In Sunday-evening surprise, Senate unanimously passes food safety bill

Remember this? Now, from the Hill:

The Senate unexpectedly approved food safety legislation by unanimous consent Sunday evening, rescuing a bill that floated in limbo for weeks because of a clerical error....

....Democrats first attempted to attach the food safety bill to the two-and-a-half-month spending measure but Republicans balked because they wanted to keep that measure clean, according to Senate aides....
....Republicans, however, later agreed to pass it by unanimous consent....
....Sen. Tom Coburn, the outspoken conservative Republican from Oklahoma, had been blocking the legislation. He lifted his objection at the final moment.
I would remind our Republican MCs of this:

Malthusian moonbats

An earlier post, "Dryden and sustainability," contained this "personal definition" of sustainability:

“A sustainable future demands hard choices and requires accepting limits on what we do including limiting human population.”

In case you might be inclined to buy into that last bit, you may want to see this:

(h/t Moonbattery)

Camping with Sarah

Kathleen McCaffrey posted a note over at Prof. Jacobson's about the episode of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" with Kate Gosselin.  I came across it, as it turns out, right after watching that episode with my family on the DVR.  I agree it's a great way for Palin to get around the hostile media, highlight her state and talk to the American people.

Bill O'Reilly asked her yesterday whether it was "presidential" to be out in the woods with that diva (Kate).  She answered that it highlighted that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it.

Hanna Committee Assignments Set

RIchard Hanna (R - NY24) announced his committee assignments for the 112th Congress:

  • Transportation and Infrastructure has broad jurisdiction over the country’s highways, aviation system, and rail transportation. Its top priority in the upcoming Congress will be to address significant infrastructure needs that are vital to job growth.
  • Education and Labor oversees education at all levels – from preschool to higher education. It also has jurisdiction over all workforce initiatives including health care, job training and retirement security for American workers.

He will also join the Congressional Dairy Farmers Caucus, an important connection for Upstate New York

Richard Hanna sets up his offices

Congressman-elect Richard Hanna (R, NY24) is setting up his constituent offices as he prepares to be sworn in on January 5.

His staff will include:

  • Justin Stokes, chief of staff, formerly campaign manager,
  • Terre Dennis, regional director, Cortland,
  • Trish Dellonte, regional director, Auburn,
  • Renee Gamela, communications director.

 

He is considering setting up a new mobile office as well.
 
 
Update:  More info on Patricia Vail Dellonte at auburnpub.com.

BJ's and the county Industrial Development Authority

Here's the Tompkins County Republican Party press release:

IDA Vote Risks Seventy Jobs

On December 13 the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) voted 4-3 against supporting the BJ/Arrowhead BJ Wholesale Club project planned for the Shops at Ithaca.

The North Point iBand

We blog away on our iMacs and iPad, knowing that others are more clever with the same tools...

The High Speed Rail Boondoggle

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New York State was recently "gifted" $7.3 million for high-speed-rail development after the federal government took away funding from Ohio and Wisconsin.  Those states declined the money after electing Republican governors who opposed the rail projects in the state. 

 
So is this additional money a good thing for NYS?  
“High-speed rail is the sort of bold, transformative investment that can reinvent the Upstate New York economy and spur a boom of jobs and economic development,” Rep. Michael Arcuri said in a statement. “This additional $7.3 million in recovery bill funding would go a long way towards realizing our goal.
Not. 
 
Public passenger rail is a swamp of subsidies and recurring maintenance costs.  These trains are not attractive now, and a modest decrease in travel times, and a certain increase in fares, are not likely to change this.  Spur jobs?  Doing what exactly?  If you think that 19th century transportation options which deliver people to isolated commercial parks or distressed inner city locations at odd times will spur jobs, I have a lovely canal to sell you.
 
Seriously, if someone truly believes in upstate passenger trains, let them put together some investors and have at it.  I'm glad to remove regulatory roadblocks if someone wants to give it a try on their own dime. But gambling on future demand with public funds -- or worse, attempted social engineering -- is irresponsible.
 
Online commenters worry that we will be "left behind" if we don't invest in passenger rail right now.  "When gasoline is $5/gallon we'll be sorry if we don't have this infrastructure".  Well, trains aren't rocket science.  And from the rhetoric, you would think that there aren’t any trains in this country.  I drove across the country last year, camping along the way, and we were amazed at the number trains we saw (and heard at night :-) ).  Of course, virtually every one was hauling freight, not passengers, because this is where the demand is.  Trains are great for hauling freight, coal and chemicals.  But outside of a few select corridors, passengers prefer other options, and we should listen to what the market is telling us.
 
Here is one idea for the train buffs:  People are exercised about the expected truck traffic when we finally start extracting the natural gas from the Marcellus Shale under our state.  How about we have the gas companies build regional rail systems connecting our rural communities and larger cities and require them to use rails to service the gas rigs?  Then when the rigs are in, we will be left with the infrastructure for regional light rail, and maybe regional bicycle corridors along the new rights of way.  Then we will have gas, no trucks on our roads, and infrastructure without tax expenditures.  What do you think?

"Chuck Schumer – Tea Party Expert"

Maybe I'm starting to suffer from SDS (that's Schumer Derangement Syndrome, not Students for a Democratic Society), but I seem to keep stumbling across articles about our esteemed Senator.  This column at Hot Air is by Jazz Shaw, who was George Phillips' campaign manager in the 2010 election.  And, yes, Chuck apparently does see himself as more knowledgeable about NYS tea party people than NYS tea party people themselves.  Typical.

Silver Dollar Trap League Dryden Fish & Game Club

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Annual Siver Dollar Trap league starts Thursday Dec 16th, 2010 at Dryden Fish & Game on Johnson Rd Freeville. Sign up 3 PM till ?.16 weeks 25 birds/week. Shoot ahead / make ups OK. 4.00/wk. 3 person teams. Chicken BBQ in April.

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