Speculation and rumors for the new year

Many people do retrospectives at this time of the year. I rather prefer a line in a song from A Chorus Line, “kiss today goodbye and point me toward tomorrow.”

This post falls under the category of “what we have heard.” Speculation and rumor are baked into politics like flour in bread. Take everything you are about to read with a grain of salt – but don’t be surprised to see some of these things come true in 2016. Continue reading

A soldier’s Christmas story

By Steve Banko

For me, Christmas will always be found in the music.

From those long ago days of grammar school innocence when the nuns embarked on the crusade to drill the words of every carol in Christendom into my brain, until today – with innocence a faded memory but the joy of Christmas a constant prayer, I found great delight and consolation in the music of Christmas. Some of my most enduring memories involve those nuns, the songs they taught me, and the way we sang them. Continue reading

A time and place politicians could laugh at and with one another

They say that politics “ain’t bean bag.” That is true, but the expression means more in 2015 than it used to.

The current presidential campaign, where nastiness and even cruelty abound, is bean-bagginess on steroids. Donald Trump is by far the worst of the lot, totally lacking in civility or respect for others as he feeds his own ego and panders to be politically correct with the far-right wing that is now dominant in his party. Continue reading

May the Force be with you

If you have watched any television in the past month you probably know that the new Episode 7 of the Star Wars series, The Force Awakens, is in theatres today. You may have also noticed the extraordinarily large number of product tie-ins in commercials, from Subway to automobiles, which have been connected to the release of the movie.

As a matter of full disclosure and in order to maintain our objectivity to comment on political matters, please note that Politics and Other Stuff has declined all offers for placement of ads by the Disney Corporation, the Empire or the Order of the Jedi. Continue reading

Joe Crangle and the Democratic Party

I have written some posts over the past couple months about the turnout in local elections –some of the reasons for that situation, some of the consequences. I categorized the issue in an election preview on October 30 when I projected a 25 percent turnout: abysmal.

All of this leads me to recall what was going on in years past when turnout was so much better than it is today. That gets me thinking about the man who played such an outsized role in generating those large voter turnouts in Erie County, Joe Crangle. Continue reading

Time for the Erie County control board to dial down

In Western New York, public interest in local government spending has usually peaked when there is a crisis on the horizon and diminished when it seems that everything is business-as-usual. When there is the potential for major increases in taxes or for significant cuts in services, people pay attention. Otherwise, not so much.

This is theoretically true of all governments and agencies in the area. The City of Buffalo has certainly had more than its share of attention and fiscal crises. With a lot of hard work, with major state assistance, and for the past 12 years a state-imposed financial stability authority hovering over them, the Mayor, Common Council and City Comptroller have gotten things under control. Heck, Buffalo even played banker to the West Seneca School District a few months ago, loaning the school system money on a short-term basis. Continue reading

Cruz versus Rubio, the 11th Commandment and political correctness; Speaker Silver and Speaker Rubio

Ronald Reagan, who is almost deified by many Republican politicians, was not quite the person that the legend seems to have created. Yes he railed against taxes, but he raised taxes.   He complained about Democrats but was perfectly comfortable working with Speaker Tip O’Neil. Reagan helped end the cold war, but he got muddied by the Iran arms deals. One might be reminded about a closing line in the movie, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Continue reading