Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We're Not Tea Partiers

Forgive my last post. In a dust-up on The Albany Project, Kelly Kheel announces that her group are 912ers, not Tea Partiers. In other words, they belong to that nutball chorus of re-Constitutioners sponsored by Glenn Beck. Here's their platform, in case you aren't familiar with them. I publish it without comment, but I eagerly await yours.
The 9 Principles

1. America Is Good.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson

The 12 Values
* Honesty
* Reverence
* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility
* Gratitude

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tea Party, Tompkins County Style

Our local TPers (sounds like a party of Halloween pranksters) recently invited candidates to a debate session moderated by their own leader but failed to reveal their own identity in the invitation. Since our campaigns knew they weren't the Grange, or Rotary, or the League of Women Voters, they did some online searching and discovered the source of the invitation, leading most of the Dems to decline. Simon has more on the story, which is one of those things that could just represent innocent ignorance--but probably is somewhat more sinister. The fact that the Conservative/Republican candidate for Assembly is a member of the local TP chapter makes this even more dubious.


After a very intense four months on Common Core Standards, I've earned the right to clean my office (done!) and take a road trip with Kris to Saratoga.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Considering that we had no tomatoes at all last year, thanks to the blight, the bushels this year seem especially bountiful. And our pumpkins should be winning awards at some fair.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Primary Colors

Another primary day has come and gone. I did far better (3 for 3) than in my football picks for the week (damn Jets). As usual, I got to bumble through some commentary prior to the vote. People are all freaked out about the Tea Party wins (remember, people, it's not a party), but I look forward to seeing the GOP eat its tail through until November 2.

BTW, turnout for Dems in the county was around 4 percent, which is horrendous, even for us.

LATER: Got that 4% from an incorrect IJ post. More like 20%, which is typical.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Required Reading

Larry Bartels in Slate on income inequality. Startling.
In all income categories except the 95th percentile, income growth rates under Democratic presidents exceeded income growth rates under Republican ones. That suggests greater income equality can coexist with (or even help create) greater prosperity.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day

Here's a nice Labor Day story, complete with spunky heroine and evil exploiter of undocumented workers. And it's true!

Friday, September 3, 2010

County Budget

A bunch of folks attended last night's presentation on the county budget at Dryden's Community Center Cafe. The presentation was coherent, thorough, and very depressing. Although county taxes are a drop in the bucket when it comes to our total package of property taxes, they are symptomatic of the whole--no state support + runaway state mandates = disaster. The major budget drivers are pension costs, health benefits (somewhat alleviated by the county's joining of a municipal consortium), fringe benefits, temporary assistance (welfare, aid to dependent children, etc.), and Medicaid. Pension rates alone are projected to leap from 11.5 percent of payroll in 2010 to 16.1 percent in 2011.

I was surprised to see exactly what are considered discretionary programs (and therefore those that are most likely to be cut, although they make up just a small portion of the pie): emergency response, road patrol, facilities and road maintenance, public library, mental health, youth services, IT, office for the aging, and agencies. This doesn't bode well.

There was a small crowd there to advocate for a couple of youth services, particularly one that delivers services to the trailer parks of Dryden. There was a small "no new taxes" crowd, which included the guy who is running against Barbara Lifton for State Assembly. The rest of us just felt generally defeated and glad we weren't on the budget committee.

A rollover of services would raise the levy more than 10 percent, to $6.70 per $1000 assessed value. (For perspective, our school rate is somewhat over $20/$1000, depending where you live.) The budget the county administrator will present is one that raises the levy 5 percent. No doubt that will not stand.

LATER: Simon has additional details.