Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
You may recall:
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.In the time since, the media has shot out against local blogs, criticizing them as being unsourced rumors ill-fit for human consumption. Blogs came under fire due to the breaking of a story about Sam Hoyt's affairs with two women by the website PoliticsNY.net.
Of little importance to the likes of the Buffalo News and WBEN is the fact that PoliticsNY.net isn't a blog ... and Joe Illuzi, the penman of the "articles" that appear on it isn't a blogger. He's a paid smearmerchant, but that's neither here nor there.
What the News and Buffalo's biggest talk station knew was that they got scooped ... by some guy. Some Joe ... quite literally. So rather than refute the facts on Illuzi's website, they took the opportunity to shred his character and question his motives.
Granted, Illuzi seems to have a rather colorful past which gives them a lot of fodder to shred him with. And his motives are definately not of "journalistic" nature.
But it doesn't negate the fact that PoliticsNY.net broke a story that the "reporters" at Buffalo's biggest newspaper and biggest news radio station couldn't break. And it doesn't negate the fact that his report has been shown to be factual.
Much more factual than the story that lead the paper ... and that WBEN ran with all morning long on Monday. I'm talking about the story in which Nicole Kidman was working to save Buffalo's Studio Arena.
It later came out that Nicole Kidman "has never heard of Studio Arena."
How oh how could WNY's most powerful media outlets get a story like that wrong? What was their source? "Show business web sites," the Buffalo News said on Monday. WBEN, meanwhile sourced "The Mirror," a web site from the UK. Earlier today, the Buffalo News blamed the story on PR-inside.com.
Local bloggers have had trouble maintaining their glee over the MSM's faux pas.
- The Buffalo Bean headlines a post about the snafu: "Who looks stupid now?"
- Buffalo Pundit headlines a similar post: "The assault on blogs backfires (or Buffalo mainstream press gets PWN3D)
Bloggers typically get their information from sources ... just like the MSM. Sometimes they get their information from press releases ... just like the MSM. And often, they opine about what they've heard/learned/seen ... just like the MSM.
The primary difference? Most bloggers do what they do because they have a passion for getting information in front of as many eyes as possible ... while the folks at the Buffalo News and WBEN are in it for a paycheck.
I'm not saying there's something wrong with getting paid ... or even getting paid as a member of the media. That is, afterall, my primary job.
But some of us in the media have realized that there is a new game in town ... and they don't like it. They're afraid it's going to eat their paycheck.
Ironically, The Buffalo News has been begging people to blog ... on their website. Driving people to their advertisers. Then, blogging is okay. But when WNY's "alternative media" do it, it can't be trusted.
It's almost like they're promoting their own demise.
Thursday will feature my interview with Marcia Pappas of NOW ... and Friday will feature a show about political mailers.
Enjoy my absence.
Thursday and Friday will be replays of previous broadcasts.
Thursday will have an interview I conducted with Joe Mesi on April 7th ... and Friday will be Bob Davis, who was originally on the show on April 9th.
Monday, August 25, 2008
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Erie County Medical Examiners office has identified the remains of the female recovered from the Niagara River as Magdalena Lubowska.
The young girl slipped into the Lower Niagara River on August 13 when she was on a hiking trip with a summer camp. Two kayakers discovered the body around 10am Saturday.
The event is free and open to all.
Call (716) 381-2482 for details.
As an aside, I see the Dems posted a web ad ...
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Fortunately, Colleen Kulikowski's real estate blog turned me on to a story in the Rochester D&C last week.
"Maybe a new stadium is in the future, in Niagara Falls, so it's less a drive for the people from up here," Kelly said.The Bills, of course, have committed to playing games in Toronto with a plan to market the team up there. Some think the plan is to eventually move the team there.
Bills fans don't need reminding, I'm sure, but Ralph Wilson turn 90 in less then two months. Right now there are no "Post Ralph Wilson" plans, but Kelly has stated he'd like to be considered as a potential new owner.
"I don't have mixed emotions; my loyalty is with the Bills in western New York," he said. "I think it's important, though, to establish relationships with some major people up here, because who knows what the future holds. I've had discussions with Mr. (Ralph) Wilson (team owner), and he knows my agenda. He talks about people up here with money, but I tell him I know 15 or 20 people (in the Buffalo market) with money, too."I have no idea where they'd put a stadium in the Cataract City, given that it's basically one big brownfield ... but I welcome the concept.
On the negative side while watching the game, I wonder if the announcers have ever heard of the Buffalo Bills ... cause it's all Colts all the time. In fact, Marshall Faulk can't even pronounce JP Losman's name.
Both Democrats are scheduled to speak Thursday. They are the only New York electeds on the list (read: not Hillary Clinton).
The Tuesday speakers include EMILY's List President Ellen Malcolm (a big Clintonista), former Bill Clinton advisor-turned-commentator Donna Brazile and two actresses: Rosario Dawson and Fran Drescher.
Gillibrand, a freshman Democrat with ties to Clinton, surprised the New York political world when she came from behind to oust former Republican Rep. John Sweeney from office in 2006 in the 20th CD,. in which the GOP has an 80,000+ voter enrollment edge.
She's now among the Republicans' top targets this fall and is being challenged by former state GOP Chairman Sandy Treadwell.
Gillibrand took over a month off the campaign trail after she gave birth to her second child (she took some heat in the district for daring to get pregnant in the first place) and now evidently feels comfortable enough for a jaunt to Denver to participate in the convention festivities.
Slaughter also has a GOP challenger, David Crimmen, but as of early August, he hadn't raised any money and doesn't appear to pose much of a threat to her.
Does this logic indicate that McCain will be picking Huckabee? If not, doesn't that just open him up to being accused of playing a double standard?
And I know they made the "I'm (candidate) and I approved this ad" thing mandatory a few years back, but does anyone get the impression that the candidates aren't really approving the ads? That said, he can't really say he didn't approve it, can he?
Just some random thoughts.
The post acknowledges that it was crowded, but basically puts anyone who says it was overcrowded into the category of "typical whiner."
There's a photo in the post taken after mine was taken that better illustrates just how crowded it was.
Basically, it's a hypothetical Instant Message stream between "the short list."
I went with Frank Miller, production director at WECK and producer for Reason ... and about a million other people.
We showed up at HSBC at about 2 p.m., just in time for the doors to open. Only we couldn't see the doors from the end of the line, which should have been a clue of what we were in for.
When we got into the HSBC "Pavilion" (which should be called the lobby, BTW) it was packed. We got our souvenir glasses, our 20 tokens a piece, a program and a coupon from Consumer's Beverage.
And we got into our first line. And waited.
We each got three ounces of beer and got into another line. And waited.
Another beer. Another line. Another wait. And the crowd kept pouring into the "pavilion."
It wasn't long before it was just too crowded to enjoy anything. We couldn't tell what line we were in. Couldn't tell what the beer was until we got to the front of the line. And no matter how cold ... or how yummy the beer was, it didn't maked up for the feeling of being a sardine.
As a comment states on a previous post:
It was utterly disgusting! There was no room to move or to get a beer under 20 minutes! What a disappointment!While the concept is phenomenal, the execution was horrible. And I can't even imagine that they didn't plan for that many people, cause they were still letting people in and handing out glasses as Frank and I left ... at about 3:30.
In an hour and a half we had sampled seven beers each and gotten bumped into so many times I lost count.
We donated our remaining tokens to random strangers, went to the Anchor Bar and got some wings and drank a pitcher of Blue without being knocked into once.
Last year, the Brewfest was at Central Terminal, which I'm told was ample to hold just such a crowd. And next week's big event is the Wingfest, which will be at Dunn Tire Park, which would have nicely held the crowd.
I guess what I'm saying is ... location, location, location. And next year they need a new one.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
So I check my Twitter ...
Really? Joe Biden? And he announced it at like three in the morning? Way to completely screw up at the end there, Obama. You had everyone interested. Intrigued. Frothing at the mouth. And then ... when everyone's asleep you make the announcement that the most boring of your "short list" is "the guy."
Look, I don't have anything against Joe Biden. I just don't have anything for him either. He makes me sleepy. And he's not exactly the merchant of "change," is he? Of course, he's also "safe." And I guess that's what Obama was going for ... is "safe."
Some will commend him for "safe," but I think it shows a certain level of arrogance on his part. It means he thinks the election is his to lose. And with that attitude, he just might.
The headline on the Tonawanda News Veep story is: "Obama Veep still a mystery," while the Gazette and US&J hint that they think they know ... "Obama 'Biden' his time." The Buffalo News was the bravest amongst the group, betting that Biden would win out. Their headline: "Biden leads pack to join Obama." Of course, the story itself indicates that it's still unclear but headed in that direction. Had Obama picked anyone but Biden, the News would have looked stupid. But they rolled the dice and won. Not something I usually recommend, by the way - guessing on news.
Friday, August 22, 2008
The script asks voters who they plan on voting for in the 26th congressional district between Powers, Alice Kryzan and Jack Davis ... then advises the pollee of what the caller thinks are errors apparent in the other candidates (if that candidate's name is stated). Actually, what the Bean has posted to his website only shows rebuttals for if the answer is Jack Davis.
As and example:
Poller - Who do you plan on supportingThe Bean states on his blog that this is a push poll. But he's either unfamiliar with what a push poll really is ... or he's pushing something of his own.
Pollee - Jack Davis
Poller - I'm supporting Jon Powers because he has a proven record of integrity, blah blah blah (paraphrased).
Of course, in a real push poll, the caller never identifies themselves as a supporter of one candidate or another ... and they never state what their candidate (or any other candidate) has done. Instead, they ask the pollee a question to lead them to believe (whether true or not) that the other candidates are bad.
As an example:
Poller: Who are you supportingOf course, it doesn't say that Jack knocked up penguins ... but it sure leads the person on the other side of the line to believe so.
Pollee: Jack Davis
Poller: Would you still support Jack Davis if you knew that he had fathered several children out of wedlock with penguins?
Considering The Bean is an unabashed fan of George W. Bush, who with the help of Karl Rove mastered push polling in 2000 (against current GOP nominee John McCain), I'd think he'd be more familiar.
It's $25 to get in, which gives you a souvenier tasting glass at 20 tokens, each redeemable for a 3 ounce sample of brew. So that's 5 normal sized beers. Not bad, I suppose.
I'll be dressed in WECK-wear ... and accompanied by fellow WECK-ster Frank Miller, so if you see us, come say hi.
To be honest, I'm surprised one of my friends didn't send me a hoax Obama text.
At this point, looks like we won't know until tomorrow.
But then again ... will we know tomorrow who Obama's VP will be? We know that they'll be campaigning together, but I wonder if he'll be campaigning with several people without saying which one of them is his VP candidate. Just wonder.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Responsible New York, is expected to make its first endorsements within a week, throwing its support and money behind two western New York Democratic Senate candidates: Richard Dollinger and “Baby” Joe Mesi.Golisano has set aside as much as $5 Million for the PAC and is donating funds to both parties, but is suspected of wanting to switch control in the State Senate to the Dems.
The endorsements, aides said, come as Golisano seeks to broaden the committee’s reach by donating $1 million to the Democratic Convention’s host committee and setting up meetings with Barack Obama’s advisors next week in Denver.
Jack Davis has filed with the State Board of Elections to run on his own minor party line. Davis filed 890 pages (bottom of page 6) with the board yesterday to run as a "Save Jobs Party" candidate in the 26th. This, of course, in addition to his running in the Democratic Primary against Jon Powers and Alice Kryzan.
Don't forget, I asked Jack back in July whether he was mulling a third party run considering he had his hands full with Powers. Jack showed his hand then, saying "you're a smart guy, Scott."
Voters in an online poll on this blog at the time thought that a three-way race in November would favor Davis.
First there was Malcolm Smith getting caught threatening lobbyists ...
Then, Sam Hoyt admits an affair ... and the Assembly is investigating it.
And the spokesman for the Democrats in the State Senate resigns suddenly.
So I have to wonder aloud ... are the wheels coming off the Democratic Party's tricycle in this state?
News, notes and necessities
items of interest the week of August 18, 2008
an occasional update from me, Scott Leffler
News: Everything is a little late this week. This newsletter usually comes out on Monday ... and it's two days late. The column usually comes out on Tuesday ... and I just got it done this morning. I must be hard at work ... or drinking too much to focus on work. Actually, I'm just trying to spend
some quality time with the fam as summer winds down.
This morning on Reason, I'm going to talk about Sam Hoyt's new announcement ... that he had an affair with an intern. I'll let you know what I think of the matter ... and you're welcome to let me know by calling the show at (716) 783-9325.
Then over on the brother station, I'll be talking with congressional candidate Alice Kryzan. She'll be in studio in Lockport for the entire hour, answering my questions and yours. The number at WLVL is (716) 433-1433.
The Kryzan interview will re-run on WECK tomorrow.
On Friday, Lockport Mayor Mike Tucker will be in studio at WLVL.
Notes: Yesterday's episode of Dialog has sparked some controversy. After I discussed the book "Montana 1948," required readers for some 11th graders, the Union-Sun & Journal did a story about the topic. And rumor has it Channel 2 may be doing the same.
Last Tuesday's episode of Dialog has also made the rounds, quoted heavily on local blogs. Something tells me sound bites will be used in upcoming commercials. Last Tuesday, of course, Jon Powers was my guest.
Make sure you read that right. They're trying to bring our deficit down to $5 Billion ... not the budget itself. The budget itself will still be in the $120 Billion area.
And senators and assemblymen from Nassau to Niagara have been sending mailers to their constituents telling them how much they care about their pocket books. So much that they're proposing a tax cap. No, not on their own spending. They want to cap what your local school board spends.
So a group of politicians who are writing in red ink want to dictate what a duly elected school board they have no control over can spend. And they think they're doing you some favor.
No doubt, school districts spend too much money, hire too many people, and create too many new programs. But that's not for my state senator or assemblyman to decide. They've got their own budget snafus to worry about.
State government has a way of creating problems, then asking other people to fix them.
They did this with health care facilitiess, doling out handfuls of cash to every hospital in their district, then complaining that the state was spending too much on hospitals. So they created a committee (the Berger Commission) to then dictate to these privately-run hospitals whether they should remain as-is, close, or merge with a competing privately-run hospital. The simple truth is had they not given money to the hospitals in the first place, the market would have dictated which hospitals would remain open.
Now they're doing it with schools, passing rules and requirements for school aptitude, testing, building requirements, special education, etc. But at the same time, they're complaining that those schools spend too much money. Is there any possibility that the reason those schools spend soo much money is because the state GIVES them money ... with strings attached?
I've been to enough school board meeting to know that the answer is 'yes.' School districts apply for grants or are simply offered cash from Albany, but have to spend "X" amount of local dollars to get that money. And then the school board tells the local taxpayers, "We're only paying 'X.' Albany is paying the rest."
If Albany would stay out of everyone else's business and concentrate on their own problems (I remind you again, we're $6 Billion in the whole), maybe they could actually accomplish something.
Taxpayers, if you want to curtail spending at your school district, run for school board and do it yourself. If you want your state senator or assemblyman to curtail spending at your local school district, you've been duped into believing a) that (s)he cares ... b) that (s)he wasn't the problem in the first place and c) that the state doesn't have it's own problems to worry about.
If they're so good at handling money, how'd they get a $6 billion budget deficit in the first place?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
I certainly couldn't let piece of misinformation stand ... so I wrote him the following:
Don,Update: Postles emailed me back this afternoon.
I hear you were on Hardline with Kevin Hardwick over the weekend. I confess, I missed it.
Anyway, rumor has it that you were disappointed with local radio because only WBEN reports local news.
I'd like to officially invite you to tune into WECK AM 1230 and or WLVL AM 1340.
WLVL covers Niagara County like nobody else ... with a little Erie County news thrown in. And WECK covers Erie County phenomenally, with just a touch of Niagara County news.
Maybe you didn't know. Now you do.
Granted, we're smaller than WBEN, and you surely can't plug us while on WBEN, but to hear a respected local newscaster such as yourself deny our mere existence is - needless to say - frustrating.
Duly noted, but I must say I have never seen WLVL microphone at Buffalo City Hall, The Rath building or Erie County Hall.
And, of course, he won't see a WLVL microphone at Buffalo City Hall, the Rath Building or Erie County.
The story itself is a decent telling by author Elizabeth Merrill, considering, the details on the story have always been sketchy.
Cliff notes version: Two (maybe three) Wilson High School students were sexually assaulted on a bus back from a baseball game. Once news leaked out, the coaches were called out, the team was called out, and the town came to their defense. (Not to the victim's defense ... but to the coaches and assailants).
The story paints a very bleak picture of what it must be like to be a victim. These poor young men have essentially been told that the whole fiasco is their fault. They brought it on themselves ... and it's only "hazing" so they shouldn't make a big deal of it. Moreover, the media was also blamed for "blowing it out of proportion."
When this first happened, you may recall, I covered it extensively. I was told then that it was no big deal. "Boys will be boys," etc.
The same type of comments are now being made on the comments section of the article itself. Some samples:
- f@#! those gay hicks!
- I cant wait for Matt Stone and Trey Parker's take on the situation.
- i wonder if they're democrats or republicans
- you got to wonder.. maybe if the baseball team WON a game once is a while...,. they woudl have something to feel good about rather then feel totally humiliated ... which in turn usually makes people want to humiliate others.. (45 -0... how that happened I have no idea)
- Why post this and embarrass these poor kids more? You are just as bad for trying to make a story out of this for your own benefit. You should be ashamed!
- This kinda really had nothing to do with sports....I mean.... I understand ESPN doing some stories...but this, really?
(Thanks to Buffalo Pundit for being the first to point out that ESPN was covering this.)
The newspaper reported that their business, like many other news organizations is under financial strain.
News managers will deliver formal letters the targeted employees Monday and those workers have until October 3 to decide whether or not to take the buyouts.
Senior Vice president of Marketing, Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, reports that the move is purely voluntary and no further action will be taken with any worker who turns down the offer.
According to Dicker's story in the NY Post:
State Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith told a conclave of lobbyists in Kingston last week that their clients would be shut out of a Democrat-controlled Senate in January if they didn't pony up large contributions now, a "shocked" longtime lobbyist has told The Post.Now, we all know the way politics works. Them that has gets ... and those that don't play along get shut out. But that's the dirty underbelly of the game. Now it appears to be official policy of the Democrats in the State Senate.
First off, it's highly illegal. Not to mention unethical.
Dicker says, "Repeated attempts to reach Smith for comment were unsuccessful, and he didn't return messages left on his cellphone. Curtis Taylor, his press secretary, also refused to discuss the specifics of the event, even though he was among those present."
You may or may not recall that Smith recently boycotted a fundraiser in Niagara County on account of the "nose tweaking" by Dan Rivera, chairman of the Niagara County Democratic Party.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
An image of said ticket is at the left, and you can read it fairly well if you click the image ... but to sum it up, it claims that Powers - on Oct. 23, 2004 - swore at a Cleveland Heights police officer.
I ran into Jon yesterday, actually, and he says it's a jaywalking ticket. He also told me that he never swore at the officer - and in fact, wrote "I never said that" on the line where his signature goes.
According to the Buffalo Bean, this latest scandal was dug up by the Jack Davis campaign, which made me wonder ... with $3 million to spend, is this the best Jack could find? Swearing at a cop?
I can, of course, hear the talking points now. The Davis camp (and the GOP) will start saying something along the lines of: "This just goes to show that Jon Powers has contempt for authority. He's a rogue."
But ... doesn't everyone who runs for office have contempt for authority? Is Jack Davis (or Chris Lee or Alice Kryzan) running for office because they think those in power are doing a great job? No. They think they can do better. Otherwise, no need to run, right?
And even elected officials tend to have contempt for authority, don't they? When Dick Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy to "Go f#@k yourself," did that not show contempt? Now. I certainly wouldn't want to be compared to Dick Cheney if I were Jon Powers, but where was the outrage from the GOP when that occured?
And did Jack Davis get thrown out of a 2003 GOP fundraiser because he respected authority? No. It's because he refused to take "no" for an answer.
The Republican Party really seems to think that they're going to make hay with what I'm told is a $25 ticket. If what I read earlier is correct, though, they might want to have everyone's court records sealed.
A post on another blog indicates that Lee has two driving while intoxicated arrests under his belt. I don't know whether it's true or not, but I'm sure the Democratic Party is already looking into it.
If the post is true, will Henry Wojtaszek and Jim Domagalski call a press conference to talk about it, like they did for Powers' last "scandal?"
I'm guessing "no."
Undoubtably, Powers has flaws. And I've addressed them before. I'll likely address them again. But this four year old ticket is a rodeo clown if ever there was one.
When, oh when will the candidates for the 26th district stop slinging mud and start addressing issues?
Now, he's got a posse.
NYC Councilman David Weprin has introduced a measure in the council to ban text messaging while driving ... which a lot of people might say is reasonable. But what about State Senator Karl Kruger's effort to also ban texting while walking.
Next on the hit list ... walking while chewing gum.