And the fun continues…

Shock and awe.  That has to be what the reeling ex-Mjaority Leader Malcolm Smith is feeling right now.  And it just keeps piling on..

From the latest news reports, Smith has lost it all, even if the Democrats somehow regain control of NY’s Senate chamber.  The latest indictaes that even if the Democrats retake control, Smith will be ousted from any and all leadership positions.  Even the efforts of The One’s political team are sacraficing Smith in a counter-coup bid.  The problem with this is that if the Dems do regain control, then who will be elevated to the vaunted leadership positions?

That’s the question for the Democrats.  If not Smith, then who?  Carl Kruger and Tom Stachowski are two options, but the rumor mill, from many sources, seems to point to them flipping sides to join Espada and Monserratte.  But I would venture that if Smith is sacraficed, then these two would “remain in the fold,”   especially if they are offered the top two slots as President of the Senate and Majority Leader.  However, given their generally more conservative leanings, I doubt they will be acceptable to the City-crats.  Reuben Diaz sr could be the wild card in all this.  He’s stated that he won’t switch sides, but will he support a counter-coup  if Smith is involved?  Diaz was one of the “gang of four” who threatened Smith to back the GOP back in January.

Then there’s our accidnetal governor, David Patterson.  He’s losing ground at every turn.  The latest polls show him to be the least popular governor in the nation.  That’s pretty impressive given his predecessor’s antics, and the ancilliary hubub concerning former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.  Patterson is being put to the test here, and is failing each and every time.  Is it any wonder that AG Andrew Cuomo has not weighed in on this business?  Not really, as the weaker Patterson is, the easier his time to get the gubenatorial nomination will be.  Provided Patterson decides to run that is.

But it gets worse for the “reform agenda” Democrats.  NYPIRG, the NY Public Interest Group, a noted left leaning organization, has come out in favor of the GOP’s coup. “We believe, on first cut (the new rules) are another step in the right direction,” said NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner.  Ouch.  That one goes straight to the Democratic agenda.

Oh for sure some have come out vocally against this move, beyond the politicians that is.  A few hundred gathered at the Capital to voice their displeasure.  A survey of those involved, from watching the news coverage, shows the usual lunatic leftist, and a fine selection of various special interest groups who stand to have thier own agendas side lined by the loss of their political allies.

I fully expect this to end by Friday.  I doubt any serious legal action will happen, more so as AG Cuomo seems to be trying very hard to stay out of teh fray.  Going so far as to ignore Smith’s “extortion and influence peddling” charges against Espada and Monserratte.  No matter what the DNC robocalls are encouraging those involved to report to Cuomo.

Ah, NY politics.  Gotta love it.

Some reading links:

Fred Dicker (NY Post)

NY Post Coverage

Capital News 9

Joe Bruno on the events

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More fun and games in Albany

Poor, poor, Malcolm Smith.  He’s had the power in the Senate for less than six months, and now it appears he has already lost it.

Local news reports are indicating that two “rebel” Democrats have opted to side with the GOP to take the leadership positions away from Smith and his control.  Pedro Espada and Hirum Monserratte have apparently, and publicly, decided to caucus with the GOP to form a new power bloc.  While both Espada and Monserratte have declared that they are not switching parties, you can bet your last dollar that Smith, and the NY Democratic party will visit a world of political hurt on those two come election time.

So now we have Malcolm Smith (D) and Dean Skelos (R) both claiming to be Senate Majority Leader.  We also have the supposed election of Espada to be President of the Senate.  Now the wrangling begins, not only in the eyes of the public, through the media, but through the courts.  Guranteed it will happen.  Smith is claiming to anyone who will listen, that this “palace coup” was illegal, and took place while the Senate was out of session.  However, there appears to be questions as to if the session was actually gaveled closed, or if Smith just thought so when he left the chambers, or was merely informed that was the case.  Details I’m sure will continue to emerge as this bit of political theater goes on.

David Patterson, our esteemed governor, has also weighed in on the matter.  However, he failed to really make any sort of impact.  We all know he’s close friends and allies with Malcolm Smith, and thus has a vested interest in seeing Smith remain on top in the Senate.  If anything, he has only added to the rudderless confusion surrounding the state of affairs in the NYS Legislature.  Can’t wait to see what Prince Silver has to say when he chimes in, probably today.

I’d like to thank all those NY’ers who voted these prats into office.  You get what you pay for folks, enjoy it!

NY Politics, more of the same old same old

Well, it’s been an interesting 2009 so far here in the Empire State.  From the usual budget shenanigans, to the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to Joe Bruno’s “indictment” to David Patterson struggling for his political life.  And it’s only February!  So, where to start?

Oh, might as well go in order, so it’s the “budget” fiasco du jour.  Again, I’m somewhat wondering where to start.  Do I begin with Patterson’s “austerity plan,” or the back room dealings that have gone on between the all Democratic “leadership,”  or the ever worsening revenue shortfall predictions?  Feh.  Ok, let’s look at the budget revenue short falls.  What was once a $4billion short fall has grown to about $10billion.  Sure, it’s no where near California, but it’s still a huge change.  The whys of this all depend on who you talk or listen to.  It’s everything from the unstable stock market, to the lack of CEO bonuses (yes, that is an important revenue stream for NYS), to the middle and “upper” classes fleeing the state (due to property, income, business taxes, utility costs), to businesses fleeing the state, and everything in between.  So what does our Legislative “leaders” want to do?  Why exacerbate the problem of course by increasing taxes across the board, plus new fees and taxes.  What has been causing a steady decline in the state’s population over the past 30 years is the “remedy” Sheldon Silver and Malcolm Smith want to use to raise revenues.  The problem with this is that it’s a short term solution.  Yes, they can “close the gap” somewhat for a year, maybe two.  But beyond that, it will only serve to force more people, more businesses to relocate out of the State of NY, which then will worsen the already weakened revenue streams.  Even using the supposed cash forthcoming from the “stimulus bill,” it won’t actually solve anything.

David Patterson I think sees this, but is somewhat handcuffed by his party and politics.  He’s been quite vocal about wanting to avoid any “tax increases,” but that applies solely for income taxes.  He’s quite happy to raise taxes on products that are non-politically correct, or maybe nebulous to try and collect (Internet sales).  Patterson has even gone so far as to actually suggest budget cuts, and in very politicized programs.  But he’ll never get it past his “colleagues” in the Legislature and Senate.  Still, it’s better than I could have expected.

However, despite some very public “forward steps,” there has been a bit of a backslide.  To whit, the return to the smoke filled back room deals that characterized many a budget process of the past.  This was supposed to be the “new era” of “open and accountable government” in New York.  Well, that went out the door when Silver, Smith, and Patterson all met behind closed doors, with not even the minority leadership present.  This is a departure from the recent past, where at least the minority party leadership was present.  I’d lay odds that they won’t ever disclose any “member items” either when the time comes, but I doubt anyone would bet against it.

So this is what passes for leadership here in NY.  Lovely isn’t it?  We have David Patterson, the well intentioned, but still accidental governor, Sheldon Silver, the Manhattan Citycrat, beholden to several special interest groups as our Assembly “Leader,” and Malcolm Smith, another Citycrat, with the charisma of a wet paper towel.  The Republican side isn’t much better, at least state wide.  Dean Skelos?  A capable administrator, but that’s as far as it goes, and as far as he ever should have gotten.  Jim Tedisco could be something, but he’s too much of a fighting bull dog to really take the reigns (more on Tedisco below).  This doesn’t even cover the nitwits and whackjobs that comprise the majority of our Congressional delegation.

Speaking of the morass that is Congress, Patterson shocked many a pundit with his appointment of Rep.Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat.  With names like Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy being bandied around, “Gilly” was a long shot to most pundits and commentators.  More so, as other names mentioned had greater “party appeal,” and “fit the national agenda” of the Democrats.  But Patterson, to his credit, went against the grain, and nominated a moderate upstate Democrat to the seat.  How moderate is Gillibrand exactly?  Well, her appointment ticked off several Citycrats who sit in Congress, to the point of where they boycotted her nomination press conference.  Even Chucklehead Schumer looked a bit queasy, but he’s a power player, so he showed and spoke.  A quick note from Gillibrand’s nomination press conference.  Tom DiNapoli (State Comptroller) needs to shut his yap.  He nearly killed the whole event with his prattling.  He just doesn’t know when he’s gone over the edge, and someone needs to gag him before he does.

So, with Gillibrand leaving Congress for the Senate, there will be a special election to fill her seat on March 31st.  The parties have had their individual shake down sessions to determine the candidates.  On the Democratic side, we have Scott Murphy, a “venture capitalist” (with a mediocre at best track record) from Glens Falls.  On the Republican side, Assembly minority leader Jim Tedisco grabbed the nomination.  I haven’t read how Murphy got his nomination, the Democrat’s process was rather arcane, though some sort of weighted format was used.  Tedisco got the GOP nod by securing the support of the Saratoga and Rennselear County GOP parties, the two largest in the district.  By doing so, with the weighted romat used by the GOP, he out gained former minority leader, and gubernatorial candidate John Faso.  FWIW, I was hoping for Faso to get the nod, and take the seat.  It’s not that I don’t like Tedisco, I just thought the State was better served by having him remain Assembly minority leader, and having Faso go to Washington where his personal strengths would be best used.

This all has put Patterson in a difficult political position.  He’s getting plenty of flak from his own party as well as the GOP.  He’s getting beat in Quinnipiac polls in a theoretical primary against Andrew Cuomo, and is neck and neck in a theoretical match up against Rudy Guilliani.  Patterson is getting gruff from Silver and Smith, as well as loud mouth nimrods like Carolyn Maloney (over Gillibrand’s appointment).  Jim Tedisco has been hot on his heels over being excluded from the budget process, and even Dean Skelos has been seen on TV deriding the secretive nature of the triumvirate.  But he’s put the Democrat’s in the position of possibly losing a Congressional seat (the 20th), and perhaps even one of NY’s Senate seats to the GOP.  Tedisco can (and should) win the 20th, which had been held by Gillibrand.  As much appeal as Gillibrand has held in the 20th, I don;t think she can win State wide, between the growling of the NYC contingent, and the persistent rumor that Rep.Peter King (R-LI) will run for the seat.  If King does run, he should beat Gillibrand by a solid, but not spectacular margin in 2010.  He’s well liked in the City, and will have enough Upstate appeal to win.

Meanwhile, the allegations surrounding former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno have taken another twist.  The US Attorney has gotten an indictment on several charges against Bruno.  It is the “culmination”  of all the Spitzer inspired “investigations” when Bruno and Spitzer were at loggerheads.  At best these charges are tenuous.  At worst the spurious.  Even money says that 2/3 of the charges will be dropped, and Bruno gets acquitted of the rest.  If he doesn’t, then I hope the US Attorney turns his attention to all the other members of the NYS Senate and Assembly, as they are all equally guilty of exactly the same “charges.”  But I doubt this will happen, as the charges themselves are so nebulous as to be night impossible to get a conviction on.

OK, So I’ve been lazy of late

And I haven’t done much of anything with this blog in quite some time.  Sue me.  I’m not one of those whose entire existence, whose sole self worth is determined by the number of hits I get here.  This is a place where I get to sound off when  I so feel like it.  I am not compelled to post daily, nor do I have any sort of need to do so.  I post when I like, about what I want.

That said, I have had thinsg to post of late, from PS3 game reviews, to Bluray movie comments, even to some political ramblings.  I just never quite got around to it.  I think I’ll get to it this week, or maybe weekend.  But as a teaser, for those that care (all 5 of you I’d guess), these will include:

PS3 games: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe; Call of Duty: World at War

Bluray Movies: The Dark Knight; Resident Evil-Degeneration; Hellboy II; Event Horizon

On the political front: Kirsten Gillibrand’s appointment to the US Senate; Who will replace her in the 20th Congressional district; the “bail out”; the farce that the Minnesota Senate race has become; Joe Bruno’s “indictment”.

That should keep enough posts coming for a few days…

Obama Bad for NY?

Maybe according to NY Governor david Patterson.

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/nov/03/1103_obama/

 

Of course this should be a widely known fact by now, but it’s not in the interest of some parties.  Heck, I’m suprised the Daily Gazette even bothered to publish this. 

It should be no surpise today that the Democrats in Washington, including our “esteemed” Senators, Clinton and Chuckles Schumer, ignore the State in favor of power grabs.  Schumer has been all but absent from anything of importance to the State, as he’s the iron fist behind the Democrat’s Senate campaigns.  He’s more interested in the joke candidacy of Al Franken than in getting the State of New York back on track.  Of course this is the same idiot who once was “proud to never have been north of Yonkers.”  And Hillary has been so busy campaigning for everyone else, that she too has all but forgotten about the State.  Not that she ever cared about NY, just as long as it was useful for advancing her own political power and ambitions. 

Ahhhh, I shouldn;t even bother anymore.  No one cares about this stuff.  It’s all too much for the average person to bother with.  It doesn’t effect their daily lives, and they’re quite content to have information spoon fed to them by the mass media outlets, lready predigested and pre-analyzed for them.  They don;t have to think anymore, others will do it for them.

Trooper-Gate information released

http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/aug/06/0806_troopergate/

http://capitalnews9.com/content/top_stories/121504/more-details-gleaned-from-troopergate-papers/Default.aspx

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08062008/postopinion/editorials/soares_troopergate_swill_123282.htm

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=709537&category=&BCCode=&newsdate=8/6/2008

http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S534883.shtml?cat=10114

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08062008/news/regionalnews/papers_bare_soares_lovefest_with_spitzer_123249.htm

For a couple of guys who promised to “clean up Albany,” both ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer and Albany County DA David Soares fell far short of the mark.  The 8500+ pages of interviews, emails, and other documents from Soares’ “investigation” of the Trooper-gate scandal show exactly how Soares and his office bent over backwards to assist and white wash what Spitzer and his top aides did.  How this is supposed to be “better” than what previously went on in Albany is lost on me.

Spitzer is likely to be facing charges from this, not from the DA, who may also face ethics charges, but from the Public Integrity Commission, which has already charged several former Spitzer aides in the scandal.  The Commission has already taken copies of those documents to review for further charges.  The real intersting bits are from former SP Superintendent Preston Felton (who apparently was pissed off about the leak), and the internal emails about making statements “perjury proof,” and that there was a concerted effort to damage Bruno through potentially illegal means.

Of course, according to Eliot Spitzer, laws are for little people, those with out power.  He certainly acted that way.  Laws applied to others, not him.  If one bothers to look, one can see that this was a clear trend, and attitude, dating back to his assistant DA days in NYC.  He thought he was immune to any sort of legal action.  He was the “Sheriff of Wall Street” after all.

Soares is just a chump.  He tried to distract attention away from local issues, from the Spitzer scandal to local crime issues, through his Steroid investigation, which garnered him a lot of national, and even international attention.  He wants the limelight, to be a news figure, but not actually do the job he was elected to do.  He needed the support of the ex-Governor to maintain his position, thorugh political and fund raising contacts, so he bent over for Spitzer to help try and diffuse and white wash the Trooper-gate scandal.

Spitzer’s inaugural address had the line “On day one, everything changes.”  He was right, just not in the way he intended.  His fiefdom was destroyed in a little over four days.  His opponents sailed off into the sunset, holding thier heads up high.  He’s still slinking off, avoiding everyone.

Patterson Speaks to the State

In an unusual move, Gov. David Patterson took to the airwaves, asking stations to carry his 5 minute speach on the State’s economy.  Not sure how many stations actually did, my guess is most, as they all have 5pm newscasts now, but I watched it on Capital News 9 here in the Albany area. 

It was a short, and fearful speach.  He was not off base in his assessment though.  Due to declines on Wall Street, and the banking crisis, the State of NY is facing a $5billion shortfall in the budget.  It’s so bad, that the Governor has even contemplated asking the Federal government to help bail the State out.  It has not hit that point just yet.

Instead, Patterson is looking to make some moves here in NY at first.  State agencies will be facing budget cut backs.  While this may not mean immediate layoffs, it will mean hiring freezes, except for critical positions, and reduction through attrition (retirements, resignations).  It also means that the Governor will be recalling the Legislature into session on August 19th for a special session to deal with the budget crisis.  Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos had already planned on recalling the Senate for a session to deal with the Property Tax Cap issue, so it will be up to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to get his ducks in a row and show up.

A lot of these proposals will depend on how they are implemented.  Unfortunately, I think that most cuts will happen in the wrong places for the wrong reasons.  The State unions are extremely powerful, and are very protective of certain positions and agencies.  Some agencies are already at effectively skeleton crew levels, and others which should be prioritized, will suffer cuts that will in the end hurt the State more than it will help.  This is not say that cuts can’t, or shouldnt be made.  But they have to be properly applied.

What happens in August, with the recalled Legislature, should be interesting at the least.  Somehow, I have the nagging suspicion that the Assembly will scuttle any meaningful reforms, or budgetary adjustments.  Any initiative will be watered down to the point of being nothing more than a dog and pony show.  But we shall see.