Thursday, July 31, 2008

Welcome Doc Wu to the forum ...

Hey all, we're up to 24 members on the forum.

DocWu is our latest addition. Doc is a prolific blogger, geek, and lover of local music.

Thanks, Doc.

Pre-show thoughts ...

Today I'm going to discuss two things on Reason: The governor's plan to cut the budget (and his hiring freeze), and school choice.

Carl Paladino and I talked a little about school choice yesterday, but I've got a lot more to say on the topic ... and conveniently, I have another hour in which to do it.

Join in the conversation at 10 a.m. on Hometown 1230 WECK ... or listen online at weck1230.com

Also, I posted something about this topic in the forum this morning. Feel free to comment there (still looking for more registered users).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Grear: Niagara Falls Reporter inaccurate

I spoke briefly yesterday about a Mike Hudson column in the Niagara Falls Reporter concerning Brian Grear, who he says is running a spiteful campaign.

Essentially, the column says Grear is upset that Maziarz wouldn't help him become sheriff (likely true), so Grear registered Democrat to run against Maziarz for the senate, and endorsed Democrat Jim Votour for sheriff.
The crafty Rivera and the cunning Grear had a secret plan, it seems. Grear announced he was switching party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and running against Maziarz. In return for Grear backing Voutour, Rivera would back him!
Well, apparently, that's not wholly accurate. Or even partly accurate. At least according to Brian Grear, who left the following on my voice mail yesterday afternoon:
Hey Scott. Brian Grear. Two points. One, I am still a Republican. I didn't switch my affiliation. Listened to your show today. And number two, I never supported either candidate for sheriff. Just so you're aware of those two things, I'll talk to you later.
Now, as for who Grear is supporting in the sheriff's race, I can understand how you would not know that ... but his party registration? The Board of Elections is just a phone call away. Why would the Reporter not check that out? And who are they getting their information from? And why do they rip anyone who opposes Maziarz? Just some things that made me go "hmm."

From the email #2

Last week my church (Emmanuel United Methodist in Lockport) had a community day. I was supposed to sit in the dunk tank. But for the second year in a row, rain cancelled the dunk tank (I might get wet).

They've got another event coming up this weekend though.
Good Morning,

I am the secretary at Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Lockport and we are having a Strawberry Social on August 3, 2008 from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and we were wondering if you could post this on your website and/or broadcast it on your radio station? Could you please let me know if this is possible or not? Thank you so much for your time and cooperation.


Thank you so much,

Lindsey Peer
EUMC Secretary
It's a good church. It's a good cause. Go help 'em out.

From the email #1

Michelle Davidson wrote me an email asking me to let you know about a meet-n-greet at Lockport's Union Station next Saturday (August 9th).
As I'm sure you are aware, we are on a campaign to restore it. We have the support of The City of Lockport, the GLDC, Senator Chuck Schumer, David Kinyon, not to mention the many people of Lockport. We have recently applied for 2 grants and feel we have a better than good chance of securing the funds. We were also recently on the cover of Business First. There is alot of interest at the moment, but could use more.
For more on their endeavors, check their website.

Capitol South: Real News

CapitolSouth073008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The fall of the mainstream media?

I'm not sure if you've taken note of this, but the bloggers are taking over.

There was a time when blogs were used for commentary on stories that had appeared in that days paper or on the TV news. Now TV, radio and the newspapers are being scooped regularly by the blogging community.

Over the past week, I can't count the number of stories I've heard that have started with "according to (fill in the blank) dot com ..." And I've read more than a handful of stories in WNY's leading newspaper, the Buffalo News, that have referenced topics I had read the day before ... or a couple days before ... on my favorite WNY media clearinghouse, WNYMedia.net.

WNYMedia.net is a sort of media co-op, giving a venue to several writers (including myself) to post their thoughts, analysis, and news scoops. It's a sort of one-stop shop for WNY blog thoughts. It lists four people on staff and 11 contributors. But there's even more than that.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs. Fifty or so. About half of them are from WNY. Most of them are updated daily. Even the mainstream folks have taken to using blogs to get the word out. Ironically, I use my talk shows to promote my blog ... and my blog to promote my talk shows.

There was a day, of course, when newspapers were the only game in town. Then came radio. And newspapers feared that radio would be their demise. But they survived. Then came TV. And newspapers are radio feared it would be their demise. But they survived. Then came the internet. And everyone's worried that it will be their demise.

And it might just be.

After all, the internet offers newspapers via blogs. It offers radio via podcasts and web streams. And TV via YouTube. It is everything the mainstream media offers ... but instantly ... and usually for free. Oh, and now, it's earlier, too.

Before I was a talk show host, I was a reporter. There was a piece of trash web site that would often steal information right from our paper ... and print it as though it was their own. Occasionally, they would get some information online before I got it in print. Oh, man, that was infuriating.

Imagine if your your job is to gather information and distribute it to the world. You work 40 hours each week with this sole goal. And then someone who has no training scoops you ... and for the mere joy of it. He's not even getting paid! Infuriating.

Of course, the honorable thing to do is to attribute the web site for scooping the story.

A few weeks ago, the Associated Press put the blogging world on notice: Don't use our stuff without paying for it. See, some unscrupulous bloggers would pick up AP stories and run them on their sites ... sans attribution.

But that seems to work both ways. Mainstream media has taken information from local blogs and run with it ... sans attribution.

And now ... they're on notice.

Newsletter for July 29th-ish


News, notes and necessities

items of interest the week of July 28, 2008

an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler



News: A couple guests just confirmed that I wanted to let you know about:

Wednesday, Buffalo Developer Carl Paladino at 10 a.m. on WECK. We'll talk about him, his business, and a lot of local politics, including his current fight with the Buffalo School Board. He'll be on all show and we'll take calls at (716) 783-9325.

Then Wednesday afternoon, I'll be anchoring a live remote from the Niagara County Fair from 2 to 5 p.m. Come out and say 'hi.'

Thursday, Marcia Pappas, president of the New York State chapter of the National Organization for women, talking about whether I'm sexist or she's looney. That's at 10 a.m. on WECK ... and depending on how it goes, may re-air at 11 a.m. on WLVL.


Notes: The current poll on the blog asks about campaign finance reform ... whether it should be more strict, less strict, or if it's just right. As usual, I'm in the minority.

The forum is up to 22 people, so I added AirFox, which seems to have pleased MindCrime. Bratty Jenn is our most recent returnee. And I'm happy to have her.

Stats: This month has been the busiest month ever for both scottleffler.com (over 11,000 hits so far) and the podcasts are having their third highest downloads ever (over 23,000).

I'm a day late on the newsletter (you may have noticed) ... and it's column day, so I'm off to write some more.


Necessities: Need to chat with a friend, but they don't have an IM? Try Chatzy.


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.

Smile, I'm on candid camera

The Jon Powers campaign has been trying to get me to come to one of their meet-n-greets for over a month.

Last night, with the kids at my mothers and my wife at work, I decided to make the trek out to North Tonawanda to Soos' Cafe to meet the candidates staff and hopefully run into a couple listeners.

There were probably 30 to 40 people at this little shin-dig, which was part meet-n-greet and part fundraiser. As a member of the media, who attempts to maintain some independence, I'd like to point out that I was not a paying customer at this gig.

But the Powers staff was very nice - a young group of people - who seem to have it together, actually. And I did meet a couple listeners ... and some fellow members of the media.

Jon talked a lot about his time in Iraq ... in addition to his campaign. Next time I have him on radio, I'm going to ask him to share some of his Iraq stories, which were rather gripping.

A note on the photo: I asked the photographer to keep me out of the pictures, to which he replied, "then don't stand near the candidate." Obviously, I failed on that account.

Actually, I spent about 10 minutes talked with the candidate, mainly about the inner workings of his campaign. After his speech, he had a QnA. I asked him about his thoughts on getting our soldiers out of Iraq. He said once we have a new president, he's hoping for 16 to 18 months to have the troops "redeployed" (elsewhere).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ketchup (Long time - no blog)

You would think that four days of vacation would have given me plenty of time to blog ... but the opposite was true. We were going, going, going the whole time.

So now there's about 100 things that I want to talk about. I won't get to them all in this post, but I'll highly a choice few.

The spat between Jack Davis and Jon Powers gets uglier by the day. The latest uglification of local politics is a new website put out by the Davis campaign made to look like Jon Powers official website, but highlighting the negatives.

The website, powersplatoon.com, says Powers "flips on choice," "flops on Iraq" and "fails on FISA." It also lists his supporters as strip club owners, lobbyists and PACs.

Fellow blogger BuffaloPundit doesn't like it:

First off, it’s not a parody site because it’s not funny. Seconly, it’s not protected by the fair use doctrine because it’s not using mere excerpts of Powers’ work product, but has completely mimicked his site in an effort to confuse and trick the reader. Everything right down to the logo, the font, the layout, and even the portrait, originally shot by Clarence photographer Chuck Eckert.

All of these items are protected by automatic copyright held by Mr. Powers. We all expected Jack Davis to use his millions to smear Powers. None of us expected him to do it by breaking the law and deliberately tricking prospective voters.

BuffaloPundit goes on to say that "Davis just crossed a line from campaigning to outright fraud."

But the Buffalo Bean doesn't mind it at all:

While Powers is the favored candidate of the nutroots for NY-26, Jack Davis is the most despised (probably because he’s a wealthy, successful businessman) so, the existence of the Powers spoof site was, to say the least, not well received, and Davis was excoriated for daring to criticize the anointed one, Jon Powers.
Now, I've said repeatedly that Jack Davis is no Democrat. But I'm starting to wonder if he's helping Chris Lee and the GOP more than he's helping himself or any "fellow Democrats." Personally I find the website distasteful. But that's just me.

One of the things the website aims to do (and something that the Buffalo Bean has been trumpeting) is that a great deal of Powers campaign cash has come from outside the district. A story in the Union-Sun & Journal over the weekend shows that Jon isn't alone in that.

Most of the money (State Sen. George) Maziarz raised came from outside his 62nd Senate district. By the ZIP codes listed with each contribution, about $20,000 came from individuals, partnerships, corporations and political action committees — PACs — based in the district; the remainder, more than 90 percent, came from out-of-district sources.

The story goes on to point out that Maziarz recieved $9,500 contributions from Smokin' Joes, Leslie M. Westreich, Shira Westreich, Jaclyn Yashar, Gayle Yashar, Josh Yashar, and James A. Schlesinger. Five of those seven donors share just two last names. Interesting, huh?

The Buffalo News says that the Maziarz camp didn't challenge the petitions of Brian Grear or Don Hobel, his two opponents for the year.

State Board of Elections spokesman Bob Brehm said Friday that no specifications had been received to back up the general objections filed to petitions submitted by Brian D. Grear, who is facing Maziarz in a Republican primary and also has the Democratic endorsement for the November election, and by Donald G. Hobel, who is challenging Maziarz in a Conservative primary.
I have no idea what to make of that. I imagined George would nitpick every signature.

The presidential race gets stranger and stranger. First John McCain blasted Barack Obama for not visiting Iraq. Then he blasted him for visiting Iraq. Then he blasted him for not visiting troops. Then we heard the Pentagon asked him not to. Then McCain airs an ad attacking him for not visiting troops ... complete with images of him visiting troops. It's enough to make your head spin.

Personally, I think McCain is starting to grasp at straws and look desperate.

A Gallup poll lists Obama with a seven point lead in their most recent poll: 48 - 41.

Could all that desperation cause McCain to pick a running mate for the sheer sake of getting some publicity? This story in the Washington Post would indicate so.

Two top aides to the presumptive Republican nominee said the decision is likely to be announced after Obama returns from Europe on Sunday and before the Beijing Olympics begin Aug. 8. They said the campaign fears that unanticipated events coming out of China -- whether in the form of athletic accomplishments or human rights protests -- could deflect attention from the announcement if it were made during the Games.
The list of likely contenders includes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former U.S. budget director Rob Portman and former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge.
Another story I read indicated that Pawlenty had cleared his schedule for today ... a potential indication of ... ? Of course, last week the news made a big deal of the fact that McCain was going to Ohio ... and might that mean a Rob Portman VP? Then it turns out, McCain just wanted a sausage.

Finally, this post by another fellow blogger, Rus Thompson, kind of bothered me. It seems to indicate that the country was in great shape just two years ago ... and then the Democrats got elected to Congress. Now it's all a mess.

I'm certainly not going to defend the Democrats in Congress. But I'm pretty sure we were headed down the tube when the Dems got elected. Have they fixed things? No. But to blame them solely while claiming that GW Bush is doing a great job ... would seem to me that someone is wearing blinders.

Like I said. I have a million things to talk about. But these are the ones really on my mind.

More later.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Too busy to blog ...

A couple quick notes and then I'm off to Seabreeze with the fam.

I'm not sure what happened with Dialog yesterday. Apparently only half of the show played. Hopefully it will work correctly today.

Meanwhile, we were on the Lockport Caves and Underground Boat Ride. It was very cool. I'll tell you more about it later.

Then we watched "Vantage Point," which was a very good movie ... and went to the Boulevard Mall to see a band my 11-year-old likes (We the Kings).

The night wrapped up with a softball loss, a cool rainbow (photo later) and "Last Comic Standing."

See, I really was too busy to blog. And I will be today, but keep an eye on the Twitter ... cause I'll update there.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New York's NOW chief asks Obama to give women "gifts"

Marcia Pappas, president of New York's chapter of the National Organization for Women, has asked Obama to placate female voters with promises of "gifts." Such as:
  • Four or five pro-choice, women appointed to the US Supreme Court, plus a pro-choice litmus test for all lower-court appointments.
  • Replace DNC Chairman Howard Dean with a woman "who will not sit back quietly whil sexist attacks are levid against women candidates."
  • Ensure superdelegates reflect gender equality.
  • Change the primary system (Pappas deems caucuses "not democratic" and wants to allow secret ballots so women aren't "intimidated" and can "vote their conscience."
Apparently, sexism is still okay ... as long as it's from a female-dominant position.

I had Marcia on Dialog back in 2005. She didn't seem so loony then. The podcast is here.

Newt to McCain: No boring white guys for VP

Former House Speaker and "Contract with America" architect Newt Gingrich told John McCain to steer clear of a "boring, normal, mainstream Republican white guy" in his vice presidential selection via an audio recording made Monday and posted on his website Wednesday.

"What I'm afraid of is that if Sen. McCain picks one more relatively boring, normal, mainstream Republican white guy who would be like, you know, a cookie cutter…he just makes the ticket seem boring compared to the level of energy and drive and excitement that Obama has," Gingrich said.

Certain revelations, however, make it appear as though McCain is ignoring - arguably - one of the brightest Republicans of the last half century.

Media reports tonight indicate that McCain has cancelled several planned events in the next day or so ... and added a stop to Columbus, Ohio. The reason for the Columbus stop won't be released, however.

This leads some to speculate that McCain will attempt to divert the news attention from Barack Obama's Germany lovefest ... by announcing a vice presidential candidate.

If that is the case, the most obvious choice would be former Rep. Rob Portman. Other potentials include former governor and current senator George Voinovich ... and former Rep. John Kasich.

Of course, all three of them are boring white guys.

If this plays through, maybe it's an indication of just how desperate McCain is for Ohio to stay in the red column. Zogby currently lists Ohio as purple, with Obama holding a slight lead over McCain, 43/38 ... with Bob Barr at 7 percent.

Obama has previously said, though, that his strategy does not include Ohio and Florida.

It's all very interesting.

Huh?

I saw this on the news tonight and just shook my head.

From the Buffalo News:

The superintendent of the Media School District in Orleans County was arrested today on charges that he falsely claimed to have been a state trooper on his resume, State Police announced.

Apparently, Richard M. Galante had claimed he was a state trooper from 1981 to 1998, but never was. He was charged with one count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a low-level felony.

This reminds me of a story a few years back in which a woman in Lockport was arrested and charged with the same thing: "offering a false instrument for filing." Her crime? She reported to police that she had been harassed by police ... and they said she wasn't. So they arrested her.

1984 anyone?

Editorial cartoons are fun ...

Many of you know, I love editorial cartoons. It's the first thing I read in the paper. So when a local blog creates their own political cartoon, I'm particularly giddy. Here's one by The Buffalo Bean.

Bacteria closes Niagara beaches

According to The Buffalo News:
The Niagara County Health Department announced Wednesday that swimming has been barred until further notice at three campgrounds and at Krull Park Beach in Olcott because of high bacteria levels in water samples taken this week.

The affected campgrounds are Niagara's Lazy Lakes Campground, on Church Road in Cambria; Niagara County Camping Resort, on Wheeler Road in Hartland; and Niagara Hartland Campground, on Hartland Road in Hartland.

This is the third time this summer that Krull Park Beach, on Lake Ontario, has been closed because of elevated bacteria levels. The campgrounds, located inland, are affected for the first time this season.

Reason show notes 072308

This morning I discussed a couple of press releases concerning the Buffalo Creek Casino ... and a new law regarding smoking ... then it was chaos. Frank and I talked about annonying acronyms and text abbreviations. And Frank sent me a funny about Windows error messages. Note: I'll be off for the next two days, with previous episodes taking my place. Of course, I'll keep blogging.

Column: Lincoln's flaws

I mentioned briefly on Reason yesterday that Abe Lincoln might not have been as great a president as he's believed to be. I decided to make the topic my column for the week.

It may make you look at "Honest Abe" in a new light.

Here's an excerpt:
Our history books teach us that Lincoln ran for office repeatedly, losing over and over. He opposed slavery and won the presidency. The south hated him and seceeded. We had a civil war to bring them back into the fold. The north won and everything was clear sailing after that.

Our history books leave out a lot of details. And fudge some facts.
Feel free to agree ... or disagree. I just hope it makes you think.

Capitol South: Spin

CapitolSouth072208

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Under God Wordle 2

I figured out how to change colors, fonts and styles ... I like this one better.

Wordle under God ...

Below is a "wordle" of an earlier blog post.

Click the image to see it larger ... and understand it better.

Thanks to Buffalo Pundit for turning me on to Wordle.

Worst president ever?

We have a way of romanticizing history. It is, afterall, written by winners, baby.

But what happens when you find out that the history you learned for years, reading in elementary, middle school, high school and even college text books only told half the story ... on someone you were told was the best president ever.

And what if the other half of the story made you think that he might have been ... the worst president ever?

I'm talking, of course, about our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

Interestingly, this is my second column on the misconceptions of Honest Abe. My first column about him dealing with the rumors of his sexuality, which linger to this day.

Lincoln, of course, wasn't all bad. He did free the slaves ... and made those funky stovepipe hats all the rage. But there's something about martyrdom that seems to wipe the slate clean of all his not-so-innocent transgressions.

Our history books teach us that Lincoln ran for office repeatedly, losing over and over. He opposed slavery and won the presidency. The south hated him and seceeded. We had a civil war to bring them back into the fold. The north won and everything was clear sailing after that.

Our history books leave out a lot of details. And fudge some facts.

Here's some facts you may have missed:
  • Not only was Lincoln despised in the south, he didn't campaign in the south at all ... and was completely absent from the ballot in nine southern states. He recieved less than 40 percent of the votes nationwide. The other 60 percent being split by three other candidates.
  • Lincoln supported the Corwin Amendment. It would have given Constitutional protection to slavery in any state in which it already existed.
  • The Emancipation Proclaimation did not free the slaves in all states. It only freed the slaves in non-Union states. In other words, only slaves being held in Confederate states.
  • Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the war.
  • Lincoln spent money without congressional authorization, acting as though the executive branch were a monarchy, unchecked by the other two branches of government.
  • Lincoln imprisoned 18,000 "confederate sympatizers" without due process. They never got a trial.
Ironically, Lincoln's greatest credited "accomplishment" is actually the thing which I believe to be his greatest error. It's often stated that "Lincoln brought this country together."

You may wonder how I could possibly oppose such a great feat. The semantics of it make it sound American as apple pie, right? Let's try it in a different direction. "Lincoln consolidated the states under one federal directive." Doesn't sound as pretty that way, does it?

It's often stated that prior to the Civil War, people used the third person plural when referring to this nation: "The United States are ..." After the Civil War, that reference became third person singular: "The United States is ..." In other words, we went from being 36 indiviual "states" ... to one collective "nation."

Power had flowed upward ... from the people ... to their states ... to the federal government. Now the reverse is true. The federal government tells the states ... and their people what to do. It's almost as though in one fell-swoop we went from being a Republic ... to a totalitarian government.

By further explaination, Lincoln killed the 10th Amendment. I say often that the 10th Amendment is the "forgotten Amendment." it was forgotten in the mid 1860's ... when Lincoln was forcing the southern states to conform to northern ideals.

Please don't misconstrue this as some Confederate propaganda. I can't imagine anything worse than the concept of one human being "owning" another. But what we've got now is the federal government owning us all ... and we've got Lincoln to thank for it.

Reason show notes 072208

I talked Tuesday about the "In God we trust" email I had gotten last night. One caller said the motto had disappeared from our coinage for a while, causing me to find this link to a web page on the Department of Treasury website.

Don't forget to vote in the poll ... should "God" be in the pledge ... and on our money.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekly update ...


News, notes and necessities

items of interest the week of July 21, 2008

an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler


News: I have a short week ... and that makes this a short note.

Bob Confer was my guest this morning, talking about property rights and electricty rates. I would normally have Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker on Friday, but I'm taking a couple days off to spend with the fam, so I'll have to reschedule the mayor.


Notes: The forum at scottleffler.com is up to 17 members. Mindcrime asked if the users can pick the next game. I'm all about choice, so I said yes. The potential selections are posted in the members only section of the forum. Game gets added at 20 users.

I'm adding a new feature to the blog. There's a blog I keep an eye on that does a feature called "heard." Essentially, it asks readers to email in random funny things that they've heard around town. Like when you hear something funny at Tim Hortons ... share it with the world at scottleffler.com. Read more here.

Last weeks' web poll voters say a three-way congressional race in NY26 favors Jack Davis. See the full results here.

The new poll is based on an email I recieved talking about removing "God" from the pledge and our currency. It's at the top of the blog on scottleffler.com.

Tomorrow's column day. Make sure to check the website for longform thoughts from yours truly.

Friday's concert in Lockport is a must-see. While I've heard great things about Kenny Wayne Shepherd, I'm more excited about the local bands, Wanted by the FBI and the Brotherhood.


Necessities: If you're in the City of Lockport, the new Niagara Produce Lockport is the definition of necessity. I wrote a review here.


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.

From the email ...

Okay, I got one of those dreaded forwarded emails this evening that says, "forward if you agree, if not delete." The text it below.
Do you believe that the word God should stay in American culture?

NBC this morning had a poll on this question. They had the highest Number of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the Percentage was the same as this:

86% to keep the words, IN God We Trust and God in the Pledge of Allegiance 14% against

That is a pretty 'commanding' public response.

I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn't .

Now it is your turn . . It! is said that 86% of Americans believe the word God should stay.

Therefore, I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having 'In God We Trust' on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Why is the world catering to this 14%?

AMEN!

If you agree, pass this on , if not, simply delete.

In God We Trust
Although I was told not to respond if I didn't agree, I figured that if I was going to be put upon with other people's opinions, I'd at least share mine back. After all, opinions is my business.

I firmly believe in the separation of church and state, even if that particular phrase is never mentioned in the Constitution. I think it's fairly implied in the First Amendment. Moreover, "In God We Trust" wasn't on our money when the founders were around. It was added in 1864 ... and "under God" was added to the pledge in the 1950s.

Now, I'm sure I'm in the minority nationwide - as I am apparently in the NBC Poll - I wonder what the readers of this web site think ... so, of course, I created a poll ... at the top right of this blog.

Reason show notes 072108

Random fact: The company that manufactures the greatest number of women's dresses each year is Mattel. Barbie's got to wear something.

Speaking of Barbie, Scott discussed Mattel's new WNY edition Barbies.

"Williamsville Barbie"

This princess Barbie is sold only in the Walker Center .. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV and long-haired foreign dog named Honey. Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift.

Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version

"Amherst Barbie"

The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Windstar Minivan and matching gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation. Traffic-jamming cell phone sold separately.

"South Side B-Low Barbie"


This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9 mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife, a Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills) unless you are a cop, then we don't know what you are talking about.

"Clarence Barbie"

This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You won't be able to afford any of them.

"Cheektowaga Barbie"

This pale model comes dressed in her own Wrangler jeans two sizes too small, a NASCAR t-shirt and Tweety-Bird tattoo on her shoulder. She has a six-pack of Bud light and a Hank Williams Jr. CD set. She can spit over 5 feet and kick mullet-haired Ken's ass when she is drunk. Purchase her pickup truck separately and get a confederate flag bumper sticker absolutely free.

"Olean Barbie"

This tobacco-chewing, brassy-haired Barbie has a pair of her own high-heeled sandals with one broken heel from the time she chased beer-gutted Ken out of Wellsville Barbie's house. Her ensemble includes low-rise acid-washed jeans, fake fingernails, and a see-through halter-top. Also available with a mobile home or 1980 Camaro.

"Lewiston Barbie"

This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Birkenstocks with white socks. She prefers that you call her Willow .. She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Lewiston Barbies and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free.

"Falls Chick Barbie"

This Barbie now comes with a stroller and infant doll. Optional accessories include a GED and bus pass. Gangsta Ken and his 1979 Caddy were available, but are now very difficult to find since the addition of the infant.

"Chippewa Barbie/Ken"


This versatile doll can be easily converted from Barbie to Ken by simply adding or subtracting the multiple snap-on parts.


Plus Scott found an S&M Barbie online ... I can't tell if it's legit or not, though.

Of course, the show started on a more cerebral note ... discussing John McCain's visit to WNY and taxpayers picking up the tab for the added overtime for police.

Plus, Scott notes some interesting news items:
  • NIAGARA FALLS — A Pierce Avenue man suffered two skull fractures, a nasal cavity fracture and a deep cut to the forehead when he was attacked during a dispute with neighbors of his brother just before midnight Saturday, police said.
  • NIAGARA FALLS — A 33-year-old man told police he was stabbed Sunday morning after answering the door of a Ninth Street home.
  • BUFFALO — Buffalo police are investigating an attack on a disabled youth who was jumped and beaten unconscious Sunday afternoon when he walked out of a store on Northland Avenue and Hager Street.
  • BUFFALO — A man reported to police that he was mugged at knifepoint Friday night on Johnson Park in downtown Buffalo.
Is gas too expensive for drive-by's these days?

Tippi Hedron is ... Hitchcock Barbie ...

I'm not making this up.



The best part is, though, that the story says there is a remake in the works for The Birds, to appear in theaters in 2009.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Niagara Produce Lockport - Up, Running and Awesome

The Mrs. and I just returned from Niagara Produce Lockport, the mini city version of Niagara County Produce in the old Brewhaus building at the corner of Chestnut and Washburn.

I must say, it was pretty cool. They had everything we would have normally bought at the Millersport and Transit location ... and the prices, I think, were basically the same.

We bought some lunch meat, some spare ribs, corn on the cob, tomatoes, cucumbers and a variety of other fruits and vegetables. The bill came to $30 and something. We're never disappointed in the costs there. A guy in front of us, though, did dispute something on his bill. "I don't think I bought anything that was $30," he said. His total was $107.

It was nice and orderly. And the selection was great, but they did seem a bit overwhelmed. Our cashier told me she didn't expect them to be that busy today. I would have thought they would have a REAL soft opening - sans publicity. But everyone in Lockport knew they were opening today ... and many wanted to be there on the first day (like the Leffler family, for example).

The wait in the deli was a little longer than we're used to at the other location, but being day one, I was actually quite impressed with how smoothly it ran.

There seemed to be ample parking, despite the fact that the store was litterally packed. There were a few open spots when we got there ... and a few open spots when we left. I think a lot of the clientele will be walking from Chestnut, Washburn, and the apartments downtown.

One thing I would suggest to manamement there: scrap the flowers. Focus on the need in the area - groceries. Just cause you have plants at the other location doesn't mean you have to have them at the Lockport location. It appeared that they made that decision with beer. Maybe for space issues or maybe so they didn't need a liquor license. People might MISS the beer. But they're not going to not shop there cause it's missing. The same would be true with the flowers. Overall, a very pleasant experience.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Show notes 071708

I had what seemed to be a million topics today ... both on Reason on Hometown 1230 WECK and on Dialog on WLVL in Lockport.

Let's start with the first show, where I discussed the fact that 75 percent of the Buffalo police officers who would be losing their "take-home cars" live in the suburbs. And we had fun with math on how much it's costing the city. I discussed the suburban terrorists blowing up mailboxes. Talked about story from England where church parishioners were being attacked by flying rats. It was so bad that the pastor started wearing a hard hat to work (photo at left). Joe Major, a WECK co-worker, said I look like Chuck Todd of MSNBC. Plus he told his own bird story. And said he liked my music. Mark from Niagara Falls wonders if the birds have "Mad Bird Disease" or something ... which is why they're acting so strange. And thank goodness, you don't have New York State as a neighbor. And finally we had some breaking news from the Onion about Ronald Reagan robbing a bank ...

Over at WLVL, I discussed a little more on the planned ice rink, plus the city planning on hiring a Main Street Czar. Some people liked the idea. Some (like me) opposed it.

Transportation topic of meeting ...

A national expert on transportation policy will hold a talk with the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council this afternoon at the Adam's Mark in Buffalo.

The discussion, led by Frank McArdle (photo at left), member of the National Surface and Transportation Policy, is slated to be called “Transportation for Tomorrow” and take place at 1 p.m. in the Wright Room at the hotel.

McCardle is also the former managing director of the General Contractors Association of New York.

Maybe he can convince the NFTA to expand rail service ...

Heard ...

I will occasionally get emails from people telling stories they've overheard at the grocery store or a local restaurant. They're often funny - with the original story teller being incredibly misinformed ... or just saying something that "catches the ear."

I am now officially encouraging that. If you hear something you want to share with the world, send it to me in either my normal email or ... heard@scottleffler.com. Occasionally, I'll group 'em together and post it here.

I have three examples to start us off ... things I found humorous.

  • A recent trip to Dunn Tire Park to see the Bisons ... who were losing. The pitcher mishandled the ball attempting to throw it to 3rd Base. A 30-something year old man in the stands yells, "That's why you're in the minors."
  • Several years ago at one of the many Dollar stores in Lockport, a couple in their mid-50s in the aisle over from me: (whispering, but audible) "Scott Leffler's here."
  • An elderly couple at a local grocery store yesterday talking about the power outage in Lockport (which resulted in WLVL being off air). "We almost didn't get to hear Scott Leffler."

Of course, they don't have to be about me ... those are just things that I found entertaining. I've seen another website do this with great results. Most of the "heards" pick on misinformed tourists on that blog.

An example from that website:
Monday night at Kelly's Irish Times:

Female kickballer to male kickballer: "I've decided not to take my clothes off at the bar anymore."
Male kickballer: "Oh really, why?
Female kickballer: "Because no one wants to marry the slut."

From the email; Batman to play at the Palace

Yesterday on Dialog I had mentioned that I want to see the new Batman movie; The Dark Knight. A caller mentioned that the Palace Theatre here in Lockport plays movies, but I said they don't often have first run movies like The Dark Knight, prompting the following email from Ellen Schratz, executive director of the Palace.
Dear Scott,
Hi,
I heard you were sad that you couldn't see the movie Batman in Lockport.
Well it is your lucky day. (The Dark Knight) will be at the Palace Theatre
Saturday, August 23 @ 9:30Pm, Sunday August 24 @ 7PM, Tuesday, August 26
@ 7:30PM , Wednesday, August 27 @ 1PM & 7:30PM, August 28 @ 7:30PM
You can visit our website www.lockportpalacetheatre.com for more movie
listings. All of our tickets are only $5.
Thanks
Ellen Schratz

Historic Palace Theatre
www.LockportPalaceTheatre.com
716-438-1130
I guess I didn't make my point as clearly as I meant to. I meant I wanted to see it IMMEDIATELY. However, my wife and I do often take the kids to movies at the Palace. The $5 price tag is nice ... and it's very roomy in there.

As an FYI, they'll also be playing the new Indiana Jones movie soon, Wall-E (I recommend it), Kung Fu Panda, Mama Mia, Space Chimps and Sex and the City.

The Palace is an asset to Lockport, but I'd still like a movie-plex with 8 movies playing simultaneously.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Congressmen reaching out ...

CapitolSouth071608

The above cartoon provided by GetLiberty.org. It's ironic because it shows that our elected officials are out of touch - which I certainly believe to be the truth - but this blog post is about elected officials using the internet - Twitter, specifically - to stay in touch.

A Texas congressman is fighting an archaic rule in the US House which prevents congressmen from doing things such as posting to Twitter, without identifying each post as coming from a member of Congress and stating that it is official business.
For Rep. John Culberson, a Texas Republican, the rules amount to a virtual gag order. Culberson opened a Twitter account to help him stay in touch with his consituents. Because the microblogging service allows only 140 characters per post, adding the required language is almost impossible. Faced with an official crackdown, Culberson began working to change the rules. "Send to all: Congress, change the rules," he posted on the site this week. "Talk to us on our social networks. http://LetOurCongressTweet.org Let our Congress Tweet!"
I think it's pretty cool to see Congressmen get involved in something like Twitter ... or MySpace or Facebook. Several of our local representatives have either MySpace or Facebook accounts. And at least one presidential candidate has a Twitter account:



Yeah. It's for real. Click the image and it will take you to his page where you can follow Barack.

In the end, I have to tell you, I think it's cool that elected officials are trying to use the internet to reach out. I just hope that the communication is a two-way street and that they realize they can use the internet to LISTEN, too.

Dialog show notes 071608

Dialog show notes only today because Reason was a "previously enjoyed" episode ... on account of complete power failure in Lockport.

And on Dialog the show started late on account of the press conference for the Lockport Ice and Recreation Center, which WLVL carried live. And given the importance of the press conference, the new arena was the topic dujour.

A caller said I should be the weenie of the week for saying yesterday that I couldn't talk about the topic until after today's press conference - only to have Doug Young report on it bright and early at 6 a.m. today. The reason for that, though, is that we were asked not to release the information until the press conference, which the group kindly set for 11:05 so we could carry it live from the beginning.

Anyway, although we had agreed to keep mum on the topic, it broke in this morning's paper, so WLVL reported it earlier than we had planned. I'm not sure if the US&J was asked to hold off on the information or not, though.

I think the planned arena will be a huge boon for Lockport, both economically and in terms of morale. As one of the speakers at the press conference put it, maybe we won't have kids say "there's nothing to do in Lockport."

There's still alot of work before the arena becomes a reality, but today's announcement was a big piece of the puzzle.

New column on casino debacle

As an FYI, yesterday's column was on the ongoing fight against the Buffalo Creek Casino.

Here's a snippet:
Personally, I view casino gambling as a form of entertainment. Every so often, I'll go to the Seneca Niagara Casino ... or even one of the Canadian casinos ... and drop $20 into the slot machines. That's my limit. $20.

I understand that other people aren't as frugal as I am ... and some people spend more than they can afford to at the casino. But those people spend more than they can afford to on everything. They spend too much going out to eat. They spend too much going to the movies. They spend too much on junk food. And yet, I don't hear Joel Rose complaining about the movie, restaurant or grocery industries.
For the full column, click here.

Kids and technology ...

A couple weeks ago, we got our oldest daughter (who's 11) a cell phone. It seems both surreal and completely natural at the same time. Surreal, since cell phones really weren't common when I was 11 ... and natural because my wife and I both have cell phones ... and we don't have a home phone. So rather than her borrowing ours to call her friends all the time ... now she's got her own.

Anyway, the cell phone came with some rules. She's not to give her number out to anyone without asking us first. And she's not to answer the phone if it's a number she doesn't know. No calls before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Pretty standard stuff.

The little one (who's 8) does NOT have a phone.

They do, both, however have email addresses now. I've wanted to get them email addresses for quite some time, actually. So they can email friends and - specifically family - many of whom live out of state.

The concern was always safety. I get - on average - 1,000 spam emails a DAY. Now, I understand that I get more than most, due in large part to the fact that I put myself (and my email address) out there alot. But many of those emails are unsuitable for children's eyes. So, I didn't want to get them a GMail, Hotmail or Yahoo account. I wanted a kid specific email that I could oversee.

I found one called EZPZeMail. It's not free, but it's not cost prohibitive either, especially since we're talking about the safety and wellbeing of my kids here. The best thing about it (in my opinion) is that the kids can only send or recieve messages from people in an approved list ... and guess who gets to do the approving. :) Anyone in that list, the message goes straight to their inbox. Any messages from anyone else goes to me. I can then either approve the message for the kids to read it, or I can delete it and they never have to see the type of smut we're used to in our inboxes.

Go to the forum to submit your own "kids and technology" tips or tricks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Casino foes could better spend their time

Over the course of the past couple weeks ... and years, we've seen people from Western New York come out of the woodwork to try to thwart the efforts of the Seneca Nation of Indians to open casinos in Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

They oppose blight. They oppose gambling. They oppose addiction. But mainly, it would seem to me, they oppose progress.

For every study and statistic I've seen showing that legalized casinos are the downfall of any community they're in, I've seen a corresponding study and statistic stating exactly the opposite.

Although I've read several quotes from attorney Joel Rose and heard him on the radio numerous times saying that his organization, Citizens Against Casino Gambling, opposes a new casino being built in Buffalo (and even the makeshift one open there now), I've never fully understood WHY they oppose it.

A visit to their website didn't help much. Frankly, it seems to be the same old tired "facts" and stats. Casinos are a blight. Gambling an addiction. And they suck money from the community. Blah, blah, blah. According to one post, the Seneca Niagara Casino and Seneca Allegheny Casino cost Western New Yorkers $300 million in gambling losses in 2004.

Were it any other industry generating $300 million in sales, it would be heralded as a victory for the area, but because it's casino gambling, it's derided as being akin to satanism.

Personally, I view casino gambling as a form of entertainment. Every so often, I'll go to the Seneca Niagara Casino ... or even one of the Canadian casinos ... and drop $20 into the slot machines. That's my limit. $20.

I understand that other people aren't as frugal as I am ... and some people spend more than they can afford to at the casino. But those people spend more than they can afford to on everything. They spend too much going out to eat. They spend too much going to the movies. They spend too much on junk food. And yet, I don't hear Joel Rose complaining about the movie, restaurant or grocery industries.

And were there not an option in Niagara Falls and Allegheny for those same folks to go gamble at, I believe a very compelling argument could be made that they'd still be losing money at the casino ... just not the local ones contributing to the local economy. They'd be losing their money in Canada.

Or, worse yet, on the lottery.

If Citizens Against Casino Gambling really wanted to help people who can ill-afford to lose money gambling, they'd fight against the biggest gambling entity in the area: the New York State Lottery.

According to the state lottery commission
, New Yorkers spent $7.9 billion on the lottery in 2007. Of that, $3.9 billion was paid out (or promised) in prizes, $2.5 billion was spent on education, and over $1 billion was spent on operating costs. Assuming "winnings" and "education" aren't losses, that puts the statewide lottery loss at over $1 billion in 2007. My math says that's more than the $300 million "lost" to casino gambling in WNY.

But I haven't heard a peep from Joel Rose on the state lottery. So it would seem to me that it's the "Casino" part of Citizens Against Casino Gambling that his group really opposes. The "Gambling" part must be fine.

Show notes for July 15, 2008

Tuesday morning on Reason, I discussed the anti-casino lawsuit (which I think is dumb, by the way), plus the fact that our "value" has dropped significantly over the past five years ... and moths attacking people in the Queen City. Plus, I put out a plea for anyone with Dark Knight tickets for tomorrow's preview ... if you don't want 'em, I'll take 'em.

Over at WLVL, I discussed a story from the Union Sun & Journal about the fire chief reminding folks that open burns are illegal ... even though they aren't. For more on the topic, check out the Gasport, NY blog by my friend Bob Confer.

Blame the birds ...

Buffalo Pundit has a great idea. Let's blame the Common Tern for everything. I like it. I endorse it, even. Leave him a comment about the evils of birds.

How was parking?

I missed Friday's Blood Sweat & Tears concert in Lockport, so I don't know how the parking lots filled up. I saw last week in the Buffalo News that Charlene Seekins-Smith said she wasn't going to lower parking prices, although concert organizers said it might be neccessary.

She said the initial crowd estimate of 8,000 for the Gramm performance was exaggerated.

“There were only 4,000 people there. This concert [tonight] is a more popular concert. You get 8,000 or 10,000 people, where are they going to park? We can’t afford to change [the price]. You have to clean up the next day and pay the liability insurance,” Seekins-Smith said.

Paradowski said her advice to satellite parking lot owners would be to cut their fees.

“No sense in being greedy. I think if they’d kept it at $5, they’d have done a lot better. But people get dollar signs in front of their eyes,” the promoter said.

So. Was that lot filled up? Or might Seekins-Smith start to rethink $10 parking? I'd love to hear from people that were there.

Buffalo Bean: Giving up on Higgins ...



Matt over at The Buffalo Bean, a great local blog, discusses his disgust with the way things in WNY don't change ... specifically the Skyway, which - it appears - is never going anywhere.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's all about me!

For some reason, a few bloggers today have decided to talk about yours truly.

The folks at Niagara Times ask:
When local media outlets talk or write about political happenings in the county, are they helping or hurting the political environment? Scott Leffler, who hosts Dialog on WLVL, despises many of the local, state and federal politicos. With Leffler, his disdain is primarily directed at the GOP, who have been very successful over the past three election cycles in Niagara County. So when Leffler goes on the air railing the incumbents, is he moving politics in the county forward, or is he setting them back?
And Larry Castellani at the similarly named Niagara Journal says:
I hope you were listening to the Scott Leffler show on WLVL this morning. He may be the new political voice of Niagara County. The management of WLVL should give him another hour if he continues to have shows like today’s.
Meanwhile, Buffalo Pundit lists some Niagara County voices, including me, Larry's blog, Bob Confer, and Niagara's Voice, a blog run by Town of Niagara Councilman Rob Clark.

My opinion on these matters (it is afterall, what I do) is that it is not my job to move things forward nor set them back, but to speak truth and let you decide what to do with it ... and I don't think I'm the new political voice of the county either, but I'm glad to be A voice. And I'm honored that a pillar of the blogging community like Buffalo Pundit would include me in his list.

Show notes (July 14, 2008)

This morning on Reason, I discussed the ongoing fight between Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Police Union. First the mayor wanted to curtail spending by limiting the number of city cars going home - which the union fought. Then he said he found out injured police have taken other jobs ... when they allegedly can't do their own. Who's right? I tend to side with elected officials when they want to save money.

I discussed an old dude getting attacked by birds in Toronto. The photo at the right is the real photo that accompanied the story in the (Canadian) National Post.

I also played a bit from Onion Radio, in which Congress purportedly raised the "licking maple syrup off your plate" age limit to 13.

Update: The Buffalo News reported this afternoon that the cars can continue to go home with the police ... for another two weeks while the judge makes a decision.

On Dialog, I tried to talk about the two races in Niagara County with three contestants each; NY Congress 26 and NY State Senate 62. The first call however, talked about one particular issue in the senate race: PCB's. And that remained the topic for the remainder of the show.

Niagara County Legislator John Ceretto called in to say he'd be sponsoring a resolution at the legislature's next meeting, July 22nd. Let's rally behind John to prevent these PBC's from coming here.

Weekly update for July 14, 2008


News, notes and necessities

items of interest the week of July 14, 2008

an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler


News: This week's edition will be short, as the upcoming calendar is mostly blank.

My lone guest scheduled for the week (at this point) is Tim Marren of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal on Friday at 11 a.m. for Dialog. Other guests will undoubtably be booked during the course of the week to discuss any breaking news or other things of import.


Notes: I'm pleased to announce that since my last NNN, we've added five more users to the forum, bringing us up to 13, which allowed me to add the game Burger Time to the arcade. For every 10 users in the forum, I can add another game, so we're just seven shy of a third one. Thanks to BUFWINGS, rob clark, Andrew, tim35, and Thong for joining.

I had lots of fun and lots of guests between the 10 shows I did last week. From blight to fireworks ... the bird war to trying to figure out who a candidate is ... Bobby Anderson told me he's opening a restaruant and I complain about casino haters to the Niagara County Historical Society talking about Olcott ... Lee Bordeleau suing the state and Jack Davis considering a third party run to cows run amok in my old stomping grounds ... and a nose tweaking incident to set the world on fire.

A new poll went up on the website this morning asking who you think will win a three-way congressional race between Jon Powers, Jack Davis and Chris Lee. Vote on the blog page.

I'm backdating podcasts ... and for Reason podcasts, I'm back to June 9th. I will keep updating podcasts going forward and will continue to backfill, first getting all the Reason podcasts online, since the Dialog podcasts are already on the WLVL website, but older Reason shows aren't currently anywhere. Once I have all the Reason shows online, I'll pay more attention to the older Dialog shows. I have a year's worth to catch up on.


Necessities: If you're a political junkie like me, this cool map by Zogby will come in handy between now and the November election.


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, July 13, 2008

Ventura to announce whether he'll run for Senate on Monday

According to CNN's web site, Jesse Ventura will be on Larry King Live on Monday, to announce whether he'll seek the Independence Party nomination for Senate in Minnesota.

I gotta tell ya - I hope he runs.

Niagara Politics ...

A few things worth noting:

Got an email from Don Hobel, candidate for State Senate. He told me the turmoil in the Democratic Party (including the whole nose tweaking fiasco) has made him decide to turn down the Democratic line. He will still be running, however, on the Conservative line. He will be on WBEN this morning on Hardline with Kevin Hardwick.

There's a story this morning in the Lockport Journal about the candidacy of Dennis Cehulik. He's running for the State Assembly against Mike Cole. You may recall his name was announced with great fanfare - as though people had heard of him before. Of course, most hadn't. But he is a former Delphi employee, which - I've found - often feel much more important than they truly are.

I started wondering late Friday ... if the CWM PCB's issue is just this year's Air Base. I'm not a conspiracy theorist kind of guy ... but I don't put anything past Maziarz. Wouldn't he look great if he singlehandedly saved Porter from 75,000 tons of PCBs ... even if he set them up to come here first?

Speaking of the crap that's in our back yards ... on August 1, there will be a 30 year anniversary dinner for Love Canal at the VFW in Niagara Falls. Speakers include Lois Gibbs, Love Canal Survivors, and community leaders who are fighting the "Love Canals of today," including CWM and FMC. To learn more about the history of Love Canal, visit: http://chej.org/love_canal.htm

Fun with bloggers ...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Burger Time = Fun!

For those who haven't visited the forum ... or who haven't checked out the arcade in the forum, I wanted to let you know, I've been wasting a lot of time playing Burger Time since I added it a few days ago.

I'd love to see some friendly competition there.

It looks like you have to be a member of the forum to play ... but that's okay, cause the more members we have in the forum, the more games I can add. For every 10 members, I can add another game. Right now, we're at 11 ... so nine more people means another game.

Plus, the conversation in the forum is fun, interesting, intelligent ... and best of all, civil. You can contribute to any of the topics or start your own.

You don't have to be a member of the forum to read or even to respond to most topics ... but you do have to be a member to read or post in the "members only" section (hence the name).

Ventura to run for Senate?

According to Newsweek, former governor, former wrestler, and former Dialog and Reason guest Jesse Ventura is now mulling over a new job: US Senator from Minnesota.
Ventura, whose eclectic jobs include Minnesota governor from 1999-2003, book author, movie actor and wrestling champ, turns 57 on July 15--coincidentally the same day as the filing deadline for the Senate seat. Living part-time in Mexico, Ventura says he hasn't yet decided what he will do.

If he does take the plunge, he would face incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken of "Saturday Night Live" fame.
So obviously, if Ventura runs, it's a three way race, making it much more interesting, and giving him a real shot at the seat.

I haven't yet got the Venura interview on my pod-server ... but if you want to listen to it, here it is from WLVL ... it's about half way through.

Obama decides against Nascar sponsorship

From the USA Today ...
NASCAR's BAM Racing team has presented Barack Obama's presidential campaign with a potential sponsorship deal in the Sprint Cup series later this year, but it doesn't look like an Obama car will be burning rubber on the track anytime soon.

BAM team spokesman Rhett Vandiver told The Associated Press on Friday that the team made a sponsorship proposal to the Democratic presidential hopeful's campaign, and has made similar proposals to the campaign of Republican John McCain and at least one third-party candidate.

Late Friday, the Obama campaign said there would be no sponsorship.

RIP Tony Snow

According to FOX, Tony Snow, the former White House press secretary and conservative pundit who bedeviled the press corps and charmed millions as a FOX News television and radio host, died after a long bout with cancer. He was 53.

A syndicated columnist, editor, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, Snow worked in nearly every medium in a career that spanned more than 30 years.

I liked Tony Snow. I know he fed the company line and whatnot ... and would occasionally be argumentative ... but he was fun to watch. And occasionally, he'd fill in for Bill O'Reilly on radio. I always thought he did a great job.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Maziarz speaks up on PCB plan

State Senator George Maziarz, who many of my listeners encouraged on Thursday to fight a plan to bring PCBs to Niagara County, has come out against it, according to the Buffalo News.
"I'm going to do everything I can to make sure this does not happen," State Sen. George D. Maziarz told The Buffalo News late this afternoon. "This is absolutely not right."
The state plans to ship 75,000 tons of PCBs from Glens Falls to CWM in Porter. It's equal to 1,500 truck loads ... or 478 Statues of Liberty full of the toxins.

"Our state boasts a $123.7 billion budget and a DEC led by one of the most renowned environmentalists in the history of the State Legislature," Maziarz wrote Grannis. "I am appalled, therefore, that we are going to move forward with a plan that is less safe and less clean based on no more compelling reason than bids were too high.

"I urge you in the strongest sense possible to delay any further work or awarding contracts until you and I have had an opportunity to discuss this issue and explore alternatives."

I hope the fact that CWM, who has donated to Maziarz campaigns, would stand to lose money if this plan were halted won't prevent George from really fighting to keep these toxins from arriving here.

TIME publishes feature story on Liberatarian ticket

Many of you may know that in addition to my talk show duties, I'm also the chairman of the Niagara County Libertarian Party. As such, I keep an eye on all things Libertarian. So imagine my delight when TIME magazine ran an article about the Barr/Root ticket and the power of the Libertarian Party in the upcoming election.
"Everybody is Libertarian about something in this country," Bob Barr told me over breakfast in midtown Manhattan recently. It's his best pitch, an oft-used explanation of why the Libertarian Party can leverage the country's many discontents. The strongest part of his message is the delivery. Barr is a level man with a rich, assuring voice. Even in a D.C.-standard-issue dark three-piece suit, there's something warm and tweedy about him--a perfectly calm spokesman for the often cantankerous ideas of his party.
A lot of right wing pundits and bloggers are concerned that Barr may ruin this race for John McCain, but I believe he'll draw nearly equally from dis-affected Republicans and Democrats alike. Note: I'm a former Democratic committeeman, and fellow Libertarian Bob Confer is a former Republican.

Obama may sponsor Nascar Team

According to Sports Illustrated, Barack Obama is pursuing an opportunity to sponsor a car in an upcoming Nascar race.

A BAM spokesperson has revealed the team will hold a press conference July 23 in Miami to reveal the partnership, currently a proposed one-race deal with an option to continue. Obama will be at the briefing, which will be tied to the "Get Out The Vote" campaign message he spread throughout the 2008 primary season.

Racing sources claim one of the options being considered would allow individual campaign donors to get their name on the race car for as little as $100. Obama will also be present for a second private fundraiser on July 30 in Miami, in which team owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau -- staunch Republicans -- will give the Democrat an opportunity to spread his message of change. Randy Moss and Fergie are among the celebrities confirmed to be a part of that fundraiser in support of the candidate and his venture into NASCAR.

It would seem to me this further illustrates Obama's peculiar method of attempting to win the presidency, going after typical red states and now ... this.

How very weird ...

I mentioned today that since it's July 11th (7/11), it should be National Slurpee Day ... and that 7/11 should give away free Slurpees. Come to find out, it is ... and they are. And there is a website devoted to the frozen treat. Thanks to a listener for sending me the information on that.

Okay, but that's not the weird part. Apparently, it's also National Cow Appreciation Day, a gimmick by Chick-Fil-A trying to get customers to "Eat Mor Chikin." According to the website, if you dress like a cow, you can get free food. The website gives tips on how to dress like a cow without going out and getting a cow costume.

So here's my idea, dress up like a cow. Go get some free "chikin" and then head over to 7/11 for a free Slurpee.

Thanks to all the listeners who texted and IM'd cow names during Reason. Post more ideas for cow names on the forum ... where I wholly encourage you to read the post entitled "scott leffler is a fag yankee." That post actually violates my "no flaming or personal attacks" rule, but since it is against me, I'm going to let it slide.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Massachusetts to end income tax, slash budget?

I got this in my email this afternoon and thought it might be of interest to those of you who appreciate the concept of smaller government.
This November, voters in Massachusetts will have the historic opportunity to
vote themselves a huge raise and strike a ringing blow for liberty that will be
heard across the nation -- by abolishing the state income tax altogether.

Thanks to the hard work of the Committee for Small Government -- led by Carla
Howell and Liberator Online columnist Michael Cloud -- an initiative to
eliminate the state income tax will be on the 2008 ballot.

Eliminating the income tax will chop the state budget from about $28 billion to
$17 billion.

Predictably enough, politicians and the usual special interest groups are
wailing and whining that the sky will fall should that happen.

But that's just nonsense. The tax cut is actually not as radical as it might
sound. Because of the huge growth of government spending in recent years, $17
billion is about the size of.... the state's 1995 budget.

Yes, that's right. Eliminating the income tax will still leave enough money to
fund the state at 1995 levels. And no one remembers Massachusetts in 1995
lacking schools, libraries, roads, police and other government services (and
disservices).
Read more at smallergovernmentact.org.

Silly question. If they can do this, why can't we? New York's budget in 1995 was $69.5 billion. In 2007? $121.6 billion. To paraphrase the folks from Massachusetts ... I'm pretty sure we had roads, police and even schools in 1995. If we were to enact a provision that did away with income tax, would the politicians finally get the nerve to cut spending? Or would they just raise our property taxes to make up their "loss?" Imagine the headline ... "New York raises property taxes 100 percent."