New York's inspector general has launched a statewide investigation into claims that high-ranking prison officials are using state cars for personal use.WSYR has the details.
In the midst of a state fiscal crisis, the investigation will also look into whether the prison officials should have state vehicles at all.
Inspector General Ellen Biben, a former deputy attorney general who handled public corruption cases, took over the office in January. She declined immediate comment. Spokeswoman Kate Gurnett said Biben is taking a broad look at the Department of Correctional Services for official vehicles used for personal purposes, which is prohibited.
"Have you ever seen a time when two freshman senators are able to cower the bulk of the Republican Party in the Senate? That is not hyperbole... I called 17 senators out, nine of whom were Republicans… But almost to a person, they said, ‘I don’t want to take on Ted Cruz. I don’t want to take on Rand Paul. They’ll be in my district.’ "
Vice President Joe Biden (June 11, 2013)
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
|Ferrari FF Concept|
It won't run on biodeisel, but Finger Lakes swells will need this all wheel drive utility vehicle. For those bad weather runs to the farmers market, or Soros-financed demonstrations at remote fracking sites:
MARANELLO, Italy — The Ferrari FF concept, which previews the 612 Scaglietti replacement, was unveiled on Friday ahead of its debut at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show.
The FF gets a shooting brake-style body — courtesy of Pininfarina -- which is already being described as controversial in some quarters, as well as four seats and Ferrari's first four-wheel-drive system. The automaker says it weighs 50 percent less than a conventional four-wheel-drive system. "The four-wheel-drive technology delivers record levels of performance on all terrains and in all conditions via continuous and intelligent predictive torque distribution to all four wheels," said Ferrari in a statement.
Power is provided by a 6.3-liter V12 that churns out 651 horsepower and 504 pound-feet of torque. It is connected to a seven-speed double-clutch transmission which enables the FF to sprint from zero to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds. It has a top speed of 208 mph.
|Abandoned classroom, Detroit|
Facing unsustainable costs, Detroit has abandoned dozens of public schools, and dozens more are on the way. With no money left to secure the vacant real estate, the schools are being destroyed by vandals and thieves.
Blaming the criminal waste of taxpayer's money on teachers' unions, Dick Morris makes a terrifying but reasonable prediction for New York:
As states grapple with intractable budget problems, the attractiveness of alternative schools that cost, on average, about one-third less than public schools will be irresistible. The teachers unions will run afoul of Margaret Thatcher's dictum that socialism cannot succeed because, sooner or later, "you run out of other people's money."
Bold added. More pics of Detroit's government schools here.Missing from this list of innovative states, conspicuously, is New York state, where the state government is totally beholden to the teachers union. No experimentation, no opening of the system seems in the offing, and the Empire State appears to be content to continue its downward spiral. If they don't turn things around, they are headed for the same place as Detroit.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
YOU WANT A “SPUTNIK MOMENT?” HERE’S YOUR FREAKIN’ SPUTNIK MOMENT: US Budget Deficit to Pass $1.5 Trillion This Year.
See, the thing about Sputnik was that it was really scary, because it meant the country was in danger — if the Russians could put a satellite overhead, they could put an H-bomb on New York in 20 minutes. That’s why we responded with a big change in how we did business.
This is really scary too. Where’s the serious response? And no, more of the same doesn’t count. A 5% across the board spending cut — real year-over-year cutting, not a cut against projected growth — would only barely begin to count as serious. Freezes and other flimflams don’t count at all.
|Key West, 1975|
AFTER singing "It's been a lovely cruise, I'm sorry it's ended" singer Jimmy Buffett crashed off the stage after his final Sydney concert last night and was rushed to hospital with a head injury.
Shocked fans at the sell-out concert at the Hordern Pavilion were urged to leave the auditorium by Buffett's Australian tour manager Michael Chugg as the 64-year-old entertainer lay on the floor in front of the first row of seating waiting for paramedics and an ambulance to arrive.
He was rushed to Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, in Darlinghurst, thirty minutes after the accident.
Neither Chugg nor his assistant David Pope would comment on Buffett's condition at the scene but an audience member said it appeared the entertainer had struck his head and was bleeding as he lay on the floor.
He said something about salmon, said something else about Sputnik, and something else about something else, with lots of human props and less than riveting anecdotes along the way.
Monday, January 24, 2011
New York could be the first state in the nation to ban electronic cigarettes.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan says e-cigarettes need to be studied before sales - including to children - are allowed to continue.
Her concerns are the nicotine in the plastic devices and that most are made in China and other countries where the safety of the products is not well regulated.
|"Let's go cruise Wegman's, they're open all night"|
Actual farmer Blake Hurst responds to backyard chicken dilettante Alexandra Ferguson:
Ferguson believes that “eating organically and locally contributes not only to the health of her family but to the existential happiness of farm animals and farmers.” I’m pretty sure that most of the farm animals around here spend little time worrying about Ferguson’s contributions to their existential happiness, and I’m darned sure that we farmers don’t.Hurst also reminds Ferguson to wipe her feet before she enters the house.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Hint to the news hawks at the Ithaca Journal: interview this guy!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is weighing plans to lay off more than 10,000 government workers, rivaling the number of pink slips handed out by his father a generation ago, according to individuals familiar with budget discussions.
While Mr. Cuomo has not settled on a figure, the governor in recent days has told lawmakers and other officials that he is looking at dismissing 10,000 to 12,000 workers, or more than 5% of the state's public work force, the individuals say.More at WSJ.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
|Romulus School circa 1930|
A second attempt may be made to study the feasibility of a regional high school or schools for Seneca County.
The Waterloo school board will be asked Tuesday to approve its participation in a possible local government efficiency study of the issue.
Seneca County now has four school districts and four high schools in Waterloo, Seneca Falls, Romulus and South Seneca in Ovid.
Two years ago, a similar study was proposed but was not supported by all four school boards and the idea was dropped.
The idea is back again. The Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES would sponsor the application for a $55,000 grant for the study, which would be done by a consultant.
GM’s CEO Dan Akerson says his company is handicapped by government limits on executive compensation at firms that receive federal bailouts. Last year his salary and stock package of $9 million was $8,820,300 more than it should have been: $179,700 is the highest pay for civil servants, which is what executives at such firms are.
Akerson has an extensive resume with lots of corporate and private equity experience, but has had no experience running an industrial company like GM.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Intergy Liquid Propane of Kansas City has applied to store LP gas in salt mines under Schuyler County. Per the Finger lakes Times,
The salt caverns are the result of salt mining by U.S. Salt and Cargill. They are located on a 576-acre site on Routes 14 and 14A west of Seneca Lake in the town of Reading, Schuyler County.We'll go out on a limb and predict this project will draw vocal opposition from the usual suspects, for at least two reasons. First, of course, is that it involves energy that could actually benefit New York households and businesses. Second, this venture would constitute free market economic activity right here in the Finger Lakes, so it must be opposed by our ruling class. Are we wrong? Comments welcome.
The proposed LPG storage facility is near the western shore of Seneca Lake, extending uphill to the west with compressors and distribution operations straddling Route 14 south of Route 14A junction.
The LPG barrels would contain propane and butane. They would displace some of the salt brine currently filling the caverns. The propane would be removed when demand occurs during the heating season. The butane would be removed during the gasoline blending season.
The displaced brine would be stored and contained in a 14-acre lined surface pond with a capacity of 2.19 million barrels, or 91.9 million gallons, on the hillside immediately east of the junction of Routes 14 and 14A.
The facility would connect to an existing interstate pipeline. The LPG would be shipped by truck and rail.
The project involves the construction of a new rail and truck transfer facility. This facility would consist of a six-rail siding capable of allowing the loading and unloading of 24 rail cars within 12 hours and a truck loading station capable of loading four trucks per hour.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
|Player of the Game: Rick Jackson|
Syracuse improved its record to 18-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big East... The 18-0 start marks the second-longest season-opening win streak in Syracuse history. The 1999-2000 team won its first 19 games.Mike Waters in the Post-Standard.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
New Yorkers were scrambling to become handgun owners in the wake of the Arizona shooting spree, trying to beat any potential weapons bans.
"I think these are people who say, 'Here is a congresswoman and no one could protect her, so I am going to protect myself,' " said Thomas King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
...Gasland has provided fuel for critics of shale gas development. I have speculated, with good reason, that Democrats are trying to stop the tapping of this vast resource and that major Democratic donor George Soros would be a beneficiary if shale gas were stopped in its tracks. His bought and paid for group, MoveOn.Org, has diverted from its typical topics of interest and has thrown itself into the battle over shale gas.
George Soros is invested in offshore oil drilling in Brazil. The Obama administration is subsidizing that drilling with two billion US tax dollars. Preventing domestic energy production is good for Soros, bad for the US economy, and very good for our enemies.This brings me back to Gasland, a documentary that was run on the HBO network and that also may have prompted a 60 Minutes report on shale gas. Did Gasland really come out of nowhere, or did it benefit from the helping hands of George Soros?
Gasland was shown at the Sundance Film Festival -- that was the first step in its journey to make the bigtime (including the HBO screenings). Gasland got a major boost in prominence when it landed a coveted spot at Sundance.
This was quite an accomplishment since most entries are rejected. Yet Gasland survived the winnowing process.
Did it have friends in powerful places who helped?
The Sundance Institute receives funding from George Soros; furthermore, the Sundance Documentary Film Fund was formerly known as the Soros Documentary Fund. Soros and his Open Society Institute have given many millions of dollars to the Sundance Institute. The officials who run Sundance know their donors and their special interests.
Monday, January 10, 2011
The Cholla Jumps, a blog by Tuscon native and SUNY graduate Jim Kelley, tells us:
This is the report that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been dreading since the tragic event on Saturday January 8.
The sheriff has been editorializing and politicizing the event since he took the podium to report on the incident. His blaming of radio personalities and bloggers is a pre-emptive strike because Mr. Dupnik knows this tragedy lays at his feet and his office. Six people died on his watch and he could have prevented it. He needs to step up and start apologizing to the families of the victims instead of spinning this event to serve his own political agenda.
Jared Loughner, pronounced by the Sheriff as Lock-ner, saying it was the Polish pronunciation. Of course he meant Scott or Irish but that isn’t the point. The point is he and his office have had previous contact with the alleged assailant in the past and that is how he knows how to pronounce the name.
While we'll never know if this tragedy could have been prevented, it may be time for the incompetent clown Dupnik to resign and forgo his pension.Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County. Amy Loughner is a Natural Resource specialist for the Pima County Parks and Recreation.
Friday, January 7, 2011
|Greek Revival farmhouse in the Finger Lakes|
Those who don’t care for civilization much don’t like single-family housing. They instinctively know it’s a counterweight to collectivism, and attack it on every front. Every home is a potential citadel of individualism. The sooner they can round up those bitter clingers, using anti-sprawl legislation and carbon-footprint arithmetic, and get them relying on the sanitation department to shovel their collectivized driveway and the mayor to salt their food, the faster we’ll all be happy, they think.In our academic/trustafarian dominated corner of Central New York, every day seems to bring a proposal for more taxpayer-subsided "affordable" "worker" apartments. One such project recently completed nearby appears to be having trouble renting all its units. It could be that the developers need to read Greg's piece. We suspect that many locals whose incomes are low enough to qualify for brand new, subsidized one-bedroom apartments might prefer to stay in their single-family Greek Revival, with the bad roof, the shallow well and the laid stone foundation that's been shifting since World War One.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
December 2010 e-commerce sales increased 17.6% compared to the previous December, representing one of the strongest growth rates seen last year, said Mike Berry, director of industry research at MasterCard SpendingPulse.
Online shopping surged late in the holiday shopping season, with strong sales across categories, according to the organization. A few retail sectors showed slight weaknesses, mostly due to discounts. Electronics, where sales volume increased 1.2%, saw strong unit sales offset by falling prices for big-ticket items such as TVs and laptops.
Many Finger Lakes retailers still don't have any web presence at all, let alone a growing e-commerce revenue stream. There will never be a better time to get your business online. We can help.Meanwhile, apparel sales were up 10.9% and luxury sales increased 8.5% compared to the previous December, according to SpendingPulse. Yet even in those sectors, online sales increased faster than offline. Online electronics sales rose 14% despite price deflation, while Web-based apparel sales were up 28.8%, year-over-year.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
|Andy and the usual suspects|
For those of you who forgot to tune in, two quick observations regarding in Andy's speech this afternoon:
Young people all across upstate New York who are leaving because they believe there is no economic future left.We'd ask our kids if they agreed, but they've already left.
Also, how can the new Governor of the State of New York address our financial crisis without ever speaking the word "union?"
Monday, January 3, 2011
The IGY was the International Geophysical Year, a kind of nebulous, let's all be scientific together exercise from 1957 to 1958. It hoped that if we assembled all the guys who operated slide rules (then) like we text-message with our thumbs (now), it would function as an “apolitical, non-nationalistic, scientifically oriented entity,” and make a great leap forward in our understanding of the earth and its atmosphere.
Oh well. We’ve gone off the graphite and glitter rails over the earth and its atmosphere since then, but I sleep better knowing that after eighteen months of the scientific and diplomatic version of a college dorm room bull session, the governments of Argentina, Australia Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the USSR, Great Britain and the United States of America solemnly declared they wouldn't put nuclear weapons in Antarctica. Along those lines, I’ve also promised my wife not to get a job giving bikini waxes at the Playboy mansion.
Of course Donald Fagen didn’t mention that before the 90 minutes of undersea rail time, there’d be an additional 90 minutes of groping by a TSA employee holding the same credentials as a sanitation worker and wearing the same rubber gloves they used to frisk a leper ten minutes before. Likewise, Fagen must be forgiven for incorrectly envisioning the ascendance of a kind of robot to make all the big decisions for us. After all, Al Gore only lost the election by a few votes.
|Large scale sunflower farming in North Dakota|
Even as Finger Lakes households open their staggering January tax bills, our self-anointed elites are working overtime to ensure nobody in Central New York ever benefits from any type of boom, energy or otherwise.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Geraldine Hoff Doyle, a World War II factory worker whose bandana-wearing image in a wire-service photo is said to have been the model for the woman depicted in the 1942 "We Can Do It!" poster, has died. She was 86. The iconic wartime poster became an enduring symbol of women's power from the Rosie the Riveter era