Archive (2009)

Gun Control

Evan Dawson at 13-WHAM quotes Eric Massa in a story about Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's change of position on release of weapons trace information. Unlike Gillibrand, Massa's position hasn't changed.

Gillibrand has been labeled a "flip flopper" for her choice to vote against the Tiahrt Amendment in the Senate, even though she recently co-sponsored a bill in the House to make it permanent. That amendment tightly limits the release of data from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) firearms database.

This is a classic urban/rural issue. A coalition of urban mayors, which includes the mayors of New York City, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse, want that amendment repealed. Michael Bloomberg, for example, believes that the law "obstructs" law-enforcement. The NRA view is that even the current restrictions lead to "too many disclosures of sensitive information."

When Gillibrand represented NY-20, her support of this amendment was consistent with the desires of her rural/suburban constituency (as is Massa's). Now that she represents the whole state, a majority of her constituents probably want the amendment repealed.

This seems fairly basic and undramatic to me, and if guns weren't such a hot-button issue, Gillibrand's decision would have escaped notice.

High-Speed Rail

The D&C reports that plans for high-speed rail between Buffalo and Albany are moving forward. Eric Massa is one member of the upstate delegation who will meet with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday to ask for a slice of the $8 billion of stimulus targeted at rail development.

If that $8 billion number sounds familiar, that's because it's a widely-used talking point. In Governor Jindal's appearance Tuesday night, he called out one possible use of funds, a maglev train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, as a train from "Las Vegas to Disneyland".

I'm trying to think of some clever way to refer to our new train. Unfortunately, having one big casino nearby doesn't make Buffalo our version of Vegas, and even though there's plenty of Mickey Mouse in Albany, it's no Disneyland.

More Evidence of a Business/Republican Rift

Here's some more evidence that the recent lovefest between the Chamber of Commerce and a Democratic Member of Congress is apparently no accident. MonroeRising, the local conservative blog of record, has decided to make fun of Paetec, a local communications company. Because of Paetec's recent woes, they're portraying the new headquarters building as a shack on the prairie.

Paetec is a local company that employs close to a thousand people. They took advantage of some tax breaks and other incentives, and they plan to move their headquarters downtown. They are having a tough time because of the recession, so they've been downsizing their plans.

I didn't realize that pointing and laughing was the "conservative" response to a company that's having a hard time, but I guess we're living in a new era.

Earmark Jeopardy

The Corning Leader reports that an earmark obtained by Randy Kuhl has expired and will have to be re-appropriated.

Recovery Director and Election Analysis

The Star-Gazette has a few more details about Massa's in-district recovery czar. I agree with Dragonflyeye that keeping a database of what's spent would be a good job for Mr. Heenan.

Stu Rothenberg at the Rothenberg Political Report has a couple of posts for those of us who can't wait for the next election. First, he's got the 29th ranked as "Democrat Favored", the safest rating for a competitive race. However, he says that Massa could be vulnerable if Republicans come up with a "strong challenger".

Actions Have Consequences

If you're curious why the Chamber of Commerce, usually a solid backer of Republicans, has been praising Democrats, perhaps this snippet from a post at MonroeRising will provide a clue:

...there’s plenty of pork, like the millions for the grape center in Geneva, NY, thanks to Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Reps. Maurice Hinchey and Michael Arcuri.

MonroeRising runs that quote with a pig cartoon, because, to them, the grape center is obviously "pork".

I have a Republican, conservative friend who's also a successful entrepreneur. The other day, he was describing a new food product that he's developing. He used a government center (I believe it's the grape center -- it was in the Geneva area) to help him with the product. He provided the center with an idea and a sample of the product. In a few days, a food scientist at the center had analyzed his sample, provided ideas on where to source the raw materials, and gave him references to factories in the area that could mix and package it.

My friend had nothing but good to say about the center. He was impressed by the professionalism of the employees and the quality of the advice he got there.

I'm sure there are many legitimate questions to ask about whether the grape center needs a $2.2 million earmark. But I'm also sure that the Chamber of Commerce is A-OK with that earmark, because it's there to benefit the kinds of people who pay Chamber of Commerce dues and who, until recently, believed that Republicans has their best interests at heart. How things have changed.

Strange Bedfellows

I received this mailer [pdf] in yesterday's mail. It was created by a consortium of unions and drug companies, and it congratulates Eric Massa for voting for S-CHIP expansion.

The Hill points out that the Chamber of Commerce is congratulating Massa for his vote on the stimulus package.

Seeing the Chamber of Commerce and drug companies spending money to congratulate Massa has me waiting for frogs to fall out of the sky, peering at the horizon in search of horsemen.

The Morning Newspapers

The Corning Leader covers Massa's Tuesday press conference, which included a discussion of an earmark for the Corning transportation center.

The Star-Gazette has Massa's reaction to last night's speech. Spoiler alert: he liked it.

Evening Newspapers

The Hornell Evening Tribune has an update on wind power in the Cohocton area, along with some commentary from Eric Massa. Massa's also mentioned in a Messenger-Post editorial about struggling dairy farmers.

Joint Session Pre-Game

The Democrat and Chronicle and Star-Gazette have a Gannett News Service story about local Representatives' expectations for President Obama's speech tonight. According to the D&C headline, they want optimism and truth. Reading today's financial headlines, those seem mutually exclusive.

More on Member Items

The Corning Leader reports on some more New York State Senate member items that have been taken away. This is related to an earlier post about the loss of those items in Penn Yan.

Morning News: D&C /M-P

The Democrat and Chronicle and Messenger-Post have stories detailing the local impact of stimulus funds. In the D&C story, area Representatives (including Massa) say they're worried that the money will be bottled up by New York State and fail to reach cities and counties.

Eric Massa has an op-ed in todays D&C, disputing Wednesday's editorial about corporate donations.