Andrew & His Legendary Prowess

 

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

Oh, My God

Buffalo City Hall

Photo by Flickr user W Alex Fisher

Consider this scenario: 

Antoine Thompson returns to Albany, replacing Tim Kennedy. 

Byron Brown goes to Washington, replacing Brian Higgins. 

Tim Kennedy moves into the 2nd floor of City Hall, replacing Byron Brown. 

All of these rumors are floating around town, gaining steam. So my question is, are we living a Stephen King novel? 

Palin's Crosshairs Revisited

A few weeks ago, Santorum SuperPAC sugardaddy Foster Friess said he hopes President Obama’s “TelePrompTer is bulletproof”. He says he meant it figuratively, as part of a context whereby Santorum and Romney had now “trained their barrels” on the President, rather than each other.

This week, a Michigan gun fetishist whose most prominent kill was his own music career, Ted Nugent, said, “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Nugent has endorsed Mitt Romney, who actively sought it. 

(It’s a common tactic among the right commentariat that whenever a leftist says something idiotic, that every Democrat is assumed to support it unless they expressly condemn it, and are routinely called upon to denounce something someone said. This tactic, fortunately, works in two directions.) 

When Hilary Rosen said something rude about Ann Romney, the White House immediately and unequivocally repudiated her words and sentiments. 

When Ted Nugent and Foster Friess suggest that President Obama be killed, you get absolute silence from almost the entire Republican establishment – most notably Romney, who merely said we should all be “civil”, which misses the point that no one should be suggesting or hoping for anyone’s assassination in domestic politics – it’s beyond the pale. 

Nugent’s never seen a gun he didn’t want to have sex with, and he’s never seen a thing he didn’t want to shoot – except the Viet Cong – so, the Secret Service is taking his threat rather seriously. The Republican mainstream’s lurch to the right has it coddling insane lunatics far more dangerous than any ACORN activist or other Fox News bogeyman. 

Maybe someday the Republicans will walk back their tacit (sometimes vocal) support of nihilist terroristic statements from lunatics living on the right’s fringes, but apparently that day isn’t today. 

Palin’s Crosshairs Revisited

A few weeks ago, Santorum SuperPAC sugardaddy Foster Friess said he hopes President Obama’s “TelePrompTer is bulletproof”. He says he meant it figuratively, as part of a context whereby Santorum and Romney had now “trained their barrels” on the President, rather than each other.

This week, a Michigan gun fetishist whose most prominent kill was his own music career, Ted Nugent, said, “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Nugent has endorsed Mitt Romney, who actively sought it. 

(It’s a common tactic among the right commentariat that whenever a leftist says something idiotic, that every Democrat is assumed to support it unless they expressly condemn it, and are routinely called upon to denounce something someone said. This tactic, fortunately, works in two directions.) 

When Hilary Rosen said something rude about Ann Romney, the White House immediately and unequivocally repudiated her words and sentiments. 

When Ted Nugent and Foster Friess suggest that President Obama be killed, you get absolute silence from almost the entire Republican establishment – most notably Romney, who merely said we should all be “civil”, which misses the point that no one should be suggesting or hoping for anyone’s assassination in domestic politics – it’s beyond the pale. 

Nugent’s never seen a gun he didn’t want to have sex with, and he’s never seen a thing he didn’t want to shoot – except the Viet Cong – so, the Secret Service is taking his threat rather seriously. The Republican mainstream’s lurch to the right has it coddling insane lunatics far more dangerous than any ACORN activist or other Fox News bogeyman. 

Maybe someday the Republicans will walk back their tacit (sometimes vocal) support of nihilist terroristic statements from lunatics living on the right’s fringes, but apparently that day isn’t today. 

//

Discovery's Last Flight

Space Shuttle Over DC

Courtesy mringlein on Flickr

Yesterday, a NASA Space Shuttle took to the skies for the last time in history. The Shuttle program came to be during the 70s, as I was growing up. Apollo missions to the moon had ended earlier that decade, and we were sending missions to Skylab, but the Shuttle held the promise of regular space exploration for decades.  It didn’t look like a spaceship or a capsule – it looked like an airplane – an everyday thing. 

I vividly recall watching the first Shuttle mission takeoff, and by 1986 they were so routine that our high school didn’t wheel out the TVs to watch the tragic Challenger explosion until after it had happened. 

But with all of this, it’s downright disappointing that the Shuttles have been mothballed, and NASA has nothing new in the pipeline to replace them. Certainly the technology to create a reusable spacecraft has improved since the mid-70s, and certainly we oughtn’t rely on the Russian space program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, and the private carriers are suborbital, not equipped for complex missions. 

Yesterday, the Shuttle Discovery was ferried aboard a 747 from Cape Canaveral to Dulles Airport in Virginia. Adjacent to Dulles is the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum annex hangar, which houses all manner of historic aircraft from the time of the Wright Brothers to Concorde. It’s massive, majestic, and pure eye candy for a fan of airplanes. Discovery will replace a replica Shuttle that’s been there since the facility opened. 

Before landing in Virginia, the Shuttle flew by Reagan Airport and along the National Mall. People poured out of their offices and shops to watch the spectacle, and applauded.  It was a bittersweet event.  

We should have something new to applaud. I echo the sentiment expressed last night by comedian Lewis Black. 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/TheLewisBlack/status/192384427840643072″]


Discovery’s Last Flight

Space Shuttle Over DC

Courtesy mringlein on Flickr

Yesterday, a NASA Space Shuttle took to the skies for the last time in history. The Shuttle program came to be during the 70s, as I was growing up. Apollo missions to the moon had ended earlier that decade, and we were sending missions to Skylab, but the Shuttle held the promise of regular space exploration for decades.  It didn’t look like a spaceship or a capsule – it looked like an airplane – an everyday thing. 

I vividly recall watching the first Shuttle mission takeoff, and by 1986 they were so routine that our high school didn’t wheel out the TVs to watch the tragic Challenger explosion until after it had happened. 

But with all of this, it’s downright disappointing that the Shuttles have been mothballed, and NASA has nothing new in the pipeline to replace them. Certainly the technology to create a reusable spacecraft has improved since the mid-70s, and certainly we oughtn’t rely on the Russian space program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, and the private carriers are suborbital, not equipped for complex missions. 

Yesterday, the Shuttle Discovery was ferried aboard a 747 from Cape Canaveral to Dulles Airport in Virginia. Adjacent to Dulles is the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum annex hangar, which houses all manner of historic aircraft from the time of the Wright Brothers to Concorde. It’s massive, majestic, and pure eye candy for a fan of airplanes. Discovery will replace a replica Shuttle that’s been there since the facility opened. 

Before landing in Virginia, the Shuttle flew by Reagan Airport and along the National Mall. People poured out of their offices and shops to watch the spectacle, and applauded.  It was a bittersweet event.  

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=109615

We should have something new to applaud. I echo the sentiment expressed last night by comedian Lewis Black. 

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/TheLewisBlack/status/192384427840643072″]


!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);

Sirius setback for Stern Suit

New York City Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick rendered a decision yesterday on a motion for summary judgment brought by SiriusXM against Howard Stern’s production company and agent. Stern listeners will know that he took SiriusXM to court alleging that they are in breach of his first 2006 – 2011 contract with Sirius. He alleged that, under the contract, the post-merger influx of XM subscribers into the merged company should count towards his performance bonus, which dealt with how many subscribers Stern had attracted to the service. Listeners will be aware of his recent comments mocking the fact that SiriusXM claims to be one company, or two, depending on how it might convenient for it. 

The judge, however, sided with SiriusXM, pointing out that the contract had a specific clause providing for a $25 million bonus in the event of a merger with XM, which was honored. The judge interprets the contract to not count incoming XM subscribers – only 1 million of whom opted to actually listen to Stern via the “Best of Sirius” add-on package – as part of the bonus structure. 

I fully expect that Stern and Buchwald will appeal this ruling, but it makes for interesting reading and a unique glimpse into Stern’s business dealings. 

Stern Dismissalhttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/89702610/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list

Occupy the ECIDA

In order to dissuade Occupy Buffalo from “creating a disturbance”, which is newspeak for “exercising their first amendment right to free speech in front of a public entity”, the Erie County Sheriff’s office overloaded the library auditorium with Deputies.

Occupy Buffalo issued the following on its site:

Slumlord Carl Paladino has a net worth of $150 million, and yet he wants more taxpayer money so he can make a profit by turning his dilapidated Greystone Manor into an upscale apartment building that none of us could ever afford to live in. Moreover, once the renovations are done, no further jobs will be created from this endeavor. It is all about Paladino making a profit at the taxpayers’ expense.

If you want to know more about where your taxes go, then come to this meeting and find out. Occupy the economy!

Also, please be aware that armed security may be present at this meeting. This is the reality in which we live. They try to instill fear in us with the threat of violence. But it will not deter us from pursuing truth and justice.

The jobs created by these tax breaks are temporary construction jobs.

The ECIDA meetings – during which politically well-connected people decide how other politically well-connected people get to spend public money – do not provide for public comment. The public hearing on the matter took place on April 9th, during which people were permitted to speak. So, when the Erie County IDA votes to give multimillionaire land speculator Carl Paladino hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales and mortgage tax breaks – incentives that cost the people money – the people are required to sit silently. We don’t get to vote for the ECIDA members, and we get to comment only in a limited way.

Occupy is active as the lobbyists for regular people who are undeserved by this rudderless system of myriad IDAs, which seldom develop anything industrial, and who regularly poach WNY businesses from one WNY community to another. If we had one regional IDA, which sought to attract business and people from outside WNY, that would be great. So would an ida scheme that didn’t routinely substitute “residential” or “hospitality” for “industrial.” Occupy took similar action recently at the Clarence IDA, which has come under harsh state criticism for its practices.

It would appear that something is desperately wrong with that sort of system. Thanks to Occupy Buffalo for attending these meetings and questioning the ECIDA’s policy of subsidizing projects that generate few, if any, permanent jobs and likely would be completed anyway.

Occupy the Senate

Had the Occupy movement not captured headlines, and had its messages not engendered sympathy from a middle class that has been systematically harmed by the axis of money and politics, then it’s possible that the Buffett Rule – a change to the tax code that would ensure that millionaires whose income comes largely from investments pay taxes on that money at a rate similar to that earned on other income, like business profits or regular wages. It’s named after Warren Buffett, the billionaire whose income comes largely from his myriad investments, who lamented that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he. 

Last night, the Senate took up this change to the law, and it never made it to a vote. A single Democrat voted to block it, and a single Republican voted to bring it to the floor.  The Republicans filibustered, and the Democrats didn’t have the 60 votes needed to pass this legislation. (It’s high time to abolish the Senate filibuster, because the Constitution has been systematically circumvented – by both sides – to require that every legislation receive a supermajority for passage. This is unconscionable.) Without the threat of filibuster, the Buffett Rule would have passed the Senate 51 – 45. 

The bill would impose a minimum 30% effective federal tax rate on those with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million, although it phases in for those making between $1 million and $2 million.

Taxpayers subject to the Buffett Rule would still get a break for charitable deductions and could count both the income and payroll taxes they paid when calculating what they would owe

There’s nothing about that plan that should make Republicans reject it. Frankly, it makes sure that the wealthiest Americans don’t avoid paying taxes through an impossibly large, byzantine system that is specifically geared to lend loopholes to those who can afford them. 

The Buffett rule isn’t even controversial

It’s supported by 72% of Americans; of those, 53% of Republicans back it, and 70% of independents do, too. Unfortunately, it’s supported by only 2% of Senate Republicans; it’s only controversial among those whom the 1% have paid to oppose it. 

Americans don’t think the rich should get special breaks that regular folks don’t get, yet the Republicans in congress have made class warfare – by the rich against everybody else – a platform plank, and they’re shouting “socialist” at anyone who points it out. Problem is, it’s not working, and they’ve just selected someone who directly benefits from the failure of the Buffett Rule to be their nominee. 

This should be fun. 

1 127 128 129 130 131 155