Saturday, June 24, 2017

Big Changes at Bishop Timon High School

My phone's been blowing up. I've received calls from the Buffalo News as well as 2, 4, 7, and the other station that repeats the same news every 20 minutes. Ok, so none of this is true and nobody really cares about what I have to say. But this is 2017 when anyone with a laptop and a 6th grade reading level can report on the news. I have to ask the question on many peoples' minds today. What is going on at Bishop Timon High School?

The school's Board of Directors decided not to renew the contract of principal Michele Battin after her first year at the helm. No public reason was given. A cryptic message on the school's website thanked her for her "years of service." Before becoming principal last year, Battin was a longtime, popular teacher at the school. Battin's firing has reportedly led to the resignation of the school's Athletic Director and football coach Charlie Comerford. 

Battin was a true asset to the school and the community and will be greatly missed. I've never heard anything but praise from her former students and colleagues. I'd be hard-pressed to find a valid reason for her to be let go. My sources tell me that someone from the Board of Trustees is using her as a scapegoat of sorts. 

I do admit the bigger sports teams (football and basketball) really did well over the last six years with Comerford running the show. So what if half the players were brought in from out of state. They did produce some good teams. Not so much the other sports, but how could they with such a small pool of students to choose from? 

It will be interesting to see what else comes out (if anything). Any school would be lucky to have Principal Battin next year and I'm sure she will land on her feet. The same can be said for Comerford, who did the admirable thing by stepping down. My sources tell me he's already received overtures from Fortune 500 companies IBM, Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, and AT&T, but will most likely end up in a politically appointed no-show position working for the City of Buffalo.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

2017 Mayor's Race: South Buffalo Divided?

It's one of those opinionated days...

As Democratic petitions circulate, the 2017 mayoral race in the city of Buffalo begins to heat up. Several questions are being asked. Will Betty Jean Grant rethink the deal she made with City Comptroller Mark Schroeder and drop out of the race? Will she circulate dual petitions for her seat on the Erie County Legislature (just in case)? Should she pursue the Mayor's race, will Betty Jean Grant consider hiring an English translator so people can understand a word she says? These are just some of the questions people are asking.

From this voter's perspective, the biggest hurdle facing South Buffalo's Mark Schroeder is his inability to excite the masses. The average resident simply doesn't care. Downtown and the waterfront are in the process of being revitalized. Whether that had anything to do with Mayor Brown and his administration is irrelevant. It has happened under his watch and he can claim responsibility, and the average voter is too stupid to know otherwise.

If Schroeder wins, it would be a great individual accomplishment. Unsurprisingly, the rest of South Buffalo's career politicians are not on his side. Councilmember Chris Scanlon and State Senator Tim Kennedy are publicly backing Brown. It is unknown if Michael Kearns is backing anyone. He'll wait until Carl Paladino instructs him (just like he does on every other issue). Even longtime Schroeder friend Brian Higgins seems to be very quiet regarding this race. If I were Schroeder, I would wear these lack of endorsements as a badge of honor. If all the politicians are against you, you're probably a good guy.

I believe Mark Schroeder represents one very small section of South Buffalo voters. They live in one small neighborhood, think the whole city is Irish, and are most likely married to their third cousin. As long as they're happy, they think the rest of South Buffalo is happy. And boy, could they possibly be any more wrong? This may have flown during the 1970's but the steel mills and all the other private sector jobs have moved to North Carolina.  The political climate has changed. People expect more from their local officials.

Many of us from the other side of the tracks are happy with Mayor Brown's South Buffalo appointees. Martin Kennedy and Steve Stepniak are both really great people and reflect well on the Brown administration. Brown hired Mark "Rogo" Rogowski, a guy completely overlooked by the South Buffalo politicians for decades because he wasn't part of their clique. Rogo's mistake was helping politically unconnected people over the years. These people don't make political donations so they were of no use to the South Buffalo career politicians. Fortunately, Brown saw through this and took a chance on him. Mark Schroeder has been in one office or another for 16 years. Who has he hired? You probably don't know because they most likely are not your neighbors. They are his neighbors. For Schroeder to win, he will need 100% unity in South Buffalo and I don't believe he has it. Personally, I wouldn't vote for any South Buffalo politician in 2017. They say all sorts of things when campaigning and then once elected, help themselves, their families, and close friends. It's like a broken record. You can set your watch to them. Until one comes along and expands the tent, outsiders will continue to win. The South Buffalo political clique is a very small, shortsighted group. They are greatly outnumbered by the rest of us. They are NOT your neighbors and the average resident with the ability to think for himself/herself is onto them. The gig is up.

I welcome your comments. Please attach your name to them however and keep them civil. Please keep in mind, I know South Buffalo's working poor because I am one. And unless you are too, you have no right to speak for us. If you feel Mark Schroeder can serve the working poor better than Mayor Brown, please state your case and provide evidence. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Councilman Wingo's solution for success: Lower the bar

Masten Councilmember Ulysees Wingo has averted a potential tragedy by shifting the affirmative action debate over admission to City Honors into a war of words geared towards the real villains in this issue: working class Catholic school parents...

"I take exception to the idea that affluent parents who send their children to Catholic schools should have a right, based off of the fact they are Catholic, that they should have exclusive rights to City Honors," he said, later adding: "I support City Honors . . .  What I don't support is a lack of diversity. We have Buffalo public school students who are equally qualified . . .  If parents feel a Catholic education is right for them, by all means go to your Catholic schools and have fun saying your Catholic prayers."

Someone had to say it. City Honors has been one of the best schools in the country for way too long. In the past, they've always accepted the students who scored the best on the entrance exam (minus the politicians' kids who got in regardless of their test scores). Students were eager to learn without disrupting the class. That was clearly a recipe for disaster. The school must lower it's standards if it's going to compete with the rest of the schools in the district. If the Catholics are allowed access to City Honors, pretty soon the Jews and the Burmese might want to go there also and that would be totally unacceptable.

 If they keep the standards high, parents might be expected to read to their children, help them with their homework, and actually prepare them for success. That would be completely unreasonable. Parents have more important things to do with their time. Video games don't just play  themselves. How will parents know the winners of the latest reality shows if they're expected to invest their time towards their child's education?

Wingo's proclamation has set off a firestorm across the nation. The US Track and Field Federation announced today they would no longer be judging the Olympic sprinters' based solely on their times. A spokesperson for the Federation: "We're sick of winning all these gold medals. What's important is for our athletes to represent the diversity here in America. We've decided that at least two of our 4 X 100 relay members will be white and at least one of them will weigh at least 300 pounds. We want our runners to look like their fellow Americans in the stands." 

The National Spelling Bee was also moved by Councilmember Wingo. The correct spelling of words will no longer be the criteria used for judging the winner. Their spokesperson issued this statement today: "We've had enough of  these nerds from India coming over here and learning our grammar. We've decided that this year's winner will be of Puerto Rican descent regardless of whether they can spell or not. In the end, it's really about diversity."

The local news stations attempted to interview the affluent South Buffalo Catholic school parents to get their side of the story. However, they were too busy sailing on their yachts over at Cazenovia Creek and drinking champagne at the local country club with the rest of the powerful elite. 

A hastily planned protest over Wingo's comments for tomorrow at noon on the steps of City Hall was scrapped after it was determined that 90% of the Catholic school parents (unlike Wingo) had to actually be at work tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Passengers on a United Airlines flight were all set to take off when the pilot got on the intercom and went on a long rant about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and her own impending divorce. After that, things got weird. From US Magazine...

That is when one of the passengers jumped up and “stormed off.” He claims half the flight followed his lead — and that after the pilot was removed from the plane the two shared a hug at the agent gate. “She was crying. She apologized. I wished her well & said I hope she gets the help she needs,” he wrote.

Hopefully, she gets the help she needs, gets on proper medication, returns to work, and most importantly, never flies a plane I happen to be on.

Everything ended well as the plane took off with these two new pilots at the helm...

For the full story, go to

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Starry Starry Night

Every once in awhile, the blog comes out of retirement. No longer prolific, just a once-in-awhile commentary on things going on in this crazy world we live in... 

The lyrical genius Don McLean wrote the song Vincent after reading the biography of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, a genius in his own right. It's a very powerful song. McLean basically was puzzled by the fact that Van Gogh's paintings were considered mediocre until many years after his death. Since our days in grammar school, we've always been taught that Van Gogh was crazy. But in the following passage, McLean takes an unconventional stance against history's perception of the artist...

“In the autumn of 1970 I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms. I was sitting on the veranda one morning, reading a biography of Van Gogh, and suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn’t crazy. He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of 'crazy’ . So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag.”

An interesting take on an even more interesting person. Van Gogh, who suffered from depression his whole life, eventually could not take it anymore and took his life as McLean describes in another part of the song...

And, when no hope was left inside on that starry, starry night, you took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.

A beautiful song documenting an incredible life. Here are a few facts about depression from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

-Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults in this country ages 18 or older, or 18% of the population.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.

-Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

 If you're suffering from depression or you think you might be, don't be ashamed to seek help. You are certainly not alone. Call your doctor. Reach out to friends. Most people would love to help, but are just unaware. Hopefully, we can continue to learn more about this horrible illness and discover new methods to fight it. And we may even save a few people along the way. I am confident of this and I KNOW we will. 

(This post is dedicated to Billy C., Matt S., Mariya S, and anyone else going through difficult times. Your community will never forget you.)

So much heartache captured in one song...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Cold Shoulder

Kathy Hochul should be ashamed of herself. Here she is at the New York City Labor Day Parade. Her running mate's opponent (Zeaphye Teachout) tries to tap her on the shoulder to wish her good luck. Hochul turns her back and then completely ignores her. Teachout is completely liberal, but I'm going to break away from my political ideology and vote for her and her running mate (Something Wu). Hochul's behavior at this parade is both classless and rude and I'm glad someone's camera was there to witness it. It won't, but I wish this clip would go viral...

Ok, I admit, after hearing this song, I've been waiting for a reason to play it. Cuomo and Hochul have now given me one. "I wish that I could be like the cool kids"...

Monday, March 17, 2014

He has to go...

Unbelievable. Today, State Senator Tim Kennedy voted Yes on Governor Cuomo's so called Dream Act, which would have given $170 million to illegal immigrants in free college tuition. You read that correctly. Believe it or not, it is not a misprint.

Last week, when Kennedy switched from Pro Life to Pro Choice and voted in favor of Cuomo's Women's Act, he uttered the nonsense, "while he personally is pro life, he had to support what the people in his district wanted". Which leads us to the $170 million dollar question: Why would Kennedy now support something the overwhelming majority of people in his district oppose? What line of BS is he going to come up with now? Clearly, the struggling college students in this area and their parents would never support this ridiculous piece of legislation. The fact that Kennedy did, makes me think every State Senator should be immediately tested for drugs.

Here's what is going on behind the scenes: Kennedy, who pretends to be just a regular guy from South Buffalo, made a deal with the devil. He and a handful of other mindless State Senators have been offered something big by Governor Cuomo's to support every one of his proposals (including this one). So, when Kennedy loses in September, and trust me, he will lose in September, he will be given a nice cushy job from the governor. When he does lose, I will be immediately calling on him to get a job in the private sector. And we will also be monitoring the situation to make sure he is not given a politically appointed job from Governor Cuomo. Someone who sells out his own neighborhood needs to find out what it means to work an eight hour day for an hourly wage. 

So when the political blowhard at the end of your street tells you to support Kennedy this Fall, remind him that Kennedy voted to give $170 million dollars in free college tuition to illegal immigrants. Just think of how many better ways our tax money could be spent. And remember, that is our money they are giving away. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rumore wabbles and he does fall down

Buffalo Teacher's Federation President Phil Rumore is recovering in an Albany hospital after slipping and falling on some ice near his home. Rumore, who was carrying a friend's dog at the time, suffered fractured ribs during the unfortunate incident.

He has received tons of cards wishing him a speedy recovery as well as some wishing that his injuries had been more severe. The accident happened at Rumore's Western New York home. However, he traveled to Albany on business before realizing he needed medical care. Strangely enough, Rumore blamed the fall on the Buffalo Public School Administration's inability to offer the teachers a fair contract.

Kennedy's Desperation Tour continues

State Senator Tim Kennedy held a press conference today to remind residents to set their clocks ahead one hour. This marks Kennedy's 25th press conference over the last 27 days. Kennedy wishes to remind everyone that these are very serious topics he's discussing and not merely shameless attempts to get his name in the paper and his face on TV. Join Kennedy tomorrow on the steps of City Hall at noon as he holds another press conference to announce that it's Monday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy Groundhog Day

It's Groundhog Day! You know what that means.  If State Senator Tim Kennedy comes out and sees his shadow, he will be Pro-Life for another six months. If he doesn't, then he might switch back to being Pro-Choice. Or maybe, he will be both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. You see, it depends on what stance he is told to take.

Be very careful in watching the way The Buffalo News is treating this issue. They are CLEARLY in the pockets of Tim Kennedy and more specifically, Congressman Brian Higgins. They are totally downplaying Kennedy's switch as if it were a personal decision and not based on politics. The switch was made based on Kennedy losing the support of the Conservative Party  and his attempts to gain favor with Governor Cuomo. Things were a lot easier for Tim Kennedy when all he had to do was lick envelopes and put up campaign signs for whatever machine backed candidate he was told to. That's what happens when we allow unskilled political frauds to get elected.

Put aside your feelings on abortion for a minute and ask yourself this question? Do we want to be represented by a leader who bases his stances solely on which lobbyist puts money in his pockets? I believe Tim Kennedy is underestimating the old Catholic ladies at Bingo. As soon as the word gets around about his change in policy, these women and their husbands will crucify Kennedy in September. But, as the Buffalo News seems to believe, Kennedy will only be facing one primary opponent this September, Betty Jean Grant.

This shows once again how clueless and out of touch the Buffalo News is. They have no idea what goes on beyond East Amherst and Williamsville. I'm hearing several unconfirmed reports of a third potential candidate emerging. A dark horse. A shadowy figure. He has no connection to the greedy lobbyists, but does possess the ability to think for himself. He has little money, but plenty of access to the voters through social media. So he's got that going for him, which is nice...