Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Repo-Dad Vindicated

My kids are going trick-or-treating as pirates this year. They are big fans of Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Caribbean.

While we were out running errands last week, my 13 year-old daughter asked me to stop at Wal-Mart so that she could try to find an accessory to her costume. Well, she found it. It was part of a costume packaged as "Pirate Wench". She only wanted a part of the costume to add to hers, but I refused to buy it.

I told her that I would not buy a costume for a 13 year-old that characterized itself as "Pirate Wench". I said that she should keep looking. She found two other female pirate costumes. One was "Glam Pirate", the other "Pirate Hottie". I was quite stunned, but, as I looked through the costumes, I realized that most of the costumes for girls were sexually suggestive. Needless to say, we did not buy anything.

As I related this story later to several of my friends and co-workers, they did not seem surprised that this was the case. In fact, some of them appeared to believe that I should have bought the "Wench" outfit since my daughter was not planning to wear any of the suggestive parts.

I was beginning to think that maybe I was crazy, but then I stumbled upon this Newsweek column. I guess there is a trend out there to dress up little girls as "hotties"! Kids as young as 6-8 years old!

Yikes! Have parents lost their minds completely? Any parent buying this stuff needs to have their head examined.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Give Him His Due

John McCain has has taken a number of positions over the years which have made it difficult for me and many of you with conservative viewpoints, to strongly support him for the presidency.

One thing we should all do, however, is respect him deeply for his service in the military and his courage and exemplary conduct while a prisoner of war in Viet Nam.

This McCain campaign ad, via PowerLine, (give the video some time to load) shows the real distinction between McCain and most GOP candidates versus Mrs. Clinton and the rest of the pygmies on the other side. Frankly, McCain is only my third or fourth choice among GOP candidates. He is, however, head and shoulders above all of the Democrats seeking the office.

Esposito Endorsed By D&C, G-C Post

Supervisor Ralph J. Esposito, was endorsed for re-election by both the Democrat & Chronicle and the Gates-Chili Post.

The endorsements in both newspapers credited Esposito with strong leadership pulling Gates out of fiscal difficulties. Both editorials had similar remarks about Sue Swanton, Ralph's Democrat opponent, suggesting that she failed to offer anything new in her campaign and that she had no plan for governing.

We in Gates are very fortunate to have Ralph Esposito as our Supervisor. He is actually underemployed as a Town Supervisor. Frankly, I do not know anyone with greater governmental skill and political acumen than Ralph.

He deserved the endorsements and he deserves re-election on November 6th.

McIntee Against Hwy. Equipment Before He Was For It

Since Mark McIntee has made it to the top of my "list", I thought I'd mention the fact that most of his self-proclaimed concern about spending in the Gates budget is really just posturing.

First of all, for all of the things he has questioned, he actually has not voted against even one spending item. He repeatedly points to the fact that he voted against bonding to buy highway equipment. Okay, but the following month, he seconded the motion to buy the equipment. Voting to purchase the equipment, using the money you voted against borrowing, seems inconsistent, to say the least.

I assume Mr. McIntee would try to say that we needed the equipment but he did not want to borrow to buy it. But borrowing was the only way to get it. Obviously, he was trying to have it both ways. He made similar inconsistent remarks regarding the Highway Union contract, wondering out loud if the Town could afford the contract, but then voting for it.

Now he's trying to take credit for being the fiscal watchdog of the Town Board. As Ralph Esposito likes to point out, given McIntee's record of voting with the GOP majority over 99% of the time, he is either the worst watchdog in the history of watchdogs or perhaps there really wasn't much to watch out for.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Not That There's Anything Wrong With that!

On the lighter side:

Many Harry Potter fans were very surprised to learn that Professor Dumbledore is gay.

Scrappleface has some additional revelations which you might give you a chuckle. It turns out that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Valerie Plame "fame", has vowed to learn who "outed" Dubledore. He apparently won't rest until he finds the leaker.

McIntee Continues To Have Trouble With His Memory

I guess Mark McIntee needs to see a doctor about his repeated memory lapses.

First he claimed that despite seeing me on the afternoon of the Gates Budget workshop, he "forgot" that he had a question about fund balances that he intended to raise at the workshop.

Today I read his letter "explaining" his "no" vote on the preliminary budget. Among other things he stated..."[W]hen Town Attorney DiCaro looked up the law, it could not be determined at that time whether showing these fund balances was required since the majority of our funds have a negative balance". I guess he "forgot" that I gave him a Memorandum explaining that he was reading the statute too literally.

If I wanted to be charitable, I could assume that McIntee was referring the the 30 second period he gave me to read the law when he suddenly "remembered" that he was supposed to ask his fund balance question. My response was that the relevant section said what Mr. McIntee said it did. But I had previously reviewed the budget and found no legal problems with it. Mr. McIntee certainly did not express any reason for his "no" vote, nor did he try to amend the budget or ask for a delay in the vote. Any of those reactions might have been consistent with a genuine concern that the preliminary budget was flawed.

Based upon his "memory lapses", last minute inquiry and unexplained vote against the budget, my honest feeling is that Mr. McIntee was acting according to his pre-arranged script.

Hanson On Democrats

As you few regular readers know, I find Victor Davis Hanson to be a very brilliant and compelling writer.

Among the things I like most about him is his intelligent yet plain-spoken manner. He does not try to convince his readers by using bombastic prose; he just spells out his views in a way that anyone could understand.

His "Works and Days" Blog is one of my favorite places. The following take on today's Democrats/Liberals is vintage Hanson.

By habit I remain a registered Democrat, largely because my parents and grandparents were agrarian populists in outlook. I also try to vote and support (even as our district boundaries keep changing) one Democrat, Jim Costa, our local Democratic congressman, who is cut from the Scoop Jackson mold. Central Valley Democrats used to be considered mainstream center-right people in a way unimaginable now. We forget that a long time ago, Democrats were considered sort of tough, practical minded, a world away from the blueblood golf course crowd, receptacles of conservative values in a way the elite Republicans were not. That’s ancient history now.
I throat clear like that because of the steady insanity shown by the Democratic political class. Now Congressman Stark accuses President Bush of enjoying the deaths of our soldiers in Iraq; this follows Harry Reid’s letter trying to intimidate and silence Rush Limbaugh. And, of course, we witnessed a litany of insanity voiced by Sens. Kerry, Durbin, and Kennedy about Iraq and our soldiers, who were libeled as everything from terrorists to Saddamites to Nazis by those three. Congressman Murtha pronounced Marines guilty of war-crimes before they were tried. Sen. Obama asserted our troops killed innocent civilians, while Sen. Reid and Clinton essentially called Gen. Petraeus a fabricator (“suspension of belief”).
When we factor in the “Betray-us” ad, the Hollywood antics, and the university embarrassments, whether denying Larry Summers a right to speak at UC Davis or welcoming in Ahmadinejad at Columbia, one is forced to ask, “What happened to liberal thinking and the Democratic Party?” Why do dissent and criticism almost immediately devolve into elemental rage, whether Durbin screaming that our soldiers are Nazis or Moveon.org that their leader is a traitor? Why do deans, media heads, and politicians show such bad taste?
Plenty of explanations come to mind: the Democrats were out of power and frustrated with their impotence, and show a furor at being out of the loop for years. There is also something to the changing demographics of the party, which now includes a number of rich and mega-rich supporters, who apparently feel, that unlike a hardware store owner, or an accountant, they have made it, are exempt from mundane worries, and have enough money not to care about taxes and climbing entitlements.
Among this very elite, liberalism is now a sort of entrée for business, entertainment and leisure, a social requisite, like being a petty Christian official in the Medieval World, always taken for granted and not often examined.
Among this new influential class, clustered in universities towns, and progressive cities like Seattle, the Bay Area, the southern California Coast, Boulder, New England, and the suburbs of Washington, hating George Bush, or assuming that Western industrial rapacity is heating up the planet for profits, or that Iraq is a war for Halliburton is all akin to having oak floors, leather furniture, a stainless steel, granite kitchen, a glass of white wine after work at a fern bar, or driving a Prius to campus—manifest symbols of taste, erudition, and culture. Championing social causes at a distance also provides the upscale a sort of psychological penance: e.g., something like ‘I wouldn’t dare live or tutor in East Palo Alto, but will play the radical at Stanford’s picturesque campus as spiritual recompense.’
NB: the Kerry and Gore and Michael Moore lifestyles at odds with their professed rhetoric. I doubt should the obese Moore need heart surgery that he will go to Havana, or that Gore will plug his mansion into wind turbines or fly commercial, or that Kennedy will allow a windmill on his vacation home horizon.
Other factors that explain why Democratic leaders appear so ill-mannered are the legacies of the general uncouthness of the 1960s. One sees that in Cindy Sheen talking about her womb, or Moveon.orgs tasteless ads, or the language of a Bill Maher, or the sort of placards you see at campus protests, or the web postings on the leftwing sites.
In the 1960s, there was a general assault on manners, language, habit, protocol—anything deemed “plastic” or part of the “establishment” responsible for classism, imperialism, racism, and sexism. We forget that those who embraced it an early age (I saw the very tail-end of that dying movement as a freshman at UC Santa Cruz in 1972), did not just fly off to Mars.
Instead their coarseness was imprinted deeply upon their souls and the culture at large. And as we watch that generation age, whether in Congress or in films or at our universities, we see people inherit great positions of power—deans, bureau chiefs, senators—even as their small 1960s essences remain trapped in aging bodies. So just rent the DVD Woodstock, add 40 some years to those bodies, and, presto, imagine them all with suits and ties running universities, newspapers, foundations, and government, torn between the enjoyment of the lavishness that democratic capitalism provides them and their very abstract disdain for it.

What's My Real Concern?

I blogged earlier this week about a commenter on the Gates Blog with the handle "concerned_about_gates". I previously speculated that "concerned" was Doug Ross, the Gates Democrats' "idea man".

Today on the Gates Blog, Ross "outed" himself by reporting, point for point, (as "concerned"), the arguments he made at the Fair Campaign Committee meeting. I now have to wonder what kind of "idea man" he really is. He appears to be the only person around (except, perhaps, for Ms. Swanton and Messrs. McIntee and O'Hare) who thinks the Gates-North Gates issue is a relevant distinction. I assume that I also have to give him "credit" for the "brilliant" tactical move of seeking "redress" in the Fair Campaign process after having his candidates refuse to sign the Fair Campaign Pledge.

It makes me wonder if an "October Surprise" is on tap from the Dems?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Entitlement Madness

Mark Steyn is fast becoming one of my favorite columnists. He is a naturalized citizen, hailing originally from England. His wit and insight make him a fine and persuasive writer. His conservatism has the erudition and credibility of William Buckley and George Will.

He has been writing volumes about the S-CHIP debate. He has been quite critical of what he views as Democrat chicanery and demagoguery. His articles have had a simple premise. Is there a limit to what independent people should expect the government to do for them?

This recent article truly resonated with me. He tries to point out that the road the Democrats want to take us down in America, is the very same road that Europeans have already taken and found leads to the edge of a cliff. Its worth reading.

Concerned_About_Gates (Gates' Democrats, That Is)

Concerned_About_Gates took a couple late swipes at me and the Gates GOP on the Gates Blog. He waited until there were a couple of other negative comments before he added his two cents. I guess he wasn't confident enough to be the sole naysayer. This was his rather lame jab at me:

"Repoman aren't you the Town's attorney? For how many years? Why should anything MCIntee brought up be a surprise? Aren't supposed to know the law? It's not like we haven't had deficit budgets before".

Obviously, I am the Town Attorney. I never made a secret of that fact on the Gates Blog. Further, and despite his/her uninformed and disparaging remarks, the issue was not my legal work for the Town of Gates. The issue was Mr. McIntee’s political grandstanding.

The simple fact is that Mr. McIntee found or was given a copy of a Town Law section that he or someone else erroneously construed to believe that the proposed budget was defective. Given that information, Mr. McIntee had two choices. He could raise the issue in a timely fashion and get an answer to his concern or he could wait until the budget vote was pending and raise the issue for the purpose of political point scoring. He chose the latter.

Mr. McIntee saw me at the Town Hall that afternoon. We spoke about the upcoming meeting. His claim that he simply forgot about the issue is hard to believe.

Concerned appears to believe that attorneys should have all relevant statutes committed to memory. I would suggest that attorneys who give legal advice without resort to their law books had better keep their malpractice policies paid up to date. I do not try to memorize the numerous laws that affect the Town. I do, however, know where to find the law books with the correct answers.

The morning after the meeting, I researched and prepared a memorandum for Mr. McIntee. I explained how he had read the requirement incorrectly. I pointed out to him that in prior years, fund balances (surpluses) had been included in our budgets as those funds were being applied to current year expenditures. Even though we have greatly reduced our deficit, the Town still does not have a surplus. As such, there is no fund balance to apply in this year’s budget.

Had Mr. McIntee asked me about the fund balance issue in the afternoon when we spoke, I could have given him, and the rest of the Board, an answer at the workshop. Moreover, the whole thing is really a tempest in a teapot. The workshop was dealing with the preliminary budget. The final budget will be approved at the public budget hearing. Thus, even if Mr. McIntee was correct, a minor omission such as that which “concerned” (no pun intended) him could be remedied then. But, once again, it’s quite obvious that Mr. McIntee did not want a resolution, he wanted a headline and a faux controversy.

Clearly, Concerned , and others in the anti-Ralph legion, are trying their hardest to oblige him.

Well, knock yourselves out! Most residents of Gates see right through you!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Grasping At Straws

The Democrats in Gates must be getting desperate.

Their long-running "Chicken Little" routine doesn't have any traction now that the deficit is being slashed and the 2008 budget has no tax increase. Their latest gambit to get a good headline fell flat, as the Fair Election Committee rejected their flimsy unfair election practice complaint.

The Dems claimed that the GOP ads were misleading in the reference to a Money magazine article touting Gates as the 16th most affordable community in the country. Apparently, the Money article was focused on "North Gates" which is apparently only a little more than half of the Town. Of course, there is no way to determine where "North Gates" actually is. Further, the Fair Campaign Committee correctly ruled that it was nonetheless appropriate for the Gates good government team to take credit for their part in making the area one of the most affordable places in the U.S.

An interesting sidelight came to my attention as I read the Committee's decision. It appears that of all the candidates involved in the matter, only Ralph Esposito had signed the Fair Campaign Pledge. So apparently the Democrats felt free to use the committee to hold the GOP to fair practices, but was unwilling to bind themselves to do so! Wow, what chutzpah!

Its not surprising though. The Democrat's campaigns against Ralph Esposito and the the Republican Town Board members have relied on misrepresentation, distortion, and innuendo. Sue Swanton has been claiming that the financial sky is falling for 5 years. She and her Democrat colleagues have tried to turn the fact that Gates has a budget deficit into a fiscal crisis rivaling the Great Depression.

The fact is that Ralph and the Town Board have handled the difficult situation brought on by Kodak's departure very adeptly. They have managed to maintain vital, quality of life services for Gates' residents while raising taxes on average by less than $200.00/ household since Kodak moved out.

Sue and the Democrats have never offered a serious alternative plan of any kind. I noted today in the paper that Sue's plan for balancing the budget continues to call for "quality circles". Sue needs to update her pop management library. Quality circles went out of vogue about 20 years ago.

I can only hope that two weeks from tomorrow, the residents of Gates will once again see through Swanton's nonsense and opt for Ralph's experience and competence.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Check The RINO Family Tree

This guy has to be related to Jim Walsh:

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R from FL) will vote to override the President (on S-CHIP). What an apologist. His staff said: He doesn't like the tax increase and doesn't like the amount of expansion but... Since he only won by a few hundred votes, he can't afford to lose many supporters. (From National Review Online)

I assume that Congressmen Buchanan and Walsh will be vying for the chair of the RINO caucus, if they get re-elected. I'd say however, that their misunderstanding about who their supporters really are, will more likely lead to their forced retirement.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Betting On Hillary: Update

Two posts on the PowerLine Blog amplify some of the points I made about Guiliani's problem with religious conservatives increasing the likelihood of a Hillary presidency.

First, Paul Mirengoff reported on a story by Robert Novak dealing with Guiliani's support among that group. Novak found that it was stable, so far. Mirengoff wonders, as I now do, what percentage of those voters will "sit out" the election rather than cast a vote for pro-choice Rudy.

Next, Scott Johnson posts about the possibility that some Republicans will reluctantly conclude (ala Charles Krauthammer) that they could live with Hillary as President. His view is that such a belief may be misguided and self-defeating.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

All The News That's Fit?

The decline of the New York Times from America's newspaper of record to left-wing fish-wrapper continues apace.

Times' columnist Frank Rich reached a new low in his op-ed piece today. He basically stated that Americans who support the Bush Administration are like the Germans who did nothing while Hitler and the Nazis committed their countless horrors while launching war and genocide across Europe.

Comparing Bush to Hitler, the GOP to the Nazi party, and Americans to Germans who sat next to concentration camps and protested that they knew nothing, is beneath the dignity of most left-wing "fever-swamp" bloggers. But here we have the spectacle of a (prominent?) columnist writing in a (great?) newspaper, equating Americans to Nazis!

Are there any editors at the Times? Do they even read their own paper? Can anyone with a rational mind wonder why the Times' circulation continues to plummet?

Consolidation Questions

Did you note the poll accompanying the Democrat & Chronicle's front page story on Maggie Brooks?

One of the questions was:

"If it meant a substantial savings in your tax bill, would you support or oppose merging some layers of county municipal and township governments?"

70% supported merger under those circumstances. Gee, what a surprise. I mean, after all, even I would agree to that statement. But I'd have to say a follow-up question would have been warranted. Something like this:

If you said "support" to the question above, would you still support merger if it meant significant reductions in local services, such as, police service?

If that follow-up had been asked, the 70% of support would have evaporated quite quickly. I wonder why they asked the first question but not the second? Oh, yeah, the D&C commissioned the poll and their metro government agenda would not be furthered by asking the right questions.

If I Was A Betting Man....

I'd place my bet on Hillary Clinton becoming the next President.

I came to that conclusion this week after reading the reaction to two Tony Blankley columns. Blankley wrote columns on October 3rd and October 10th regarding the need for Republicans and Conservatives to be pragmatic rather than stand solely on principle regarding their choice for presidential nominee.

Lest you get the wrong idea, Blankley was not suggesting that the GOP abandon core principles in a cynical quest for power. He was pointing out that Republicans, having missed their chance to govern according to those principles, might want to temper principle with pragmatism in light of their worsening electoral prospects. Further he was focused on the presidential campaign and the specific pronouncement by "Christian Conservatives" that Rudy Giuliani was "unacceptable" to them. Blankley believes that Rudy is the one GOP presidential candidate who has an actual shot at beating Mrs. Clinton.

The reaction to his columns convinces me that Hillary will, in fact, be elected. The clear majority of respondents who expressed deep religious views (largely on the abortion issue) made it clear that they would either not vote or vote for a third party candidate, if Rudy was the nominee. Obviously, this was no representative sample of "values voters", but if only a one-third or more of them abandon the GOP if Rudy is the nominee, White House interns will once again have to look over their shoulders.

I must say that I cannot understand the logic. One comment asked of Blankley..."would you vote for a candidate with whom you agreed on everything except that he supported legalized rape and murder? Of course, not". My response to that would be that the answer would be "Of course, not", only if the other candidate (with whom I disagreed on every other issue) did not also support legalized rape and murder.

If Rudy faces Hillary, you have two pro-choice nominees. If you refuse to vote for Rudy on that basis, you still get a pro-choice President and that President will have many other views you will find noxious. Eight years of Hillary Clinton appointments of liberal judges to the Federal Judiciary will guarantee us an irreversible trip down the road to socialism and political correctness. Unfortunately, it appears that some Conservatives will hold out unless they get a nominee who is "pure". What the are going to get is the leaner, meaner version of the Hill and Bill show.

My gloom about my revelation of Hillary's certain ascendancy to the White House was ameliorated somewhat by this column by Charles Krauthammer. In it, Krauthammer explains why he and other conservatives might be able to live with President Hillary. He discusses Hillary's recent change of heart on NAFTA:

"The [Washington] Post editorial noted "a perverse kind of good news" in Hillary's free-trade revisionism: "There's little chance that her position reflects any deeply held principle." And there lies the beauty not just of Clinton on free trade but of the Clinton candidacy itself: She has no principles. Her liberalism is redeemed by her ambition; her ideology subordinate to her political needs.
I could never vote for her, but I (and others of my ideological ilk) could live with her -- precisely because she is so liberated from principle. Her liberalism, like her husband's -- flexible, disciplined, calculated, triangulated -- always leaves open the possibility that she would do the right thing for the blessedly wrong (i.e. self-interested, ambition-serving, politically expedient) reason."

Oh well, at least she didn't win the Nobel Prize!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Maggie's Plan vs. ...... What?

The controversy surrounding Maggie Brooks' plan to close the Monroe County budget deficit has been percolating for over a week now. While there has been some criticism of the proposal, I've been struck by the almost complete lack of substance in that criticism.

Let me start out by saying that the cries of foul regarding the way the plan was "announced" and rammed through the County Legislature are wholly deserved. Its too bad that Maggie and the county GOP apparently did not have enough confidence that they could hold their caucus together through a period of public discussion.

Having said that, I'd say its time to really focus on the merits of the plan. No one really disputes that Medicaid costs have been the biggest fiscal problem facing the county. Taking action to remove Medicaid from the mix makes a lot of sense. Moreover, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth by school district leaders, our schools are, in fact, in the best shape of any part of government to take a little (1%-2%) hit.

The schools are, quite frankly, awash with money. The Greece Schools built a multi-million dollar TV studio, Fairport is putting in artificial turf athletic fields, and our own Gates-Chili District had a spare couple hundred grand to give every student their school supplies (in addition to the massive rebuilding project).

Let me admit that I voted for both the current budget and the capital improvement. I want the district to have every penny it needs to give my kids the best possible education. I think, however, that it is fair to say that since the advent of the STAR program, schools have felt very little need to take a hard look at spending. Many taxpayers have been lulled to sleep by the big STAR credits they receive. As such, they care a lot less when the latest school budget looks a tad bloated.

Further, I'm really tired of all of the hypo-critics out there. Their basis for attacking the plan is that the short notice of the plan stifled the kind of "open community discussion" that should is needed to properly analyse the plan. Where were these critics when Maggie tried to raise the sales tax? I don't remember any of them calling for David Gantt or Joe Morelle to explain why the sales tax plan was "DOA". That plan was rejected out of hand. Why should Maggie expose herself to that kind of "debate".

They also use the same excuse for their failure to offer any viable alternative plan to solve the budget crisis. Lee Strong will tell you the Democrats do have a "plan". Yeah, the Democrat plan is largely platitudes. The items which have fiscal implications use methods that Maggie has been criticised for (i.e., one-time shots and burden shifting). Their plan relies heavily on creating a "police district" which will shift a big portion of the cost of the Sheriff's road patrol to towns without police departments. They also have a number of items that look good only on paper, and require a lot of "faith" that underlying assumptions will come true.

As I have said many times previously, if the Brooks' plan is so bad, and the Democrat's ideas so good, why couldn't the Dems get anybody to trumpet those ideas during an election campaign against Maggie? That's why all this caterwauling rings quite hollow.