Tea Party Protests Grisanti Fundraiser

An exclusive image of the massive tea party protest of Mark Grisanti’s fundraiser, courtesy of @HeyRaChaCha on Twitter

The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara Would Like Everyone To Stop Lying, Please

Serious Congress Candidate

Former Higgins challenger and tea party activist Mike Madigan wrote an article for some website, claiming that the “League of Women Voters’ Mission [was] Subjugated to [Congressman Brian] Higgins’ Desires“.  The idea is that incumbent congressman Brian Higgins is so fearful of “debating” Kathy “infected poors” Weppner, that he somehow strong-armed the League into not scheduling a “debate” between the two candidates. 

Firstly, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara doesn’t do “debates”.  What it does is host candidate forums, which it calls “meetings”.  They’re not meant to be a way for candidates to debate each other, rather an opportunity for candidates to answer questions about relevant issues posed to them by people in the audience.  In years past, the organizers circulate index cards so audience members can write questions down for the moderator to ask.  

Recently, the League has stopped doing congressional forums altogether. There was never a forum scheduled for the NY-27 race between Chris Collins and Jim O’Donnell, nor was one ever set up for the NY-26 race between Higgins and Weppner. 

Weppner partisans have accused Higgins of not wanting to debate Weppner – some went so far on the radio to call Higgins a “sissy”.  Higgins, for his part, has debated his challenger in every available race, and this year is no exception.  There will be a debate at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute later this month, so the Higgins-sissy meme is ridiculous. 

Madigan made wild, flailing claims about Higgins being unwilling to “stand up to a strong female opponent”, and that unnamed “political observers” (read: Madigan) think that this informs Higgins’ “fear of a debate”.  With Weppner’s campaign teetering between non-entity and joke, suggestions of Higgins being a-feared of Weppner is absurd. The notion that he would somehow force the League to not only cancel the candidate meeting for NY-26, but also the one for NY-27 is likewise a complete fiction. 

Madigan suggested that the League was “playing defense” for Brian Higgins, suggesting that it’s trying to placate him as part of some fantastical quid-pro-quo, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t defamatory. So, I called the League and on Friday got a call back from Mary Ann. She was audibly upset over the phone about the Madigan article, and gave this prepared statement: 

The writer of the article in the Buffalo Chronicle didn’t check facts with the League.  The article contains inaccuracies.  We will respond to the article soon.  Thank you for your interest.

Incidentally, I asked the woman at the League with whom I spoke whether it was true that the reason why there is no forum for NY-27 is the same reason why one was never scheduled for NY-26.  She replied that the reason was the same. 

UPDATE: Late Friday, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara posted this as a comment to Madigan’s written leavings: 

Congressional candidates were not invited to the forum that was scheduled in Amherst and noted on the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara website. Amherst is located in the 26th congressional district. We have limited volunteers and resources. However, both Congressional candidates have responded to the League’s Online Voters Guide powered by Vote411. We encourage people to go to http://www.lwvbn.org. and read the responses of both candidates to the questions we posed.

The League’s printed 2014 Voters’ Guide will be available in public libraries and throughout Erie and Niagara County early next week. It will have the responses to the first question for each county and state office as well as pro and con arguments for the three New York State ballot proposals on this year’s ballot.

#Obamacough?

(Starting around 0.38s)

“If you’re loving your Obamacough…if you’re loving that respiratory infection, it’s not a mystery – it comes from Obama’s children. If you’re enjoying that, why don’t you call Brian Higgins’ office and thank him for it, and ask if he’ll help pay your medical bills for whatever your doctor may have given you to counteract said cough.”

What is he talking about? What does this mean? What “Obamacough” did “Obama’s children” cause people in WNY to contract? Why should Brian Higgins pay for anyone’s medical bills, given that everyone in New York is mandated to have health insurance coverage nowadays either through their employer, through the exchange, or through Medicaid? 

In what way is this responsible? What sort of radio station is this, exactly, this WBEN? I mean, I get Bauerle saying any old oddity – that’s his job – but when it crosses the line from commentary into crackpot tin-foil hattery, doesn’t someone step in and do something about it?  

I mean, I know Obama is a public figure, and so are his kids, to a degree – I don’t put it past any right winger to leave Obama’s kids alone – but what evidence is there to back this up?  Isn’t this sort of the very definition of “actual malice” set forth in Sullivan v. New York Times

 

Broadway-Fillmore Alive Needs You

HELP

Buffalo-Fillmore Alive needs your help! The group is dedicated to the renaissance of the Broadway-Fillmore area on Buffalo’s East Side, and was started in 2005 by Chris Byrd, the late, great Mike Miller, and Michele Johnson

The stated goal was to “open a window to the neighborhood…and start promoting it as a whole”, and to basically help people realize that there’s a whole world there, largely denigrated or forgotten but just as alive and vibrant as any other Buffalo neighborhood. 

“Our mission is to work together with community groups, businesses, residents, churches and other organizations to help promote, preserve and revitalize the Broadway-Fillmore area.”

Miller’s untimely death conspired with family and work constraints that made it harder for the group to accomplish its lofty mission, but Byrd writes that BFA is starting a concept called “Team Alive”.  From Byrd’s blog post: 

The idea is to put together a broader BFA volunteer group of people interested in working on some neighborhood projects in B-F, write for BFA, take photos and more. At the core of the concept is what we started to do when we came up with Broadway Fillmore Alive.

Through the work here and with the various organizations BFA is affiliated with, our idea has always been to have people look at the neighborhood as a sum of all its parts. I am very proud of this little window we give the world of B-F.

But…

There is more work to be done…there is a lot of the neighborhood that doesn’t get the attention or focus it needs.

If you are interested in finding out more and getting involved, you can fill out the Team Alive form by clicking here or call 716.218.0BFA.

Jefferson Street Shul 1903-2014?

Text of a press release:

Rabbi Drorah Setel and David Torke, activist and writer of fixBuffalo, will chain themselves to the threatened Jefferson Street Shul at 7am this morning at 407 Jefferson Avenue. The shul, constructed in 1903 and designed by A.E. Minks and Sons, is the oldest Jewish religious structure in Buffalo. An emergency demolition order was recently signed by the City, and demolition equipment has arrived on the site. All media are invited to witness this last attempt to save Buffalo’s oldest synagogue building.

Kathy “Purple Penguin” Weppner

Step 1: See what appears to be regurgitated, unvetted nonsense likely spreading rampant through the fascist blogosphere in order to assail the imminent destruction of ‘Murrka by n0bummer and the Alinskyite cadres. 

Step 2: Not being privy to the rampant dementia infecting the idiot fasict blogosphere, Google it and find who’s talking about it. 

Step 3: Be a curious and intelligent person, and try to get to the truth

Step 4: Find out that the whole fascist outrage is not only false, but damningly critical of an attempt to make kids feel comfortable in the classroom. In other words: based on evil. 

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Donn Esmonde Should Just STFU about Teachers

As a general reminder, please reacquaint yourself with the notion that Donn Esmonde – the News columnist who won’t leave – is an unethical, morally repugnant, tea partying  ass.

It was just last year that Esmonde (whose wife is a Buffalo Public School teacher, and who has actively shilled for his charter-school running business partner) regaled WNY with tales of greedy teachers gorging at the public trough. (I love how his business partner’s daughter wrote a glowing paean to Esmonde in Buffalo Rising in 2008). 

Now, we’re supposed to believe that teachers are good? That they can be people’s “favorite“? That they are not only professionals and educators, but also reliable, trusted adults to whom kids can turn for aid and comfort? Was Joe Finucane one of those greedy suburban teachers? I mean, he made $90,000 at Williamsville North

Donn Esmonde owes too many apologies to count at this point, but one thing is for sure: while his tea party friends continue their privatization and dismantling of Buffalo’s school district, with no one asking, “cui bono?”, Esmonde should probably just stop writing about educators. He is unworthy of them. 

How Did Kathy Weppner Warn Us About ISIS in 2013?

Rus Thompson at the Tea Party

Weppner with Costumed Pal

Remember how morally depraved Kathy “Infected Poors” Weppner tried reprehensibly and crassly to fundraise over the severed heads of American journalists murdered by “ISIS”?  She’s tried to make this into an issue, but as with most things she touches, she inadvertently reveals her own fundamental ignorance about everything.

This is why you don’t give WBEN callers attention, or run them for office. 

In a radio spot airing now, which sounds like the rapid-fire disclaimer at the tail-end of a used car commercial, Weppner claims that if you want to “defeat ISIS” you have to “change your congressman”; i.e., replace Higgins with Weppner. 

which sounds like the rapid-fire disclaimer at the tail-end of a used car commercial

She argues that Higgins, as a member of the foreign relations committee, was briefed numerous times about ISIS over the past year, and nothing was done. The idiocy is HUUUGE-AH. Here’s why:  

1. Higgins is a minority member of the foreign relations committee.  It is led by – its agenda set by – Republicans (specifically, Ed Royce R-CA). If there is blame, it rests not with Higgins, but with the whole of the GOP-led committee.  

2. There is no guarantee that, if she were to win, Weppner would be appointed to the same committees as Higgins. Her entire argument about “change your congressman” is premised on that misconception. Is she ignorant about how Congress works, or is she assuming that you are? 

3. What did Weppner have to say about Syria and ISIS in 2013 on her radio show, or on her blog? Ha ha! Sorry, suckers! You’ll never know, because she deleted all of it from the internet

4. You could, of course, opt to “change your congressman” and hire the woman who can’t properly format a document, and who thinks there’s a country called “Cypress”, or thinks ISIS is a “caliphate move”; that “caliphate” is an adjective, not a noun. 

5. Back in the summer of 2013, the President was proposing to launch air strikes against Syria in opposition to the regime and in support of the rebels. That never came to a vote because a deal was cut whereby Assad promised to dismantle and give up his chemical weapons. However, in the run-up to that potential vote on a resolution to authorize military action in Syria, almost all Republicans in Congress opposed any such action. There is absolutely no proof that Weppner would buck the GOP, especially as a freshman backbencher. Her entire argument is ludicrous. 

Has it come time yet to demand that the Republican Committees distance themselves from this ignorant and morally profane freakshow? Is it too early to demand that Republicans not only reject – but condemn – her use of American martyrs as campaign props and fundraising totems? 

About that Democratic Vacancy at the County Board of Elections

1. Somebody somewhere writes that the position of Democratic Commissioner of the Board of Elections comes, “with a $135,000 annual salary and with no requirements to hold regular office hours.” False. The salary is closer to $105,000, and the hours take into account that the person is a professional and an executive of a large public organization. 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

2. This same outlet claims that Tonawanda Democratic Committee Chair Gayle Syposs is “likely” to be the Democrats’ pick. False. Syposs is not likely to be the Democrats’ pick.  It’s more likely to be Champ Eve or Mike Keane, and all of it is subject to an executive committee meeting that will likely take place in late October (it must be within 30 days of the Dennis Ward vacancy), and then subject to county legislative approval. 

Facts are sometimes easy to just look up. 

Turning Tide

This is the way homophobia ends Not with a bang but a whimper

It was just 14 short years ago that Vermont allowed civil unions. It was the first state to do anything of the sort, and it was groundbreaking. It wasn’t too long before the word “marriage” began replacing “civil unions”. Not unsurprisingly, none of this has led to a breakdown in traditional marriage. In 2013, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional mid-90s federal meddling through the “Defense of Marriage Act”, leading to civil rights lawsuits throughout the country to allow same sex couples to marry. 

This has all happened, and public sentiment about same sex marriage has changed, much more quickly than anyone could have anticipated 14 years ago. Good job, America. 

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