rjm's blog

S.E. Cupp at Cornell (updated with video)

Just back from listening to S.E. Cupp speak on the Cornell campus.  Her title tonight “Let's Talk Politics: Turning Your Opinions into a Career”.

S.E. outlined the path of her career after leaving Cornell, and gave some "insider tips" for the pundit wannabe.

We found we're already making as much money as she does for appearing on those network TV shows (that is: nada).

Seriously, it was great to hear her passion for writing, her taste for getting her authentic opinion out there, and to watch her parry the barbed questions from the typical Ithaca liberals.

Beyond the libs, there were many students honestly interested in S.E. and her tips, how to promote youself, how to be the subject expert and other routes to success.  

And there were a bunch of conservative faces in the audience as well.  We know who you are...

Update: the video is now available:


Schumer on Parade

Jennifer Rubin:

Shadow Majority Leader Schumer is perhaps the most craven politician in Washington. If legislation is good for the country but counter to his attack ads, he’s against it. If an idea is bad public policy but good for the DSCC, he’s for it. And if you’re looking for the reason why the Senate is dysfunctional, he IS it.

Having solved all other problems, Schumer looks for lost luggage (Seattle P-I, via HotAir)

Paul Gigot:

Mr. Schumer also led the internal fight against releasing a Senate budget, though Democrats control that body and are supposed to pass a budget resolution under the 1974 budget law.

This is cynicism squared, but Mr. Schumer has been getting away with it because the press pack has fixated on the political narrative of House Republicans vs. President Obama. This gives Senate Democrats up for re-election next year a free pass to hide under Mr. Schumer's brand of attack politics while pretending to favor spending cuts and debt reduction and to oppose tax increases.

Political HotSheet:

Yet outside the public eye, Schumer was one of the biggest beneficiaries of Wall Street money that Congress had ever seen.

Over the course of his career, Schumer has raised half a million dollars from Goldman Sachs - and nearly as much from Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase. Between 1989 and 2010, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Schumer took in nearly $9 million from the entire securities and investment industry, a haul that helped him become one of the most powerful politicians in America, a deep-pocketed kingmaker with unrivalled connections among the wealthiest players on Wall Street.


According to former SEC chief accountant Lynn Turner, Schumer can be summed up in two words: "Strange duck."

"There are days you love him," said Turner, "and days you want to take him out and throw him in the Potomac."

Same old ... broken record

SEIU and Americans United for Change roll out the same old s*** in this 30-second spot running recently on Syracuse stations. Overwrought and filled with stale metaphors and straw men, it makes their position ("let's just raise the debt limit so we can spend more of your money") seem even more insane.

Write Hanna at hanna.house.gov and tell him to stand firm on Cut, Cap and Balance (which is only tabled, not defeated, in the Senate).

First Impression

This image of the reviewing stand at the Allegany County Fair Horse Pull competition instantly reminded me of, um....

A Visit to the Pioneer Oil Museum

On our Bloggers Holiday this week, we drove around scenic Oil Country in Allegany County.  That actually is one of the scenic drives listed in the county tourism brochure, and it is lovely.  But oil country?  There wasn't any evidence we could see from the road, until we saw these relics collected at the top of a steep hill on county Route 5:

We continued around the Oil Country loop until we came to the town of Bollivar, home of the Pioneer Oil Museum.

The first oil well drilled in New York State was drilled in 1860 in Rushford. Darn, it was a "duster".   Nearby Bradford, PA saw oil spur such growth that it became an oil-boom city, but it took until 1880 for the first small commercial success near Bolivar.

By the spring of 1992, there were as many as 12,000 people between Bolivar and Richburg compared to about 360 before the "boom" hit.  About 5000 of these people were in Bolivar with the rest in Richburg. 

An 1882 Bolivar business directory listed the following: 28 hotels, 17 lodging houses, two railroads, two express companies, telephone and telegraph offices, an opera house, a bank, a newspaper, nine oil well supply dealers, 10 real estate firms, an iron works, 35 contractors and builders, 14  blacksmiths, eight lumber dealers, two coal dealers, 20 painters and paper hangers, 10 oil well shooters, 27 tank builders, three nitroglycerine dealers, a photographer, four water well drivers, three plumbers, seven tank shops, four laundries (two Chinese), six livery stables, a horse doctor, a grist mill, and two hay and feed dealers.

There were also six clothing stores, five hardware stores, five general stores, three dry goods stores, six milliners and dressmaking shops, four tailoring shops, four tobacco shops, four meat markets, three drug stores, three shoe stores, three confectionary shops, two jewelers, two furniture stores, two harness shops, two junk dealers, and an undertaker.  Professionals included eleven attorneys, severn doctors, and a dentist.

Amazingly, a similar list could be found in Richburg just 1 1/2 miles to the north.

Most people and organizations had a well someplace, including the churches.

After the boom, there was a second phase when people learned to drill nearby wells  and water was injected to force out the oil.

The museum staff member said that today, some people run the remaining wells a couple hours a day to extract the remaining oil that seeps into the old wells.  Now they need a museum and markers to tell the story of Oil Country.

Notes from a Blogger Holiday

My co-blogger and I took some time this week to poke around Allegany County.  This is the week of their fair, and we dropped in on the horse pull competition. We found that some farmers are pretty handy at moving seemingly intractable forces.  The competition purses weren't very large, so it clearly isn't just the money that motivates them.

Just sayin'.

Hanna on the Balance Beam

Rep. Richard Hanna (NY-24) explained his vote for the Cut, Cap and Balance Act on his Facebook page.

The bill passed the House with a bi-partisan 234 to 190 vote.  The naysayers say that it will never pass the Senate.

Well, have you called or written Chuck and Kirsten?  Or written to Richard to thank him for his vote, and ask him to stand his ground?

We know that cut and cap will be painful and balance will take nerves of steel.  But not doing these things will be worse.

There will be some noise and some sturm und drang while all of this gets sorted out.  Or would you really rather the Sword of Damocles?

What goes around comes around

From the USA Today News blog, here in the Tuscon Citizen...

[Michael] Arcuri was one of 233 Democrats who voted last year to increase the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion.
“I knew I would have to pay the price on Election Day,” he said. Indeed, six months later, Arcuri lost to Republican Richard Hanna, following weeks of attack ads citing his debt-limit vote. “Arcuri promised to cut wasteful spending, but voted for $14trillion in debt,” said one Hanna ad.
That vote was the 78th time Congress raised the debt ceiling since 1960, usually in routine, party-line votes.
Hanna, who ran against Arcuri twice and beat him the second time, acknowledges that raising the debt limit “will eventually be necessary.” But he said the mistake made by previous Congresses was to raise the debt limit without meaningful spending reforms.
“This nation has never defaulted on a nickel and it never should,” he said in a statement. “This is a unique opportunity and leverage the moment to achieve historic, long-term deficit reduction.”
The reason the current freshman class was sent to Congress was to put an end to the the turning of the debt limit crank.  Turn that crank again, and there will  be another price to pay.
The tide is turning.  No more debt.

Could Engel Evict Hinchey?

From the weeklystandard.com blog:

Republicans are looking with new interest at the House seat in New York of Democrat Maurice Hinchey, buoyed by the entry in the 2012 race of Tom Engel, described by a GOP strategist as “a good candidate with resources.


“This is normally a seat we wouldn’t be watching,” the strategist said. But in 2010, Hinchey won reelection by a surprisingly narrow margin, 52-48 percent, over an underfunded Republican, George Phillips.


Hinchey’s possible retirement is another reason Republicans are eyeing the district. Though he underwent surgery for colon cancer this week, Hinchey has indicated he intends to run for reelection next year.

Read it all.   (h/t: D.G.)

Hanna in the Dark

Rep. Richard Hanna (NY-24) was one of 10 Republican congressmen who voted against The Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act.  The bill failed on a 233-193 vote, with a two-thirds majority needed for passage.

This is one of the things which I hate about Congress... the bill was put up for a vote on a special rule which required the super majority, so it had no chance of passage in the House, particularly with Nancy Pelosi whipping her caucus on the vote. And there was no chance in the Senate either.  It was thus mostly theater to allow squishy reps in dicey districts to vote against their caucus to demonstrate "how independent they are" with no real consequence.  (Sigh.)

So was this a great bill?  Maybe not.  Hanna wrote on his Facebook page about states' rights issues with the bill.

 Importantly, the bill would also deny states and localities the ability to determine their own lighting efficiency standards.

This bill is problematic.  While it may have been originally unwise to restrict consumer choice, the legislation clearly impinges on states’ rights and the principles of federalism by tying the hands of states and localities when it comes to energy policy.  New York State and Upstate localities know better than Washington what energy and lighting policies make sense where we live.

So, pass the bill or not, you get more federal control of consumer choices.  That's one more of the things which I hate about Congress...


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