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Howard B. Owens's blog

September 21, 2008 - 8:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world, ron paul.

September 21, 2008 - 8:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

It wouldn't be devestating if it weren't true.

September 21, 2008 - 7:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

Patrick Buchanan:

For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned. We save nothing. Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt -- all are at record levels. And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid.

...

Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent.

But this generation decided that was yesterday's bromide and we must march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another. American companies morphed into "global companies" and moved plants and factories to Mexico, Asia, China and India, and we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers.

...

At home, propelled by tax cuts, war in Iraq and an explosion in social spending, surpluses vanished and deficits reappeared and began to rise. The dollar began to sink, and gold began to soar.

Yet, still, the promises of the politicians come. Barack Obama will give us national health insurance and tax cuts for all but that 2 percent of the nation that already carries 50 percent of the federal income tax load.

John McCain is going to cut taxes, expand the military, move NATO into Georgia and Ukraine, confront Russia and force Iran to stop enriching uranium or "bomb, bomb, bomb," with Joe Lieberman as wartime consigliere.

Who are we kidding?

What we are witnessing today is how empires end.

The Last Superpower is unable to defend its borders, protect its currency, win its wars or balance its budget. Medicare and Social Security are headed for the cliff with unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions of dollars.

September 21, 2008 - 6:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alice Kryzan.

New Alice Kryzan commercial:

New Chris Lee commercial:

At least they're not attacking each other. Yet.

September 21, 2008 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in nation and world.

Here is a portion of the This Week round table on Obama, McCain and the financial bail out. Watch for conservative pundit George Will to slam McCain.

September 21, 2008 - 5:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian, nation and world.

We tried this once before: A secton on the site for blog posts about issues in the nation/world outside of Genesee County.

It didn't get a lot of traction, but then I didn't configure it right and it was hard to post to and leave comments.

But we've done some political posts recently that have gotten a good deal of attention, so I thought -- let's see if we can do it better this time.

There is once again a "Nation and World" tab on the top navigation.  First post: About Barack Obama's foreign policy.

If you want to post something in that category, tag your post "nation and world" and it will show up on that page as soon as you save the post.

We used to do some headline aggregation on the home page of nation, world and political headlines. It doesn't seem to have been missed since we dropped it, but we might give the same idea a try on the "Nation and World" page, but this time the headlines will appear mixed in with posts.  I'll do a couple shortly so you can see what I mean.

Why would a locally focused site include such non-local news and commentary.  Well, three reasons:

  • The Batavian readers have shown some interest;
  • Studies/survey's show that people who are interested in local news are almost always interested in non-local news, also;
  • When we say "Online News. Community Views." we mean that we think when people sharing the same community are interested in what fellow community members think on a broad range of topics.
September 21, 2008 - 11:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, graham corp.

Batavia-based Graham Corp. (AMEX: GHM) received a $50,000 grant from the Empire Development board this week, according to a press release.

No word on the grant will be used. We'll see what we can find out Monday.

The grant was part of $67 million package of funds handed out by the agency. The funds are intended to spur economic growth.

Other area grants include:

  • One Aid to Localities grant, totaling $150,000, to World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara for salaries and wages associated with outreach and service efforts in the twelve-county Western New York and the Finger Lakes region
  • $50,000 to the Livingston County Agricultural Society and Fair
  • $50,000 for Erie County Industrial Development Agency (Erie County)
  • $25,600 for Qualicoat Inc. (Monroe County)

Graham was recently named one of Business Week's top 100 small companies. In Q2 2008, Graham reported $27.5 million in revenue and a 20 percent net profit margin. Graham employs 281 people. It's stock currently trades at $69.63.

September 20, 2008 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barack Obama, nation and world.

This is not a post telling you: Don't vote for Barack Obama. It's simply a warning that if you're one of those people with a bumper sticker that turns the "O" in Obama into a peace sign, you're mistaken to think Obama is the Peace candidate.

First, it's important to remember that while the Obama campaign has made much of his opposition to the Iraq invasion, the historical record suggests that Obama's position wasn't necessarily clear cut. Consider this post from Rep. Jim McGovern.

Talking about how he would have voted on the '02 authorization, Mr. Russert flashed a quote from then-State Senator Obama on the screen that said: "I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don't know." In response, Senator Obama said it was probably the wrong time for him to speak out on the war.

I simply disagree. I don't believe there has ever been a wrong time to oppose this war.

Mr. Russert also reminded Senator Obama about this comment he made in July of 2004: "There's not much of a difference between my position on Iraq and George Bush's position at this stage."

Obama's has never said he opposed over throwing Saddam Hussein (taking out Saddam was also an unrealized goal of the Clinton administration).  He's only said it was "the wrong war at the wrong time," which isn't a ringing endorsement for peace.

He isn't necessarily opposed to pre-emptive war, as Robert Kagan, writing for Washington Post, makes clear.

Obama never once says that military force should be used only as a last resort. Rather, he insists that "no president should ever hesitate to use force -- unilaterally if necessary," not only "to protect ourselves . . . when we are attacked," but also to protect "our vital interests" when they are "imminently threatened." That's known as preemptive military action. It won't reassure those around the world who worry about letting an American president decide what a "vital interest" is and when it is "imminently threatened."

In the most dangerous post-Iraq conflict the U.S. faces, Obama has made it clear that he's ready to go to war with Iran.  This from The Nation:

But Obama has refused to rule out going to war against Iran, in the event that Tehran moves forward with its nuclear program in defiance of international opposition. Even if it was a grudging nod to political expediency, his June 4 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) impressed hawkish Jewish leaders. "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power... everything," he said, adding, "I will always keep the threat of military action on the table."

Obama has also said that if the U.S. had reliable, actionable intelligence on the location of Bin Laden, who is likely in Pakistan, he would launch a unilateral attack on the location, with or without Pakistan's permission -- a far bolder policy than even the Bush administration has been willing to pursue.

As for nation building, while Obama says he opposes "imposing" democracy on other nations, he's also said the U.S. has an obligation to spread freedom.

More from Kagan:

There is more to building democracy than "deposing a dictator and setting up a ballot box." We must build societies with "a strong legislature, an independent judiciary, the rule of law, a vibrant civil society, a free press, and an honest police force." We must build up "the capacity of the world's weakest states" and provide them "what they need to reduce poverty, build healthy and educated communities, develop markets, . . . generate wealth . . . fight terrorism . . . halt the proliferation of deadly weapons" and fight disease. Obama proposes to double annual expenditures on these efforts, to $50 billion, by 2012.

Writing for Reason, David Weigel notes that Obama's intervention tendancies are far reaching, writing, "He has called for, or retroactively endorsed, interventions in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and Sudan."

The senator believes in humanitarian intervention so deeply that he's already blundered by interfering in the affairs of troubled states. Two years ago, on his first senatorial visit to Kenya, his father's birthplace, Obama delivered a speech at the University of Nairobi that blistered the country's rulers for corruption. Graft, Obama said, is "a crisis that's robbing an honest people of opportunities they have fought for." The speech emboldened the country's opposition, which nearly won the 2007 elections. When reformers didn't win and rioting voters cried theft, Obama begged for calm. "Despite irregularities in the vote tabulation," he said, now is not the time to throw that strong democracy away."

Kagan also notes the Obama wants to do more than redeploy troops from Iraq to other hot spots around the world. He wants to increase the size of the military.

With the United States $11 trillion in debt, Obama wants to increase the Pentagon's budget.  Again, from The Nation:

Obama's foreign policy team uniformly dismisses the idea that the Pentagon's bloated budget can be cut, even though, not counting spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, it has nearly doubled since 2000 and is roughly equal to the military spending of all other countries combined. "Are we or are we not relying on the Pentagon for an increased role? Of course we are," says McDonough. "I don't see how, given the challenges we have on the horizon, we can talk about reducing Pentagon spending."

Democrats have spent six years blasting neoconservatives, but I'm having a hard time seeing how Obama is anything but a neocon.  He believes strongly in U.S. intervention abroad, in spreading democracy, in preventive attacks on rogue nations and in building up the U.S. military. While Obama preaches diplomacy, completely absent from his foreign policy pronouncements are any mention of the U.N. Security Council, and he seems quite willing to go unilateral, if in his judgment it's necessary.

How does any thing Obama say about America's role in the world differ from the positions of much derided neocons like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz?

But as I said at the start of the post, I'm not telling you to vote against Barack Obama.  John McCain is an imperialist hawk, as well. I'm just saying, don't be fooled into thinking Barack Obama is the peace candidate.

September 20, 2008 - 9:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Kelsey Conn.

The College at Brockport web site has a short profile of Kelsey Conn, a runner originally from Batavia, who participated in Sophie's Run.

Conn was recently been named Female SUNYAC Cross Country Runner of the Week after finished 1st in the Brockport Invitational on September 13 with a time of 19:48.60. It was her first season running cross-country for the Golden Eagles and her first race of the season. The sophomore Communications major is also a key member of the Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field squads at Brockport and qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships and finished ninth in the 10,000 meter run.

September 19, 2008 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

We added two new sections to The Batavian this morning.

First, "Housing." We didn't call it real estate because that implies only homes for sale can be listed there.  We also welcome rental listings.  Ads, of course, are free to both FSBO (for sale by owner) and agents/brokers.  We just ask that agents and brokers submit listings only, not general marketing messages. 

If you click on the "Housing" link now, you'll find a post of home sales since January.  We'll post real estate transactions each month under "Housing" from now on.  This data is public record and provided to us by the County.  It's a common bit of public data to share by news organizations in most communities, but it seems to be a new idea in Genesee County.

The second new section is "Announcements." This is a place for individuals and community organizations to post information about upcoming events, engagements/weddings, births or anything else appropriate to announce to the community.  Click on the "Announcements" link on the tabs above and read the first post, which instructions for posting.  Tell your friends.

September 18, 2008 - 9:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Announcements, thebatavian.

We are introducing "Announcements" on The Batavian.

For the purposes of the Announcements section, an announcement is:

  • A notice of a public event, such as a church dinner or a theater production.
  • A wedding or engagement notice
  • A birth notice
  • A call for volunteers or a need for a donation

Any member of the community can post an announcement.

To post an announcement, you must be a registered user. Once you are logged in, click on "create content," then "blog entry" and then in field that says "Tags" type "announcements" (Generally, as you start typing "annou .." the tags field will offer up an option of "announcements" and you can select that for insurance of conformity.

When that is done and you save your post, your announcement will automatically appear in that section.

September 18, 2008 - 8:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, Oakfield.

I took a drive out to Elba and Oakfield today.  In Elba, I couldn't resist stopping to take a picture of this building, which is now the wallpaper on my computer.

Anybody know the history of this place?

When Hilly found out I was driving out to Oakfield, he told me I had the stop at Santino's Pizza. "The pizza is amazing," he said.  I did, and it is.

In Oakfield, I stopped by the library and read the flyers in the window of the pharmacy.

Two events I learned about:

  • October 18 and 25: Ghost walk at Batavia cemetery on Harvester, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
  • The Genesee Chorale presents a recital series, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Batavia City Centre.

Reminder, if you're with a community organization and need to publicize an event or other group news, you can post the information you need to get out to Genesee County on The Batavian.  It's free. Just create an account, login and post.

September 18, 2008 - 6:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Holland Land Office Museum, bill kauffman.

Luther MartinBill Kauffman spoke Sept. 9 at the Holland Land Office Museum dinner and Patrick Weissend recorded it as part of HOLM's ongoing podcast series.

You can listen to it here.

Bill's new book is Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin.

Luther was an anti-Federalists, a misnomer used to describe a group of people who opposed ratification of the Constitution because it would, they believed (and accurately predicted) that it would lead to a concentration of power in the national government at the expense of communities and states.  The opposition of the anti-Federalist did help lead to the drafting of the Bill of Rights.

In the podcast, Bill covers Luther Martin's biography and his opposition to the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.

September 14, 2008 - 9:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

In front of nearly 1,400 screaming fans, Adam Reifer struck out Justin Bass to secure the Batavia Muckdog's first league title since 1963 with a 9-3 victory over the Jamestown Jammers.

With the third strike of the third out in the top of the ninth, fans and players alike went wild as young men in red jerseys swarmed the field and piled on top of each other in front of home plate.  In the stands, fans screamed, hugged and high-fived.

Within minutes, league president Ben Hayes presented the championship trophy to manager Mark DeJohn.

The Muckdogs won game one of the three-game series in Jamestown on Friday night. Saturday's game was rained out.

The game was close up until the bottom of the eighth inning when the Muckdogs blew the game open by scoring five runs.

Jamestown had scored two runs in the top of the inning to make it 4-3.

Frederick Parejo went 4-4 and Shane Peterson picked up three hits.

The starter and winner was Hector Cardenas who went six innings and gave up only 1 run.

If it all turned out, we'll post some video from tonight later.

UPDATE:  I shot video with two cameras.  One was a little Flip so I could post something quickly.  That hasn't quite worked out. For some reason, YouTube keeps throwing an error when I try to upload it.  Google Video took it just fine, and you can view it here.  We'll see how it goes with the other video, which includes some interviews.

UPDATE II: Still having trouble with getting a video to upload to YouTube.  The quality of this on Google just isn't very good, but here's the longer video with interviews and such.

UPDATE III: Wow, I kept getting these upload errors, but all this time -- the first video did upload and process just fine.  Here's video #1 -- shot with the Flip just to get a quick video of the final out.  The second video finally did upload and is processing now.  I'll embed either when it's ready or later in the morning (late tonight now, so I might sleep in a bit).

UPDATE IV:  Ok, here it is ... the longer video with interviews (Ben Hayes, Dan Mason, Brian Paris and Bill Kauffman):

UPADATE V: Nice summary of the Muckdog's post season on Scout.com. Also, long story on MLB.com, with some nice quotes from Shane Peterson.

September 12, 2008 - 10:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Jermaine Curtis homered in the ninth inning Friday night to give the Batavai Muckdogs a 4-3 victory of the Jamestown Jammers in Jamestown.

The come-from-behind victor gives the 'Dogs a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three New York-Penn League championship series.

Trailing 3-2 entering the ninth inning. the Muckdogs got to Jammers closer Jared Yecker (nine saves during the regular season) for three hits and two earned runs, including Curtis' blast.

Start Scott Gorgen twirled six spectacular innings of shutout ball and left the game with the lead, but relief pitcher Ramon Delgado surrendered all three of the Jammers runs.  Because Delgado was still on the mound to open the bottom of the ninth, he gets credit for the win tonight.

Poetry reading pitcher Jason Buursma picked up his second post season save by retiring the final Jamestown hitter.

The long-time Western New York rivals meet again Saturday night at Dwyer Stadium for game two of the series.  Game time is 7:05 p.m.

September 11, 2008 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in BID, Ellicott Street.

Work has begun on the Ellicott Street improvement project -- or should I say, measurement has begun.

I stopped into the Pok-A-Dot for breakfast this morning. Staff and clientele alike told me crews have been outside the restaurant for four days measuring.

I watched the same line, the same spot get measured six times while I was there.

Since I've never worked construction, maybe this is normal (I don't know), but it seems to take the maxim "measure twice, cut once" a bit far.

September 11, 2008 - 7:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in education, school for the blind.

The D&C reports that the New York's Education Department is considering turning Batavia's historic School for the Blind into a private institution because the state cannot adequately run the institution.

The state Board of Regents will decide next week whether to seek letters of interest from private operators who could run the Batavia school. The change would require approval from the state Legislature and governor.

No recommendations have been made yet, said Rebecca Cort, a deputy commissioner.

"We do want to reassure people that we are not looking to close this school," she said. "In fact, it's just the opposite. We are trying to look long term and say, 'How do we continue to ensure the viability of a very viable program?'"

The 140-year-old institution's enrollment was once as high as 300 but is now just over 50. The population has declined largely because school districts have adapted to federal and state laws that require special-education students be mainstreamed into regular classrooms when possible.

The LoHud.com version of the story contains this:

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, R-Batavia, said he is also trying to publicize the school. As for privatization, "I'm not sure that that's necessarily the route that we need to take at this point."

The school has about 150 state employees and a $10.3 million annual operating budget. It is one of two state-run schools. The other is the School for the Deaf in Rome, Oneida County.

On Tuesday, the Regents will discuss a report on the school by the Education Transformation Group. ETG, which was hired by the state, recommended operating a seven-day program and expanding admissions criteria to include students who are developmentally disabled and have a sensory impairment (vision and/or hearing loss) that makes it difficult to succeed in a regular classroom.

ETG is recommending the institution be privatized and become a state-approved school. Doing so would provide greater flexibility in who could be admitted, the report said.

The school was founded in 1868 largely to help Civil War veterans learn new skills. Here's a 1995 New York Times story that goes into some detail on the school's facilities and results.

September 11, 2008 - 7:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

Batavia MuckdogsAfter eliminating Lowell Wednesday night in a hard-fought 3-2 victory, the Batavia Muckdogs will face the Jamestown Jammers Friday night in an effort to secure the team's fourth league championship in its seven-decade history.

Surprisingly, the NY-Penn League site's story on the championship series gets it wrong, saying that Batavia is going for its first-ever title. (Surely, the Jammers, as one of the leagues original teams, has won championships before -- and we know they've made the finals before, because Batavia beat Jamestown in 1945 -- but I couldn't find any history of the team from before the 1990s.)

Last night, Adam Veres, who was 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA in the regular season, may have pitched the career game of his young professional career.  He went seven innings and gave up only 1 run and two hits while striking out seven.

From the NY-P story referenced above:

"We feel great right now, this was obviously the biggest game of the season," Veres said. "We've got a lot of high-spirited guys that want to go all the way with this."

...

"I was really amped up to get this start," he said. "I was locating the fastball to both sides of the plate and the ball was moving real well. I just wanted to prepare for this one just like any other game, but this one obviously meant a little more."

Ramon Delgado struck out the side in the eigth to preserve Batavia's selendor 3-1 lead.

Closer Adam Reifer was shacky in the ninth, giving up a walk, a hit and a run, but held on to pick up the save, retiring Lowell's Ricardo Burgos on a called third strike while all 800 or so Batavia fans were on their feet clapping and cheering.

Friday's opening game will be at 7 p.m., and then the teams return to Batavia Saturday for a 7 p.m. game. If game three is necessary, it will be played at Dwyer on Sunday and the game time will be 7 p.m. (oops, make the 6 p.m.).

UPDATE: Here's how the Batavia franchise finished in each year it fielded a team 1939 through 1997 (actually, the Batavia Indians seasons are here (including a 1957 finals appearance), and the Batavia Pirates made the finals twice, winning in 1963; and the Batavia Trojans made the finals in 1977). The Jamestown Falcons won five titles in nine championship appearances. The Jamestown Expos won twice in four appearances. The Jamestown Tigers made the finals once.

September 11, 2008 - 6:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in thebatavian.

Now that we have a sports writer, I just wanted to make the point that not all sports coverage will appear on the home page.  If you're interested in local sports, you should regularly visit the sports page by clicking on the "Sports" tab in the top navigation.

Brian posted some scores from last night as well as previews of upcoming prep football games.

And so long as I'm posting reminders, don't forget you can post free classifieds under "Buy, Sell & Trade," as well as free help wanted ads under "Jobs."

September 11, 2008 - 12:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jon Powers.

The 26th District blog has a thoughtful post up on "Why Powers Failed" to win the primary.

A lot of it boils down to too much confidence in a mirage of grassroots support, and a poorly managed media message.

There was no real media team. For a campaign built upon “grassroots support” and on-line activism, there was nothing interesting nor innovative about their Web site. ...

I should note that the campaign’s communications person was more than happy to talk to me when it came to spreading positive messages. Almost every e-mail send inquiring about War Kids Relief or anything off message were ignored. After awhile I stopped receiving any contact at all.

...

I am a firm believer in the echo chambers ability to distort perception. If you spend all your time with people who think like you do, then you start believing everyone thinks like you do. No doubt the Powers team would go into halls and see a hundred people or knock on doors with a few dozen volunteers and begin to think they were a part of something.

The same thing happened in the “blogosphere”. In a district of this size it is true that a few hundred people could help sway things, but if that is all the support and name recognition you have, it won’t be enough. It was clear in reading the financial reports, Powers did not have the “local” or “grassroots” support he was claiming when it came to fund raising. That lead me to wonder if he actually had the on the ground support as well.

Even as a somewhat distant observer, I found myself, as I read through the post, finding the points persuasive.

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