Nov 30, 2010

Random riff: Social Security

Out of context, from a recent IM chat:

Well, once again we have a convenient Red Meat headline (Democratic group suggests eliminating Social Security for wealthy) that does little to help us all understand a much more complicated issue that we are lead to believe by the (as usual) lazy & incompetent mass media. Further, and as always, such a Red Meat headline generates Red Meat replies; ie., "the party of FDR..", etc.

In fact, said party will no doubt be the one that fights hardest against any proposal such as this, if it ever even sees the light of day from this particular 'centrist' think tank (which I seriously doubt). And that, my friends, is too bad--and is a major indictment against those blue types.

If one were to seriously re-visit both the earliest and the consequent debates on Soc Security, he/she will find hat there has long been a discussion on whether it is/should be considered a retirement 'entitlement' or an 'insurance' policy. The prior poster is at least correct in that the Dem party has both owned and won that talk, pushing it into the former camp. But the latter argument is worthy of new consideration; something which this group is accomplishing, albeit unwittingly.

Such a discussion invited another one on the basic concept or "retirement" itself. Are you automatically retired at age 62/65/etc, no matter what your income stream maybe be? Is a 65yo walking away from his janitor's job w/$2K in the bank a different "retirement" scenario than a 65yo that keeps working at his hedge fund or a 65yo that continues to work part time but also has $250K/yr in continuing income from investments and rental properties?

Yes, IF one is looking at if from that 'safety net' (insurance) POV. Keep in mind, such a net has both individual (micro) as well as societal (macro) benefits. After all, it doesn't do any of us a lot of good to watch some old person starving in the streets, when we could at least guarantee some level of subsistence being provided -- and on that person's dime yet!

Again--it's a convo worth having. But I myself conclude that the modern dynamic is such that its incapable of happening.

Agree? Disagree? What's the frequency, Kenneth?

Nov 27, 2010

A shout-out to a model citizen

Blogger Tighe helps fill local news gap

Rough around the edges? Check. Valuable? You betcha

(Saratoga Springs) --- Nanoburgh? is always happy to pay some 'spect to the journalistic traditions of good old fashioned muckraking and rabble-rousing when applied to the new school platforms of self-published digital soap boxes.

We especially appreciate it when it is used to fill that black hole called local journalism. In a city like Saratoga Springs, that hole is a mile wide, given the failings of a media brand called The Saratogian. That is why the now-defuct blogs iSaratoga and (dis)Utopia of Saratoga are so sorely missed.

Whereas that town's daily newspaper refuses to touch the ongoing saga of the controversial human development organization (or to some, a cult) named NXIVM --- which just might be the most fascinating Saratoga-centric story of the past few years --- one rare remaining local blogger has picked up the slack.

Likewise, the Machiavellian intrigue of the city's Democratic party has also been given a forum on this same site. Here, the Old Media opts to pay lip service, while this same loose cannon pulls back the covers and exposes the dirty laundry.

Granted, it's not usually very pretty nor does it smell very nice, but neither is the reality of both of these sordid dramas.

That is why today we pay homage to Mr John Tighe and his SaratogaInDecline blog, in the best way we know how; with a little bit of humor:

Stay Thirsty, My Friends.

Nov 26, 2010

The Beatles on iTunes

As we all know, the Beatles have finally made it into digital mode, with a good chunk of their catalog now available exclusively on iTunes.

Of interest is the #1 selling track, at this early stage. The leader of the pack: Here Comes the Sun, written by George Harrison.

When we think of the Beatles, we think of the songwriting team (teamed on paper, at least) of Lennon and McCartney. By the time Abbey Road came about, Harrison (the youngest member of the band) was beginning to be a bit of a pain in the ass -- at least to the two big shots. No longer did we have The Quiet Beatle here; instead we had The Sulking Beatle.

The conflict came down to one issue: Harrison was coming into his own as both a musician and a songwriter, and wanted more play on the albums. He was no longer content with being known as the "second best guitarist in the band" (behind the bass player McCartney, no less) nor with being allocated just a single song on each release. Thus, he's given two (!) slots on this one; no doubt grudgingly.

Lo and behold, those two are "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something". Some musicologists contend the he "steals" the album as a result -- which is saying something; this is Abbey Road we're talking about. Sinatra (who hated rock & roll) supposedly called Something "the greatest love song ever made" (although I personally chalk that up as a myth).

Here we are in 2010, and the near-complete Beatles catalog is release en mass. So look what becomes the most popular song of them all. It's one of Mr Harrison's tunes.

How do ya like that?

The late George Harrison, at the Bangladesh benefit concert at MSG (on stage while Eric Clapton was seducing his wife in the Knick's locker room), taking us into the weekend...

A special dose of Shubert

When in doubt of the possibiliies and resiliency of the human spirit or the power of music, go learn the story of Alice Herz-Sommer (click on link).

Then enjoy her rendition of Shubert's Impromptu in B Flat.

Nov 24, 2010

A breakfast of tea -- and a big headache

Logic? Reason? Data? Fuggetaboutit!

How can we debate if the facts don't matter?

(Somewhere in the Catskills) --- Despite its major flaws, the US justice system does at least one thing right. Namely: it begins proceedings by establishing FACTS, via the introduction of Statements of Fact and their subsequent agreement by all parties involved. Example: Plaintiff was walking down Broadway at 11AM; Defendant was operating a car at the same time and on the same street; etc. The process moves from there.

That is what is missing from the current public policy discussion: the Red Meat crowd does not seem interested in operating from that initial foundation of facts. (To be fair, many on the other side are in the same boat).

Hence, today I heard things like this from my fellow diners (at a diner): "Gov't doctors will perform our annual physicals"; "I am now forced to provide health care to my 3 workers"; "all employers are required to leave their current plans"; .. and.. "the Dems are against extending all the Bush tax cuts"; "we need to balance the budget like Reagan did"; etc.

So, when you have people operating under these type of fallacies, how can the process / discussion / debate move forward in a reasonable and productive manner?

Then there is the absence of Logic. The usual "my premium is going up 21% , there's Obamacare for you" is all the rage. When some clown in the diner (guess who?) made the mistake of offering: "mine too, but its gone up at that rate each of the last 5 years, so how's that tied to the new act that doesn't really kick in this year?".. the reaction? Well: that's when the usual defense of name-calling and spitting kicks in.

Red/Blue? Dem/Rep? Lib/Con? I don't think so. I think the real divide taking place is more of an intellectual one. That's not to say there isn't plenty of room for debate and disagreements, mind you. But when the broadcast and landscape is dominated by people willing to swallow any 5-word slogan that best pushes their 'us vs them' hot buttons, then we're screwed from finding real fixes.

Elitist? Maybe. But does anyone have a better explanation?

Please don't think this craziness has run its course. Here's a preview:

Panties in a bunch

So The Simpsons have gotten under Bill O'Reilly's thin skin, have they?

Memo to Bill: I doubt that too many of your crowd considers the "#1 with racists" thing to be an insult. So mellow out, dude

Google Street View image of the day

I wonder if that dog had been in the trunk, too?

Nov 23, 2010

Adding to the legacy

Disturbing. Very. Disturbing.

Nov 19, 2010

Here's how to put a wrap on it

A friend of mine is retiring from the restaurant business after 45 years. He asked if I had any ideas as to how he might bring down the curtain. I didn't.

All I advised was to take a look at this video, below. This guy sure as hell came up with a way to exit the stage with something special, didn't he?

Johnny Cash, taking us into the weekend...

Nov 18, 2010

How to speak like a Teabagger

Nov 16, 2010

Who needs accountability?

One of the shortcomings in our current view of human ethics is a seeming absence of accountability in certain endeavors. While we certainly put the hammer down on a guy that murders his neighbor, at the same time we tend to give free passes to those that 'blow it' in less violent cause & effect actions.

That stockbroker who advised us to invest in a penny stock that is now worthless? We're broke, but he's still living comfortably, partly due to commissions earned from our buy/sell action. Or how about any one of many scandal plagued politicians, forced to retreat from the public view but still keeping the taxpayer-funded pension and health care benefits until death.

The cottage industry of futurists is another case in point. Walk into the bookstore and wander thru an online bookseller and you'll see many dozens of titles that offer predictions of just where we're headed, be it of the economic, political, social, scientific or metaphysical variety.

This hit me today as I was clearing out the bookshelf. There was a formerly popular mega seller titles Next - Trends for the Near Future, penned in 1999. Among the gems offered in that title:

- A worldwide recession will be caused by next year's (read: 2000) Y2K 'computer bug'

So, how'd that work out? Fact: Y2K actually served up a mini-boom in the IT sector, forcing corporate america to upgrade technology infrastructures that they might not have done ordinarily. This resulted not only in job creation and innovation on the supply side, but also a mass realization of efficiencies and productivity throughout the economy.

This was just one of many which was a total miss, by the way.

But the authors weren't forced to refund the purchasers of these books, were they?

Stay classy, New York!

Here is a random example of why I never:

1) Go to a sporting event in metro NYC

2) Get out of my car in New Jersey

3) Set foot on Canada Street in the Village of Lake George during the summer

Stay classy, New York!

Nov 15, 2010

Craigslist post: real or fake?

Here's a current post on the Albany Craigslist site. Funny? Sad? Both?

Unmotivated 20-something seeking Personal Assistant/life coach

I'm looking for someone who will help me manage my meager finances, force me to get up and take walks, and basically just accompany me everywhere to ensure that I stay productive and on top of things; give me good, solid advice and keep me out of trouble. I'm not a criminal or anything, I just get easily distracted and always come up with horrible ideas that inevitably leave me broke and/or depressed. I don't have much money but I'll buy you food, coffee and cigarettes and give you $50/week in spending money. Sometimes my dad sends checks, when he does we can split the money. Hours are basically around the clock, you can sleep on the couch.

Applicants should be energetic, patient, creative and motivated with the ability to manage ~$300/week. The only bills i have are rent and my cell, you should keep my payments current by constantly reminding me of the due dates and making sure i don't blow bill money on pot. Applicants should also be able to think of interesting budgets and ways for me to save.

Hopefully we can become friends. I'm looking for a male because it would e too easy to ignore a girl trying to wake me up, but honestly anyone can apply.

Just write to me with your qualifications, a current resume and any questions you might have

This is a serious listing! Only serious applicants please!


Time for a vote,

Real or fake??

Nov 14, 2010

Recyling food and the Liability myth

Dear EarthTalk: I work at a fast food place and I am appalled by the amount of unpurchased food we throw away. The boss says we can’t give it away for legal reasons. Where can I turn for help on this, so the food could instead go to people in need? (Ryan Jones)

Many restaurants, fast food or otherwise, are hesitant to donate unused food due to concerns about liability if people get sick after eating it—especially because once any such food is out of the restaurant’s hands, who knows how long it might be before it is served again. But whether these restaurants know it or not, they cannot be held liable for food donated to organizations, and sometimes all it might take to change company policy would be a little advocacy from concerned employees.

A 1995 survey found that over 80 percent of food businesses in the U.S. did not donate excess food due to liability concerns. In response, Congress passed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act, which releases restaurants and other food organizations from liability associated with the donation of food waste to nonprofits assisting individuals in need. The Act protects donors in all 50 states from civil and criminal liability for good faith donations of “apparently wholesome food”—defined as meeting “all quality and labeling standards imposed by Federal, State and local laws and regulations even though the food may not be readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other condition.”

While homeless shelters, elder care organizations and boys and girls clubs are frequent beneficiaries of food donations, the most common recipients are food banks and food rescue programs. Food banks, according to California’s CalRecycle website, “collect food from a variety of sources, save the food in a warehouse, then distribute it to hungry families and individuals through local human service agencies.” They usually collect less perishable items like canned goods, which can be stored and used any time. In contrast, food rescue programs typically trade in perishable and prepared foods, distributing it to agencies that feed hungry people, usually later that same day. Mama’s Health, a leading health education website, maintains an extensive free database of food banks and food rescue programs state-by-state.

Unused or even partially eaten food waste can also be utilized even if it’s not edible by human standards. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approves of food businesses giving or selling food waste to local farmers for use in composting or as animal feed. If such food contains or has come into contact with meat, it should be boiled for 30 minutes to reduce the risk of bacterial infections in the animals that eat it. Many states have complementary laws on the books regulating the donation of food waste at the local level.

Many cities and town are now expanding curbside pickup programs to include kitchen scraps and yard waste and then diverting the food waste into profitable compost. Still, some 6.7 percent of the solid waste going into landfills consists of food discards, reports the North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance. Diverting food waste to feed hungry people or for animal feed or compost is a winning scenario for all concerned parties as it not only provides relief to overburdened landfills but also helps meet social welfare, agricultural and environmental needs. Also, those restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses that donate food will likely reap the additional reward of saving money on their actual waste removal bill as their trash bins and dumpsters won’t be filling up quite so fast.

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, c/o E – The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; E is a nonprofit publication. Subscribe:; Request a Free Trial Issue:

Reprinted with permission
Image courtest of "Brand X Pictures."

Nov 12, 2010

Mercy, mercy me

This song --- recognized as the musical Call to Reason for the Green movement -- came to mind as I was driving home after a tour of a toxic brownfield site today. Any given industrial neighborhood in the Far East today could act as the backdrop for the video.

Two other things hit me:

1. Wouldn't it be nice if old school soul like this could somehow knock hip hop and rap (two other toxic poisons) off the map?

2. To think, the composer and performer of this masterpiece was killed at a young age by a handgun -- fired by his father.

Marvin Gaye, taking us into the weekend...

Nov 9, 2010

Post-election riffs and raffs

Palin's cooked; the GOP breathes a sigh .... Fact: Big Media = the GOP's P/R Dep't .... Upcoming game plans for the two parties .... Hint: it ain't gonna be pretty (or smell nice) .... Statewide and local election briefs


If we lived in rational times, the US would be experiencing a left-wing communist insurgency. After all, the logical reaction to a crippled economy caused by 30 years of conservative political and economic rule should be a counter-pull from the opposite side of the spectrum, right?.

But here we are in just such a spot in 2010, but instead of Marx-quoting leftists ruling the airwaves and soap boxes, we're bombarded with the bombastic shouts of the New American Right, a shitshow mashup of good ole boys, libertarians-on-acid, amateur economists and semi-literate cartoon characters parading around as the intellectual descendants of the Founding Brothers. As if that isn't bizarre enough; there are actually people out there that buy into it. The unfortunate part is that they vote.

Such an observation certainly isn't meant as a call for communism, mind you; after all, there aren't a whole lot of Best Practice case studies out there which would support such a position, are there? But then again, such black-white / red-blue / fascism-communism dichotomies are the current standard for debate, with the more legitimate shades of gray perspective being WAY too much to comprehend for today's nano sized attention span. Hence an analysis of a China, with its legacy of central decision-making still the status quo, running wild in the global marketplace is one that can't possibly gain traction with an audience that approaches politics in the same way it does Sunday's football game: “We're wearing green, getting 3 points and are gonna kick your ass!”

Another way to look at it is this: re-read my first paragraph. An innocent enough observation on political dynamics, it would seem. Now jump into the future and pretend I was running for high political office. There's no doubt in my mind that this very post would one day become the center of attention, as my opponent's attack team would feel like they struck gold with a nugget that has them screaming: “look, this guy says that communism is the rational alternative for America!” The right wing media would be all over me, the nonsense would spew and the dumbing-down of the nation continues. To think, 18 out of the world's top 20 universities are located between our shores, yet the most popular source of political information is Fox News.

Which lead us to the greatest modern day American myth: that of the existence of a 'liberal' (or Democratic leaning) media. I've dragged enough times on that very subject in this column to refrain from feeling a need to repeat it here, but I will repeat a single observation that I simultaneously admire (for its execution) and which scares the hell out of me (because of its consequences). It is this: the conservative / right wing voice not only dominates the traditional broadcast news mediums (TV; radio, newspapers), but at the same time it has succeeded in convincing most Americans that just the opposite is the reality. Again: scary, just plain scary.

National Elections

One under-reported (see the previous point) aspect of last week's elections is the fact that the so-called Tea Party got beat up pretty good in the key US Senate elections. Where many thought that body was up for grabs, the result is that it is still in Democratic hands. This tells us that people vote differently on local elections (which includes one's local House rep) than they do for statewide and national elections. This can act as a glimmer of hope for Obama going into 2012.

Despite the fact that almost all of the nuttiest of the wingnuts (the Witch, Sharon Angle, Wilson, etc) were defeated, the single most dangerous, Rand Paul, did make it into the Senate. In addition, the new cast of incoming Congressional victors includes a fair amount of out-there types.

The rubber now hits the road for these people, in that their lofty ambitions of historic possibilities will now give way to the real world of constitutional facts and the complexities of rule making. In other words, most will soon realize they have gotten themselves into something way over their head, and will crawl into the faceless trenches of constituent service. Even Mr Paul is already starting Act One of his “ya know, I was really kidding about lot of what I said,” today pledging to bring home the bacon (via those previously dissed earmarks) to his Kentucky.


The national Republican Party is in a pickle – but they know it – and will bear watching as the most important long-form story of the next two years. Last Tuesday did give them the fortunate and unexpected gift of essentially pushing Sarah Palin off the map as being a serious contender for the party's presidential nomination, and for that they should (and likely are) very thankful. She will now fall into a comfortable role, along with many of the new wingnuts like Paul, of keeping that base in GOTV (Get Out The Vote) mode come November '12. For that service, she will make many trips to the bank at her going rate of $50K per stop.

But what of the rest of the GOP? Who will emerge as the front runner for the nod to take on the sitting president and how will he (yes, I seems to be just he's at this point) get there? The tactic is easy to predict: go right during the primaries, and go back to the center after one gets the nomination.

This won't be pretty, mind you. Just yesterday, we saw Texas Gov Rick Perry popping a gasket with John Stewart, rambling on about how the dawn of the Progressive Era in the early 1900's basically doomed this nation into a permanent period of stagnation and incompetence.

Apparently, Mr Perry is not aware of the fact that such a movement was championed by a member of his own party (Teddy R) and that in the interim this nation a) won two World Wars; b) defeated both European fascism and Soviet communism; c) became the model for world democracy and free markets; among countless other accomplishments. But those are mere details. Now, if Perry is talking like this, what do you think we're in for when Huckabee and Gingrich get warmed up?

The Democrats are in less of a pickle, but are more in need of a legitimate plan. Their biggest shortcoming is painfully obvious: an inability to get it message and narrative across to John Q Public. That needs to get fixed, pronto. Indeed, that will not be easy: we know that the GOP's major financial backers now own the mass media microphones and plan on continuing their successful disinformation propaganda campaign on their behalf into the future. A countering message can be done, but it must start early.

Early predictions? Obama has to be considered the morning line favorite, believe or or not. Recent history tell us that a new president's first Congressional election results don't predict the big race two years later – see Reagan and Clinton's ass-whipping followed by easy victories of their own. Plus, there is an outside chance that the Republicans go into civil war, and the Tea Party puts up its own candidate in 2101. That would siphon 5-10% of the vote from the GOP and clinch it for Obama. Don't rule that possibility out.

There are some other interesting under-the-radar dynamic at play as well. First is the (again) unreported observation that two Republican big tent constituencies have suddenly lost influence within the party. First up are the neocons of the Dubya, Cheney and Rove regime. Three years ago, they ruled the globe, today they can't even get a seat at the little kids' table. Second is the decline of the religious right. Granted, they are still there spitting their vitriol, but one can't help but notice that many of the newly empowered libertarian types don't even bother paying lip service to the born again crowd. So ½ of both GW Bush's and Ronald bases are now feeling like they are on the outside looking in.

But Obama couldn't possibly tap into this ostracism for his won political benefit, could he? Well keep in mind that the original neocon (before the more vicious Bush variety arose) was a guy named David P Moynihan, a Nixon administration wonk who fled the party (for the Dems) when Dutch Reagan hit the scene, talking scary talk. Politics can make strange bedfellows, so don't rule it out.

As for the religious bloc, there is little prospect for the hard core right segment jumping ship any decade soon. But, that group is not the only of-faith variety out there, even within the Christian community. Many of the nation's soup kitchens, shelters and community good organizations are manned by these God-fearing individuals, and the prospect of axe-cutting conservatives eying their own individual aid programs can not be a comforting thought. Yes, the moderate Christian vote might be up for grabs.

Barring an economic calamity, there is also one single tactical move that Obama can make that will almost certainly clinch the deal for his reelection. It will only require his stepping up to a mic in the Oval office and saying these seven words: “Hillary Clinton will be my vice president.” Check? Check mate. Sorry, Joe. But he'd make a decent Sec of State, anyways!

Local Elections

No surprises in the statewide races, given the Crazy Carl Paladino factor. Our own Nanoburgh? Poll had Wilson gaining like Zenyatta in the Comptroller's race, and we think he would have taken it if it were a week later.

Like Cuomo, both Gillibrand and Schumer were blessed by weak opposition in their US Senate races. Ms G is quite the story: two years ago she was labeled good as dead for her seat, with the chance of a primary being almost a given. Fast forward to now, and we are looking at a rising star in the party.

We are on record here as being both fans of Scott Murphy and not-so-impressed by Chris Gibson. Gibson's views on energy, the environment and local economic development deeply disturb us, and his having yesterday appointed a former VP from the Associated General Contractors of New York State as his Chief of Staff already has him in our pup tent. Let's hope he 'grows' into the office.

The NYS Senate 43rd District race between incumbent Roy McDonald and Saratoga Supervisor Joanne Yepsen had an equally disappointing result, for political and personal reasons as we have been involved in previous efforts, initiatives and campaigns with the challenger here at Nanoburgh? This race could/should have been tighter, but Mrs Yepsen's effort was characterized by a series of missteps, mistakes and an absence of messaging and candidate branding. It was tough to watch as an interested outsider. That's too bad, for this is a candidate that could have done some good.

The local (Saratoga) focus will now turn to City Council races in 2011. We know from the past three versions that this will certainly be entertaining.

The Nanoburgh? Poll

Yes, it is a real deal. Yes, we appreciate the kind words.

In a nutshell: this is a project attempting to 're-write the ground rules' on election forecasting. How? By using data mining techniques and methodologies that have been used in the consumer market for a few years — and applying them to individual elections in the political realm. Frankly, we're surpised to be one fo the first doing this. More to come.

If this is an area of interest, feel free to inquire for an Inside Baseball look.

Nov 5, 2010

Mahavishnu memories

It was your typical high school road trip. Four of us piled into Mullie Mulligan's convertible and hit the southbound Northway lane from Saratoga, bound for that dangersous (to us sheltered types, at least) rat cave known as Troy. Our mission? The still under-the-radar J Geils Band was in town, fresh off their early Full House release. It was time to boogy.

Of course, the two great Unwritten Rules of the day were in effect:

1) If more than three kids were in each others' company at any given moment, it required the lighting-up of funny looking cigarettes;


2) If that event involved an automobile, and the expected travel time was in excess of ten minutes, cheap beer would be served.

Not ones to break established protocol, we were in full compliance. Upon arrival at the old RPI Armory, we walked into this warmup act (see video below):

Being too young, drunk and stupid to quite get it, we shrugged them off, wandering around to check out the girls in the room. After all, we were there to rock and roll. This clip is of the original lineup; the same five who played in Troy on that very night. Rest assured, however, that I got caught up to the Mahavishnu Orchestra a few years later.

After the show (which also included the newly solo Peter Frampton, believe it or not, we somehow ended up at Charlies's Hot Dogs for a round of killing off the munchies. There, we ran into a wild eyed dude who HAD gotten the whole Mahavishnu thing, and was rambling on and on and on about the experience. My only reaction to him was simply: "how many of those hot dogs do you get for a dollar?"

I had an Art History major pal of mine later on in college. He caught a later version of the band during summer break (Central Park in NYC), and came back declaring they were the "most creative expression of humanity -- ever." Now that's quite the review, eh? He soon thereafter quit school and emabarked on a musical career of his own.

Another long lost buddy was seeking a private instructor for bass lessons years later, and dialed up a number he found in the Village Voiceclassifieds. It was Rick Laird, from the Mahavishnu.

The Mahavishnu Orchestra, taking us into the weekend...

Nov 2, 2010

Election Day, from a youngster's POV

A 6yo's view of the day

Plus: hearing stories of an earlier Tea Party

I recall being a little kid, maybe six or seven years old, on an Election Day many years ago. My mother took me along as she headed down to City Hall. We trudged up the steep stairs to an upper floor, and walked into a room that I still remember as being messy and filled with papers and old books. These were no doubt the registration records. People were milling about and moving back and forth.

In all this confusion, I was surprised to suddenly be facing my Grandmother, from the other side of the family, sitting at a table in the center of all this noise. She was a poll watcher, and bragged to me afterwords about her long-running streak in playing that role locally. I think she also mentioned a remuneration of something like $2 for her efforts, when I inquired. My mother left me in her care as she herself disappeared for a minute, which turns out the amount of time it takes to pull a couple levers on the other side of the room.

My Grandfather would take the effort to dress up in his best suit on Election Day, grab his Stetson hat and head down to Broadway to perform his duty. After, he would retire to Rocco's (now the Parting Glass) a block and a half down the hill, where he joined other gentlemen dressed in the same manner. An hour or two later, he was back home, putting the suit back into the closet and later dialing in to the in-town radio station to hear the results.

For whatever reasons, I was into politics at a very early age. My Grandfather was an old school, Al Smith styled New Deal Democrat. But he told me that his favorite guy of all was Adalai Stevenson, the party's presidential nominee in both 52 and 56 (vs Eisenhower).

Stevenson later became the UN Ambassador under that young upstart JFK. On a visit to Dallas, he was heckled and pysically roughed up by right-wing nationalists. The Dallas Times Herald, on its front page the next day, stated that "Dallas has been disgraced. There is no other way to view the storm-trooper actions of last night's frightening attack on Adlai Stevenson."

This was just one month before Mr Kennedy would run into similar problems down in the Big D himself, but with much more severe consequences.

When asked if he wished to press charges against his assailants, Stevensoon replied:

"I don't want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school."

Now isn't that a timely thought?

Nov 1, 2010

The NANOBURGH? 2010 Election Poll

The final Nanoburgh? Poll:

NYS Governor: Cuomo (D) vs Paladino (R)
Winner: Cuomo
Winner's %: 62

NYS Attorney General: Schneiderman (D) vs Donovan (R)
Winner: Schneiderman
Winner's %: 53

NYS Comptroller: DiNapoli(D) vs Wilson (R)
Winner: Wilson
Winner's %: 53

US Senator from NY: Gillibrand (D) vs DioGuiardi (R)
Winner: Gillibrand
Winner's %: 59

US Senator from NY: Schumer (D) vs Townsend (R)
Winner: Schumer
Winner's %: 57

US Congress District 20: Murphy (D) vs Gibson (R)
Winner: Gibson
Winner's %: 52

US Congress District 21: Tonko (D) vs Danz (R)
Winner: Tonko
Winner's %: 52

NYS Senate District 43: Yepsen vs McDonald (R)
Winner: McDonald
Winner's %: 55

NYS Senate District 44: Savage (D) vs Farley (R)
Winner: Farley
Winner's %: 57

NYS Assembly District 110: Keramati (D) vs Tedisco (R)
Winner: Tedisco
Winner's %: 57

The Nanoburgh? Poll utilizes a unique and proprietary research methodology which distinguishes it from traditional phone-based polling.

Archive: our pre-election poll on the 2009 Saratoga Springs local elections

Post-election reality check

Here is Wednesday's reality check, two days early:

Democrats: opportunity can arise in places you least expect it. Sit back and enjoy the Hatfields and McCoys go at it over the next two years. You win, they lose.

Republicans: you've slept with the mangey mutt; now what are you gonna do about those fleas?.

Tea Party: just being pissed can't sustain a movement; otherwise you continue to be used as a tool for the GOP.