Monday, February 23, 2015

Last Call For Another Secession Session

Angry rural counties are at it again, this time in upstate New York, where towns in at least 4 counties want to leave the Empire State and become part of Pennsylvania over Gov. Cuomo's statewide fracking ban.

Fifteen towns in upstate New York have expressed interest in secession after the state banned fracking, according to an interest group researching the economic benefits of such a move.

The Upstate New York Towns Association said 15 towns expressed interest breaking away to join Pennsylvania, which allows fracking, according to television station WBNG. Although the group declined to name specific towns involved in the effort, WBNG reported the towns are located in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties. 
Those counties are located in or near New York's natural gas-rich Southern Tier, which borders Pennsylvania. 
The secession seed apparently was planted by Conklin, N.Y. town supervisor Jim Finch (R) back in December when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a ban on the gas extraction technique. Conklin is part of the towns association. 
"The Southern Tier is desolate," Finch told WBNG. "We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground." 
New York state Sen. Majority Deputy Leader Tom Libous (R) also included a question on secession in a recent survey of his constituents. 
"After the one-two punch to our community from the recent casino and gas drilling decisions, my office received many emails, phone calls and messages from constituents calling for a Southern Tier secession from New York State," Libous said in a statement to WBNG. "While getting my constituents' opinion on spending the $5 billion surplus was our top priority, I thought a question on secession should also be included in the survey."

Boy if people figure out they can just up and secede over every little state law, there's not going to be very many states left in this whole United States of America thing.  Note too that this didn't become a problem until president 44 came along.

Just because you lost the vote in a Democracy doesn't mean you can just up and leave, guys.  No, I take that back, you can leave, and you can move.

So, whatever.

Patriot Games

Glenn Reynolds may be pulling one of the better Poe’s Law fast ones here, but it sure looks like the guy is saying (in his always baffling weekly USA Today column, how he keeps that I’ll never know) that, rather than questioning President Obama’s patriotism, it may be time to do something about those unpatriotic liberal voters who put him into power twice.

Perhaps we need to pay closer attention to these questions where presidents are concerned, but perhaps we should go a step farther: In a country like ours, where voters reign supreme, it seems as if concern about the patriotism of rulers ought to also apply to voters.
Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein, in his famous novel Starship Troopers, envisioned a society where voters, too, had to demonstrate their patriotism before being allowed to vote. In his fictional society, the right to vote came only after some kind of dangerous public service — in the military, as a volunteer in dangerous medical experiments, or in other ways that demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good. The thought was that such voters would be more careful, and less selfish, in their voting. 
So when the five-day wonder of questioning Barack Obama’s patriotism is over, perhaps we should address another question: How patriotic is the electorate? And how long can we survive as a nation if the answer is “not very”? And we should proceed from there.

Actually bringing up Starship Troopers as an example of a voting society and implying in the next paragraph that maybe having voting and citizenship be earned somehow by “patriots” is so ridiculously and completely peg-the-needle fascist that I honestly believe Reynolds is pulling our leg here, but there’s not anything in the rest of the column that makes me think this is satire or parody.

I think he might actually be serious.

I mean isn’t this the next logical step for the party that’s trying to limit the number of people who are allowed to vote, those trying to depress the electorate to the point of apathy leaving only the true believers to cast ballots, who believes the Voting Rights Act is an outdated relic, and is actively blocking any attempt to try to update it for the 21st century? Why not open fascism where only the right people are allowed to vote? That would certainly prevent that whole “demography as destiny” problem the GOP is facing, yes?

I dunno, nothing really surprises me anymore about these guys.

Another Nail In First Look's Coffin

First Look Media, the increasingly silly broken toy of tech billionaire Pierre Omidyar, helmed by Glenn Greenwald, continues to fall apart.  This time it's the loss of reporter Ken Silverstein, who left because of "management's incompetence and bad faith."  Here are some of Ken's Facebook posts on the issue from this weekend, from Jim Romanesko:

February 20 at 10:26pm
You know what’s cool about being a former employee of First Look/The Intercept? That Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Betsy Reed and Pierre Omidyar all believe in Free Speech and the First Amendment so they won’t mind my writing about my time working for and with them. Tentative title: “Welcome to the Slaughterhouse.”

February 20 at 11:39pm
I have to go to sleep soon but before I forget, you know what my favorite part of working for First Look was? Last year’s holiday party when two of our fiercely independent staffers “interviewed” Pierre Omidyar and asked him what he did in the morning. Since you are all hanging on the edge of your seats, he drinks tea and reads stuff, the NYT and other things and then The Intercept was about #5 (he claims). And for the record, I boycotted this embarrassing affair and sat in a conference room with two other people, one who no longer works there and one who may or may not. It’s hard to keep track. What a joke.

February 21 at 11:34am
Wow, it is amazing how good it feels not to work for The Intercept. And what feels even better is the incredible support I have received from friends and editors (some editors who are friends). I have lots of work lined up and the day could not be better. Also, just one last comment on First Look Media: The fact that that it hired so many talented people to create Racket and spent millions of dollars on it and in the end fired everyone and Racket never published a single story is probably the greatest squandering of money and example of criminal ineptitude in the history of modern journalism. Again, what a pathetic joke. Oh yeah, I was not originally hired to work at Racket and didn’t get fired, so I am not including myself in the group of “talented” people I mentioned above. Thanks again everyone.

February 22 at 10:24am
So this will be my last post about First Look. First, let me say I’ve had a great weekend enjoying by status as a former FL employee and hanging out with my son and talking to friends and otherwise having a fine time. Though it may appear otherwise, I am not blindly lashing out at FL. My prior posts reflect the anger and disillusionment I feel towards the company, and my anger and disillusionment is shared by many former employees. I am one of a many employees who was hired under what were essentially false pretenses; we were told we would be given all the financial and other support we needed to do independent, important journalism, but instead found ourselves blocked at every step of the way by management’s incompetence and bad faith….


Can't say you weren't warned.  Those of us who saw through Double G years ago knew what he was about: monetizing attacking the Obama administration from the left.  Snowden was his chance of a lifetime, and since then he's been coasting on fumes, realizing that he's being used by any number of people (and maybe the Russians) to make Obama and America look bad.

It's got to suck, but what has The Intercept done except fail?  Look at the people who left without writing a single decent article, who were driven out and lied to.  They all have the same story, like Silverstein does, time and time again.

That's a serious problem for First Look and at this point they have no credibility left.


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