This blog is of, by and for the progressive members of our Jefferson County community. Our mission is to provide information about fellow progressives for all to view, to provide a forum for forward looking candidates and to offer other varied items of interest. Your opinion is important to this blog and if you wish to write us an item or send us a picture please email it to THIS BLOG IS NOT AN OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE JEFFERSON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE

Saturday, February 28, 2009

This blog hopes Tom reads his mail

First it was Addie and then Darrel hitting the keyboard and banging out letters to Obama's
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

On February 19th this JD blog reported Assemblywoman Addie Russell wrote the Secretary asking him to please consider disposing of federally stored powdered milk offshore rather than dumping it into the current domestic market which would further depress the price paid to dairy farmers. Addie is a member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. In her letter she pointed out that Vilsack was raised in rural Pennsylvania and went to college in rural New York so he really is familiar with small farm dairying.

Next up on his keyboard was Senator Darrel Aubertine. At the end of this week both Darrel and Kirsten Gilibrand asked the Secretary to falicitate a program that would allow locally grown fruits and vegetables to be available in local schools. Of course, Senator Aubertine is the brand new Chairman of the NYS Senate Agricultural Committee.

Frankly it is very refreshing to see both of the Democratic local legislators taking an active role in reaching out beyond Albany to help NYS agriculture remain economically viable. Good work folks. Now lets hope Tom reads his mail.

What the people think

Views on Several Budget Proposals in the recent Siena Poll.

Raise income taxes on New Yorkers earning more than $250,000
59% strongly agree
36% strongly oppose

Raise income taxes on New Yorkers earning more than $1 million
77% strongly agree
19% strongly oppose

Make additional budget cuts in education and health rather than raising personal income taxes
22% strongly agree
72% strongly oppose

Use additional Federal stimulus money to eliminate budget cuts proposed by the Governor
59% strongly agree
26% strongly oppose

Use additional Federal stimulus money to eliminate new taxes & fees proposed by the Governor
58% strongly agree
27% strongly oppose

David Paterson is in there pitching

Just like a lot a pitchers he sometimes loses the strike zone for awhile but these two are right in there.

This week the Governor continued to tackle the state’s economic challenges.

Yesterday he announced that due to increased enrollment in the federally-funded Food Stamp program, New York State has received $162.4 million in new federal funding through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Contingency Fund – a federal fund that assists states in providing benefits and services to low-income families when unfavorable economic conditions exist.

Read more

Governor David A. Paterson also called on Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to help restore the municipal bond market in order to protect the ability of local governments to borrow by issuing bonds. Governor Paterson is specifically calling for an infusion of capital from the Treasury Department to help stabilize the bond insurance market in order to reduce borrowing costs for local governments.

Learn more

"2/28/09: Your Weekly Address"

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President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight. (this video is public domain)
© 2009 YouTube, LLC

Friday, February 27, 2009

20th Congressional
District update

While Democrat Scott Murphy continues to discuss the importance of rebuilding the economy in Upstate New York, Republican Jim Tedisco continues to avoid answering the tough questions. He still hasn’t told voters how he would’ve voted on President Obama’s recovery package.

Scott wrote a blog post this week calling on Tedisco to take a stand.

Scott Murphy, 39, is literally in the business of creating jobs.Saving and creating jobs, growing small businesses, and finding new ways to tackle old problems - these are the things Scott has done successfully for more than 15 years.
While professional politicians just talk about the need to create jobs, Scott has first-hand experience actually creating them. He's built successful companies, helped create over 1,000 jobs, and worked to make small businesses the economic engines of their communities.Scott believes that strong families form the cornerstone of strong communities. Born in Missouri, Scott's father was a postal worker and his mother was a teacher. They worked hard and sacrificed to give their kids better opportunities than they had. Scott and his wife Jen Hogan get together with her 57 immediate family members nearly every week for Sunday dinner.Scott's been blessed to live the American dream. After graduating from Harvard, Scott became a high-tech entrepreneur. He founded Small World Software, later sold to iXL.
Full Text
Donate to Scott

“Today we recognize the achievements of one of New York’s most dedicated public servants, Robert Morgenthau. “Ever since his first appointment to public office in 1961, when President Kennedy tapped him as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Bob’s name has been synonymous with the justice. “For the last thirty-five years Bob has been on the front lines of New York’s most dangerous battles. Whether he was fighting to keep drugs off of our streets, guns away from criminals, or criminals out of our board rooms, Robert Morgenthau served his city with a quiet dignity that belied a tenacious drive to serve justice.“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank Bob for his dedication and service to the city, the state and the country.”
by: robert.harding
Fri Feb 27, 2009 at 15:00:00 PM EST
On Wednesday, it was announced that Sen. Darrel Aubertine would serve as the new chairman of the New York State Legislative Commission on Rural Resources.

Today, I had an opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Sen. Aubertine to discuss his vision for the commission, whether or not high speed rail fits into the infrastructure equation of the commission's goals and his joint effort with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to make sure that locally grown foods end up on the lunch trays of local students.

The goals of the commission were outlined in a press release Wednesday, which were the following: Research and draft legislation regarding farm-to-fork programs, green energy, green jobs and green partnerships, re-thinking upstate infrastructure and rural health care. While he reinstated his support for those being the goals of the commission, Aubertine offered his own vision.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The WDT reports Darrel's new job

Aubertine named to head rural resources commission

First published: February 24, 2009 at 5:36 pm
Last modified: February 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm

ALBANY —- State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, will be named chairman of the New York State Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, the Daily Times learned late Tuesday afternoon.
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, D-Queens, will make a formal announcement of the appointment and the commission's agenda will be made at a Wednesday afternoon press conference at the state Capitol in Albany.
Mr. Aubertine, as chairman, "will transform the commission into an engine for substantive public policy initiatives for which the primary function is the economic revitalization of upstate New York," according to a statement released by the Senate Democratic conference.

The JD spin:
Congrats Darrel. Those Senate Republican naysayers, and their local busom buddy P-IV, who blow hollow invective at you at every turn will have a tough time dirtying you up after this giant feather is placed in your cap. Keep on keeping on Darrel! We love ya.

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WFP to Paterson: Be like WI’s governor
February 24, 2009
by Irene Jay Liu of the Albany Times Union's Cap Con blog

The Working Families Party is calling on Gov. David Paterson to adopt a similar take on the budget as Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.
Doyle’s budget (which closes a $5.7 billion deficit through mid-2011) uses $2.1 billion in federal stimulus cash to protect education and health care, raises $1.4 billion in tax increases, cuts programs, prevents raises, and slashed new spending.
“Albany should take a cue from Madison, because Gov. Jim Doyle got it right. Prudent spending cuts combined with asking those who can most afford it to give back a little more in taxes–that’s the kind of progressive leadership working families in New York need,” said Dan Cantor, Working Families Party Executive Director.

A big hoo-ray for Chuckie!

Source: TPM
Just released from Sen. Schumer's office ...Schumer to GOP governors: Stimulus isn't a la carte.

WASHINGTON, DC--Senator Charles Schumer released the following letter Tuesday urging the Obama administration to notify governors that they must certify acceptance of stimulus funding in full or not at all, rather than selectively approving and rejecting the law's various components.

February 24,
Dear Director Orszag:
In recent days, a small minority of governors, mostly Republicans, have publicly weighed the possibility of foregoing certain emergency provisions provided under the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed last week by President Obama. I believe this prospect not only would undercut the stimulative effect of the recovery package, but also is inconsistent with a key provision included in the law passed by Congress. To protect the integrity of the recovery program, I urge the administration to issue implementation guidance clarifying that while any Governor may exercise his or her discretion to accept or reject the federal funds provided in the stimulus, no Governor should have the authority to arbitrarily adopt a select subset of the overall package. As you know, Section 1607(a) of the economic recovery legislation provides that the Governor of each state must certify a request for stimulus funds before any money can flow. No language in this provision, however, permits the governor to selectively adopt some components of the bill while rejecting others. To allow such picking and choosing would, in effect, empower the governors with a line-item veto authority that President Obama himself did not possess at the time he signed the legislation. It would also undermine the overall success of the bill, as the components most singled out for criticism by these governors are among the most productive measures in terms of stimulating the economy.For instance, at least two governors have proposed rejecting a program to expand unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Economists consistently rank unemployment insurance among the most efficient and cost-effective fiscal stimulus measures; by one frequently cited estimate, it provides an economic return of as high as $1.73 for every dollar invested. Thus, by denying this provision for their residents, these governors are not just depriving some of the neediest Americans of relief in a dire economy; they are undermining the overall stimulative impact of the package. No one would dispute that these governors should be given the choice as to whether to accept the funds or not. But it should not be multiple choice. The composition of the package was rightly dictated by economic considerations; we should not let the implementation of the package be dictated by political considerations.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
(the bold and italics aren't Chuck's work...JD's instead)
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to force ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain to give up bonus details
A judge ordered ex-Merrill Lynch boss John Thain to stop stonewalling a state investigation of why the firm doled out $3.6 billion in bonuses just before it collapsed.
Thain refused last week to answer questions from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is probing the suspiciously timed Merrill bonuses. Monday, Cuomo asked a judge to make Thain talk about who got windfalls in a last-minute bonus frenzy just before Bank of America took over Merrill.
Late in the day, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bernard Fried issued an order requiring Thain to show up today at Cuomo's lower Manhattan offices to name names.
Cuomo is looking into who approved the bonuses late last year at the same time Bank of America was accepting $45 billion in taxpayer bailout funds that helped
Little-known, little-understood law has thousands of firefighters breaking the law
Updated: 02/23/2009 07:10 PM
By: Brian Dwyer

JEFFERSON COUNTY, NY -- "It has to be something that happened accidentally because it's taken four years before anybody discovered it," Adams Fire Department Member Bob Simpson said.
Accidental or not, it's happened. While making amendments on federal highway standards back in 2005, to ensure funding, New York State eliminated an exemption that allowed firefighters to drive their fire trucks in a non-emergency capacity. Without the exemption, a commercial driver's license is needed to do so. Anyone is still allowed to drive to an emergency, but driving back, getting gas, or taking part in a parade is actually illegal without the CDL. It's estimated thousands of firefighters do not have one and have been technically breaking the law. Local departments say they're just learning about the law, but do have a big problem with it.
Assemblywomen Russell Said of the law:
"Given all of the requirements we already place on our local volunteers, adding this I think would put would put all of our volunteer departments right out of business," State Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell said of her support of the possible bill.
Senator Aubertine said of the law:
If we allow our firefighters to drive these trucks in the most extreme and stressful of situations, they ought to be able to drive the fire truck back from the scene, in a parade or when training. This is an example of unintended consequences in a comprehensive bill which we certainly need to revisit,"
Boss Hogg of The North Country
Carl Brinker's reporting that Jim Wright's trying to shove his way into the executive director's position at the Development Authority of the North Country or DANC.
On it's face, it's absurd. It's not absurd that Wright is trying to pull this off, it's absurd that people may be taking this guy seriously. I mean where's the muscle in his muscling? Bruno's headed for a cage, Pataki's faded to black, D'Amato's kissing every Democratic ass he can GPS--but Wright's pulling some kind of power play as if.
Yup, as if he still can.
Please, Boss Jimmy, pad your pension elsewhere--like in Sumatra or Mongolia. We understand they're in dire need of solid waste contract lobbying expertise and redundant broadband RFPing.
In other words, Boss Jimmy, Upstate New York has enough mouths to feed without you lining up to get yours. (next generation Dems Blog)

Sunday, February 22, 2009


FORT BLISS, Texas - As soldiers stream home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the biggest charity inside the U.S. military has been stockpiling tens of millions of dollars meant to help put returning fighters back on their feet, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

Tax-exempt and legally separate from the military, AER projects a facade of independence but really operates under close Army control. The massive nonprofit — funded predominantly by troops — allows superiors to squeeze soldiers for contributions; forces struggling soldiers to repay loans — sometimes delaying transfers and promotions; and too often violates its own rules by rewarding donors, such as giving free passes from physical training, the AP found.

Founded in 1942, AER eases cash emergencies of active-duty soldiers and retirees and provides college scholarships for their families. Its emergency aid covers mortgage payments and food, car repairs, medical bills, travel to family funerals, and the like.

John McHugh blows off the President....really!

The national blog reported it as follows:

New York Republican Rep. John McHugh, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, has turned down Barack Obama's invite to Monday's fiscal responsibility summit, his office tells my colleague Alex Isenstadt.The New York congressman emerged as a tough critic of the economic stimulus package passed by Congress last week.“I am hard-pressed to understand how tens of billions of dollars, that our government doesn’t presently have but will have to borrow from our children and grandchildren to increase programs with little or no job creating potential, will do any real good in addressing the current crisis,” McHugh said last week after the House vote.McHugh spokeswoman Stephanie Nigro would only say that the congressman was bypassing the summit because he had other obligations in his district.
We at JD wonder where in the 23rd John will be? We suspect John won't be in the district promoting stimulus spending he didn't vote for. Maybe he won't be in the district at all.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This is a view of the St. Lawrence Seaway's Eisenhower Lock at Massena that you usually don't get to see. Thats Assemblywoman Addie Russell with a Supervisor standing on the floor of the lock looking up to the surface about 130 feet away. Each winter lock maintenance is done in preparation for the upcoming shipping season and this year Addie got a close look.

President Obama announces that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will start having an impact as soon as a few weeks from now, in the form of the quickest and broadest tax cut in history.

(this video is public domain)
© 2009 YouTube, LLC

Friday, February 20, 2009

20th CD Race update

This was an exciting week for Democratic candidate for Congress, Scott Murphy. He earned the endorsements of several key Democratic leaders including Senator Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Representative Paul Tonko as well as the support of PEF, the Working Families Party and Citizen Action.

Read about the endorsements:

Senator Schumer
Senator Gillibrand
Majority Leader Hoyer
Working Families Party

Republican candidate Jim Tedisco also took heat for his refusal to tell voters whether he would’ve voted “yes” or “no” to the economic recovery bill. The Times Union editorial board called on Tedisco to “Take a Stand:”

“Sometime between now and an election tentatively set for March 31, James Tedisco has to take a stand on the $787 billion economic stimulus that Congress passed last week and President Obama just signed into law. How else can the voters of the 20th Congressional District begin to judge whether he's the best candidate to fill what had been Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's seat in the House?”

Read the full editorial
Dear Fellow New Yorker,
On February 14, 2009, I was proud to announce that preliminary calculation suggested that New York State is expected to receive at least $24.6 Billion in aid from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. With New York State at the epicenter of a nationwide financial crisis these funds will help us weather the current storm and provide critical resources for investing in our future.

The influx for federal funds does not mean, however, that New York can abdicate our responsibility at the state level to bring spending in line with what our government can afford over the long term, We still have to address a $13 billion deficit next year and a multi-year deficit of over $48 billion. Most of these recovery funds will be spent within two years, in some instances, sooner. Therefore, this federal stimulus legislation does not in any way diminish the need to reevaluate our operations and produce a smarter, less costly, more efficient government, We will need to be smart and strategic as well as transparent in how we spend these federal dollars. Congress has rightfully put a premium on transparency and accountability and this website will serve as a conduit for the state’s role in promoting that transparency and accountability.
The pages of will help you track how we spend those dollars and provide resources to governments, organizations and other entities wishing to submit proposals for funding.

Read on..
NEW YORK'S GUIDE to the 2009
American Recorvery and Reinvestment Act

Dear Fellow New Yorker,
On February 14, 2009, I was proud to announce that preliminary calculation suggested that New York State is expected to receive at least $24.6 Billion in aid from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. With New York State at the epicenter of a nationwide financial crisis these funds will help us weather the current storm and provide critical resources for investing in our future.

The influx for federal funds does not mean, however, that New York can abdicate our responsibility at the state level to bring spending in line with what our government can afford over the long term, We still have to address a $13 billion deficit next year and a multi-year deficit of over $48 billion. Most of these recovery funds will be spent within two years, in some instances, sooner. Therefore, this federal stimulus legislation does not in any way diminish the need to reevaluate our operations and produce a smarter, less costly, more efficient government, We will need to be smart and strategic as well as transparent in how we spend these federal dollars. Congress has rightfully put a premium on transparency and accountability and this website will serve as a conduit for the state’s role in promoting that transparency and accountability.
The pages of will help you track how we spend those dollars and provide resources to governments, organizations and other entities wishing to submit proposals for funding.
Read on..

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Assembly car count
February 19, 2009 at 2:14 pm by Irene Jay Liu

The Tedisco campaign took issue with our story earlier this week revealing that the Assembly minority has more state-owned vehicles assigned to members and staff than the Assembly majority does - saying that it didn’t give the complete picture and suggesting that we look into the issue of Assembly pool cars.
So we did, and this is what we found:
The Assembly majority has six pool cars, according to Assembly majority spokeswoman Sisa Mayo.
2004 Ford Taurus
2001 Chevy impala
2003 Buick Park Avenue
2001 Ford Taurus
2005 Chevy Impala
1999 Chevy Lumina
These cars reside in the garage under the Capitol and “are not assigned to anybody, but they are used for official business,” she said.
Mayo said that if a conference staffer or member wants to use a pool car, he or she may request time to travel.
In the past, minority members and staff have requested and been granted use of the majority cars, she added.
The minority has 2 pool cars — a 2002 Chevy Impala and a 2003 Chevy Tahoe, according to Mayo.
So if you total up all the cars — assigned and pool cars — the minority still has more cars that the majority.
Majority (109 members): 3 member-assigned cars + 1 staffer-assigned car + 6 pool cars = 10 cars
Minority (41 members): 10 member-assigned cars + 2 staffer-assigned cars + 2 pool cars = 14 cars
The Assembly Minority office (which, interestingly, forwarded my request to Tedisco’s Congressional campaign) has not yet responded after two days of request for comment.
Read on..

New Yorkers to boycott NY Post over "racist" cartoon
Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:45pm EST

By Edith Honan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hundreds of demonstrators rallied to boycott the New York Post on Thursday, branding the newspaper as racist for publishing a cartoon that appeared to compare President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee.
Demonstrators led by civil rights activist Al Sharpton chanted "End racism now!" outside the parent company's skyscraper in midtown Manhattan and called for the jailing of Rupert Murdoch, whose international media conglomerate News Corp owns the Post.
The newspaper has defended the cartoon as a parody of Washington politics, but Sharpton said it exploited a potent image in the history of racism toward blacks.
Published on Wednesday, it shows police shooting an ape and plays on the real shooting of a pet chimpanzee that went on a rampage in Connecticut this week.
One of the police officers says, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." Because Obama promoted the $787 billion economic stimulus that he signed into law on Tuesday, critics of the cartoon interpreted the dead chimp as a reference to Obama, who became the first black U.S. president on January 20.
Read on..

L & P Media President A Past Republican Donor
by: robert.harding
Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 09:57:20 AM EST

Last week, the big story to close out the week was that a web vendor used to create websites for Republican state senators also did some political work on the side, creating campaign websites for Republican senators and, most recently, sending out e-mail blasts targeting a few Democratic senators, namely Sen. Craig Johnson and Sen. Darrel Aubertine.
The web vendor is L & P Media. We know that they have been the provider of services for the Republicans over the years. But it looks like the head of L & P Media also gave something back.
According to this report from Albany-based The Business Review, the President of L & P Media is a man named John Daniels. According to campaign finance reports, Daniels gave $755 to Republicans from 2003 to 2005.
This is how it breaks down:
- On Sept. 11, 2003, Daniels gave $250 to the New York State Republican Committee. Almost two months prior to that, Daniels' company, Light and Power Media, was paid $6,336 by the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
- On August 19, 2004, Daniels gave $500 to the New York State Republican Committee.
- In 2005, Daniels gave a small donation of $5 to the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
It wasn't until 2006 that big money started flowing L & P Media's way. According to the total expenditures paid to L & P Media, they were paid $108,378.72 for their services, which included work for the Senate Republicans and work for individual Republican senators, including Sen. Charles Fuschillo and newly-elected Sen. Roy McDonald, who is serving the same district that Joe Bruno previously represented.
In fairness to Daniels, he did give $1,000 to Eliot Spitzer's gubernatorial campaign. But that isn't what has gotten him in the news recently. Sure, the contributions he made weren't during the time he was making big money from the Senate Republicans, but this just raises more questions about the practices of the Senate Republicans and using a company to do work in a government capacity and in a political capacity.
Read on..

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Addie and the Arts

Assemblywoman Addie Russell of the 118th District today brightened our northcountry a little.

She opened her office wall space in the Dulles State Office building to some budding artists.
Six elementary students from LaFargeville elementary school had their works hung
in a gallery for everyone to enjoy. These are creative, colorful and just as wonderfully joyful as all good art should be.

Everyone is invited in to enjoy the pictures. Addie's office is in suite 210 on the second floor and you don't need an invitation or a special reason to stop by. You are always welcome. Unfortunately, we live in an age when it might be dangerous for elementary school age kids to have their full names publically displayed. Therefore, these gems just have first names attached.

The pictures will hang for about six weeks and then be returned to their creators.
If you are an art teacher who would like your students to participate in this project too Addie would enjoy having a few submissions from your elementary school artists.

Just call her District Office at 786-0284 and she will make the space available.
Senator Gillibrand named to serve on
Environment and Public Works Committee
Updated: 02/17/2009 06:20 AM
By: Web Staff

WASHINGTON -- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is following in her predecessor's footsteps in more ways than one. Gillibrand has been named to serve on the Environment and Public Works Committee.It's the same committee former Senators Hillary Clinton and Daniel Patrick Moynihan served on while in Washington.

Gillibrand is also serving on three subcommittees, including the new Green Jobs and the New Economy and the Oversight Committee.Senator Gillibrand says the service gives her an opportunity to address some of the most pressing issues facing the state.
Read on..
Aubertine opposes cuts to EPF

Posted by Debbie Groom/The Post-Standard February 17, 2009 3:43AM
State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine is urging Gov. David Paterson not to cut the Environmental Protection Fund allocations for programs designed to help farmers protect land from development and comply with environmental regulations to keep water clean.
"These programs not only help farmers protect the environment, they benefit farmers and our economy," Aubertine said. "We cannot continue to dip into the Environmental Protection Fund to balance our budget."
The senator wrote a letter to Paterson asking for his "support and leadership" in protecting EPF funding, especially for the Farmland Protection Program and Agriculture Nonpoint Source Program.
The proposed 2009-10 Executive Budget proposes reducing EPF funding available for farmers to permanently protect their farmland from development to just $17.5 million. With 181 applications to protect 49,000 acres of farmland at a cost of close to $159 million in 2008, funding at this level would prevent approval of roughly 90 percent of these applications.
The budget proposal also calls for a $500,000 reduction in funding for the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Program (and associated Agricultural Environmental Management program), which provides money and technical assistance to help farmers adopt environmentally sound farm practices.

Monday, February 16, 2009

In case you missed it here is Saturday Night Live's opening with Dan Ackroyd leading the tone deaf Republican minority.


Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell wrote a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting assistance for North Country dairy farmers. She asked that the federal government help New York dairy farmers and the agricultural community in the Northeast by speeding efforts to halt the decline in milk prices.

“The dairy industry is hurting in New York State’s North Country,” Assemblywoman Russell wrote in the letter. “Up to 40 Jefferson County dairy farms of all sizes are expected to go out of production this year. This will not only affect each dairy farmer, but the entire North Country economy.”

Russell said the staggering reduction in farm revenues could mean about a $90 million economic loss to Jefferson County alone, not to mention the loss to St. Lawrence County. Due to the current milk surplus, prices continue to decline at alarming rates, and some economists indicate that the current milk price is well below the cost of production.

“The picture is bleak, and quick action is needed,” Russell said. “I commend the federal government for their efforts in buying up milk surplus to assist in the stabilization of milk prices, but more must be done. I strongly urge the federal government to speed its efforts to halt this rapid decline in farm income.”

Russell also urged the federal government to unload overseas the milk products purchased through the Dairy Export Incentive Program – a subsidy that helps U.S. exporters sell nonfat dry milk, butter and cheese to foreign countries. If the government decides to unload the product in the domestic market, there is a concern that the cycle will start again – triggering another price drop.

Sunday, February 15, 2009



It's been a rough month or so for Governor Paterson, most recently centering on the painful budget cuts the Governor proposed to close the budget deficit. Naturally, whenever you're talking about spending cuts on things like nursing homes and education, you're going to get a lot of opposition, even when you're trying to fix the crippling budget deficit left by the implosion of Wall Street, which singlehandedly covers 20% of the New York State budget.

But it strikes me that Governor Paterson's real problem isn't the political debate on spending and taxes--it's a lot simpler and more basic than that. Indeed, it could be summed up as this: No one knows who he is, and no one knows what he's doing.
Click here for the rest of the post on our sister blog Political Good Guys.


A group of college kids in Oregon.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

9/11 widow dies in New York air crash
By James Bone in New York
The Irish Independent
Saturday February 14 2009

Her husband died in the attack on the World Trade Centre after phoning to say that he loved her. Yesterday, as she flew to commemorate his 58th birthday and to establish a scholarship in his name at the high school where they met, Beverly Eckert also met her death in a fiery plane crash.
The outspoken September 11 widow was among 50 people who died when a Continental Connection commuter plane nosedived into a house in upstate New York, killing everyone on board and one person on the ground.
Last week Ms Eckert met President Barack Obama at the White House when he briefed the families of terrorism victims on the new US administration's approach to terror suspects.
"Tragic events such as these remind us of the fragility of life, and the value of every single day," Mr Obama said yesterday.
"One person who understood that well was Beverly Eckert, who was on that flight, and who I met with just a few days ago. Beverly lost her husband on 9/11 and became a tireless advocate for those families whose lives were forever changed on that September day. She was an inspiration to me and to so many others, and I pray that her family finds peace and comfort in the hard days ahead."
Continental Connection Flight 3407 from Newark, New Jersey, went down at 10.20pm local time on Thursday while preparing to land at Buffalo-Niagara airport, the tourist gateway to the Niagara Falls.
Read on..
If you are tuned to jazz you'll probably know that one of Chuck Mangione's major sideman was silenced in the same accident. Gerry Niewood, saxophone and flute, also perished. Chuck and Gerry were central in the creation of the classic Children of Sanchez album. You can listen to a little of Gerry's music
on his myspace--music page.
Post script-- I just realized after reading the passenger manifest that another brilliant jazz musician was lost on the same flight. Coleman Mellett was a guitarist
travelling with Gerry.
(suppliment by tf)
No Need to Review this one!
Change the Policy and give our
Soldiers the Honor they deserve
on their return!

Fallen Soldiers, Coming Home in Public
Published: February 14, 2009

In an HBO movie that has its premiere on Saturday, Kevin Bacon, playing the part of Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, escorts the body of Chance Phelps, 19, a fellow Marine killed in Iraq, home to his parents in Wyoming. There’s no real plot; the linear narrative follows Colonel Strobl through his solemn rituals, often including a slow ceremonial salute, as he watches over Private Phelps (later Lance Corporal Phelps). The body is moved in a shipping container through various airports, from cargo hold to cargo hold, on its long last journey.

HBO promotes the movie, “Taking Chance,” based on Colonel Strobl’s true account, as “nonpolitical.” But it arrives in a highly political context and at an acutely political moment.
Just last week, President Obama was asked at a news conference if he would allow coverage of the flag-draped coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware “so the American people can see the full human cost of war.”
Read on..


Handing the new administration a big win, the House Friday passed President Barack Obama's $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy.
The bill was passed 246-183 with NO Republican help. All but seven Democrats voted for the bill - a 1,071 page, 8-inch-thick measure that combines $281 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses with more than a half-trillion dollars in government spending. The money would go for infrastructure, health care and help for cash-starved state governments, among scores of programs. Seniors would get a $250 bonus Social Security check.
Obama claims the plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs, but Republicans said it won't work because it has too little in tax cuts and spreads too much money around to everyday projects like computer upgrades for federal agencies.

Will any of the economic stimulus money come to the North Country? I imagine it will, certainly in the form of money for Medicare and education. Will John McHugh take credit for any money the North Country gets from the economic stimulus bill? Since he voted against it, I assume he will not.

The Babies Know

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President Obama celebrates the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act while keeping his eyes on the tough road ahead.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Scott Murphy 20th CD Candidate fights for
the best interests of Upstate NY
On Thursday, Scott Murphy officially launched his campaign in the 20th CD. At the launch, held as his campaign headquarters in Glens Falls, Scott said that he looks forward to “meeting even more voters all across our district, listening to their concerns, and discussing my track record of helping to create good paying jobs in Upstate New York.”

NYSDC Chair June O’Neill praised Scott, calling him a leader who will “fight for the best interests of Upstate residents” and noting that “For more than 15 years, he has served on the front lines of the fight to create jobs, strengthen communities, and find new ways to meet old challenges.”

Scott’s first TV ad, “Sunday Dinner,” hit the airwaves this week as well. In it he introduces voters to his family (his wife Jill and their three kids – Simone, Lux and Duke) and reiterates his commitment to keeping and creating jobs in Upstate New York.
Read more about the launch
Stormin' Gorman hits this one out of the park!
This is a must read!
By: Bob Gorman WDT editorial
Aubertine is ruining the north country
Well, according to the GOP, that is

The kids couldn't hurt Jack, they tried, tried, tried; they dropped things on his back, they lied, lied, lied, lied, lied

FEB. 13: 2009 The long knives are out for Sen. Darrel Aubertine as the state’s GOP has begun a barrage of emails to journalists about how the one-year-long senator is abandoning the north country and its people.
But I thought he was one of us!!!!
Sample headlines in emails from “Just The Facts,” which is prepared by the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, include:
Aubertine votes to raise cost of health insurance outrages businesses
Democrat scheme includes job-killing sweep of NYPA funds
Bad news for families too; SUNY tuition increase hijacked
And the man in the middle of all this tragedy, travesty and trepidation is the Democrat Aubertine, according to the GOP.
Has anyone caused so much heartburn in such a short period of time?
Today it was more of the same. According to the GOP, quoting a story in the Syracuse Post-Standard, “North Country State Senator Darrel Aubertine is lobbying Gov. David Paterson to save a Lower Manhattan group that sponsors lawmakers' junkets – including a previously unpublicized 2005 trip Aubertine took to China."
Read all about it!!
Senate Republicans spent us into a hole
Now Republican Mercenaries are Attacking
Darrel for looking out for the little guy.

Senate Web Vendor Plays For the G.O.P. Too
by Jimmy Vielkind on February 13, 2009
ALBANY—A company that has earned almost half a million dollars over the last seven years for maintaining the web sites of New York's state senators is also under contract with the now-minority Republicans to produce attack emails about the Senate Democrats.
Senate Democrats now in the majority have been slowly unraveling how the Republicans spent money, and according to majority spokesman Austin Shafran, Troy-based L&P Media was paid $472,056 dollars since May 2001 to develop and host Web pages for individual senators.
In the last two years, campaign finance documents show the company were also paid over $107,000 by the Senate Republican Campaign Committee for work including partisan Web sites and most recently, email blasts. They are also doing more than $1 million in contract work for other state agencies and donated to State Senate Republican and their proxies at the same time.
L&P is behind emails attacking State Senators Darrel Aubertine, David Valesky and Craig Johnson as "following the orders" of their "New York City boss," according to a copy that has been circulating this week. If you look at the bottom of Johnson's official Web site, there's the official "Developed by L&P Media" stamp.
"This seemingly pathological blurring of the political and the governmental is very troubling, and—at best—improper," said Rich Azzopardi, a Johnson spokesman.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Senator Aubertine opposes reductions in
Environmental Protection Fund

Senator Darrel J. Aubertine is calling for Governor David Paterson to prevent further cuts to Environmental Protection Fund allocations for programs designed to help farmers protect land from development and comply with environmental regulations to keep local water clean.“These programs not only help farmers protect the environment, they benefit farmers and our economy,” Sen. Aubertine said. “We cannot continue to dip into the EPF to balance our budget. These programs help farmers comply with environmental regulations and give them much needed capital to re-invest in their business. Studies of worldwide food production have forecast a shortage of farmland and these programs protect our farms here in New York State.”The senator sent a letter to Gov. Paterson asking for his “support and leadership” in protecting EPF funding, especially for the Farmland Protection Program and Agriculture Nonpoint Source Program.“These programs benefit farmers and help protect our environment, two things we must remain committed to as we pull through this economic downturn,” he said. “While we need to continue looking for ways to close our budget gap, we should not make further cuts that would impact these important programs.
Read on..

Let the moaning and groaning begin

It doesn’t have a bill number yet, much less a timetable for committee discussions and the inevitable pyrotechnic floor debate, but Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s version of the millionares income tax hike has been introduced.

Actually, it’s more like a quarter-millionaire’s tax hike, as it raises from 6.85 percent to 8.25 percent earnings above $250,000; rising to 8.99 percent for incomes above $500,000 (same as New Jersey, say supporters) and 10.3 percent for earnings above a million, just like in California.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jim Wright politicizes DANC

News gets around the New York blogosphere pretty quickly.
The ROOM 8 blog headquartered in NYC reported on the calculated move that Jim Wright is taking by sticking in his thumb and trying to pull out the plum-like DANC Chair job. Click here for it.
Do you think the sitting Board Members that he put in position when he was Senator will refuse him? No way. It'll be an overt political payback. Must be that lobby thing didn't work out.
The DaBrinker Report blog detected a slight aroma too. Check it out by clicking here.
Jude at the WDT did a good job reporting today too. Here it is. Of course, this blog fully expects the WDT to editorialize in favor of the ex-Senator.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A stimulating editorial from Robert Harding


There are some notable differences between the two economic stimulus packages proposed by both houses of Congress.
The House of Representatives, which already passed their version of the economic stimulus package. The House version would invest $550 billion into the economy plus provide $275 billion in tax cuts. The House version would create or save three to four million jobs.

But the Senate's version of the economic stimulus package is very different. Initially, the Senate Democrats increased the size of the package before realizing that they didn't have the votes to pass that package. In order to pass it, they needed a few Republicans to help them out. After negotiating with these Republicans, the Senate came up with a deal that fully or partially cut funding for several elements of the package.

The Senate's version also cut back on President Barack Obama's proposed middle class tax cut even though tax cuts are a main part of the Senate's package.

By comparison, one-third of the House package was made up of tax cuts (approximately $275 billion). The Senate version is said to include $350 billion in tax cuts, which means that in a package that costs approximately $780 billion, tax cuts are nearly half of the whole package.

So what does this all mean? It means that we are in for quite a week. The Senate has yet to vote on their package, but that vote should happen some time this week. It will be interesting to see how the states react, considering that $40 billion in funding set aside for states was slashed from the Senate's version of the stimulus package. Many states, including New York, would have benefited from that money. But now, much of it has been cut away.

The best plan is the House plan, but it was easier for the House to pass this bill. With such a solid majority, the House did not need (and did not receive) a single Republican vote. In all, 244 Democrats supported the bill. But the Senate does not have that luxury.

The Senate needs 60 votes. There are 56 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the Democratic Party. That means they needed two votes. So instead of talking tough, they folded. They cut a stimulus package down to $780 billion and loaded it up with tax cuts for two votes. There might have been some deal-making that needed to be done, but the Senate Democrats went too far.

Economists say that we do need a stimulus package. And they also say the sooner, the better. We need a stimulus package. But we also need leaders who realize that we are in an economic crisis. This isn't time to take a hard-line stand solely based on politics. If a majority of economists say that we need a stimulus package, we should listen to those calls and implement a package that will be in the best interests of the American people.

(Robert Harding of The Albany Project blog)


Republican Economics

One of the best features of the original plan was aid to cash-strapped state governments, which would have provided a quick boost to the economy while preserving essential services. But the centrists insisted on a $40 billion cut in that spending.
So says Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman The one part of the economic stimulus package that was understandable, money for state governments, was slashed by "centrist" Republicans in return for their votes to pass the package.

Here is the message I've been getting from Republican lawmakers. First, don't help states out, make them cut their budgets. Somehow losing state government jobs is good in the current economic climate. Claiming that firemen, policemen, teachers and corrections officers (both teachers and corrections officers are likely to lose jobs) is just fearmongering.

Second, tax cuts are what we need. Especially tax cuts for the wealthy and businesses. The benefits of these tax cuts will trickle down, like they did with the Bush tax cuts. And, by the way, we need to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Nice thing about tax cuts for the wealthy - they work whether the economy is good or bad!

Third, don't give any breaks to those who need it the most - the poor. See, if you give them money they will only save it. We need to give it to people who will spend the money.

Unfortunately, if the economic stimulus doesn't work, Democrats are going to be blamed. If it works, I'm sure Republicans will figure out how to take credit for it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Another wonderful political blog has brightened the array in the firmament of North Country blogdom. Check out Jefferson's Leaning Left.
The positioning statement on R. Wiley's new blog is, "...we have Democratic Senator Darrel Aubertine and Assemblywoman Addie Russell and the Republicans are wounded in the Solid Republican North as Jefferson County, NY begins to Lean Left."
Jane's got a new show!!
The Little Theater of Watertown Presents a boiling pot of hilarity.

The Kitchen Witches by Caroline Smith opens this Thursday, February 5 at the Trinity Church Auditorium 227 Sherman Street, Watertown, NY.
This delicious concoction is about the food flying feud between two ego driven cable cooking show hostesses.
The show is co-directed by Dan Allington and Jane Jenkins and stars Jennifer Mentry, Erin LaLonde, Amber Crone and special appearance by Brian Sweeney.
Little Theatre is offering two different options for shows. They have their usual, the very popular dinner theater option. ONLY $27.50 for dinner, tax, tip and show! And by the way the meals at the Trinity Dinner Theaters are tasty! And this time there is the recession offer. The stage show only, without dinner is a bargain at $10.
See more community events
Cape Vincent Community in Mourning
Cape Vincent community in mourning
By: Andy Mattison, News 10 Now
It was an emotional day as the Cape Vincent community said goodbye to Mark Davis. The man touched so many lives through his work as an EMT and volunteer.
Davis' funeral was followed by a procession back to the Cape Vincent Fire Department where he was a volunteer.
Ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles lined the streets and lit up the grey skies with their emergency lights. More than 175 vehicles in all participated and the line stretcBack in Cape Vincent, receptions were held for all of the people who came to town to support local emergency service workers.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Protect Children From Sex Offenders

In his first visit to Long Island since being elected State Senate Majority Leader earlier this month, Senator Malcolm A. Smith met Jan. 30 with Senator Craig Johnson to announce the introduction of a major piece of statewide legislation that will protect children from predators.
The bill, S.1300, is a direct response to a recent State Supreme Court decision that invalidated Rockland County's sex offender residency law. That ruling nullified the local law asserting that under state law, the express authority to determine housing residency for sex offenders lies only with local probation offices. Using that standard some 80 local "child safety zone" laws across the state risk invalidation.
"While I have the utmost respect for the judicial branch, this particular decision is the result of a confusing patchwork of laws that we seek to simplify," Senator Smith said. "Myself and Senator Johnson are both parents, and we understand the importance of getting our laws right so that no child is placed in harm's way."

SUCCESS????? That mag is right on top of things

Success Magazine, a business publication based out of Clifton Park, NY, has a cover profile of recently indicted former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on the cover of its January issue.
Calling Bruno its “executive of the month,” the magazine features a Q&A about Bruno’s upbringing, his experiences as a businessman and elected officials, and his thoughts on entrepreneurship.
The issue came out before Bruno’s Jan. 23, indictment on corruption charges. Bruno has vociferously and colorfully denied any wrongdoing.
This isn’t the first time Success has inadvertently published a cover story of an elected official in times of political woe.
In November 2006, Success featured a cover story and profile of former Congressman John Sweeney, a day after he was defeated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. A week before the November 7, 2006 election, a state police domestic violence report was leaked, documenting an incident that occurred between Sweeney and his wife.
(lifted from the Capitol Confidential blog)

California vintners in the Napa Valley area, which primarily produce Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic. It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the bathroom during the night. The new wine will be marketed as pino more.
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In the weekly address for Saturday, February 7, 2009, President Barack Obama commends the progress the Senate has made on moving the recovery plan forward, and urged its completion.
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Friday, February 6, 2009

Ticket 'abuse' angers Springsteen
Rock singer Bruce Springsteen has hit out at a company which encouraged US fans to buy tickets online for one of his concerts at inflated prices.

The musician condemned Ticketmaster for redirecting fans to another website selling more expensive tickets. Writing on this website, Springsteen said he had asked the company to "immediately" stop the practice. Ticketmaster said it has removed all links and has pledged to refund fans their additional costs for tickets.

'Confused and angry' Ticketmaster boss Irving Azoff admitted the company had "clearly missed the mark" in an effort to provide fans with more choices. He "sincerely apologised" to Springsteen and his fans, who he conceded were left "confused and angry".
Fans who were trying to buy tickets to the singer's New Jersey show via Ticketmaster were sent to TicketsNow - a site owned by Ticketmaster - which allows fans to sell tickets on at a higher mark-up.