The Rural Patriot

July 31, 2006

Schumer: No Filibuster on Bolton Vote

Filed under: Congressional Votes — theruralpatriot @ 2:19 pm

Yesterday, on CNN’s “Late Edition” program, Senator Charles Schumer indicated that John Bolton’s nomination as Ambassador to the UN will unlikely face a filibuster by the Senate.  Although Schumer disapproved of the nomination last year, he is now considering approving the nomination.

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Kuhl Visits Iraq

Filed under: Iraq War,Randy Kuhl — theruralpatriot @ 12:31 pm

Congressman Randy Kuhl, as part of a congressional delegation, traveled to Iraq this past weekend. 

I have not seen any news regarding the results of his trip; therefore, I will instead share researched items that I feel are relevant to a trip such as this one.

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July 30, 2006

Weekly News Roundup – 7/30

Filed under: Weekly News Roundup — theruralpatriot @ 11:28 am

In case you may have missed any of these articles! Covering mainly Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, but WNY regional, state, and national topics of interest are also added.

Spitzer, Suozzi claim to be true reformers at debate
NEW YORK – The two Democrats running for governor spent the hour in their first and likely only debate trying to outmuscle each other for bragging rights to who is the true government reformer and fiscal disciplinarian capable of righting state government.

Loss of state computer spurs identity theft fears
ALBANY – The names, addresses and Social Security numbers of as many as 540,000 injured workers have been lost, and the state and its contracted company are trying to protect the workers from identity theft.

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July 29, 2006

Massa/Kuhl Congressional Race 47th Tightest Race in Nation

Filed under: Eric Massa,November 2006 Election,Randy Kuhl — theruralpatriot @ 9:01 am

The National Journal, a nonpartisan publication, has termed the Massa/Kuhl race as one of the top 50 races in the country. They currently rank this race as the 47th tightest race in the nation. That’s 47th out of over 400!

Rep. Randy Kuhl’sreelection race has broken into the top fifty to become the 47th tightest in the US. The ranking comes as Kuhl has come under fire for voting against the interests of his district and being a rubber-stamp for President Bush.
(snip)
According to Congressional Quarterly, Kuhl has voted with President Bush a whopping 93% percent of the time in 2005 – the 2nd highest Republican rate in all of New York State. His votes against his district include instituting soft House ethics rules, cutting student loans, sending tax breaks to Big Oil and refusing to override President Bush’s stem cell veto.

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July 28, 2006

The Federal Minimum Wage Debate

Filed under: Congressional Votes,Eric Massa,Randy Kuhl,Wages — theruralpatriot @ 12:42 pm

The minimum wage rate hike issue has become a hot campaign topic not only across the nation, but also on our local level.

From  Randy Kuhl’s July 25 press release:

“Massa attacked Kuhl for what he claimed was Kuhl’s vote against an increase in the federal minimum wage. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out similar news releases attacking other Republicans around the country, including Rep. James Walsh (R-Onondaga).  Both Kuhl and Walsh have long supported an increase in the minimum wage. Both, in fact, are co-sponsors of a bill to do exactly that. So, what’s going on here? Are Kuhl and Walsh talking one way and voting another? Nope. In fact, the vote that the Democrats are talking about actually had very little, if anything, to do with the minimum wage.”     (Canandaigua Messenger 7/21/06)

Eric Massa counters this argument:

Massa repeated his charge today that Kuhl plays politics with his vote on the minimum wage, and that while he appears to support the increase, he has also worked to block votes on the increase procedurally. “Randy Kuhl says, ‘I’m in favor of increasing the minimum wage – but let’s not vote on it.’ If that’s not playing politics, I don’t know what is.”

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Massa/Kuhl Debate (Revisited)

Filed under: Eric Massa,Randy Kuhl — theruralpatriot @ 9:57 am

Two days ago, the post regarding the upcoming debate between Mr. Massa and Mr. Kuhl contained links to a newspaper article and a press release that stated that Mr. Kuhl challenged Mr. Massa to the debate.

Here are the facts.  Mr. Massa had challenged Mr. Kuhl to a series of 8 debates as far back as May 8, 2006, the day that Mr. Kuhl announced his candidacy for this district’s congressional seat.  I feel that this is important to report since the newspaper article and Mr. Kuhl’s press release are misleading.

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July 27, 2006

Medicare Part D; The Costs, the Profits, and the Donut Hole

Filed under: Medicare D — theruralpatriot @ 8:41 am

When the new Medicare Part D perscription plan enrollment period started, there was confusion and frustration in signing up for the program. Now, the “donut hole” part of the plan is kicking in for many of the plan’s participants.

For all patients, Medicare covers 75 percent of the first $2,250 worth of drugs. But after that, coverage drops to zero — and doesn’t resume until the patient hits $5,100 in expenses. Then Medicare kicks in again, paying 95 percent of costs. But it’s this gap — of almost $3,000 — that many sick and disabled seniors call unaffordable.

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July 26, 2006

Massa/Kuhl to Hold Debate

Filed under: Eric Massa,Randy Kuhl — theruralpatriot @ 12:58 pm

Randy Kuhl has accepted Eric Massa’s invitation to debate. The Massa campaign would like to have a series of 8 debates, one in each county of the 29th District; however, to date, Mr. Kuhl has agreed to only one debate.

WLEA radio in Hornell has agreed to host the debate.  (Only those in that station’s coverage area will be able to hear it.)  As of now, this is the only media outlet that I am aware of that will cover the event.  I’m hoping that other outlets will pick up the coverage so that all of the residents of the district would be able to listen.  I’d prefer the “Series of 8” debates so that interested constituents could attend.  Radio is good, but it’s not as good as being there or watching it on TV.

As soon as the details are set for the debate, I’ll let you know.

UPDATE – 7/27; From the comments:

We have tentative agreement for a second radio debate, on WXXI radio in Rochester, hosted on the Bob Lonsberry show. NO specifics are finalized yet.

Comment by Mike Williams, Massa for Congress — July 27, 2006  

July 25, 2006

Checking the Record

Filed under: Randy Kuhl — theruralpatriot @ 6:58 pm

I was looking around in Randy Kuhl’s campaign website, and I came across this:

“I pride myself on accurately representing the people of the 29th Congressional District and I work hard each day to try and better the lives of everyone in this region.

OK.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not knowledgeable about every single vote he has cast, but lets look at some of the votes that he has cast:

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The U.S. Economy and You (Part 2)

Filed under: US Economy,Wages — theruralpatriot @ 8:31 am

In Part 1, I touched upon the decrease in average annual wages from 2000 to 2004 for four-year college graduates.  Today we will take a further look at the possible reasons for this.

That Raise Might Take 4 Years to Earn as Well

Wage stagnation, long the bane of blue-collar workers, is now hitting people with bachelor’s degrees for the first time in 30 years. Earnings for workers with four-year degrees fell 5.2% from 2000 to 2004 when adjusted for inflation, according to White House economists.

It is a remarkable setback for workers who thought they were well-positioned to win some of the benefits of the nation’s economic growth, and it may help explain why surveys show that many Americans think President Bush has not managed the economy well.

Not since the 1970s have workers with bachelor’s degrees seen a prolonged slump in earnings during a time of economic growth. These workers did well during the last period of economic growth, 1995 to 2000, with inflation-adjusted average wages rising 12%, according to an analysis by the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

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July 24, 2006

The U.S. Economy and You (Part 1)

Filed under: Unemployment,US Economy,Wages,working families — theruralpatriot @ 7:35 pm

The U.S. economy is strong!  The tax cuts are working and we must make them permanent!  The estate tax, (now known as the “death tax”), must be repealed!  We have to do this to keep our economy strong and growing! 

If you have any exposure to traditional media, there is no doubt that you have heard these phrases.  But, I ask, how’s your “personal economy” doing these days?  How did you like your last raise? (what??? You didn’t get a raise? )  But you received a tax cut, didn’t you? (you mean the one that we didn’t notice because the price of EVERYTHING has risen and the cut was barely noticeable?).   What’s that I hear about how your money just doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to go? 

I think it is time to take a look at some real numbers.  We can find  those numbers at our own government’s websites. 

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July 23, 2006

The Weekly News Roundup – 7/23

Filed under: Weekly News Roundup — theruralpatriot @ 2:49 pm

In case you may have missed any of these articles! Covering mainly Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, but WNY regional, state, and national topics of interest are also added.

STW ranks project funding list SALAMANCA – Southern Tier West board members have rated the projects that they feel should receive funding this year, but it will be a few months before they know how much funding will be available for each one.

West Valley plans decried as premature, ill-advised ASHFORD – A handful of speakers attended Wednesday night’s public comment session to object to the Energy Department’s plan to demolish, decontaminate and remove 42 structures at the West Valley Demonstration Project. Most – including the State Environmental Research and Development Authority, which owns the former commercial nuclear fuels reprocessing plant and its 3,000-acre site near West Valley – called the move premature and ill-advised.

7 WNY counties eligible for farm loans after frost WASHINGTON – The Agriculture Department has made farmers in Erie, Niagara, Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Genesee and Wyoming counties eligible for low-interest disaster loans to help them recover losses caused to their grape crops in the frost of April 25-26.

Officials join forces in efforts to promote Olean Airport ISCHUA – The Cattaraugus County-Olean Municipal Airport is beginning to live up to its name, if Tuesday night’s joint meeting of a County Legislature committee and the Olean Common Council in the main hangar is any indication.

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July 22, 2006

Massa opposes The Oman Free Trade Agreement

Filed under: Eric Massa,national security,OFTA,Randy Kuhl,working families — theruralpatriot @ 1:12 am

As noted in an earlier post, Randy Kuhl, our congressman, voted Friday in favor of passage of The Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA).  Eric Massa, who is campaigning against Mr. Kuhl in this November’s election, has issued a press release regarding his concerns about OFTA. 

 Prior to the House vote, Mr. Massa called upon Mr. Kuhl to “do the right thing for upstate New York and vote against this agreement”.  Mr. Massa cited, “It’s bad for American workers, bad for workers in other countries, and bad for our national security.”

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Randy Kuhl House Votes (week ending 7/21/06)

Filed under: Congressional Votes,Randy Kuhl — theruralpatriot @ 1:02 am

The following list contains information related to Mr. Kuhl’s House Votes for the month of July, 2006.

7/20/06 Vote 392; H R 5684: Passed, 221-205, with 7 not voting; Kuhl votes YES

To Implement the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement

7/19/06 Vote 388; H R 810: Failed, 235-193, with 5 not voting; Kuhl Votes NO

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act

7/18/06 Vote 378; H J RES 88: Failed, 236-187, with 1 voting Present and 9 not voting; Kuhl votes YES

Proposing An Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Relating to Marriage

7/13/06 Vote 374; H R 9: Passed, 390-33, with 9 not voting; Kuhl votes YES

Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act

For complete information on Representative Kuhl’s House votes held this month, click on his votes database link located under the Blogroll category at the right of this screen.

Hillary Clinton/Charles Schumer Senate Votes (week ending 7/21/06)

Filed under: Charles Schumer,Congressional Votes,Hillary Clinton — theruralpatriot @ 1:01 am

The following list contains information related to Senate Votes for the month of July, 2006. Senators Clinton and Schumer voted YES on the following items:

7/20/06 Vote 212; H R 9: Passed, 98-0, with 2 not voting.

Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006

7/18/06 Vote 206; H R 810: Passed, 63-37.

Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005

7/13/06 Vote 197; Rejected, 38-62

On the Motion: Motion to Waive CBA Re: Dodd Amdt. No. 4641; To fund urgent priorities for our Nation’s firefighters, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel, and all Americans by reducing the tax breaks for individuals with annual incomes in excess of $1,000,000.

7/11/06 Vote 193; H R 5441: Rejected, 32-66, with 2 not voting.

Clinton Amdt No. 4563; To establish the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an independent agency, and for other purposes.

7/11/06 Vote 191; H R 5441: Agreed to, 68-32

Vitter Amdt. No. 4548, As Modified; To prohibit the United States Customs and Border Protection from preventing an individual not in the business of importing a prescription drug from importing an FDA-approved prescription drug.

For complete information on Senators Clinton and Schumer’s Senate votes held this month, click on their votes database link located under the Blogroll category at the right of this screen.

July 21, 2006

Cattaraugus County Redistricting Plan Lawsuit

Filed under: Cattaraugus County,Redistricting — theruralpatriot @ 3:17 pm

Machias man challenges county’s redistricting plan

LITTLE VALLEY — A lawsuit has been filed against Cattaraugus County seeking to overturn a 2003 legislative redistricting plan.

A Machias Democrat, David F. Wright, filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Little Valley Friday. (July 14, 2006)

(snip)
Mr. McCandless said the lawsuit seeks to overturn a redistricting plan approved May 14, 2003, that also reduced the number of legislators from 21 to 17 in the November 2007 election. On the same day, county lawmakers approved a “weighted voting” plan that sought to restore the “one-man, one-vote” principle. Ideally, in a “one-man, one-vote” situation, each legislator would represent 3,998 people. In 2003, county legislative districts were still based on the 1990 census. The weighted voting plan took into account population changes found by the 2000 census in assigning legislators similar populations to represent.”

(Mr. McCandless is the Cattaraugus County Democratic Party Chairman.)

Two plans were enacted; however, only one is allowed under municipal law.

The Republican-controlled County Legislature’s redistricting plan is not favorable to Democrats, Mr. McCandless said. “We fought to reduce the size of the Legislature,” he said.

Jerry E. Burrell, Cattaraugus County Republican Party Chairman was also interviewed for this article. He stated, “It’s interesting, he said. “Part of the (redistricting) objective was to reduce the size of the Legislature,” and didn’t know “why democrats were opposed to that”.

It looks to me that the Democrats aren’t opposed to the size of the legislature. What they do want, however, is the redistricting plan developed and implemented in a legal manner.

Cattaraugus County November Election Information

Filed under: Cattaraugus County,November 2006 Election — theruralpatriot @ 2:31 pm

From the Salamanca Press, July 17, 2006

The Cattaraugus County Board of Elections announced the list of candidates who filed petitions by the Thursday deadline.

Topping November contests is the election between Charles W. Couture (R, I, C) and Charles F. Hebdon (D, WF). The two are vying to fill the remaining of the late Gerard “Jess” Fitzpatrick’s term, which will end in December 2007. After Fitzpatrick’s sudden death in the spring, legislators appointed Couture to fill the seat until a special election could be held in November.

The only other county race before voters is for Cattaraugus County coroner. Candidates are Cleon W. Easton, III* (R, I, C); Mark A. Schindler (D, WF).

For town election information, click on the above link.

Poverty, Population, and the Unemployment Rate

Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties face the issues of poverty and stagnant or decreasing population growth rate. It is also worthwhile to examine the unemployment figures for these two counties.

According to the 2003 Census, Cattaraugus ranks 53rd and Allegany ranks 57th of the 63 counties in New York State’s poverty statistics. We are definitely at the bottom 20% of this list.

From 1990 to 2005, Allegany County increased its population by 132 (50,470 to 50,602), a +0.26% increase. Cattaraugus County decreased its population level by 1732 (84,234 to 82,502), a -2.06% decrease.

Our unemployment numbers have risen; however, they are still at low levels. From 2000 to 2005, Allegany County went from 4.9% to 5.6%; Cattaraugus County went from 4.5% to 5.5%.

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July 20, 2006

Welcome!

Filed under: Allegany County,Cattaraugus County,Welcome message — theruralpatriot @ 4:58 pm

Being a resident in Allegany or Cattaraugus County has its advantages. We are far from the maddening traffic jams that city drivers endure. The landscape that surrounds us is a gift that keeps on giving. Folks are friendly, and chances are that you know your neighbors. We tend to look after and help each other out. The quality of the air we breathe is much cleaner, and our crime rate is much lower than that of city and urban areas.

Living here, however, does present challenges. Some of these challenges are met and are handled with commendable ability. I tip my hat to our winter road crews – we certainly get more than our fair share of snow here. To our volunteer fire, ambulance and paramedic crews – I salute you. You exemplify the true spirit and heart of the rural community.

Unfortunately, our counties do face issues such as job growth rate, stagnant population growth, and poverty. We also face issues that many citizens in the United States are now facing. Senior citizens are trying to cope with the new Medicare D plan. Parents and/or students are struggling with trying to pay for their higher-education tuition. The “No Child Left Behind Act” seems to be having unwanted consequences in school districts across the nation. Gasoline will soon be $3.00 a gallon and will probably continue to rise. Health insurance costs, if you are lucky enough to have it, seem to rise every year. Have you received a tax cut and is it covering these rising costs? Most of us can say, “No!”. And the new bankruptcy law has made it more difficult for those who are in dire need due to medical/unforeseen costs to receive relief.

It doesn’t matter who we are – Democrats, Independents, Republicans, No Party Affiliation, etc., we are all affected by these issues. What is decided upon at the local, state, and federal levels impact each of our lives.

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