Some facts, observations, and heard-on-the-streets

A week with lots of sunshine can do wonders for the soul.

Here are some facts, observations, and heard-on-the-streets concerning federal, state, and local politics and government:

  • There are rules governing the conduct of federal court judges but none that apply to the Supreme Court. That allows Justice Clarence Thomas to rely on unidentified colleagues from days gone by to guide his ethics decisions. Which, it would seem, means that Thomas is lacking a moral and ethical compass of his own. Luxury trips taken; property sold to a billionaire friend. Looking forward to Senate hearings about the Supreme Court’s ethics system.
  • Florida retiree Donald J. Trump continues to spend more time in New York.  Those pesky court proceedings and ongoing investigations are probably wearing him down.  He’s not getting any younger.
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Woke-Right agenda is moving right along in his home state.  Censorship is a big part of his plans as his super majority Legislature passes laws to regulate social media and to limit free speech in colleges and universities.  He likes banning books and imposing state controls over local school districts regarding their curriculum and operations.  On the other hand, Mickey Mouse outsmarted him concerning management of Disney World.  His impending presidential campaign seems to be floundering at the moment.      
  • The other Republican presidential wannabees are struggling for political oxygen in an environment where Trump pretty much sucks out all the air. Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Mike Pence, and Asa Hutchinson looked into the mirror and said to themselves “you can be president.” It happens every four years. Most likely they will be gone by early 2024.
  • The Republican majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives has done a great job showing the nation what their party stands for while also promoting Democrats who have taken a principled stand on gun violence.
  • New York State’s 2023-2024 budget as of this post’s date is 17 days late.  My prediction from a previous post still stands:  we will see a new budget before the 2023 summer solstice begins (June 21 at 10:57 am).
  • There will be many primaries in Erie County this year.  The featured races will be in the City of Buffalo, where up to six Council Districts could see challenges.  The other contest that will draw a lot of attention is the County Legislature’s 10th District, where there will be both Republican and Conservative primaries each including incumbent Jim Malczewski and Lindsay Lorigo.  The results of those elections will not affect control of the Legislature regardless of the outcomes.  This is basically a test of wills between the parties as Conservative Party Chairman Ralph Lorigo tries to demonstrate the power and influence of his minor party.  Look for a ton of money to be spent in the 10th, much of it coming from Lorigo who just last year spent six figures to help get his son Joe elected to the Supreme Court.
  • Ralph Lorigo, however, will swallow his pride by endorsing Chrissy Casilio Bluhm for County Executive, once again demonstrating his compliance with whatever the Republicans are selling. 
  • Minor point:  Chrissy’s Republican petitions listed her as Chrissy Casilio.  A check with the Board of Elections reveals that up until recently she was registered as Christine M. Bluhm.
  • Chris Grant got his Big Dog Strategies political consulting business started in Buffalo but he has gone national with dozens of candidates in his portfolio.  The best known is probably a Congressman from Long Island, George Santos.  Grant signed onto the Santos campaign after Santos’ previous consultants quit when they found out about the non-stop lies in Santos’ resume.  Grant was informed about the lying but nonetheless became a Santos advisor. Big Dog Strategies has had its hand in several Erie County campaigns including Lynn Dixon for Comptroller and Stefan Mychiliw for Hamburg Town Supervisor, both losing efforts.  Wondering if Big Dog will sign up for Casilio and/or Lorigo (her husband was also a client).
  • The petitioning process reveals that many candidates in Erie County are in effect already elected because no one is challenging them.  At least three of the nine members of the Buffalo Common Council are in, as are four of the eleven members of the Erie County Legislature.
  • Democrats are attempting to re-do New York’s congressional districts.  Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James have filed court papers asking that the state’s Independent Re-Districting Commission (IRC) be brought back to draw new lines for the 2024 elections.  Regardless of how that turns out, New York will be a key battleground in the campaign to win the House of Representatives in 2024.
  • The process for Assembly re-districting in 2024 has already begun following another court order.  The IRC will release the latest version of their proposed Assembly districting map on Thursday, April 20.
  • The Buffalo News’ owner, Lee Enterprises, prides itself on itself on being a “digital-first” organization, but it is hard to see that when paying subscribers are subjected to daily (or even multiple times daily) requirements to re-enter email addresses and passwords; or to change passwords; or to request multiple-step one-day links to the publication. For those who are experiencing these annoyances but didn’t see my Tweet on the subject last week, here are some work-around steps:
    • Go to your web browser homepage and click on Settings
    • On Settings, go to Cookies
    • Find the Buffalo News among the cookies and delete, which will clear previous interactions
    • Enter your email address and password
    • You might have to change your password
    • Good luck!
  • How about those Buffalo Sabres?  Okay, they didn’t make the playoffs for the 12th straight year but they have some budding stars who should make next season much more promising.  Kudos to Coach Don Granato and GM Kevyn Adams.
  • The NFL draft is still nine days away, but at least on that day we won’t have any more media commentaries about who the Bills should draft.
  • The new time clocks that Major League Baseball instituted this season are definitely speeding up the games, knocking about 30 minutes off previous season durations.  One problem, however, is that shorter games mean less time to sell beer.  What to do?  Simple.  Instead of cutting off beer sales in the seventh inning some teams are now extending sales into the eighth inning.  Whew!

Twitter @kenkruly