Oh Canada!

People living in Western New York have a very unique opportunity. Some of us can, from our offices, actually see a foreign country – like Sarah Palin, only for real. We can drive in to work in the morning, take a quick glance to our right, and see another nation.

Some of us live in that foreign country for the summer. Many more of us drive over for lunch or dinner. Trips to see the Blue Jays play in Toronto or a theatre production are just a couple hours’ drive away. Or maybe it’s a trip to see a play or to have dinner in a picturesque little town a short distance across a river from a fort that that once defended America. Continue reading

With party conventions over and primary battles set, here is a look back at the 2014 state Democratic primary, and speculation about how things might play out in 2018

So we’re off to the races. The state party conventions are over and the line-ups are set.

The Republicans, Conservatives, Greens, and Reform parties have made their designations for governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller and attorney general, although the Reform Party’s nomination of Preet Bharara for attorney general still awaits Bharara’s decision about whether he will run. It doesn’t appear that there will be any primaries in those parties. Continue reading

On dreamers and food stamps, congressional confusion and the rule-of-law

Paul Ryan must be anxious to get back to Janesville, Wisconsin and to join all those well-paying corporate boards that await most former speakers of the House of Representatives. The job he has now certainly isn’t any fun.

Ryan became speaker mainly because no other Republican House member wanted the job after they saw what happened to John Boehner. (Is former Speaker Denny Hastert out of jail yet?) Boehner’s grand finale was to put a deal together that settled some budget and debt problems for a couple years. The Hastert rule about requiring a majority of the majority to sign off on legislation more or less went out the window as Boehner worked his magic. Continue reading

WNY firms and organizations employing state lobbyists spent $4.58 million in 2017

This post is Trump-free. I cannot say that it is politics-free, but readers can make their own judgments about that.

One of the earliest posts on this blog reviewed the list of Western New York firms and organizations that employed lobbyists in 2014. You can find that post here. Here are the links for the lists in 2015 and 2016.

Lobbying is a big business in New York State. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) annually publishes a list of lobbying activity. In 2017, according to JCOPE, a total of $240.1 million was spent on lobbying work in the state. This number was down about $2.6 million from the previous years. Continue reading

Schneiderman resignation shuffles the deck

We live in a time when news, real news, flies by us at warp speed. It is often hard to digest and analyze a story before the next big one comes along.

That being said, the Eric Schneiderman story that broke yesterday must have set some sort of record. The New Yorker article appeared online at about 6:45 pm. Schneiderman resigned by about 10 pm. Gee, there was hardly any time for other pols to call for him to resign before the deal broke. Continue reading