rjm's blog

The center is empty

The editorial in Saturday's Ithaca Journal acknowledges that nothing is to be gained by extending the comment period on the DEC's final SGEIS.  Opponents of energy production have called for extending the comment period from the customary 60 days to six months.

Because, after all, the sooner the DEC releases its final report, the sooner the state and anti-drilling groups can move on to the inevitable litigation phase of this contentious matter that requires a resolution.
The editorial looks for a "middle ground":
We propose a compromise: Have a 90-day public comment period, as the first draft of the SGEIS received. This middle ground would help to bolster the public's faith in drilling regulations while keeping the process from being bogged down.
Well, this might work if there were really a middle ground.  In fact, there are three groups: those who want to thwart energy production, those who advocate responsible development, and those who aren't paying attention at all.  An extra month's delay doesn't serve any of these.
People who think they can support their position would be glad to move to the "inevitable litigation phase".

Catching up on the news...

We've been a little busy... a day at the beach, some projects at home... so some stories haven't gotten covered.   Here is a little bit of catching up.

In a letter to New York State Senator James Seward, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned that Assembly Bill 5502-B, which would restrict employers' ability to save money by offering lower cost home delivery options for chronic medications, would have the "unintended consequence of harming consumers" and would likely "raise prices for, and reduce access to, prescription drugs, which are an increasingly important component of medical care." 
Like the Facebook status, "it's complicated" because there is a tension between local pharmacies and the mail order drug stores, which might be out of state.
The principle to guide us?  Government shouldn't be picking winners and losers.  Let the market decide, like it does for bookstores, big box retailers, and music downloads.
* * *
  By a 47 – 42 percent margin, New York State voters like the economic benefits of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale more than they fear possible environmental concerns, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released [August 11].
    Support for drilling is 51 – 39 percent among upstate voters and 52 – 35 percent among suburban voters.  New York City voters are opposed 50 – 38 percent.  Support is 67 – 20 percent among Republicans, while independent voters are divided 47 – 45 percent.  Democrats are opposed 52 – 35 percent.
    New York State voters believe 75 – 17 percent that natural gas drilling will create jobs, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds, with strong support among all groups and in all regions of the state.
While many voters know little about hydro-fracking, voters believe 52 – 15 percent that this process will damage the environment, with 33 percent undecided.  All groups feel this way. 
“Drill for the jobs, New Yorkers say, even though they’re worried about the environmental effects of hydro-fracking,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “And while we’re drilling for natural gas, let’s tax those drilling companies, voters say 59 – 29 percent.  Even Republicans support this tax.
The reaction we heard to this poll: "I just don't believe it."
That's just more evidence that Ithaca (and by extention, Dryden) is surrounded by, but does not contain, reality.
* * *
In the coming weeks as county leaders draw up the 2012 budget, they will face revenue pressures that will likely force them to trim the county's work force.

Crossing the Rubicon

The country is in an absolute uproar after the downgrade of the country's credit rating by Standard & Poor's.

The steep decline of the stock market is touching everyone, ravaging retirement and education accounts, and, yes, pension funds.
We were railroaded time and again, with hyperinflated financial fear mongering, to spend huge sums on questionable bailouts and stimulus, on an accelerated time table.  We now know we have accumulated not prosperity but only more debt and inflation.
It has become clear that the Obama administration has moved well beyond the land of what the government is doing for you, deep into the land of what the government is doing to you.
If you had $100,000 saved for retirement, you may have lost $10,000 this week alone because of those misguided policies. 
Your reward for withstanding all this Progressive pain? The president said today that he wants more taxes from you.
Phew, at least there is solace at home, right?
Last week in Dryden, if you own 100 acres of land, you may have lost up to $300,000 in lease signing bonuses because the Town Board decided to ban natural gas energy production within the town.
Here we are railroaded by the hyperinflated environmental fear mongering to take huge sums from town property tax payers.  Here we are on the side of the Rubicon on which there can be no profit from one's investment.
If the pattern holds, I'm guessing that the call for raising Dryden town taxes will be coming along shortly. 

Annual Political Canoe Competition


A competition between teams from the Democratic and Republican Parties is a feature of the Dryden Lake Festival.  The Dems put up a couple of strong, young, out-of-county, OFA ringers this year.  (They were very nice.)   Above, see them shoving off for the first heat, in which they start paddling backward.  Below, the participants, now in bipartisan teams, round the buoy before heading back to the finish line.

bipartisan teams

winnersLeft:  Jim Crawford and Bruno Schickel cross the finish line in one of the heats.

Melissa Bianconi, Direction of Recreation for the Town of Dryden writes:

Due to poor weather, Dryden Lake Festival Fireworks and Music will be moved to Wednesday August 10, 2011. The fireworks will begin at approximately 9:15 PM.


We will also move the Gun Poets Music in the Park performance on 8/10 from Montgomery Park to Dryden Lake Park. Gun Poets show will still begin at 6:30 PM. Come down to Dryden Lake Park, West Lake Road in Dryden, for a “mini-fest” on 8/10/11! More details to come early next week—after we all dry out!


Dryden Votes to, er, "Clarify" Energy Development

The Dryden, NY Town Board voted tonight to ban clarify the zoning ordinance with respect to hydrofracking and other energy development activities within the town.

It's a common joke that Ithaca (and by extention, Dryden) is (however many) square miles surrounded by reality.

This may not be the final word in this matter.

We'll stay tuned.

"We have to be rational here, not emotional"

Those are the words of NYS Democratic Party chariman, Jay Jacobs, who has signed a contract with Hess Corporation to drill for natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation on 140 acres of land at Tyler Hill, PA, just over the border from New York's Catskill Mountains.

"Many things that we do in modern society have the potential to destroy the environment, and we can't stop doing everything because of minuscule risks. It's when those risks become significant that we have to stop," said Jacobs.


"My belief is if we can extract natural gas, which is a cleaner form of energy, from our land, reducing the import of foreign oil and the cash flowing out of our country, and make for cleaner air, improve the economy and not damage the water, I'm for it," Jacobs continued.


Jacobs, who annually hosts hundreds of kids at Tyler Hill and two other nearby Catskills camps in New York, called the risks from hydrofracking "minuscule."


Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/dem_party_boss_great_frackin_deal_Lq1tzb2O9aUbTo1WXGD1hI#ixzz1Tp5R5Nsj

Read more from Unlikely Hospitalist at Pundit Press xpost at Lonely Conservative

Some have argued, myself included, that the opponents to hydrofracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale have reached the maximal point of influence and this would help in confirming this suspicion.

And this from South of 5 and 20.

Forget the debt ceiling michegoss, this is real news...

Claude's Express

The monthly demonstration by the Ithaca Tea Party known as Claude's Express was held off Route 13 in Ithaca today. Here is part of it...


Tompkins County Budget Meeting in Varna on Monday

The second in a series of community meetings to discuss next year's Tompkins County budget has been set for 7 p.m. Monday (August 1, 2011) in Dryden.

The meeting, sponsored by County Legislators Martha Robertson, District 13, and Michael Lane, District 14, will be held at the Varna Community Center, located at 943 Dryden Road, Varna.

Lobbing Tweets

Rep Richard Hanna (NY-24) voted today for S. 627, the  Budget Control Act of 2011, which passed the House.

President Barack Obama was lobbying the reps via Twitter (!) today, here is Hanna's response...

Janis Kelly campaigns to be Mayor of Ithaca

From IthacaIndy:

It may be a sign of how much Ithacans want to change course that a Republican provides the clearest picture of the path to take. As we move closer to the Sept. 13 primary for City of Ithaca Mayor, in a side-by-side comparison of the candidates, Janis Kelly comes out the clear winner.

In the seven-person race to replace outgoing Carolyn Peterson, Kelly provided specific reasons why she wants to be mayor and the well-known situation facing city residents.

From The Ithaca Journal:

Our city is in one of the Earth's beautiful places, but a decade of liberal politics, crony favoritism and civic neglect has left Ithaca shabby, vulnerable and broke.
We need policies that respect the values, diversity and creativity of our citizens. We have city boards eager to impose their own elitist ideas and the latest academic fads on the city.


We need city officials who understand the value of a dollar, and that time is money. We have "vanity government" willing to endlessly prolong and delay decision-making until, in many cases, businesses just give up and leave the city.


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