Friday, January 28, 2011
The Democrat and Chronicle's Paint-By-the-Numbers Deception.
Suppose you were a corrupt newspaper editor. Just suppose.
You're up to your eyeballs in a seedy effort to, essentially, install a Mayor without an election. It's blown up in your face, through comic ineptitude of your political partners. Now, worst of all, the one man who can beat your boy, even in an election already rigged, has announced his candidacy.
Must distract the rubes with a diversion.
Here's how it's done, kids:
1. Sieze advantage of the context. Misdeeds by a former airport director recently lent an unsavory connotation, in the public mind, to credit cards used by the Airport authority:
Airport credit cards = misuse, cigars and strippers2. Kill two birds with one stone. You desperately want to unseat the incumbent County Executive. Voila! Front page news about the County Executive's Airport Authority credit card. Because Airport authority credit card = bad. Stow that mortal threat to your mayoral candidate's campaign on the local page.
3. Nuance is everything. Don't report that out of all instances of use of the Exec's Airport Authority credit card, $1,300 was for County business more properly charged to a different County department. Instead say the $1,300 was "unrelated to airport business." Thus recalling to the reader all the horrors of cigars and strippers!
The D&C, self-appointed "watchdog," needs a watchdog itself.
The corruption of its editors is past the point where satire, or analytical exposition of their deceptions, is enough.
Who are these people. The people, not "the newspaper." The people who make the decisions that produce the newspaper.  Who watches over them? When they afflict the innocent and reward the guilty, who oversees that? Who watches over these malefactors of influence who propagandize a community in the interest of whichever political faction they're backing at the moment?
Who are they? What are their associations and interests. What's in their expense accounts. What are they doing behind closed doors?
We here are willing to make a start. What do any of you know about them? Tell us. Tell us about Karen Magnuson, Michael Kane, James Lawrence. The public they abuse and deceive has a right to know.
To paraphrase the headline of this morning's editorial, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle needs an independent investigative team.
Posted by Philbrick at 12:33 PM
Gannett Co., Inc., owner of the Democrat and Chronicle, will hold its fourth-quarter 2010 earnings conference call with financial analysts on Monday, January 31 at 10:00 a.m.
Residents of communities burdened with Gannett newspapers can't participate, just invited financial analysts. So we can't ask why Gannett leased its Rochester paper to the local Democratic Party. But at least we can listen for glimmers of hope. The company will release its fourth quarter earnings before the call.
You can listen to the conference call at the company's website, www.gannett.com. A replay will be available for two weeks on the Investor Relations section of its website.
Alternatively, you can call in to 1-888-516-2447 no later than 10 minutes to 10:00. The confirmation code for the conference call is 4086987.
Posted by Philbrick at 6:47 AM
Thursday, January 27, 2011
The best laid plans of mice and men ...
And speaking of mice, Joe Morelle's really ticked off. By running for Mayor, former Mayor Bill Johnson not only throws a wrench into Morelle's brutish orchestration of a Democratic convention meant as a coronation for Tom Richards.
If Johnson doesn't win at the Democratic convention and goes on to run in the Special Election, what he's done, effectively, is to turn the Special Election into a Democratic Primary.
That's exactly what Joe Morelle wanted to avoid. Wanted to avoid so badly, he was willing not merely to create all the upheaval and chaos in City government in recent weeks, but to weather the embarrassment and ridicule that came with it.
Boy, when things go wrong ...
Posted by Philbrick at 4:13 PM
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
While in attendance last night at the City Council meeting, I was surprised as to what I heard from Council members in their follow up comments after the vote on the March 29th date for the special election. Some seemed to say “get on board, we have made our decision.” Mcfadden seemed angry and demanded that we all show some respect no matter what our personal feelings are. Yet some Council members seemed upset that this was the decision and not the appointment leading to a general election this fall.
One thread ran through each and every one of their comments and it is one that I wish we knew more about. They all seemed to almost throw out the idea that we could have appointed a Mayor and waited to vote in a general election this fall. It was almost as if that was never an option, without ever having actually placed it to a vote. So I would like to know who is against the general election and why? Council members Haag and Palumbo switched their vote from no to yes while explaining that they essentially “had no choice.” Well you certainly did! You could have voted “no” as you did in December. You would not have changed the result, but at least you would have shown you are true in your convictions. Instead you bent to party pressure and voted to move forward with it.
One thing that seems to be showing the true difference between Democrats and Republicans lately is that, when Republicans know they are walking down the wrong path, they “about face” and head in a different direction. City Council actually picked up member support for the Special Election, despite pubic “multi-partisan” public opinion against it. They charged full speed ahead.
To any member inside the Democratic Party in the City: if you don’t condone this behavior, you better get active elsewhere. It’s not looking good for you to have any voice with your current “leadership”.
Posted by Richard Tyson at 6:07 PM
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
... by setting a Special Election when they don't even know whether they have a legal Acting Mayor or not?
Democratic Party boss Joe Morelle has so fouled up the stability of City government by manipulating Tom Richards and the rules that Rochester City government is already in chaos, following Richards's abrupt resignation last week.
Nobody knows whether Carlos Carballada legally has the power of Acting Mayor or not. The plain reading of the law, the
City Charter, sure makes it look like he doesn't, since he wasn't appointed to serve in consequence of a natural disaster or civic emergency like a war. If he doesn't, then there's no mayor at all until a special election.
Even the Democrat and Chronicle stepped back from its cheerleading for Morelle appointing a Mayor in defiance of his own party's members, calling over the weekend for Council to hold off setting a special election until Carballada's status is clarified.
But even if it plunges City government into even deeper chaos, and ridicule, Council appears poised to damn the torpedoes and go full speed ahead at its meeting tonight.
Apparently they have the same political adviser as Senator Alesi.
Posted by Philbrick at 9:40 AM
He pulled the plug on his political career by bringing it in the first place.
See a doctor, Mr. Alesi. If there's no brain tumor, and it all came from empty spaces in your head, the places where other people keep ethics, conscience and judgment, keep a low profile. No more of those taxpayer funded mailings, or "health fair." Now they'd just cause outrage. No going to meetings of the Republican clubs in your district. It would just embarrass them. You're a pariah now. It's over.
Posted by Mycroft at 5:16 AM
Saturday, January 22, 2011
That's all I can think of to explain his recent behavior.
Even if he were just an ordinary, garden variety (I'll use the clinical term here) anal aperture, a credential universally agreed that he won years ago, it doesn't account for the irrational behavior.
What jury can Alesi ever find who will award him a penny in this lawsuit he just filed?
And he's willing to take the ridicule and condemnation that comes with it? No. Has to be a tumor.
First, without reason and at the last minute, he fires almost his entire staff. People who in some cases had been with him for most of two decades. People admired as smart and capable, and who made personal sacrifices, and in their families' lives too, to work for him and get him reelected. People who went to the wall for him in the last election.
As the startled staff asked "Why?" Alesi repeated over and over the same rote business that "Staff serve at the Senator's pleasure."
Now he sues homeowners for an injury he brought on himself through tresspassing!
Questioned by TV newsman Evan Dawson, Alesi would only read from a prepared statement, "My attorney filed a lawsuit today." Nothing else.
Brain tumor. Has to be. No other explanation.
To: Rob Quinn (the only Alesi staffer not fired):
Get your boss to a doctor and then get out. If you don't, you're wearing this too.
Alesi just signaled he's never running for anything again. As for you, no way you get reelected to Penfield Town Board if you stay on his staff. Alesi went from [anal aperture] to poison in one day.
Posted by Mycroft at 8:05 AM
Friday, January 21, 2011
1. The strangely pedantic insistence by Tom Richards and his staff, from the moment of taking over mayoral duties pending election or appointment of a new mayor, that he was "Mayor" -- not the "Acting Mayor" (which in fact he was).
The entire question of whether the Hatch Act applies turns on the distinction between the two: if "Mayor" he could run for election; if "Acting Mayor" he couldn't."
2. Richards, though claiming to be "Mayor," went out of his way to make clear that he would not appoint a Deputy Mayor.
He couldn't appoint a Deputy Mayor. He was the Deputy Mayor, and would remain so unless elected or appointed as Mayor. (Or unless he resigned.)
Again, the core of the Hatch problem: if he was Deputy Mayor, he couldn't run. So the pretense of being "Mayor" had to be supported by a plausible reason for not appointing a deputy. The political world would have expected such an appointment. Consequently, the posturing about saving taxpayers money as the reason for not making it.
3. What was one of the first thing Richards did on his first day as Acting Mayor? He "updated" the mayoral succession plan, to place Carlos Carballada next in line. It was a lame attempt to change the clear provisions of an existing law by the mere filing of a "plan." But Richards and Morelle knew the Hatch problem made the situation dicey.
To try to avoid the bad PR from causing even more chaos, they provided for a Plan B -- Carballada could step in if Richards were outed on the Hatch question and had to step down in order to run in a special election.
Which is just what happened this week.
Epilogue. The only problem is that "filing a plan" does not change the law. Only amending or repealing the law does. And the law in question says that Mr. Carballada wields the power of mayor only if there has been a life threatening emergency or natural disaster.
Now, far be it from us to claim that Joe Morelle isn't a life-threatening natural disaster.
But as it stands, Mr. Carballada's status is at best in question, and is eminently subject to legal attack as to its validity. So is any contract he signs or action he takes on the theory that he holds the powers of mayor.
The sowers of chaos strike again!
Posted by Philbrick at 11:03 AM
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Notes on the Democrats' Rollicking Fiasco at City Hall
From time to time it happens in one-party banana republics that the one party becomes so arrogant and insular it transcends malevolence alone and achieves malevolence plus farce.
Some random notes on the Morelle-made mess at City Hall:
• Joe Morelle and his crew at Democratic HQ are relentlessly determined to install a Mayor without a legitimate election, which in this case means a Democratic primary. So determined, that Morelle would rather incur all the embarrassment and ridicule from the Tom Richards resignation debacle than let City Council cure the Hatch Act problem by simply appointing Richards as Mayor. But that would mean a Democratic primary and general election. And the voters must not have a voice.
• So intent is Morelle on bypassing his own party's voters, he'd sooner see Richards damaged politically, and his reputation tarnished, which is what has happened, than be presented to voters in a legitimate election.
• Morelle doesn't have the political juice he wants the world to imagine. Richards resigned one jump ahead of an adverse Hatch opinion from the Office of Special Counsel. That Morelle couldn't put the fix in for the "right" opinion from a Democratic-controlled office -- it's a certainty he tried, and that it had been Plan A -- shows how the Party's higher-ups regard him.
• As Corporation Counsel, Richards had to have known about the Hatch Act and its strict, if silly, application. The idea that a seasoned political hack like Joe Morelle didn't know about it can't be accepted seriously. Had they gone to the Office of Special Counsel for a Hatch opinion months ago, they'd have avoided all the public humiliation and trouble that's ensued.
• We've learned that the Office of Special counsel provides just that kind of advice, for the asking, letting prospective candidates for office know about Hatch problems before they embark on the campaign trail. As our colleague Rich Tyson noted, Morelle and Richards are either utterly irresponsible or utterly incompetent not to have done so.
• The utterly irresponsible or utterly incompetent crew of Morelle and his Merry Men are the very people the Democrat and Chronicle wants to see replace Maggie Brooks and the Republican county administration, in order to "restore public confidence" in county government! (We didn't know the public had lost confidence in County government. We bet that Brooks's poll numbers show otherwise. Very otherwise.)
• The Democrat and Chronicle, doting matriarch of the local Democratic family, has struggled valiantly to smooth things over and soothe the troubled family group. The headline wasn't "Richards Resigns," but "Carballado Appointed," as if the comic opera at City Hall were in the natural progression of orderly public administration.
• Speaking of the D&C, it must be panic time over there. Quickly, now -- must find another nickel-and-dime error at a Republican-run agency to knock the Mayoral Follies off the front page. Maybe Maggie Brooks didn't renew her dog's license in time. A flagrant violation of law! Requiring oversight. That's worth at least 3 front page stories, 2 editorals and the intervention of the Attorney General, isn't it?
• Tuesday's press conference: we haven't seen Morelle looking this worried and depressed since Election Night of 2009, another landmark in his tenure as Monroe Democratic Chief. By now he must be yearning for the good old days.
Posted by Philbrick at 2:16 PM
Here we thought Tucson changed everything. Now comes this:
Good Riddance, Joe Lieberman: Why I loathe my Connecticut senator
Why do I loathe, loathe, loathe my 68-year-old four-term senator?
... and in a similar vein:
It's still OK to hate Joe Lieberman
What happened to civility? When will this hatred end?
Posted by Mycroft at 11:22 AM
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
We've had a technical problem with comments the last week or two, with some comments getting chopped off. The comments arrive here in one piece, but when we push the button to publish them to the page, what appears has part of its last sentence or more cut off. It's been sporadic. We've contacted Blogger about the problem.
Posted by Lucy at 9:03 PM
The mess Joe Morelle has made at Rochester City Hall, trying to bypass voters and ram through a Mayor without a Democratic primary, is hilarious but confusing.
To help explain the status at City Hall and answer the question, "Who's Mayor this time?" we're turning to experts. They make better sense than the tortured explanations by Morelle and his hapless victim Tom Richards, and by Morelle's fairy godmother, the Democrat and Chronicle.
Posted by Lucy at 11:30 AM
So Much for the Argument that We Need a Special Election Because We Can't Have Too Many Mayors in One Year
Now we know what that "social lunch" was all about last week!
Posted by Philbrick at 7:34 AM
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I am out of the city today on business, and I am responding to the announcement by Acting Mayor Thomas Richards that he is resigning, in order to launch a campaign for Mayor without the threat of legal problems inhibiting his candidacy.via WHEC TV.
The implications of this announcement are very troubling.
It presumes that City Council will proceed with plans to call for a special election this winter, rather than prevailing upon Mr. Richards to “act as Mayor” for the balance of this year, in order to allow for a more orderly fall election under the City Charter.
Today’s announcement presumes the continuing denial to the citizens of this community of their most fundamental right to freely elect the candidate of their choice for the most important elective office in the city. It presumes that the personal agenda of a handful of political bosses are more important than those of the people they represent.
That such an announcement could come one day after the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is most ironic. Yesterday the country remembered the monumental contributions of a man who gave his life for the rights of all citizens to fully and freely participate in a democratic society. Today’s announcement has the potential to gravely undermine those rights.
I join with concerned members of the community who strongly implore the majority of City Council to resist this blatant effort to force a special election on our community. I add my voice with those citizens who say that if Council persists in this folly, that decision will not go unchallenged or be soon forgotten. If and when a vote for a special election by the end of March 2011 is offered, I urge one of the five Members who expressed their intention to vote for that election to join the four of their colleagues who bravely and wisely refused to do so.
I will make no statement about my own plans for this campaign at this time.
Posted by Philbrick at 8:59 PM
It is almost certain to be one of the two, regarding the City Administration and City Council. Today, Tom Richards announced that in order to "limit the number of Mayors" and "add to the continuity of business of Rochester's government", which is the reason they have "sold" us on the special election, he will step down. Carlos Carballada will take over as Acting Mayor. Why? Because Tom Richards would have been in violation of the Hatch Act had he run while also being the Acting Mayor of
Even though City Council tried their hardest to convince us all that he was Mayor in his own right -- not "acting" -- despite the fact that the City Charter clearly states he was Acting Mayor, he's stepping down before running in the special election. That is, if we actually do have said "special election."
City Council, on a snowy, cold, and dark December night, when attendance was expected to be low at their monthly meeting announced that they had voted in private for the special election. But, we then found out that that wasn't a legal vote as they had to wait until Bob Duffy actually resigned before they could make that decision. Sneaky or Incompetent?
We then heard from Council President that they were holding off on proceeding with the decision to hold the special election once it was brought to light, by James McTiernan, that Tom Richards may be in violation of the Hatch Act if he were to run while sitting in the seat of "Acting Mayor". She also stated at that time that nothing had changed in their plans but they were going to hold off on making if official. So why not make the decision at that time? or Incompetent?
So apparently James McTiernan was correct. Otherwise I am sure that Tom Richards would not be stepping down so that he can run. But how would this administration not know this would be brought up? Didn't care? Didn't think anyone was paying attention? Didn't know?
In my opinion there is no good answer. Either we have an admin. that is sneaky or incompetent. What other reason is there for this passing of the mayoral torch to go so poorly? It isn't like there is two parties fighting this out as they are all Democrats! I would like to say it is time for a leadership change in the city but that would imply that there is actually leadership today.
According to the reporting of Seth Voorhees on YNN today, Tom Richards, City Council Members, and Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Morelle are questioning the "motivation" of the complaint regarding the Hatch Act. What level or arrogance does one need to achieve to question anyone's motivation for holding our elected officials to rules that they likely created? The Democrats have held power in the city for the better part of 30 years, which means that they have been in control of the City Charter for that long. These same people are questioning the motivation of a citizen that questioned them, and by Tom Richards decision to step down indicated that said citizen was correct? If you didn't like the rules then why didn't you just change them?
Again I will ask, sneaky or incompetent?
Posted by Richard Tyson at 4:21 PM
Monday, January 17, 2011
The Democratic campaign against Maggie Brooks and Republican County legislators has kicked off on the front pages of the party's press organ, the Democrat and Chronicle.
So far, we count seven prominent news items and editorials on the subject of what is variously reported as $17,000 worth, or $21,000 worth, of suspect cigar purchases by the Airport's Executive director. We'll assume the worst and call it $21,000.
As of yesterday, we're up to at least three prominent items, and counting, over an incident of administrative stupidity -- that would have made no difference fiscally had it been done right -- involving $13,000 contributed by the ESL sports center to Republican State legislative candidates.
Yet reports on irregularities concerning the City of Rochester Housing Authority, which could involve hundreds of thousands of dollars were limited to two. And after that -- down the memory hole.
Or is pointing this out now considered uncivil?
Posted by Philbrick at 8:51 AM
Friday, January 14, 2011
Today's paper brings word that Benfante's Appliance Repair and Hardware has closed its doors for good.
Another step away from life at human scale, toward a pasteurized, homogenized United States of Nowhere.
Patronize local businesses, people. Or the rot continues.Small, local, old, and particular are almost always better than big, global, new, and abstract; beauty is more important than efficiency.
-- Rod Dreher
Posted by Philbrick at 2:45 PM
During a tour of upstate cities, Lieutenant Governor Duffy met for lunch the other day with Joe Morelle, David Gantt, Lovely Warren and Tom Richards. Did they talk of fixing the schools, or the city's abnormally high crime rate or downtown development or any of the pressing issues facing the city?
According to the merry lunch bunch, no. It was just a social visit, with vaguely described discussion of "challenges"and Duffy's new role.
We're sure there was no discussion at all about the bumps they're encountering on the road to the coronation of Tom Richards as mayor without a meaningful election, or how to get around them.
Posted by Lucy at 9:47 AM
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal:
They expected to take losses in November. What they got instead was Armageddon. Suddenly an authentic reform movement, linked to the Republican Party, whose goal simply is to stop the public spending curve, had come to life.
Against that grim result, every sentence Messrs. Krugman, Packer, Alter, the Times and the rest have written about Tucson is logical and understandable. What happened in November has to be stopped, by whatever means become available. Available this week was a chance to make some independents wonder if the tea parties, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Jared Loughner are all part of the same dark force.
Posted by Lucy at 1:03 PM
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Despite the inappropriate pep-rally atmosphere and the odd pagan "benediction," the President, Holder, Napolitano and Brewer distinguished themselves tonight in Tucson. So especially did Daniel Hernandez, the student credited with saving Congresswoman Giffords' life.
... at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.Well said, Mr. President. A few days late, and it won't stop the people who are doing the blaming, but well said.
Posted by Philbrick at 10:51 PM
Posted by Mycroft at 7:33 PM
Johnson for MayorWe know better than to think there's any cause and effect here. We're just pleased that there was someone out there who regarded the idea as highly as we do -- and that the person was Mayor Johnson!
-- Mustard Street, December 23, 2010
Former Mayor Johnson Considers Mayoral Run
-- WHAM-TV, January 10, 2011
Life, of course, is very different from the movies, where Gary Cooper rides into town and cleans things up by himself. Yet every now and again there comes a person of high character and the ability to make a difference, who stands up to people trying to do wrong. Such a moment is now and Bill Johnson is the man.
By the way, in our recent piece on the mayoral succession, we neglected a telltale sign. It's yet another signal that Mr. Richards ands his aides have been acutely aware that he's on the wrong side of a Hatch Act problem that turns on his formal status at the moment: whether he's Deputy Mayor, or Mayor in his own right.
It's his declining to appoint a Deputy Mayor.
Of course Mr. Richards won't appoint a Deputy Mayor just now. He can't.
That's because until he's elected Mayor in a Special Election, or is appointed Mayor by City Counsel, the office of Deputy Mayor is already occupied -- by Mr. Richards himself, posturing to the contrary notwithstanding.
The big show made over not appointing anyone -- spun as an example of civic-minded frugality -- is what's known to those in the business as "making a virtue of necessity."
Posted by Philbrick at 12:14 PM
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The same folks who launch accusations of Islamaphobia anytime someone tries to connect the dots on an Islamic person shooting, blowing up, attempting to blow up or kill others while admitting their motives are now doing the same thing with regards to the Arizona shooter. They have absolutely no way of connecting this lone crazed gunman to anything close at all to the Tea Party, Republican Party, Sarah Palin, etc but they are going to try. Even more astonishing is that most of the people interviewed, who know him, define this guy as a left wing pot head. That certainly doesn't sound like he is motivated by the tea party to me.
So apparently if the "shooter/bomber" is a white male we must assume and try to convince the American people that he is a right wing tea party member. On the other hand if the "shooter/bomber" comes out and tells us he is hurting and killing others in the name of Allah, and we even say that, then we have Islamaphobia.
Am I the only one that wants to rip my hair out over this?
Posted by Richard Tyson at 5:12 PM
Monday, January 10, 2011
The Democratic-Media Complex in this country may now have the burning-of-the-Reichstag moment it's spent months hoping for. "I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. In this case the hostage is the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed," Obama on keeping taxes from increasing, December 6, 2010 "A Republican majority in Congress would mean "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy," Obama, October 6, 2010 “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama in July 2008 "Here's the problem: It's almost like they've got -- they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger. You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger." Obama on banks, March 2009 "I want you to argue with them and get in their face!" Barack Obama, September 2008 “We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” Obama, October 2010 “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!” Obama on ACORN Mobs, March 2010 “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“ Obama on the private sector, June 2010
Clearly, a shooter known to be a "left-wing pot head" could be instigated to violence by overheated hate speech directed at Congresswoman Giffords, like this:
Not to mention hanging an elected official in effigy, like this.
Or death threats against the President of the United States himself, like these:
Or rhetoric employing metaphors of violence, like this (thanks to the BlogProf, via InstaPundit):
Our take is that the Left's brazen and dishonest smearing of its opponents as accomplices to murder will only intensify political polarization in this country.
Nothing could more infuriate the millions of people whose only "crime" has been to question the policy agenda of the Left, than for the Democratic-Media Complex to declare such criticism as the cause of Saturday's violence in Tucson. Great article on this point in today's Wall Street Journal.
"I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. In this case the hostage is the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed," Obama on keeping taxes from increasing, December 6, 2010
"A Republican majority in Congress would mean "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy," Obama, October 6, 2010
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama in July 2008
"Here's the problem: It's almost like they've got -- they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger. You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger." Obama on banks, March 2009
"I want you to argue with them and get in their face!" Barack Obama, September 2008
“We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” Obama, October 2010
“I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!” Obama on ACORN Mobs, March 2010
“We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“ Obama on the private sector, June 2010
Posted by Philbrick at 10:25 AM
Saturday, January 8, 2011
National Review used to run an annual contest, inviting readers to make predictions for the year ahead. We're reviving that tradition and invite you to compete for the title of Mustard Street's Prophet of the Year.
E-mail us with your predictions, for example: 1 (d); 2 (a); 3 (c), and so on. Entries close January 15. Include your name, and your answer to the tie-breaking question, and send to:
At the end of 2011, if you got the most predictions right, we will name you as Mustard Street's
1. In December 2011, WikiLeaks badboy Julian Assange may be found in:
d) an urn
2. The Democratic candidate for Monroe County Executive in 2011 will be:
a) Sandra Frankel
b) Joe Morelle
c) Molly Clifford
e) none of the above
3. The winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture of 2010 will be:
a) The King's Speech
b) Black Swan
c) The Company Men
e) True Grit
f ) none of the above
4. The U.S. Supreme Court will:
a) declare prison overcrowding in California to be unconstitutional, releasing 40,000 convicted criminals onto the streets;
b) decide that Obamacare's individual mandate exceeds the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause;
c) uphold California's Proposition 8 that bans same-sex marriage;
d) all of the above
e) none of the above.
5. The number of Republican members of the Monroe County Legislature after the 2011 election will be:
6. The first leader of a foreign country to fall from power in 2011 will be:
a) Italy's Silvio Berluscone
b) Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe
c) Greece's George Papandreou
d) Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu
e) Ireland's Brian Cowan
f ) none of the above
7. The number of Democrat and Chronicle stories in December 2011 promoting "Kwanzaa," the counter-Christmas for white liberals, will be:
a) 1 - 3
b) 3 - 5
c) 5 - 10
d) more than 10
8. State legislators in at least one Democratic-dominated state that lost congressional seats in the 2010 census will consider restricting its citizens from moving out of state (including heavy taxes on the value of assets of people who move).
9. Iran will:
a) detonate a nuclear weapon;
b) lose its nuclear weapons facilities to a pre-emptive strike by Israel that is opposed by the United States;
c) use a new long-range Shahab ballistic missile to detonate an electromagnetic pulse weapon over the United States;
d) none of the above.
10. Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks will win re-election by at least:
On the final trading day of 2011, the Dow Jones Industrial Average will close at _______.
My predictions are: 1 b; 2 a; 3 a; 4 e; 5 c; 6 a; 7 c; 8 a; 9 b; 10 b;
Tie Breaker - 9,100.
Posted by Steve Zodiac at 8:26 AM
Friday, January 7, 2011
I disagree with yesterday's piece by Lucy, who argued that because former Airport Director Damelio's cigars were charged to the airport's operating budget, and because that budget is funded by fees on airlines rather than taxes, we should all view the incident less negatively.
Sorry, Lu, but no reasonable person would accept hair-splitting like that, or should. It misses the essential point, besides: however acquired, those funds are the airport's and therefore are public. And this matter looks like a misuse of public funds. I can't improve on this comment from a reader:
It's fundamentally an ethical issue. It's also a stupidity issue.Regardless of the source of the money, it is public money for public benefit. No wonder there is no trust in government if the public condones this kind of behavior.
Every Republican elected or appointed official around here should know without being told: Republicans can't get away with transgressions like this. Like Caesar's wife, they have to be above reproach.
That's the reality of a media environment with a daily newspaper dedicated to ending Republican control of public offices and institutions.
So when you, Mr. Republican Appointee, pull a stunt like this one, you're not going to get the one-off, one-time article buried inside the paper, like City council expense reports and Susan John's drunk driving arrest.
You're going to become famous. You're going to get front-page, above-the-fold, lead story treatment. You're going to get it over and over. First the initial story. Then the editorial. Then the Dems in the County Legislature demand an investigation or a "reform" or some piece of business to attract news coverage. Then the editorial endorsing the Dems proposal. Then the follow-up story ...
And so on. Slam, slam, slam, slam, slam, slam, slam. Until the target is destroyed.
And you, Mr. or Ms. Misbehaving Office-Holder, aren't the target. The target is Republican control of public institutions, like County government. You're just the hammer, the tool picked up and used by a hostile newspaper ever in search of such tools to do the repeated slamming. If you're used up in the process, you're collateral damage.
You're way outside the Bubble of Media Protection where your Democratic counterparts live.
No whining that this is unfair. If you want to participate in public life, you take the landscape as you find it. And this is the landscape. If you don't like it, then don't run for office or accept appointment to a public position.
It seems inconceivable that there can be any local Republican office holder who doesn't understand this with point-blank realism. Then along comes a Damelio.
The ethical lapse is inexcusable. So is the failure to understand the basic rules for Republican officials in this town.
No sympathy here for Mr. Damelio.
What did he expect?
Posted by Philbrick at 12:23 PM
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The D&C wasn't so giddy over reporting the resignation of Airport Director David Damelio that it forgot to push a key fact way down in its article. At the end, in fact.
It's that the airport operating budget, which Damelio tapped for cigars, "... is not directly subsidized by taxpayers."
Taxpayer funds pay for capital improvements at the airport, like buildings and runways, but not the operating budget, whis is at issue in this matter.
That fact would make a world of difference in reader perception and understanding of the story. That must be why the D&C pushed it down to the very last sentence of the story, buried on an interior page.
Posted by Lucy at 2:46 PM
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
After a while at this, you develop a sixth sense.
Our antennae quivered when we read the D&C editorial the other day referring to "Mayor " Tom Richards.
Wow, we thought, they're really pushing it. He's not Mayor yet, just acting Mayor. That's why the City Charter requires either a special election or an appointment by City Council -- to fill the vacancy in the office of Mayor! The vacancy that exists until one of those two things happens.
If the Deputy Mayor succeeded automatically to the Mayorship in the event of a vacancy -- like the Vice President to the office of President -- there'd be no need for a special election, an appointment, or any other mechanism to fill the office of Mayor -- because the office already would be filled.
Today the newspaper discloses that the difference in status is crucial to whether a federal law, the Hatch Act, allows Richards to run for Mayor or not. If he already holds the office of Mayor, he can run. If not, he can't.
This explains the D&C editorialists pushing the "Mayor" bit the other day. From the outset they've been eager collaborators in the plan to install Richards as Mayor without a meaningful election.
Two critical points to be made here:
1. From the beginning, no one has had a clearer understanding of the Hatch Act problem than Tom Richards himself. A former Corporation Counsel and one time partner of the Nixon Peabody law firm, he knows the law. This explains why, according to the newspaper report:Richards' title has been a sensitive subject for City Hall, which began referring to him as "Mayor Richards" following a New Year's Day swearing-in ceremony that was closed to the public.(Is there anything about Richards getting this job that isn't "closed to the public?")
2. The fix is already in. Richards will be cleared to run for Mayor. Forget the very plain language of the Charter, or the opinion of the local government professor from SUNY - Albany who says Richards is now Acting Mayor.
Well before today's story ran, it has to be a certainty that Joe Morelle was on the phone with one of the two U.S. Senators or someone else in Washington, to arrange for the "right" opinion from the Office of Special Counsel in D.C. that decides these things.
The fix already is in. That's how these things work.
Tom Richards may be new to politics, but he's adapted quickly to the culture of political sleaze.
Imagine -- just imagine -- the media hue and cry if it were a Republican County administration trying to get away with this stuff.
Posted by Philbrick at 2:23 PM
From the mission statement of a quality daily newspaper:
There is no such thing as the capitalist "system" — capitalism is but the sum of economic interactions occurring naturally among individuals pursuing their own prosperity.The essential point. Many more gems in this statement of principles; well worth reading.
Posted by Philbrick at 6:09 AM
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
So it is 2011 and what a year this will be for local elections in Monroe County. From the top to the bottom there are races going on all over. So soon will begin the process of campaign teams being built, volunteers being organized, candidates meeting with their respective committees, and of course endorsement interviews along with many other tasks that make up a campaign.
I want to focus on endorsement interviews in this article. Some of them I can understand candidates wanting to participate in. It is a chance to meet folks that you would like support from. It often provides a chance to learn more about an organization that a candidate may otherwise not know. All around any exposure a candidate can get is good, right?
After working with the Democrat and Chronicle last year as a member of the Board of Contributors and sitting in many of those endorsement interviews it really woke me up to just how biased they are. Now, as a newspaper they certainly have any and all rights to do and say what they feel. But here is the question that I kept asking myself all year long, Why do Republicans bother? Why do we even bother wasting our time to sit with them? Do they endorse some of us, sure. But what does it mean?
We parade our candidates in one by one hoping that we walk away with them backing us. We do so knowing that we probably don't agree with much of what they think. So if a candidate does come away with the endorsement what does that say? "Did they agree with what I stand for, if so, did I change their minds?" "Did they need to fill the quota of Republicans they endorse this year and I was the name pulled from the hat?" "Am I so far off track that they actually agreed with me?"
My feeling is this, why bother this year? With all that is going on and the need that we have to get our candidates out to the people that count, the voters, do we even bother with the "newspaper" endorsements? I say that Republicans stand just as much a chance of getting an endorsement if they do or don't show up. Try it out, the worst thing they can do is not endorse us, and maybe that would be a good thing.
Posted by Richard Tyson at 10:58 AM
Monday, January 3, 2011
In the Monroe County Legislature, tonight was to be the big night for minority Democrats to debate their proposal for "independent" redistricting at the Agenda/Charter Committee.
They know it will be defeated in committee and therefore die, but the point is to create as big a media splash as possible: hammering home their points in front of the cameras, dragging out the customary rent-a-mob of Democratic interest group members to speak in the public comment time, the usual drill.
Instead, Democratic legislators withdrew their proposal today, without explanation.
But we know the reason, astute Mustard Street readers, don't we?
Democrats pulled the proposal so the redistricting story wouldn't compete with news coverage of today's resignation of Airport Director David Damelio. They want that one standing out front and center, all on its own.
Smart move. That's how politics works, boys and girls.
Watch for the redistricting plan to be re-introduced for consideration next month.
Posted by Philbrick at 10:10 PM