All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who will appear at the End of Days. A common rumour - denied by the government but widely believed - is that Mr Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a "contract" pledging themselves to work for the return of the Mahdi and sent it to Jamkaran.
Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.
He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.
Mr Ahmadinejad appears to believe that these events are close at hand and that ordinary mortals can influence the divine timetable.
The prospect of such a man obtaining nuclear weapons is worrying. The unspoken question is this: is Mr Ahmadinejad now tempting a clash with the West because he feels safe in the belief of the imminent return of the Hidden Imam? Worse, might he be trying to provoke chaos in the hope of hastening his reappearance?
This guy having the ability to have nukes? He is a direct and serious threat to the National Security of the world at this point.
What a day, my mail box was full of articles coming in from Albany. This first article is by far the most telling and is almost if not equeal to the report last year that labeled Albany the most dysfunctional in the country. I am going tosave this whole report in another page so this link doesn't go dead on us.
By JACOB GERSHMAN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 12, 2006
The Manhattan Institute, in a major report released yesterday, sounded the alarm about what it describes as the deteriorating condition of New York, a state that it says is burdened by bloated spending and borrowing and is pushing away frustrated residents. The group is challenging how the state is governed in a way that is reminiscent of its policy battles that shaped the fate of New York City in the 1990s.
"Empire State government has become an industry run for the benefit of the few rather than in service to the many," the report states. "This monolithic industry churns relentlessly in Albany to preserve and expand its power over New York's economy and citizens. Efforts to reduce the swelling in New York's government sector are fiercely resisted by the powerful interest groups — especially public-sector unions, trial lawyers, healthcare providers, and other state-subsidized industries — that have become most adept at gaming the system in Albany."
Responding to the report, leaders in Albany insisted that its bleak portrayal of New York is grossly inaccurate. The governor's office said the facts prove that New York is in better shape than when Mr. Pataki took the reins in 1995. A spokesman for Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the Assembly and a Democrat of Manhattan, said the expansion of the Democratic majority in the Assembly in recent elections showed that the policies pushed by Mr. Silver "resonate" with New York voters.
Some one needs to yank those earplugs out of his ears, we have been screaming for reform, relief from his oppresive government for years and years. One of the problem is we have a bunch of spineless democrats in the assembly that just jump at his demands and his threats and do exactly what he tells them to do. Or does he have a huge gun that he points at their foreheads? I can only wonder.
Just some highlights below.
New York's share of total personal income in America fell by 10%
its share of economic output in America declined by 12%,
local personal income taxes in New York was below the national average by 20%
New York has seen its budget grow by 28% since 2001
we can expect additional growth of another 23% by 2008
New York's "sprawling network of public and private hospitals,"
resulting in per-capita hospital spending that is three times the national average.
New York State public schools hired 75,000 more employees between 1982-1983 and 2001-2002, without significant changes to student enrollment.
Accompanying the high rate of spending is one of the highest levels of borrowing in the nation.
New York's state debt burden for each person is second to Alaska's in the country, and in 2005, New York owed bondholders $48.2 billion, a 236% increase since 1990, according to the report.
The high rate of taxes and spending has contributed to the state's population decline
Between 1995 and 2004, the number of New York residents fell by 1.7 million residents
41% of New Yorkers said they had considered moving from New York State in the past year;
58% said they were dissatisfied with the performance of their state government
Need I say any more? I couldn't agree more, this state is doomed if we don't change Albany this year! Time for Primary Challenge candidates to contact us. We need candidates across this state to take on the corrupt political machine in Albany, Please contact me.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York is in danger of being sued by the federal government over continuing delays in bringing new voting machines to the state and complying with other requirements of the Help America Vote Act, officials said Thursday.
And a spokesman for the state Board of Elections said New York is so far behind in meeting the federal requirements that localities across the state may have to trot out their old lever-action voting machines this year for at least one more election cycle.
New York has failed to compile a statewide, computerized list of registered voters, Kim noted.
Adoption of legislation to comply with the HAVA requirements was delayed in the state Legislature until last year because of partisan bickering between Republicans who control the state Senate, Democrats who rule in the Assembly and Republican Gov. George Pataki.
Thus far, New York has received $220 million in federal funds to help comply with HAVA requirements.
They have most likely spent the money on a friends and family plan and it has turned up in their campaign warchests..
Nearly two-thirds of New York State voters think Gov. George Pataki and leaders of the State Legislature put self-interest and special interest groups ahead of what's best for the general public, according to a new poll released yesterday.
In the survey, conducted last month by the Siena College Research Institute, 65 percent of registered voters statewide said Pataki "primarily represents" his own interest or that of groups such as labor unions, trial lawyers and businesses. Twenty-six percent said the three-term Republican governor represents voters' interests.
The response was virtually identical for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick), who together were judged by 67 percent of respondents to put self-interest and the agendas of special interests ahead of voters' concerns. Only 17 percent said the legislative leaders give primacy to constituents' concerns.
Silver's spokeswoman, Eileen Larrabee, added that his policies "resonate with voters," who've given the Democrats a record 105 seats in the Assembly.
There it is again, I suppose if you say it enough the dumb may start to beleive you..
Clarence Norman Jr., Democratic head of the most populous county in New York City, has been convicted of three felony counts of stealing money and of concealing money from his campaign treasury. Felonies for which he was adjudged guilty automatically removed him from the State Assembly, New York State Bar and his leadership in all boroughs.
He was the heir possible to the state leadership post held by Assemblyman Sheldon Silver of Manhattan. It was the most powerful post attained by a Black in New York State government.
For the three current convictions Norman could serve up to eight years. There are three other indictments for which Norman is to go on trial next month. All of the indictments have been about the improper use of money by Norman. Convictions on all other charges could bring up to ten years in prison. Clarence Norman has been in the State Legislature since 1982.
Heir Apparent, does this tell you anything about the shining example Silver is setting..
In his final State of the State address last week, Governor Pataki called for a wide array of tax cuts. While overdue and necessary, tax cuts alone are insufficient to cure what ails the Empire State. Real fiscal reform means trust-busting "Albany Inc.," the special-interest conglomerate that has been running-and ruining-the state's economy.
New York's political class taxes, spends and borrows far more than the national average, consistently ranking at or near the top of the list in every measure of the burden governments impose-ranking first or second among the 50 states since 1970.The state budget has expanded 28% since the spring of 2001 - a period that saw the worst downturn in tax collections since the Depression. Over the next few years, state spending is set to climb another 23%, much of it going to debt service. So despite a recent rise in tax revenues, Albany faces multi-billion-dollar budget shortfalls as far as the eye can see.
Another good article..
No Republican has stirred interest, admiration or anger within the party quite like Mr. Golisano, given his history of creating jobs upstate and reviving the Buffalo Sabres on the one hand and, on the other, of running three times against his fellow Republican, Gov. George E. Pataki, and attacking him relentlessly.
In recent weeks Mr. Golisano has met with the influential Republican Party leader Robert Davis in Buffalo to discuss the race; raised his political profile by attending a Sabres hockey game with former President Bill Clinton; and allowed word to spread that his new wife, who had been said to oppose a race, was now comfortable with his running.
In addition, in the final days of 2005, Mr. Golisano sold more than 500,000 shares, worth about $20 million, of stock in his company, Paychex. Several Republicans said the sale might be a sign that Mr. Golisano was liquidating a sliver of his corporate holdings to have cash on hand for a bid for governor.
"Golisano would have some serious issues to get over, like attacking the party, attacking the governor," Mr. Minarik said.
Republicans close to Mr. Pataki, who has chosen not to seek a fourth term, are still seething with anger at Mr. Golisano's previous bids, and they have said that Mr. Pataki might even endorse a Democratic candidate if Mr. Golisano won the party's nomination.
Yet some friends and allies of Mr. Golisano said he would be a different sort of candidate this year, in large part because his life is much different from what it was in 2002, a result of his marriage, his involvement with the Sabres, and his transfer of day-to-day management of Paychex.
He is running and I will help campaign for him!
When the Erie County control board receives the county's revised four-year plan Friday, it will include a call from Erie County Executive Joel Giambra to make the quarter-penny sales tax, enacted recently, permanent.
It's supposed to go away toward the end of next year.
The money is needed, in part, to pay for the settlement with the Erie County Medical Center
Temporary my foot, we knew this was coming, next week they vote on extending for yet another year the temporary penny that we have been paying for what 17 years? NEXT it will be the most recent 1/2 penny, that will be extended or made permanent. I fully expect this inept, irresponsible democrat controlled legislature to raise taxes yet again to cover the costs of creating more jobs and keeping their district offices open..... Reform, ya my a..!
The New York State Assembly approved a bill, A06300, to establish the New York state institute for stem cell research and regenerative medicine on January 11 and passed it on to the state Senate. The bill would provide $300 million dollars in 2006 for stem cell research in the state.
300 million, if this failed research was so dam good, don't you think private research companies would be doing it? Another waste of our tax dollars. This states taxes continue to climb higher and higher with no end in sight. The debt is doing the same, authorities throw million upon millions around with out any regard to the taxpayers. And we are going to fund this? Makes me sick.Who is getting a kick back? Follow the money
NEW YORK -- The chairman of the state Republican Party slammed the door Thursday on a report that GOP leaders were secretly discussing endorsing Democrat Thomas Suozzi for governor.
Suozzi, who last fall won a landslide re-election as county executive in Nassau County _ a traditional Republican stronghold _ is expected to announce Friday that he is forming an exploratory committee to challenge Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for the Democratic nomination for governor.
A report in Thursday's New York Post said Republican emissaries approached Suozzi about switching parties
County Executive Suozzi," state Republican Chairman Steven Minarik said in a statement.
"No one should hold their breath waiting for that to happen," he added.
"If anyone made overtures to the county executive it was done without our knowledge, and certainly without our support."
January 12, 2006 -- ALBANY — Republican leaders are secretly discussing endorsing Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi for governor — even as Suozzi plans to announce tomorrow that he'll challenge Eliot Spitzer for the Democratic nomination, The Post has learned.
Republican emissaries have already approached Suozzi about switching parties in order to enter the governor's race, party insiders said yesterday — and Suozzi himself confirmed it.
"I told them I was a Democrat," Suozzi said when asked about the offer.
Suozzi will announce formation of an "exploratory committee" to raise funds to run for governor against Attorney General Spitzer tomorrow. He repeatedly refused to say if he would consider remaining a Democrat while still running for governor on the Republican line.
That's the scenario influential GOP activists want to pursue.
"Suozzi is a proven vote-getter with Democrats and Republicans in the suburbs, and he could be a real threat to Spitzer running as a Democrat on the Republican ticket," said a top GOP insider.
Things that make you go HMmmmmmmmm.......
I am not going to pass any judgement on the newest revelation of James Duty in Amherst collecting a salary of $30,000 a year while sitting at home, but it has definatley perked my attention. Who is he and why are my first questions. Only time will tell. Then of course we think about the powers that be, this is just absolute proof why they will fight with everything they have to keep real people out of office. Grand Island politicans have done everything humanly possible to keep me out. We will look into everything that has a suspicous look to it. By Satish signing all the paychecks he was able to see where the money was going and to whom. I would have done the same thing. I would want to sign every check being sent to every vendor, subcontractor etc..... But we are not qualified? Thing is people like us are more than qualified. Anyone with a little business sense, an eye for detail, the wherewithal to go after and investigate anything that has the appearence of impropriety can reform and restructure government. It should be a requirement that Lawyers and political science degreed people stay out of public office. They are the ones that know how to work the system and have written the laws that benefit "them" and not "us". Satish had the ability to fund his own campaign, most people don't and have to rely on campaign donations, that makes it difficult for the average Joe to run for and win. Most people that have the money to fund their own campaigns have no desire to run for office. Satish is
different and it is not the norm for someone with his training and job to have any desire to run for public office. I give him all the credit for doing it. Thanks Satish, keep up the good work.
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - The Erie County legislature thought it had a balanced budget for 2006 but things just seem to keep popping up. First, a settlement that must be paid to ECMC. Now a special election for the Board of Elections. The big question is, where will the money come from.
Mayor Byron Brown's State Senate seat is vacant, and as soon as Governor Pataki gives the word, a special election will be held. Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr tells Newsradio 930 WBEN it will cost $200,000, an amount of money the board doesn't have.
Mohr says it's up to the Giambra administration and legislature to find the funding. He says they were warned.
This is not the only thing that has thrown the budget out of balance. The legislature knew this was coming and did nothing but ignore the subject. They did what they had to to balance not what they should have done to balance it.
Now with the ECMC settlement 41Million, and the actual debt being more than reported we are way out of balance. Where is the Control Board?
Amherst, NY (WBEN) - Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan says that after finding a $54,000 sick time cashout among last weeks payroll checks, he will now personally negotaite all labor contracts with police and highway workers.
Mohan, a political novice elected on a reform campaign, raised ire by individually reviewing and signing all paychecks for Amherst employees, during his first week on the job. The move resulted in one day delays in workers being able to cash their checks.
During the review of each check, Mohan unmvovered one check for $54,000, issued to a retiring police official.
Is there any wonder why so many complained about Satish signing all the checks himself by hand? They were afraid of things like this coming to light. Keep it up Satish..
Gov. George Pataki's budget proposal for next fiscal year will include $1.1 billion in business tax cuts, the administration said Wednesday.
Business groups have long complained that high state and local taxes, along with high energy, workers compensation and health-care costs make it harder for companies to survive and expand in the state.
All of the above and more. Tax cuts, Comp, Energy costs, Pensions etc must be cut for everyone not just businesses if we are ever to survive and thrive again in this state.
Last year in Albany a lobbyist couldn't wrap his arm around a lawmaker without hearing the word "reform": Reform of how the state Legislature votes and operates, reform of how the state budget is written and debated, and reform of how campaigns are financed, just to name a few.
But now, some minority party lawmakers and government watchdog groups say reform has been quietly dropped from priorities this election year, with the bulk of Albany reform yet to be accomplished.
"The issue is slipping into dormancy," said state Sen. David Paterson, a New York City Democrat who leads the Senate's minority.
Last year, the Legislature was repeatedly referred to as the most dysfunctional state body in the country, following a university study that first made the claim. The dissatisfaction was clear in public-opinion polls and, in the fall, reformers were able to make some inroads against incumbents in elections and scare other incumbents long thought to be safe from challenge.
Never! This reform word has been used and abused and basically now is a used up word, everyone in the county legislature used it and look where that got us, No Where!
Everyone touted the line REFORM yet none actually have the wherewithal to do anything about it. I wonder why.
Michele Iannello Ward broke some of her campaign promises. I will be watching her every move. Here is her list from her website.... iannello4change.com
Agenda For Change
* Restoring fiscal stability to Erie County government.
* Restoring public confidence in Erie County government.
* Bringing transparency and openness to Erie County government.
* Restoring integrity to Erie County government.
* Stopping government waste, fraud and abuse.
* Reducing Erie County government spending.
* Restoring vital services to County taxpayers.
* Providing full-time constituent services.
* Supporting Charter Revision to reduce the size of County government.
* Eliminating legislator district offices and reducing legislator spending.
* Structural reforms to change the way the County does business.
* Supporting vital public safety services and community programs.
What did they do this past week?
Twelve Democrats control the Legislature, and some of them reason they need more staff support than last year's eight Democrats. In general, they can hire 1.5 employees in each district office, when last year's Democrats had only one full-time worker.
It's all in Matt Spinas article posted below or here.. She voted for it.... Why Michele?
Let's remember who endorsed her run for office..
Democratic Party, Independence Party,The Working Families Party, Buffalo AFL-CIO Council,
Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council, Women's TAP Fund, Council 35 AFSCME,
United Steelworkers Local 593, Plasterers & Cement Masons Local Union No. 9
United Auto Workers - Western New York CAP Council-Region, AFSCME Local 264
United Steelworkers, District 4
"As this bill moves to the Senate floor, families of prisoners have real hope that their obscene phone bills will end," said Annette Dickerson, who coordinates the NY Campaign for Telephone Justice on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "We applaud the committee chair, Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Auburn) for this bold action."
Under the State's monopoly contract with MCI, the average prison phone call is billed at 19 minutes, costing just over $6 and adding up to monthly phone bills of up to $400. New York State gets a 57.5 percent kickback on MCI's profits.
The Family Connections Bill will end the unjust, backdoor tax on families of prisoners by:
-- Prohibiting the State from entering into a similar contract once the current contract expires on March 31, 2006.
-- Requiring that in the future the State contract with the lowest bidder for the purposes of providing telephone services to inmates.
-- Preventing the State from making a profit off of the arrangement. Currently the State takes 57.5% of the total profit.
-- Presenting facilities with the choice of providing phone service through collect calls or a debit card service.
-- Allowing prisoners to maintain contact with their loved ones by lowering phone rates. Currently families are forced to choose between buying food or paying rent and paying their telephone bill.
Boy they get you coming and going and at every aspect of life. The questions that just pop into my mind at stuff like this, who put this in to effect? How long has it been in effect? Where does the money go when the state get's it? I am all in favor of the criminal Justice system, break the Law, lockem up... But think about the families at home, the kids that want to talk to their Mom or Dad to stay in contact, or the father that wants to talk to his son and the state takes the money out of their pockets? Jeesch, gimme a break....
Ryan Scott Karben (D/I-Rockland), Chairman of the Assembly's Subcommittee on Renewable Energy, is now leading an investigation of a possible 2 percent surcharge to be added to New Yorkers' utility bills that will supply funds to renewable energy projects and help the state reduce its dependence on fossil fuel.
# The surcharge will fund the implementation of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which was created by a PSC Order in 2004 in part to address increasing concerns over an overdependence on climate threatening fossil fuels.
# Pursuant to the order, the RPS will be funded through a surcharge on electric utility customer bills funding programs administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
I thought I was going to read another stupid idea from Felix Ortez, but none the less here we go again. It's not bad enough that we pay the highest electric rates in the country, well 2nd only to Hawaii... Now this guy wants to raise our rates just a little higher...
Find another way to fund this, we are being raped as it is.
Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno says the time to strengthen laws against sex offenders is now.
Bruno is set to call for immediate action on a new bill that would require sex offenders at all levels to register with police for the rest of their lives.
It would also extend Megan's Law, which is set to expire later this month. If the law does expire, about 3,500 offenders will drop off the registry this year.
We are still waiting on Sheldon Silver and the assembly, what is his agenda anyway?
Who is he trying to cover for, some of his aides that are sex offenders?
With deep sadness I post this obituary. Ralph Rathman has passed away and is home with the Lord. I served with Ralph and Judy on the Conservative Party committee for many years.
Ralph and Judy were very hard workers for the Conservatives on Grand Island and Erie County He will be deeply missed.
Ralph J. Rathman, formerly of Grand Island, of Wheatfield, January 6, 2006, beloved husband of Judith VanSice Rathman;
Friends may call at D. LAWRENCE GINNANE FUNERAL HOME, 3215 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Monday, January 9, 2006. All are invited to a Funeral Service at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 7416 Campbell Blvd. at Tonawanda Creek Rd., North Tonawanda, Tuesday January 10, 2006 at 1 p.m. Please assemble at church. Memorial contributions to Visiting Nurses Assn. or The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc. are preferred.
Update-- Dusza said this is getting all to much press and he will retire Feb 8th. Thank you..
This is being picked up across the world. - Ernakulam,Kerala,India.... So not only do we look like fools in the states, we are looking like fools in India.
BUFFALO, N.Y.: A former lawmaker from the Buffalo, N.Y., area is being criticized for going to work as a legislative staffer so he can get a better state pension.
Raymond K. Dusza, 71, decided not to run for re-election to the Erie County Legislature last fall, but he still needs nine more months to reach the 20-year milestone of working in government -- which would qualify him for a higher pension, the Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported Sunday.
Monday, January 9, 2006 07:19 AM - WBEN Newsroom
Albany, NY (WBEN) - Republican Buffalo Assemblyman Dale Volker says he expects no snags when members vote Monday on a request to hike Erie County's sales tax by a half-percent.
He says lawmakers promised Wall Street that they would approve the measure to help the county balance its books, and he says they will follow through on that promise.
The state Senate will vote on the measure Tuesday, and it faces no snags there, either. The higher tax would take effect January 15.
Of course there will be no snags, we will just continue to screw the taxpayers in WNY..
See how many we can force to leave the state..........
Hired by legislator who succeeded him
By MATTHEW SPINA
New Leadership, new legislators same crap, different year. This infuriates me to no end as a former candidate for the 10th seat controlled by Swanick for 26 years. They don't get it, and as predicted we will watch this county implode unless drastic changes come and we the people take control. I should be laughing and just saying I told you so, but I can't, I honestly can't just shrug this off my shoulders as my wife want's me to do..
Dusza is still drawing a Legislature paycheck, as an aide for the politician who succeeded him. And after a couple of weeks in that job, he will move to another post within the Legislature's bureaucracy.
"He is my only employee right now until I get my district office open," said Thomas Mazur, the Cheektowaga Democrat elected to the seat Dusza vacated. "He served this community well, and to do this for him is - in my mind - not objectionable."
Mazur said he hired Dusza when the outgoing legislator explained he needed more months of government employment to hit the 20-year mark and enrich his public pension. Mazur figured Dusza would serve the residents who ventured into his old office at 2956 Union Road for a couple of weeks into the new year.
When Mazur opens his new office at 1214 Walden Ave. later this month, he will bring in new staff. Dusza then will move to another area of the Legislature, either to the downtown headquarters or to another lawmaker's district office, Mazur said.
He said it is being arranged to help Dusza, a 71-year-old Westinghouse retiree, reach the public pension threshold.
Ray Dusza Mr. "Primary Challenge This" and "it's only a penny" continues to suck off the public teet as does Kuwik with his plush job at the water authority, all done to pad their pensions. Kuwik of course will make more money in his retirement (63K) than he made as Legislator (42.5K) when he retires in 3 years now making 93K +........ Who pays? We do and will continue to do so as more and more people flee this state for greener pastures in the thriving south. 26,000 more left last year.
District offices have been a focal point for the new County Legislature, which saw nine new members elected in the reform-charged campaign season of 2005, when a budget fiasco left voters demanding a smarter, more responsible county government.
Few upstate counties grant their county legislators district offices. But in one of its first acts last week, the Legislature added $100,000 to its budget so it could ensure that each of the 15 district offices can open as soon as possible with the required staff, and to again hire a new chief of staff for the Democratic caucus at about $78,000 a year.
Twelve Democrats control the Legislature, and some of them reason they need more staff support than last year's eight Democrats. In general, they can hire 1.5 employees in each district office, when last year's Democrats had only one full-time worker.
"There is a lot expected of this Legislature," new Chairwoman Lynn M. Marinelli of the Town of Tonawanda said before the first meeting of the year started Thursday. Marinelli, who as chairwoman can accept or reject all Legislature hires, could not be reached to comment for this article. Nor could Dusza.
District offices..... Why?
A big part of so many campaigns was to close district offices and to eliminate many jobs. The savings would be close to 1 million. Each office will have 1.5 employees and rent 650 monthly, utilities, phone, payroll, pensions, healthcare etc.... It appears Marinelli will still maintain control over all employees as Holt has in the past. Last year at this time they voted the Chairman as the czar over all hiring and firing. The Republicans lost employees and the Democrats gained in their offices and at the county office. I will be curious to see how this plays out this year now that the Repubs are down to 3 seats.
"If this is the first official act of the new Marinelli administration over there, I don't think she's got the message that people are sick of this kind of patronage politics," said James Ostrowski, a Buffalo lawyer who heads the taxpayer group Free Buffalo, which formed last year as lawmakers considered raising the sales tax to close a huge budget deficit.
"Reforming the pension system is one of our top priorities, and we are going to be working on a study about it. One of the things we want to do is end all the various scams and manipulations, the loading of overtime . . . and gimmicks like this," he said of Dusza's effort to stay on the payroll until he hits a pension milestone.
My Quote of the week goes to Dr. Barry Weinstein.
But is that what Legislature jobs are for? "No. He should apply for a job as a bingo inspector to get his time in," said Barry A. Weinstein of Amherst, the Legislature's Republican minority leader. "That's why government is not well thought of by the people in the community," he said. "Government is not there to create jobs for people and qualify people for pensions."
Thank you Barry, I just wish I was there working with you.
I hate to post about National politics on this site as I think we can do more locally as bloggers and readers. So many are in agreement with the problems we all face as residents of WNY and the need to work together to fix this state is my desire, posting about National politics seems to divide us and we take the focus off what we all have to do. But, these two articles posted below are FYI, I will not make any more comment than these.
#1 article about ties to Saddam Hussien and al Qaeda. If there is absolute proof of his ties to the terrorists that flew planes into the WTC and the Pentagon, and proof of weapons of mass destruction, why haven't they been released to the American people? Although Rumsfeld runs the Pentagon he does not have the control over all the beauracracies within the walls there in. The people that do the translating are in charge and from wht I can see are completely understaffed.
This information must be released and soon. We must know the enemy and what they are capable of in order to do our job effectively.
What the documents captured from the former Iraqi regime reveal--
and why they should all be made public.
THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.
The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis.
Nearly three years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, only 50,000 of these 2 million "exploitable items" have been thoroughly examined. That's 2.5 percent. Despite the hard work of the individuals assigned to the "DOCEX" project, the process is not moving quickly enough, says Michael Tanji, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official who helped lead the document exploitation effort for 18 months. "At this rate," he says, "if we continue to approach DOCEX in a linear fashion, our great-grandchildren will still be sorting through this stuff."
Most of the 50,000 translated documents relate directly to weapons of mass destruction programs and scientists, since David Kay and his Iraq Survey Group--who were among the first to analyze the finds--considered those items top priority. "At first, if it wasn't WMD, it wasn't translated. It wasn't exploited," says a former military intelligence officer who worked on the documents in Iraq.
How many of those unexploited documents might help us better understand the role of Iraq in supporting transregional terrorists? How many of those documents might provide important intelligence on the very people--Baathists, former regime officials, Saddam Fedayeen, foreign fighters trained in Iraq--that U.S. soldiers are fighting in Iraq today? Is what we don't know literally killing us?
Article #2... The Abramoff scandal and the "Culture of Corruption" in Washington D.C.
You who know me know that I am not a Republican apologist, I despise corruption from local to National and go after it at all levels. But, let's be honest here it is not just one sided, never has been and we can point to both sides and their scandals. The scandal de'jour today is of course political contributions from Abramoff.
I want to see how this has trickled down to the states and how it has had an effect on the evergrowing Indian Casino's throughout the country. Look below at the link because it shows how much each party and each congress critter rec'd.. Why did the Republicans get more? Simple, they just happen to be in control right now.
Recipient Republican Democrat TotalFrom PACFrom IndivTo CandTo LeadPAC National Republican Congressional Cmte$498,000$365,500$64,500 $0$0 National Republican Senatorial Cmte $436,500$152,500$154,000$0$0 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte $423,480$207,980$121,500$0$0 Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte $354,700$261,200$16,000 $0$0 Grand Total $4,434,761 $2,821,998 $858,263 $1,129,544 $1,037,067
Click on the link for all the named candidates and there are many....
Erie County lawmakers ended a nearly year-long financial tug-of-war with the Erie County Medical Center Corp. by approving a four-year fiscal support package for the hospital.
The deal, approved 14-1 by the Erie County Legislature Thursday afternoon, was made against the backdrop of on-going litigation concerning how much public sector financial support is due to the hospital. Until two years ago ECMC was owned by the county.
The settlement allocates $48 million in county dollars to the hospital between 2006 and 2009 plus another $41.5 million in bonded capital improvement costs.
The vote, the highlight of the legislature's first meeting of the year, followed nearly 25 minutes of speeches from many of the lawmakers. With the exception of Legislator Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Clarence, who voted against the deal, the other 14 members said the deal - while far from perfect - was the best possible one facing the county.
"It is, after all, a compromise," said Legislator Maria Whyte, D-Buffalo. "It's not perfect."
Ranzenhofer, a veteran lawmaker, said he had concerns about where the long term financing for the deal will come from, especially in light of the county's shaky fiscal status.
The settlement will likely be funded by extending the 8.75 percent sales tax at least through 2009. The sales tax is supposed to roll back to 8.25 percent in late 2007.
"This really pushes things off into the future," Ranzenhofer said. "I'm just not comfortable, right now, committing these kind of dollars."
The risk with not approving the package was the county losing at trial and being on the hook for considerably larger funds, many of the lawmakers said. It was a risk they were not willing to take.
"Of course, it is always a gamble," said Legislator Demone Smith, D-Buffalo. "But, it puts ECMC in a good position and it puts Erie County in a good position."
At this point I do not have anymore of the details but I am agreement with Ranzenhofer. We are digging a deeper hole and they are not showing us a way out except the possibility of continuing the sales tax longer. We are in a deeper hole than any of them would even suggest. All we hear from the otherside of the aisle is "it's a gamble"?
How are we going to pay for this? I am not saying we shouldn't, I am just asking how..
Yup, my confidence in them just shot through the roof </sarcasm> This whole ECMC deal has smelled rotten since the beginning.
NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, responding to NY Governor George Pataki's Jan. 4, 2006 State of the State speech:
"To those working families struggling to pay your bills in cities, towns and villages across this state, I ask you: Have twelve years of Republican leadership improved your lives? Your schools? Your communities?" Silver asked.
I will answer that question with a question Mr. Silver.....
What have you done to help the situation besides be an obstructionist? You have been the speaker of the assembly for all to long and are at the root of the problems we face in this state with your arrogant, condesending leadership. You lead the team to override the Governors Veto and gave us just another huge tax increase and we are to blame Pataki alone? I don't think so. You and the Democrat controlled Assembly are to blame, and I am no Pataki fan.
ALBANY - Using his last State of the State address as an opportunity to present himself to a national audience, Gov. George Pataki yesterday proposed an array of generous tax cuts, including slashing the state's income tax, as he outlined his agenda for his 12th and final year in office.
But many of the governor's critics - including Democratic state Comptroller Alan Hevesi - questioned the use of the surplus for tax cuts when the state faces a debt burden estimated at $48 billion.
Democrats, who control the state Assembly, were not pleased that Pataki proposed tax cuts without advancing a plan to address a court order to send billions of dollars more in aid to New York City's public schools
and the Democrats in the assembly have done nothing to address it or bring it to the floor, instead they have voted to raise taxes, increase fees, permits, licenses etc, etc....
Last year the governor made reforming Medicaid, the health care program that consumes $45 billion of the state's $107 billion budget, a priority. Though there is widespread agreement that fraud in the health care program is rampant, the governor did not mention it once
What did happen to this issue? I know one thing the assembly has done nothing to cut and or restructure this bloated program. Remember we pay more than California and Texas for Medicaid and their answer is to get more money from the federal government, Wrong.
We already get more money for the program than any other state.
Spitzer said the speech lacked further proposals to reform Medicaid, and more government reforms that have been called for to check corruption in Albany. "Some of his tax cuts are geared not to the working men and women of New York necessarily," he said, "but are geared toward the many Republican primary voters who have so much, and need so little from government."
Once again the Dems will criticize, attack and question what the Governor has done but they have done nothing but increase everything hurting everyone. People are voting with their feet another 26,000 people fled NY State last year.
Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who may challenge Spitzer in a primary for the Democratic nomination for governor, said that instead of addressing income taxes, the governor should provide more local property tax relief.
Mr. Souzzi, is it just the governors responsibility? Remember when your friends in the Assembly and Senate voted to override his Veto?
Pataki also used his final address as a memoir of his time in office, speaking of his rural upbringing in the Hudson Valley and how former President John F. Kennedy's inauguration speech inspired a life in politics.
That's all well and good but if you are looking to run for a higher office as a Republican wouldn't you want to quote Ronald Reagan? He won New York twice and if he was alive today would win in another run for President. We need another R.Reagan.
But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) took that reference to throw a jab at Pataki. Silver said, "He's no JFK." and neither are you Sheldon, "Ask not what your Country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your Country.... Remember that statement? I do. Every Democrat ought to listen to that speech again and take on JFK's platform. He cut taxes to stimulate the ecomomy, something you do not know how to do.
The Donald for governor? That's what the New York City tabloids were touting. But would the superrich developer, TV star, casino owner and husband of a supermodel really want to trade all that power and celebrity for the privilege of fighting with Sheldon Silver over budgets in Albany?
As it turns out, no, he wouldn't. In a truly embarrassing turn of events, Trump, who had not been asked about making the run by Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno before he went public with the idea, said he was "having too much fun doing what I'm doing now" to run for governor. Then, adding insult to GOP injury, Trump said he might actually support the likely Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, Trump said, has "done an amazing job.
Ouch is right! For the life of me I don't know why he does these things, senility?
Like a lawyer never asks a question he doesn't know the answer to in a trial. Avoid an ambarrasing situation, this make Bruno look all discumbobulated... hehehe..
Major player in prospects for peace
Deputy assumes Israeli PM's power
Israel awakens today to a political chasm as great as any it has ever known as the nation grapples with the tragic collapse of Ariel Sharon.
Brought down by the second stroke in less than three weeks, the 77-year-old prime minister was fighting for his life early today in a Jerusalem hospital as a team of surgeons worked to stem the damage of a massive cerebral hemorrhage.
Doctors today were still struggling to stop the bleeding in Sharon's brain and the surgery he was undergoing was expected to last several more hours, the director of Hadassah Hospital said. Shortly before midnight EST, Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef called Sharon's condition "serious" and said the prime minister was still on a respirator.
A lifelong warrior, Sharon walked away from his initial Dec. 18 health scare with a few breezy wisecracks for journalists standing vigil.
If the act of voting is the linchpin of democracy, then democracy in New York is riding on critical decisions being made this month by the New York state Board of Elections.
The Help America Vote Act mandates that all states, including New York, upgrade their voting machines. HAVA includes regulations about voter verification and accessibility.
Disability rights advocates around the country view the legislation as a voting rights act for people with disabilities, but are concerned that new machines may not meet access needs. Good-government groups, such as the League of Women Voters, have raised concerns about transparency and security.
How to be Pro-Active at Voting Machine Demonstrations
Demonstrations of voting machines tend to be dominated by the vendors of the equipment, who are interested in selling their direct recording electronic voting machines (DREs) in which their companies have invested deeply. This is especially true in New York, where the state requires large, expensive full-face ballot machines. Vendors have done a poor job of adequately demonstrating optical scanners and cannot be counted on to give a fair showing of this reliable technology. It is up to citizens to insist that demonstrations of all systems be even-handed, and not biased towards DREs.
I have been expecting to see this in Buffalo, maybe we're next..
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. George Pataki said Tuesday the state should end the current fiscal year with a $2 billion surplus after earlier projections of a $4 billion deficit.
"This is a dramatic turnaround from last year," Pataki said. He credited "good government policies," including Medicaid reforms and economic policies aimed at expanding the economy and controlling state government costs.
"I'm sure that the governor will make sure that he spends every penny that's available to him," Silver said.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said he expects Pataki to propose tax cuts in his State of the State speech Wednesday. Bruno has already proposed billions of dollars in tax cuts over several years and he said the surplus could be used toward that.
Meanwhile, advocates for the poor on Tuesday said more of the state's $105 billion annual budget needs to be spent to increase the minimum wage, provide health insurance for all, and other needs of the poor and working poor.
Pataki's decade in office has seen the addition of state-subsidized health care programs for working poor families and for children that has insured 1 million more New Yorkers, Pataki said.
When will we see a real tax break in this state, the 2 billion came from the windfall in the sales taxes they recieved from the increase in gasoline prices not Medicaid reforms and economic policies as stated. Of course now they will be fighting over how to spend this and any increase in revenue. The things they don't tell you is that all this money comes from you.
We spend millions upon millions for programs for the poor, no one in this state is denied healthcare. More people don't have it due to the fact that businesses can no longer afford to pay for it. A family plan bought from your local Chamber of Commerce may cost you as much as $700 a month.
It is time to down size government all over the state and this election season we need to send our elected representatives packing and not off to politically connected well paying, taxpayer funded jobs. They need to try and find a job in the real world.
(January 3, 2006) — What gave state Democrats joy in the old year? Something they no doubt hope gives them even more joy this year — the discombobulation of the state Republican Party.
The GOP, which likes its internal politics buttoned-down and dissension-free, has been acting like, well, a bunch of Democrats over the past several months.
The disarray is evident mostly at the top, as Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and state party chief Steve Minarik — widely known in Monroe County for his iron-fisted control — have engaged in a pretty open, for Republicans, dispute over how to approach the 2006 elections in selecting gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and attorney general candidates.
Two, party fights, especially in election years, can easily leak into legislative matters, especially, as in this case, if one of the disputants is a key lawmaker. Legislators siding with Bruno's view, or Minarik's, or Pataki's, could take those separate allegiances into legislative debates, and that's a prescription for inaction.
Is there any wonder why the government is dysfunctional, just look at the Parties themselves. The infighting and grabs for power and control are taking us all down.
The destructive and unlawful transit strike served at least one valuable purpose: It gave a fed-up public an object lesson in the urgent need to reform public pensions in New York.
State lawmakers and governors, including George Pataki, have given away the store to public employee unions for years, resulting in excessively sweet retirement benefits at a huge cost to taxpayers. The annual pension bill for state and local governments soared by $3 billion over the last four years, and it's still heading up.
Yet Albany lawmakers - themselves beneficiaries of this gravy train - are incapable of saying no to the unions, which are major contributors to their campaign funds. The Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly approved no fewer than 46 pension enhancements this year alone, which would have dug the taxpayers' hole about $100 million deeper. Pataki has vetoed some of these bills over the years, but signed too many - including a reckless 2000 law that abolished pension contributions for most workers after 10 years on the job and guaranteed retirees annual cost-of-living raises for all eternity.
Albany's excessive generosity no doubt fueled the sense of entitlement Roger Toussaint and the TWU brought to their talks with the MTA. Union members already retire with full, tax-free benefits at age 55 with 25 years of service - a package that working stiffs in the real world would see as a dream come true. Yet Toussaint wasn't satisfied and proposed lowering the retirement age to 50 with 20 years' service. When the MTA countered by asking for new workers to contribute 6% of their salaries toward pensions, the TWU walked out.
They will contunue until they get the message from us....
If you're a government employee or contractor and you thought last year was a bad time to be corrupt in Chicago, you better look out in 2006.
While the Chicago FBI just added a third public corruption squad in September to make the unit the largest in the country -- it still isn't enough.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Grant said he and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald have asked Washington, D.C., for more resources to help root out public fraud.
"We asked headquarters to give us more bodies," Grant told the Chicago Sun-Times. "If [they're] going to give out bodies, we would like to have them and we would like them for public corruption."
Though new corruption cases continue to hit the Dirksen federal courthouse at a brisk pace, "there are areas we want to explore that we haven't even gotten to yet," Grant said.
We need more agents here to do the same thing.. Apparently they are having great success in the Chicago area especially when it comes to illegal immigration..
AG General Eliot Spitzer is being accused again of threatening to use his office to punish an opponent — this time, nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Sean Hannity.
Eric Stanger.....said Spitzer was a telephone guest on the Hannity show in 2000 and at first hung up in anger in response to comments made by the conservative-oriented host.
"A minute later, the hot line was ringing. It was Spitzer, very angry, very agitated, very upset....'Let me tell you something: I fully intend to use the capacity of my office to act on this,' " Stanger told The Post.
"I was really floored, and I said, 'Is that a threat, sir?' " ......Spitzer "quickly changed his tone," insisting, "No, no, no. It's not a threat."
.......Spitzer then threatened to organize a boycott of the Hannity show, saying, " 'I have a lot of friends in government, and I'm going to organize a boycott of the show.' And then he hung up."
and he wants to be governor?