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."