rjm's blog

View From Gettysburg

The Ithaca Journal has a piece today on the Tompkins County Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration events.  This ties in with some thoughts I had already been putting together.

cannonLast year, after a family trip to Gettysburg, I read the book 1858, by Bruce Chadwick.  I felt in my bones that the country was coming apart, and I wanted to find out something about another time the nation was fraying.
 
I didn't know anything about the Buchanan presidency, and not much, really, about Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the other characters of the time.  As I read their stories late into the night, time and again I would jump up, feeling that I had found some incredible parallel between 1858 and 2010.  Both years were mid-term elections, in which the Republicans made impressive gains in Congress.  In both years, the U.S. Constitution and states' rights were central to partisan passions.  In both years, the Federal government was pushing policies that many people thought were completely wrong.
 
From 1858:
... President James Buchanan ignored slavery, engaged in questionable imperialist schemes, divided his own party during the elections, started feuds with dozens of important people, and exhibited a distinct lack of leadership at a time when the nation desperately needed some. 
Events such as the trial of the Oberlin Rescuers in Ohio and the current legislative standoff in Madison captured the attention of the nation as escalating tensions drove "brother against brother."
 
About Madison, Robert Tracinski writes
... the left is treating any attempt to fundamentally reform the public workers' paradise as an existential crisis. This is why they are reacting with the most extreme measures short of outright insurrection. When Democratic lawmakers flee the state in order to deprive their legislatures of the quorum necessary to vote, they are declaring that they would rather have no legislature than allow voting on any bill that would break the power of the unions.
 
National Review's Jim Geraghty describes these legislative walk-outs as "small-scale, temporary secessions." The analogy is exact. One hundred and fifty years ago, Southern slaveholders realized that the political balance of the nation had tipped against them, that they could no longer hope to win the political argument for their system. Faced with a federal government in which they were out-voted, they decided that they would rather have no federal government at all. The Democrats' current cause may not be as repugnant—holding human beings as chattel is a unique evil—but it has something of the same character of irrational, belligerent denial. More than two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the left is still trying to pretend that socialism is plausible as an economic system.
So, back to the local Civil War Commemoration.  The History Center has an exhibit titled "Dear Friend Amelia -- Lives and Letters of the Civil War."  There are personal accounts of the war, with letters from Private John Tidd of Speedsville and Major Doctor Targell of Ithaca on display with artifacts of soldiers and civilians.  Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday or by appointment at the History Center. The exhibit runs until July 2011.
 
Future historians will write about the times we are living in.  It is worth writing down your personal account for future generations to understand.  That is one reason this blog exists.
 
It is worth pondering the disunion of the Civil War, and its cost.  If people cannot live together, is there a way to live apart without a Gettysburg? 

Chipping Away at ObamaCare

The U.S. House of Represenatives passed a repeal of the ObamaCare requirement that businesses file a 1099 form for any payments to corporations of $600 or more.  Local reps Richard Hanna and Ann Marie Buerkle supported the bill; Hanna couldn't vote on it because he is still recovering from his heart surgery.  The bill has already passed the Senate.
 
Buerkle said on her website, “This mandate is really indicative of a larger problem - the stranglehold regulations have on our society."  Compliance with this mandate would be a huge burden on small business.
 
There was some speculation at the time this was found in the ObamaCare bill that this was a prelude to a VAT tax, since the necessary reporting requirement would be similar.
 
Now on to the eliminating the rest of ObamaCare.

TC Legislature Supports Millionaire Tax

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From the Ithaca Journal:

A resolution [by the Tompkins County Legislature] urging the state Legislature to extend a tax surcharge on the wealthy passed unanimously. The resolution says taxes on the highest tax bracket in the state have fallen precipitously since the 1970s, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he will not extend the surcharge, and not doing so would cost the state $4 billion in 2012.

Remarkably, the Tompkins County Republicans in attendance joined the Dems in this exercise in class warfare.
 
This report from the Partnership for New York City demonstrates that the millionaires tax drives people and jobs from New York (h/t TheHoldSteady).
At the top of the revenue generators are 1,406 resident taxpayers who have incomes over $10 million and are assessed a surcharge equal to, on average, almost $742,000 a year. If just 10% or 140 of these taxpayers were to leave the state, New York would see an estimated loss of up to $452 million in total personal income tax revenues.
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The only solution to New York State’s budget and economic challenges are fundamental reforms that reduce both taxes and spending. The surcharge extension would be a palliative to get the state through one budget cycle without taking the actions that are necessary to set the state on a healthy fiscal and economic course for the future.
We should expect that the Republicans in the legislature would vote instead for the spending cuts and tax cuts which would bring future propserity to our state.  Sadly, they are caught up in using the "evil rich" as a distraction from doing what needs to be done now.

Rifle Bill Passes State Senate

Cortland County sportsmen and women will be allowed to use a rifle while hunting deer or bear under legislation (S.1683) passed by the state senate on February 28.

“This is common sense legislation that mirrors regulations already in effect in neighboring counties allowing the use of rifles while hunting big game,” said Senator Seward.  “More importantly, Cortland County sportsmen and women, who collectively have an impeccable safety record, strongly support the change.”

The bill has been sent to the assembly where Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton is the prime sponsor.

Dryden Birds

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Cardinal surveys yesterday's large snowfall.

Seward Gets Leadership Post

From the Senator's website:

State Senator James L. Seward (NY-51, including Dryden) has been named assistant majority leader on conference operations, a post that puts him in the top leadership of the state senate.
 
“The new position allows me to work closely with senate leadership in establishing priorities and directing important legislation to the senate floor,” said Senator Seward.  “New York is extremely diverse, and it is vital that upstate has a voice at the table to fight for our unique concerns - I am proud to be that voice.”
 
Senator Seward has also been named to three key budget review subcommittees with the purpose of analyzing the governor’s budget proposal and recommending constructive revisions.
I think our problems are more in the Assembly...

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna has heart surgery

via Syracuse.com:

Hanna, R-Barneveld, had the previously-scheduled surgery this week to repair the mitral valve in his heart, said spokeswoman Renee Gamela. She said the freshman congressman is expected to make a full recovery.

Rush To Judgement

Various blogs are suggesting that Richard Hanna "plagiarized" his reasoning for voting against the extention of the PATRIOT Act, making his case using passages similar to those published in a Cato Institute blog by Julian Sanchez.

However, as reported in the Auburn Citizen,

Sanchez, a Cato Institute research fellow, said in an e-mail Tuesday that he is “not at all bothered” by Hanna using nearly the same words in his piece. In fact, Sanchez said Hanna’s office sought his help.
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“Representative Hanna reaches out to a lot of policy experts, and he and Mr. Sanchez are closely aligned on the issue of the Patriot Act,” Hanna communications director Renee Gamela said. “Mr. Hanna sought Mr. Sanchez’s expert advice on this issue, and he offered his assistance for this particular piece.”
There is a bit of space between consulting, or even ghostwriting, and plagiarism.

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