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)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Where our food actually comes from

Family farm-raised Ronald Baily explains why he doesn't care where his food comes from:
One of the great glories of modern life is the enormous elaboration of the division of labor and how the efficiencies gained from that division makes people much wealthier than they could otherwise be. Since we all don't have to stitch our own clothes, bake our own bread, compound our own medicines, or even cook our own meals, we are all much better off.
Baily's 2002 post constitutes the official South of 5 and 20 position on  the "local foods" dogma so popular here in the Finger Lakes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Israel's 64th Independence Day

Message from former Finger Lakes resident Benjamin Netanyahu.

Cuomo confused by Econ 101

Andy Cuomo poses with pal Al Sharpton

2016 Democrat presidential candidacy front-runner Andy Cuomo appears to believe that an increase in New York's minimum wage will both decrease and increase employment, at the same time, in the financially struggling Empire State.
Gov. Cuomo played footsie with a possible minimum- wage increase yesterday, calling a hike a potential job-creator.
He acknowledged the argument of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and other opponents that an increase could lead small businesses to cut jobs — especially for young, less-skilled workers.
But, he told reporters at the Capitol, “As a general rule, I don’t believe [increasing] the minimum wage costs jobs if it’s an intelligent increase. I believe it can create jobs, as a matter of fact, and create spending. The question becomes, what numbers?”
While we're at it, why don't we raise taxes again?  That should encourage more business to relocate here, right?

Increasing the cost of entry-level employees will result in fewer employment opportunities for the youngest, least skilled New Yorkers.  Candidate Cuomo needs to read up on basic economics.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Afraid of Flo? You should be.

Annoying Progressive Insurance TV flack Flo is despised by almost everyone, including Midwestern mom Stephanie Doss.  Steph is also creeped out by clowns, so we know we can trust her judgement. 

Progressive Insurance is owned by billionaire insurance heir Peter Lewis, sugar daddy to many radical leftist causes, primarily Obama's presidential campaign.  So we should not be surprised that the saccharine Flo wants you to install a big-brother "Snapshot" device that connects your car directly to Progressive's headquarters.  The pitch is that you'll get a discount on your insurance rate.  The unstated catch is that Progressive will collect a record of when and where you drive and how fast you drove to get there.  Running a little late for that gun club meeting?  Flo knows.

Of course, unlike health insurance, we still have a plethora of auto insurance providers fighting for our business, so its easy enough to keep Progressive out of your life.  It won't be so easy when's Flo's little citizen tracker becomes mandatory in 2015.  Yes, your elected representatives in Washington are planning to nationalize Flo's little pilot project.
The latest brick in the wall is the predictably named "Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act," also known as Senate Bill 1813. (See here for the full text of the bill itself; the relevant section is 31406.) This legislation -- already passed by the Senate and likely to be passed by the House -- will impose a legal requirement that all new cars made beginning with the 2015 models be fitted with so-called Event Data Recorders (EDRs). These are the "black boxes" you may have read about that store data about how you drive -- including whether you wear a seat belt and how fast you drive -- ostensibly for purposes of post-accident investigation.
Once the snoop-o-matics are in new cars, author Eric Peters is confident your older car will be next.
In fact, sure as the rooster crows in the morning, you can bet the next step will a law requiring older cars not originally fitted with the technology be fitted with it -- or else decommissioned. It is inconceivable that they -- the government and its insurance company cronies -- will allow anyone to drive a vehicle not subject to this monitoring and control. They will insist it's not "safe" -- and of course, "unfair" that owners of older cars not equipped with EDRs are able to "get away" with "speeding" and not wearing their seat belts.
With the feds planning to to roll out EDRs in 2015, cynics might suspect that the Lewis-owned Progressive's Snapshot program is not just a coincidence.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Christine's Tune

"Her number always turns up in your pocket, whenever you are looking for a dime."   Christine, a/k/a "the devil in disguise,"  The Flying Burrito Brothers, 1969.  

Question for younger fans: Under what circumstances would one find oneself "looking for a dime?"

Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Week

Iowahawk's 7th annual Earth Week Cruise-In is underway.  This year's planet-fest kicked off with the Australian F-650 family hauler pictured here.  We're sure the big Ford is "capable of being converted to biodiesel" (but don't hold your breath).

We'd love to see the Finger Lakes represented in this year's hydrocarbon extravaganza.  "Earth is in the balance" and "there's no time to waste," so get your entry in to Iowahawk today.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Levon Helm, dead at 71


Levon Helm's battle with cancer ended today.  He was 71.

Pitts rips Obama on drug war

The Finger Lakes' own Five Points prison

Overlooked in all the bruhaha generated by our one term president's recent trip to sunny Cartegena was Obama's renewed support of the government's endless war on drugs.  Leonard Pitts knocks it out of the park.
The president’s reasoning is about as sturdy as a cardboard box in a monsoon. Even he must know — who can still deny? — that the drug war has failed. When it comes to quantifying that failure, several numbers are stark and edifying:
Forty-one. That’s how many years the “War” has raged.
Forty million-plus. That’s how many Americans have been arrested.
One trillion-plus. That’s the cost.
Two thousand, eight hundred. That’s the percentage by which drug use has risen.
One-point-three. That’s the percentage of Americans who were drug addicted in 1914.
One-point-three. That’s the percentage of Americans who are drug addicted now.
One could easily conclude that the whole "war on some drugs" is nothing more than a government power-and-money grab.  We can't remember ever agreeing with Leonard Pitts on anything else, so read the whole thing.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/17/2754331/if-not-drug-legalization-what.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Levon Helm

The Band's Levon Helm is losing his decade-long battle with cancer.
Helm, 71, "is in the final stages of his battle with cancer," read a statement posted on the musician's official website by his wife Sandy and daughter Amy, the latter of whom frequently performed with him.
"Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey," the statement continued.
Levon Helm Band,  with Amy,  at the State Theater in Ithaca, March 5, 2010:

Planning to visit Rochester?

Kodak Park demolition

Finger Lakes travelers, be aware that Rochester's fastest growing revenue source is red light cameras.
Net revenues from red light tickets are three times the city’s budgeted estimates, records show — with 2½ months to go in the fiscal year.
The additional $400,000 in fines collected to date is attributable to a faster deployment of cameras and improved collections, officials said.
Forget about that antiquated right to confront your accuser in open court.  Tickets are mailed to vehicle owners, regardless of who was driving.  
Violators receive a $50 ticket in the mail. The fine jumps to $75 if not paid, and eventually the car can be booted or towed. Fines are levied against the vehicle owner, based on the license plate.
Tim's Cogitorium follows the money, and guess what?
While the city has collected $141,045 in fines so far, that’s only half the amount that’s outstanding because over 50% of the tickets remain unpaid.  Nearly 1 in 4 tickets are in default or in collections, meaning the chances of ever getting paid are slim.
But hey, $141k isn’t pocket change.  That’s a good profit, right?  It turns out, not so much.  You see, the cameras were installed and are maintained by Arizona-based vendor Redflex Traffic Systems.  Over the same period, they have billed the city $145,164 for operating the system.  Fortunately, there is a clause in the city’s contract with Redflex saying they can’t be billed more than they take in.  So, all totaled, the city has seen a net cash influx of… let me work the arithmetic out here… carry the 1… ah, yes… $0.
While the red light scam is taking money out of citizen's already depleted pockets, one Rochester guy is still doing OK.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy had a big day at Saratoga Race Course, winning $2,628 one day there last summer, his tax returns showed.
Duffy’s income in 2011, in fact, was significantly higher than his boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Their returns were released Tuesday.
Duffy earned $76,770 from his police pension — he’s the former police chief in Rochester, as well as the former mayor — and $152,823 as lieutenant governor.
Along with some investment  earnings, his and his wife’s total taxable income came to $237,995.
Upstaters should recall that Duffy is in charge of your economic development.  Does he think we live in Arizona, or Australia?  Perhaps we should all got to the track.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Solar energy thieves strike again

"Solar energy" thieves are getting bolder.  In Ohio, a gang of green jobs gonifs began dipping into the till the next day after gullible Italian investors ponied up five million bucks.
The executives of Willard & Kelsey Solar Group, a struggling solar-panel manufacturer, began lending themselves company funds the same day the firm received $5 million from a group of Italian investors, internal financial records show.
Michael Cicak, Willard & Kelsey's chairman of the board and chief executive officer, received a $40,000 loan that day. Mossie Murphy, chief financial officer at the time, received a $30,000 loan.
The loans to five company executives totaled more than $500,000 from August to October, 2008, records show. In addition, the top five executives also received payments of almost $1 million from November, 2008, through March, 2009.
In addition to the voluntary investment from sunny Italy, Willard & Kelsey also blew through over ten million Ohio taxpayer dollars.  Gullible, or complicit, Ohio government officials expected W&K to create thousands of jobs.  As of this writing, almost all of W&K's employees have been laid off.

Read all the details in the Toledo Blade's comprehensive report.  At what point to do we realize that the only difference between W&K, Solyndra, or you local BMW-driving green energy grant recipient and Bonnie and Clyde is that Bonnie and Clyde paid for their crimes the old fashioned way.

Happy Tax Day

..from Sunny, and all of us at South of 5 and 20.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to enhance your brain power

Who says medical science hasn't come up with any significant discoveries since 1955?
Drinking alcohol may enhance a person’s problem solving skills, according to a new study.
Scientists found that men who either drank two pints of beer or two glasses of wine before solving brain teasers not only got more questions right, they also were quicker in delivering correct answers, compared to men who answered the questions sober.
Pop one open and read the details here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bonnie Raitt: Right Down the Line

Right Down the Line, by the late Gerry Rafferty, from Bonnie's first studio album in seven years, Slipstream.  Click below to order, while supporting South of 5 and 20 at no extra cost!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hollywood swell wants to keep you poor

Wealthy actor Matt Damon has enlisted in the war against abundant energy.
MATT DAMON is making the dreams of environmentalists come true. The Cambridge-native-turned-Hollywood-heavyweight will star in an anti-fracking film, his reps confirm to Politico.com. “The Promised Land,” which Matt also co-wrote, is about hydraulic fracturing, the practice of extracting natural gas from shale rock.
Be sure to check out the comments on the above-linked Boston Herald piece.  Rick Moore tweets:
The "China Syndrome" of fracking?  
 h/t: BH

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tony Robbins, Iowahawk and our national debt

Self-help guru Tony Robbins wanted to get his arms around our national debt, so he turned to Midwestern blogger Iowahawk for inspiration (yes, that Iowahawk).  If you're concerned about the future of the United States, and the role your children and grandchildren will play in that future, watch Tony's video and make sure your friends do, too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No mammogram for you!

Too expensive for the proletariat?

As we transition into government run health care, we'll be getting more mainstream media news stories like this:
As many as one-quarter of breast cancers identified through routine mammography are "overdiagnosed," according to a new study that could reignite the debate about screening guidelines.
Overdiagnosis refers to cancers that are too small to be detected by means other than a mammogram and would not become lethal in a woman's lifetime.
"Overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment of nonfatal cancer creates a substantial ethical and clinical dilemma and may cast doubt on whether mammography screening programs should exist," said lead author Dr. Mette Kalager, a researcher at the Telemark Hospital in Norway and a visiting scientist at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. "This dilemma can be reduced only when potentially fatal cancer that requires early detection and treatment can be reliably identified."
Until then, Kalager said, "women eligible for screening need to be comprehensively informed about the risk for overdiagnosis."
You peasants must understand, under Norwegian-style government health care, vulnerable female citizens are spared the risk of "overdiagnosis" by simply substituting no diagnosis at all.  Bends the cost curve down, you see.

At the moment, mammogram technology is still improving, but we doubt progress can continue under federal bureaucratic control.
This machine, the Selenia Dimensions System, is becoming very popular.  It was originally made by the Hologic company in Bedford, Massachusetts but was also being developed at Mass General Hospital.  This device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration this past February and is now found in nine states.  In fact, dozens of hospitals that aided with 3D mammography trials are planning on purchasing these machines.  The most impressive finding radiologists observed is a 7% improvement in discerning the difference between cancerous and noncancerous tissue when using these machines.
Talk about a "war on women."  When will American women wake up to what the Democrats are doing to them?  So far, opposing voices are still out there, although they better watch their backs.