As summer lumbers on and legislators go home for the holidays, it is surprising that anyone has anything to report. Luckily, in the words of Arsenio Hall, there are a whole bunch of "things that make you go hmmmmm", with or without or elected officials. Here's five of those wonder inspiring things for this week.
1. If At First You Violate the Public Trust and Are Ousted From Office, Run, Run Again
Like the movie "The Hangover"...once was enough. No need for sequel after sequel of that film. No need for a return to politics for some of our disgraced politicians either. Unfortunately, this seems to be the year for it. First disgraced Governor Mark Sanford makes a triumphant return, winning the Senate seat in South Carolina. Then Vito "the Groper" Lopez decides to make a run for New York City Council. Former Congressman Anthony Wiener lost his first job for tweeting pics of his namesake, and now wants to be Mayor of the Big Apple, and most recently, dethroned Governor Eliot Spitzer has announced he will seeking the New York City Comptroller seat come November. While Wiener and Sanford's past sins are more private, both Spitzer and Lopez should be barred from running for future office. Spitzer broke the law that he was enforcing on others while Attorney General, while Lopez not only broke the law, but with the help of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, used taxpayer dollars to cover it up. Truth be told, these guys are raging megalomaniacs. (here's a piece I wrote on BuffaloStuff.net about this awhile back) They believe they are above the law and that they will never get caught. What they really are is disgusting, and I hope that the good people of New York send them packing. I hope that the Democrats on the state level don't rally behind them. They don't deserve your votes, and we certainly shouldn't be feeding their egos. Just remember, we get what we vote for.
2. If At First You Flake Out And Quit Your Elected Office, Run, Run Again
Rumor has it, and she certainly didn't dissuade it because she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES, the media attention, former half a term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is considering a run for the Senate seat in Alaska currently held by Freshman Mark Begich. Remember her? She's the one who destroyed John McCain's chances of being President and then quit her job as Governor for no real reason, other than she tasted the big leagues and fell in love. Me personally, I don't know which will win out, her love of her new found fortune or her need for media attention. If she runs, she'll have to give up some of her income, but she'll get to overdose on media. If she doesn't, she'll keep the dough and still get to garner headlines by being absurd. My money is on her not running. But, like energy, I think crazy cannot be created or destroyed so someone will have to fill the voids left by Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry as they leave office. Maybe, based on that, the universe will require Sarah to run.
3. Buffalo Gets Noticed?
I love all the lists that Buffalo is on that we love when they are good and bemoan when they are bad. This one isn't a list, so much as we made the cities that were used in the examples. Last summer, blogger Renee DiResta did a little map that used Google's "autocomplete" function to map state stereotypes. If you type "Why is New York so" into Google, it'll offer you the top four responses it thinks you might be looking for, based on the other searches for the same the thing. It's like Family Feud, Googlestyle..."The number one answer is..." This summer, another guy, Nate Shiver, did his own experiment and mapped the stereotypes of the 50 most populous metro areas in the country. (Yep, Buffalo is actually still on that list) Well, not only is Buffalo mentioned in the article, but we also made the graphics used for the article. What do you think popped up when "Why is Buffalo so..." typed into the Google search bar?
4. Businesses Aren't Really Creating Jobs With IDA Tax Breaks
An article in the Buffalo News reports that businesses that are getting tax breaks from IDAs aren't really living up to the hoopla they sell when they apply for the tax breaks. A study of 18 Erie County businesses that received approximately $3.7 million in IDA tax handouts in 2008 shows that they created just 33 jobs since grabbing the dough. That means each job created cost taxpayers over $112,000. A real deal. I have never been a fan of the IDA treasure chest. The idea that Premier was poached from Kenmore to move a few miles away to Amherst just doesn't sit well with me. That is misuse of tax dollars in my mind. If Premier had been moving in from another state, now we're talking. Stealing businesses from our neighboring towns is an absurd business plan. IDAs need to be regional planning organizations and not for towns. They need to be strictly monitored, and businesses that don't live up to their promises need to return the money to the taxpayers.
5. Disney Isn't A Movie Company
With the disappointing showing of Disney's "The Lone Ranger" at theaters during its opening weekend,one has to ask why Disney's stock price moved nary at all. This article in "The Atlantic" has the skinny. As it turns out, Disney isn't a movie company or a theme park company. Huh, who knew? Disney makes the vast majority of the Scrooge McDuck's bucks from its broadcast and cable television holdings (check out the pie chart in the article), with cable earnings eclipsing broadcast TV. How is that possible you say? Disney owns a few fairly successful TV stations, most notably ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, History, A&E, and Lifetime. Want to be completely awed? Have a look at a list if Disney's complete holdings. This one goes in the "holy shit" column.
So there it is, another successful edition. Sometimes I hurt my shoulder patting myself on the back. And remember, if it's Friday, it's the Friday Five.