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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Expect Another Three-Way Race in NY-23

Some interesting news from the North Country district in New York. Last year saw the heated race between Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dede Scozafava, and Conservative Doug Hoffman (who we interviewed at JiP.) Hoffman lost in the tight three-way race to Owens, who captured less than 50% of the vote.

Now it appears that there will be a new three-way race for the district this year, at least according to one source.

Looks like it will be a barn-burner:

Hoffman, 60, insists he still has strong support in the district, and has not lost any of his momentum from last fall. His campaign released its own poll last week of 300 likely Republican primary voters, showing Hoffman leading Doheny by 32 points, 52 percent to 20 percent.

Rob Ryan, speaking for Hoffman, said the campaign is not worried about its financial disadvantage heading into the primary. He added, “Doug Hoffman will have the resources needed to win the Republican primary. And he is the only candidate who can unite the Republican and Conservative parties and defeat Bill Owens in November.”

Unfortunately, this division will just help the incumbent. Despite NY-23 being a conservative district, it did go for Barack Obama in 2008.Having Owens running as a conservative veteran incumbent will definitely hurt the chances the GOP has to win back the seat.

Cross-posted at JiP.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Volk Campaign: Sexism/Racism, but no follow up!

By Sam Foster

I've had the pleasure of corresponding with the Janice Volk campaign on occasion. I have even mentioned this in the past, but her campaign really needs to work on follow up if they are going to push stories in the media.

(Please note, I'm writing this piece coming from the assumption that the campaign's claims are true. Honestly, I've been following the campaign closely and have not seen anyone interject race or sex into the election)

Thursday, the Volk campaign told Sean Carrol of WHAM 13 that:

Cary also raises the issue of racism and sexism. This is something that stood out to me and it may warrant the attention of another blog entirely. “Janice nor the committee assume that the motivation for these actions are based on racism or sexism” is the exact wording. My question – so why bring it up? I mean isn’t that statement a backdoor way of interjecting the issue of racism and sexism into this conversation about petition signatures? To that Cary said, “That’s not my intention, I don’t want that to happen.”

More specifically on this issue, Cary said there are a lot of hateful things circulating about his candidate, Janice Volk. He said that perhaps it’s because only 1.8% of the population in NY-29 is African American. He said there are blogs where very nasty comments are being made about Volk’s gender and race.

As any good reporter would do, Sean Carrol asks for her campaign to send him the information. Come Friday, Sean Carrol is still waiting:

Just letting you all know I'm continuing to check on some of the allegations made by Janice Volk's campaign manager. Terry Cary told me yesterday that he'd provide me with links to blog posts or comments that are racist and/or sexist in nature towards his candidate. I followed up with Cary this morning via email, and this evening with a phone call. I have yet to hear back.

If you want the press to follow through and run with your story. You can't leave them hanging.

Chris Gibson: Rock Star Republican

By Raquel Okyay

Impressive! Decorated, retired Army Colonel – Republican Chris Gibson, running for Congress in New York’s District 20 against phony “blue dog” Democrat Scott Murphy, is more than just incredibly knowledgeable and articulate in promoting better, smarter government and policy, his credentials alone speak volumes to Gibson’s ability to lead during an era begging for leadership.

Military historian and columnist, Victor Davis Hanson, says the following about Chris Gibson:

Chris Gibson is different from the rest of us. His past is almost mythical: PhD from Cornell, author of a good book on military/civilian relations, 24 years in the military, retired at rank of colonel, West Point instructor, 7 overseas deployments (4 in Iraq), a medal winner for gallantry (4 bronze stars), wounded in battle (purple heart) — it goes on and on. I met him when he was a security fellow at Hoover, and again in Iraq when deployed in Anbar province during the surge in 2007. I don’t think I have ever met anyone quite like him — fearless, soft-spoken, 19th century in belief and comportment, honest.

If Gibson makes it to Congress, creating jobs and stabilizing the economy is his priority. “Small business owners will tell you that removing impediments to growth will create jobs,” says Gibson who proceeds to outline three impediments to job growth that if removed, would benefit the economy:

1. Excessive taxation on small business in New York keeps small businesses from hiring new workers.
2. Burdensome regulation extinguishes creative ideas and stunts would-be projects from succeeding.
3. Repeal and replace the health care bill with one that truly reduces costs, adds competition, transparency and tort reform.

Democrat Scott Murphy pretending to be a fiscal conservative

The following statement is from the Murphy campaign published in on July 15:

Congressman Scott Murphy (NY-20) sent a letter to the House Leadership along with other members of the Blue Dog Coalition urging them to properly impose budget enforcement mechanisms that cut and restrain the growth in federal spending…Congress must make sure that deficit reduction continues to be a top priority and that we reduce spending and pay for our priorities both now and in the future.

If only the Murphy campaign meant what it said, voters in District 20 would not be so angered by the runaway spending and borrowing conducted by the current administration and its hopeless followers – Democrats in Congress, including Scott Murphy.

Murphy is such a “fiscal conservative” he votes with admitted liberal spender Speaker Pelosi 90% of the time. Murphy voted for the health care bill. By doing so, he voted for higher taxes, more borrowing, and bigger deficits. Murphy is in support of cap & trade legislation designed to tax Americans for energy use. Implementation dictates that higher taxes will lead to more borrowing and larger deficits. Calling Murphy a “fiscal conservative” is like calling Fidel Castro a protector of human rights.

Repeal and Replace the Democrat in District 20

For Democrats in New York, District 20 is about as vulnerable as it gets. Murphy beat Republican Jim Tedisco by less than 1,000 votes in a special election early last year. The reason why Murphy won is because he campaigned as a “fiscal conservative” which is what the voters want. Unfortunately, however, Murphy governs like a fiscal nightmare. Nothing is scarier than knowing that future generations will have to pay for the out of control government growth and spending that has amassed in the past year and a half.

The only way Americans can pay for such reckless habits in Congress, is by creating opportunities for business and growth. Here is the chance of a lifetime, to elect Chris Gibson to Congress, a representative from New York who has the momentum, ability and fortitude to oust Murphy and send a strong message to other hypocrite Democrats in Congress like Murphy:

Actions speak louder than words. Either act like a fiscal conservative and stop spending tax payer money, or say bye-bye in November.

Spread the word, Chris Gibson is an A+ candidate, who says what he means, and means what he says. District 20 is lucky to have him! (God bless you Chris – best of luck!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NY Times reports that Chris Lee not likely to be admonished in ethics probe

By Sam Foster
Via NY Times
H/T Jill Terreri at Vote Up!

The dog and pony show that is the ethics investigation involving Chris Lee of NY's 26th Congressional District is said to be heading into a new phase.  However, it appears that the ethics panel itself has more explaining to do than the candidates.  So far the investigations have been kept confidential, but members of congress are already beginning to question the panel's investigation as overreaching.  The NY Times reports:

"This is really a redefinition of the law," said Kenneth Gross, a Washington ethics lawyer who is fielding some of the document requests from ethics investigators. "To pick eight members and say they voted on legislation and political contributions came in around this time is really going places that no regulatory authority has ever gone."

I myself pointed out the futility of the investigation in connection to Chris Lee.  It would be hard to prove that fundraising played a roll in Chris Lee's vote when he had been a vocal opponent to the legislation long before the vote came on December 10th.  Chris Lee even announced is support for an alternative piece of legislation.  

Yet the panel moves ahead in the investigations, into territory described as "aggressive." Although potentially pointless.  Opinion in Washington is that:

The independent ethics office, led by a former federal prosecutor, has clashed repeatedly with lawmakers on the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, who have accused it of over-reaching. Given this history, observers believe it is unlikely that the committee will admonish any members, even if the investigators recommend action.

As much as I distrust government officials and there propensity to immerse themselves in the Washington grind known as "business as usual" this ethics investigation is really indicative of poor infrastructure and organization of congressional ethics oversight.  Clearly congress needs to get the House in order and take a serious stab at defining ethics violations and the process in which investigations are to be carried out so that the taxpayers aren't paying a panel to spend 4 months "aggressively" investigating 8 congressmen in which their findings will be ignored.

Campini Out, Volk In, and Tom Reed manages over 10,000 petitions

By Sam Foster
Via The Fighting 29th and Tom Reed's Facebook

Rottenchester over at The Fighting 29th reports that Angelo Campini who was weighing a challenge to Tom Reed in the Republican primary this September is bowing out of the race since he failed to collect enough signatures to make the primary ballot.  Janice Volk on the other hand released a statement that her campaign has enough petitions to make the primary.  

Meanwhile, the Reed campaign is boasting 820 petitions collected for 10,500 signatures.  Running up to the primary petition deadlines, candidate's dash for cash and petitions as an early runoff to prove their party support.  

Hopefully, we will have Tom Reed's 2nd quarter financial information tomorrow.  Volk has yet to register with the FEC, which is required if the candidate collects more than $5,000 in contributions.

Correction: Angelo Campini is not ending his campaign. Instead, he hopes to run as a write-in candidate.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scott Murphy spends nearly 250,000 on taxpayer funded mailings and Chris Gibson still outraises

By Sam Foster
Via Chris Gibson Press Release & WRGB CBS 6 Albany

It looks like the local news has caught Scott Murphy with his hands in the taxpayer's cookie jar.  WRGB CBS 6 Albany did an investigative report on congressman Murphy's taxpayer funded mailers.  While holding office, Congressmen are allotted taxpayer funds for mailers that go out to constituents to inform them of district information and changes in laws.  While it is common for candidates to indulge in self promotion, WRGB points out Murphy's use of the congressional mailers was particularly suspect.

According to the report, Scott Murphy spent nearly $250,000 on mailers, which is the third largest in the state and nearly twice that of Democrat colleague Paul Tonko.  Scott Murphy's mailers were also full of self-promoting campaign rhetoric.    

Contrast this with the news that Chris Gibson has managed to out-raise Scott Murphy in the 2nd quarter.  Chris Gibson's campaign released the following details today on their fundraising efforts:

"We are very honored by the overwhelming amount of support we have received," Gibson said. For this quarter, Gibson raised a grand total of over $483,158.46 from 1,530 donors.  Over 87% of all the individual donors were from New York.  The campaign had over $452,795.94 cash-on-hand as of June 30th.  Fundraising has continued its strong pace since the quarter ended, giving the campaign over $504,000 cash on hand by July 9th.  Since Gibson's campaign began in March, the campaign has raised $591,677.91."

Campaign energy is often feigned, but never imitated.  It's clear which candidate has the momentum at the moment and that candidate is not flaunting their campaign slogans on fancy taxpayer funded mailers.

Kirsten Gillibrand gets primary challenger in Gail Goode

By Sam Foster
Via NY Daily News

You really have to hand it to the downstate political bosses, because they worked hard to clear the field for Gillibrand from both Democrat and Republican challengers.  It turns out some efforts were in vain, Gillibrand now has a primary challenger.  Former Bronx prosecutor Gail Goode has thrown her name into the ring.

NY Daily News reports:

Gail Goode, a longtime but little-known city lawyer, plans to deliver 45,000 petitions to the Board of Elections tomorrow to get herself on the Democratic primary ballot against incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

"New Yorkers have a right to a Democratic primary," said Goode, who spoke to me at NYDEMCON about her efforts to get her name out there despite what she called the effort of "forces outside of New York State" to discourage anyone from challenging Gillibrand.

The junior senator, who was appointed by Gov. Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton, is defending her seat for the first time. So far, at least three Republicans are tangling for the chance to represent the GOP in the November general election.

Goode is a long-shot at best with Chuck Schumer maneuvering behind the scenes on Gillibrand's behalf.  However, it appears that NYC's need to dominate both Senate seats (Gillibrand comes from the Albany area, not NYC) is more potent than the city's king-makers.

Ann Marie Buerkle fundraising continues struggle in 2nd quarter

By Sam Foster

Money certainly isn't everything in a campaign, but it certainly does help…a lot.  Ann Marie Buerkle's 2nd quarter fundraising results are in and they are surprisingly anemic.  

According to the report, Ann Marie raised roughly $70,000 from April through June 2010 and roughly $150,000 in cash on hand.  It's a far cry from Democrat incumbent Dan Maffei who had roughly $1.1 million in cash on hand back in March.  His 2nd quarter filings are due tomorrow.

Buerkle's filing might explain why she sought Sarah Palin's endorsement earlier in the week.  Ann Marie Buerkle was also recently endorsed by the SBA List.  Hopefully these endorsements will materialize into donations.  

Susan B. Anthony List Endorses Pro-Life Ann Marie Buerkle

By Lonely Conservative
Via Lonely Conservative

Ann Marie Buerkle picked up another big endorsement in her run against the incumbent Dan Maffei (D) in New York’s 25th congressional district.

WASHINGTON, July 13 /Christian Newswire/ — Today the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, a national pro-life political action committee, announced its endorsement of Ann Marie Buerkle, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in NY-25.

“New York and all American women deserve the pro-life feminine leadership Ann Marie Buerkle so capably provides,” stated SBA List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser.

As a registered nurse and working mother of six, Buerkle is an example of the caliber of candidate Dannenfelser said can be expected of the wave of pro-life women leaders running for office around the country. “A new women’s movement which affirms its original pro-life roots is making its way to the House of Representatives, and Buerkle is one of its brightest new stars.”

You can read the full endorsement at Buerkle for Congress.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dan Maffei’s knee jerk response: does Palin endorsement hurt Ann Marie Buerkle?

By Sam Foster
Via Post-Standard

Last night I had the pleasure in announcing that Ann Marie Buerkle, Republican running for NY's 25th Congressional District, would join the "Mama Grizzlies" with an endorsement from Sarah Palin.  I had intended on doing an in depth analysis of what the endorsements means, but waited patiently for the Dan Maffei response.  

This morning, the Post-Standard reported from the Maffei campaign and released the following statement:

The Maffei campaign said Buerkle will find out that Palin is out of touch with most Central New Yorkers.

"I think the fact that Ann Marie Buerkle is throwing in her lot with the Sarah Palin-Tea Party wing of the Republican Party will tell voters here all they need to know about her," said Dan McNally, speaking for the campaign.

"Sarah Palin and her Tea Party supporters have a clear idea of where they want to take this country, but I don't think most voters here in Central and Western New York share that viewpoint," McNally said.

He added that voters in the 25th District, including Republicans, "want to move away from Sarah Palin-style partisan politics and just focus on coming up with real solutions to the real problems we're facing."

Maffei's response was typical given a June NBC/WSJ poll that found that a Palin endorsement was viewed unfavorably by a national audience.  Those polled disfavored a Palin endorsement 2 to 1.  However remember, this is a national poll.  The real question is "do the voters of NY-25 dislike Sarah Palin?"

That is a more difficult question.  One that Dan Maffei might want to answer before giving such a knee-jerk response.  The conventional political wisdom of NY-25 is that it is a blue district.  The Cook Political Report rates the district D +3 in their Partisan Voter Index.  However, the Palin endorsement does not breed in a static political environment.  The same June NBC/WSJ poll I mentioned above had more to say about Dan Maffei than Sarah Palin.  According to the poll, respondents disfavored those who voted for the stimulus by 46 to 39 and those who voted for health care reform 50 to 39.  Both bills were ardently supported by Congressman Maffei.

The other question is whether or not Sarah Palin is truly toxic in NY-25.  The evidence suggests this might not be the case.  Sarah Palin visited Auburn, one of NY-25's population centers.  Below is coverage from the Post-Standard in regards to the event:

The crowd greeted Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with cheers and applause as she hoped out of her SUV and climbed in the back of a 1959 Cadlilac to start the Founder's Day parade today in Auburn.

Palin was the star attraction, and she didn't disappoint, waving to the crowd and posing for photos with two Auburn firefighters just before the parade began.

"She's really a lot cuter than on TV," said Anita Petrosino of Auburn

Petrosino was there to see her two granddaughters march in the parade.

The sidewalks were jammed nearly shoulder-to-shoulder in many places along Genesee Street as on-lookers jockeyed to get a glimpse of Palin, her husband, Todd, and daughter, Willow. At one point, the trio got out of the car to walk along the parade route.

Palin waved and smiled, connecting with the crowd and acknowledging their cheers.

"See you in four years," Art Carnicelli shouted, catching Palin's attention as her car passed by. She smiled, then saw Carnicelli had a Palin T-shirt on and shouted back: "I like your T-shirt."

Farther down the parade route, Bill Lee of Auburn shouted, "Glad you made it," to which Palin replied, "Thank you. We love it here."

It is important to note that this was the local response at a time where Palin's approval ratings were polling at their worst.  They've since improved.

I had the opportunity to watch Dan Maffei march in a Fourth of July parade in Irondequoit, it was hardly the site described above.  That is until Maffei left the parade and the war veterans marched past.  Palin certainly polarizes, but she also boosts enthusiasm.  The endorsement is also likely to help Ann Marie Buerkle's fundraising efforts.  Both developments would be welcome additions to the Buerkle campaign.

Only time will tell the effect a Palin endorsement will have on Ms. Buerkle's campaign.  However, I'm willing to make a friendly bet that Maffei is more out of touch with his district's voters than a woman from Wasilla, AK and I'm sure the voters know it too.

Correction: A reader points out the Auburn is not in NY-25. In fact it is just outside NY-25 in Mike Arcuri's district in NY-24.

Chris Gibson impresses with single donor support in second quarter

By Sam Foster
Via Politico
Hat Tip to UPR Readers (keep sending those great tips!)

It appears Democrat incumbent Scott Murphy is going to have his hands full this November.  Chris Gibson's campaign is touting an impressive 2nd quarter of fundraising, which, according to the Politico, includes roughly $500,000 and 90% in individual donors.

Politico writer Maggie Haberman reports:

Chris Gibson, the Republican congressional hopeful going after Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy in NY-20, is reporting nearly $500,000 raised in the second quarter for his campaign, a source familiar with the filing tells me.

The source siad the $483,179 was raised from 1,530 donations, 90 percent of them individual donors and 10 percent organizations and PACS.

Nearly a quarter of the contributions were under $250, the source said, and 87 percent overall were from inside the bounds of New York State.
It wasn't immediately clear what the breakdown is for pre-general versus post-general.

Still, it's a hefty quarter during a period where Democrats, as has been widely reported, struggled to raise for the upcoming congressional races in New York City.
The Murphy seat is one of the House races that national Republicans are closely eyeing. Murphy won his seat in a special election after Kirsten Gillbrand was appointed to the U.S. Senate, but he is among the Democrats endanged by votes on health care legislation.

UPDATE: An aide to Gibson, who entered the race in March, said he's got $504,000 in cash-on-hand. His team said he's basically only been raising this quarter.

For those of you who are politically untrained, single, small-dollar donors are the equivalent of political manna from heaven.  It means that Chris Gibson is swelling in strong support from everyday voters and, here is the best part, they are predominantly district voters.  The remark from the Gibson aide is also important.  Mr. Gibson threw his hat into the congressional ring at the beginning in March, one month before the FEC's first quarter deadline.  So, this is the first full quarter of Gibson fundraising.

We are still waiting on Scott Murphy's quarterly filing.  However, with news of Mr. Gibson's success, I suspect that he'll wait until the July 15th deadline before reporting his results.  First quarter filings from Scott Murphy showed that he had slightly less than 1.1 million cash on hand.  The possibility that Mr. Murphy was outraised by a challenging Republican candidate adds him to a list of NY Democrats who are being taken to task in fundraising efforts.  The list includes the likes of Mike Arcuri and John Hall.


The Adirondack Daily Enterprise lists Gibson as the likely "least wealthy" candidate in NY-20. Also, they report that Scott Murphy had filed an extension until mid August for filing his 2nd quarter fundraising. Its possible that Murphy wants to hold off the press cycle on how Gibson has outraised him in the hopes of touting an improving third quarter.

Update x2:

Times Union confirms that Chris Gibson outraised Stott Murphy in the 2nd quarter and by more than $100k. The writer reminds us that Scott Murphy has far more in cash on hand. However, this accomplishment isn't about who raises how much, its about how excited voters are to support Chris Gibson and Mr. Gibson won this round with a KO.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Backing Liz Berney Without Hesitation

By Raquel Okyay
Crossposted at

(Editor’s Note: I was supportive of Liz Berney in her campaign for Congress District 5 in 2008 and have been friends with Liz for a number of years. Admittedly, my avid endorsement for Liz Berney comes with prejudice.)

Republican Liz Berney, Esq., 2010 candidate for U.S. Congress (NY District 5) has done everything right to run a formidable campaign against Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman’s sixteen-year incumbency. District 5 encompasses parts of two counties at lower New York State, from the town of Elmhurst at Queens County to the Town of Greenvale at the North Shore of Nassau County.

Even before Liz Berney ran for Congress in 2008, she was laying the groundwork for her campaign by working within the Republican and Libertarian parties and other organizations building a team of supporters who advocate fiscally sound principles in government and aggressive foreign policy measures to combat terrorism.

Liz Berney is a Republican committee woman at Great Neck and over the years has spent countless amount of time securing ballot access for Republican candidates and has provided pro-bono legal services to the GOP at both Nassau and Queens County.

It is Liz Berney’s tireless efforts in the Jewish community that poised her for a leadership role in the Republican Jewish Coalition and the endorsement of Republican Congressman Pete King (Nassau County District 3) who is well known for his continuing supportive voice of Israel, America’s ally, at a time when other officials are offensively defaming them.

Motivated by a family that was misplaced, tortured and killed during the Nazi occupation of Germany, Liz Berney (acutely aware of being part of a surviving generation) articulates her love of freedom and concern for a an overreaching government that works against American ideals of free market and free speech.

After escaping Nazi Germany my father joined the U.S. Army and fought in WWII. This example taught me that freedom needs protecting. Pursuing the American dream, my father would later become Dean of Queensborough Community College. This example taught me to aspire for excellence in an independent society.

Via heavy handed regulation and a progressive tax rate on American industry, the current administration however pushes forth an agenda that is antithetical to freedom. Policy decisions in Washington D.C. are injuring the economy and weakening individual choice. The time is now to be vigilant.

Liz Berney shows a certain level of expertise.

Liz Berney has written extensively on the issue of health care in her capacity as a candidate for public office and also as a practicing tax attorney. Liz Berney debated Ackerman on health care in 2008 and has hit the streets since at town hall meetings, gatherings and protests, all to warn the public of the dangerous policies embodied in the health care law.

In 2008, Newsday criticized Liz Berney for singling-out health care reform as a “government takeover of health care” that “can lead to a socialist system.” Liz Berney saw the writing on the wall back then and with growing opposition to the new Obamacare law, she has been a screaming voice today:

The new “health care” law has very little to do with actual health care. It is mainly another way of taxing and transferring wealth from individuals, employers, the insurance industry, the medical device industry and the pharmaceutical industry. The health care bill also contains new burdensome tax reporting requirements, and will require 14,000 new IRS agents to implement!

The new law (the so-called “Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act”) contains numerous new taxes …and mentions the words “tax” (including variants of “tax” such as “taxpayer”) 582 times. The reconciliation bill adds more than 100 additional mentions of “tax.”

Tea Party acting like political party bosses.

The Tea Party erupted early last year just in time to grab the attention of disgruntled Americans. Disgruntled by an America that is looking more like Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela than the land of opportunity, the Tea Party movement is determined to collectively frame a government that represents not controls them.

The problem in the race for Congress District 5 is that the Tea Party has denied Liz Berney access to its members, perhaps inadvertently, essentially denying its members to a credible and worthy candidate. Instead some are actively defaming Liz Berney and actively supporting their choice in candidates, Dr. James Milano, without further review.

It is the Tea Party acting like the Republican Party they complain about. Corrupt Republican party-bosses declare candidates credible and deny access to candidates they dislike, not Tea Party patriots. This type of hard ball is reminiscent of the press keeping favorable news about President Bush out of the media.

Tea Party candidate Dr. James Milano

During a forty minute phone interview with Dr. James Milano, he shows a real concern for the economic mess America is in, especially with respect to jobs, Dr. Milano expresses:

A 10% unemployment rate has people giving up on work prospects. The best way to create jobs is to create an atmosphere where people can succeed. The government is trying to tax their way out of a recession even though a more effective policy would be to cut taxes for companies that hire people.

Dr. James Milano’s pro-life stance is impressive, particularly as a physician, he articulates a good defense for unborn life. He is well versed on a varied amount of issues, intelligent, creative and personable. Dr. James Milano has a bright future in politics as long as he stays on message and continues to communicate his views with the public.

Liz Berney for Congress

My reasons for backing Berney are as follows:

Liz Berney is the only registered Republican; Liz Berney has paid her dues; Liz Berney has lived in the District for 32 years; Liz Berney is an expert on tax policy and health care issues; Liz Berney is the only candidate who has been engaging the voters on the issues for years.

I’m supporting Liz Berney because she earned it.

Sarah Palin endorses Ann Marie Buerkle for NY-25; Ann Marie joins the Mama Grizzlies

By Sam Foster
Via Sarah Palin Facebook & Politico

There are a number of great women running on the Conservative/Republican ticket this coming November; Ann Marie Buerkle, Nan Hayworth, and Jill Rowland to name a few in Upstate NY.  I just caught word that Ann Marie Buerkle, running against Democrat incumbent Dan Maffei for NY's 25th Congressional District, has received an endorsement from Sarah Palin.

From Sarah Palin's Facebook:

I'm proud to endorse an Empire State leader who's running to represent New York's 25th Congressional District. Ann Marie Buerkle is a commonsense constitutional conservative and is willing to put it all on the line to help put our country on the right track. Ann Marie is a registered nurse who went back to college to earn her law degree at age 40, while at the same time serving her community on the Syracuse City Council. Since 1997, Ann Marie has served as an Assistant New York State Attorney General on behalf of Upstate Medical Center. If you want an expert who knows why we need to repeal and replace Obamacare, Ann Marie is that candidate. She is the daughter of hardworking immigrants who knows what makes this country great: our free market work ethic where anyone with a dream and the dedication to work hard for it can achieve success. Being a proud mother of six and grandmother of 11 gives this New York "mama grizzly" a wonderful incentive to work hard to make sure our country remains the same land of opportunity for future generations of Americans.

When I visited Central New York last year with my daughter Willow, I remember telling her that there must be something in the water in this region of the country to produce so many strong, independent, historic women leaders. The women's movement in America has its roots in Seneca Falls, New York, and Ann Marie is among today's strong women leaders.

Please join me in supporting this dedicated public servant by visiting her website at and following her on Facebook and Twitter.

- Sarah Palin

Democrat John Hall hiding from his Health Care vote: A tale of two health care events

By Sam Foster
Via Nan Hayworth's Blog, Poughkeepsie Journal, & Hudson Valley Patriots

Last Friday John Hall, Democrat congressman representing NY's 19th Congressional District, held two town hall events.  One was held at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and featured roughly 60 business people.  The other was a town hall for local constituents.  However, the content of these two events was similar, but the outcomes couldn't be more telling with regard to how far out of touch with voters, congressman Hall has become.

Congressman Hall demagogues at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel:

According to information from Hall's office, health care costs for small businesses have increased 129 percent over the past decade, with workers paying an average of 18 percent more for premiums than those employed by larger companies.

Hall estimated 45 percent of small businesses can afford to offer health benefits.

He said the Affordable Care Act "puts into place comprehensive reforms that will open up access to affordable and quality health care for America's small businesses."

At the end, Nan was able to confront John Hall and request the opportunity to debate in open forum the claims congressman Hall made at the event.  No surprise, Congressman Hall balked.

So Congressman John Hall headed off to event number two at Cortlandt Manor.  Wildly popular with fellow Democrats and local independent constituents, the only people to show up were Nan Hayworth supporters, according to a blogger who attended.

While Congressman Hall's rhetoric about how great health care reform is for small businesses may have passed muster in the earlier closed event, Hayworth supporters weren't buying it.  Even Congressman Hall flip-flops on his earlier remarks that health care will bolster small businesses, Hudson Valley Patriots reports:

"Basically, the men (congressman Hall) said there are 1,000 things that needed to be corrected in the bill. So someone asked why they even passed a bill that needed so much "fixing". One man complained he'll be out of business come January 1, 2011 because he cannot afford to give his 50 employees health care and not increase his rates. He cannot increase his rates because his competitor hires illegal aliens and won't have to buy health care for them.

Another man said he manufactures in the area and is proud of having 53 employees working, but he too cannot afford to provide health care to the workers and compete with China. Come January 1, 2010 he advised the only way he'll be able to stay in business is if he has only five employees who can help him unload the trucks with the chairs made in China.

Both congressmen told the men they were right and they were trying to fix the bill."

Could this be why Congressman Hall refuses to debate Nan Hayworth?

According to Nan Hayworth's blog, part of the reason the Cortlandt Manor event was so poorly attended was because John Hall changed the event location and time at the last minute, which appears to be true.  The original event announced in the local press on Wednesday afternoon was to be held at the Hudson Valley Hospital Center.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Please check out my latest Article in the American Thinker: Squandering the Stimulus

By Sam Foster

Good Morning American Thinker readers. Please bookmark Upstate Political Report and follow our coverage of NY congressional races!

I apologize for breaking from the local news cycle, but I wanted to direct readers to my latest article published in the American Thinker. Many of you know that I also blog at Left Coast Rebel and earlier this week I had a breakthrough piece exposing much of Obama's rhetoric at Smith Electric Vehicles during his Kansas City visit on Thursday. Gateway Pundit linked! So did The Lonely Conservative!

So I cleaned up the content and sent it to American Thinker.

Appalling amounts of money are being wasted on projects dependant on subsidies for their survival, while the Commander in Chief gives speeches pretending it is all working splendidly.

Obama's "Summer of Recovery" tour struts through the US in full swagger, despite calls that we are on the precipice of a third depression, a stunningly poor jobs report in June, and the IMF complaining that there may be a double-dip in the housing market, bank lending remains troubled and Obama's dysfunctional spending habits are creating fiscal tumult. The strategy behind Obama's latest stimulus sales pitch goes like this; a large portion of the stimulus funding is about to be spent this summer and Obama, like Superman, plans on swooping down upon various stimulus funded projects to declare, as only a President as arrogant as Obama can, that his policies have saved the day.

In truth, the "Summer of Recovery" is nothing more than a political ploy that was built in to the stimulus with the hope that it will lift Democrats' prospects in the mid-term elections. Still, even this analysis of Obama's latest PR tour is somewhat rose-colored when faced with the reality of the stimulus projects Obama demagogues in his speeches.

One needs to do a minimal amount of fact checking on Smith Electric Vehicles, one of Obama's stops on his tour in Kansas City, to see that Obama's stimulus policies live in the land of failure while his rhetoric soars into the land of the absurd.

How absurd?

Obama used the occasion to take credit for the employment at Smith Electric and go on the attack by daring stimulus naysayers to criticize his policies in the face of supposed "tangible successes."

From his remarks:

"For example, right here at Smith Electric, you've recently passed a milestone -- hiring a fiftieth employee -- and I know you're on your way to hiring fifty more. And we're seeing similar things all across America, with investments and incentives that are fostering growth in wind power and solar power, in energy efficient appliances and home building materials, and in advanced battery technologies and clean energy vehicles.

There are those who argue that we ought to abandon our efforts -- and others who have made the political calculation that it's better to obstruct than lend a hand. But my answer is that they ought to come here to Kansas City. They ought to tell the workers of Smith Electric that we'd be better off if your jobs didn't exist..."

A look into the company's press releases reveals that government stimulus dollars had nothing to do with the company's employment levels. According to the local newsprint in March of 2009, 5 months before the company ever received an award of stimulus funds, the plant had already planned on hiring a total of 200 employees over 3 years.

Upon receiving its first stimulus grant in August of 2009, Smith Electric's CEO revealed that the company "already planned to hire 50 people by the end of the year." Now with SEV planning on doubling their workforce from 50 to 100, what's the government's score with creating jobs at the plant? The answer is that the Obama administration is still 100 jobs away from the pre-stimulus goals of the company.

Absurd? Not half as absurd as Obama's rhetoric with regard to the real economic benefits that these investments are proposed to create. In his speech at SEV, Obama heralds stimulus investments in the plant and other similar investments, boasting that:

"...this is how we take charge of our destiny. This is how we create jobs and lasting growth. This is how we ensure that America not only recovers, but prospers - that this nation leads in the industries of the future."

Well if this is true, let's look at stimulus investment in SEV and see how taxpayer money is being put to work.

SEV received their first stimulus grant in August 2009 for $10 million. The funds were used to lower production costs so that their vehicle's massive sticker price of $150,000 could be reduced. I suppose $10 million would go a long way in boosting sales when your sales price is 3 to 4 times that of normal combustion engine trucks. So the question remains, how will the company sell its vehicles once the funds are exhausted? It appears that they won't have to worry about that problem for a little while, because the government expanded SEV's grant to $32 million in March of 2010.

So after $32 million, the President boasts that his stimulus created a massive 50 jobs at Smith Electric Vehicles and those 50 jobs. Wouldn't it have been more impressive to grandstand the company's success in selling it's vehicles to large companies? After all, such companies as PG&E, Frito-Lay, and Compass Group N.A. are all looking to purchase products from SEV, thanks to massive price subsidies with federal dollars. The Obama administration is subsidizing purchasers to the tune of 40-60 percent of the sale price with a single truck averaging about $130,000. The money adds up quickly. For example, Compass Group plans to buy 30 trucks, which roughly equates to $6.5 million in additional taxpayer subsidies.

If SEV's federal subsidy sticker prices seem egregious, it is only a drop in the bucket compared to two other projects Obama announces in his Missouri visit:

"Just last week, Abound Manufacturing in Colorado received backing for two plants to produce solar panels - creating 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. One of the plants will actually take over what is now an empty Chrysler supplier factory. Another company, Abengoa Solar, is now planning to build one the largest solar plants in the world right here in the United States. When it's finished, this facility will be the first large-scale solar plant in the U.S. to actually store the energy it generates for later use - even at night."

The addition of 2,000 temporary and 1,500 permanent jobs sounds impressive until you learn how much these two deals cost; $2 billion.

The Obama Administration insists that the SEV story is the very poster child of Obama's recovery vision:

"The story of Smith's factory shows the direct and measurable impact of the Recovery Act. Smith's factory is re-purposing an 80,000 sq. ft. jet engine overhaul facility at the Kansas City International Airport, a space that was not being utilized or creating jobs is now a fully operational plant."

By the Obama Administration's own standards detailed above, there can be no doubt that Obamanomics is a miserable failure for the economy. If the Obama Administration is willing to drastically exceed $32 million to keep a single 80,000 sq. ft. factory in business, then we soon will find ourselves in the same situation as Greece.

Obama believes that America's future is in a green economy; behold the green economy sputtering to life as it drowns in the excesses of its own red ink.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Interview with Chris Gibson, running for NY's 20th Congressional District

By Sam Foster

Raquel Okyay has a pending phone interview with Chris Gibson who is running for the Republican nomination to face Scott Murphy in NY's 20th Congressional District. However, to whet your appetite until then, Mr. Gibson agreed to an email interview with UPR. Below are the questions and his responses:

Quest: While there are a number of really big issues that the nation is facing, what issue do you feel most impassioned and qualified to handle and why?

Ans: I have spent the last 24 years in the military fighting to protect our freedoms and our treasured American way of life. But now our country faces a new threat. Our government is standing in the way of the economic growth and job creation that has always guaranteed our citizens a prosperous, free and secure future. Economic growth and job creation are the most important issues facing us today. My campaign is advocating cutting taxes, eliminating onerous and duplicative regulations, and lifting the burden of spiraling healthcare costs. These are hampering the private sector’s ability to grow and create jobs.

But we must do more. We must also reduce our budget deficit and our national debt. We are spending at an unsustainable rate, and the Congressional Budget Office is the first to acknowledge this. We are spending $400 billion dollars a year just to service our debt. Imagine if this money were available to the private sector instead- business investment and job creation would flourish.

I’ve travelled extensively through the District talking with business owners, their employees, and business leaders. Their concerns are almost universal. They are being squeezed by too many taxes and too many regulatory burdens. Recently we held a series of press conferences around the district to discuss the Cap & Trade bill. At each stop we were joined by business owners who stood up publicly to warn against the negative impact of the taxes and regulations associated with this bill. This is a great example of government failure to protect businesses that create the jobs in this district.

My meetings at companies like Stanfordville Machinery in Dutchess County, Bowman Orchards in Saratoga County, and Falls Farm and Garden Equipment in Washington County covered a diverse cross section of businesses in NY-20. We met with manufacturers, farmers and retailers all of which were family businesses handed down from one generation to another. Their stories, their struggles, and their spirit to continue working toward growth have been inspiring. I will be the greatest advocate for job creation and business development for this district.

Quest: What can congress do to aid job growth in your area?

Ans. There are numerous things that Congress can and must do to facilitate job growth in the District. First and foremost, they must lower taxes so businesses can invest in their operations with confidence and hire new workers. Congress must also cut and streamline regulations that today distract many businesses from pursuing their core mission, to service customers. Finally, Congress must repeal the new healthcare legislation and replace it with real reform that reduces the cost of healthcare. These are three key measures that will help aid job growth immediately.

While visiting with a group of employers in the southern part of the district, I met one business owner who was ready to purchase three dump trucks and some earth moving equipment. He had already picked out the machines, but was forced to put everything on hold because he was unsure of the new tax and regulatory implications that his company may face due to the health care bill and Cap-&-Trade. His uncertainty will have a ripple effect through the economy. Not only will his business now suffer, but the retailer and the manufacturer of the items he would have purchased also lost a sale. When demand drops, so do opportunities for employment.

If Congress made these three simple changes, businesses could plan long-term and the private sector will once again become our engine of job growth. Sadly, my opponent, in only a short time, has managed to raise taxes, create more burdensome regulation, and vote for a healthcare overhaul that makes our business environment even more challenging. It is time to lift these impediments to growth.

Quest: Many on the right are looking for a smaller government, what areas can we responsibly reduce government involvement?

The first thing we need to do is stop growing government - yet we are doing the exact opposite. We have grown government with the healthcare legislation, the new financial regulatory bill, and Cap & Trade. Rather than improve the government agencies that already exist to oversee many of these areas, this administration has added more government. This is misguided and harmful.

There are also areas where we have duplicative regulatory agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. Imagine the challenges a small business faces in trying to navigate these bureaucracies. It is amazing these businesses have time to service any customers at all. This hurts our ability to create jobs.

I have also argued to abolish the Department of Homeland Security, which I feel has created more government without adding to our national security.

Quest: Are there areas where congress could expand government involvement in a beneficial way?

Government can be effective in two ways. Obviously, it must secure out state and protect our way of life against those who wish to destroy it.

At home, the government must ensure that government operations and our markets are fully transparent.

Quest: Should you get elected, how do you plan on staying in touch with constituents while in Washington?

Once elected, I will maintain my home base in Kinderhook, Columbia County and develop my relationship with the District’s individuals, families, and communities. Too often politicians think its fine to merely send out taxpayer funded mailers to their constituents. I plan on still making it a priority to visit all the towns and villages throughout the 20th District. I will always remember who sent me to Washington and why they did it. I plan to regularly hold face-to-face meetings with constituents to better understand their concerns and represent them in the Congress. .

Quest: Does the current congress and administration have the right strategy in Afghanistan and if not, what is the right strategy?

Ans: We must remember that the Afghan people will ultimately decide whether the insurgency fails or succeeds. Afghan efforts thus should be oriented on earning the support of the people and developing security forces that understand the nuance of counterinsurgency and work to protect the population. I believe we agree on this.

But NATO-led counterinsurgency and institutional-training commands, now separate and distinct, should be consolidated -- employing partnerships down to the company level.

Afghan recruits should start basic training in cohort units assembled and equipped first for that task -- and then for unit training for initial-operating capability. This will enhance cohesion, which is critical to counterinsurgency operations' success.

We should also avoid putting definitive timelines on training the Afghan security forces; that work is inherently "conditions based." Additionally, the NATO Rules of Engagement need reviewing. Over the last year, they grew too prescriptive and restrictive. Every effort should be made to limit civilian casualties, but these out-of-balance rules favor our enemy in close-quarter combat.

Throughout this effort however, let us never forget why America went to Afghanistan. It was to defeat al Qaeda and protect our way of life after the unprovoked attacks of 9/11.

Quest: It has been written that you don’t oppose abortion in the first trimester. Is this true and what are your thoughts on this issue?

Ans: I am opposed to all forms of partial-birth abortion and late-term abortions. I will fight to prevent the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions and hope to work closely with the Right-to-Life community to continue efforts to limit the number of abortions being performed. I will also work to make adoption an easier, less complicated, and more affordable process for both biological parents and those looking to adopt. No public monies should ever support abortion - to the contrary all federal efforts should work to decrease the number of abortions.

Quest: Many in the conservative base are suspicious of Republican candidates, what makes you more than just a Republican candidate?

Let me first say that I respect anyone willing to run for office, even if I do not agree with them on the issues. My background is open for review. My calling to serve my country came at the age of 17. I have always believed that our constitution and the principles that our founding fathers espoused in it where worth fighting for.

Over the course of my 24 year Army career I rose to the rank of Colonel and was deployed 7 times - including 4 combat tours to Iraq, and separate deployments to Kosovo, the Southwestern US for a counter-drug operation, and most recently to Haiti where I commanded the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team during the opening month of that humanitarian relief operation.

I’ve taught American Politics at the United States Military Academy at West Point, served as a Congressional Fellow with US Representative Jerry Lewis, the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and completed a Hoover National Security Affairs Fellowship at Stanford University.

My military decorations include 2 Legions of Merit, 4 Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star, the Master Parachutist Badge and the Ranger Tab. For our actions in Mosul in support of the first national election in the new Iraq, my Battalion Task Force earned the Valorous Unit Award. For our actions in Tal Afar during the 2nd and 3rd national elections in Iraq my Battalion and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were recognized for excellence by President George W. Bush and earned a 2nd Valorous Unit Award.

I also hold an MPA and PhD in Government from Cornell University and authored Securing the State, a book on national security decision-making published in 2008.

I have fought hard for this country and our cherished way of the life, and you can be assured, I plan on continuing to do just that.

As I've pointed out in the past, Chris Gibson has a good shot at taking this seat from Democrat Scott Murphy. He has outstanding qualifications and is solid on the issues.

UPR reader, Fenway Nation, sent me the following email based on his experiences with the Chris Gibson campaign.

I decided to try and research who was running against Murphy....and I came up with Chris Gibson's name. Maybe I'm biased because I'm a veteran myself, but I was impressed. For starters, Gibson's actually born and raised in the district- just down route 203 from where my mother's family grew up. Secondly, I think his 24 years of military service make him a better leader than the current Commander in Chief (altho' thats not saying much- the talking pug from Men In Black could do a better job than BH0 on most issues), let alone a Harvard lawyer, lobbyist and failed businessman like Murphy. Not to mention Gibson just seems to get it....he just seems to have a better feel for what the people of his district are looking for than Murphy. Also- for whatever it's worth, Gibson is part of a PAC called Vets for Freedom.

So with that in mind, I sent off Gibson a fairly small check sometime in May- hardly enough to buy his campaign volunteers a pizza. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but a few weeks later I got an envelope in the mail from his campaign HQ in Kinderhook. Besides the boilerplate "Thank you for your generous contribution blah blah blah" boilerplate form letter was a handwritten note to the effect of "All the way from the West coast! Thank you for your generoisty- signed Chris Gibson".

Stop and think about that for a second. If the man took the time to write a handwritten note to a stranger on the other side of the country who sent him hardly enough money for a good-sized lunch, imaging how responsive he'd be to his constituents.

From what I've heard and seen, Chris Gibson could be the real deal for NY's 20th Congressional District

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rep. John Hall Plays Party Favorite at Public’s Expense

By Raquel Okyay

Cross posted at
Shameless is the best way to describe Democrat Rep. John Hall "who takes a whack" at his Republican opponent Nan Hayworth (Congressional District 19) in this video advertisement that accuses Hayworth of being an apologist for BP. What did Hayworth do to warrant this charge? She set forth a position at her campaign website regarding energy exploration on land and sea using the best, environmentally sound technology, and (all of a sudden) according to Hall, she is a cheerleader for BP.

BP is the British owned energy company that suffered a fatal explosion on or about April 22, causing an oil spill in the Gulf Mexico that dwarfs the 1989 Exxon spill at Alaska's Prince William Sound. One difference between the two disasters is the Exxon rig had a finite amount of oil to spill, whereas at the Gulf of Mexico, vulnerable oil is vast, continuous, and spilling at the rate of millions of gallons a day.

Nan Hayworth responding with a video advertisement decrying Hall (rightfully so) for spending tax payer dollars to fund his campaign with glossy literature and misleading advertisements, Hayworth does a little whacking of her own.

John Hall, another grandstanding Democrat, who never lets a crisis go by without blaming Republicans

Any good politician can utilize coherent arguments to contrast opposing positions, but what Hall does in this instance is utilize an international disaster to demoralize a political opponent at the tax payer expense. Hall's meritless assertions show a lack of appreciation for the severity of the oil spill, and show such an insensitivity towards the real lives affected by this tragedy, that his actions ought to be a wake-up call to voters. Debating issues is one thing, baseless attacks for personal gain is quite another.

Nan Hayworth has called on Hall to debate the issues:

I have challenged John to a debate on five occasions with no success. I'm ready to talk to the public and discuss ways to produce energy with the most minimal impact on the environment. None of us want to see the environment damaged. That is what town hall meetings are for – to talk with the public about issues. John is avoiding a meaningful debate even though it's his job to do so.

As your Congresswoman I will act with every weapon in my arsenal to offer solutions to serious problems that a disengaged Congress and a disappointing administration have rejected.

At the onset of the BP oil disaster, President Obama "tells Politico the oil spill is like 9-11" and proceeds to play golf with Vice President Biden for four hours. All while administration officials were BLOCKING efforts to lessen the damage in the Gulf. The Daily News reports:

According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan – early on – to erect huge booms off shore to shield the approximately 200 miles of their state's coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms – some weighing tons and seven meters high – to guard their coast.

So, Alabama decided on a backup plan. It would buy snare booms to catch the oil as it began to wash up on the beaches.

But…the Fish and Wildlife Administration vetoed the plan saying it would endanger sea turtles that nest on the beaches.

So, Alabama – ever resourceful – decided to hire 400 workers to patrol the beaches in person scooping up oil that had washed ashore.

But…OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Agency) refused to allow them to work more than twenty minutes out of every hour and required an hour long break after forty minutes of work so the cleanup proceeded at a very slow pace.

The short answer is that every agency – each with its own particular bureaucratic agenda – was able to veto each aspect of any plan to fight the spill with the unintended consequence that nothing stopped the oil from destroying hundreds of miles of wetlands, habitats, beaches, fisheries, and recreational facilities.

The only faction of the population that Hall shields against criticism is an increasingly left-leaning Democrat Party. Surely Hall is out of touch with the district if he does not recognize when criticism is due. Instead, Hall stands on a platform that bashes Republicans and protects Democrats, even when Republicans are right and Democrats wrong. This kind of partisan representation hurts everyone and ought to provide insight into the motives of the Congressman.

After all, what has Hall done to offer solutions to the BP oil spill except point fingers at innocent bystanders? The true culprits are those who have failed to lead, to act, to move forward with answers not rhetoric.

Elect Nan Hayworth to Congress and find an official who will act on behalf of District 19, not in spite of them.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Congressional news updates: Fracking, candidate silence, and more proof that local Democrats strategy is to kill jobs

By Sam Foster

I'm back from a small Fourth of July break and sure enough, there is a lot of news buzzing about in NY's congressional elections.  Here is a taste of what is going on…

While Massa couldn't get enough fracking, upstate Dems are working hard to end fracking for everyone

I have yet to take an official position on hydro-fracking.  Not to be confused with Massa's favorite use of the term.  Hydro-fracking is used by the natural gas industry to drill and recover natural gas and is probably one of the seven deadly sins in the church of global warming.  However, I'm going to need to get schooled soon, because upstate Dems seen hell bent on making it a big issue in November.  

Mike Arcuri of NY's 24th congressional district has all but guaranteed that the issue will be front and center in his bid for reelection as he successfully introduced an amendment that repeals an EPA waiver on certain environmental impacts involved with fracking.

NY-29 candidate Matt Zeller has also come out against Hydro-fracking.  Maurice Hinchey has been at it too.  All the while NY legislature is considering a fracking ban.

Democrat concerns may be warranted, but Republican challengers in NYS ought to be prepared to talk fracking this November.  Democrats have made no secret that their election strategy will be to talk local issues and it seems that fracking and the Marcellus Shale might be their holy grail for local issues in the months to come.

Media silence is not golden for candidates Matt Zeller and Janice Volk

An emailor sent me a note last Friday commenting that democrat candidate Matt Zeller's website is fairly boilerplate to the national Democratic platform.  While Zeller's youth and political inexperience has benefits in the polls, in the end, people gravitate toward leadership and a website devoid of any personal opinions is not going to sell.  Silence is also not going to sell.

Last weekend, the Elmira Gazette featured local politician's views on the Kegan nomination.  One line said it all for Zeller and Republican hopeful Janice Volk:

We also reached out to republican candidate Janice Volk for a comment but were unable to get a response.

Democratic candidate Matthew Zeller has also yet to get back to us with his opinion.

Zeller has also avoided comment on March's health care vote.  However, Zeller cannot afford to remain unquoted on important issues in local newspapers, especially when local voters have little name recognition.  I myself have experienced a bout of the "Zeller silent treatment."  

Similarly, the failure of Janice Volk to take advantage of free press coverage is surprising.  To date, her only major quote in the local press has been about how "good people don't become collection's lawyers."  Somehow I doubt this is the quote she wants primary voters to remember her by, but her campaign needs to realize that static does not google well.

The entire NY congressional agenda summed up in a single opinion piece

Douglas Turner had an amazing opinion piece this weekend in the Buffalo News.  It's a lesson in how Democrats Dan Maffei, Kurstin Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer hope to send all business overseas by getting cozy with big labor.  This ought to be required reading for anyone living in the 25th Congressional district or NYS for that matter.

WASHINGTON — Six years ago, Sen. Charles E. Schumer urged company site selectors to take a fresh look at upstate New York. He said Buffalo and Rochester were among the best places in the country to build a factory.

What would those private sector decision- makers think now of the campaign that Schumer and the rest of the state's Democratic notables are making to muscle a national company into making a deal with its labor union?

The dispute — a knot in the state's shredding business climate — centers on a Motts apple juice factory in the hamlet of Williamson. It sidles up to Lake Ontario east of Rochester in apple country.

It's owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, a new conglomerate spun off from a British firm. It makes 7-Up and dozens of other non-cola drinks. The new owners told 300 stunned workers at the juice plant they would have to accept

harsh take-backs if they wanted a new contract. Union bargainers heard these include pension freezes, a wage cut, reduced company payments to 401(k)s, higher contributions for health insurance and other big sacrifices.

There was a day when even Democratic officials kept their mitts off a private labor dispute where there was no finding of unfair labor practices, and no violence.

But the Retail Wholesale&Department Store Union called in its chits with state Democrats early in the game. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reacted with an astonishing letter to Dr Pepper offices on his official stationery.

DiNapoli said he controls $33 million in Dr Pepper stock as trustee of the state employees' retirement fund. He warned the company against being seen as "anti-labor" and then said an unhappy work force might cut profitability and the value of the stock. It looked like a threat he might dump 938,000 shares if Dr Pepper didn't knuckle under.

DiNapoli's menacing letter reached Dr Pepper offices in Plano, Texas, six weeks before the union struck Motts on May 23.

After Motts hired temporary workers to keep the plant running, Schumer, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sean Coffey, the party's candidate for attorney general, all joined in. They urged Dr Pepper to "return to the bargaining table," which is code for softening their demands for take-backs. The letter from Schumer, influential on the Senate panel dealing with anti-trust, said it was in Dr Pepper's "best interest."

The letters from Schumer and others raised a myth that the region's economy would be hurt by the strike. The plant is still running. Apples are being bought and processed.

It is dumb for an outsider like me to take sides in a labor dispute, but this hasn't stopped Schumer, DiNapoli, Cuomo and Gillibrand from interfering, although none has any experience in any industry whatsoever.

Rep. Dan Maffei, D-Syracuse, heroically insists the dispute "is about working people in Wayne County versus corporate greed in Texas."

It may also be about whether the plant winds up shuttered. It is about whether Maffei and the others are kidding the locals into thinking they can hold back the eternal night of wage competition from China, where half the apple juice consumed in the United States is made.

"We have to protect our people," a Cuomo partisan said. Which people: the union members or the temps?

Hardly anyone's eyebrows are raised these days when the state's top Democrats seek to set wages and benefits in private companies. Which tells you about the upstate mind-set and where it leads. Here is where upstate is now with that world view: the worst business climate in the country; the slowest income growth except Michigan and Ohio; the nation's lowest population growth; and an average 8 percent manufacturing job loss in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tom Reed speaks out on July 2nd's middle of the night vote

By Sam Foster
Via Tom Reed's Facebook

Looks like there is going to be yet another midnight holiday vote for the Democrats. Perhaps the real strategy in defeating the Obama agenda should be in ending holiday's? Tom Reed had some great comments on the vote.

I am concerned by reports out of Washington this afternoon that as much as $17 billion in unrelated domestic spending may be added to the emergency Afghanistan and Iraq war
supplemental bill which will be voted on in the middle of the night tonight. This illustrates three very disturbing things about how Washington operates.

First, this emergency funding for operations was requested by the Secretary of Defense months ago. In the request, Sec. Gates asked for the funds by July 4. Voting on the funding was delayed as long as possible and now rushed onto the agenda for a last minute vote so that time pressure and political arm twisting become a huge factor.

Second, as usual, support for our troops on the ground is being shamelessly manipulated by Washington politicians for their own gain. Why not discuss and vote on $17 billion in unrelated domestic spending separate from the emergency defense spending? If the unrelated $17 billion has merit why not allow a separate vote?

Third, the vote in the House is expected to be taken after midnight tonight, right before a holiday weekend. If the process and actions of the Speaker Pelosi and the Washington leadership
were so noble, why do votes like this often seem to be taken in the dark of night right before a holiday? Why are they taken when the fewest Americans will be watching and reading media coverage?

Is it too much to ask that spending votes be debated in the light of day? Is it too much to ask that unrelated spending not be added to defense bills? This is why we need a change in the leadership in the House of Representatives. Enough is enough.

Census fraud in NY's 10th Congressional District

By Sam Foster
Via Fox News

The redistricting is coming to your state next year and seeing how polarized the political atmosphere has become, expect to see foul called more than once on this year's census.  Fox News gives us a first taste in what will surely be a soup of fraud stories in relation to the census.  It just so happens that today's example is out of NY's 10th congressional district.

The U.S. Census Bureau is reviewing 10,000 questionnaires after two managers in a New York field officeallegedly forged household interviews in an attempt to meet a deadline -- the latest incident of alleged census fraud that has prompted at least two federal lawmakers to call for an investigation.

The two managers, who allegedly cheated by copying information from phone books and Internet directories, were turned in by colleagues and fired last week. The alleged fraud occurred in a census office in Brooklyn, N.Y., that oversees 165,000 housing units.

"They were essentially trying to complete forms that were not completed in their entirety by using other sources of data," Census spokesman Stephen Buckner said in an interview Thursday with

The Brooklyn office is now reviewing the 10,000 forms -- the bulk of the work completed by the office in a two-week period -- but does not know precisely how many questionnaires were forged.

"We have no signs that it would be that many," Buckner said.

Buckner referred to the latest case of alleged fraud as an "isolated incident" and said various "quality control measures" are in place to ensure accuracy in conducting the nation's official head count.

But the scandal is the latest blow to a Census Bureau already hit by previous allegations of over-billing and mismanagement -- leaving some wondering how the agency plans to prevent such incidents from happening again.

According to a governmentaudit released last February, thousands of workers hired in 2009 were trained and paid without ever having worked for the bureau. The Commerce Department's inspector general report also found that several temporary workers overbilled the agency for travel expenses. And on June 2, a temporary worker based in Louisiana used a hidden camera to reveal several cases of alleged wrongdoing by other workers at the bureau, including falsifying the number of hours worked.