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The Campaign Spending Free-For-All

New York elected officials must abide laws that regulate how political candidates can raise money. Yet the laws regulating how that money can be spent remain among the most lax in the entire country.

Under current law, three words fully describe New York's campaign spending guidelines: "any lawful purpose." This ambiguous definition has created an environment in which current or former political candidates can do just about anything with campaign funds short of writing themselves a check. Though spending campaign funds for personal use is technically prohibited, the lack of any clear definition for what constitutes a personal use renders the provision meaningless.

What I Would Do About Medicaid 2: The Family of Last Resort Problem

One of the reasons New York spends more on Medicaid is because the health care industry uses its political power to charge more, the subject of my prior post. A second reason is it charges for services it does not actually deliver – Medicaid fraud. A third reason is that New York provides more Medicaid services for recipients than do other states. And as I wrote here, the beneficiaries of most of those additional services are the elderly.

Today’s American elderly are the best off people, with the easiest lives, in history – unless one counts slave-owners. Tomorrow’s elderly, those born after 1955 or so, will not be as fortunate. Entering the labor force after social security taxes were raised, on the wrong end of multi-tier labor contracts, without defined benefit pensions and perhaps, when they reach their 50s, losing health insurance as well, and with limited savings, today’s young and middle-aged will reach old age as social security funds begin to run dry and the debts run up by their predecessors must be paid. We will have to work until no longer able, and will then face poverty. The poverty rate of the elderly, much lower than that of children in recent decades, is likely to explode – unless the seniors use their political clout to tax their own children into poverty, or to wipe out public education, or otherwise do unto their offspring what was done to them.

LunchBox: IM This!

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: former Rep Mark Foley, Rep Thomas Reynolds, Daily News, New York Post, Jeannine Pirro, New York City Council and Cocaine.

Tom Reynolds (NY-26) On Defense

The media here in the dog's nose of New York State have been atwitter over Tom Reynolds' involvement in the PageGate scandal involving Mark Foley.  As has been widely reported, we know that the 16-year old recipient of Foley's inappapropriate emails was troubled enough to bring it up with Rodney Alexander (R-LA), who then took it to Tom Reynolds. 

Why?  Because Reynolds is in charge of the NRCC. 

Reynolds, in turn, did not engage in any sort of investigation into the matter, but instead claims to have informed his boss, Denny Hastert about the matter.  There was no ethics probe of Foley; no censure, no reprimand.

What I Would Do About Medicaid: Part 1, Prices

What I would do about Medicaid is not what I would do about health care.  In my view, because those in need of expensive care, and those who do not want to pay for them, are free to move across state borders, health care is a national problem with a national solution (see here).

Any state that attempts to provide universal care for its residents will end up providing universal care for all Americans – until its economy collapses and it provides nothing to anyone.  With regard to Medicaid, my goal is to avoid having the health care industry – with its political power and indifference to the consequences of its increasing demands – from destroying other public services and the economy of the state.  Medicaid, for me, is a fiscal issue, not a health care issue, and my goal is to continue to get necessary health care without paying twice as much as everyone else.  That is different from the current fiscal goal – to pay as much as possible in for as little as possible in exchange for political support.  The current situation is a product of incentives – the state government gets to hand out money to its supporters, but other governments are forced to pay much of the cost and impose much of the sacrifice.  My proposal is to change the incentives.

What’s with the Democratic Party:

With about 5 weeks till the mid term elections, the Democratic Party for the first time in more then a decade has a shot at winning back at least the House of  Representatives. At first glance this seems to be a good thing. However, if the Democrats win the House and maybe even the Senate, it will not be because of a strong and cohesive Democratic Party. It will actually be quite the contrary; it will be because of a weak and incompetent Republican Party.

If there was no Iraq war, the Democratic Party would not pick up a single seat this November. This is because the Democratic Party still has no key message, and any message that it does produce is diluted by conservative Democrats. What the Democratic Party needs today, is a latter day Barry Goldwater or William F Buckley. Democrats need to move their Party to the left first, and then worry about winning elections. Democrats today are Republican light; they constantly hedge their bets, by compromising on things like tax cuts, the Patriot Act, and until recently the war in Iraq.

Speaker Hastert Censors Self

via TPM Muckraker

Apparently, Hastert and Co. have another good lesson for the kids.  When you find yourself embarrassed by what you've previously written and heavily touted ... all you gotta do is DELETE... DELETE... DELETE!

TPM Muckraker reports that Speaker Hastert has just taken down this press release which had been featured on the front page of his website until yesterday.


Photo Hat Tip: DailyKos

LunchBox: High Holy Days

On LunchBox today, host Adam Green on: political sins.

The US Supreme Court Should Be Taken Up To A Seventeen Member Total

Many will argue against what I am writing here and they will give a variety of reasons as to why; that’s expected and that’s fine. In any polity there is a marketplace for ideas; lately the blogosphere (whatever this is/ lol) has been slowly moving to corner a segment of that market. That too is fine, since to me, the more segments to that market the better- even with all those conspiracy theories about “nine-eleven” flying around the internet. Today is Sunday 1st October, 2006; it’s exactly the 216year and 8months anniversary of the first sitting of the US Supreme court (2/1/1790). Its structure was created by the first bill introduced in the US Senate (Judiciary Act of 1789), allowing for a Chief justice and five associates. That bill also created 13 districts with three divisions (East-South and Middle).

Prepare the Rotten Tomatoes

Since I've been asked to write for this blog, I've delivered a litany of (primarily) fiscal complaint, a series of objections to the ongoing and expanding advantages grabbed by powerful interests in Albany (and elsewhere) at the expense of the private sector working poor, the young, the future, and New York City's children.  But I try not to make complaints unless I have what I believe are at least partial solutions.  So for state government, and for the month of October, I'm going to provide some.

They won't make many people on the inside happy.

Has The Black-Vote In Brooklyn Become a Potent Force (Especially In The Democratic Primary)?

In retrospect, the year 2002 can be seen as the year that the black vote in central-Brooklyn grew up a bit. That was the years that Delores Thomas and Margarita Lopez-Torres won countywide judgeships in the county of Kings (and wannabee political-kingpins). These achievements of Delores and Margarita were phenomenal; coming after many years of Clarence Norman, Howard Golden and company, discouraging and/or blocking the challenges of minority candidates, for borough-wide slots. The central argument from those power players was that the votes just weren’t there for minority victories. These ladies sure proved them wrong. Then in 2003, Chadeya Simpson won another of those county-wide judgeships as a black woman; that was when many people started taking notice of the black vote in Brooklyn: especially in the democratic primary elections.

Subway Reading II: Spider-Man vs. the Über Christians

Subway Reading II
This edition of Subway Reading, obviously, doesn’t feature the pixilated face of the reader, because I have no idea who the reader (or readers) was. This is because in addition to paying attention what people are reading on the subway, sometimes I pick up pamphlets and such that are left by people on the seats on the train. Usually they are  “you can be saved” nonsense, but occasionally I find something interesting.

Is A Black Borough President In Brooklyn's Immediate Future? (Part One).

In less than three years time, a democratic primary winner in Brooklyn will most likely become the borough’s next president. History shows that all of Brooklyn’s Borough presidents were white men (you can correct me if I am inaccurate); but is this about to change? Given the potency of Brooklyn’s black primary-vote, any viable black candidate in the upcoming race for this office will have a serious chance of winning; especially when you consider the victories of black judicial candidates in borough-wide races, over the past five judicial primaries in Kings County. With that in mind, let’s examine the possible black candidates in the upcoming primary.

The Aristocrats (with thanks to Penn Jillette)

A man outside a polling place hands a voter a palm card. “Have I got a political party for you” (imagine the voice of Gilbert Gottfried) 

“Well”, said the voter, “why don’t you tell me about it.”

“Well our party was started as an ego trip by an megalomaniacal multi-millionaire. His main campaign operative has been called ‘The State of the Art Washington Sleaze Bag’ by New Republic, but the operative’s most famous for the personal ads run he's run with his wife seeking partners to satisfy their deviant sexual urges; and when he’s not trying to get his family laid by strangers, he’s busy funneling Republican money to Al Sharpton.”

Ray Kelly responds; Iris Weinshall doesn't

Ray Kelly responds; Iris Weinshall doesn't. That sums it up right there.

As many of you know, my wife's uncle was killed in a hit and run accident on Third Avenue amd 28th Street in Manhattan in late July. No one has been charged to date. For me and my wife, it was the final straw about New York City living. We are now living in a suburb of Austin, Texas.

NYC.GOV has a system where you can send e-mail to the head of a department. I had done this before wit hthe NYPD and received a quality response about "NYPD Pizza" and the NYPD trademark.

I asked both the NYPD and the DOT where I could find hit & run statistics. The NYPD finally responded a few days ago, but I've been busy with the move and it seems like I lost the response trying to open it up on this wireless internet here.