tvm's blog

"Poet's Landing" meeting, January 6th

About a week ago, the following article appeared in the Ithaca Journal:

Dryden planning board delays vote on development near high school

BY AARON MUNZER •CORRESPONDENT • DECEMBER 22, 2010, 8:20 PM

DRYDEN -- The village planning board postponed to Jan. 6 a vote on the proposed Poet's Landing subsidized low-income housing development.

The development would comprise 10 apartment buildings and a larger seniors' complex with a total of 144 units. It is proposed for a site at 111 Freeville Road, on 11 acres of a 45-acre parcel that includes wetlands across from Dryden High School.

Board members said during Tuesday's special meeting they need more time to assemble conditions for the developers, Rochester-based Conifer Realty, after concerns were raised about safety, flooding, traffic calming and other issues....

"Traffic is a safety concern, and flooding is a real issue in town, but most of all it's the proximity to the school. There's a high correlation between poverty and social issues, and to gamble with our kids is not what I want to do," parent and resident Brad Rauch said....

The Dryden Village Planning Board normally meets on the 1st Thursday of each month at 7:00 P.M. in the upstairs meeting room of the Village Hall (at 16 South St.).  The "Poet's Landing" development is on the agenda for the meeting on January 6th—to finalize some items, then to vote on the approval of the project.  While the public can certainly attend, this is NOT an open hearing in the sense of accepting comments from the public (h/t Kathy). So if you have something you wish to communicate to village planning board members on this topic, those board members are Chairperson Gene German (844-8802), Doug Brown (844-3611), Deborah Hattery (844-4361), Les Cleland (844-4442), and Edward Bugliosi (844-8743).  And you should contact them before January 6th.

Planning Board meeting minutes are available to the public at the Village Clerk Office at the Village Hall.

Christmas is a season...

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...not just a single day, and there's way too much joyful stuff out there for a single day anyway. Watch this and I guarantee you will smile, if not plain laugh out loud. Thanks to Sarah Palin, via Hillbuzz:

 

Deep in the heart of taxes

Here's a good piece in the NY Post (by a Texas resident) that's ostensibly about (not) living in NYC, but has a lot to say about (not) living or doing business in NYS in general.  For example:

Texas creates jobs like a fiend, in part because businesses large and small have no worry of obstacles such as plaintiff-friendly courts, consumer-friendly regulators or oversight-friendly lawmakers. Pro-business isn’t just a mantra; they put it in the water.

Read it all (h/t Hot Air).  Yo, people in Albany!  Listen up.

A walk in the woods...

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...beats sitting in front of a computer screen any day:

Today, Upper Buttermilk

I'll get back to blogging soon...

A Christmas Carol

To offset a Scrooge-like earlier post, here is the story of Steve McCann, a frequent American Thinker contributor. Like Dickens' famous "carol," this is a cautionary tale of transformation and redemption.

Preparations are underway in the United States and the nations of Europe to celebrate Christmas first and foremost as a tribute to materialism.  These increasingly agnostic and secular societies have chosen to ignore the existence of God and have instead placed more and more trust in man.  The consequence of this misguided reliance and the reality of God's outstretched helping hand is embodied in the story of a young boy from the streets of a nameless city in an unknown country....

Read the whole thing.  Merry Christmas!

Rebranding Tompkins County Republicans

So apparently "Steven Spielberg advising Nancy Pelosi on rebranding Democrats." Which famous director are we hiring to help us out with our rebranding?

From Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin:

Given how last month’s election turned out for the Dems, the perfect choice for someone to put their story to celluloid would have been Irwin Allen, but unfortunately he’s no longer with us.

What might Spielberg’s production dedicated to House Democrats be titled? “San Fran Nan and the Temple of Doom”? “Tax Me If You Can”? “Jurassic Pork”? “Close Encounters With the Third World”? “Dude, Where’s My Gavel?” Time will tell.

UPDATE: Heartache (h/t WeaselZippers)

Steven Spielberg's spokesman,Marvin Levy, has responded to a Dec. 22 Washington Post report that the Oscar-winning director may soon advise Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on a planned political PR campaign. Levy denied his client's involvement in a press statement, saying: "Today's story regarding Nancy Pelosi made a reference to Steven Spielberg that requires a response. I can say as a long-time spokesman for Steven that he has made it his career to direct actors, not political figures."

"What a State Bond Default Looked Like When It Last Happened, In 1933"

Pay attention, Albany.  From Ace:

In 1933, nobody thought Washington should get involved in a state bond default. In 2010, that’s the first place we would look for help.

So back then, it was a surprise that the federal government should do this; now it's just expected.

So what incentive do states have to make tough cuts? None, it seems.

And in a related story...

This piece is connected to so many topics, I can't even think of all the ways this post should be tagged. From the Poughkeepsie Journal (h/t Thomas Lifson at American Thinker):

WICCOPEE — In a stunning reversal, the frequently lauded and taxpayer-funded SpectraWatt Inc. has told the state it will close its solar cell plant starting in March and lay off 117 workers.

....Created with nearly $100 million in private and public investments and announced in April 2009, SpectraWatt ramped up quickly, creating jobs in the midst of high unemployment. It began production by March this year and became one of the brightest new lights in the Hudson Valley economy. Now it has blinked, and may well go out.

....The company said, "This action is undertaken in response to deteriorating market conditions resulting from a harsher-than-usual European winter causing a large drop-off in demand for solar cells.....

"In Snowy Syracuse, a December That’s Whiter Than Usual" and wintry Britain

From today's NYT, a story on our neighbor to the north. Global warming, anyone?

And from The Telegraph and Daniel Hannan, whom I love (must be the British accent):

George Monbiot: This cold weather is caused by – you guessed it – global warming!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Apparently, Britain is in a sort of wintry salient, squeezed between two hotter areas. It’s all to do with sea ice reflecting the sun....

For all I know, Monbiot may be right. It just seems remarkably convenient that any climatic trend is the fault of greenhouse gases . Getting hotter? Global warming! Getting cooler? Global warming! Average overcast October day? Gaea is on her last legs!

Although I am sceptical of some of the political schemes put forward in the name of the Rio-Kyoto-Copenhagen-Cancun agenda, I have so far refrained from entering into a debate about the meteorology, being acutely aware that I have no scientific qualification. But I’m starting to realise that this doesn’t inhibit anyone else; possibly because, for partisans on both sides, it was never about the science in the first place.

"The Tea Party’s Uphill Challenge"

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I knew there was a reason why I'm generally suspicious of things originating in academe (Prof. Jacobson and a few others excepted), and this article is a good example.  The tone is a little startling considering the source (conservative Grove City College in PA, not so far from Tompkins County): 

"The Tea Party’s Uphill Challenge," by Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson

The Tea Party movement and its millions of supporters have high hopes that the recent elections will rein in runaway government. While I endorse this objective, accomplishing it will be far more difficult than most people realize.

Really? Perhaps our local tea party folk are preternaturally perspicacious, but I think "most people realize" that it took a century for us to get into this mess, and it will take quite some time to get out of it. In fact, "most people" are in this fight not so much for themselves as for their children and grandchildren.

The Tea Partiers will have to contend with more than just a Big-Government president and Senate. They also face well-funded, well-connected, and well-entrenched special interests,

Undoubtedly the biggest problem tea partiers face.

plus a public that expects the officials they elect to shrink government and balance the federal budget only if it’s the other guy’s programs that get cut.

Again—really? The conservative-minded people I talk to (who presumably are the ones electing the officials they expect "to shrink government and balance the federal budget") are quite well aware that this process will be painful for everybody, including themselves. The professor and I must move in different circles.

Would-be reformers will also have to deal with the larger, permanent, unelected powers that aren’t accountable to the people.

The fact is that the United States isn’t as democratic as we’d like to think it is.

OK, time for a Captain Renault moment: "I'm shocked, shocked..."

We cherish the idea that the vox populi (the voice of the people)

Who's being elitist now? I happen to know a little Latin myself, Professor, as do many others.

predominates over the will of privileged elites; that government is subordinate to the people (that it serves the people, rather than ruling them);

Oh, puh-leez! All us rednecks out here do know the meaning of "subordinate."

that those in positions of governmental power should be accountable to the people from whom they derive their authority; that government is, essentially, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Is that the kind of system we have today?

Of course not.  There'd be no reason for a tea party (or this article) if it were otherwise.

Let’s see:

Congress delegated its constitutional prerogative to be the guardians of our money to the Federal Reserve System.

Again, nearly a century ago (1913).

As I’ve previously discussed, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke & Co. exercise extraordinary discretionary powers that affect us all, yet Bernanke—arguably the second most powerful person in America—is unelected and unaccountable to the people.

Key rules by which we live—most notably, the right to legal abortion—were created by the Supreme Court, instead of by Congress. Regardless of your opinion about the Roe v. Wade decision, it doesn’t seem very democratic that five unelected, unaccountable justices should have the power to establish the rules by which we live.

Anyone who's read The 5000 Year Leap (as many tea party people have) understands the founders' concepts of the separation of powers and of checks and balances (principles 16 & 17) and that progressive policies over the course of decades have moved us far from those founding principles. It's not news. 

Perhaps the greatest damage to democracy has been the tremendous amount of power amassed by “the permanent government,” the unelected federal bureaucrats.

Consider:

Although the Constitution confers the legislative prerogative on Congress, in a typical year federal agencies will adopt more than 10 times as many legally binding rules as Congress passes laws (3,830 final rules compared to 285 laws in 2008, for example).

The Obamacare bill grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to determine or define what the legislation means no fewer than 1,697 times, according to a tabulation by Devon Herrick of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

This year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform bill gives power to unelected officials to decide which financial institutions live and die. It also adds power to the 115 federal agencies that already shared regulatory supervision over the financial system, and guarantees high-paying federal jobs to all employees of those agencies, despite their failure to protect us from the financial meltdown of recent years.

The EPA has a long tradition of exceeding its statutory authority and seems determined to further cripple the generation of electricity by imposing heavy penalties for carbon dioxide emissions, despite the crack-up of the global-warming myth and the refusal of Congress to restrict CO2 emissions.

Nobody seems to be able to stop the National Labor Relations Board from helping unions to avoid conducting business in a way that is transparent to rank-and-file workers.

These are just a few examples of the power wielded by unelected officials. They are part of what the late economist Milton Friedman termed an ”iron triangle:” Congress appropriates funds for federal agencies, who, in turn, give grants to citizen-activist groups that then actively lobby Congress for expansions of those programs. Thus is maintained what Friedman and his wife, Rose, labeled “the tyranny of the status quo.”

The preceding five paragraphs constitute much of the raison d'être (I can toss around foreign phrases, too) for the tea party—no surprises here.

The influx of some new, Tea Party-supported legislators in Congress should make government marginally more democratic. At least we can count on an end to the imperial speakership of Nancy Pelosi, which was characterized by major legislation written behind closed doors (in the middle of the night),

A more salient point here might have been that the "major legislation written behind closed doors" isn't even written by members of Congress and their staffs, but by outside groups with their own agendas. That's the really spooky part. It's no wonder that folks in Congress often don't know what's going on.

ram-rodding bills along partisan lines (before even Pelosi's allies could read them), and refusing to heed the concerns of millions of Americans (by excluding their elected representatives from even having a perfunctory say in Congress’ proceedings). That is significant, though incremental, progress.

Will the Tea Party movement be able to tame Big Government in all its undemocratic manifestations? That isn’t likely on the strength of just one strong mid-term election. The task ahead is daunting.

Good grief! Does this man think that people are just sitting on their laurels in the wake of the November elections? We really aren't moving in the same circles.

Anyway, the link to the original article is here (h/t Jim) in case you'd like to read it sans my snotty comments.

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