Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Open letter to Deborah Busch

Legislator Busch:

Have you seen this?: Immigrants unlikely to spread disease, but may need medical care

You should really read it.

Sincerely,

laym

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Regarding this: Busch: Who will watch public health if Kenwood is chosen?

I'm not familiar with Legislator Busch. Perhaps she's a lovely person.

I do wonder, though, if she is aware that she is joining a not-proud tradition of suspecting immigrants of being diseased.

For example, here:

At times, native-born Americans' fear of disease from abroad became a rationale for an equally great and preexisting prejudice, fear of the foreign-born, or nativism.1 (p. 9–11, 88–9) Nativists stigmatized particular immigrant groups as the carriers of specific diseases, rationalizing their prejudice with medical and public health arguments. Medicalized prejudice became the foundation for the arguments of immigration restrictionists. Examples of the stigmatization of the foreign-born as disease carriers are ample. In the 1830s, impoverished Irish immigrants were stigmatized as the bearers of cholera.1,20 (p. 32–3; p. 137–8) At the end of the 19th century, tuberculosis was dubbed the “Jewish disease” or the “tailor's disease.”1 (p. 155)

Further, I wonder if Busch's concerns are related to her forthcoming plans to volunteer at the facility, should it come to be used. One could understand her concerns, if she were planning on spending time there. Otherwise, not so much.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Celebrity in Albany: A Wounded Bear
It was a sad and somewhat surreal denouement to a two-day event that had drawn the attention of concerned legislators, prompted barbs from quip-friendly candidates for governor and electrified Albany residents otherwise bored by a prolonged lull in local action.

Oh, fuck off.

(Bold added.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What is to be done if neither of the two national political parties will defend the Fourth Amendment?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Public-sector workers face tough road ahead

State workers avoided potential potholes in the newly enacted budget, but several hundred public sector employees in the Capitol Region are facing at a tough road ahead.

And none of the readers of this Times Union article could avoid the car-wreck of those puns, which lead off an article about nothing less than people's jobs and livelihood.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Suggested topics for disgraced former Congressman John Sweeney's new radio show:

You were once given the nickname "Congressman Kick-ass." Describe at length the actions that you took to gain that nickname.

A group of aspiring political activists turn to you for advice. They are considering the tactic of harassing election officials as they attempt to count votes. How would you advise them?

Describe at length your experiences visting the Northern Mariana Islands.

Describe at length your relationship with the following felons: Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, Neil Volz.

Finally: discuss the point at which a person should really cease his or her efforts to be a public figure.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Will Senator Klein be creating, for the sake of accuracy, a new party? The Independent Democratic Conference For a Republican-Controlled Senate Party?

How many votes do ya think he'd get on that line?

“I consider myself a very good Democrat.” (Link)

Uh-huh. A very good Republican-controlled-Senate-supporting independent Democrat. One of the best, really. Easily in the top four.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Reality check for political reporters

Reality check for Soares

Albany County district attorney wins big victory after a nasty primary race

By Robert Gavin

Nasty as defined by ... ... ... the wind, apparently.

That collective exhale you heard Thursday night came from Albany County prosecutors.

I wondered what that was! Strange, though, because I wasn't near the victory party. But apparently the reporter, who seems to have been there, wants to hand off the hearing on to you, as opposed to the telling on to himself, which, again, is strange.

District Attorney David Soares, the two-term incumbent, easily defeated challenger Lee Kindlon in a Democratic primary, but scars of the grueling nine-month race may not heal anytime soon.

I've heard that vitamin E is good for scars, but perhaps political, metaphorical scars are different. Also, we are not told about how or when the reporter viewed those scars, but I like to think it was in the late, late hours of the victory party, when things got a little crazy.

The political battle was marked by mudslinging, personal attacks and a hunch in some quarters that Soares was ripe to be defeated.

Which quarters? Some quarters. That's all we readers need to know.

It didn't take long after polls closed to call the race. By the time Soares, 42, arrived at the Taste restaurant on Beaver Street late Thursday, the nail-biting was over and there was jubilation in the crowd. Soares tallied 14,498 votes to Kindlon's 10,132, a decisive 57 percent to 40 percent victory.

How much nail-biting does one do, on one's way to a decisive victory?

[James] Long [Soares' election attorney], a veteran lawyer, said the nastiness of the race concerned some of Soares' team.

"I thought it was going to be closer," he said. "It happens in the national scene. That negative campaigning works."

Show us your scars, Mr. Long! Show us, show us, show us.

Some political observers say the challenge could serve as a reality check for Soares as he heads into his third term because Republicans have not fielded a candidate.

For now, Soares said, he does not plan any changes.

That is some reality check. I for one am glad to have spent this much time parsing the reporter's muddled description of stuff he talked about at a victory party, when we would have all been better off if he had just written it up as "stuff talked about at a victory party."

Friday, August 24, 2012

This is a fantastic essay. It provides a useful framework for interpreting the bullshit rhetoric that gets thrown around in political circles and in the media.

With that essay in mind, I will focus on one piece of this article, Broke cities: What's next?:

"The best option is to empower the local control boards we already have: the local government that was elected," said Peter Baynes, executive director of the New York Conference of Mayors. "But they don't have sufficient power to manage their workforce costs, and what we've seen in municipalities is that this lack of power leads to such a problem that the state has to come in with a control board."

I happen to agree with that first sentence, being a fan of democracy. But that's beside the point. On to the rhetoric: "[...] they don't have sufficient power to manage their workforce costs [...]"

I think it would be fair to read that sentence as: administrations don't have the legal right to break negotiated contracts. But, that doesn't have the muddled and middle of the road and reasonable-like tone that this person is going for. So it gets changed to sufficient power and workforce costs.

And there is the rhetoric that can move the discussion to ways in which to put the screws to working folks, while sounding nice and reasonable. See?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Voters can end company's political clout

OK, Mr. Advocate. You have identified a problem. That's all well and good. You also spend a lot of time lecturing Teh Voters of Albany County. As an Albany County voter, I kinda resent the lecture.

You failed to mention that if it wasn't for your colleagues, Gavin, Carleo-Evangelist, Hinman (and others I'm sure), Teh Voters would have no idea that all these contributions were from the same company.

Before you started your lecture, did you confirm that the TU has always and consistently informed Teh Voters about these contribution shenanagins? Are you certain that Teh Voters always have this information before we vote?

You also failed to discuss the mechanics of these contribution shenanagins. The muddying of the waters that occurs when donors set up LLC's for the purpose of making contributions and getting around contribution limits.

Does every voter need to become a campaign finance expert before he votes? Does every voter need to put in the time and effort that your colleagues did, when they pieced this puzzle together?

Why did you not feel the need to lecture the legiscritters who set up a system that is designed to disguise these campaign contributions?

Blame Teh Voters all you'd like. But we are not the ones who set up the system. We are not the ones who talk about reform and then use institutional inertia to keep the system just as it is. Put the blame where it belongs.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Doctors look for payment leverage
Legislation would allow physicians to negotiate with insurers over rates
"Those doctors who want to collectively bargain want to do so simply to increase fees," said Robert R. Hinckley, senior vice president at CDPHP. "If that happens, there will be one inescapable result: Health care costs will rise, and those costs will be borne by employers and employees."
Unsaid: "Because we in management at the insurance companies sure as shit will not be giving up any of our salaries or bonuses, so these alleged costs would definitely go on to the customers."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Montag picked a single small volume from the floor. "Where do we begin?" He opened the book halfway and peered at it. "We begin by beginning, I guess."
[Link]

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gillibrand early target
GOP field already growing for senator's seat in 2012


The Times Union tries to make a race of it. By centering an article around a guy who is "mulling a run" in paragraph three (in the reporter's words), but who is "unlikely to do it" in paragraph seven (in the gentleman's own words).

Odd construction, that.

The article also offers up some opportunities to the GOP to get some shots at Gillibrand on the record, which is fine for them, but an odd choice for the TU.

Then, down in the lonely, last paragraphs, we read that "53 percent of the voters were prepared to re-elect Gillibrand" and "she dwarfed her potential challengers and trounced both Maragos and Wilson in hypothetical head-to-head matchups."

Gotta make things seem contested, apparently. Better for business, perhaps.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New ethics panel posts a tough sell for Cuomo

"Attracting people to state government is a major problem for me. Why? ... Over the last few years, Albany has not enjoyed the best reputation, the pay scale ... is not the highest, and when you go into the public sector you expose yourself to criticism, scrutiny, et cetera."


Pay scale?

I would like venture a guess, Governor Cuomo.

One of the reasons you have this dreadful problem with recruitment might be because your social circle consists of rich people. If your social circle included people from the middle class, or heaven forbid the lower class, you might find that those people would consider these public sector positions to be a step up and an opportunity to serve.

But those classes likely don't donate big dollars to you, and it seems you don't associate with them. Perhaps you should consider expanding your social circle, and perhaps you might find a larger pool of candidates.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kudos to Mr. Soares.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Despite Protests, Cuomo Says He Will Not Extend a Tax Surcharge on Top Earners

Mr. Cuomo insisted that under no circumstances would he consider backing the extension of the surcharge, saying it would encourage residents and businesses to move to other states.


Governor Cuomo: Appeaser of rich whiners.

Also, the governor's premise of needing to appease the rich whiners is wrong. Tax Flight is a Myth.
Why not move the high school so that it's farther away from the lower income neighborhoods? What could go wrong?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autoplay video is a scourge of the internets.