Thursday, January 3, 2013

A good idea, but not feasible

I saw a post last night on Vanity Fair magazine's site by Kurt Eichenwald, entitled “Let’s Repeal the Second Amendment.” Now I wish we could do just that. Most of what Eichenwald says makes a lot of sense to me. But the fact is, it has no chance of happening. There are too many gun nuts around who think the Second Amendment is as important as the First. There is no way a repealing amendment could get two thirds of each house of Congress and three fourths of the State legislatures to approve it — in fact, I doubt it could get simple majorities in both houses or even half of the State legislatures to approve it. So Eichenwald's column makes no sense. By pushing for something that has no chance of passing, he deflects the debate from where it needs to be — reducing the incidence of guns in a country whose Constitution has the Second Amendment in its text.

I don't disagree with Eichenwald that it would be better if we had no Second Amendment. But let us be practical. It would also be better if we had a Senate that did not give Montana the same two Senators as California. That is not going to change, and neither will the Second Amendment be repealed. Wishing for the impossible makes the possible less likely to happen.

Congressman Owens Casts Vote for Pelosi

    Party loyalty prevailed in DC today as enough old guard Republicans stuck with John Boehner for Speaker, electing him over Nancy Pelosi who was supported by most Democrats. A few members of both parties sat it out or voted for someone else.
     NNY Congressman Bill Owens voted for Ms. Pelosi. As a Democrat, he is supposed to.  
     Meanwhile the Congress endures record low approval ratings after the fiscal cliff episode. Seems the President will have the upper hand, at least for the time being.
Congressman Owens Casts Vote for Pelosi | WWNY TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports for | Local News

That tattoo may look hot now -- but in 10 years?

         Even though Strange called it a "butt cap" when he gave it to you, the rest of the world calls it a "tramp stamp" and its not good optics in the job world.. Same true of corny lovey sayings written across your thigh or some kind of Tyson like blog coming up your neck.  Add some piercings and a slacker attitude and you are not too employable.
      Long after the novelty and statement wear off , your marked bod doesn't look so cool with its saggy tatts.  Not that some tattoos can't look good on the right people with the right dress and grooming...but for the most part, they look like crap and lower your income potential.
That tattoo may look hot now -- but in 10 years?

President to Be Elected Tomorrow as Electors Votes are Tallied

   With the Electoral College votes to be tallied tomorrow, the final compilation of votes shows President Obama's win was significant...a popular vote margin of five million in addition to his 332-206 margin in the College.
    Mr. Obama is the first President since Ike to win a pair of terms with at least 51%.....His margin was a little over four points...not what it was in 2008 but still strong.
    Over 129 million voted in November, down about two million from 2008.
    Final Tally Shows Obama First Since ’56 to Win 51% Twice - Bloomberg

Morning on Mullin Street

      Friday morning at 7:30 I will be the guest on the WTNY morning show....The stated goal to discuss the year ahead for the City. Be sure to listen Friday morning at 730 on AM 790.
      After that I am attending an opening session at City Hall for the Jefferson Leadership Institute, before doing my regular Friday activities.


Now what?

The “fiscal cliff” has now been averted, thanks to the professionalism of Vice President Joseph Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who are clearly the heroes of this drama. Now the question is, what next? Will Pres. Obama be even more emboldened, since he was able to fend off spending cuts with only a moderate upgrade from $250,000 to $400,000 in the threshold for the repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts? Or will the Tea Party be emboldened, since now they cannot be hung with the slander that they only want to help millionaires hold on to more of their money?

President Obama had said he would not negotiate on the debt ceiling raise. But he's accepted a compromise plan that does not raise the debt ceiling. He hardly has any cards left to play, now that the “fiscal cliff” compromise is passed and signed. He can bluster that he won't sign any bill that meets the needs Republican lawmakers have to reduce spending, but unlike the tax effects, he does not have the threat that he had built into the “fiscal cliff” issue — if the debt ceiling does not rise, there are provisions that such things as Social Security payments will continue to be made. What will happen? Who knows?

Local Family Sells Signature Olive Oil

       Local restaurant owner and chef Geoff Puccia is putting his own family name on one of the staples of Italian cooking...olive oil.

      The new Puccia brand of oil comes from California and sells for $10 a bottle at the restaurant and select stores.  Geoff has 1700 bottles, so he would appreciate the sales.
      Mr. Puccia owns Pete's Trattoria on Breen Avenue in Watertown.

David Cameron must return Falklands to Argentina, Cristina Kirchner demands in open letter - Telegraph

   Sounds like a way to divert domestic attention from other problems as Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has openly demanded British Prime Minister David Cameron return the Falkland Islands to Argentine control.
    It's been a simmering dispute since 1833 and led to a war a couple of decades back when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dispatched the Royal Navy to push back the South Americans. The Brits won in a brief but fierce fight.
     It is a bit of a remnant of days gone by, this colonial outpost nearly 10,000 miles from London, but these things are like school district boundaries. Once in place, you don't go messing with them.
     By the way, Mr. Cameron has told Ms Kirchner to, he just refused the demand actually.
David Cameron must return Falklands to Argentina, Cristina Kirchner demands in open letter - Telegraph

WDT: Former Bay Mayor Dies...First Woman to Hold the Office

      A dedicated local public servant in Alexandria Bay has passed. Former Mayor Helethea Roy died at age 70. She was the village mayor through much of the 1990s and was the first woman mayor of the riverside village.
Watertown Daily Times | First female mayor of Alexandria Bay dies

Cleveland stripper falls from 15-foot balcony while giving lap dance, suffers severe head injury - NY Daily News

      An unknown stripper suffers an injury in a fall at work and it's big news....internationally reported and even making the roll at Newzjunky this morning.
It happened in Cleveland, involved no one famous and is basicly a workplace injury no more profound than an electrician falling off a ladder.
     Funny thing about stories like this...the out of town press grabs on for life getting the name and finding photos of the woman.
      I checked the Cleveland Plain Dealer website at the same time and it was treated more like a local paragraph with no name, photos or much of anything.
     Seems the gents getting the dance were seen fleeing the club. There's the news hook for folo up. Get their names...find a photo of them on Facebook and stake out their houses. Also interview some other strippers about occupational hazards and on Action News, you could keep it going for a week. Too bad sweeps week isn't till February, but a five part series on hazards of the sex trade is what the astute news director is surely considering.
        Let's hope for a recovery for the 22 year old lass.
        Cleveland stripper falls from 15-foot balcony while giving lap dance, suffers severe head injury - NY Daily News

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Panel Recommends Major Changes to NYS Education

   Governor Cuomo's commission on education reform is shopping a longer school day and longer school year as prime recommendations along with a call for district consolidations and regional high schools.
    Mr. Cuomo's panel was formed to propose reforms to the state's system of public education.
    The commission also wants better links between high schools and colleges; more transparency (whatever that means) and facilitated teacher education.
    Longer school years ? Good luck.

Pet Peeve Alert....It's My Industry and Non-Competitive Practices Irk Me

   On New Year's Eve, Shootie and I were discussing the hosing on-premise sellers of the Devil's brew get from distributors who spend too much of their day kissing the asses of convenience and grocery store owners.
    Today I got into heated discussions with a couple of beer salesmen over the topic as everytime I walk into a Nice 'n Easy and see them selling Labatts for three or four bucks a case less than I can buy it for, it ,well, it pisses me off.
    Of course, the culprit is New York's monopolistic system that forces purchase through a totally non-competitive system of distributors for beer and liquor.
     On-premise accounts used to be important spots for marketing product but now amount to less than 10% of sales. Now the distributors will tell you they won't sell you a 30-pack for fear of offending the convenience store owners.
     When a store is selling 20 packs of Bud Light for $9.99 and bars are charged $20.60 for a 24 count case....Well, somebody's getting the shaft.
     There...that felt good. Now , back to work.

From NASCAR to rum, the 10 weirdest parts of the ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

    Help for for Hollywood....a rum tax to help distilleries in US territories, and subsidies for electric scooters....It's all a part of the fiscal cliff deal that raised taxes for us all...
 From NASCAR to rum, the 10 weirdest parts of the ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

Putnam County Clerk Tells Newspaper to Go #%@& Themselves

      The newspaper that printed the names of gun permit owners in Westchester and Rockland Counties has gotten the cold shoulder from neighboring Putnam County where the county clerk told the paper to take a hike.
      The publishing of the permit roster has drawn fire from gun owners concerned over their privacy.
      Maybe our NNY media could do something less controversial like publishing the list of drivers with motorcycle endorsements or just who is a notary public.
       Then I could get all upset....
Journal News Hires Armed Guards After Outcry Over Map of Gun Permit Holders -

IHC Grad and Model Amy Hunt Takes New Job as Refuse Collector

      Amy Hunt has taken a job with a refuse hauling company in Florida, but I am thinking a homecoming for a career on our trucks may increase the City of Watertown's share of the local hauling market.
       Amy is the daughter of Tom and Sue Hunt of Watertown and is a great person.
(15) Amy Hunt

Boehner to Reid: Go #*@& Yourself !

    Hooray for Speaker John Boehner....He was in the impossible position of negotiating a sensible conclusion to the "fiscal curb" and he actually told the very annoying Senator Harry Reid to "go fuck himself"....And he did it right outside the Oval Office.
    In my book that saves Mr. Boehner's speakership.  The Ohio native grew up in a bar-owning family in Cincinnati, so that's a plus....
    Meanwhile, with all due respect, Senator Reid is a major league ---hole.....
At White House for fiscal-cliff talks, Speaker Boehner's choice of words with the Senate Democratic Leader included some of the four-letter variety - NY Daily News

WDT: Man With Stab Wound Doesn't Want to Be a Victim

    If a guy gets stabbed on New Year's Eve but won't tell police who did it, is he really a victim ?  I don't think so, but that's just my opinion.
    We have enough "victims" in our society without designating more among people who apparently don't want the designation.
     The guy with the wound may want to reconsider though...There are probably lots of programs he can take advantage of and maybe get some free money.
Watertown Daily Times | Sheriff: Stabbing victim won’t cooperate in investigation

Fiscal cliff deal: Republicans 'surrender' on tax cuts and Obama heads back to restart Hawaii vacation | Mail Online

   President Obama gave a victory wink, Republican pundits lamented a month's long retreat on taxes that ended in dozens of GOP Congressmen voting to approve what is called the largest tax hike in four decades.
    The fiscal cliff deal sets rates so we won't have to deal with expiration of "Bush Era" tax cuts.  The Bush Era rates are now the rates, except for the well-to-do's and the lah-de-dahs who will pay more...
     However, we all pay more as the FICA payroll tax balloons back to 6.2% and Hollywood gets a tax break on production of movies and so does NASCAR. As usual there are a lot of little arrangements tucked away in a bill most don't read till after the vote.
     On to the next cliff !

Fiscal cliff deal: Republicans 'surrender' on tax cuts and Obama heads back to restart Hawaii vacation | Mail Online

The Journal News is Armed

      Here's an irony...the newspaper that published the names of all those gun permit holders has had to hire armed guards for fear of reprisals at its Westchester County offices.
      Of course, gun foes would argue that's what's wrong with America's gun culture, but Second Amendment fans would say the paper is just using its right to defend itself against a perceived threat just as anyone can.
     Of course there's always the chance this is a stunt to make the gun crowd look dangerous and vindictive.
The Journal News is Armed and Dangerous | The Rockland County Times

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The "fiscal cliff" compromise

There are a lot of posts I see, from various liberal commentators, complaining that President Obama gave up too much. And there are a lot of posts I see on the other side, saying that the Republicans gave up too much. The fact that we see both of these means it's probably a good sign. There is still a necessary vote in the House of Representatives, of course, so it's not a done deal. But it's quite obvious that neither side can get all it wants. And I think that when both sides start off as far apart as they were, it can only be a good sign that both sides are unhappy.

There were a lot of issues, of course, that were not settled — kicking the can down the road a while. But with less of a time crunch, perhaps some compromise can be attained on these too — but even if not, the worst of the “fiscal cliff” crisis has been averted.

The only way a better solution could have been reached was if Mitt Romney had been elected to the Presidency. So under the circumstances, this was the best that could have been hoped for. And thanks to Vice-President Joseph Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for negotiating it.

Champion Back on the Map As Winter Prompts Return of Its One Attraction

         It is arguably the only tourist attraction in the Town of Champion....The 36 foot tall snowman is back for the fifth year in front of the home of Vernon Scoville on NYS 126.  Mr. Scoville is a dairy farmer.
    How does my friend Supervisor Terry Buckley bring such things to his little town.

Ran Into Three Teachers Today.....and the Takeaway from the New Year's Gala on Pearl Street

       Middle Class Mike would have you believe teachers don't like me, but that's not true.  Today t wolong-time pedagogue friends visited me at the Pearl Street Pub and at Pete's just a moment ago, a teacher offered to share the pizza she is having with a local television luminary.
       Also today I put in a full day at the bar after last nights all-niter for New Year's....Looking forward to hitting the hay tonight.
       Highlights of the New Year's bash are leaking out as beautiful people from as far as Montreal found their way to Pearl Street. I even took an hour to visit Shootie and his lovely bride at their New Year's party.
Affection in the Air at the Pearl Street Pub
      Also attending was former bartender Emily who is pictured with her Mom before the Airman heads back to the Air Force at an undisclosed location.
     The Holidays are over and it's time to get to working on the many challenges of 2013 !

New Year's Eve Overdone in Some Places But Local Celebrations Not Too Wild- Mail Online

   New Year's Eve was a fun night on Pearl Street even if it was overdone in some places around the globe.
   Pearl Street Pub patrons enjoyed themselves without incident and welcomed the new year with enthusiasm. It was a busy night with many new customers.
    Many choose to welcome the year on New Year's Day with celebrations in many establishments.
         New Year celebrations turn ugly in cities across the country as country lives up to Binge Britain reputation | Mail Online