False Flag Tea Party Candidate in NY-26?

At Legal Insurrection:

Jane Corwin is a conservative Republican candidate in the May 24 special election in NY-26 to fill the seat vacated by Chris Lee, and should be well-positioned to win.

But, as has happened before, someone has grabbed a Tea Party line on the ballot without any Tea Party background, threatening to split the vote.  As reported by Politico, Jack Davis petitioned his way onto the ballot:

Davis, who ran a failed campaign as a Democrat for the seat as a Democrat in 2006, waged a petition-gathering campaign to get on the ballot for the May 24 special election after initially seeking out the GOP nomination. Davis, who has said he is willing to spend as much as $3 million of his own money in the race, turned in more than 12,000 petitions to local election officials earlier this week, far more than the 3,500 needed to qualify.

Davis is a spoiler, does not represent the Tea Party movement or conservatives, and his campaign is being run a self-described progressive operative....

Read the whole thing.

NYS Education Department bars a knowledgeable employee from talking about fracking

Great piece that was the "Post of the Day," Scientific Dissent Is Not Patriotic - Hydrofracking Editionover at Legal Insurrection:

Recently I highlighted the thoughts of Taury Smith, New York state's official geologist and self described liberal democrat. In an article posted at the Times Union Mr. Smith argued that the "spin was on" with regard to hydraulic fracturing. He argued that years of research did not support the rhetoric being presented by the opponents of "hydrofracking." That the cited problems are exaggerated and overblown. That true environmentalists should be in strong support of the increased use of natural gas as it is overall much better for the environment than coal and oil.
He of course committed the cardinal sin of liberalism and thought for himself. Predictably this has put him in some hot water with environmentalists. The course of action is not to debate the facts, but instead smear the messenger. Within four days of the original article voices of opposition have their say....
[....] While character assassination is the predictable outcome for someone speaking out of turn, the tragic irony here is that Mr. Smith has been silenced by the New York State Department of Education. This is the department that oversees the New York State Museum geology unit that is now prohibiting Mr. Smith from speaking with reporters, or take calls on the matter....
Do read the whole thing.

A picture is worth a thousand words

What's wrong with this picture?

Well, this...

[thanks, Rich!]

...to which we can add this:

and this:

And to complete the NYS part of the picture:

You get the picture.

"It's the recession, stupid" to "Erin go bragh!": a chain of unacknowledged problems

While we didn't have James Carville at town meetings in Tompkins County recently, we did have Barbara Lifton. She insisted that the sorry state of the NYS economy was not as bad as it appeared and in any case was certainly not due to anything systemic like, you know, a rotten business climate, but was the fault of "the recession."

Hmmm...a story in the Ithaca Journal stated

The recession has been a kinder and gentler one for upstate New York compared to the rest of the country, said Richard Deitz, a senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

"As job growth began to decline in the U.S., it actually began to pick up in upstate New York," he said. "Job loss began much later in upstate than it did in the U.S. and the rate of job loss throughout the recession was not as severe."....

Allen Lambert's response to this article:

Besides having a lot of colleges to depend on, CNY went thru its decline much earlier -- gradually and over past 40 years as manufacturing jobs left. So economy and housing (except Ithaca) have been depressed and near bottom for a long time. Not much [lower] left to go...

Education and health care may provide jobs, but they do not produce basics like food, clothes, housing, buildings, and the construction materials for roads, vehicles, bldgs, etc. Without basic production an economy (regional or national) is at greater risk.

So Tompkins County, as we all know, exists in a fragile bubble—on a lot of different levels—a bubble that doesn't exist for much of the rest of the state. The state unemployment rate hovers around 8% while the county rate is about 5.5%.  How many people in the state are in the long-term unemployed category (unemployed for more than 6 months)? Well, with the federal "tiers" layered on top of the basic state unemployment benefits, it starts to look like the public-employee pension tiers:

Suffice it to say, there's a non-zero—considerably more than zero—number of long-term unemployed people in NYS.  Which brings us to the "Erin go bragh" part.

Must be that March put him in mind of St. Patrick, shamrocks, and all things Irish...Alan Farnham at ABC News reports (via Hot Air):

In the bad old days of the 1800s, when it was legal for employers to discriminate against anyone they pleased, job postings used to say things like: "No Irish Need Apply." Now the unemployed, it seems, have become the new Irish: In advertisement after advertisement, employers come right out and tell them they're not wanted.....

You heard right: If you've been laid off or are out of work, pal, scram -- this employer, like many others, doesn't want you. You're damaged goods.....

Oh, please.  The long-term unemployed are the "new Irish"?  Ed Morrissey recounts his experience:

The analogy is far from perfect, mainly because Farnham confuses discrimination based on ethnicity and the normal discernment of employers based on experience and job history.  As a hiring manager for 15 years, I can attest that under normal conditions, the long-term unemployed are higher risks for problems in employment and for long-term performance...When exceptions were made, we usually had trouble with performance as a result....

...employers now have a much wider applicant base and can afford to be more selective.  With so many new workers entering into the economy and not enough jobs to go around, it has become a buyer’s market, which means that employers don’t need to take risks in staffing decisions.  While employment track records may be less indicative over the last three years of high unemployment, it’s still an issue that raises red flags about commitment and performance...

Heaven forbid that HR people should behave rationally.

And lastly, on a related note, we should be very skeptical of unemployment statistics in general (via Legal Insurrection):

Indeed, there is really nothing in the record books that correlates with the current situation. If you look at the percentage of the total adult population employed, you might wish to conclude that we are actually in the second phase of a double-dip jobs recession....

This often overlooked trend is something that the unemployment rate is not going to pick up when large numbers of workers become discouraged and drop out of the labor force. ...though the country added jobs last year, those have basically just kept up with population growth, meaning that we're still at the bottom of a huge crater....

Do read the rest.  

Climate change would be a good thing...

...if it could change this headline:

The New York stigma: worst business climate in the country

....At a time when Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to remedy its fiscal woes and unemployment has hovered around 9 percent, businesses said the state's tax climate is decidedly anti-business and is hindering its economic recovery.

The state consistently ranks among the costliest states in terms of corporate taxes, property taxes and the personal income tax....

If you go down to the comments (at least as of this moment—it seems that comments tend to mysteriously disappear from Journal articles), you'll find a commenter who's clearly riled by what he(?) perceives to be a conservative slant to the data cited in the article.  Well, at Assemblywoman Lifton's town meetings last week, any mention of the unfriendly business climate in NYS was greeted with handouts based on information from the Fiscal Policy Institute, which describes itself as "an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all New Yorkers." The "nonpartisan" part is a wee bit disingenuous—but never mind.  

The point is that when it comes to data, what we've got is...

...dueling data—and neither side seems to be impressed with the other's "facts."

It's much bigger than competing data sets, though.  There's a huge ideological chasm here: Barbara Lifton and her fellow travelers see the world through a Marxist prism, the oppressor against the oppressed, believing that fairness can only be realized through the satisfaction of individual wants as a consequence of a government redistribution of property.  In other words, equal results.

Conservatives, like us bitter clingers here at Redneck Mansion, passionately believe that fairness is best ensured by adherence to the rule of law, with all that that entails. In other words, equal treatment.

It's a divide that's been around, well, probably as long as people have been around. Ideological divides contributed to a federal form of government at the nation's founding.  In a country that's a lot more "national" and a lot less "federal" than it used to be, these battles are going to be fought (am I still allowed to use such a martial metaphor?) within the states.

Keep your powder dry.

Tax Facts for New Yorkers

From Henry Kramer, Tompkins County GOP Media and Communications Liaison:

The following story appeared on Fox News today and shows some remarkably disturbing facts for New Yorkers.  Note that despite Barbara Lifton's claims about how good NY is for business and how no one will leave, we are rated last on total tax and regulatory burden, and she wants to make these burdens worse.

At a recent town hall meeting, Lifton threw in another tax, 100% (not a misprint) of wealth to go to the state at death (a 100% death tax, no inheritance).  I presume this would mean you could not will your home or anything you had left to your spouse, children, or anyone else.  Barbara and the State would get it.  A great incentive to older people to sell and move out.  During the Tom Reynolds campaign, Lifton said on videotape that she would do away with your basic STAR tax exemption.  And, Lifton and Sheldon Silver are pushing to increase taxes for wealthy New Yorkers --- that of course will not encourage them to stay here and pay our level of taxes.

State tax burden in NY is now virtually equal to our federal tax burden.

The Tax Man Cometh: How Does Your State Compare?

By William La Jeunesse

Published March 02, 2011


While most Americans focus on federal tax rates, a new report shows the state and local tax burden can be equally painful.

The average tax burden in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey exceeds 12 percent, which is roughly equal to the national federal income tax average of 12.2 percent.

But the lengthy study by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank, found more remarkable comparisons between states.

For example, the five lowest tax states, Wyoming, Tennessee, South Dakota, Nevada and Alaska pay about 40 percent less in taxes than the highest tax states, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Rhode Island.

Why the disparity? For Alaska and Wyoming, massive oil and gas revenues make them outliers. Nevada enjoys sizable gaming and tourism income. 

But experts say the decisions and political choices of lawmakers also play a role in how much states tax their residents.

"How much lawmakers spend is driven by who elects them," said Tax Foundation economist Marc Robyn. "A small government state, they elect small government type leaders and they won't be spending as much."

There is also a massive disparity among states that are friendly to business. When researchers combined the costs of government regulation and red tape with the total tax burden of income, property, sales, corporate and unemployment taxes, the worst states to do business are New York, California, New Jersey, Connecticut and Ohio. The best are South Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada and Florida. Powerhouse Texas comes in at 13.

"Voters can feel like they are being trampled under foot. But if enough momentum builds and people really want to change things they can vote for a lower tax state or move to a lower tax state," said Robyn.

That is easier said than done, but in three states where the tax burden has steadily grown, voters recently elected tight fisted Republican governors who ran on promises of fiscal responsibility.

For example, Ohio and Indiana used to be among the 10 most tax-thrifty states dating back to 1970s. Now they are among the worst, dropping 20 spots in national rankings. Both elected Republicans, along with perennial loser Wisconsin, which ranks among the lower states in per capita income, but fourth highest in taxes.


You can watch the video (which I couldn't embed) here.  Thanks, Henry.

The Eighteenth Century Meets the Twenty-First Century in NYS

A little history: The British government generally looked at the American colonies as a money making enterprise. Consequently, they passed many revenue collection bills aimed at generating as much money from the colonists as possible. The colonists naturally resented this and engaged in substantial smuggling operations in order to get around the customs taxes imposed by the British government.

In response, Parliament and the King began to use "writs of assistance," legal search warrants that were very broad and general in their scope. Customs agents could obtain a writ of assistance to search any property they believed might contain contraband goods...

James Otis, a Boston lawyer, represented a group of over 50 merchants who sued the government claiming that the writs of assistance were unjust. His speech condemning British policies, including writs of assistance and general search warrants, was so powerful and eloquent, that it was heard of throughout the colonies and catapulted him to a place of leadership in the swelling tide of disillusionment toward Great Britain.

Future President, John Adams, who was 25 at the time, was sitting in the courtroom and heard Otis' famous speech that day. Later he said,

"The child independence was then and there born, every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance."

On June 8, 1789, James Madison proposed to the First Congress twenty amendments to be added to the Constitution. One of these amendments, that dealt with search and seizure laws, became what we know as the 4th Amendment.


Fast forward to NYS in 2011: Senate Bill 1669 has been introduced and is currently in the Committee on Children and Families....Under the 4th Amendment you have the right to be free from unlawful searches or seizures of your property. In order to overcome your opposition to the searching of your property, the Constitution requires a court order based on probable cause or exigent (emergency) circumstances that preclude the requirement of a court order. 

Under Senate Bill 1669, no probable cause is necessary and no emergency situation is needed to get an order to come into your home. Under the Constitution an anonymous tip would never be adequate for probable cause.  Additionally, we are presumed innocent under the laws of our nation and the Constitution. The mere refusal by an individual to allow the government agent into their home would not satisfy the probable cause standard.


In 2009 in New York, the most recent year that statistics are available, there were 168,658 reports of abuse and neglect. Of these, 111,958 (or over 66%) were determined to be unfounded; 54,156 (or barely 32%) were "indicated." In New York a report is indicated if "an investigation determines that some credible evidence of the alleged abuse or maltreatment exists." An indicated report does not mean that the person has been found guilty of abuse or neglect.


New York is also unlike nearly all of other states that either screen in or screen out reports based upon what is actually reported. Therefore, anyone can make an allegation that must be investigated by social services. Under Senate Bill 1669, if an individual is the subject of a ridiculous allegation and he refuses let the social worker into his home, a court order will be issued to enter the home simply because the individual said "no."


There is no known hearing scheduled on the bill; just keep an eye on it, people.

Your tax dollars at work


In today's Ithaca Journal:

Grant to support healthy choices

The Human Services Coalition, in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Tompkins County Health Department, will receive a $1.2 million grant over the next five years to support environmental changes that will reduce obesity and prevent development of diabetes.

Betty Falcao, director of the Health Planning Council of Tompkins County, said the Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play Grant will support changes in environments that can help residents make healthier choices, such as to be more active or eat more fruits and vegetables.

The first two years of the grant will focus on the City of Ithaca and the Town of Dryden.

Examples of changes include promoting the use of neighborhood or community trails, improving accessibility and proximity of residential areas to recreation areas, improving aesthetic or safety aspects of physical environments, and working with local restaurants and stores to add healthier items.

You decide whether or not you think this is good or necessary, but you should at least be aware that the "Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play Grant" is money that comes from the NYS Health Department (i.e., your taxes).  That much ought to have been made clear but wasn't.  OK, now decide.


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