As always, the candidates are giving their reasons why they should be seated for the first time and incumbents are stating their case as to why they should be re-elected. Of course, the interesting twist in the legislative arena is the reapportionment and downsizing, in addition to open seats in both the County Clerk office and an Assembly seat vacated by James P. Hayes, R-Amherst, who took a job in the private sector.
The Buffalo News recently conducted endorsement interviews with Common Council candidates. We have edited 30-minute interviews into short clips to give voters and those living outside the district a glimpse into the candidates' viewpoints on why they should either be re-elected or seated for the first time.
All but one of the candidates, Rochelle A. Ricchiazzi in the University district, who did not respond to numerous requests by The News, is shown. We also offer our endorsement editorial for more information. Overall, it is important that voters go to the polls on a primary day that is expected to draw a low turnout. It would be nice to be proven wrong.
When it comes to our former editorial page editor, Mike Vogel, none of us really knows where to start. He was, is and always will be a friend, first and foremost.
As many readers have learneded through News Editor Margaret Sullivan's recent Sunday column, Mike has retired. His departure coincides with that of several colleagues, all of whom will be missed in the newsroom.
For those of us here among the nameless and faceless in the opinions department, Mike will be especially missed. He brought the highest level of professionalism to the job and, more important, he brought his sense of humanity. We strive to live up to the journalistic legacy he's created.
Part of that history can be found in the Viewpoints cover piece in today's Buffalo News, in which he gives a fascinating account of his sometimes adventurous career. Mike's writing, just like the man, is always a pleasure.
We expect readers will get as much enjoyment from hearing what our friend has to say as we did.
Primary election day is coming up on Sept. 13 and The News has chosen to take a look at the four of nine council seats up for grabs. Council seats go up for bid every four years and although this race seemed far from an attention-grabber once the Fillmore District contestants were decided, this election is going to determine how the next several years go in the city. Good or bad. Progress or no progress. The nine-member body is pivotal in determining the future of the City of Buffalo.
For that reason, we're a little disappointed that not all incumbents were challenged or that those who sought office, in some cases, seemed ill prepared. However, no one should be discouraged. There are a couple of potential stars among the challengers and they should be encouraged to try again. Overall, whether challenger or incumbent, all should continue to work for the good of the city.
A local radio host got all screechy this week over a Buffalo News editorial lamenting right-wing hate speech and a News' political cartoon unkind to Sarah Palin. So enraged -- or just looking for a hot topic to liven his show -- he urged listeners to cancel their Buffalo News subscriptions, and several dozen people did so.
But here's where it gets weird: The radio station didn't cancel its own Buffalo News subscriptions. Our records show that 16 copies of The Buffalo News will still arrive at the office at 500 Corporate Parkway Monday through Friday, same as always. Five copies will still arrive on Saturday, and five on Sunday.
Apparently, the radio station's managers see value in the newspaper -- especially as a guide for their own news department. They are are not about to practice what their morning pundit preaches. And if they were to cancel The News in protest, they probably shouldn't look at BuffaloNews.com either, to remain consistent, of course.
Hey, we believe in free speech, too. Rants over the airwaves can provide fine, fun entertainment that's good for business. We also are proud of the fact we provide a service for our friends in radio. We value them as customers.
In fact, The News values all its customers, even those who recently left us. Should you ever want to come back, our arms are open. The radio station that urged you to drop us seems to think The Buffalo News is worth the money.
This intrepid editorial writer (if there is such a thing)/traveler (again, questionable on the definition) had her choice, either the box (otherwise known as the Advanced Imaging Technology -- or dreaded, body scanner), or an extremely personal pat down in front of a very large group of impatient and otherwise disinterested strangers. That is, if I chose not to go into a private (and time-consuming) area.
Body scanner. Quick, easy solution for someone traveling from Baltimore Washington International Airport back to "sunny" Buffalo. Time had already been devoured in a slow-moving security line and, for the first time in years, the usual walk-through scanner had gone off. The sharp buzz was jolting. "Do you have anything in your pockets?" the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer politely asked. "No. Maybe it's the "bedazzlers" on my sweater. I've got another shirt on underneath. I'll put the sweater through the conveyor belt." Buzz!
"Are you wearing an underwire bra?" asked the helpful (male) TSA officer. Gee, that's a bit personal. Similar to the "boxers or briefs" question former President Bill Clinton received from a gutsy high school student so many years ago.
Well...OK. Now, it's a choice. Body scanner or pat down. Clock is ticking.
"I'll just step into the body scanner. Will it take long?"
"No," answered the TSA officer. "Stand on those footprints and hold your hands up."
Done. Exposed to some stranger, somewhere, forgotten for the moment and racing toward the gate. That wasn't so bad. Was it?
Apparently, this editorial writer wasn't the only one faced with the dilemma and who, after all the hemming and hawing, decided the best option was to meekly give in to a system TSA heads insist will offer the flying public better protection.
Resistance is futile.
Just ask opponents who promised mass protests at the nation's airports over the holiday weekend. The result: a faint whisper instead of an outcry, if the numbers and reports are to be believed. The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe quoted TSA officials, "Everything went smoothly overall." At the nation's busiest airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, 39 out of more than 47,000 passengers last Wednesday declined to use the machines. David Carr of The New York Times writes about "A Media False Alarm Over the T.S.A."
Still, it didn't stop truly intrepid travelers like college student Jimmy who videotaped his Speedo-wearing adventure through the Salt Lake International Airport last week. You be the judge:
And then there was the passenger who refused to go through the body scanner and upon hearing he would have to undergo a full-body pat down threatened TSA workers, "...if you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested." That statement earned John Tyner a talk with a TSA supervisor...
Tyner didn't want anyone looking at his naked body. Understandable. And then there are some health concerns about low levels of radiation exposure. Also, understandable. Privacy. Security. Catching a plane. What are the options? And where are the limits?
When rushing to a plane, the decision becomes easier. Or, does it?
On the national and state levels, the brains in The Buffalo News Opinion corner continue to tease out the meanings of Tuesday's elections:
- Now what? - Buffalo News Editorial William F. Buckley Jr., the great guru of the 20th century conservative movement, described the conservatives' role in politics as "standing athwart history, yelling 'stop!'" The American electorate did exactly that Tuesday. The question now becomes whether the newly empowered Republican Party, in control of the House and with much greater pull in the Senate, wants to do anything other than stand athwart everything President Obama may propose, or whether it has anything truly constructive in mind. Because history, despite Buckley's expressive turn of phrase, does not stop. The federal government will need to do things. ... The voters, now, must be on watch to see if either party wants to solve any of the nation's problems, or if one or both is all too happy to see them go unsolved, so that they can be used as a club to beat their rivals with in the next election campaign. Which begins right ... about ... now.
Related: - Americans recalibrate - David Broder/Washington Post/Buffalo News The message to President Obama from Tuesday’s election could not have been plainer: Don’t abandon your goals. Change your way of operating. - Americans recoil - George F. Will/Washington Post/Buffalo News This election was a nationwide recoil against President Obama’s idea of unlimited government. The more he denounced Republicans as the party of “no,” the better Republicans did. - A path forward - Ruth Marcus/Washington Post/Buffalo News In the unhappy aftermath of another Election Day, an American president offered some wise words. “Our task,” he said, “is to be sure our leaders do not fail the American people.” Ronald Reagan was right. To my fellow patriots across the aisle: Let’s win one for the Gipper. - Sorting Out the Election - New York Times Editorial The Republican victory was impressive and definitive, although voters who made it happen were hardly spread evenly across the electorate. The victory was built largely on the heavy turnout of older blue-collar white men, most in the South or the rusting Midwest. - The Boehner Evolution - Wall Street Journal Editorial We're probably destined more for gridlock than accomplishment, which after the last two years is an accomplishment itself. - Obama's challenge - Chicago Tribune Editorial He can start by recognizing that his overly ambitious policy agenda in his first two years signaled that the president is intent on enlarging the government and its power, regardless of the real-world consequences. - Six Lessons From the Democratic Disaster - Eliot Spitzer/Slate President Obama lost his capacity to harness the support of the disaffected middle when he enhanced the bailout of Wall Street without getting anything meaningful in return. That was the emotional Rubicon for this administration. Had the bailout been accompanied by fundamental reform, genuine contrition, and actual pounds of flesh, the public might have accepted it. But when the banks, in the midst of the foreclosure morass and economic disaster, returned to the same old bonus behavior, the public sensed one thing: betrayal. - Obama's Morning-After Plan - Tina Brown/The Daily Beast A president who thinks he can change Washington is as misguided as a new studio head thinking he can change Hollywood. He may say he’s arrived to foster new ideas and adapt the great novels he was raised on, but he will still wind up doing Pirates of the Caribbean IV or succumbing to some bollixed-up development process that ends in tears or a frightful Nicolas Cage movie.
- A shot across the bow - Buffalo News Editorial While the dust has not completely settled over the State Senate, most of the Assembly Democrats were able to maintain their incumbency, but not without sustaining a noticeable flesh wound. [Control of State Senate lies in three races - Buffalo News] Assembly Republicans picked up seven seats with another three or four still undecided. The minority party could wind up with 48 to 50 members, possibly a little more after picking up seats from Western New York to Long Island. The effect was substantial in positioning the Republicans to overturn the current super-majority. The pickup sends a clear message that Assembly Democrats will have to start rethinking their votes and policies. Moreover, given the contradiction of Andrew M. Cuomo’s election as a reform governor and the Assembly’s stubborn devotion to the status quo, Democrats must recognize that they need new leadership. Locally, voters must demand that Erie County Democrats Sam Hoyt, Mark Schroeder and Robin L. Schimminger vote for someone other than Sheldon Silver as speaker. ... This election has shown that voters are willing to make comfortable incumbents pay the ultimate price. More bills may yet come due. Related: - Sorry state of campaigns reflects on us- Rod Watson/The Buffalo News Our long local nightmare is over— and I miss it already. I miss it because looking back is a lot more fun than looking forward. The campaigns provided some of the best comic relief we’ve had in years.| The governing? Well, that’s another story. ...
The instant analysis crowd in The Buffalo News Opinion corner today allow themselves to be a little bit hopeful that New York's new governor can turn things around.
- Cuomo’s task - Buffalo News Editorial The governor’s honeymoon begins for Andrew M. Cuomo. Given all that he wants to accomplish, it may be short. Cuomo has done something far different from any politician before him. He has published a remarkable eight volumes of books touching on almost every issue of importance in great detail. His proposals are significant, but they all must travel through the Legislature, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. We will see if Cuomo’s approach to reasoning with Assembly members enables him to achieve his goals. ...