Friday, March 31, 2006

A Long Winless War

Over at Free New York “Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. (read more) .

One quick observation. When's the last time you heard someone call us a Republic? (out side of Libertarian circles)

Besides the points brought up in Endless War, several others can be made in ending this senseless war. One of which is the damage done to Central and South America, right now the governments of several countries are barely holding on due to the power of the cartels. These cartels are a direct result of our war on drugs, just as the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) gave birth to the mob, gangsters and the Kennedy’s.

Another reason, brought up mostly by economist, is by illegalizing drugs you have created a black market. This in turn attracks less then honest businessmen, being you needn't have a desire to obey the law. Some say that this is one reason drug related crimes are high, there is no legal process you can go through if you feel a "deal" has gone bad. In other words dealers and customers have no recourse but take the law into their own hands.

Also, this war artificially inflates the price of the drug, being it is more risky to produce and deliver. Related to this, is the supply continuously being reduced by seizure. With these high prices the users must find ways of getting the money, alas, carjackings, home invasions, ECT. With this in mind when’s the last time you saw a Wine-O rob a store? Never or rarely, could it be because the price of his "DRUG" is low due to it being legal? Therefore all he has to do is pick up a bunch of cans for his daily fix.

Now I'm not saying all drugs should be legalized all at once. I have several friends who have been in the "drug culture", okay more the several. But some you could even say have been "On the Bus" more then off. And with some of the stories I've been told and witnessed I'd be hesitant to legalize all drugs at once. But then looking at Amsterdam and other countries with liberal drug policies, it makes one wonder if legalizing most would be best. Or, in true "States Rights" form allow each State to decide.

Paying the Price for Fiscal Restraint

Today's Gazette had a front page article "Court Dates Loom in Library Fight" (Sorry no link to the article) about the library board of trustees taking the city to State Supreme Court over funding $93,891.

"We did not order books as we normally would have ordered books because we did not want to extend ourselves in this time of uncertainty." So said Trustee Hamilton. Wow fiscal restraint by a government entity, impressive!

and the ball goes over the net

"The basic thing was that the court said to continue paying their bills, and we paid all of their bills that occurred during the year" Assistant city corporate counsel O'Donnell said.

So you put the two together and you get something like this:

We paid the bills they made, it's not our fault they didn't spend like the rest of the city. They should know better then to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer money. After all who the hell do they think they are, it's not like it's their money.

Now several rants pop into this small angry brain of mine after reading the whole article. My last post "Or when you hit a pothole or hear how the library must cut back hours, remember what great prices are at the bocce courts."

A new government intity with the power to tax (or create a new one) Several former and current trustees have stated that the only way to stabalize the library's finances would be to create a special district library that would operate apart from the city and would be funded through a separate tax. Oh yes that's what we need! Though the trustees seem to be the responsible spenders in the city. Why not let them run the whole city.

Hamilton said the library's budget falls victim to other city services like police and fire when money is tight and "public safety funding is a fear that best plays with the people." Now why did he go and say that, what about all the wasteful spending in the city, the funded pipe dreams that fail and on and on, geez, why do they always blame the two most important things for the problems. Is the waste like the half brother chained in the basement nobody wants to talk about. So everyone talks about the A student?

Priorities........Needs vs. Wants

The Niagara Falls Council repealed the user fees on the city pools and reduced them on the Golf Course and Bocce Courts. Story in Gazette

Councilmen Fruscione said “Kids that need the pool, they don’t have that kind of money”. What a buck? How many kids in this city can’t buy a pop at the store in the summer?

One of the problems with this area is people don’t understand the difference between the words need and want. I need food, I want prime rib. As a taxpayer I don’t need the pool, but I do need my hard earned money. A pool with high property taxes is not going to attracted people to move here.

What percentage of residents, use the bocce courts? If $25 is “too steep” for gravel bocce courts close them and use the gravel to fill some potholes on Pine Ave. Better yet, those seniors who have a hard time walking to get their mail, force them to off set the cost, through property taxes.

Nothing says you’ve arrived like going to the club for some golf. But the course is just way to expensive for the poor huddled masses. After all at least a majority of, what, 5 percent use it? At times forgoing food and medical attention, just so they can afford the most necessary part of life “golf”. So I’m sure every taxpayer in the city will agree that the golf course needs to be subsidized. Let us take $243,943 out of the budget, yes almost a quarter million dollars. Why? Because the golfers “deserve a deal”. Who needs well-paved roads? It’s not like tourist use them. Who needs a police force or fire department?

So the next time you hear that we’re cutting back on police overtime, cool off at the pool for free. Or when you hit a pothole or hear how the library must cut back hours, remember what great prices are at the bocce courts. When you get your city tax bill, right after coming home from getting your front end aligned, just do what Tiger would do.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Unspeakable Truth

At America's North Coast, Craig Howard brings the point up that small tax cuts are fine for those that make small money. BUT, it's the big money makers that bring home the bacon and we need to keep at home(NY).

Though it's an invitation to have your head chopped off in NY to even suggest giving the rich back what they've earned, I'm glad he said it. It's refreshing to hear someone that believes they (the rich), are the shakers and movers and without them we'd be rubbing sticks together to heat our home. But not until an environmental impact study was conducted. Oh and make sure it's not a stick from a historically significant tree either.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

So ya wanna be like Europe?

The Free NY Blog posted Slippery Slop.

So why do you hear people screaming "we're the only industrial nation not to (fill in the blank) . Their Post just reinforces my thankfulness that we are the only Industrial nation not to (fill in the blank).

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Someones Treacherous Journey

Bill Fundis oF Niagara Falls wrote the following letter to the gazette that they printed on the 19th of March

The treacherous journey to ...

PennsylvaniaI left New York state for a while March 13, and I’m just glad I made it back alive. I was in a ruthless society, where people could smoke inside buildings, talk on their cell phones while driving, buy fireworks, stun guns and pepper spray, ride their motorcycles without helmets and even get away without having to pay sales tax on the clothes that they buy. There were probably other wanton acts being performed there that I didn’t see or realize, like letting a parking meter run out for 15 or 20 seconds, but I was just looking out for people doing the aforementioned things and steering clear of them.Of course, I’m talking about our neighbor to the south, Pennsylvania.

As I approached the Pennsylvania border, I didn’t know what to expect. I never felt so vulnerable and unsafe. New York state does such a good job of protecting me from myself that when I left that environment, I didn’t know how to act. I don’t smoke, use fireworks, pepper spray, stun guns or ride helmetless, but I wanted to, just for that day, to see if I would survive.

Going home, as I approached the border of New York state, I began to get nervous. I started to feel choked. Was I on the cell phone? Thank God I wasn’t! I made it to the border alive.

As I left those toll-free, well-maintained Pennsylvania highways, I started wondering if there was anything that I bought there that I could possibly claim on my New York state income tax form to help my state squeeze more tax dollars out of me. Unfortunately, there wasn’t. As I gladly paid my tolls at the Ogden and Grand Island toll barriers, leaving those toll-free road behind me, I knew I was back to safety. As my trailer bounced happily all over the “well-maintained” roads that I pay tolls and taxes for, I breathed a sigh of relief. I don’t have to think for myself anymore. New York state will do that for me.

Clap, Clap, Clap........

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

But what do I know?

All the talk about the Moses Robert Parkway reminded me about a PBS show that actually talked about the guy and what he did. It showed how he was one of, if not thee mastermind of the bypass/thruway system around cities. It went into how this contributed to "urban sprawl and the decline of the cities, how the middle class moved out creating a severe drop in the money flowing within these half abandoned neighborhoods causing shops to closing. Which in turn hurt the working poor that had moved into these neighborhoods.

Though the Robert Moses isn't the major cause of Niagara Falls' woes it certainly is a contributor. Many businessmen in the city are quick to point out that it diverts traffic from the cities business district. Now why anyone would want to avoid our fine roads is beyond me, my broken transmission mount had nothing to do with that little pothole on Pine Ave. Ripping the whole thing up from the Grand Island Bridge into the city and from the city out to Niagara University would divert the traffic onto Hyde Park Blvd, Main, Buffalo, and Pine. I'd just feel guilty with the damage these roads will do to cars.

Erie County has raised their sales tax. Niagara Falls could look into lowering the sales tax within certain areas along with lowering the property taxes on shops and business'. These two acts could stimulate growth. Some problems are still there such as several individuals owning a large portion of the downtown area but only sitting on the properties (speculating). To raise "revenue" that has been lost to the previous cuts and to encourage the improvement of deteriorated properties impose a "blight" tax within these areas, say every month, $1,000 per sq foot of plywood on windows.

Seems the biggest hurtle within the city is the city itself, meaning the government. The only ones that seem to be able to get anything done are those that know someone. I'm a big fan of Ayn Rand, one character John Galt was asked by a government official what they could do to help him. His reply says it all "Get out of the way". I've had several friends approach the city about buying vacant city buildings and start their ideas for bussiness’ and every one of them heard the phrase "It's not what we have in mind". Plywood is? Here's an idea, the next city official to spew that phrase must bank roll what they do have in mind, not with tax money but with their own personal bank account. Allow the people willing to risk their own money on something to do so the way they see fit. With all the failed pipe dreams and big promise fix alls the city has thrown taxpayer money at, maybe it's time to let those who built the city to it's glory days, do so again. Who? The Individual, and get the hell out of the way.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Curtis Gorkey a city of Lodi, Ca. employee backed a city dump truck into his own car, so he decides to sue the city. The case gets thrown out so his wife tries to sue.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Job hunting online gets trickier

New federal guidelines meant to standardize how employers track data on the diversity of their job-applicant pool are taking effect - similar rules will kick in later this year at U.S. companies with more than 50 employees. And resumes and search approaches that worked perfectly well before may no longer do the trick.

Why the hell is the federal government regulating resumes?

Next week ....... Congress regulates minute rice cooking time.

Geez! 1, 2 ,3 , 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9........

Red States and Blue Cities

Right after the last Presidential election all kinds of maps with red and blue on it surfaced. My favorite was the one by county rather then by State. I found the following article interesting.

The Real Engine of Blue America
Steven Malanga

Is it really true that America is politically divided between conservative “Red” states in the southern and middle sections of the country and liberal “Blue” states on both coasts? Not exactly: a close look at the district-by-district voting patterns of the coastal states in the 2004 elections brings into crystal-clear focus the real nature of our political divisions. There’s really no such thing as a Blue state—only Blue metropolitan regions. Indeed, the electoral maps of some states that went for John Kerry in 2004 consist mostly of Red suburban and rural counties surrounding deep Blue cities.

Even in NY which is assurd to go with the Democrat's Presedental canidate, we have a Senate controled by the Republicans.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Old Lesson - New Solution

When I was a teenager I would on occasion come in later then my curfew would allow. My parents would promptly ground me, taking away my privilege to go out. They didn’t try to limit who I went out with, where, or limit the time allocated. They saw the root cause of my lateness as being able to go out and not responsible enough to regulate myself.

This came to mind with the recent “Jack Abramoff Scandal” and lobbying in general. Reading pundits and letters to the news, all kinds of ideas on how to “fix” this are proposed. But what is the root cause? Is it money? Is it the special interests? Both fore mentioned, are here to stay. We all have our own interests and each one feels theirs special. No one has pointed out the combination of the ability of Congress to pass whatever law they fancy and the exuberant amount of taxpayer’s money they have at their disposal. Limit their power to make laws and reduce their share of the taxpayers money and you’ll go a long way in discouraging lobbyists. Why do businesses spend millions and other special interest groups lobby? Could it be the return for their money is greater, weather in funds, grants, tax breaks, or even enforcement of ideology in the form of laws.

Some would say that the abuse comes from the need for campaign money. This is partially true, yet the problems public funding would cause greatly reduce the benefits. Some questions that would never be satisfactorily answered are; How much and who gets it? Third, fourth, fifth parties? What organization would control it? The two major parties in control now? Funding would become just as political as it is now if not worse. Examples can be seen in the controlled debates, which resemble infomercials or the redistricting process. It would be naive to think either party would relinquish their control and power.

If we as citizens would be content to allow individuals or small groups to decide what was best for them rather then one huge cookie cutter, we could go along way not only in reducing corruption in the capitol but also in healing the so called “divide” within our country. Time and time again you hear how we get along less as a whole nation, and some long for the “good ole days”. You hear a lot about blue and red states, liberal, conservative, and other conflicts. Could the cause be that it is a winner take all contest, that when we pressure the Federal government to impose our ideologies on others that disagree, we ourselves are creating the conflict. Weather left or right, liberal or conservative, blue or red none have the right to impose their beliefs on others. A small minority with little or no voice sees little difference between an all encompassing democracy and a forceful mob. The only difference is the right to defend ones self against a mob.

Friday, March 10, 2006

So that's why they say I'm a Closet Republican

You Are Mr. Burns

Okay, so you're evil...

You have big plans to rule the world, and you'll destroy it in the process if necessary!

You will be remembered for: the exploitation of the masses

Life philosophy: "One dollar for eternal happiness? I'd be happier with the dollar."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why are business' leaving NY

The Tax foundation might be on to something.

(A nonpartisan educational organization, the Tax Foundation has earned a reputation for independence and credibility. However, it is not devoid of perspective. All Tax Foundation research is guided by the following principles of sound tax policy, which should serve as touchstones for good tax policy everywhere)

Could Taxes have a direct efffect on a Company staying in NY?

The ten worst states in the SBTCI are as follows:

41. Arkansas
42. Iowa
43. Nebraska
44. Kentucky
45. Maine
46. Vermont
47. Ohio
48. Rhode Island
49. New Jersey
50. New York

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

You gotta have a membership card to get inside

After voting at the polls on the 28th of February, I asked how I would go about volunteering to help out. I was given the number to the Niagara County Board of Elections, which I called the next morning. After giving my name I was told since the records showed I was registered as “other” I would not be permitted to work, only Democrats and Republicans are allowed to. I asked (out of curiosity) who made these decision and was told the presidents of the Democrat and Republican parties in Niagara County.

Not only could one question the wisdom in the two major powers controlling the elections (Florida and Ohio), but also the constitutionality of excluding any opposing political parties. Not allowing independents and third party members who are not servants of the ruling parties, to even assist in polls, is not only an insult to them, but to all New Yorkers. When I was in 6th grade a teacher once said that the U.S.S.R. had elections and could be argued to be a democracy, controlled by one party. “The People” who wished to participate in the government where told to become loyal party members, those who refused found themselves completely shut off. This became true even in the private sector where relatives and the well connected where given the contracts, and miles of red tape tracks would be “greased”. But that was the Soviet Union. that couldn’t happen here?

Thomas Jefferson once said “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all”. It is ironic that the Board of Elections would refuse Thomas Jefferson a seat at the poll.