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)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tribe calls for "illegal" tax-free shop to be shut down

 Following up on our recent post:
An Indian group that has battled for its rights to avoid paying state and local taxes on the items it sells now wants local authorities to shut down an operation by another Indian group.
The Cayuga Indian Nation is calling on Seneca County officials to enforce state tax laws against an out-of-state tribe.
YNN has the details. 

Once again, the conflict can be immediately resolved by allowing all New Yorkers to buy and sell tax-free.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Towanda no longer a ghost town

SUV runs on pixie dust?
Economic and political conversations in the Finger Lakes tend to be dominated by academics, financially secure newcomers, and career politicians.  In other words, folks who don't need to find a job.  Local families struggling to maintain their households in a dying economy, while burdened with the nations's highest taxes, seldom have a voice in the issues of the day.  To bring a little diversity to one of the Finger Lakes' most important discussions, this blog will occasionally look at the the "other side" of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

Just a few miles south of the state line, locals in formerly destitute Towanda, PA are experiencing some of the positive effects of gas drilling.
Not so long ago, this town was just the seat of Bradford County. Now, it lies at the epicenter of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale region.
It used to be a sleepy little place on the Susquehanna River. Now, it's a boom town.
Help-wanted signs plead for waitresses, mechanics, truck drivers. Once-empty storefronts are now occupied in this hilly borough, population 3,000.
Towanda has morning and midday rush hours, thanks to the columns of trucks bearing water, sand, and drill pipe. A banner hangs outside First Liberty Bank & Trust: "Gas Rights? We can help."
"People used to call Towanda a ghost town," said Shannon Clark, a Borough Council member and real estate agent. "No more."
The Philadelphia Enquirer reports that some Bradford County business are thriving as drilling firms buy local.  A previously struggling local grocer now feeds gas workers, and that's a good thing:
Local businessman Nick Hurley runs the cafeteria at the complex, serving 700 meals a day, including lunches that workers grab on their way out the door. Hurley also provides janitorial and laundry services for the facility.
He can't believe his good fortune. His family owns two grocery stores, but business was suffering before the gas boom hit last year.
"Our backs were against the wall," said Hurley, 36.
He started catering to gas rigs, and the business kept growing. His family's companies now employ 160 people, up from 90 before the boom, including 35 at the Man Camp alone.
"This is wonderful," he said. "We grew up in kind of a repressed area. There is no way we could have built this up without natural gas."
Unemployment is dropping faster here than in any other county in Pennsylvania - the jobless rate was 6.8 percent in October, fourth best in the state, down from 8.1 percent a year ago.
Bold added.  While we already have enough "no fracking" signs here in the Finger Lakes, we could use some "help wanted" signs as well.   If you disagree, please share your thoughts in a comment.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Upstate "like farmers beating a dying horse"

Former Clinton advisor Dick Morris explains how the 2010 census confirmed that high tax states have lost population, while lower taxed states have gained. 
People vote with their feet and flee to low tax states. It's not the climate. It's the taxes.
And what better example for Morris to make his point?
While the population of New York City grew from 7.3 million in 1990 to 8.0 million in 2000 to 8.4 million in 2010, the population of upstate New York shrank dramatically.

In the past decade, 1.7 million people left New York State, the largest exodus any state experienced. Upstate New York is dying, killed by high taxes.
The New York City metropolitan area can grow despite high taxes. It is the historical center for new immigration, a glittering attraction for national migration within the United States and the foremost global city. But with no such attractions to offset its high taxes, upstate New York is experiencing catastrophic declines.
Consider the plight of Buffalo. In 1960, it had half a million people. Now it has a quarter of a million! It has lost half its population in 50 years. Yet the politicians in New York state and the other high-tax states, like farmers beating a dying horse to get it to plow one more furlough, raise taxes to squeeze one last bit of revenue from upstate before it dies.
Bold added.  Morris is a high profile commentator, but it's hard to believe that even the least visible member of the New York Legislature doesn't understand the situation.  They simply don't care.  The current status quo provides the good life in Albany, at the expense of staggering Upstate taxpayers.

Please forward this post to your representatives in Albany.  Let's see if any of them will respond.   Contact info for the Assembly.  Contact info for the Senate.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"like a foreign tribe invading our land"

An Oklahoma tribe has recently opened the second tax-free tobacco and gasoline store in Seneca Falls.  The original Indian tax-free retailer in the area, Lake Side Trading, is not at all happy with the competition, reports the Finger Lakes Times:
SENECA FALLS — A second Indian tribe-owned gas station and convenience store has opened in Seneca Falls, a move that has the leader of the Cayuga Indian Nation questioning its legality and comparing it to a foreign invasion.

Named Sky Dancer, the store at East Bayard and Stevenson streets, is owned by the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma and opened Wednesday.

The Cayuga Indian Nation purchased and opened the Lake Side Trading gas station and convenience store at Route 89 and Garden Street Extension in 2004.

Neither store charges sales tax on cigarettes or gasoline purchases, the source of ongoing federal court litigation.

The Oklahoma-based tribe is selling several brands of cigarettes it makes at its reservation cigarette-making facilities in the Miami, Okla. area, plus several name brands. The gasoline it sells is also from Oklahoma, provided by Eagle Fuels.
 Lake Side's tribal leader lets us know how he feels about the competition:
Clint Halftown, head of the Cayuga Nation, now based in Seneca Falls, is not thrilled by the new business.

“It’s wrong. They are not from here and have been in Oklahoma for a long time,“ Halftown said. “It’s like a foreign tribe invading our land. They are trespassing and I don’t think they are allowed by state tax law to sell tax-free cigarettes or gasoline.”
Emphasis added.  The New York Cayugas also operate a tax free store in King Ferry.  This development adds a new level of complexity to New York's long unresolved Indian tax issue.  

We suggest new governor Andy Cuomo remove sales tax on all gasoline and cigarettes, statewide.  This will resolve the Indian tax dispute while providing an immediate boost to New York's suffering economy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Make the economy recover?

One of the biggest obstacles to economic recovery is that politicians and the media are both focused on how government can MAKE the economy recover, rather than on how it can LET the economy recover. One of the biggest deterrents to investments, and the jobs they could create, is uncertainty as to what new bright idea will come out of Washington to change the rules in midstream.
 Dr. Sowell.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Remember when we had a real President?"

Lauren Bacall, Harry S Truman
Boom3's  comment on this historic photograph.  

Photo was taken in 1945, at a canteen for servicemen at the National Press Club.  Ms. Bacall is still working.  The piano is still at the Press Club.

The publicity stunt was not appreciated by Mrs. Truman.  We can only speculate that Mrs. South of 5 and 20 would have understood.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New York Territory?

Pioneers again?
Rand Simburg speculates about California's impending bankruptcy.  He suggests returning California's status from state to territory.  That might be the radical, but necessary, first step to rehabilitating that hopeless economic basket case.

And, oh yeah, he suggests the same for New York

Friday, December 17, 2010

Free shipping for Xmas gifts

Support this blog - use the Amazon Deals or search box on the right to order your gifts.  Order by Sunday, December 19 to get free Super Saver shipping in time for Christmas!

"Our founding fathers are no doubt spinning in their graves fast enough to provide cheap, clean, renewable power to the entire Atlantic seaboard."

Patrick Henry
By now you've probably heard about the Happy Meal lawsuit.  If you haven't, the Salt Lake Tribune explains:
After months of threats, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has sued McDonald’s Corp., alleging that its practice of giving away toys with children’s meals is deceptive advertising.
The consumer-advocacy organization generated a slew of media attention last summer when it threatened to sue McDonald’s, claiming that the toys constitute a method of circumventing parental control and teaching children unhealthy eating at an early age.
According to the complaint, filed Wednesday in the Superior Court of California for San Francisco County, "McDonald’s exploits very young California children and harms their health by advertising unhealthy Happy Meals with toys directly to them."
Additionally, "Children 8 years old and younger do not have the cognitive skills to understand the persuasive intent of marketing and advertising."
Co-plaintiff Monet Parham, a Sacramento, Calif., mother of two, said she was bringing the case because of the constant requests for McDonald’s Happy Meals.
"I don’t think it’s OK to entice children with Happy Meals with the promise of a toy," she said, adding that she tries to limit her daughters, 6 and 2, to monthly visits. But Parham said the requests increased this summer, thanks to the popularity of "Shrek Forever After" and the idea of collecting all the toys, which would require weekly visits.
What can we say about this idiocy?  Words may fail us, but not Megan McCardle:
One shudders to consider that when Patrick Henry stood up in St. John's Church and declared "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!", he was offering to exchange his life for a freedom that would then be passed down people like this . . . people who would gleefully toss that freedom away with both hands if, by so doing, they might protect themselves from the harrowing predations of . . . a cheap plastic toy.   Presumably, had he known this was coming, he would have sat his ass back down and shut up.
Bold added.  Read McCardle's piece to learn more about Monet Parham and the CSPI.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Job creation 2006 -2010

Click image to enlarge
Ed Driscoll on the Handicapper General.

Niagra Falls without water

A Connecticut family recently discovered a stash of photos taken at Niagara falls in 1969, showing the American side without any water.  In June of that year, the Corps of Engineers diverted the Niagara River's flow to allow cleanup of rock slides that had occurred in 1931 and 1954.  The recently discovered photos, along with home movie footage, were published by the U.K.'s Daily Mail.  The mail points out that this was the only opportunity to see the Falls dry in over 12,000 years.

South of 5 and 20's own staff made some Kodak images at Niagara Falls in 1954, shortly before the rock slide.  If our archivists  are able to locate the prints, they may appear on this blog.  For more info on the 1954 event, click here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


AP Top 25
1Duke 10-0
2Ohio State8-0

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shale energy driving economic boom...

... in Bee County, Texas.  Barber Louis Sanchez says traffic is up:
“Traffic is crazy here in the mornings,” Sanchez said. “I’ve seen a lot of welders and a lot of guys in suits. Business is up 30 percent to 40 percent from the first half of the year.”
Busy Beeville restaurant
There's no shortage of information on the potential hazards of shale gas drilling in the Finger Lakes.  Once again, we are allowing our elites are to control the discussion.  Daily press releases detail the horrors sure to occur if we allow any energy production in the Marcellus Shale.  "No Fracking" signs have replaced "Bush Must Go" on the front lawns of right-thinking homeowners (may of whom heat with natural gas).  Frequent educational forums provide exposure for diverse drilling opponents and righteous advocates of economic decline.  Dismissed from the discussion is the possibility that the everyday Finger Lakes schlub might benefit from a little prosperity for a change.

Vacant Finger Lakes restaurant
Drilling in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, near Dallas, has injected a dose of prosperity into Bee County, reports the Corpus Christi Caller.   Centered in Beeville, a drilling boom is driving business to restaurants, hotels, and construction firms.  These are the institutions that provide immediate employment to to the non-credentialed, non-tenured workers who suffer the most in times of depressed economic activity.   
 And when the oil and gas industry employees come to town, they need places to eat and places to sleep. By noon on weekdays, people wait in line for the buffet at The Lodge at Shorty’s Place.
Owner Ralph McMullen knows most of his customers. But lately, as his business picked up 25 percent, the customers aren’t as recognizable.
"This is a small community, and when you see tables with guys you don’t know wearing Halliburton shirts, well, you just know,” McMullen said. “Most people in the service or hospitality industries have seen their business gone up across the board. They’re saying it could go on like this for the next three years. Who knows? But I’ll take what I can get.”
After a long day, home for most oil and gas workers has become places like the El Camino Motel, where oil and gas companies book rooms for months at a time. Owner Raj Gandhi said he’s doubled his staff to four to keep up
“Some of the guys will come in for four days, then they’re relieved by a new set of guys for four days,” Gandhi said. “The cycle continues until the job is done, which I haven’t seen happen.”
Should New York at least consider the economic benefits of shale gas production, or is the case closed?  Your comments are welcome:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Amazon's best gift deals

Governor Patterson left this blog off his grant list, so we need your support.  To shop Amazon's best Christmas deals, click here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Soros, Dinosaur B-B-Q, and you

Soros: “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.”

We've recently learned that our unelected governor, David Patterson, on his way out the door, is giving half a million of our taxpayer dollars to an art museum run by a bunch of swells in the Hamptons.  We've also discovered that one of the museum's board members, David Wassong, is a key player in George Soros' organization.  Wassong also appears to be the connection that resulted in Soros' takeover over of Syracuse's own Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.  And now DinoSoros has opened a new location in Troy, again with a generous funding assist from New York taxpayers.
DinoSoros Bar-B-Que's new Troy location
According to the Troy Record, the local Industrial Development Authority ponied up over $600,000 in subsidies to the Dino project. New York taxpayers are are transferring their hard earned cash to Soros, a multi-billionare hedge fund operator.  Who is this guy who needs our money so badly that Albany will take food off our tables to oblige?

Among causes support by Soros' billions, to name just two, were the election of Barack Obama and the passage of the recent federal takeover of our healthcare.  Jim O'Neill took a hard look at Soros in the Canada Free Press:
Is it possible to lay the global financial meltdown,  the radicalizing of the Democratic Party, and America’s moral decline, at the feet of one man?
It is indeed possible.
If George Soros isn’t the world’s preeminent “malignant messianic narcissist,” he’ll do until the real thing comes along.  Move over, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.  There’s a new kid on the block
When we look at Soros' global reputation, it's no wonder Dinosaur founder John Stage wants to keep the DinoSoros arrangement hushed up.  In August, the Harlem World blog covered the opening of the Dino's Harlem store and contacted Stage:
Stage rues the day the news became public. Whenever the Soros name comes up, Stage says, he receives negative comments from customers and critical e-mails.
For more on the Soros/Wassong/Dinosaur connection, and details on the chain's ownership,  see  Harlem World's excellent post.

10/13/2011:  Welcome Free Republic readers! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finger Lakes taxpayers funding Soros executive's expensive hobbies

Patterson and Southampton swells dig, you pay
The Times Union reports that our  lame duck, governor-by-accident David Patterson has dished out $16 million to fund, among other activities deemed critical to every Finger Lakes taxpayer,
...chess tournaments in New York City, foreign trade offices in Chile and Australia, and to promote a New Jersey Super Bowl in four years with the National Football League...
 The money was approved the day after Paterson demanded the Legislature return to pare spending and assist in reducing a $315 million budget gap so this year's shortfall won't roll into next year's $9 billion deficit. The governor said he wants the Legislature to work with him to make cuts "to clear my conscience" that he had done whatever he could to spare the next administration a bigger budget mess.
Among the Patterson-selected recipients of our confiscated cash is the Parrish Art Museum in The Hamptons on Long Island.  Among the members of the Parrish's Board of Trustees is one David K. Wossong.  Wossong's day job is Managing Director of Soros Fund Management, which means he works for billionaire convicted felon George Soros.

Wossong also appears to be the connection that resulted in Soros' 2009 takeover of Syracuse's formerly beloved Dinosaur Bar-B-Que!  Per the Post Standard,
The Soros investment in the Dinosaur was never announced. In June 2009, at least a year after the sale, a reporter for the Albany Times Union discovered it in documents the Dino submitted to the Troy Industrial Development Authority.
We suspect Dave and his friends in the Hamptons could fund this museum without taking tax money coerced from struggling Finger Lakes families.  Patterson used some legal mumbo-jumbo to excuse this outrageous transfer of taxpayer's money, something about how he had no choice, blah, blah...  We call on Attorney General/Governor Elect Andy Cuomo to stop this crime wave, and all of the recipients to refuse to accept the money.

See the above-linked TU story for a complete list of the conspirators.  Stay tuned for more on Soros' Dinosaur takeover.

Friday, December 3, 2010

High speed rail "unsustainable"

"Al-ba-ny to Buff-a-lo?"

Advice for Andy Cuomo from the Chinese Academy of Sciences:
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported to the State Council recently, urging the large-scale high-speed railway construction projects in China to be re-evaluated. The CAS worries that China may not be able to afford such a large-scale construction of high-speed rail, and such a large scale high-speed rail network may not be practical.
 If you don't trust the Chinese Academy of Sciences, New York's own Megan McArdle has further analysis.

Time to try something different?

Carol Ash, advocate of failed policies

Although New York faces bankruptcy, former highly paid paid ($129,952 + benefits) State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash calls for a billion dollars in taxpayer spending on our "crumbling" state parks.  Carol's innovative solution includes both new taxes and a revival of the WPA:
Ash says with so many people unemployed, perhaps a jobs project similar to the Conservation Corps in the 1930’s could be created to fix up the parks and create jobs for carpenters, electricians and building contractors. She and the others recommend investing $1 billion dollars over the next decade, and would like to establish a new, dedicated funding stream for parks, similar to existing ones for transportation and environmental projects. 
Governor elect Andrew Cuomo has said he’ll try his best to keep the parks open, even as he faces an up to $10 billion dollar budget crisis in the new year.
Whatever can we do, Carol?  Raise the already highest taxes in the country?  Close the parks?  If only there was another option.  Let's think..... synergize.... something out-of-the-Albany-box....
Leon Cook has been playing Ely Park Golf Course since the 1960s, and he likes what's happening at the course these days.  "Over the last year, I've seen more work done and more improvements than I've seen in the last 15 years," the 70-year-old Conklin resident said.
This past season marked a change for the venerable course, as the City of Binghamton, which owns the 77-year-old facility, turned management over to a private group, Ely Park LLC.
We took a chance. We didn't know what to expect," said City Council President Martin J. Gerchman, D-2nd District, about the agreement the council authorized in January.
Now, by all accounts, the move has been a success -- rating a birdie, not a bogey, from golfers and city officials.
South of 5 and 20 humbly suggests we call these folks:  Recreation Resource Management .

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Central New York's leading export

Syracuse 78, Cornell 58
Our weather stinks, our manufacturing industries have fled, our state government  is bankrupt, but Central New York can be proud of last night's game in the Carrier Dome, between the two, local 2010 sweet-sixteen basketball programs.

They always want a quote

Don't get me started......

Dilbert by Scott Adams

Finger Lakes weather update

Our video crew hiked through this morning's driving rain to bring you this exclusive footage of South of 5 and 20 Creek.  The rain that caused this torrent has now changed to snow, predicted to fall "fast and furious," making travel "treacherous."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recommendation from Santa himself

Santa's bold statement from the outstanding Maggie's Farm, a communal blog you should visit daily, right after you read South of 5 and 20. The Farmers explain:
We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday - best deals!

Support South of 5 and 20 - click here to get Amazon's best Cyber Monday deals.  This blog will earn a little cash, which we will use to help pay New York's highest-in-the nation taxes!

Sunday in Syracuse

Some headlines from Sunday.  We await Mayor Miner's resignation.

Update: 1 1/2 year-old boy dies after being shot in Syracuse

Police say Midland Ave. shooting under investigation

Police: Two Syracuse brothers argue, stab each other

Two Syracuse teens accused of robbing four people at gunpoint

Friday, November 26, 2010

High NY taxes result in construction boom...

...in Pennsylvania.

New York's ever-increasing cigarette taxes, the highest in the country, have not provided the revenue windfall our rulers were expecting.  The New York Post reports:
Sales of taxed cigarettes have plummeted 27 percent since July, when state lawmakers raised the excise tax to $4.35 a pack on top of the city's tax of $1.50, making the average price of Marlboros here $11.60, with some shops charging as much as $14.
But every cloud of cigarette smoke has a silver lining.  Tobacco shops on the Pennsylvania side of the NY/PA line are booming as tax-avoiding New York smokers stock up for less.
Where there's smoke there's profit in Westfall and Matamoras, Pa.
In a two-mile strip of Route 6/209, from Westfall to the Port Jervis bridge, there are eight — count 'em, eight — tobacco shops, with two more on the way.
New Yorkers looking to escape that state's $4.35-a-pack cigarette tax cross the Delaware River for Pennsylvania's per-pack cigarette tax of $1.60.
"There's lots of call for it. This is cigarette haven, I guess," said Matamoras Mayor Richard Gassmann. "I wish we had a variety of businesses, but we don't."
Tobacco King, next to the Westfall Fire Department, opened last week, and manager Jimmy Patel is confident the business will do well.
"This is the golden period to make a profit," Patel said. He compared tobacco shops to gas stations. Consumers will go to the one in the neighborhood offering the lowest price, even if the savings are just pennies.
More on the PA construction boom in the Pocono Record.  Previous discussion here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

One more Upstate district turns red

Buerkle in downtown Syracuse
 The Post Standard is reporting that Ann Marie Buerkle will defeat Obama/Pelosi lap dog Dan Maffei in NY-25.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stop apppointing commissions

Another deficit reduction commission has now made its recommendations. My own recommendation for dealing with deficits would include stopping the appointment of deficit reduction commissions.
Economist and philosopher Dr. Thomas Sowell explains how politicians will use the "Deficit Reduction Commission" to increase government spending and raise your taxes:  Deficit Reduction.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Modern is better

Whether it's food, shelter, or medicine, we've arrived at the current state of technology because it's proved better than whatever it replaced.  Millions of free people make individual decisions to maximize their own happiness.  Our servants in industry struggle to give us what we demand.  The results of this process of free choice gives us a selection of foods in our local supermarkets that is the envy of the rest of the world.

So, of course, our self-anointed elites tell us we're all wrong, and try to force us to allow them to make our choices for us.  They prefer we pay more for old-technology products, because the elites feel "they're better."  When it comes to beef, however, John Stossel points out Natural Isn't Always Better
Once again, modern technology saves money and is better for the earth. By stuffing the feedlot animals with corn, farmers get them to grow faster. Therefore they can slaughter them sooner, which is better for the earth than letting them live longer and do all the environmentally damaging things natural cows do while they are alive.
"Absolutely right," Capper said. "Every single day, they need feed, they need water, and they give off methane nitrous oxide -- very potent greenhouse gases that do damage."
But what about damage to people? Some advocates of grass-fed beef claim that the more naturally raised animals are healthier to eat.
"There is absolutely no scientific evidence based on that. Absolutely none," she replied. "There is some very slight difference in fatty acids, for example, but they are so minor that they don't make any significant human health impact."
But what about those hormones the cows are given? Surely that cannot be good for us.
"What we have to remember is every food we eat -- whether it's tofu, whether it's beef, whether it's apples -- they all contain hormones. There's nothing, apart from salts, that doesn't have some kind of hormone in them."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Quick small victories"

Instapundit reader  Richard Samuelson forwards some excellent suggestions for the new Congress:
How about pushing for a some quick small victories?
Repeal the ban on the incandescent bulb.
Repeal the limit on the size of toilet tanks in our homes.
Those are the first two that come to mind for me. I am sure there are many others.

Little Deuce Coupe

No album cover car photo can top the shot of the stacked headlight beauty on The Beach Boys' 1963 release "Little Deuce Coupe".  Many of Detroit's styling advances first appeared on custom cars and hot rods, only to be copied by the major design studios.  A few years after this album hit #4 on the national charts, stacked headlights became a Pontiac trademark.  Check out this '65 Catalina:

And, of course, this.
The Deuce on the album cover belonged to Clarence Catallo, who as a teenager in Detroit bought the car for $75.  Clarence eventually moved to Southern California and went to work for George Barris.  The album cover photo was originally taken for the cover of a 1961 edition of Hot Rod Magazine.  An excellent investigation of the Ford's history and cultural context is available at the New York Times: Surfers Met Rodders, and a Genre Was Born . We recommend you click.

Rules for the Blues

Jake and Ellwood
You got to know the rules before you can sing the blues.  See the complete list in Comrade Whoopie's comment at The People's Cube (third comment).
5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or SUV's. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a
major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.
10. Good places for the Blues: a. highway b. jailhouse c. empty
bed d. bottom of a whiskey glass Bad places: a. ashrams
b. gallery openings c. Ivy League institutions d. golf courses

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taxes up, revenue down

WSYR-TV explains Economics 101:
The governor wants legislators to return to Albany and balance the budget before the end of his term. Some of the $315 million budget gap come from lower-than-anticipated cigarette sales tax revenue, despite a tax increase last July.

Many smokers have quit, and many are taking advantage of the tax free status of cigarettes enjoy on reservations.

"I just go to the reservation now and get them instead of buying them downtown where it's maybe a little more inconvenient," said smoker Leanne Harper.

Lawmakers increased the tax in order to quickly raise more revenue for the cash-strapped state, but it seems to have backfired.

In June, 48 million packs of cigarettes were sold. The month after the tax hike, the total dropped to almost 29 million.

That number remained level through October. The drop parallels a previous decrease in 2008, when the state hiked the tax by $1.25.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you, veterans!

Town of Veteran, NY
Organized by an act to the legislature of N.Y. State, in 1823, The Town of Veteran was formed from the town of Catherine in Schuyler County.  Green Bently, a native of Rhode Island and a veteran of the Revolution, was the first settler.  The town was named "Veteran" in his honor.

Will the bullet train connect with the high speed ferry?

RIP 2004 -20007
The New York DOT held a meeting in Rochester this week to push high speed rail.  Rochester's party-line Democrat spendthrift made the usual pitch:
According to Representative Louise Slaughter, the project will create jobs and boost the economy.
"Economically, I think we can only begin to count the blessings we're going to get from this train," Slaughter told reporters during a press conference before the meeting.
It's beyond parody that Louise is pushing high speed rail in Rochester, where taxpayers are still recovering from the multi-million dollar fleecing they took on the high speed ferry scam.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pataki for President

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) is weighing a bid for president in 2012, he said in an interview on ABC's "Top Line" on Monday.
"Just look at the state I ran, sure, we're bankrupt, but California's worse."  Dennis Rivera could be his campaign chairman:
Exactly how much damage have Pataki's deals with Rivera done to the state's health-care system? A recent study by the Data Advantage consulting group found that New York's hospitals collectively ring up the second-highest average bills of any state in the nation—$6,204 per hospitalization, or 30 percent above the national mean, even after adjusting for the severity of cases New York hospitals treat
Meanwhile, the state spent $7.4 billion in 1999 on hospitalized Medicaid patients, or $4,180 per patient, compared with $9.2 billion, or just $2,377 per patient, in Texas and California combined.
As costs have soared, the ranks of the uninsured have swelled from 13.5 percent of the state's population in 1990 to 18.5 percent by decade's end.
New York State's health-care-cost explosion has left many individuals unable to afford insurance, and it has made businesses, especially small ones, unable to offer it. The typical family policy offered by small businesses in New York these days costs between $5,000 and $6,000 per year, depending on deductibles.
No wonder that the state's small businesses listed health-care costs as the No. 1 impediment to economic growth in a poll by Rochester's Center for Governmental Research.
This from Steve Malanga back in 2001.  That family policy now costs New Yorkers $13,164.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

All aboard!

Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo made a pitch Friday to snatch $1.26 billion in high-speed rail money from incoming Republican governors who don't want it.  In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Cuomo said New York would be happy to grab the federal funding that Govs.-elect John Kasich (R-Ohio) and Scott Walker (R-Wis.) campaigned against.
"High-speed rail could be the 21st Century Erie Canal for New York State," with bullet trains zipping from New York City to Buffalo, Toronto and Montreal in the future, Cuomo said.
 Insanity per Daily News.  For previous discussion of this scam, click here.

Seafood tonight?

Fish Pier, Boston
Fresh seafood served in the Finger Lakes may have come ashore here.  If you're in the neighborhood, a good place to get some fresh air.  Just try to look like you work there.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Solar plant closes, you pay

One billion dollars

The federal government has "invested" billions of our tax dollars in questionable solar energy projects.  One of those "investments" is in California solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, Inc. Facing strong price pressure from Chinese competitors, Solyndra will close a factory and release up to 190 workers. The LA Times reports:
The company said Wednesday that it is shuttering one of its factories to save $60 million in capital expenditures, laying off 40 employees and letting the contracts for more than 100 temporary workers expire.
All this despite a $535-million federal loan guarantee, more than $1 billion in private equity funds and supportive visits from luminaries such as  Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and President Barack Obama.
The NY Times places the total layoffs closer to 190.  

In July, Ed Lasky looked into Solyndra's financing and learned that the Chinese price competition situation was known long before the feds forked over the subsidies.  Yet, they moved ahead anyway, effectively handing over bundles of taxpayer cash to wealthy investors, including one George Kaiser.
One of the biggest investors in the company was Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser - a big bundler for the Obama-Biden campaign. Not to worry for Mr. Kaiser. The administration is looking to extend hundreds of millions of dollars in additional loans (our money) to the venture.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hanna ousts Arcuri in 24th

Richard Hanna and supporter
Congratulations to Richard Hanna, winner in the 24th congressional district.  While Richard will not take his seat until January, he's already provided a valuable service to the Finger Lakes and the nation by sending Michael Arcuri to early retirement.

Richard can count an South of 5 and 20 to provide helpful advice during his first Congressional term.  We'll start out with an easy one.  We need to abandon this perennial money pit immediately (to quote from Arcuri's re-election platform):   
Calling it the “Erie Canal of our time” he has been a loud, vocal proponent of high speed rail.
In Monday's Washington Post, columnist Robert J. Samuelson provided a succinct lesson in the absurdity of Arcui's party line porkfest:
Let's suppose that the Obama administration gets its wish to build high-speed rail systems in 13 urban corridors. The administration has already committed $10.5 billion, and that's just a token down payment. California wants about $19 billion for an 800-mile track from Anaheim to San Francisco. Constructing all 13 corridors could easily approach $200 billion. Most (or all) of that would have to come from government at some level. What would we get for this huge investment?
Not much. Here's what we wouldn't get: any meaningful reduction in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, air travel, oil consumption or imports. Nada, zip. If you can do fourth-grade math, you can understand why.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marine drama on Keuka Lake

A fine looking craft

Former dinner cruise vessel and current floating controversy, the Keuka Maid ran aground on Keuka Lake Monday, drawing the attention of law enforcement, the courts, and protesters on the shore.  Gwen Chamberlain tells the tale at the Chronicle-Express.

Strangely enough, Mrs. South of 5 and 20 was crewing on another boat that ran aground in that very same lake several years earlier.  Mariners beware.

Election day: confiscate your 401K?

Teresa Ghilarducci wants your 401K
It's a golden autumn day in the Finger Lakes.  Enjoy the view as you head to the fire hall, school, church, Legion, highway barn, auto showroom, library, village hall, town hall, or wherever you vote today.

Before you mark your ballot, please be aware of a hearing held in Congress down in Washington, DC on October 7.   A scheme to confiscate tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as your 401K, has been around since the Clinton administration.  After today's election, lame duck Democrats may have the opportunity to make this happen. 
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee heard from hand-picked witnesses advocating the infamous "Guaranteed Retirement Account" (GRA) authored by Theresa Guilarducci....
In a nutshell, under the GRA system government would seize private 401(k) accounts, setting up an additional 5% mandatory payroll tax to dole out a "fair" pension to everyone using that confiscated money coupled with the mandated contributions.  This would, of course, be a sister government ponzi scheme working in tandem with Social Security, the primary purpose being to give big government politicians additional taxpayer funds to raid to pay for their out-of-control spending.
Before you vote, read the rest at Humans Events, and be sure to listen to Mark Levin's interview with Professor Guilarducci.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

What are those Duke boys up to now?

1968 Dodge Charger
Our Southern Tier correspondent provides a photo of his new ride. 

"a semi-criminal enterprise run out of Manhattan"

Let's face it - the territory South of 5 and 20 has survived the last twenty years on public employment, the crumbs from Albany's bloated spending.  Now that our state and local governments are facing bankruptcy, that chicken has crossed the road.  Our decimated private sector can no longer support Albany's demands more and more tax money, so even public employment is shrinking.  In the past year we've suffered the latest symptom: long established restaurants are suddenly in trouble, or in many cases have already shut down.

Writing in the Manhattan Institute's City Journal, Fred Seigel makes a good attempt to explain why us hicks are so angry:
Nationally, most Tea Partiers look favorably on their state governments, but upstaters often consider Albany a semi-criminal enterprise run out of Manhattan. No wonder: the state’s executive-level leadership—its governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general—all hail from the New York City metro area, while upstate New York contains nine of the ten counties in America paying the highest property taxes as a percentage of home values...
 A patch of another upstate region, the Southern Tier, resembles Appalachia in its poverty. 
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