Supreme Court Justice Scalia Dies

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a tart-tongued champion of conservative interpretation of the Constitution, has died at a West Texas ranch resort, government officials said Saturday.

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Scalia, who was 79, was the longest-serving justice on the high court. His death is sure to trigger a pitched political battle in Washington, with President Obama likely to nominate a successor before the November elections.

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Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, one of the contenders for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016, called Scalia “one of the greatest justices in history.” Cruz, who served as a Supreme Court clerk, said Scalia “was an unrelenting defender of religious liberty, free speech, federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, and private property rights. All liberty-loving Americans should be in mourning.”

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Donald Trump, one of Cruz’s rivals, tweeted that the “totally unexpected loss” was a “massive setback for the Conservative movement and our country.”
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Gabryszak Fined by Ethics Committee

Dennis H. Gabryszak

Former Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak will be fined $100,000 for “inappropriate conduct” with former female staffers.  He will also be fined for “misappropriation” of state funds to help his re-election efforts.

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The God Squad: Evil is Not God’s Fault

God Squad

Q: I really enjoy your column in our local paper. I am a big fan of Harold Kushner’s book, “When bad things happen to good people.” I recommended it to my brother and told him that we can’t blame God when bad things happen to us. He came back with, “Well, is it proper to give thanks to God for the good things that happen to us?” I hope you can help me with this question. Thanks – D from Raleigh, N.C.

A: Thanks for your kind words. In the ancient tradition of rabbinic humor a man comes to a rabbi and asks a difficult question like yours. The rabbi answers, “You are right.” Then another man like your brother offers an alternative and conflicting view. The rabbi replies to him, “You are right.” Then a third man who overheard the arguments says, “Rabbi, they can’t both be right.” To which the rabbi responded, “You are right, too.” So, dear D, both you and your brother are right. Here’s how:

You are right that we have neither rational nor theological reasons to blame God for the evil that befalls us.

The first reason is that some evil is the result of our own sin. When we smoke or abuse drugs or overeat we are poisoning our own bodies. Our illnesses in this regard are self-inflicted acts of ignorance or addiction. God wants us to choose life, but when we choose death, it is simply not God’s fault. Our freedom makes us human and makes us able to love, but our freedom also makes us able to stray from the path God has set before us to lead a happy, healthful life. It is easier to claim to be a victim of a cruel God, but it is simply not true.

The second reason is that some evil that befalls us is not really evil at all, even though it can hurt us or kill us.
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Heaney Talks Lead Poisoning on “The Capitol Pressroom”

Editor Jim Heaney calls Mayor Byron W. Brown’s indifference to Buffalo’s lead problem “outrageous” in an interview on The Capitol Pressroom.

Investigative Post Editor Jim Heaney takes Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to task for his unwillingness to collaborate with the Erie County Health Department to tackle the city’s lead poisoning problem.

Heaney termed as “outrageous” the mayor’s acceptance of the status quo. Listen to his interview Thursday with Susan Arbetter of The Capitol Pressroom. The interview runs from 22:13 to 36:48.

Brown’s unwillingness to work more closely with the county will be the topic of Heaney’s “Outrages & Insights” written and video blog and will post on InvestigativePost.org and broadcast on WGRZ this coming Sunday.

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WNY Job Growth Continues To Lag

improving graphic
The Buffalo and Western New York economy is humming, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a bevy of local and state politicians. But the numbers tell a different story.

Job growth in the Buffalo market grew by an annual average of 0.8 percent between 2010 and last year, half the national average of 1.6 percent. Local job growth last year of 1.1 percent was significantly less than the national average of 1.9 percent of the statewide average of 1.7 percent.
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Making Waves

MakingWaves

Training Programs Offered for New York Wastewater Professionals

Two training programs are being offered in March for New York wastewater professionals. Both programs are approved for six contact hours toward renewal of a wastewater treatment plant operator certificate. They will run from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm each day and will be held at the Washington County Municipal Center, Fort Edward, NY. The courses are:

  • Proper Sampling for Process and Reporting – March 1, 2016. This course explains and demonstrates proper sampling procedures. Topics to be reviewed include the development of a sampling plan, proper sampling locations, sampling devices and containers, preservation and holding times, and chain-of-custody procedures.
  • Laboratory Practices – March 2, 2016. This course provides wastewater professionals with the opportunity to learn the laboratory tests for SPDES permitting and plant operations.

The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) is providing these programs in cooperation with the NYSDEC. Register for the training at NEIWPCC’s website.

Reminder: Deadline for Sustain Our Great Lakes Grants Pre-proposals is February 17

Up to $5 million in grants is available for stream, riparian, and coastal wetland restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin. The Request for Proposals and details about this grant program can be found on Sustain Our Great Lakes website. Sustain Our Great Lakes is a public-private partnership consisting of federal agencies and environmental organizations.

Those invited to provide full proposals will have applications due April 21. Interested applicants are encouraged to connect with New York’s Great Lakes program staff and basin-wide stakeholders to develop competitive project proposals.

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Westwood Plan Has Too Many Drawbacks

The Mensch on a Bench  Credit: Facebook @The Mensch on a Bench

What’s a mensch?

I looked it up. It’s a good guy, an honorable decent stand-up peach. A gentleman with honesty and integrity. You should marry a mensch.

So what is the opposite of a mensch? I’m not sure if it’s  meshuggeneh,  putz or  schmuck as I am a shikse, perhaps a yenta.  But the opposite of a mensch is a detestable or obnoxious person in the vernacular.  The literal translation is a bit racier.

The Mensch Group, four well-heeled local developers, owns the Westwood site, a 170 acre former golf course in central Amherst.  They propose to build housing, offices, shops and a hotel over the next decade.  The kvetching, kibitzing neighbors think the project is un-kosher.  And were surprised at the developer’s chutzpah when a spite fence went up last fall. But the debate is about to begin as their shlock is discussed in open hearings.  The public will need to schlep to town hall, schmooze the review boards to put a glitch in their plans

The Westwood project is mishegoss and will never be built. The negative impacts are substantial and cannot be mitigated.  It’s too dense; the roadways can’t handle the traffic.  And the runoff.     Oy vey!

Be a macher!

Be a mensch!

Respond to the town agreeing to sell to the public for bupkis and take the write off.  Don’t futz around. Get your tuchas to town hall and transfer the deed.  Then name it Mensch Park. Or even Frank Ciminelli Park, after a gentleman, a goy and a peach.

L’chaim.

Michele F Marconi

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Ted Cruz Removes Campaign Ad Featuring Erotic Film Actress

Amy Lindsay

(CNN) – Ted Cruz’s campaign pulled a recent ad attacking Marco Rubio after it was revealed that one of its featured actors had performed in erotic films.

Titled “Conservatives Anonymous,” the Cruz spot is set in a group therapy session, as a circle of men and women discuss their disappointment in having supported the Florida senator given his subsequent work on an immigration reform bill one calls “amnesty.”

“Maybe you should vote for more than just a pretty face next time,” softcore porn veteran Amy Lindsay tells the group before another man appears at the door in a Rubio shirt asking, “You guys have room for one more?”
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More Tickets, More Money For Buffalo

30,000 citations issued in six months as city counts on cash


With the city now squarely in the traffic-ticket business, Buffalo police issue more citations. Here, veteran Officer Obed Casillas stops a driver on the “S-Curves” section of Delaware Avenue. 

Throughout last year, Buffalo police pulled over more drivers and handed more tickets to each.

But the flood began in July – after City Hall created its new “traffic violations agency” to grab more money than ever from traffic fines.

The traffic agency flung open its doors July 1. From that day through December, police issued 30,000 tickets, nearly 10,000 more than the latter half of 2014.

These days, officers don’t hand just one citation to a driver, according to figures from Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda. With new software making it easy, they average three.

The torrent of tickets written from July to December, documented by state data and obtained by The Buffalo News, will eventually rain millions of dollars onto City Hall. But the deluge of tickets was so huge it initially swamped the young traffic agency and left it struggling to collect the windfall.
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Comment From A Concerned Citizen At Feb. 8th Town Board Meeting

AmherstTownHall2

On this week’s agenda is once again pursuing a full time Town Engineer. Now that the TB has changed, maybe with a full time Dept. Head the many stipends given to others can be eliminated.

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