of law-breakers -- and then you cash in on guilt.
-- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Posted by Philbrick at 9:14 PM
From The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore:
Mr. Maffei got desperate in the final weeks of the campaign and used every trick in the liberal playbook to go after her. The lines of attack included global warming, stem cell research, Social Security privatization and her Sarah Palin connections. None of it worked. . . . Mr. Maffei thought he would win because the Republican Party had moved "so far to the right." In the end, Ms. Buerkle won because the Democrats had moved so far to the left.
Posted by Steve Zodiac at 1:30 PM
Monday, November 22, 2010
It seems as though this year has brought about a handful of changes that I don’t believe are helping the concept of getting people downtown or within the city limits.
Earlier this year we learned we were going to get Red Light cameras to "increase safety." I have not heard a thing that indicates that safety has been assisted in any way, but I have seen headlines indicating the City is making a lot of cash from them.
Second, we heard that the Mortimer Street bus garage was going into an area that not seven years earlier we designated as retail/residential. People have poured millions of dollars into that area to find out that they have a new neighbor, a bus barn. This was done in the name of getting the buses off of Main Street, which I agree is needed to start the rebuilding of our city center.
Then we learned that we need to overhaul our “intermodal station” which is not really intermodal with the absence of the RTS bus center. It would make tons of sense to have all public transportation located in one single center within the city. Much like just about every other major city is trying to do across the world.
Then today we learn in the news that we have a new way to pay for public parking on the street. Sounds very handy as you can now use a credit card and take the ticket with you to another location if there is still time remaining. AWESOME!
What is the catch, you ask? And you were right, there is a catch. The cost more than doubled! From $.60 per hour to $1.25 per hour.
What is the message here, City Government?
I can tell you what I am trying to defend to my coworkers who live in Fairport. They look at me like I am crazy for sticking around the city and I keep telling them it is the best place to live in Monroe County. You are making my arguments very difficult to defend. Whatever track you are heading down, please stop. You are driving people out of the city and making it difficult to attract new folks to come in and enjoy it.
Posted by Richard Tyson at 3:25 PM
What a legacy Mayor Duffy leaves.
A new crime rate study ranks Rochester as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.
A failing school system.
Killing the most promising City improvement in years, Renaissance Square, rather than having to share credit for it. No matter how it might have improved the City or the quality of life for many of its residents.
Those are the kind of results you get in a non-competitive political environment. Remember them in the weeks ahead, as the local press that has protected this Mayor for so long, laments the "loss" of his departure and praises the Golden Age of his leadership.
Posted by Philbrick at 10:48 AM
Sunday, November 21, 2010
With all votes now counted in the 25th Congressional District except for 240 challenged absentee ballots, mostly from Republican voters, Ann Marie Buerkle has finished first, 567 votes ahead of incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei. Details at the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Maffei has lost unless he demands a manual recount of all ballots and the recount reverses Buerkle's winning margin.
Posted by Lucy at 7:28 PM
Thursday, November 18, 2010
It really would be more efficient to note instances where the Democrat and Chronicle doesn't lie to the public, but the whopper on Wednesday's editorial page stands out even by the feeble standards of our newspaper in the form of a comic book. (Or is it our comic book in the form of a newspaper?)
Editorializing in favor of back-room selection of the new Rochester Mayor, by way of the Special Election option that effectively cuts voters out of the loop, the editorial said:
" . . . no one's right to vote will be violated even though Democratic Party leaders will choose that party's candidate. That's because other candidates can , and no doubt will, pass petitions to get on the ballot."A classic example of the D&C seeking to deceive by selectively deploying the truth.
In a situation where whoever gets the Democratic line wins the election -- no matter how many other candidates "pass petitions to get on the ballot" -- selection of the Democratic candidate is the election.
If voters are cut out from that part of it, as they would be in the Special Election scenario, they are cut out of the election. Period.
And it won't make any difference who passes petitions to get on "The Rent Is 2 Damn High" party line or any other. The Democrats can nominate a serial killer, and that person wins the election in the City.
Opting for the Special Election, in which party bosses pick the nominee behind closed doors, gives City voters no role other than choosing between a Democratic candidate not voted onto the ballot by them, or a meaningless small-party or Republican choice with no chance of winning whatsoever. But the D&C editorialists don't bother talking about that part.
Shameless. But Standard Operating Procedure at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Posted by Philbrick at 10:01 PM
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thanks to WXXI Radio news, those of us who didn't attend Rochester City Council's kabuki dance last night know that members of the public who spoke in favor of a General Election next November outnumbered those favoring a Special Election by two to one. Thirty-two speakers versus sixteen.
The General Election route would allow City voters to choose the Democratic nominee. A Special Election means that Democratic power brokers would choose the nominee behind closed doors.
The Democrat and Chronicle, which favors behind-closed-doors selection for Mayor Duffy's replacement, reported today only that opinion was "divided:" "Noticeable divide for mayoral plan" its headline read. You'd never have known the divide was 2 - 1 against the position favored by the D&C.
The Special Election favored by the newspaper and by Democratic officialdom would bypass a primary. The Democratic Committee would choose the nominee. Understandably, the Committee wants to pick the Mayor itself, without interference from those troublesome voters.
Remember that in 1993 the organization chose County Legislator Kevin Murray for Mayor. Democratic voters upended that choice and picked Bill Johnson in the primary. History repeated itself in 2005. The Democratic organization designated City Councilman Wade Norwood . Democratic primary voters chose Bob Duffy.
So last night, it was Democratic officialdom that supported the Special Election route, aided and abetted by Democratic fellow travelers like the Rochester Business Alliance led by Democratic shill Sandra Parker, and the "Faith Alliance."
City Council Member Carla Palumbo spoke bravely in favor of letting the voters have a say in the Democratic nomination, in this election in which winning the nomination is tantamount to winning the election, but she sounds like the proverbial voice crying in the wilderness.
It comes down to a vote of City Council and we think the Democratic Committee has enough muscle to get them to go along with the desired result and cut the voters out of the process.
All that would be left, then, would be to see if it's Tom Richards or Molly Clifford who has the most political chits to call in, to win the backing of the City Democratic Committee.
Posted by Philbrick at 1:50 PM
Returning Democratic members of Congress unhappy with Nancy Pelosi are targeting Enemy of the People Louise Slaughter, and other Pelosi cronies, in the process of choosing Democratic leadership positions.
Instead of allowing Pelosi to re-appoint Slaughter as ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, Democratic dissenters want that and other leadership positions decided by a vote of their caucus.
Politico has the story.
Posted by Lucy at 9:53 AM
Monday, November 15, 2010
As possible pathways to victory for incumbent Representative Dan Maffei dwindle, Maffei now appears to be targeting absentee ballots of senior citizens in Onandaga County, in order to suppress the vote for Ann Marie Buerkle. Onandaga election officials begin counting absentees on Wednesday.
Friday's count of absentee votes in Monroe and Cayuga Counties increased Buerkle's lead to 729, with the count now at 100,314 for Buerkle to 99,585 for Maffei.
That's not counting the 270 Cayuga and Monroe votes challenged, mostly by Maffei. As most are ballots from Republican, Conservative and Independence Party voters, it's likely most would go to Buerkle once allowed by the judge.
Wayne County counts absentee votes today.
The Buerkle campaign advises that, district-wide, Republican voters submitted 1,000 more ballots than registered Democrats. In the largest county in the district, Onandaga, 500 more Republicans than Democrats votes by absentee ballot.
Ann Marie is in Washington today for the orientation for new members of Congress.
Posted by Philbrick at 11:14 AM
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The Question the D&C Won't Ask about Chief Moore's OusterSince our piece appeared on Monday, local broadcast media have begun to inquire about the reason for Mayor Duffy's summary dismissal of Rochester Police Chief David Moore. We'll see if they press for answers.
Meanwhile, the Democrat and Chronicle just can't bring itself to confront the glaring central question: WHY? What's the real reason?
The paper's tepid editorial yesterday was about as tentative as you can get, focusing on procedure and timing, not the decision itself. Not, "Why did the Mayor do it?," but "Why so abruptly?" As if the big issue were one of mere presentation, with the focus on Chief Moore deserving a more dignified exit. That he did, but acknowledging it doesn't address the core question.
As if they realized "We really have to say something," the paper's editorialists watered down their comment until it was bereft of substance.
Yet if it lacked substance it had purpose: to come to Mayor Duffy's aid by whitewashing the episode. To deflect attention to related, but collateral issues. Communication. Dignity. Timing.
But no mention at all of the real timing question: why right after the election, when it was clearly thought out before? What was it about this incident that Duffy didn't want discussed before an election in which he was a candidate?
Not even a mention of any of the other questions that would occur immediately to a first-year journalism student.
"Duffy told this page that Moore 'was not fired or demoted'" said the D&C, parroting the Mayor's pallid defense without question or scrutiny. The "transition" should have been "a lot smoother."
All just a matter of presentation, the D&C subtly tries to convince us, from describing the act in the passive voice -- "So why was the move made so abruptly?" instead of "So why did the Mayor move so abruptly?" -- to its use of the dishonest euphemism "transition." Nothing to see here folks. Just move along, now.
All of which highlights the core question even more starkly:
WHY did the Mayor dump Chief Moore?
Posted by Philbrick at 11:01 AM
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
As grief counselors make the long march through Democratic staff offices in the U.S. Capitol, ethics counselors appear needed in upstate New York. Democratic tricksters are fanning out across the 25th Congressional District, where Republican Ann Marie Buerkle holds a 684 machine vote lead over incumbent Democrat Dan Maffei.
With absentee ballots yet to be counted, someone is contacting absentee ballot voters in the 25th District, asking for whom they voted, and it's not the Buerkle campaign. Ann Marie released this statement yesterday:
It has recently come to my attention that there are efforts underway in Upstate New York to contact individuals who cast absentee ballots in the 25th Congressional District and inquire how they may have voted in the recent election. It is regrettable that this action is underway prior to those absentee votes being tabulated by county election officials. While the reasons for this effort are unclear, many agree it could be an attempt by some to identify who each person voted for in an effort to disqualify certain eligible ballots from being counted. I would like the public to know that my campaign is not connected to this current effort. Further, no American – in Upstate New York or anywhere – is in anyway under obligation to provide information to anyone on how he or she voted in any election, including my own.Maffei has filed legal proceedings against the four county boards of elections claiming "voting irregularities" that no one saw on election day, but that materialized all of a sudden once Maffei found himself losing. It appears the strategy is to obstruct the absentee vote count with a goal of disenfranchising Buerkle voters.
Help Ann Marie fight back! Contribute to her Postelection Fund to support her effort in the anticipated recount.
Posted by Philbrick at 10:28 AM
Monday, November 8, 2010
11/9/2010 Update - Answers to Quiz below!With the third-highest vote total by party in the gubernatorial election, the Conservative Party of New York has retaken Row C on election ballots in the state. It had held Row C -- the first line after the two major parties -- from the 1960's until about 10 years ago, when the Independence Party displaced it by Tom Golisano's third-place finish for Governor on the Independence line.
Interestingly, it's possible that the Independence Party, now just a sad and pointless remnant of Golisano's vanity races for governor, may have slipped to Row E, with the union-front "Working Families" party outpolling it to take Row D.
Position on the New York ballot is determined by vote total by party in the most recent election for governor.
QUIZ:No Googling! This is a test of your chops as a hardened political junkie. Answers tomorrow.
1. Who was the candidate for Governor who put the Conservative Party on Row C for the first time?
2. What was the name of the party the Conservatives bumped from Row C that year?
3. What was the year?
4. Bonus Question: What was the famous name of the candidate whose party was bounced from Row C to Row D?
Update - 11/9/2010
ANSWERS:Congratulations to our winner, whose prize is Philbrick's voice on his home answering machine!
1. Who was the candidate for Governor who put the Conservative Party on Row C for the first time?Paul Adams, professor of history at Roberts Wesleyan College2. What was the name of the party the Conservatives bumped from Row C that year?The Liberal Party3. What was the year?19664. Bonus Question: What was the famous name of the candidate whose party was bounced from Row C to Row D?Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.
Posted by Steve Zodiac at 10:25 PM
.. . . for dumping the Chief of Police?So two days after the election, Mayor Duffy essentially fires Police Chief David Moore and replaces him effective today. That's the Mayor Duffy who in seven weeks won't be Mayor any longer. He assures us it has nothing to do with "wrongdoing," even though nobody asked that question (and in the cocoon of media protection in which Duffy lives political life, no one will).
Here's how Rochester suffers from not having a quality daily newspaper. And from local broadcast media that won't step up to fill the gap.
Why is no one questioning the timing of the abrupt police chief switch-out? That it was done right after the election and clearly planned beforehand?
Why wouldn't an outgoing Mayor leave a fundamental change in a key City department to his successor? To the Mayor who will be working with the police chief?
Is it because the new Mayor's already been chosen, and the process wired for him or her -- and that new Mayor-to-be is on board with the change?
What's the real reason? Was there a problem? Was it a concession to the police union in negotiations going on with the City?
Yet with no explanation and suspect timing, local media give the episode a free pass, never asking, "What's really going on?" If a Republican County Executive made an analagous move under the same circumstances, there'd be a full-blown media investigation.
Instead, there's no one other than we citizen bloggers to ask, "What's going on behind closed doors at City Hall?"
Posted by Philbrick at 11:26 AM
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Help Ann Marie Buerkle get fair treatment in the absentee and military ballot vote count by supporting her postelection fund.
With Buerkle about 700 votes ahead with the full machine count in, national Democrats have already dispatched lawyers from D.C., and incumbent Dan Maffei is soliciting dollars for an even bigger attorney armada.
Support Ann Marie!
Analysis of how Ann Marie pulled it off appeared in today's Syracuse Post-Standard. Winning Monroe County, it says, was key.
In other New York election news, in Congressional District 1 (eastern Long Island) Republican Randy Altschuler has pulled ahead of incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop by 392 votes. As with the Buerkle-Maffei race, it now comes down to the absentee and military ballots.
Posted by Lucy at 8:34 PM
Sore winner Barney Frank gave an election night harangue that a 30-year Frank supporter calls a "road rage acceptance speech," commenting that he benefits from a double standard: "No female politician could last five minutes as such a condescending, abusive bully."
"He seemed . . . outraged that he had to run a race at all.” This and further comment on what sounded more like an angry concession speech at Gay Patriot.
Looks like Frank's role in creating the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mess will be investigated by the new Congress.
Posted by Mycroft at 7:18 AM
Friday, November 5, 2010
That has produced a vicious circle in which the very wealthy, the urban poor, and the public-sector unions who define the Democratic coalition create a high-taxing, heavily regulated polity that drives business and the upwardly mobile to the exits.Read the whole thing.
. . . [L]ikely to compete for center stage in the next two years: the split between, on one side, California and New York -— two states, deeply in debt, whose wealthy are beneficiaries of the global economy -— and, on the other, the solvent states of the American interior that will be asked to bail them out. This geographic division will also pit the heartland’s middle class and working class against the well-to-do of New York and California and their political allies in the public-sector unions.
Posted by Steve Zodiac at 8:12 AM
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
With more than half of districts in:
Mark Johns ahead of David Koon! 51 to 49%
Hanna ahead of Nachbar; 56% to 43%
Alesi ahead of Wilmot; 53% to 47% (about 60% of precincts reporting)
County Court Judge: Piampiano and DiNolfo winning. Argento a hair's breadth ahead of Wolford.
Family Court Judge: Gallagher over Jackson; 60% to 40%
Posted by Philbrick at 9:51 PM
For eighteen months, liberal commentators, press organs and academics have been struggling to do two things. The first is to explain the Tea Party phenomenon without undermining the fundamental assumptions that inform the liberal worldview.
The second is related. Unable to explain the Tea Party movement without calling into question their underlying liberal political philosophy, yet recognizing it as an existential threat, liberals have sought to marginalize and vilify it.
Hence, the ever changing explanations and disparagings. First they dismissed it as trivial and tried to ignore it. As the movement grew, it was just "astroturf," not a real grassroots movement. Then they called Tea Partiers "uncivil." The same people who considered the antics of Code Pink a virtue during the Bush years suddenly found it uncivil to ask your Congressman if he had read a bill before voting on it.
Then Tea Partiers were described as hateful, violent, even dangerous. A “small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht,” it was said of the people who subsequently rallied peacefully on the National Mall at the end of August and picked up after themselves, leaving behind not a scrap of litter for the astonished Park Service staff to remove.
The mainstream press repeated stories of physical assaults against people and property, allegedly by Tea Partiers, and none of which were ever proven. Like the obviously staged "brick in the window" at Monroe Democratic Headquarters last spring.
Then Scott Brown won the Senate race in Massachusetts, of all places. Panic time on the left. This thing had traction. That was about the time liberals resorted to their last redoubt when they're out of arguments on any subject: the Tea Party is racist.
It's also extremist. You've seen the ugly face of extremism: there are people who actually believe the income they earn belongs to them, not the government? Extremism! Being impertinent enough to ask "Where are the jobs?" that the trillions in government spending were supposed to create? Extremism!
Then it became a secret plot bankrolled by right-wing billionaires. Then it was all because Americans are stupid. Spoiled. Ungrateful. Acting on fear, not reason or facts or science. And on and on, ever changing as the inconvenient reality just won't support each successive theory.
Trying to explain the Tea Party movement without disturbing bedrock liberal assumptions is hard work. Some would say impossible. Like trying to engineer a space shuttle mission while insisting on the fundamental assumption that the earth is flat.
It can't be done. There's a reality whose existence is impervious to opinion and assumption. Its the reality that the public has turned against the Democrats. Because, despite the Democrats' spending and their claims, the economy hasn't improved, and because the public believes their policies are too liberal and overreaching. Especially Obamacare. That's what created the Tea Party movement.
The Left can't accept it, so their explanations of the phenomenon keep shifting over time, since they never fit, and thus the quest continues for any explanation other than the real one.
The Left won't accept that we live in an esentially center-right country. We do. When you govern against the grain, the public turns on you.
Mustard Street recognized the import of the Tea Party movement way back when. We told you that something big was happening when conservatives take to the streets, pack into Town Hall meetings, rally, and carry protest signs. That had always been the doing of the Left. Never a part of the conservative playbook. If the right was doing it now, this was something very new, that could have a major impact.
We had a foretaste of that impact last November in New Jersey and Virginia. Then early this year, in Massachusetts. Today we will measure its impact again.
As we all await the results of today's vote, we round out our analysis of the Tea Party phenomenon by reprising below excerpts from several of our original pieces on the subject.
From The Real Tea Party -- published April 18, 2010
Tea party activists ... it turns out, are more educated than the average American, more reflective of mainstream anxieties than any populist movement in memory, and more closely aligned philosophically with the wider electorate than any big-city newsroom in America.Like we told you.
Read the whole thing.
From Lincoln Was Wrong -- published April 15, 2010
All elements of the Liberal Archipelago, from the media to the universities to the political class, have talked themselves into believing the Tea Party movement is just a few fringe complainers. Just something "astroturfed" by Sarah Palin or the Republican Party. They repeat it over and over, maybe hoping if they do, that will make it so.
They're clueless. As the oldest resident of Mustard Street, let me tell you. The last time I remember the Liberal-Media Complex so far out of touch with what's going on in the country was during the year before Reagan was elected in 1980. They never saw it coming, and never believed it could happen.
Then it happened.
Tea Time -- published April 16, 2009
The extraordinary feature of yesterday's Tea Party protests across the country is not the impressive number of participants, but that they happened at all.
Political rallies and street protests traditionally have been the province of the Left. People in the ordinary mainstream of life and conservatively-minded people are too polite, too reticent, too time-strapped. Lacking, for the most part, the ideological fervor to overcome inhibitions like self-consciousness, or concern over what the Boss might think.
A conservative friend of humorist P.J. O'Rourke asked "why don't our people do this," as they passed by a streetcorner group of left-wing protesters.
"Our people have jobs," P.J. explained.
That Americans were willing to turn out yesterday in the numbers they did, to protest taxes and government spending, demonstrates a broad and deep feeling across the country.
Whether it will be productively channeled, resulting in policy reform, we will learn in the years ahead. That it might be is clearly troubling the Left. They understand, better than anyone, that street organizing and protests are very much outside of the culture of the conservative and the moderate.
The Left understands the import of what it saw yesterday. Look at the more extreme of the local and national Left-oriented websites and how they tried yesterday, in anticipation, to dismiss and belittle the tea parties. These efforts carry a whiff of "whistling past the graveyard." If they really thought the tea parties were meaningless, they'd ignore them rather than give them more publicity by denouncing them in advance, as they have.
The nervousness of the Left is showing.
Posted by Philbrick at 11:40 AM
Monday, November 1, 2010
It appears that Monroe County Democrats are skittish about the chances of appointed-Judge Kelly Wolford in tomorrow's election.
Wolford worked for the District Attorney's office before her appointment. From inside the DA's office we learn that District Attorney Mike "Nifong" Green has kept Wolford's old position open for her, in case voters give her the thumbs down tomorrow, as political observers expect.
Badly beaten in both the Conservative and Independence primaries, Wolford appeared until recently to be doing little campaigning beyond billboards -- always a dead giveaway of the political amateur.
Now her campaign has come out with a mailer comparing her Republican opponents, each an elected judge, unfavorably to candidate Wolford.
Material from a sitting judge even as mildly negative as this is unusual and hints at desperation. Last year County Court Judge Brian McCarthy, like Wolford an appointee seeking election for the first time, went negative against his Republican challenger John DeMarco. It backfired badly, as DeMarco beat McCarthy handily.
Wolford's record with mailings isn't good. During the primary, Wolford sent a mailing to enrolled Conservatives, attributing a flattering quote to "Hank Love, Conservative Party Member." An inquiry to the Board of Elections by Conservative Party Chairman Tom Cook disclosed no one by that name in Monroe County who's registered as a Conservative.
"We have 3 registered voters under that name but they are not enrolled Conservatives, and our records do not show any history of such enrollment," wrote Election Commissioners Peter Quinn and Tom Ferrarese, in response to Chairman Cook's inquiry.
No wonder County Democrats are holding open Wolford's old spot in the DA's office. Looks like she'll be needing it.
Posted by Philbrick at 3:51 PM
Just in ...
We're told that over the weekend a complaint was filed with police against a sitting Democratic Assemblyman, having to do with an altercation with a campaign worker.
If anyone has additional information, please contact Mustard Street at the e-mail address shown in the right-hand column and at the bottom of this page.
Posted by Philbrick at 11:04 AM