Local Conservatives Oddly Mum on Socialism and “Those People”

I’m really curious why this socialist, government-handout-ridden, makers-versus-takers for “those people” is not getting any pushback whatsoever from local conservatives who always, without question or doubt, are protecting local taxpayers, especially our seniors:

The Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency is currently reviewing a proposal for a 162 unit senior community housing project adjacent to the River Ridge Living Center in Amsterdam.

Just look at all the socialism here that should incite conservative rhetoric against this project :

The enhanced assisted living residence would be a three story building with 50 units for private paying residents, and 48 units for low income residents, whose monthly charges will be paid with Medicaid funds.

And who pays for Medicaid?


And get this: low income seniors?! You know what that means: “those people”

Can’t they work? And who then pays for their care?


But there’s even more distressing news for conservatives:

Devito said if the IDA approves the PILOT agreement and the tax exemptions, it would keep construction costs down, which would decrease the impact on the overall rent structure.

And who pays for PILOTs?


I am sure that local conservatives will push back against such a government supported project — like they do with all other development that seeks PILOTs or drives up Medicaid costs or impacts low income.

After all, if conservatives can’t support multi-unit development at Chalmers with its federal monies and upper income demographics (with no impact on Medicaid and no low income housing), then certainly the conservative outrage and challenge to this project will make the socialism inherent in Chalmers pale in comparison.

You betcha’!


From Rocket Science to Political Science

It’s pretty amazing to look at the images and read about the Rosetta/Philae landing on a comet. Here are some numbers of the feat:

Touchdown for the lander played out 510m kilometres from Earth, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, on a comet hurtling through space at more than 18km/s. At so vast a distance, even radio signals travelling at the speed of light take nearly half an hour to travel from Earth to the spacecraft, making real-time control of the landing impossible. Instead, the entire descent was precalculated, uploaded and run automatically.

My immediate reaction was probably similar to the reaction on Twitter with the hashtag #WeCanLandOnACometButWeCant … you fill in the rest.

If you want to follow a “liveblog” of what is happening, you can check this out The Mirror UK 

What strikes me with this scientific achievement is that clearly , unquestionably , this mission was based upon scientific principles and a rational framework to figure out a solution to a complex problem of how to land a probe on a hurling comet going 40,000 miles per hour. Couple that with the administrative, political and financial activities required to pull it off and it is simply impressive.

In other words, science does not happen by itself– it takes some investment and policy and human curiosity to drive it forward. What troubles me from a policy perspective is that we have policy leaders ostensibly championing science whose real intent is to undermine and obfuscate the science simply because it flies against their ideology and political agenda. Case in point:

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is locked in a tight re-election race, was asked this month by The Cincinnati Enquirer if he believes that climate change is a problem. “I’m not a scientist,” he said.

“I’m not a scientist,” or a close variation, has become the go-to talking point for Republicans questioned about climate change in the 2014 campaigns. In the past, many Republican candidates questioned or denied the science of climate change, but polls show that a majority of Americans accept it — and support government policies to mitigate it — making the Republican position increasingly challenging ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

“It’s got to be the dumbest answer I’ve ever heard,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist who has advised House Republicans and conservative political advocacy groups on energy and climate change messaging. “Using that logic would disqualify politicians from voting on anything. Most politicians aren’t scientists, but they vote on science policy. They have opinions on Ebola, but they’re not epidemiologists. They shape highway and infrastructure laws, but they’re not engineers.”

So we can marvel at the science that it takes to accomplish this mission while at the same time enabling policies and politicians that want nothing to do with science.

I guess that’s why we have political science.


Election 2014 vs 2014

Thought it might be interesting to compare local races from the recent election to the 2012 election (results are county wide, also note that the districts differ for the races) . My quick take is that Ms Tkaczyk was hurt by lower turnout of Democratic votes coupled with a jump in performance by Mr. Amedore compared to 2012. Also note erosion in performance of Tonko and Santabarbara likely from similar turnout issues.

Election Comparison 2012 vs 2014

Election Comparison 2012 vs 2014



Election 2014: City Residents Clamor for Sweeping Changes By Keeping Things The Same

November 5, 2014 (Amsterdam, NY) — A set of propositions seeking to clarify aspects of the city charter vis-a-vis powers of the executive versus legislative branches was soundly defeated at the polls last night.

Local resident, Noah Toall, expressed the sentiments of those opposed to the measures, “I think voters have spoken on how unhappy they are with the way things are going and we’re tired of it. Why do we need to change anything when things are broken and not working? We need to keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing until these things get fixed. That’s that voters want.”

All is not lost however for those championing the charter provisions. A number of the Charter Committee members who authored the propositions have launched a self-help startup venture based upon their experiences.

The acting CEO of the group, Y. Dion Evenbother, explained the new venture, “From this experience and a number of others, we see everyone wanting to make changes but fearful of actually committing to the change. So we’re launching a set of 3 products to tackle the three most common aspects of life people say they want to change but really don’t.”

“For weight loss, we have a program where you can lose weight by eating the same foods you eat now and doing the same amount of exercise. It’s surprising how well it doesn’t work at making you lose weight. That one is $19.95 in two easy payments.”

“For folks struggling to quit smoking because of the constant drumbeat of health risks and warnings, we had a simple revelation: you won’t need to quit if you aren’t reminded until one day you finally forget about how bad cigarettes are for you altogether.  With that key insight, we’ve developed a precut adhesive –customized by brand of cigarette– to cover all the health warnings on your cartons and packs. Voila’ , problem solved.  You can buy a pack of 20 adhesives for $3.99. Never worry about your smoking and health again.”

“Finally, we have our premiere product to help those of us who might overindulge in the spirits especially with the holidays approaching. It’s hard not to have a drink or two when you’re out socially, at a party, at a club, at dinner, at a holiday party, at your kid’s recital, and anywhere really. Now the problem is not a drink or two but when you have more than that. So we’ve come up with the “Longshot”, it’s like four shot glasses in one. Now, when your wife catches you in a tryst with the photocopier and the stapler at your office party and gets on you about your drinking, you can honestly say, ‘I only had one, dearest.’ We can’t protect you from the office equipment — or vice versa– but we can make sure you just stick to a shot or two. You can buy 4-packs of Longshots for a low, introductory price of $29.99″.

If you are interested in the products, you can reach us via the web at http://www.zerochange12010.com


Election Day 2014

I spoke my piece on the charter yesterday so today I’m going to post the same thing I posted 2 years ago on the Amedore vs Tkaczyk race. :

Cecilia Tkaczyk for 46th Senate District — I find it hard to side with Amedore whose policies to help the City of Amsterdam relied upon magically redirecting money from the pedestrian bridge to pay for infrastructure for the city. That’s an affront to sensible policy making or even seriously grappling with real challenges.

If you look at whose policies make more sense for our city, I believe it’s undeniably Ms. Tkaczyk.

I also hear that the local radio folks don’t like Mr. Santabarbara so to me that’s a perfect reason to vote for SantaBarbara ( in addition too his policies).

Finally, I’d like to sway these races so I can take the credit instead of Mitt Romney.



The Charter Must Change! The Charter Must Not Be Changed!

This article, Counsels, alderman offer charter vote insight,  is pretty telling if you want to understand why nothing changes and why nothing gets done.

Apparently for all the brouhaha over the charter, most council members can’t be bothered to offer a meaningful, substantive critique while others won’t even comment. That’s the reality of most policy debates — who wants to articulate and craft policy when you can either demagogue or avoid the issue completely? Crafting thoughtful, effective policies is hard, so why even bother ?

I’m going to vote for the charter changes simply from the observation of the actions of the current Council. I admit to reservations on Prop 5 but I sincerely believe that if it gave them political leverage, the current Council would cut executive and controller budgets even if it wreaked havoc on the city’s operations and finances. After all, if our current Congress would play brinkmanship and default on US debt for political purposes with trillions of dollars, I totally believe a local scenario with mere thousands of dollars is not out of the question.

The actual text of the charter propositions can be found here. 

But like everything else, we need to change it unless there is actually a way to change it , in which case we can’t change it.