Thursday, January 29, 2015

House Democrats retake the House? It’s a long shot, but they’re getting ready to try.

President Obama’s popularity is on the rebound, and the Democrats’ race to replace him seems orderly and sane compared with the chaotic contest already dividing the GOP. Even in the minority, Senate Democrats still have enough leverage to slow, stall or kill Republican bills, and they are hopeful about retaking control in 2016. 

And then there are the House Democrats.

With their ranks severely depleted and with no control over the chamber’s agenda, they are the most tangible symbols of the party’s recent electoral defeats. And the wreckage has made discussions about the future difficult.

But it is that very future, and how to shape it, that will be the subject of closed-door meetings in Philadelphia on Thursday and Friday as House Democrats try to figure out how to rehabilitate themselves with voters.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle is letting his colleagues he’s interested in replacing Sheldon Silver as speaker on a long-term basis, the Rochester-area Democrat said on Capital Tonight.

In an interview on Wednesday night, Morelle acknowledged that being a white male from upstate New York will make his bid potentially more difficult as speaker candidates include a woman, Cathy Nolan of Queens, and potentially the first black speaker, Carl Heastie of the Bronx.

“I get that it’s been 40 years this has happened,” Morelle said, referring to the last upstate speaker. “I probably have a higher burden, I probably have to certainly demonstrate more than any other candidate from the city that I’m prepared to serve and earn their vote, but I’m prepared to do that.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dem Donors Plot Campaign Battle Against $889 Million Koch Behemoth

WASHINGTON -- Reactions from Democrats to news that the billionaire Koch brothers are planning an $889 million blitz for the 2016 election has run the gamut from outright alarm to shoulder shrugs. 

Various top party officials interviewed by The Huffington Post said they expected outside groups and campaign committees to further elevate their attacks on the Kochs heading into the next election. Portraying the brothers as political villains was a prominent element of the 2014 game plan. And though that election ended horribly for the party, there is little sense that Democrats should back off now that Koch entities will play an even larger role in 2016. 

“We’re going all out with the research and the communications in the 2016 cycle,” David Brock, founder of American Bridge 21st Century and, told The Huffington Post.

But in donor circles, talk has centered not just on communications strategies but on checkbooks as well. Matching the nearly $1 billion in conservative money is going to prove monumentally challenging, if not impossible, officials concede. 

One top Democratic donor, speaking on condition of anonymity, marveled at how the millions he has given to the party now seem quaint. He then turned his attention to liberal billionaires who aren't yet engaged in electoral politics.

Sarah Palin Just Gave A Pro-Hillary Group A Big Boost

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has helped raise so much money for a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC that she qualifies to co-chair the group's national finance council.

The group, Ready For Hillary, used comments about Clinton that Palin made over the weekend in Iowa to raise more than $25,000. 

"It's going to take more than a village to beat Hillary," Palin said on Saturday. "I'm ready for Hillary. Are you coming?"

Ready For Hillary immediately seized on the comments and emailed supporters, asking them to donate. On Tuesday evening, the group emailed supporters again, announcing that the super PAC had raised more than $25,000 as a result of Palin's comments -- enough to qualify the former GOP candidate for vice president to be a co-chair of Ready for Hillary. 

Democrats Say Billionaire Koch Brothers Launch 2016 'Electoral Arms Race'

By Steve Holland and Amanda Becker

WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Democrats acknowledged on Tuesday that it will be difficult, and likely impossible, to match the nearly $900 million that the conservative billionaire Koch brothers said their political network will spend during the 2016 campaign cycle.

The eye-popping figure emerged on Monday as donors met at a Koch-organized winter retreat near Palm Springs, California. It underscored Charles and David Koch's commitment to push for smaller-government policies via a web of advocacy organizations.

"It's a staggering amount of money and it's probably just the beginning," said Democratic strategist Bill Burton. "The truth is Democrats will never match what Republicans can put into these races."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Budget office lowers ObamaCare price tag by 20 percent

total price tag for ObamaCare’s insurance programs will be 20 percent less than expected, the government’s budget office said Monday.

The law’s insurance provisions are now expected to cost $571 billion through 2019 — a drop of about $139 billion from the government's earliest estimates five years ago, according to new estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The drop in spending is largely due to the smaller-than-expected subsidies load because enrollment in health insurance through ObamaCare has been slower than expected.

The CBO had initially expected 13 million people to sign up for health insurance through the exchanges by the end of this year, though it since revised that figure to 12 million. The enrollment tally is still far higher than the Obama administration's new target of 9 million people this year.

Dems: Benghazi panel Republicans meeting witnesses in secret

Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi are accusing Republicans of conducting crucial interviews in secret and withholding information.

The tensions between the two parties erupted into the open on Monday after a letter from the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), criticizing Chairman Trey Gowdy's (R-S.C.) handling of the investigation went public.

Cummings said Republicans were holding meetings with witnesses, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Maghreb Affairs Raymond Maxwell, who claims he was instructed to edit documents relating to the 2012 attacks. He said that Democrats were being excluded from these Republican-only meetings.

“You have had different standards for Republicans and Democrats participating in the investigation, secret meetings with witnesses, and – perhaps most importantly – withheld or downplayed information when it undermines the allegations we are investigating,” Cummings wrote in a four-page letter sent to Gowdy on Friday.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The 2016 Democratic National Convention will be held the week of July 25. A host city has yet to be selected.

Bernie Sanders Got Republicans To Make His Argument For Universal Health Care

WASHINGTON -- In their ongoing efforts to roll back or hamstring Obamacare, Republicans probably weren't hoping that the first Senate hearing on the matter this year would feature a self-described "democratic socialist" getting GOP witnesses to back a key argument for universal health care.

Thursday's hearing of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions was devoted to the question of moving the full-time work standard under the Affordable Care Act from 30 hours a week to 40 hours, and whether more workers would be hurt by the higher or lower limit.

But to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has long supported the creation of a universal health care system, battling over that particular point began to seem absurd, and he opened his remarks by noting that in every other developed country, such a debate would make no sense at all.

"The argument of whether you provide health insurance to people who work 30 hours a week or whether they work 40 hours a week -- whoa," Sanders said. "In every major country on Earth, health care is a right of all people."

With that as his premise, he then asked three of the hearing's witnesses -- two business owners and a school superintendent -- whether their lives and daily endeavors would be improved if government lifted from them the burden of providing health care to their workers.

The panel's only Democratic witness, Joe Fugere, founder of the Seattle-area Tutta Bella Pizzeria chain, readily answered that it would.

GOP firebrand Sarah Palin rambles after teleprompter freezes

Republican firebrand Sarah Palin is rarely at a loss for words but became unmoored on Saturday in Iowa after her teleprompter froze and left her without portions of her prepared speech. 

The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee flipped through a binder of notes and strung together a series of one-liners – and some of them made little sense.

'The man can only ride you when your back is bent,' she said, as audience members looked at each other quizzically.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Oswego County considers mortgage tax hike that would be highest in Central New York !!

County lawmakers will vote this week on a resolution asking the state to let them raise the mortgage recording tax.
The Legislature's Finance and Personnel Committee approved (only Republican Legislators voted in favor of)  the action at its Dec. 29 meeting. The resolution will come before the full county Legislature on Tuesday.
The tax increase would give Oswego County the highest mortgage tax rate in Central New York, said Gene Friske, of the Oswego County Board of Realtors, a trade group made up of real estate brokers and agents.
The resolution would authorize County Clerk Michael Backus to send a request to the state Senate and Assembly asking for an amendment to state tax law to let the county impose a mortgage tax of an additional 25 cents per $100 secured by mortgage.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Republicans Legislators on the Finance and Personnel Committee vote to raise the mortgage tax

The Republicans on the Finance and Personnel Committee voted to raise the mortgage tax, despite the objection of local Realtor's who said people are being driven out of the county because of high taxes.

The big question is... why did Backus wait until AFTER the budget was passed to bring forth his need for this additional revenue?  Something's fishy. 

Also, at past committee meetings, whenever a legislator was going to be late, the chairman would hold the meeting, but when Minority Leader Mike Kunzwiler was less than two minutes late, not only did they not hold the meeting, they had passed the resolutions to raise the mortgage tax and the cell phone tax.

Who voted for these taxes? Remember these names and contact them:

Legislator Terry Wilbur, chairman of the committee (564-7805, cell: 591-4846

Legislator Shane Broadwell (343-2461, cell 529-0715 e-mail:

Legislator James Weatherup (668-3271 e-mail:

Legislator Bob Hayes 695-4912 (e-mail:

Legislator James Karasek  (593-7903 e-mail:

Legislator David Holst (964-2679 e-mail:

You might want to vote them out of office next year.

Oswego County doesn't have the business and industry to support all these tax increases. People can't afford them. Even if you aren't buying a house now, you may in the future. And who needs more taxes added to their cell phone bill?

From the Blog

Cuomo, lawmakers face new, old battles in 2015

For Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers, the New Year brings a new set of complicated issues to tackle — and some old ones, too — as the Democratic governor kicks off his second term.

Cuomo wants to overhaul the state's system for evaluating teachers. Liberal groups want the Democrat to push for campaign finance reform and a higher minimum wage. The state's rent-control laws in New York City and its suburbs are set to expire in June, and extending them would also extend New York's property-tax cap. The Women's Equality Act, which has been the subject of vigorous debate at the state Capitol for two years, remains unsettled.

And to top it all off, the state has a $5 billion windfall from financial settlements with no shortage of suggestions on how to spend it. And Cuomo is pushing a state board to reopen its process for siting casinos amid pressure from Southern Tier officials who were angered at being passed over.

Welcome to another year at the Empire State's Capitol.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Mario Cuomo, Former New York Governor, Dies At 82

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has died at the age of 82, NY1 and the New York Daily News report.

Cuomo died just six hours after his son Andrew was formally sworn in to a second term as governor of the Empire State. Cuomo's swearing-in was initially set to take place in Albany, but the governor relocated the ceremony at the last minute so he could spend New Year's Eve with his father, according to Newsday.

"He couldn't be here physically today ... but my father is in this room," Andrew Cuomo said in his inaugural address Thursday, according to the New York Daily News.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rep. Dan Maffei records best fundraising quarter, leaving $860,000 for final month of campaign

U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei has entered the final month of his re-election campaign with $860,000 cash on hand after recording his best fundraising quarter since 2012.
Maffei, D-Syracuse, raised $464,000 during the third quarter covering the period from July 1 to Sept. 30, according to preliminary figures for a report his campaign plans to file with the Federal Election Commission next week.
An itemized breakdown of Maffei's contributions for the quarter was not yet available. The full disclosure reports must be filed with the FEC by Oct. 15.
All told, Maffei has now raised almost $2.4 million for his campaign. The latest quarter topped his previous fundraising record for this election cycle, a $426,754 haul in the second quarter of the year.  POST

Monday, October 13, 2014

Picking a write-in candidate

 Many have wrote in to ask about a write-in candidate for the office of county Sheriff.

With the new ballots, writing in an alternate candidate's name is quite simple. There is a space under the line to write in a name- just make sure it's under the line for Sheriff.

We here at the Onion support Ellery Terpening because he wanted to run in the past, he's a Democrat, he's honest, he has a lot of good police experience, and he's honest.

If he wins and doesn't want to be the Sheriff, well... he doesn't have to accept the position.

But, for all of you looking to vote for someone other than Sheriff Reuel Todd, Ellery

Terpening is a good choice. We say, "He's not a bad guy."

You also have to be sure that when you write in his name, you do it correctly. He is Ellery
with two l's.

So, there you go.  There is an example from last year.

Democrats Investing In SD-3

A labor source says the endorsement of Democratic Senate hopeful Adrienne Esposito on Saturday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo was just the beginning of a concerted effort to raise her name recognition and potentially win the GOP-held seat.
Esposito, an environmental advocate, is running for the 3rd SD seat in Suffolk County that’s being vacated by Republican Lee Zeldin, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY-1.
Esposito was the first Senate Democratic candidate this year to receive an endorsement from Cuomo, who has pledged to help his party capture full control of the chamber as part of his endorsement deal with the labor-backed Working Families Party.
The endorsement from Cuomo comes as the governor himself seeks to promote women’s issues, specifically the Women’s Equality Act, this fall through the campaign.

Women’s Equality Party

The governor sought to make his Women’s Equality Party push personal, rolling out an ad featuring his three daughters and girlfriend, TV chef Sandra Lee. It’s the first time Lee and his children from a prior marriage have appeared in a political ad.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Senate Dems All In With Party-Switching Marcellino Opponent

Emboldened by the recent setbacks experienced by the Senate Republicans, the Senate Democrats are expanding their reach to support challengers to veteran incumbents previously believed to be nearly impossible to dislodge – including Long Island Sen. Carl Marcellino.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and DSCC Chairman Mike Gianaris will be on hand tomorrow afternoon when Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy – a Republican who only recently joined up with the Democrats – formally kicks off his campaign against the 71-year-old Marcellino, who has held his seat since 1995.

Kennedy had been slated to challenge Democratic Assemblyman Charles Lavine – as a life-long member of the Republican Party. He was officially nominated by the Nassau County GOP (run by former state GOP Chairman Joe Mondello), and everything.

But the local Republicans pulled their support of the mayor after the Conservative Party objected to the fact that Kennedy had, in his mayoral capacity, officiated over two same-sex marriages and refused to repudiate the 2011 Marriage Equality Act (passed with the assistance of four “yes” votes from Republican senators) that made gay marriage legal in New York.


Cuomo's war chest nearly 15 times Astorino's

Andrew Cuomo is still king of the mountain — of cash.

And Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino's campaign filings show he has a long climb to come anywhere close.

The governor reported $35 million in his campaign war chest on Tuesday, the deadline for candidates to file their six-month campaign finance reports. Cuomo's campaign took in $8.5 million and spent $6.8 million since January.


Did Mike Myers fool the voters?

Apparently, today is the last day to file nominating petitions to run for office. How convenient of Mike Myers to resign and be reappointed right before the petitions were due so no one else has time to get signatures.

 If it smells like a rat and squawks like a rat, it's usually a rat. The Republican Party never stops with their shenanigans. 

Where's the resumes?

As we posted last week, the Oswego County Legislature's Democrat Caucus requested the resumes of all those who applied for Mark See's job as chief accountant. See, a well-educated CPA, had enough of the bull and retired. 

 The county hired Robin McMillen, who is the treasurer of the Oswego County Republican Committee.  She appears to have no municipal accounting experience and has a degree from the University of Phoenix. She is not a CPA.

 So... did any CPA's apply for the position? That's what the Dem's want to know. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, Personnel Director Carol Alnutt told two Dem legislators that the Republican legislators had seen the resumes.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Political Friday Headlines

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican, is being mentioned as a possible running mate for GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

State Board of Elections commissioner Doug Kellner said the board was not consulted about administering a public financing system, and was not given additional resources to carry out the process.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he was completely left out of discussions about the financing system, which only impacts his office, but also believes there’s “still time to fix it.”

Rumors began flying in the state’s information technology community about chief information officer Brian Digman after a job posting went online for his job.

New York is forging ahead with its casino plans even though gambling revenue is down across the country and other states are facing a saturation point with local gaming facilities.

Dozens of environmental activists showed up to crash a Hudson Valley fundraiser for Cuomo and protest against hydrofracking. He avoided them – and reporters – by using a side entrance.

“My sense is if you’re saying we’re going back to having private funding for this, that’s basically what we’ve already got, so the governor isn’t doing anything,” said Robert Scott, the executive director of Cornell University’s Prison Education Program.

In his second major address since taking office, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio next week will assess his administration’s accomplishments and discuss his agenda moving forward.

A federal court upheld New York City’s ban on religious services in public-school buildings in a 2-1 ruling on Thursday, but de Blasio signaled that he may change the Department of Education’s policy.

De Blasio as he approaches the 100-day mark: “I think the sheer math of the job — the number of items that come, and the speed with which they come up — is something that would surprise anyone…The good news is, you get used to it pretty damn quick.”

De Blasio described Albany to pre-K students as a “strange and mysterious land.”

Top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz said New York City officials waited until the final hours of state budget negotiations to ask for additional speed enforcement cameras.  LINK

How The Press Missed The Obamacare Comeback Story

Just three weeks ago the Associated Press reported the Obama administration needed "something close to a miracle" in order to "meet its goal" of enrolling six million people into private health care plans via the Affordable Care Act before the looming April 1 deadline arrived.

The article's premise was telling in that it focused on what the political fallout would be if Obamacare sign-ups fell short. Noticeably absent was any analysis of what an Obamacare deadline success would look like or what the political implications would be. The scenario of success simply wasn't considered plausible or worth addressing.

Of course, we now know that as many as seven million people enrolled for private coverage through the exchanges established by Obama's health care law.  Thanks to an amazing consumer surge in the month of March, the seven million mark, routinely thought of last year as completely unattainable, and often dismissed this year as not possible, was  met.

And because of a provision of the Obamacare law, approximately three million young people have been added to their parents' private insurance plans. Meaning, more than 10 million people have used Obamacare to secure health coverage. The new law, noted the Los Angeles Times, "has spurred the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century." The paper reported, "At least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gotten health insurance since Obamacare started."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Supreme Court Has Struck Down Overall Campaign Contribution Limits

The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the aggregate campaign contribution limits, thereby opening the door to even more money in the political system.

The 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was penned by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia. The decision relies heavily on the assertion in the 2010 Citizens United ruling that influence and access are not a corruption concern.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate opinion that agreed to strike the aggregate limits, but also called for an end to the entire campaign finance reform system. Full Post

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

NJ bridge scandal probe

G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States

Pivotal swing states under Republican control are embracing significant new electoral restrictions on registering and voting that go beyond the voter identification requirements that have caused fierce partisan brawls.

The bills, laws and administrative rules — some of them tried before — shake up fundamental components of state election systems, including the days and times polls are open and the locations where people vote.
Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election.
Democrats in North Carolina are scrambling to fight back against the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, passed by Republicans there last year. The measures, taken together, sharply reduce the number of early voting days and establish rules that make it more difficult for people to register to vote, cast provisional ballots or, in a few cases, vote absentee.
Full Post

State Budget Deal Reached

With the broad components of his ethics package in the 2014-15 state budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a conference call on Saturday he would end the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption if the measures are approved.

“If this package is adopted, then I would end the Moreland Commission,” Cuomo said.
The $137.9 billion budget would create new penalties for bribery and defrauding the government, as well as the office of an independent enforcement counsel within the state Board of Elections.
Cuomo created the commission last July after he and lawmakers failed to reach any agreement on ethics legislation following a spate of unrelated corruption scandals that saw three state lawmakers arrested.

The commission had subpoenaed lawmakers and their outside business interests for more information on their activities.

The Legislature responded by challenging the commission’s authority to do so in state court, noting that such a move violated the separation of powers.

The legal arguments surrounding the Moreland Commission, however, would be rendered moot should the ethics agreement pass.

The commission in December issued a preliminary report recommending a host of ethics reforms, with several members dissenting on whether the public financing of political campaigns should be included.

Sen. Jeff Klein, meanwhile, says he will continue to push for a broader public financing than a pilot program for the state comptroller’s race.

“More needs to be done. We still need to get real campaign finance reform,” Klein said in an interview. “I think we’re working on a system. I’m very optimistic we can come to an agreement.”
Asked about Klein’s position on the public financing component, Cuomo indicated the pilot program was the best outcome, considering Republican opposition.

“The political sentiment in the Senate does not support a more robust public finance system,” he said.

Full Post