Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Next story:
Previous story:

The Morning Grumpy – December 5th

Filed under: Morning Grumpy

All the news that’s fit to consume during your “morning grumpy”.

Image Courtesy of The Greater WNY Coalition To Eliminate Hipster Doofuses

1. In August, Governor Cuomo opened the door to legalized (non-Indian) gaming in New York State. This weekend, he officially proposed it. Considerate, bearded men throughout the Parkside region of Buffalo just got very concerned. As the kids are wont to say, “Oh, it’s on!”

“We should pursue a comprehensive gaming plan — recognizing the reality that New York is already in the gaming business,” Cuomo said. He called for the creation of “destination gaming locations,” which in past proposals from Albany has included the Catskills, once home to a flourishing resort industry.

“Through this plan we can promote job creation and recapture revenue that is currently being lost to other states,” Cuomo said.

He said in the fall that he was looking into allowing private sector, non-Indian casinos in New York to capture some of New Yorkers’ gambling dollars now going to Connecticut and Atlantic City, N.J.

Bad economies birth big, controversial ideas and private sector gaming is one of them. We’re now one step closer to my vision of a revitalized Buffalo waterfront which capitalizes on its true past of whorehouses, saloons, gaming rooms, etc.

We’ll wall off the Paladino parking lots in the Cobblestone and build a red-light district where marijuana, prostitution, and gambling are all legal. We’ll advertise the hell out of it, line the food trucks up outside of it and market Buffalo Hamsterdam to the country. You want tax revenue and tourism? Offer hookers and weed to the masses of America and we’ll be swimming in 8.75% of sales tax awesome. Let’s do this, Buffalo!

2. Very rarely does a TV show puncture the “sphere of legitimate debate” to challenge cultural shibboleths and bring voices from the “sphere of deviance” to the masses. (Read that linked article, there will be a quiz later.)

,

Michael Moore’s short-lived television program “TV Nation” was one of those programs. It aired for two seasons (1 on NBC/BBC2 and the other on Fox) and during its brief Emmy-winning run, aired some of the most interesting news pieces in recent memory. Essentially, it was “The Daily Show” mixed with “Roger & Me“. Anyhow, I thought of the show as I read several polls anointing Newt Gingrich as the frontrunner in the GOP Presidential primary.

Why? Because on “TV Nation”, Moore aired one of the best pieces on Newt and the hypocrisy of his “small government” bonafides ever put to film. The segment lays bare the rank stupidity of the small government movement and it’s a pleasure to show it to you now.

3. A fantastic article in the New York Times this weekend regarding an issue that should be at the forefront of economic development planning in the City of Buffalo, the growing digital divide. What is the digital divide?

The Digital Divide refers to inequalities between individuals, households, business, and geographic areas at different socioeconomic levels in access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and Internet connectivity and in the knowledge and skills needed to effectively use the information gained.

The New York Times writes:

Just over 200 million Americans have high-speed, wired Internet access at home, and almost two-thirds of them get it through their local cable company. The connections are truly high-speed: based on a technological standard called Docsis 2.0 or 3.0, they can reach up to 105 megabits per second, fast enough to download a music album in three seconds.

These customers are the targets for the next generation of Internet services, technology that will greatly enhance their careers, education and quality of life. Within a decade, patients at home will be able to speak with their doctors online and thus get access to lower-cost, higher-quality care. High-speed connections will also allow for distance education through real-time videoconferencing; already, thousands of high school students are earning diplomas via virtual classrooms.

Households will soon be able to monitor their energy use via smart-grid technology to keep costs and carbon dioxide emissions down. Even the way that wired America works will change: many job applications are already possible only online; soon, job interviews will be held by way of videoconference, saving cost and time.

But the rest of America will most likely be left out of all this. Millions are still offline completely, while others can afford only connections over their phone lines or via wireless smartphones. They can thus expect even lower-quality health services, career opportunities, education and entertainment options than they already receive.

Many of the working poor and poor use public facilities like libraries or their cellular providers as their primary internet access point. This puts them at a significant disadvantage and should be remedied by a municipality interested in modernizing and streamlining public service delivery, increasing access to academic and economic opportunities, and creating a level playing field for all citizens.

If I were the Mayor of Buffalo, universal and free municipal high speed wireless service would be a primary goal of my administration. The internet and access to it removes barriers to entry for information, personal growth, and economies. Also, earlier this year, the United Nations declared that access to the Internet is now a basic human right.

4. So, this happened. And boy oh boy, are liberals pissed.

A bill co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and GOP Sen. John McCain  (S. 1867) — included in the pending defense authorization bill — is predictably on its way to passage.

Here are the bill’s three most important provisions:

(1) mandates that all accused Terrorists be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than in the civilian court system; it also unquestionably permits (but does not mandate) that even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil accused of Terrorism be held by the military rather than charged in the civilian court system (Sec. 1032);

(2) renews the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) with more expansive language: to allow force (and military detention) against not only those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and countries which harbored them, but also anyone who “substantially supports” Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” (Sec. 1031); and,

(3) imposes new restrictions on the U.S. Government’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo (Secs. 1033-35).

I don’t have a lot to add that Mr. Greenwald hasn’t already written in his column, but I do suggest you read the article, get pissed off yourself and call Senators Schumer and Gillibrand who voted in favor of the final bill (which included the aforementioned provisions) and voice your opinion.

5. I like out-of-0ffice, nothing-to-lose Eliot Spitzer way more than I liked arrogant, socks-aficionado and bulldozer Gov. Eliot Spitzer. His latest column at Slate:

If ever there was an event to justify the darkest, most conspiratorial view held by many that the alliance of big money on Wall Street and big government produces nothing but secret deals that profit insiders—this is it.

Grumpy yet? You oughta be!

Fact Of The Day: On Dec. 5, 1933, national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.

Quote Of The Day: “If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose.” – Jack Handy

Song Of The Day: Get your Monday off on the right foot with Wilson Pickett’s “Engine Number 9”


  • Max

    Well, Albany’s been enjoying waves of tax revenue from Wall Street for years, so we shouldn’t be surprised that the Empire State is moving in on this “market.”

  • Jesse

    on #1: I know you’re mostly joking, but… wtf, aim high. Get it?

    on #2: It’s too bad the GOP pretends to be small government but really isn’t. But to call the entire “small government movement” stupid is pretty stupid.

    on #3: Municipalities providing access directly doesn’t work. Hasn’t worked. Is a mess. But municipalities sucking up to big companies just like usual, that sucks too. Maybe municipalities need to stop the cronyism instead.

    on #4: Your team is doing a pretty crappy job providing an alternative to the horrible authoritarian nature of the red team. You suck worse because you pretend to be pro-civil rights, anti-war. And then this garbage happens. And yet you whine about the GOP and small government hypocrisy?

    on #5: Yeah. So when is your guy at 1600 Penn Ave going to do something about it? Oh yeah, I forgot. Hypocrisy there too.

  • Jesse

    Sorry, I was more grumpy than I should have been on #5: I agree with every step proposed by Spitzer. They took public money and profited privately? F*** that. Now all we can do is hope (against history, but never mind that now) that the big O administration will actually DO something about it… and given they were the ones who let it all happen… I ain’t holding my breath.

    Occupy Wall Street indeed.

  • Jim

    Access to the Internet is now a basic human RIGHT?!?!? What. The. F#@K.

  • In terms of the digital divide, there’s another piece of the puzzle that has been a struggle. Verizon has been offering its high speed FiOS package in the suburbs but refuses to expand services to the City of Buffalo. They’ve pulled this scheme all over Upstate New York – Syracuse and Albany have both been left out while the suburban areas have increased access to it. Verizon is the only company in the mid-Atlantic and one of very few across the country offering end-to-end fiber optic internet (as well as cable and phone), and yet they’re systematically excluding urban centers. The Don’t Bypass Buffalo Coalition has been fighting Verizon on this issue for months.

  • “on #2: It’s too bad the GOP pretends to be small government but really isn’t. But to call the entire “small government movement” stupid is pretty stupid.”

    Actually, as red states regularly take more federal money than they pay in, the whole movement is rather stupid. The exodus of people from the North to the federally funded sprawl of federal welfare wonderland areas like Nevada, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas is proof positive of it. The people who live there have been milking the federal teat for years, but bemoan the burden of taxes.

  • Pauldub

    @ Jennifer – Verizon is also not in Northern Niagara County, portions of North Tonawanda. Fios is not on Grand Island. Is it a deliberate bypass, or just sloppy business?

  • pirate’s code

    @ Pauldub — I suspect Verizon, in an honest moment, would suggest that its selective investment in FiOS is actually good business. Stringing fiber is not inexpensive, especially if they are replacing otherwise useable twisted copper. As it is, I suspect that Verizon’s service agreements in most towns probably say something like, “Serve the whole town, or don’t serve it all.” So, where do you invest in fiber? Where you know you can sell it, and get paid for it in return. Where you know that the parts of a town that can and will pay for it can cover for those parts of town that can’t or won’t.

    Does that suck for those who would like access to it, and would be willing to pay for it? You betcha. I hate it. I also understand it, but I still hate it. (And, I’m not sure you can get Verizon FiOS anywhere in Niagara County.)

  • mike

    @pirate code– Niagara County is a ghetto, this is why verizon is not interested. Or unless IDA brings them a suitcase full of cash! More Yahoo tax breaks!! 20 jobs for 20 million GOP sweeps county again!

  • @Paul: Verizon has built out ten municipalities in the suburbs of Buffalo. They’ve also built out the suburbs of Syracuse, but not the city of Syracuse; the suburbs of Albany, but not the city of Albany; the suburbs of Baltimore, but not the city of Baltimore. They haven’t done every suburb, for sure, but there is a clear pattern to their decisionmaking that excludes urban centers.