Welcome to the Finger Lakes! Our theme song:

In a town this size, there's no place to hide
Everywhere you go, you meet someone you know...
In a smokey bar, in the backseat of your car
In your own little house, someone's sure to find you out
What you do and what you think
What you eat and what you drink...

(Kieran Kane)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hit 'em where it hurts

Mitt Romney Visits Solyndra Amid Attack on Obama Jobs Record

State to push more heavy trucks onto rural roads

Aurora, NY - April, 2010

“For far too long, people living throughout the Finger Lakes in Onondaga, Cayuga and Tompkins counties have been suffering, trying to get big rigs off the back roads winding through the region,” said Governor Paterson. “Residents have rightfully voiced concerns about trucks spilling garbage into lakes and watersheds. People also have expressed concern that the large trucks are damaging roads and houses, emitting fumes, creating noise and making it dangerous to walk or ride bikes on the roadways. I am pleased to announce that I have directed the New York State Department of Transportation to develop a new regulatory policy aimed at keeping large trucks off the Main Streets of Central New York and on the Interstate System, where they should be.”
“These state regulations are something that the people of Skaneateles and the Finger Lakes area have sought for a very long time. There is finally light at the end of the (garbage truck) tunnel,” said Senator Schumer. “Governor Paterson, to his credit, has seen that state regulations are the way to go to get trucks – whether they be public or private, from New York City or elsewhere – off our community roads and onto the highways where they belong.”
The state Thruway Authority on Wednesday proposed a 45 percent increase in tolls for most trucks on the superhighway to help bail out the financially strapped agency.
The authority’s board voted Wednesday to allow executive director Thomas Madison to “proceed with necessary actions” to implement the toll hike, which would apply to trucks with three or more axles.
Everyone is safer when big trucks stick to divided highways, which is one of the reasons we have a Thruway in the first place.  We believe the increase in heavy truck traffic on the Finger Lakes' rural roads has been the direct result of Thruway toll increases.  Its long past time to fire Howard Milstein, disband the Thruway Authority and remove all tolls.  A toll-free Thruway will make Upstate safer while slowing the disintegration of the Empire State's economy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Auburn prepares for zombies

While record high gasoline prices and ever increasing taxes force Auburn residents to cut back, their government rolls out the mother of all SUVs.
Small arms fire, anti-tank mines or alien invasion — the latest addition to the Auburn Police Department's fleet can handle them all.
APD Emergency Response Team Commander Michael Roden admitted that the Casspir armored vehicle, loaned to the city by the U.S. Department of Defense last October, probably won't face any of those conditions in Auburn, but it's still a useful tool.
 Photo:  Taisha Laird  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bob Moore

Robert J. Moore was born on December 22, 1947, to Harold and Irma Moore. The Moore Family lived in Morristown, NJ. He had two brothers, William and John, and two sisters, Louise and Constance. He attended Hillcrest School and Morristown High School. Under his yearbook picture it states: " 'Bob'...Soccer team... 'What a waste'...likes electric shop, history and pumpkin pie...dislikes homework and English...a career in the Navy."
Robert told his father that he was going to enlist, just one week after he graduated. He didn't tell his mother until just before he was leaving. Moore served in the US Army where he became a paratrooper. His mother credits one of Robert's high school teachers with his decision to become a paratrooper. This teacher was a member of the 81st Airborne and told the students that they would never make it as paratroopers. Robert saw this as a challenge.
Moore received basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, and his whole family attended his graduation. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC/E3). He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division.
On April 4, 1968, at the age of 20, Moore was killed in action in Ap Nam Phu during the Tet Offensive.
Moore is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Morristown, NJ.
 New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial

Thursday, May 24, 2012

End the sugar tax

Have you noticed that most of that candy in the grocery store is imported?
Bitter about paying artificially high prices for the non-artificial sweetener everyone uses just so a politically connected family can enjoy the sweet life? It's time lawmakers put a lid on the honey pot.
An Iowa State University study has found that the federal sugar program costs U.S. consumers roughly $3.5 billion a year and deprives the workforce of 20,000 jobs. This New Deal-era framework of barriers on sugar imports and of price supports for domestic sugar is a racket that benefits only a few, in particular the Fanjul family of Florida.
The federal sugar scam does have one benefit for Upstate New York, however - it's easier to park near the former Nestle chocolate factory!
There’s no one working in the former Nestle chocolate plant, so there’s no need for the parking restrictions around the plant, according to city of Fulton officials.
This week, lawmakers approved the elimination of 30 minute parking restrictions and a no-stopping order on Fay St., which runs along the front entrance of the closed plant, and 2 hour restrictions on a block of Lyons St. and several blocks of S. Fifth St.
“When Nestle was operating, they asked us to enforce the parking,” said Mayor Ron Woodward.  The 30 minute parking made it possible for Nestle’s customers and visitors to find a convenient place to park, he said.
Perhaps the Fanjuls just want to support Obama's traffic congestion reduction plan

 Abandoned Nestle plant, Fulton, NY.

Penn Jillete on Obama's Fallon appearance

Warning: strong language.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chestnut Street beat

The Ithaca Police Department is investigating an armed robbery reported in the 600 block of Chestnut Street at approximately 9 p.m. Monday.
Two victims reported they were stopped in a vehicle when an unknown male suspect got into the vehicle and threatened both occupants with a knife.  An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen before the suspect fled on foot.
We ask once again In a city of only 30,014 residents, how many police calls to the same address, in less than one year, does it take to raise a red flag - 25?  50?  75?  100?

County government helps developers scam taxpayers, again

Once again, a Finger Lakes county industrial development agency has subsidized a wealthy developer, leaving taxpayers on the hook.
Citing delinquent payments, the Cayuga County Industrial Development Agency decided last week to terminate its payment in lieu of taxes agreement with Ontario Realty, Inc., owner and operator of the Sterling Renaissance Festival.
County director of Planning and Economic Development Stephen Lynch said Monday that the company did not make scheduled payments totaling $27,000 to the county and town of Sterling in February 2011 and 2012 and the Hannibal Central School District in September 2011.
Here's an idea:  let's terminate all the industrial development agencies and give the money back to the taxpayers.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Eating judgmentally

"Food you feel good about"
Finger Lakes residents, perhaps more than any other Americans, are constantly harassed by our elites:  "spend three times as much to buy organic food, or you're no better than Bush!"   While we're usually too polite to question our neighbors' religious beliefs, Diane Mapes has the cojones to ask the question:  "Does organic food turn people into jerks?"
Renate Raymond has encountered her fair share of organic food snobs, but a recent trip to a Seattle market left her feeling like she'd stumbled onto the set of "Portlandia."
"I stopped at a market to get a fruit platter for a movie night with friends but I couldn't find one so I asked the produce guy," says the 40-year-old arts administrator from Seattle. "And he was like, 'If you want fruit platters, go to Safeway. We're organic.' I finally bought a small cake and some strawberries and then at the check stand, the guy was like 'You didn't bring your own bag? I need to charge you if you didn't bring your own bag.' It was like a 'Portlandia skit.' They were so snotty and arrogant."
To see if Raymond is just a crank, or might be on to something, Mapes asked a scientist.
"There's a line of research showing that when people can pat themselves on the back for their moral behavior, they can become self-righteous," says author Kendall Eskine, assistant professor of  the department of psychological sciences at Loyola University in New Orleans. "I've noticed a lot of organic foods are marketed with moral terminology, like Honest Tea, and wondered if you exposed people to organic food, if it would make them pat themselves on the back for their moral and environmental choices. I wondered if  they would be more altruistic or not."
If you're not already singing harmony, and we suspect you are, read the whole thing.

h/t Museum Guy.

5/21 updateRush Limbaugh piles on: 
 Which Came First, the Jerk or the Diet?

She's an Indian, too

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Juco player fouls out

Read the Rumford Meteor.


Tax the rich!

What a great country!  A man of limited talent, who grew up in a third world country, who's never worked a day in a real job, can still, somehow, become a multimillionaire.
Three things are apparent from President Obama's annual financial disclosure statement, released today:
He is a wealthy man, with assets of as much as $10 million.
He has a hefty stake in JPMorgan Chase, the megabank that just made a bad $2 billion bet. Obama has an account worth between $500,000 and $1 million.
JPMorgan Chase, where, surprisingly, taxpayers may be on the hook for two billion.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Billionaire Cuomo donor to raise Thruway tolls

How can our state government help revive Upsate's reeling economy?  Raise Thruway tolls, of course!
A top official at the state Thruway Authority on Wednesday didn't rule out a potential toll increase as the authority develops a long-term financial plan.
Yeah, that's the ticket!  Raise the cost of transportation!  Take more money out of Upstaters' pockets, while at the same time raising the price of all the goods and services thy need to live!

Who's responsible for this brilliant insight?  While, its Howard Milstein, a billionaire real estate developer from Manhattan who also happens to be one of Andy Cuomo's biggest donors!
Milstein, a billionaire banker and real estate businessman and a major donor to Cuomo and other state Democrats and Republicans, is the governor’s choice to head the Thruway Authority. Cuomo rejects the notion that Milstein’s donations had any link to his appointment, and maybe that’s possible. What does a billionaire want with a high-level patronage job, anyway? Defending the appointment, Cuomo said, “He’s an extraordinary businessman and having a private sector businessman who’s successful in real estate and finances makes total sense for the Thruway Authority.”
Well, maybe. First, though, you have to define successful. The fact is that Milstein’s real estate record in Niagara Falls has been abysmal. Milstein and his brother, Edward, have purchased about 441 parcels in downtown Niagara Falls over the last 12 years under the company name of Niagara Falls Redevelopment.
The Milsteins have done virtually nothing with these properties. They have outsized influence over economic development in Niagara Falls and that influence is shown in a swath of vacant, unimproved properties. Now—from the perspective of Western New Yorkers, at least—that disastrous record is being rewarded with a plum assignment from the governor. It’s deflating.
Bid out Thruway maintenance to private contractors?  Privatize the whole thing?  Don't be meshuggina.  It won't bother Milstein to an spend an extra buck to see a specialist in Rochester, or take his kids to the State Fair.  And as for you, who cares?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nozzolio: force NY taxpayers to subsidize Virginia millionaire

AES Cayuga
The combination of an anemic Upstate economy, fanatic environmental regulations, and the abundance of cheap, clean natural gas being produced in neighboring states has resulted in hard times for the AES coal powered generator on Cayuga Lake.  In fact, AES had made the difficult business decision to enter bankruptcy, and has shut down operations at its AES Cayuga plant.  The facility's landmark steam plume has disappeared from Cayuga's shoreline, except for for brief periods this winter when the plant, which has no heating system, had to be operated to prevent freezing. 
As we've previously reported,  financial difficulties at AES have sent shock waves through local governments in the Town of Lansing, Tompkins County, and the Lansing Central School, all of whom have feasted on the millions in property tax revenues paid every year by AES.  An economist might point out that all those millions actually came from Finger Lakes residents, who pay the highest electric rates in the continental US.

Tax addicted local governments, terrified that they might loose some of their historic ability to coerce gold plated pay and benefit packages from struggling peasants, however, can rest easy this morning.  "Republican" State Senator Mike Nozzolio has decided to use the power of government to force taxpayers to buy AES' otherwise unsaleable product.
This proposed legislation, titled S.6842, recommends the establishment of a power purchase agreement with the New York State Power Authority. The legislation would ensure that the AES Cayuga plant reopens and remains operational for a minimum of three years.
Power produced under Nozzolio's little experiment in serfdom will be doled out, not to Finger Lakes homeowners, but to politically connected fats cats.
Under the legislation, energy purchased from the AES Cayuga plant would be directed to supplement the state's ReCharge NY program. The ReCharge NY program allocates low-cost power to New York State employers.
And while local taxing entities are thrilled that their cash cow will be spared, let's not forget Victoria D. Harker, CEO of AES and the real beneficiary of Nozzolio's generosity with your money.   Despite the recent problems with her coal burning operation, and unlike many of her Upstate ratepayers, Vicki will still be able to afford dinners out.  Forbes reports Ms. Harker's total compensation from AES in 2010 was $2,661,548.00, with an additional $142,578.00 provided in director's fees from Darden Restaurants.


The well compensated Ms. Harken's actual title is "Chief Financial Officer and President of Global Business Services."   Vicki is reported to be planning to be out the door this summer.

For the truth about New York' s feudal "ReCharge NY" program, see One of Nine.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What a glorious time to be free

Here at home we'll play,  powered by the sun.
Perfect weather for a streamlined world, there'll be spandex jackets, one for everyone.
Donald Fagen's IGY, Steely Dan, live at Mannassas, VA, July 1996.  For more on the International Geophysical Year, here's our post from last year.

Friday, May 4, 2012

High cheekbones

"That fraction doesn't make any sense."

Happily, some clarity from DiNapoli

New York State's top financial officer, Tom DiNapoli, got involved in politics in 1972, when he was elected to the Mineola Board of Education at age 18.  While he's as much a standard issue New York liberal Democrat as the next guy, we can assume that Tom likes his job and doesn't want to be held responsible for the Empire State's bankruptcy, or a potential Federal takeover leading the the dissolution of what was once the world's beacon of freedom and opportunity.  So it's no surprise that Tom might actually look into some of our rulers' more wasteful spending.
More tax breaks does not equal more jobs.
That's according to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's latest report on New York's industrial development agencies (IDAs).
In his fifth report on IDAs [PDF], DiNapoli says the number of jobs created by the local economic development engines dropped by 22,000 from the year before.
DiNapoli also cites a $483 million gap in what IDAs gave out in tax breaks and how much they took in via payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOTs).
That breaks down, the report finds, to a $2,659 cost per job - up 9 percent from the year before.
"Taxpayers are not getting enough bang for their buck when it comes to IDAs," DiNapoli said in a statement.
Tom may be on to something, if Seneca County's IDA is any indication.  Rather than bringing the county a Toyota assembly plant or an Apple Computer research facility, the IDA seems to just be making work for itself.
The owner and operator of a proposed new McDonald’s Restaurant at 2500 Mound Road will likely receive financial assistance from the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency.
James Coriale, president of Jascor Inc., the owner-operator of the existing McDonald’s on Mound Road, has received town approval to demolish the existing building and construct a new restaurant on the same site.
It appears that struggling Finger Lakes taxpayers are once again being forced to subsidize a profitable business that, absent the generosity of the Seneca County IDA, most likely could have updated its facility without taxpayer cash.  Beneficiary James Coriale, a successful businessman, actually owns six McDonalds' restaurants.
"We look forward to a welcoming everyone to our grand re-opening later this year," said Coriale. Jim Coriale owns six McDonald’s Restaurants, with locations in Penn Yan and Ovid, in addition to McDonald's in Walmart locations in Camillus, Horseheads, & Watkins Glen.
We enjoy Mr. Coriale's restaurants and we congratulate him on building a successful business in one of the most anti-business climates in the US.  We just don't have any extra cash to invest right now, and it seems Tom DiNapoli may be starting to figure that out.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Honda evolution

Honda's first product, released in 1947, was the A-Type.

Where our electricity comes from

From Gannett, yesterday.
Young people from around New York state are heading to the Capitol to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban “fracking” for natural gas and lead the state toward a clean energy economy.
From our NYSEG bill, today.
Fuel Sources Used to Generate Your Electricity...
Biomass Less than 1%
Coal 11%
Hydroelectric 16%
Natural Gas 44%
Nuclear 25%
Oil 2%
Solar 0%
Solid Waste Less than 1%
Wind 1%
Total 100%
It's going to be difficult to charge those iPhones, kids!

His mandate is broad, indeed


Worried about poor results from New York's most-expensive-in-the-country public schools?  Relax, Andy Cuomo has appointed millionaire vineyard owner Richard Parsons to fix everything.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he has named leading education officials to a New York Education Reform Commission to look at ways to improve the state's school system.
Richard Parsons, the retired chairman of Citigroup, will chair the 20-member commission.
The commission's naming comes after Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed in February to a new evaluation system for teachers. He and the Legislature are also deciding whether to make teacher evaluations public.
Cuomo said the "mandate before this commission is broad."
Actually, Parsons is a man who dated a broad.
It's no secret that Citigroup board Chairman Richard Parsons has been working for months to repair the financial giant.
But, until now, even his closest associates didn't know he also was wrestling with a personal crisis - how to tell his wife and three children he has fathered a child with another woman.
Parsons and model-philanthropist MacDella Cooper are the parents of a baby girl named Ella.
Andy, if you want to be president, you'll need to man up to the teachers' unions and support school choice.