Andrew Cuomo

CT has UConn, NYS has...UCon?

Who could possibly object to this?

ALBANY — A statewide initiative will start to expand opportunities for prisoners to get college degrees, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday...

Read the whole thing and the comments, too.

From our own inimitable contributor, Publius:

NEW COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY --- FREE DEGREES WITH FREE ROOM AND BOARD

To obtain your free college education, courtesy of Governor Cuomo, just commit a felony and go to jail!  Do not accept probation or parole.
 
Our experts can help you find a crime that carries a four year sentence so you can get that four year college degree.  And, don't worry about distractions.  You'll be free to concentrate on your studies in your own "room" in the prison while receiving three meals a day at State taxpayer expense.  Good prison libraries and high speed access to the web guaranteed.
 
We know prisons and can help you apply to the right one.  Just fill out our form and tick off the boxes of the Cuomo supplied amenities.  Need tennis courts?  Weight lifting rooms?  We can tell you how to get to the right accommodations.  For just $1,000 we can help you stage a felony that will open the door to these riches.
 
If you have children in need of free college educations, our experts can tell you which crimes are most likely to enable them to join in this program.
 
NY is open for felons.  Get tax breaks, free food and lodging, free degrees.  Cuomo loves you.
 
Show your thanks to our governor, send money to the Cuomo campaign, DeBlasio Street Lefties Asylum, South Bronx, NY.
 
***
 
 

It ain't easy bein' green

Or creating "green" jobs either...at least not if you're the gubmint..

Steve Maley at Red State notes that "In the first four years of the Obama Administration, the Department of Labor spent $595 million training workers for the New Green Economy that President Obama promised," and then goes on to quote from an article in—of all places—the WaPo:

Four years later, it’s still not clear what all the cash for green jobs achieved–and a Government Accountability Office report issued last week illustrates the difficulty of trying to foster an emerging industry by pumping money into it.

Ah. Read the rest, especially the part about the definition of "green" jobs. You will snort.

Closer to home, the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council (STREDC), that body of appointed experts from academia, government, and some token businesses, who is going to pump taxpayer dollars into who knows what in the name of revitalizing the economy of the Southern Tier, has as its first strategy:

STRATEGY 1. The Southern Tier…New York’s leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy technology
Action Item. Southern Tier Renewable Energy and Efficiency Initiative: Residential and Small Scale Commercial Retrofit
Action Item. Southern Tier Renewable Energy and Efficiency Initiative: Large Scale Institutional and Commercial Projects
Action Item. Energy Development Alliance for New York—EDANY Action Item. Energy Workforce Development Initiative
Perhaps the council members need to read the WaPo article as well as the latest unemployment figures for the Southern Tier:
...Schuyler County saw its unemployment rate drop to 7 percent, down from 7.2 percent reported in May. In June 2012, Schuyler County’s jobless rate was 8 percent. With all other job sectors remaining flat, Schuyler saw gains in its leisure/hospitality sector.
 
In Chemung County, the natural resources/mining/construction, retail trade and leisure/hospitality sectors all saw gains during the month. Job losses were reported in manufacturing (200 jobs) and education and health services (200 jobs). Overall, Chemung County’s jobless rate in June was 8.1 percent, versus 8.2 percent reported in May and 8.8 percent recorded for June 2012.
 
The Elmira region was the only upstate metropolitan area that lost private-sector jobs in June. Elmira had a net loss of 200 private sector jobs from June 2012 to last month...
 
...Steuben County’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, compared with May’s 8.8 percent figure and the 9.6 percent rate for June 2012...
Unemployment rates that high may be the new normal as far as the government is concerned, but no one else regards it as normal—or acceptable.
 
But wait! Isn't there really good employment news from another county that's included in the STREDC? In the Ithaca Journal:
Tompkins jobless rate below 6% 
 
Tied with Saratoga for state’s lowest, but work force also declines
 
Tompkins County’s un­employment rate in June was 5.7 percent, down from 7 percent a year ear­lier and tied with Sarato­ga County for the state’s lowest, the New York De­partment of Labor report­ed Tuesday...
 
...Tompkins County’s civilian labor force stood at 54,200 in June, down 700 people from a year earlier. The number of unemployed declined by 800, or 20 percent, while the number of people em­ployed grew by 100. By sector, gains were in natu­ral resources, mining and construction; manufac­turing, leisure and hospi­tality; and other services. Losses were in financial activities, education and health, and local government....
So Tompkins, home to Cornell University which employs roughly 9,500 people, is looking really good with an unemployment rate of under 6%.
 
The view from here at Redneck Mansion is that apparently everything is relative.
 
Now the kissin' cousin to the REDCs is Cleaner Greener NY, another Cuomoism that surfaced when our fearless leader (over there to your left) was running for governor the first time:
As Governor, Andrew Cuomo will expand the NY Green Jobs Corps to maximize green job training and the creation of green jobs. The program will:
 
(1) Look for additional federal and private funding sources to bolster the dollars available under the Green Jobs/Green New York Act;
(2) Strengthen the partnership with our public and private universities to provide green expanded jobs training; and,
(3) Organize and centralize the existing programs to better maximize green training and job opportunities.
 
According to a report from the Apollo Alliance; Green Jobs or Green-Collar Jobs are, “good paying, career track jobs that contribute significantly to preserving or enhancing environmental quality. Like blue-collar jobs, green collar jobs range from low skill, entry level positions to high skill, higher paid jobs. New York currently has a Green Energy Workforce Training infrastructure supported largely by initiatives funded through NYSERDA...
How interesting.  And just who is the Apollo Alliance?
...AA describes itself as “a coalition of labor, business, environmental, and community leaders working to catalyze a clean energy revolution that will put millions of Americans to work in a new generation of high-quality, green-collar jobs.” “Inspired by the Apollo space program,” adds AA, “we promote investments in energy efficiency, clean power, mass transit, next-generation vehicles, and emerging technology, as well as in education and training. Working together, we will reduce carbon emissions and oil imports, spur domestic job growth, and position America to thrive in the 21st century economy.”
 
Van Jones describes Apollo Alliance’s mission as “sort of a grand unified field theory for progressive left causes.”
What could possibly go wrong with anything the Apollo Alliance considers a good idea?
 
And the green jobs initiatives are funded through NYSERDA, which is evidently an exotic species of backyard money tree.  No, actually
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 under Article 8, Title 9 [PDF] and Title 9A [PDF] of the State Public Authorities Law through the reconstitution of the New York State Atomic and Space Development Authority. NYSERDA’s earliest efforts focused solely on research and development with the goal of reducing the State’s petroleum consumption. Today, NYSERDA’s aim is to help New York meet its energy goals: reducing energy consumption, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and protecting the environment.
 
...Currently, NYSERDA is primarily funded by state rate payers...
In other words, all of us—or at least those of us who actually, you know, flip a light on from time to time.
 
So a charge—a tax—on our utility bills funds NYSERDA. Then money from NYSERDA as well as money appropriated by the legislature—taxpayer dollars—gets doled out by an appointed council to the "winners" of regional competitions (where there's a heavy emphasis on greenness) or given to green workforce training initiatives, a favorite of progressive left causes.
 
Sigh.
 
Then there's the governor's most recent nonsense, Tax-Free NY Start-Up NY (it was re-christened when it must have become apparent even to the governor that it was laughably misnamed):
START-UP NY will foster entrepreneurialism and job creation on a large scale by transforming public higher education through tax-free communities across the state, particularly upstate...
But Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Melrose) has a different take:
Apparently Cuomo's plan is to have tax-paying businesses that are expanding despite his policies and laws move out of state and have new businesses locate on college campuses and have them, along with their employees, pay zero taxes for 10 years. Progressive Nirvana.
Q: If "tax-free communities" are so great, why not make the entire state tax-free, for everybody? Businesses would be tripping over themselves to locate here.
A: Because then there would be a lot fewer goodies for "experts" and other morally and intellectually superior types to give to their favorites.
 
There's no difference between the supposedly evil Wall Streeters, insurance companies, etc., so reviled by progressives complaining of crony capitalism, and the beneficiaries of the largesse of unelected regional economic development councils or of Albany folk picking winners and losers. You'll never hear progressives complain about that brand of cronyism, however.
 
The way to attract private business and the concommitant jobs to NYS, thereby lifting everybody's boats, is to lower taxes, do away with unnecessary regulation, make it easier for employers to hire non-unionized employees, and not play favorites.
 
The proof is in the counties' unemployment stats: government never actually creates anything, much less jobs—green or otherwise.
 
Cross-posted at It's All Downhill From Here
 

Graphic brilliance in defense of life

Once upon a time, recounts Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput in his book Render Unto Caesar, there was an English widow with two young sons.  The widow was a Catholic convert who brought the boys up in the faith despite the anger her conversion had engendered in her extended family.  No one remembers the mother, but people very definitely remember one of her sons—JRR Tolkien.

From an essay entitled, "`The Gospel According To J. R. R. Tolkien":

...Despite this apparent absence of Christian religion, Tolkien himself attested to the profound influence that his Catholic Christian faith had on his works of fiction. Late in 1953 Father Robert Murray, a close friend of the Tolkien family, read The Lord of the Rings shortly before it was published, and wrote a letter to Tolkien in which he compared the image of Queen Galadriel to the Virgin Mary. Tolkien wrote back, saying that he agreed that the comparison was apt: ``I think I know exactly what you mean . . . by your references to Our Lady, upon which all my own small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded. The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.''

What has all this to do with the title of this post? At the Facebook page of New Yorkers for Life, this text was just posted

"The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while the Company is true." -- Galadriel
 
We're in the final two months of the 2013 regular legislative session. We renew our commitment to defeat Governor Cuomo's Abortion Expansion Act. It shall not pass! Thank you for being a part of this Company called New Yorkers for Life.

along with this graphic:

Brilliant!

h/t Tom: there are no coincidences and everything happens for a reason  smiley

 

How many Tim Harrises have we lost?

And how many whose only flaw is that they were an "oops"?

A DJ on a local radio station related this "feel-good" story this afternoon:

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Running a restaurant isn't easy, but Tim Harris has made it work.

Along the way he became perhaps the only person with Down syndrome in the U.S. who owns and operates his own place...
 
...With the help of his family, he opened Tim's Place in 2010 near Academy and Wyoming in northeast Albuquerque.
 
...His story is an inspiration to many.
 
“We've had several families with young children with disabilities who have come in or written and said I never thought this would be possible for my son or daughter," Jeanne Harris said.  "It's changing the way they're thinking as they're raising their young children."
 
“I tell people with disabilities that they can follow their dreams,” said Tim.
 
 

 

 
There are the developmentally disabled like Tim whose parents are routinely counseled to abort them. And in addition there are the children lost at 6, 7, even 8 months gestational age who oftentimes are perfect and so fully formed that they "should be dressed and taken home"—but who instead end up in a dumpster after enduring a painful death.
 

Pundette reminds us that jury selection in the trial of Philadelphia late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell began today.  In case you've forgotten or never knew about Doctor (and I use the term loosely) Gosnell, see former nurse Jill Stanek's blog post about him and his sickening medical practice. Warning: it's graphic and very disturbing.

Gosnell's "Women's Medical Society" clinic—they always sound so innocuous, don't they? Just trying to be helpful—in West Philly was not unique.  There are many such places in inner cities, often (although not exclusively) "serving" black women.  The result is what amounts to genocide among black Americans as Alveda King has pointed out numerous times:

And for those who say what went on in Gosnell's clinic is fundamentally different from what goes on in other, shall we say, more antiseptic settings, where only "clumps of cells" are being disposed of—and those are often the same people who are calling for "free" universal health care—once you start making subjective decisions about what constitutes human life and when such life has value, you're heading down a very slippery slope indeed.

No society has unlimited resources.  For this reason, "free" health care necessarily implies rationed health care.  And with such a cavalier attitude toward life, how long will it be before we've arrived here (and it won't be Paul Ryan pushing that wheelchair):

 

or here:

Hey, who cares? She was old and that man was only a Gypsy—neither one useful or even truly human.

So to those, like Andrew Cuomo, for whom abortion isn't already widespread enough: be careful what you wish for—or condone.

 

I'll see your ignorance and raise you some idiocy

To graduate from high school in NYS, students are supposed to have had a semester's worth of economics.  You know, this sort of thing:

Granted, the high school graduation rate in NYS isn't anything to write home about—74%—and it's even worse in specific cities like Rochester, where the rate is an abysmal 46%, so presumably lots and lots of New Yorkers have never seen anything remotely like the above graph.

But what's Shelly Silver's excuse?

In the SOTU address the other night, Barack Obama took the predictably pandering populist path of calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour (and called for indexing it to inflation, too).

Meanwhile, back at the Empire Ranch, Andrew Cuomo had already proposed raising the state minimum wage to $8.75, without indexing. But not to be outdone in the economic illiteracy department, Speaker Silver and

...[t]he Democrat-dominated state Assembly has amended its proposal for a boost in the state's minimum wage to match President Barack Obama's desire to establish a federal $9 per hour wage...
But this never helps the people it claims to.
 
...The key idea underlying the textbook model of minimum wages is that when something becomes more expensive, people use less of it...
Translation: the real minimum wage is zero.
...It seems that one could still seriously question whether now, when so many are struggling to find jobs, it makes sense to enact a policy that makes it more difficult for them to do so...
Well, yes, we could question it, but we already know why this is being proposed (emphasis mine):
...Because a higher minimum wage is easy to implement, and because a higher minimum wage is a mandate for higher costs on businesses, rather than an item in the budget on which states would have to spend more money, minimum wages are a popular policy for trying to help poor and low- income families...
A three-fer for politicians: appearing to help the relatively poor (and "poverty" is now relative, defined based on income rather than on purchasing power) at no cost to themselves but at significant cost to evil, greedy businesses.  Such a deal.
 
As for the fact that a higher minimum wage never helps the people it's supposed to?  No matter.  It isn't really about them, anyway. It's a disingenuous exercise in ignorance and idiocy by our moral and intellectual superiors—an ultimately ruinous, self-serving game.
 
 

  

 

 

The Empire State of Third-Trimester Abortions

When Andrew Cuomo was first sworn in as governor, I recall people being hopeful—yeah, he was a Democrat, but he actually understood moderates, centrists, even conservatives.

Not so much.

Recall that BHO told Putin's caddy, Medvedev, that he'd have "more flexibility" in a second term. Perhaps inspired by BHO's re-election and his own presidential ambitions, Cuomo's mask has now slipped all the way off—no time to wait for a second term as governor.

Via Weasel Zippers:

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is flexing his political muscle to give abortion advocates their biggest state victory in 40 years since Roe v. Wade: a sweeping expansion of abortion law that, if enforced, could put Catholic hospitals and many state-funded ministries out of business.
 
Cuomo’s approval ratings have topped 70% for six straight months, and, with just two years in office, he has already pushed through controversial same-sex “marriage” legislation and the most restrictive gun-control law in the nation.
 
Cuomo, who is Catholic, now is setting his sights on succeeding where governors for the past six years have failed: passing the proposed Reproductive Health Care Act...
 
...“Gov. Cuomo’s bill elevates abortion to a fundamental right and says New York state can’t discriminate on abortion in benefits or services or anything else it provides,” said Kathleen Gallagher, the [New York Catholic] conference’s director of pro-life activities.
 
Cuomo’s legislation, she said, would make illegal abortion restrictions, such as parental-notification laws, informed-consent laws, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion bans of any kind.
 
The law will allow licensed medical professionals other than a physician to perform first-trimester abortions.
 
The Democratic governor announced in his Jan. 9 State of the State address that he would expand legal abortion as part of a comprehensive women’s-equality bill, declaring three times, “It’s her body, her choice” to thunderous applause.
 
“Gov. Cuomo vociferously declared that women’s equality, safety and reproductive rights will be a priority for New York state in 2013,” Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, confirmed in a press release. Miller said the last election results showed New Yorkers recognized that without a right to abortion a woman “cannot participate fully in society”...
What??
...Cuomo’s bill removes criminal penalties for third-trimester abortions after 24 weeks by adding a broad health exception. Current state law allows such late-term abortions if there is a danger to the mother’s life.
 
Chris Slattery, director of the Expectant Mother Care (EMC) pregnancy centers in New York City, said the new law will make New York City the late-term abortion capital of the world.
 
“It’s going to open up the third-trimester market,” Slattery said. “It’s going to be huge, and people all over the world, not just out of state, are going to be coming to New York to have and perform these abortions”...
Doesn't it make you proud to be a New Yorker?
...The Guttmacher Institute’s New York state abortion data showed that 33% of New York pregnancies end in abortion — nearly twice the national rate of 19%. Only 53% of New York pregnancies resulted in live births, with the remaining 14% ending with miscarriage.
 
New York City itself has an average abortion rate of 41%, with some areas as high as 67%, according to New York Health Department data...
This state is a slaughterhouse.
...Cuomo’s legislation is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Assembly, but pro-life advocates are focusing on the Senate, which Republicans control in a coalition with six independent Democrats.
 
Pro-life state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx, predicts the abortion battle will happen in the next few weeks and not toward the end of the legislative session in June. He said pro-life prospects look grim if the Reproductive Health Care Act comes up for a vote.
 
“I’m the only solid pro-life vote among the Democrats,” he said. “But if the Republicans allow this to come to the floor, then it is a done deal.”
 
Diaz expressed doubts that Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, would keep the 30-member GOP caucus in line and predicted that one or two Republicans would join 32 Democrat senators to vote for the bill — a replay of voting patterns that resulted in the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in 2011.
 
Under a power-sharing agreement, Skelos and state Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, alternate leadership of the Senate every week.

“The week in which Sen. Jeff Klein becomes leader of the chamber — that week he will bring the bill to the floor,” Diaz said...
 
...the state bill has no conscience protections for religious institutions and that the New York Catholic Conference’s legal analysts fear the state could use the law to shut down any Catholic institution (including Catholic hospitals, Catholic charities and schools) that gets state licensing or funding.
 
“State regulators, such as the state health department or state insurance department, could say, ‘We cannot give you that license to operate’ or ‘We cannot give you that funding’ because our pro-life mission means we’re discriminating against a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion,” Gallagher said....
 
...If the bill expanding access to abortion is passed, pro-life medical professionals could also find their practices at risk.
 
“All the legal mechanisms are in place so that doctors are forced to abandon their practices,” said Dr. Katherine Lammers, a Catholic obstetrician-gynecologist in Rochester, who has delivered 4,000 babies in her 25-year career. Lammers’ practice does not perform or refer for abortions.
 
She noted that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published an ethical memo in 2008 that directed doctors to provide abortion referrals if they are unable to perform the procedure.
 
“So it could happen this way: ACOG could say that this doctor is violating Ethical Bulletin 899. They could take your board certification away for ethical violations. The state board could then say, ‘This doctor is not medically licensed.’ So, theoretically, a doctor could be forced out of her business,” Lammers said...
 
Sickening.
 
It's hard to know who's worse—Obama or Cuomo.

 

Another HUD Secretary from NYS is in charge of something important

This time in the wake of Hurrican Sandy.  What could possibly go wrong?

At American Thinker:

On November 15, Obama, speaking in New York, announced his choice of a federal "point person" in dealing with the recovery efforts:
 
On the federal level, because this is going to be such a big job, I wanted to assign one particular person who would be in charge from our perspective, who would be our point person...our outstanding HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, who used to be the head of the New York Housing Authority -- so he knows a little bit about New York and building -- is going to be our point person. And he's going to be working with the mayor, the governor, the borough presidents, the county officials to make sure that we come up with a strong, effective plan. And then, I'll be working with the members of Congress to do everything we can to get the resources needed to rebuild. And I have every confidence that Shaun is going to be doing a great job, and so people should feel some confidence about that.
Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy?
 
Since we often don't know very much about our less visible cabinet secretaries, meet our class-warfare czar:
I would never believe that the private sector, left to its own devices, is the best possible solution. I’m in government because of the role of government in setting rules and working in partnership with the private sector.
As the blogger, Daren Jonescu, writes
For "setting rules" here, read "rigging the market." Having first set the rules in this manner, the "partnership" to which he refers is approximately analogous to the "partnership" between a protection racket and the shop owner who has been intimidated into paying the protection money.
Hey—nice place ya got here.  Wouldn't want anything to, y'know, happen to it.
 
A recent article by the Huffington Post's Peter S. Goodman showed how one homeowner from the Bronx has continued to struggle to save her home because of the outrageous treatment she's received at the hands of the bank that services her loan. Reporting with painstaking detail the obstacles Bank of America has thrown up as Katie Diaz spent months trying to secure a mortgage modification that lowered her monthly costs, Goodman's piece highlights the reality too many homeowners have faced during this crisis -- the dropped calls, lost paperwork and poor customer service that leaves them frustrated, confused and unsure whether they will be able to save their home.
 
Unfortunately, the author assigned much of the blame for these failures not to Bank of America, Ms. Diaz's servicer -- but rather to the $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement that Bank of America and four other servicers agreed to this spring. The largest mortgage relief effort in history, the settlement provides $17 billion in consumer relief and billions more to states that can be used for proven anti-foreclosure efforts like housing counseling. It also creates tough new customer service standards that require servicers to put an end to the kind of behavior faced by Ms. Diaz.
 
However, from Goodman's piece, the reader is left to believe that the settlement has failed before it has even fully taken effect.
 
Not only does the piece fail to cite any of the homeowners who have already received significant relief through the settlement, it isn't until the fourteenth paragraph that the article even mentions that the new servicing standards designed to protect Ms. Diaz and others from the abuses documented in the article won't be fully implemented until early-October -- when the settlement requires the banks to fully comply with more than 300 specific servicing standards...
As Jonescu points out
This is not an SEIU rabble rouser, or a Communist Party Obama supporter. This is a member of the president's cabinet. The explicit "eat the rich," 99%, class warfare vocabulary in this op-ed would have been fairly shocking, even for a Democratic administration, prior to the current one. Now, of course, it is so commonplace, including from the president himself, that we hardly even notice anymore.
 
If all this sounds just a tad familiar—albeit even more extreme—that may be because of one of Donovan's predecessors at HUD. At the Village Voice no less, in 2008:
...Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.
 
What he did is important—not just because of what it tells us about how we got in this hole, but because of what it says about New York's attorney general, who has been trying for months to don a white hat in the subprime scandal, pursuing cases against banks, appraisers, brokers, rating agencies, and multitrillion-dollar, quasi-public Fannie and Freddie...
Long, but definitely read the whole thing.
 
Has this particular leopard, a presumed 2016 POTUS wannabe, actually changed his spots?  To listen to NYS Republican legislators, you would think so.  But keep that Village Voice piece in mind as we move FORWARD! (you might say) to the end of the Obama presidency.
 
Also remember that Mario's kid was for a 45% NYS Thruway toll hike before he was against it.  And then there's this (via South of 5 and 20):
ALBANY, N.Y. — Cash-strapped New York has tentatively chosen the highest bidder to produce driver's licenses under a disputed contract that would provide only black-and-white photos and end up costing the state nearly $38 million more than the current contract if it's approved.

According to court papers reviewed by The Associated Press, the losing vendors, including the company that has produced New York licenses with color photos for 16 years, are protesting the $88.5 million award to a Canadian company.

The award to CBN Secure Technology Inc. of Ottawa is also being reviewed by the state comptroller.
 
CBN is part of the Canadian Bank Note company that prints Canadian money, passports and driver's licenses worldwide. Company officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
 
The DMV tentatively awarded the contract to the high bidder 10 months after New York advised the current vendor, De La Rue North America Inc., that because of "significant budgetary constraints" the state would have to reduce the cost of the contract, according to the court filings. As a result, De La Rue submitted a bid 10 percent lower for the new, eight-year contract, which ended up being nearly $38 million less than CBN's bid...
Apparently, Andy hasn't sullied his hands with filthy lucre from this particular company, though:
State records show no campaign contributions from its top officers to any New York officials. CBN, founded in 1897, also has a lottery systems division for gaming run by governments, but has no contracts with New York where Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to expand gambling.
 
Call me skeptical, but these leopards never really change their spots.
 
 
 

Great NYS news!

Ummm, not so much.

Would you be happy if your student got Ds?  Well, Mario's kid just received a grade of "D" from the Cato Institute in their latest Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governor's: 2012. You should definitely look at the whole thing to see how the various states and their governors are doing, but here's the part relevant to many of us (on page 34):

New York

Andrew Cuomo, Democrat Grade: D

Legislature: Divided
Took Office: January 2011


In his January 2011 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo said that New York must “hold the line on taxes now and reduce taxes in the future.” Unfortunately, the governor has not lived up to that pledge. In December 2011, Cuomo signed an increase in the top personal income tax rate, which is expected to raise $1.9 billion annually. A previous “temporary” hike in the top rate from 6.85 percent to rates of 7.85 percent and 8.97 percent was supposed to expire at the end of 2011. But Cuomo’s legislation will “temporarily” create a new top rate of 8.82 percent through the end of 2014. Cuomo’s tax plan included some tax breaks, but the overall net tax increase was more than $1.5 billion a year. These tax hikes won’t help the New York economy, which already suffers from having the second worst business tax climate in the nation.

There were no new taxes in the governor’s budget this year, and his spending increases have been about average among the governors. Also to his credit, Cuomo approved pension reforms for public sector workers, which could save state and local governments in New York tens of billions of dollars over coming years. In New York City alone, the annual cost of pensions for city workers has exploded from $1.3 billion to $8 billion in just the past decade. So Cuomo’s reforms were desperately needed, but much more needs to be done to reduce government spending in New York.

And the moment you've all been waiting for, the release of the 2013 edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index from the Tax Foundation, in which the state whose motto is "Excelsior" ranks 50th among the 57 states because we have

...the worst individual income tax, the sixth- worst unemployment insurance taxes, and the sixth-worst property taxes. The states in the bottom 10 suffer from the same afflictions: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates...

But wait...when it comes to why individuals and espcially businesses don't wish to be in NYS, there's more!  Here's a specific example at FoxNews via Jazz Shaw at Hot Air:

Two venerable American gun manufacturers — Remington and Colt — could head for the West their weapons helped win if New York and Connecticut force them to implement microstamping technology.
 
Microstamping, or ballistic imprinting, is a patented process that uses laser technology to engrave a tiny marking of the make, model and serial number on the tip of a gun’s firing pin to allow an imprint of that information on spent cartridge cases. Supporters of the technology say it will be a “game changer,” allowing authorities to quickly identify the registered guns used in crimes. Opponents claim the process is costly, unreliable and may ultimately impact the local economies that heavily depend on the gun industry, including Ilion, N.Y., where Remington Arms maintains a factory, and Hartford, Conn., where Colt's manufacturing is headquartered.

“Mandatory microstamping would have an immediate impact of a loss of 50 jobs,” New York State Sen. James Seward, a Republican whose district includes Ilion, said, adding that Remington employs 1,100 workers in the town. “You’re talking about a company that has options in other states. Why should they be in a state that’s hostile to legal gun manufacturing? There could be serious negative economic impact with the passage of microstamping and other gun-control laws”...
Of course, there's not only the negative economic impact involved here, but a slight matter of the Second Amendment, whose continued and unwelcome existence is a much bigger deal to gun opponents in this state than law enforcement concerns.
 
You can always move west like a lot of our central NY forebears to where men and women really know how to work together:
 

Vito is up the Sleazy River

And heading just plain up the river.

NYC newspapers like the NYT and the NYPost have had stories recently about Mr. Charm, Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, the center of a sexual harassment scandal, and the story even made its way into the Ithaca Journal.  Corruption, as well as all-around slimy behavior, is so endemic in NYS government it hardly causes a raised eyebrow:

And now the story has acquired legs outside of NYS...Jazz Shaw writing at Hot Air—such poetry:

We normally focus on political news at the national level here, but every once in a while a story congeals like scum on the surface of a state level pond which merits attention. Such is the case in New York State this summer. The tale actually began a while back, when an investigation into the , er… “affairs” of State Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) determined that he had sexually harassed two young, female staffers, leading to his censure on the Assembly floor. And if the story had stopped there it would hardly be unusual enough in Big Apple politics to merit a column.
 
But that event turned out to be the the pebble which started a series of ripples across the pond. Now we find out from the Wall Street Journal that more ethics investigations are underway, this time into the involvement of the Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver. It seems that Shelly didn’t want to bother the busy folks on the ethics committee when he first caught wind of this story and decided to settle things the old fashioned way.
In other words, with payoffs funded with taxpayer dollars.
...The National Organization for Women and Common Cause, a government transparency group, submitted the formal complaint, calling for a probe into Mr. Silver’s approval of a secret $100,000 taxpayer-funded payment to settle accusations by female employees against Assemblyman Vito Lopez...

...The Republicans traditionally control the state senate (by a razor thin margin) but it’s not “the Democrats” who control the Assembly… it’s Sheldon Silver. And he’s held that body in lock-down for nearly two decades. He’s the most powerful Democrat in the state – even more so than the Governor, according to many accounts...
 
...Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is trying to wiggle out of any responsibility for the secret payout. That won’t be easy because an e-mail trail shows his office helped Silver craft the agreement and the confidentiality clause...
 
But wait, there's more.  You'd really have to suspend your disbelief to accept that state Comptroller DiNapoli isn't involved in all of this as well. In the NYPost:
...The two [AG Schneiderman & DiNapoli] swear that neither was personally involved and tried to shift any blame to subordinate staffers — saying the AG’s office was merely contacted “for an informal consultation” and DiNapoli’s general counsel was asked about “income tax implications” regarding “a pending legal settlement.”
 
Frankly, it defies belief that high-powered pols like Lopez and Silver could be negotiating a six-figure sexual-harassment payout without Schneiderman and DiNapoli being aware of every detail. Both officials come out of the Legislature, after all...
So there's Silver, Schneiderman, DiNapoli...can Mario's kid be far behind?
 
Meantime, in the midst of all this, Schneiderman and DiNapoli issued a joint communiqué about—surprise, surprise—more corruption, this time on the state Senate side:
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced a superseding indictment against New York State Senator Shirley Huntley for falsifying business records, conspiracy and tampering with their joint investigation of a scheme to steal taxpayer dollars using a sham not-for-profit that did not provide services to the public. In addition to Senator Huntley, the new indictment charges a close aide and her niece with stealing funds from a member item sponsored by the Senator, and a third individual with aiding the cover-up...
Nothing like a little misdirection to help take the heat off.  Pure as the driven snow.
 
So Vito may be heading up the river—he'd hardly be the first Assembly member to do so—but he really needs some company, don't you think?
 
...I also reiterate my request that Governor Cuomo send the Executive Order No. 41 proceeding "back to the drawing board" in order to make sure that the shale gas industry will be regulated without the taint of corruption...
Way to go, Babs!  If it's the stench of real and seemingly neverending corruption you're looking for, how about checking right under your nose first?
 

House of cards

In the NYT:

A group closely allied with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo received $2 million from gambling interests last December as he developed a proposal to expand casino gambling in New York.
 
Mr. Cuomo’s support for expanded gambling, which he made a centerpiece of his State of the State address in January, had a profound impact. Within weeks, the Legislature endorsed a constitutional amendment that, if approved once more by lawmakers and then by voters, would allow for seven full-scale, privately owned casinos, potentially worth billions of dollars.
 
Genting, a subsidiary of Southeast Asia’s largest gambling company, made an additional contribution of approximately $400,000 to the group allied with Mr. Cuomo during 2011. The New York Gaming Association, a trade group founded by Genting and other companies that operate racetracks and electronic slot machines, chipped in the $2 million.
 
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, strongly disputed any suggestion that he was influenced by money from the gambling industry...
And, as we all know,
But wait—there's more:
“To try to suggest an improper relationship between the governor and gaming interests is to distort the facts in a malicious or reckless manner,” Richard Bamberger, a spokesman for Mr. Cuomo, said in an e-mail...
That's us—malicious and reckless all over.
The contributions went to the Committee to Save New York, a business and labor coalition that raised $17 million and spent nearly $12 million in 2011, much of it on campaign-style television and radio advertisements praising Mr. Cuomo and supporting his proposals to cap property taxes and slash state spending.
 
Founded by real estate developers and business executives at Mr. Cuomo’s urging shortly after he was elected governor, the committee has rapidly become the biggest spender on lobbying in Albany, providing not only critical backing for Mr. Cuomo but also a counterweight to the labor unions whose money and political muscle have traditionally dominated the Capitol.
What supposedly hugely influential lobbying group isn't even mentioned here?  There'll be a quiz at the end.
...An official with the association said that it had contributed $1.5 million to the Committee to Save New York on Dec. 1 and $500,000 on Dec. 6. Around the same time, Mr. Cuomo unambiguously took the gambling industry’s side, writing a newspaper op-ed article on Dec. 4 saying that he favored expanded casino gambling in New York. Within days, the Committee to Save New York also adopted the issue, adding legalized gambling to its list of priorities for the 2011 legislative session.
 
In his State of the State speech in January, Mr. Cuomo raised the stakes further, calling for the constitutional amendment to legalize casino gambling and proposing to transform Genting’s planned resort near Aqueduct into a destination casino resort that would include the nation’s largest convention center.
 
“This is not about chips and cards,” he said in the speech. “This is about the jobs that the casino industry generates.”...
Hmmmm...  Definitely read the whole article.
 
The column is clearly intended to be an exposé of the cozy relationship between Cuomo and the gambling industry—with the emphasis on how labor unions, presumably including public employee unions, are really not all that influential any more in state politics.
 
Really?
 
But in their efforts to make those points, the authors left out a couple of other crucial pieces of information.
 
Gambling tends to come with its own ABCs: addiction, bankruptcy, crime, and suicide.  Doubt that last one?
 
In a 1995 report from the Maryland Attorney General entitled, “The House Never Loses and Maryland Cannot Win: Why Casino Gaming Is a Bad Idea,” it was reported that in Gulfport, Mississippi, suicides skyrocketed 213 percent in the first two years after the casino opened there, and in Biloxi, they jumped a staggering 1,000 percent in the first four years after the casino opened.
 
Casino gambling in NYS...what could possibly go wrong?
 
Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and somehow expecting a different result?
 
And now we come to the other missing piece of information and the promised pop quiz...isn't there some other lobbying group in NYS besides the Committee to Save New York and the labor unions that supposedly has a huge influence on policy-making in Albany but that went unmentioned in the NYT piece?
 
Wait, it's on the tip of my tongue...oh, yeah—the natural gas industry!
 
You know—the one that former PA Governor Ed Rendell just wrote would "foster an economic, environmental, and security revitalization for our country and our state." The one that could bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. The one that DEC Commissioner Joe Martens inanely said might be permitted in parts of NYS where there is "less resistance and less opposition and there is not a local land-use plan in place..." 
 
Who needs to tap the resource we need and use and that's right under our feet? And who would want to encourage manufacturing jobs when we could be...blackjack dealers?
 
It's a house of cards.
 
h/t Jim
 

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