Monday, June 30, 2008

Nader chooses Buffalo logo, "Populist" party ...

According to Ballot Access News:
New York doesn’t permit independent candidates, and the nominees of unqualified parties, to start circulating petitions until July 7. Ralph Nader’s petition in New York will carry the ballot label “Populist”. The logo will be a buffalo.
Won't this guy go away? I can think of better animals for Ralph Nader's campaign, but the most symbolically accurate would be a dodo bird ...

Powers campaign gets some muscle

Got this press release tonight from the Jon Powers for Congress campaign:

POWERS CAMPAIGN ADDED TO NATIONAL RED-TO-BLUE PROGRAM

Program Ads Key Resources and National Recognition to NY-26 Race

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – Jon Powers, Iraq War Veteran, former captain in the U.S. Army and the endorsed Democratic candidate in New York's 26th congressional district, has been named to the Democratic National Campaign Committee's Red-to-Blue program.

"This is a huge advantage for our campaign," Powers said. "From the beginning, our campaign has focused on bringing the voice of Western New Yorkers back to Washington. Today we are receiving recognition that our message is resonating on a national level."

The DCCC Red-to-Blue program spotlights campaigns across the country that stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress. The program provides financial and strategic support to races that have surpassed fundraising and voter outreach expectations.

Ketchup (things I've been meaning to blog about)

As I read news stories and other blogs, I'll bookmark items with plans to come back and post a blog about those items. Sometimes I get back to them quickly. Sometimes it takes a while. Here's several different items I wanted to bring to your attention ... but haven't ... 'til now.

I always enjoy a good roast ... especially if it's political. Here's a YouTube video someone brought to my attention a while ago called "I'm Voting Republican."



And here's another YouTube video. This one I found myself ... about a Jedi Church. And, yeah, I think they're serious ...



Here in Niagara County, we have a "county manager," basically, he serves at the direction and the pleasure of the County Legislature. Seems like people on both sides of the political aisle are getting sick of him, though. The Dems call him a yes-man for the GOP and the Republicans hate him for their own reasons. Check out this Republican Blog and their thoughts on the topic. If you'd like to add your own thoughts, I posed the question in the new forum on what you think we should do about Greg Lewis.

Sticking with the same GOP Blog, they had a very thoughtful discussion on the role of race in media. To sum it up, there is a man in Lockport trying to open a business in what city officials are calling a residential area (although there are businesses all up and down the street). The media points out that the man - who keeps getting turned down - is black. Should they? Given Lockport's history of race issues, I think it's worth mentioning.

I mentioned on Dialog last week some time that there was a bill that would allow the government access to all of our credit card transactions. Check out Rus Thompson's take on it.

Over at Buffalo Rising, I found this odd post about Al Jazeera doing a piece on how Buffalo is handling the ugly economy. I hope they don't think that Buffalo is typical of the rest of the country. I'm sure everyone else is doing better than we are. Of course, if Al Jazeera is the terrorist-loving, America-hating network I keep being told it is, maybe they want the rest of the world to think that the country's in as bad shape as Buffalo. (I don't think they are, BTW)

Jake Tapper, a blogger for ABC News writes a strange tale about Karl Rove calling Barack Obama elitist. Rove, of course, is now a "pundit" and I fear he'll be used heavily this election season - as though he is a credible journalist. He's neither credible, nor a journalist, of course.

Speaking of journalists, you may recall a week and a half ago, US&J Editor Tim Marren and I discussed the art of endorsing. He's written on his blog that the paper is re-thinking the practice and want to know what you think ... so click on through and let him know.

I continue to hear from several casino nay-sayers that the casino (specifically the Seneca Niagara Casino) has done nothing for us ... but WECK reported that they're responsible for quite an economic boost.

Jack Davis needs no economic boost ... but he kind of got one last week when the Supreme Court ruled the millionaires amendment to be UnConstitutional. Several newspapers have come out against that ruling in the days since.

The Amherst Times took a position of their own. Not on Davis vs. the FEC, but on an ongoing controversy in Amherst. They're calling on Satish Mohan to resign.

The Onion continues to amuse me ...
The bird war, of course, also continues to amuse (and scare) me. In Vancouver a lion has helped thin the bird population, but the zoo is being critcized because of it. And in Brazil, they've trained some birds to be on our side ... kind of ... assuming that we want inmates broken out of prison.

Reason show notes (063008)

I spent about a half an hour whining about the DEC stopping by my house over the weekend in response to a complaint about my camp fire ...

I talked about the Broadway Market and it's future. (discuss in the forum)

Frank Miller and I talked about his new blog, specifically the item about his clean kitchen. I tell ya, I feel for the man. And we also discussed the new Batman movie. I think it looks awesome.

And we talked about the animal war, specifically a bear mauling a girl in Alaska. I still want to know why a fourteen-year-old was riding her bike in the dead of night.

Giraffe springs animals from circus ...

What with the animal war ongoing, I took special note of the following:

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Fifteen camels, two zebras and several llamas and pot-bellied pigs escaped from a circus visiting Amsterdam early Monday, police said.

"We suspect that a giraffe kicked open a pen," Dutch police said in a statement, adding that the animals did not get far before they were rounded up and returned to the circus.

I have a lot of respect for giraffes. I would hope they wouldn't side with the birds on this ...

Why wait?

I posted something this morning asking if people wanted a forum added to the website. But I didn't realize I made it impossible to vote in the poll. Since then I've gotten several emails saying they WOULD like to have a forum ... but a brand new one. So ... I made one. And it's set to go. Right now, I'm the only registered user. And you could NOT register and still use it ... but it's so much easier to follow threads when people have names. So sign up and plug away.

Hmm ...

Looks like you have to log in before you're allowed to vote on the poll on the forum.

This factor will significantly hinder polling.

So I guess on the question - should I revive the forum ... I've already had a couple emails on the topic ... I guess that's the best way to respond - at least for now.

On the note of polling, I see the poll here on the blog seems to have an issue lately with Internet Explorer. Just another reason you should be using Firefox.

Is this how I lost YOUR email?

Weekly Update 063008


News, notes and necessities

items of interest the week of June 30, 2008

an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler


News: There's a lot going on in my little world. We have guests galore on both stations ... and an increasing presence on the web.

This morning on Reason on Hometown 1230, WECK (at 10 a.m.), I'll talk about my weekend ... including yardwork, cleaning the pool, and having the DEC drop by for a visit. Then Dialog on Hometown 1340, WLVL (at 11 a.m.) in Lockport will feature Bob Confer this morning with the Albany Update - then concert reactions from Friday.

On Tuesday I'll have Mike Cole on WECK to discuss the recently wrapped up legislative session and his thoughts on it. Then back at WLVL, North Tonawanda natives and Gratwick Films co-founders Kristopher Hulbert and Michael Garrow will premiere their first feature film, “First Timers”, at 6 p.m. July 3, at the fabled Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. We'll talk with them about the production.

I'm hoping to have congressional candidate Jon Powers on Reason on Wednesday. And I'll definately have N.T. Mayor Larry Soos on Dialog.

Thursday, Eric Sundwall - chairman of the New York State Libertarian Party - will be calling in to Reason. And Dialog will feature crazy banter about who knows what.

Friday I'll have the day off to spend with my family, so neither show will air that day.

Don't forget, you can listen to Reason right here on your computer? Hometown 1230 WECK is now streaming online, meaning no matter where you are, you can listen (as long as you've got an internet capable computer). Just head on over to the station website, www.weck1230.com and click "listen" in the top left corner. It's live, too (minus a few seconds of buffer). So if I'm talking about something you want to get your word in on, just call when I give the number. (I think that WLVL will probably begin streaming soon, for those of you who have asked for that feature)


Notes: I really slacked this weekend as far as working on the site goes. But for those of you who have been with me for a while, I'd like your help with something. I'm considering reviving the forum. Is this something you're interested in? I certainly don't want to do it if no one is going to use it. But it sure was fun for a while ... until it wasn't. Anyway, I put up a poll (here) and we'll see how the voting goes. If you'd like to offer any advice, just email me - I'll take it into consideration.

Tomorrow's column day. I have no idea what I'm going to write about at this point, but last week's column was fun. I talked about movie ratings - and how the system is broken. I found another system that I think works better.

Looks like last week's poll voters wanted Metro Rail extended. The new poll is on the bird war. It's real. Will you join it?


Necessities: Google Reader. Gotta have it.


I sent this to you because I thought you might appreciate it. If I was wrong, please just respond and ask to be taken off the mailing list. I'll take care of it. If this was forwarded to you and you'd like to receive future updates, please email scott@scottleffler.com and ask to be added to the list. I'll make that happen.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fitting end to a great weekend ...

For the second time in a week, Lockport was graced with a double rainbow over the eastern sky. This seemed to me to be a perfect end to a great weekend. It started with a phenomenal concert. I got lots of yard work done. Found a salamander. Drank some beer. And concluded with a rainbow. I almost wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow ... but I have to pay the bills somehow, right? I'll be back at it tomorrow ... and expect a N(ews)N(otes)N(ecessities) soon for those of you who have subscribed to it. If you haven't but would like to, send me an email ... For more photos from the weekend, check my webshots photo album ...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Me and my summer blonde ...



What did you think I meant? I assure you, this is the only Blonde I'll be allowed to have this summer ... and my wife wasn't even thrilled about that ... just cause of the name. Labatt has this new variety pack - six Blue Light, six Honey, six Summer Blonde, and six "Twist" (with lime).

A Shelly Silver Fist Bump ...



Looks to me like NYS Assemblyman Sheldon Silver has been Obamasized.

The end of Fox News?

The New York Times ran a story on their website today showing that Fox News has shed viewers while both CNN and MSNBC has gained.
In the first five-and-a-half months of 2004, the last presidential election year, Fox’s prime-time audience among viewers aged 25 to 54 was more than double that of CNN’s — 530,000 to 248,000, according to estimates from Nielsen Media Research. This year, through mid-June, CNN erased the gap and drew nearly as many viewers in that demographic category as Fox — about 420,000 for CNN to 440,000 for Fox.
Of course, my headline is facetious. I don't expect to see Fox News' demise any time soon. But I have to wonder why the "liberal news stations" are gaining and the "fair and balanced" one is slipping. Might it be that people are seeing through the B.S. that Fox sells? Or is it just that Democrats finally feel energized enough to watch their own network? Or ... is it as Republican Strategist Scott Reed said ... that MSNBC and CNN have simply stepped up their game?

I should point out that WECK uses Fox News for it's top of the hour news casts, as well as breaking news ...

Lockport's first Molson Concert (in review)

Okay, I want you to keep in mind that this is more of a review of the event than the music. While the music was great (I preferred the two local bands to Lou Gramm, actually), I've been waiting a long time to see something like this in Lockport.

There was a great deal of concern that the Ulrich City Center area wasn't going to be big enough to accommodate the event. It was big enough and then some. Estimates I've heard for crowd was about 8,000 people. Personally, I think that's a little high, but I've never been great at crowd estimates. I would have guessed about 6,000. Nonetheless, there was room for a ton more.

The stage was set at the south east corner of the City Center lot. Although I've never noticed it before, I noticed last night that there was a bit of an incline - with that corner being the highest point in the area. It would have made more sense to me to put the stage at the other end, creating a stadium-seating effect. That said, having the stage where it was and on an angle allowed a lot more people to get up close than would have been possible at the other end.

There were plenty of bathrooms - and a line for them all night long. I went with my wife and two girls. My youngest had to use the bathroom once and we were fortunate not to have a line thanks to the VIP pass I was given. That pass also came in handy for parking, as we were able to park right behind Sub Delicious.

Parking was supposed to be a big problem, but the only problem I saw was some Lockport business owners and organizations being left out of the loop because they were too greedy. I saw $7 parking several blocks away from the event. I saw $10 parking all over the place. And I even saw one lot charging $20 for parking. Fortunately, this lot was mostly empty. Had everyone asked for a little less (or a lot less in the $20 case), those lots would have filled up quick. But they had to be greedy. I'm sorry. That's the only way to say it. Greedy.

Know who wasn't greedy? The organizers. As with most festivals and free concerts, you buy tickets at certain stands and trade those tickets in for food and beverage at other stands. When I saw that tickets were $3.50, I was really concerned that beer was going to be two tickets ($7.00). I was pleasantly surprised to see it was only 1 ticket ($3.50). I'm sure some people thought that a bit much for a beer, but for this type of event, I'm actually surprised it wasn't a little more. Also burgers, hot dogs, fried dough, and some other things were only 1 ticket, too. Besides beer, they also had Mikes Hard Lemonade ... and one vendor was selling little bitty bottles of wine.

My favorite vendor of the night was the cigar guy. He wasn't using tickets. Just cash. I'm not really a cigar smoker, but since it was a special event, I treated myself to and apple-somthing-or-other. It was a buck! I'm glad I got it ... but I always forget how long it takes to smoke a cigar. And I was standing at the back of the crowd - in a relatively vacant area - while smoking it so as not to offend. I hope that guy comes back. I'll try another one.

There were just as many - if not more - vendors outside the fenced in area as there were inside. I got a blooming onion. A little pricey at $7, but I couldn't refuse. There were two trucks selling ice cream. I went to one this time. I'll search out the other the next time. Not cause the one I got ice cream from wasn't good. It was. But the other vendor is at every Lockport event there is ... and I appreciate the loyalty.

It looked like several of the area restaurants - especially those with finger foods and takeout - were doing well for themselves. And that was nice to see. I read in the paper this morning that Tom Bancroft from the Daily Grind said you could here just fine at his place. That might be nice. Some coffee and a place to talk ... (side note, the story about the concert itself listed Uncle Plum as opening. Originally, they were supposed to but there was some sort of last minute change)

Taboo's new outdoor patio is georgeous, by the way. I didn't sit in it, but I did check it out when I was in the area talking with some friends. It seemed to me that as long as you were ordering, they didn't care how long you sat there. But there were picnic tables near the food vendors, too. I thought that was a nice touch. Many people were upset that there were no lawn chairs allowed. I think those people didn't quite get the gist of the concert series to begin with ... but I saw several people sitting outside the fenced in area on their lawn chairs. And the sound was great back there.

The police presence was noticable and I took a few minutes to talk with a couple different officers - from a couple different police forces. They seemed to be having a good time and told me that there were very few problems.

At one point, I did see the crowd yell for help from the police - something about a woman having a seizure. The mounted patrol made their way over ... very slowly ... cause they had to get their horses through the crowd. Maybe next time, no horses, guys? Just a thought. But they did get over there and it looked like the woman was taken away in an ambulance which was parked on Locust Street.

From my perspective, things went really smooth. Although, I left early, so I didn't see what happened after - say - 10 o'clock. I heard on the radio that there was one arrest for disorderly conduct. I think that's pretty good odds.

Looking forward to the next one ... even if it is Blood Sweat & Tears.

For the rest of my photos of the evening, click here ... and for another review, by my friend Al Gritzmacher, click here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Downtown Lockport is buzzing ...

I just went downtown to check out the stage being put up for tonight's concert in Lockport. There were a ton of people all over the place. Mayor Mike Tucker asked if I wanted to meet Lou Gramm, who was there scoping the place out. He seemed nice. I snapped a couple shots of the stage, plus two of Lou Gramm. Click the thumbnails below to see the full photo ...

062708 Concert 01 062708 Concert 04 062708 Concert 02 062708 Concert 03

Erie County's Comptroller on Reason this morning ...

I just confirmed with Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz that he'll be on Reason at 10 a.m. to discuss county borrowing.

I got an email from Mark last night, asking Erie County residents to help get the Governor to approve a measure by the state legislature that closed a loophole - as he called it - preventing the county from borrowing money.

Mark writes: "Since talking office I have never asked you to take any action but your help is needed now. If Governor Paterson hears from the taxpayers of our community I know he will sign this legislation into law and let our elected leaders, not appointed members of a state authority, borrow on your behalf to complete these very important but delayed projects.

Therefore, I ask each of you to write to Governor David Paterson and ask him to sign into law the legislation, which will return representative democracy to Erie County and ensure that needed but delayed capital projects are completed this year."

Mark says if you click this link, you can fill out a form and ask the governor to sign the bill.

Guest photo album coming along ...

I had wanted to have this done yesterday, but life got in the way. I'm still not quite finished with it, but it's close ... so I thought I'd post it here.

Guest photos
Image hosted by Webshots.com
by Scott Leffler

Just click the thumbnail. It will take you to the guest photo album. In case you heard someone in studio and thought "what does that person look like?" Now you might be able to find out.

The plan is to eventually retool all the photos on the website, put them in WebShots, label and organize them ... AND to keep up on taking photos as well.

Speaking of guests, next week is coming along nicely. I added Assemblyman Mike Cole for Tuesday, and NYS Libertarian Chair Eric Sundwall for Thursday (both on Reason). Also recently added, NT Mayor Larry Soos on Wednesday for Dialog.

Pablo fights on our side ...

When I went out to get the paper this morning, I saw my cat in the yard surrounded by what looked like a shredded roll of toilet paper. It was a bird. Or what was left of a bird. And three feet away was another dead bird. Apparently, my cat - Pablo - reads this blog and decided to take a stand. I know cats will be cats ... but it's still kind of sad when I see him with a dead animal ... even if it is a bird.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Metro Rail poll closed - Bird War poll up ...


Looks like the sample we took - albeit a small one - would indicate that MetroRail should be extended. Personally, I'd like to see it from Medina to Orchard Park. With an offshoot that goes through North Tonawanda to Niagara Falls.

A new poll is at right. It's not just a poll, but a call to arms. Will you be a soldier in the war against the birds? I'm not asking you to kill the birds yet ... but it could come to that if they can't be convinced to call off their terrorist attacks.

Bird attacks a world-wide phenomenon

I've spent the day surfing the internet to determine just how big of a problem with got with this war against the birds ... and I've concluded: It's big.

Apparently, birds have been on a rampage all over the earth. Now - to be fair - other animals have been acting up, but I'm pretty sure the birds are the ringleaders.

Take, for example, this story about peacocks attacking cars in the British village of Percy. They might look pretty, but they're deadly.

Or this story about red winged blackbirds attacking people in Chicago.

Or another example - in nearly LaSalle, Ill.

Fortunately, someone has begun fighting back. A paper from Gloucestershire says someone had decapitated a pigeon. Authorities are looking for the culprit ... probably to give him an award.

Supreme Court strikes down "Millionaire's Amendment"

The Supreme Court has been very busy today, first ruling that the 2nd Amendment guarantees and individual right to bear arms ... then ruling that money is speech.

According to this story by the AP, creating different rules for candidates based upon how much their opponent spends violates the 1st Amendment. The law had said that when a candidate spends more than $350,000 of his own money, an opponent may qualify to accept individual contributions up to $6,900, triple the normally allowed amount.

My question is if money is speech, and millionaires can spend as much of their own money as they want ... then why am I limited in how much I can contribute.

This story, of course, has more than just a local angle ... the lawsuit was brought forth by Jack Davis, Democratic candidate in the 26th district.

Jon Powers, Davis' main challenger on the Democratic side, released the following statement:
"The voters of the 26th District are not going to let a millionaire, who owns up to $35 million in Big Oil stocks, to buy this election when gas prices are more than $4.00 a gallon. Regardless of what the Supreme Court decided, there is a clear choice in the Democratic Primary in New York's 26th District. Voters can either vote for Jon Powers, who has 75% of his donors giving $50 or less, or Jack Davis who went to the Supreme Court in order to make it easier for millionaires to get elected."

By the way, the photo at the top was taken by yours truly ... I love the Supreme Court building ...

The war is on!

Today on Reason I talked about the war between animals and humans. More and more it seems like animals are rebelling against our God-granted superiority. Leslie talked about a sea gull that poop-bombed her at a concert last night. Frank discussed a fight he had with a six-foot-tall turkey (I don't believe it was really that tall), and we've all seen uppity sea gulls and pigeons around Western New York.

After the show, I found out that Culver Communications' engineer Mike Ridley was attacked by a cat ... then this. If you follow the link, you will read a story that Mercy Flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Lancaster because their chopper was attacked by a bird. The comments below the story indicate that I'm not the only one that's noticed a pattern. One says, "Has anyone else noticed what is happening with the birds this year. Several have flown into my car, and the back door of my home. Several of my co workers have commented on this also! Is there something in the water? Something they are telling us?"

It's kind of scary - this war against mankind. Keep checking back for updates. We'll win this fight together.

It's almost an afterthought now, but here's a link to the video of the turkey attacking a cop ... it's good stuff.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Random notes before bed ...

Everyone I talked to today seemed to have a story about either pigeons or sea gulls. I might pick up the Wimbledon story tomorrow on Reason right where I left off today.

Thanks to Norm Palmer, Pat Burke and Roy Macaluso for coming in to WLVL's studios and talking about Lockport's Athletic Hall of Fame induction coming up in September. (photo at right)

I booked North Tonawanda Mayor Larry Soos for next Wednesday on Dialog. Actually, next week is pretty booked for Dialog ... and pretty empty for Reason. I'll work on adding some guests for Reason tomorrow.

I did some web editing tonight. I updated the "about" page and added a bunch of guests on the "guests list" page. I'm through 2005. I hope to get 2006 done by July 1. It's not a promise, but it is a goal. Another goal is to fix and update the "photos" page. Soon. I promise. I also made the microphone in the top left corner link to the WECK stream. If you click it, it should open in your media player of choice.

My truck just needed a battery ... but I found out batteries for big-@ss trucks are a lot more expensive than for cars. Nonetheless, I feel better. Maybe I didn't have bad karma (check the comments in the previous post).

Finally, the poll has less than 24 hours. Would you ride Metro Rail if it were extended? Vote if you haven't already. New poll tomorrow night, I guess.

*sigh*



About a month ago, my car died.

Today my truck fell ill.

I hope the truck doctor can fix it.

Lockport's ORIGINAL concert series starts tonight ...

There's been a lot of attention paid to Lockport's newest concert series, the Molson Canal Concert Series at Ulrich City Center. But don't forget that the Lockport Library has been holding a concert series on their front porch for years. These are always fun for families with younger kids. I usually take mine to a couple every year and don't expect this year to be any different.

I've added the schedule to the WNY Events calendar but figured I'd add the schedule here, too.

  • Tonight - June 25th - Buffalo and Brady: Magic and Music
  • Next Week - July 2 - Lockport Community Band (Flag Wavin' Patriotic Concert)
  • July 9th - Bart & Kevin Summer Family Fun Concert
  • July 16th - Cathy McGrath (Erie Canal and NY State songs)
  • July 23 - Fiddlesticks (Traditional fiddling, country and bluegrass)
  • July 30 - Buffalo Buzzards: Dixieland Jazz
  • August 6 - Glenn Colton rockin' family concert
  • August 13 - Nan Hoffman (folk music for all ages)
  • August 20 - Tom Seiling "Bugs & Moose ... out on the loose"
  • August 27 - Dady Brothers (Traditional Irish and Celtic music)

Listen to Reason ... live ... online ...

I mentioned this a while ago, but I wanted to put it out there again. Hometown 1230 WECK is now streaming online. That means that no matter where you are, you can listen to Reason with (me) Scott Leffler every day at 10 a.m. (Eastern). You can go to WECK1230.com and click where it says listen ... or just click here. I'll be making a WECK Stream button to go somewhere on the website here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just booked for tomorrow ...

I'll be talking with Ron Tebo from WNYCarpool.com about his website ... and how you can get to work for half the price ... or less.

Then we'll talk about your daily commute and all the other fun things in the news ...

That's at 10:00 a.m. on WECK. Then at 11, I'll be on WLVL and talking with Norm Palmer and friends ...

Senate picks Dean Skelos to lead it ...

According to the New York Times, "The Republican-led state Senate moved on Tuesday to install Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island senator for more than two decades, as its new majority leader."

The Times article mentions Skelos and Thomas Libous as being the top guys for the job. It does not mention our own Senator, George Maziarz.

Libous, meanwhile will be the Deputy Majority Leader.

I have to wonder, was Maziarz really a contender for the position? If so, why do today's media accounts fail to mention him? And if not, why did the Buffalo News say he was yesterday?

Still lots to figure out on this story.

Rated I for incompetent

Once you hit age 18, you stop caring what movies are rated. I mean, as a teen, it's kind of cool to sneak into an R rated film, but after you're allowed in, it just loses it's luster. But those movie rating will become important again.

With two daughters in the house, I try to keep an eye on the movie ratings to make sure they're not seeing anything too inappropriate. But unless we want to watch a Disney marathon, it's nearly impossible.

Take, for example, this recent experience; my wife got a couple movies from our local library, which actually has a pretty good selection. Anyway, one of the movies was "My Super Ex-Girlfriend." It was rated PG-13. The second was an R-rated flick that I cannot recall.

Which one do we watch with the kids? The R-rated one, of course.

At least, we should have watched the R-rated one with the kids. Cause it was - in my opinion - much more "family friendly" than the PG-13 movie. "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" was filled with sexual innuendo and even a couple sex scenes - albeit, no skin was shown, it was pretty obvious what was going on. The other movie was rated R for swearing. I'm not kidding. There was no graphic violence. No sex. Just a lot of F-bombs.

I might not drop F-bombs around my kids, but I know they've heard the word before. I'd much rather they hear someone swear ... than watch someone screw.

So how did one get a PG-13 rating and the other an R? The Motion Picture Association of America. They have certain guidelines for what constitutes what. The "hard swearing" got that second movie an R rating. The explanation for PG-13 is so confusing, I'd swear this was a government operation. But it's done by a "ratings board" which works for the MPAA.

Here's an interesting tidbit I found out. Movies are not required to go to the ratings board. They don't have to be rated. Or they can rate themselves ... as long as it is not "confusingly similar to the G, PG, PG-13, R, and, NC-17." Apparently, those rating are trademarked or something. But if they wanted to rate their movie "I for incompetent," they could do that.

But as I've previously determined the rating isn't so important as the content. Often times a movie will say "Rated PG-13 for sexual content" or something like that. But is that someone copping a feel? Or hard core nookie?

I heard about another movie rating system that sounds ... almost logical. It's called "Kids-in-Mind" movie ratings. They rate movies on three factors; sex, gore, and vulgarity. The give each factor a rating of 1 to 10. The higher the rating, the more of that there is in the movie. Plus, they actually list each instance.

"My Super Ex-Girlfriend," for example, has a rating of 7.6.4. Lots of sex. A moderate amount of gore. And not too much swearing. Exactly the opposite of what I think is appropriate for my kids. Had I known about this rating system, they never would have watched that movie.

They would have watched that other movie. The one I can't think of. And they would have forgotten it by now, too. I just hope they forgot the one they DID see.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Buffalo News: Majority Leader Maziarz?

A story on the Buffalo News' web site this evening says George Maziarz is among the few who could replace Joe Bruno as Majority Leader of the State Senate.
Among the contenders is Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, who is holding a secret meeting tonight with the two other major contenders, senators Dean Skelos of Nassau County and Thomas Libous of Binghamton.

Skelos and Libous have long coveted the majority leader job, and they have worked for years lining up backers for the day that Bruno retired. Maziarz, however, is seen as a candidate who could emerge from a fight between Skelos and Libous in what is already shaping up as a downstate versus upstate battle between Republicans.

In Maziarz's favor is that he comes from a safe political district and is among the top fundraisers among rank-and-file lawmakers.

Maziarz would not say if he is an active candidate for Bruno's job.

"It's clearly a leadership position and it's something I clearly would love to see someone from Western New York be under active consideration," he said tonight.

Obviously, this is a story we'll continue to follow. Funny, we went from "is George even running for re-election" this morning to ... "George Maziarz, majority leader?" this evening ...

Rainbow over Niagara


Well, Lockport to be specific. Not the best rainbow photo I've ever seen - or taken for that matter - but driving down 31 with my camera phone, I thought it came out pretty good.

Joe Bruno: "It is time to move on."

Albany's Time Union has posted a speech given by New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, indicating that he will not seek re-election in November.

Today, I met with my Republican colleagues in the Senate and informed them that I will not be running for re-election this November.

After 32 years in office, I have decided that it is time to move on with my life and to give my constituents an opportunity for new representation and my colleagues in the Senate who have supported me, an opportunity for new leadership.

Public service has been a blessing for which I will be ever grateful. I have had the opportunity to work for and with hundreds of proud, distinguished New Yorkers. I have viewed my work not as a job, but as a privilege to come here day in and day out and stand up for the people of Rensselaer and Saratoga counties and stand up for the hardworking people I have come to know over the years.

Politics is a tough ball game. Tougher now than it has ever been. But after 32 years of many successes and a few failures, I know now more than ever, and I can say that with comfort and confidence, there is no calling greater than that of public service. There have been few more rewarding experiences in my life. But, timing in life is everything. While there may never be a good time to make these kinds of life decisions, I have decided that it is time for me to move on with my life.

I do so with a heavy heart, but an optimistic soul. And I will rest peaceful in the knowledge that so many great things lie ahead for this great State that I have had the honor and privilege to serve.

With the Senate hinging on a single vote, who knows what this could mean for New York's "senior body," but it means something different. And given the disaster that New York has been, different has got to be good.

Dialog show notes 062308

It being Monday, Bob Confer was my guest for the first 15, talking about the crazy capital of New York and the end of session things they're NOT doing. Then we shifted gears and Brian Grear, Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy, announced his candidacy for the New York State Senate. He'll be opposing 62nd Senate District incumbent George Maziarz - I think. Although, to my knowledge George hasn't announced that he's running yet. I may be wrong, but I don't recall hearing that. Anyway, Grear had wanted to run for Sheriff, but says the GOP ran a power play to make sure that didn't happen. As a result, he's running against George instead. One caller said it's sour grapes, but a handful of others seemed to appreciate that they have another choice in November. Don't forget, Don Hobel is also running for the 62nd SD.

Niagara County Board of Ethics

In the past couple months, we've heard a few news items about the Niagara County Board of Ethics. I've had this piece of paper floating around for quite a while ... it's a list of the board members.
  • Bonnie Spoon (acting chair)
  • Roland Johnson
  • James Spanbauer
  • Rev. William Lowery
  • Thomas O'Shea
This list is from quite some time ago ... so I'm not sure if it's still accurate ... but it was.

Great quote ...

The following is from a press release I got from Don Hobel.
The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, the public debt should be reduce, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed ...
Interesting to note, the quote isn't by Hobel. It's by Cicero ... from 63 BC. Below is the conclusion.
... lest Rome become bankrupt.
Makes you wonder. What did happen to the Roman Empire?

Weekly update 062308


News, notes and necessities

items of interest the week of June 23, 2008

an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler



News: Dialog on Hometown 1340, WLVL in Lockport will have guests Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week. Reason on Hometown 1230, WECK in Buffalo is thus-far, guestless.

As always, Bob Confer will check in first thing Monday morning on WLVL (11:15 a.m.) to discuss what's going on in Albany. Following Bob, Sheriff's Deputy Brian Grear will make a major announcement that any politically interested people won't want to miss. On Wednesday, WLVL Sports Director Norm Palmer will be in studio with Lockport Athletic Director Pat Burke and former basketball coach Ray Macaluso to discuss the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and who will be installed. And then on Friday, Lockport's mayor, Mike Tucker will be in studio at WLVL.

I'll be taking a day off on Tuesday to play the role of proud parent. As such, we'll run "best of" shows on Dialog and Reason.

Did you know that you can listen to Reason right here on your computer? True, you can. Hometown 1230 WECK is now streaming online, meaning no matter where you are, you can listen (as long as you've got an internet capable computer). Just head on over to the station website, www.weck1230.com and click "listen" in the top left corner. It's live, too (minus a few seconds of buffer). So if I'm talking about something you want to get your word in on, just call when I give the number.


Notes: Another weekend meant more work on the website. I added a WNY Events calendar, which I'm hoping to build into the definitive calendar for people who leave their homes. Right now, it has the listings for several free concert series in WNY ... but I'm hoping to add more concerts, as well as sporting events and festivals. I also made some other minor changes to the website. You'll have to go check it out for yourself. This week's web plans include getting more photos online ... and organizing them better. Speaking of photos, there's a great one on the blog of me and Sabretooth from the Sabres NHL draft party on Friday night. Now I need one of me and Buster Bison.

While I would suggest that you listen live - to both shows on both stations - I understand that it's not always practical or possible. So if you miss a show here or there, listen to the podcasts. It's okay. Reason podcasts currently remain on www.weck1230.com and Dialog podcasts are at www.wlvl.com. But I'll soon consolidate them all onto www.scottleffler.com. If you're looking for recommendations, I'd definately listen to last Wednesday's Dialog (with Larry Eggert) and last Thursday's Reason (with Libertarian VP candidate Wayne Allyn Root).

Don't forget that Tuesday's are column day. I'm going to write on the ratings given to movies, as they have bitten me in the posterior several times in the past couple months. Check the website Tuesday morning for the updated column.

Also, don't forget to vote in the latest web poll: If the NFTA extended Metro Rail, would you ride it? They indicated last week that they might consider doing just that.


Necessities: Despite the release this past week of Firefox 3, I don't think there's anything out there that I'd list as a necessity. While I've enjoyed the new program and recommend that you try it out, it has been - often - buggy for me.


This is a copy of the weekly newsletter I sent out to subscribers. If you'd like to be added to the list, please email scott@scottleffler.com and ask to be added. I'll make that happen.

Boeing must get shot at contract ...

Back in March, I interviewed someone from Boeing about a refueler contract they lost out on to Airbus. As it turns out, their PR campaign paid off. The Government Accountability Office ruled that the Air Force must re-bid the contract.

George Carlin, RIP

Waking up this morning, I saw a story on Salon about the death of George Carlin. Now, I've never been a huge Carlin fan, but I appreciated his work. I must admit, though, I thought it a cruel joke. It was not.

From Reuters: Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday. He was 71. Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

From Entertainment Weekly
: George Carlin, the famously acerbic stand-up comedian, has died. The pioneering entertainer succumbed to heart failure in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday, at age 71. Carlin, who began making TV appearances in the 1960s with a conventional comedy act, emerged in the 1970s with a style much more reflective of the times, pushing into more sensitive areas of social observation and language, a favorite topic of his over the years. Most notably, his recorded routine ''Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television'' became the center of a landmark Supreme Court case.

Just last week, Paul Oates and Doug Young were talking about George Carlin receiving some comedy award and how it would be strange to see him in a suit. It will be even stranger to no longer see him.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A little funny before bed ...

Need something to do?

I added another feature to the web site this weekend.

If you access this blog straight from www.scottleffler.com, then on the left at the bottom, there should be a link for WNY Events. It's a simple calendar filled with all the fun things to do around WNY - including a variety of concert series.

If you've got an event - or know something I should add, just drop me a line and I'll put it on the calendar for all to see.

You may notice that the events calendar is still in its infancy, but I'll be adding more to it daily.

Thanks.

Carell bests Myers at Box Office

According to this story from Reuters, Maxwell Smart took control of the weekend box office in North America, while Mike Myers lost his mojo with his new comedy. 'Get Smart,' a remake of the classic television spy spoof, sold an estimated $39.2 million worth of tickets during its first three days, distributor Warner Bros. Pictures said on Sunday.

Here's the thing I don't get. It's only 1 in the afternoon on Sunday. Do they guesstimate for the remainder of the day?

Between the two movies, I'd much rather see "Get Smart" - even though, according to Paul Lane, "The Love Guru" actually has a local connection.

That said, neither of them looks good enough for me to leave the house to go see. Can you say NetFlix?

I'd wave ...

Watch the following video from Keith Olberman's show last week.



Apparently, these guys refused to wave at the president. It's their right. Kind of funny in a way. As much as I dislike this administration, I'd wave to him if he waved to me. And yes, I mean with all five fingers.

Listener: fly your flags upside down ...

The following was dropped off at WLVL last week.

Please Join Us

Are you angry at the present situation in this Country, State or County? High gasoline prices, food prices going up, jobs getting harder to find, no representation from elected officials, heating oil costs heading for the moon, and higher and higher taxes ...

Want to let your views be known? Join the rest of your fellow Americans in a peaceful protest on July 4th as we put our flags out to honor our freedom. Display your American flag flying upside down, which indicates a situation of DISTRESS ...

You don't have to talk to your politicians, you don't have to form a crowd. The simple act of flying your American flag upside down alng with the rest of us will convey the message that we want the situation corrected NOW.

This is probably the easiest thing you could ever do and if those in power don't respect the meaning of our demonstration in July, then we can remember them on Election Day in November.

Thank You
Alfred Wroblewski



So what do you think of this? Is this a reasonable protest? Or just un-patriotic? Will you participate? Will the politicians care? What would the founding fathers think?

Grear will be on Dialog Monday

Been there ... done that ...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Obama's new "seal" upsets some ...

So apparently, Barack Obama is going for some visual reminder that he is presidential. He's had his team craft an "Obama for America" seal, that reminds some of the presidential seal.

I recall when we went to the National Archives in April, there was an exhibit for kids to create their own seal. It was kind of cute. Maybe Obama was there too. Maybe that's where he got the idea.

Of course, Obama's not the first to take some flak for this. The Next Right - in a post designed to hurt Obama on this issue - points out that John McCain used an actual flag on his bumper stickers in 2000. Gasp. and in 2004, Kerry used something that looked a lot like a flag. OMG!

I must say, I find it funny. First Obama is attacked for not wearing a flag ... thereby being unpatriotic. Now he's TOO patriotic? I'm not really sure what the argument is here, but it's certainly interesting.

My take? The seal is a bit odd. Maybe presumptuous. But that's not the reason I'm not voting for Obama.

Sabres draft party pretty cool ...

It's amazing how many people will come out to HSBC Arena ... even when there's not a game.

Last night, for example, there were thousands of hockey fans at the arena for the Sabres NHL Draft Party. The team offered pix with Sabretooth (that's me at left - click to see the rest of my pix from the night), autographs, discounts at the Sabres Store, kids with sticks and helmets could play floor hockey on the floor of HSBC Arena, plus tours of the Sabres locker room.

I made sure to get a photo of Max Afinogenov's locker as rumors had swirled that he would end up part of a trade during the draft - maybe for a bag of pucks or something. Despite a - let's say - lackluster season last year, he's still my fave.

According to the Sabres, by the way, there were 3,000 people there. I'd buy it. It was a very cool thing to do.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Old poll - new poll

Looks like the poll voters blame both political parties for the high price of gas. The vote totals are to the left. Also, we've got a new poll at right. Would you ride Metro Rail if it were extended further? NFTA mentioned the possibility at a press conference today.

NFTA may extend rail service ...

The NFTA was one of over 100 mass transit systems in the county to host a "dump the pump" day on Thursday.

The organization also held a press conference to discuss it. Lawrence Meckler, NFTA executive director said that changing economic conditions coupled with future development plans could be enough to fuel the oft-discussed expansion of the Metro Rail system. He also said that "nothing is cast in stone," and it may take years before it becomes a reality.

The NFTA last considered Metro Rail expansion in 2001, but at the time, the idea was scrapped because of its high cost and doubts about the investment would pay off in the long term. Read more in Business First.

With $4-plus gasoline, many area residents have said they wished Metro Rail were extended. I recently wrote a column about it, in fact.

What do you think? Would you ride Metro Rail if it extended further? It's time for a new poll anyway ... so let's have at it. The new poll will be up by six p.m.

Dialog show notes for June 19, 2008

Today's show was kind of all over the board, but one note I want to make sure people got was the New York State Board of Elections web site. You can search contributions to specific officials or by specific people, businesses, or PACs.

Reason show notes for June 19, 2008 ...

This morning - after some technical difficulties - I interviewed Wayne Allyn Root, Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate. We talked about taxes, government, home schooling, prosititution, gambling and more. Wayne's website is www.rootforamerica.com. We talked a little about the LP Presidential candidate Bob Barr, who's website is www.bobbarr2008.com. Originally, I was scheduled to talk with Barr, but for one reason or another Barr was unable and Root stood in for him.

After the interview, I talked about phrases to hate. Here's the BBC article about that.

Also, here's the Onion story I read ...

Thursday IN the Square - David Sanborn

From the Thursday IN the Square website:

David Sanborn is a distinguished saxophone player whose music has inspired countless other musicians. He is a gifted performer with a musical genre spanning from rock ‘n' roll, R&B, pop and jazz.

When David was three years old he contracted
polio. As part of his treatment therapy, he was
introduced to the saxophone. He would spend
days listening to the alto sax on the radio.

For more details and to see who's playing in future weeks, click here.

Firefox claims download success

The creator of the Firefox browser is claiming a download record for the release of the latest version; Firefox 3.0. According to software developer, Mozilla, the web browser was downloaded 8.3 million times within the first 24 hours it was available. The folks from the Guinness Book of World records have to tabulate some information and verify the record - expected to take about a week. If you missed downloading it in the first 24, it's still worth it ... just click here.

Dude ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

US&J: Chief Eggert hit by car ...

From Tim Marren's blog at the Union-Sun & Journal:

In a horribly ironic and just all-around odd and scary situation, Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert was hit by a car, driven by a 19-year-old, while riding his bike home from the station. The accident came just a short while after a press event where Eggert and LPD donated five bikes to the Boy Scouts.

It also came on the same day when Scott Leffler hosted Eggert on his WLVL show, and one caller mentioned he saw Eggert jogging around town recently, but didn’t want to say where he runs, in fear that someone might want to do harm to him.

Marren goes on to say that the accident was just that - an accident. Of course, it was. I couldn't imagine that anyone would ever want to do harm to Larry, one of the nicest and most respectful guys I've come across. Besides, who could have anything against a guy that rides his bike and donates bikes to the Boy Scouts?

It is amazing the bad luck this guy has come across. You may recall that he was shot in February 2003 chasing Jason Kanalley. He, of course, recovered from that - slowly - and was recently appointed chief of the LPD.

For the rest of the story from the US&J - including a photo of the accident, click here.

Here's to a quick recovery, Larry.

(post edited @ 9:47 p.m. - Niagara Times says Eggert suffered a broken leg, broken ankle and broken ribs and is expected to be "laid up" for 12 weeks)

Sabres hold draft party at HSBC

The Buffalo Sabres have been on the cutting edge for the past few years. Even though management hasn't signed the "big names" over the past 12 months, they continue to give us a competitive team and trying new things to get families into the game.

From Tom Golisano's takeover bringing $10 tickets for a preseason game a few years ago, to the Party in the Plaza that everyone's copying now, it seems to me like Sabres managment is making a real effort to cultivate a new generation of hockey fan.

That continues on Friday as autograph sessions with Buffalo Sabres players and family-friendly food and drink specials highlight the NHL Entry Draft Party at HSBC Arena on from 5-9 p.m. The event is free and open to fans of all ages. Parking is also free in the arena ramp.

Dialog show notes 061808

Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert was in studio discussing the upcoming concert series, Niagara County's new Department of Homeland Security, the price of gas, neighborhood concerns and more. Larry took several phone calls and maintained his composure throughout. The chief said he'll come on again in another month and a half or so.

Reason show notes 061808

We started the show today with a discussion with Rus Thompson on the No GI Tolls initiative. Rus and I also talked about the price of gas and who's fault it is. He says it the Dems' fault. There's less than 24 hours to vote in the poll on that topic at scottleffler.com. I also mentioned a plan by the governor to outlaw smoking on all college campuses across the state. Not just the dorms, but the outdoor public areas as well. I think it's a joke that it would be illegal for adults to do something legal (smoke). Maybe someone can explain this better. Frank and I talked about the new version of Firefox, which is great ... usually. And we somehow talked about beer. I say Guiness sucks. Others disagree. But one beer thing that does intrique me is the new Beer Tender by Heineken. (at left)

GI toll removal stuck in committee

I got an email last night from Rus Thompson saying the Assembly bill to remove the tolls from the Grand Island bridges is stuck in committee. The senate version is out of committee and expected to be voted on before the end of the session - June 23rd, but the Assembly bill looks like it needs your help.

I'll have Rus on Reason at 10 am to discuss this.

NoGITolls.com

National GOP rips Powers ...

The Republican National Congressional Committee has questioned Jon Powers priorities because Powers missed a town hall meeting to go to what they say was a fundraiser in California.

Jon Powers, Democratic candidate in New York’s 26th Congressional District, and his campaign continue to avoid answering questions about his campaign contributions and why the majority of his contributions are from outside of Western New York. In fact last week Powers claimed to have the needed “hometown support.”

Now, I'm not defending Powers here. If he skipped out on a commitment, I want to know why. But I'm supposed to trust the RNCC to question ANYONE's judgment? Isn't this the same RNCC that Tom Reynolds headed? Tom Reynolds who spent the majority of his time as a congressman running around the country raising money for people? The same RNCC that is missing millions of dollars from when Tom Reynolds headed it? And they're going to question Jon Powers?

Now that's how to hold a fundraiser ...

Although I've been invited so several, I've never been to a political fundraiser before - except as a journalist reporting on the event. But if more fundraisers were like Barack Obama's fundraiser in NYC this Thursday, I'd be MUCH more likely to go.

The campaign is having a "pub crawl." Starting at 7 p.m. Obama supporters will drink their livers out and wander from one bar in the Village to another. They ask that supporters make a minimum donation to the Obama campaign in order to recieve "a sweet Obama button."

Democrat propaganda ...

But it's damn good Democrat propaganda.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wayne Allyn Root to replace Barr on Reason ...

Bob Barr, Libertarian candidate for president was scheduled to do an interview with me tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately, Barr's publicist said the he won't be able to conduct the interview for personal reasons. She has, however, offered LP Vice Presidential Candidate Wayne Allyn Root, which I have accepted under the agreement that we'll get another crack at Barr in the not-too-distant future. As a result, I'll have Wayne on Reason at 10 a.m. on Thursday, which you can listen to live at AM 1230 or online at WECK1230.com ... or catch it later on the podcast.

Salon.com: A McCain-Lieberman ticket?

Salon suggests that a McCain-Lieberman ticket is more than just a pipe dream - it's downright plausible.

But in a presidential year filled with firsts (African-American nominee, serious woman candidate, former POW to be his party's standard-bearer), Lieberman retains the intriguing potential to become the first Jewish, party-crossing, second-time-around vice-presidential nominee in American history.

Um. No. I don't see this as any more realistic than McCain dropping out or Barack Obama picking Chuck Hagel as his veep.

Seems like I just wrote a column about this idiocy this morning ...

Download the new Firefox. I did.

Bill unveil Toronto logo

The Buffalo Bills and formally unveiled the Bills Toronto Series logo today (at right). The Bills Toronto Series logo will be featured on patches adorned on the Buffalo Bills home uniform for all eight games played at Rogers Centre as part of the series over the next five years.

I have to wonder if this is just another step in the direction of the Bills moving to TO.

Frankly, the logo doesn't particularly excite me. What do you think?

State opens books to web viewers

The state comptroller's office has created a new Web site that will allow visitors to see how taxpayer's dollars are spent at the multitude of public agencies. The site, http://www.openbooknewyork.com/, contains a searchable database of spending by 113 state agencies and more than 60,000 state contracts, including such items as travel, equipment utilities and even salaries. It went live Tuesday.

Dialog show notes 061708

How many chances should a person get?

That was today's topic - and it revolved around the fourth DWI arrest for Marcy Cole.

My suggestion was that after being arrested four times for driving while impaired something should be done to prevent that person from endangering the lives of the rest of us. No one disagreed. Not a single caller spoke in favor of going easy.

Now, I understand that alcoholism is a disease, but if one persons disease puts someone else in jeopardy, it needs to be addressed. On that tone, I mentioned leprocy ... and did some research after the show. According to this web site, "there are still a few leper colonies around the world, in countries such as India, Vietnam, and the Philippines."

Now you know.

What do you think should happen with Marcy Cole?

Reason show notes 061708

Thanks to David DiPietro for taking time out of his day to answer my questions - and yours. I thought the gay marriage call might stump him ... or that the caller might berate him. For the record (as if you cared or asked) I disagree with his stance there. I don't think the state has any business in marriage - gay or straight. It's just another example of government sticking there nose where it don't belong. For more on David, check out his website, http://www.dipietroforsenate.com/.