Changes in blog format, organization or content.

Plugs: Me on TV, Greenpeace at Watkins Glen

I'll be appearing with some other local bloggers on Rochester CW-16's primary night show tonight between 10 and 11 P.M. The show is a combination of primary-night reporting and pre-general analysis, and the bloggers will be talking about the impact of blogs on local politics. I will probably also be writing a post on the impact of primary results on the election in the 29th. 13-WHAM and CW-16 share the same news team.

As reported earlier, Greenpeace is bringing a solar demonstration vehicle to the Southern Tier. The vehicle will be on display at Watkins Glen, Clute Park/Lakeside (by Route 414) tomorrow, between 4-6 P.M.

Everything Old Is New Again

Welcome to the new, somewhat improved, and slightly different Fighting29th.

Other than the appearance, the main changes are the comment procedure, and the earmarks and significant votes sections.

Comments are now "threaded" so you can hit the "reply" link to reply to a previous comment. Also, you should only be asked the "CAPTCHA" question once, and then your email and name will be remembered for a while. The security question is now a little simple math. Since few were using logins, I didn't bother re-implementing them in this version.

Earmarks and Significant Votes are now linked to pages in CongressDB that contain data from Taxpayers for Common Sense and Project VoteSmart. Both of those are new CongressDB features, by the way. You can look up other legislator's 2007 earmarks and their Key Votes (according to Project VoteSmart) if you're interested.

An old friend used to say "all change is decline". That's not my intention, so please send me an email if you see anything amiss.


That last post was the first in a series that will be cross-posted at a new site,  WNYCongress is an "aggregator" or "planet" that brings together blog posts from area bloggers interested in NY-25, NY-26 and NY-29 races.  The goal of WNYCongress is to publish regular summaries and breaking news for those who are interested in the races but don't have time to spend reading every single post on area blogs.

Rocplanet is another project of mine, so if people have other ideas for planets, I'm all ears.

Various Items

I missed the Massa press conference today. For the near future, I'll attend Massa press conferences if something big comes up, or if I haven't checked in with the Massa camp for a while.  There isn't much going on in the 29th race at the moment, and I'm not going to pretend that there is, nor am I going to insult my readers' intelligence by re-hashing stuff that's already been covered.

In the meantime, Norm Ornstein, who is a center-left expert on Congress, is participating in a conversation on the New Republic site.  I thought Norm captured the last year's follies pretty well in this paragraph:

The Senate is at the root of many of the problems Democrats faced this year. Republicans applied delaying tactics that had never been used before--on highly controversial issues as well as routine ones, and not just by filibustering, but by regularly denying unanimous consent in a body where everything moves, or doesn't, by unanimity. It had the twin effect of raising the bar to 60 on nearly every issue, and slowing down the Senate as if there were gallons of molasses poured onto the roadway. Because a filibuster can be applied as many as three separate times on a bill, and a successful cloture vote allows up to 30 hours of debate after it passes, filibuster efforts, even on widely accepted matters, can take days to resolve. And by raising the bar to 60, it meant that many matters with majority support--like limiting farm subsidy payments to non-millionaires--went by the boards. Combine these delaying tactics with the president's near-universal veto strategy, and you have a formula for gridlock.
As Norm points out, it really doesn't matter what the House does if the Senate passes everything through its sphincter of delay.  The inevitable end result will be bad compromises and kitchen-sink bills that serve petty partisan interests while they delay the inevitable reckoning that's coming on energy policy, our massive deficit, and our seemingly endless involvement in Iraq.  I think the whole exchange between Norm and a couple of other TNR reporters is well worth reading.

Also, those of you who are frustrated by the superficial yet never-ending coverage of the presidential race might want to check out Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone piece, and Glenn Greenwald's exchange with John King of CNN.

Massa Q&A

Frequent commenter Elmer asked some interesting questions of Eric Massa over at Rochesterturning, and Massa has responded in the comments.

On other Q&A fronts, I haven't been able to attend the last couple of Massa press conferences, but I hope to get back in the habit next week.

Various Items

I survived Christmas, but I'm still digesting the last few days of Congress.  I also need to close out my series on the D&C.  Until then, here are a few items in no particular order:

  • Those of you interested in new media might want to read an interview with Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.  Craigslist is a company of about two dozen people with the goal of bringing free classified ads to the world.  Money quote:
Newspapers have much bigger problems. Newspapers are going after 10% to 30% profit margins for their businesses and that hurts them more than anything. A lot of things are happening on the Internet that never happened before because the Internet is a vehicle for everyone. The mass media is no longer only for the powerful, and that's a huge change for the entire newspaper and news industry.
In the old media model, with huge presses or transmitters and large technically-adept staffs, a 20% profit margin was necessary to attract investors willing to finance the overhead in return for a share of the profit.  In the new media model, major capital investments are no longer part of the picture, so media can run on a low- (or no-) profit, sustainability model.  In other words, today's media can be more like a small business than a major corporation.  That's a tremendous shift in the media business model that we're just starting to see nationally in sites like Craigslist or TPM Media.  The shock waves of that shift are just starting to be felt in our local markets, but when they hit, it's going to be an interesting ride.
  • I like watching the HBO series The Wire.  The show takes on different issues in inner-city Baltimore, including the War on Drugs, Education and Unions.  It's written by two veteran reporters for the Baltimore Sun.   This year's theme is journalism, and it will be fascinating to see the parallels between the D&C's role in inner-city Rochester, and the Sun's in Baltimore.
  • This week's Massa press conference was canceled due to the holidays.

Sweet Baby Jesus

Posting will continue to be light until after the baby Jesus' birthday.  You would think that being the son of God would be enough for the guy, but he apparently needs two whole months of decoration, lights, singing and shopping every year in order to be satisfied that we remembered his birthday.  I'm happy with a pair of socks and a bottle of scotch.  And if someone mumbles a chorus of "Happy Birthday" sotto voce, I consider it a banner year.

As a non-militant atheist, I find all the "War on Christmas" rhetoric amusing.  If such a war exists, it makes our debacle in Iraq look like the Marianas turkey shoot.  In other words, Christmas is winning, big-time. 

I live in a supposedly lily-white Christian suburb.  Not so:  Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Buddhists live on my street, not to mention atheists, agnostics and other assorted heathens.   We all have to put up with 8 weeks of repetitive music, garish decorations, and rampant materialism.  Yet when our school district tries to make Christmas break "Holiday Break", and forbids the use of obvious symbols of Christianity, some parents react as if they replaced the lunch ladies with paroled child molesters.

I believe every Christian has an absolute right to celebrate Christmas in their homes and churches.  But I also think that the Hindi, Muslim and Jewish kids on my block get enough Christmas in the stores and on TV.  They don't need to have more displays and activities funded by their parents' tax dollars. 

Also, those who regularly genuflect in reverence towards "the market" should recognize that my neighbors shop, too.   Maybe when a clerk says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," my neighbors and I will feel more comfortable in the store, and we'll be more likely to buy there.  That's basic capitalism, not a "war".

Well, enough of that.  Even though I'm an atheist, I'm also a devoted Dad and husband, so I'm off to do yet more Christmas shopping.  No Massa press conference coverage, and light posting will ensue.  Baby needs some new toys.


H.Con.Res 215, which was co-sponsored by Randy Kuhl and Dan Boren (D-OK-2), names the first week in June as National CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Week.  It passed the House yesterday, and the Senate on December 6. 

Also, and completely unrelated, I missed the Massa press conference this morning, so no report on Massa doings this week.

Program Notes

I missed the Massa Press Conference today.  Massa PC coverage will resume next week, assuming the stars align.


If you're reading this entry, you've reached the Fighting 29th on a new server. I've moved the blog and upgraded the version of blogging software. There are a couple of changes:

  • The look is slightly different.
  • The comment block is hidden, and you need to click "comment anonymously" to reveal it.  Or, you can sign in using an OpenID, Livejournal or Typekey account to leave comments.  If you don't have one of those accounts, don't worry -- just sign in anonymously.
If you have any problems viewing or commenting on the blog, please drop me a comment or an email.

This should be a minor upgrade.  I have a bigger announcement to make soon.  Stay tuned.
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