Nov 26


Monday Morning Read

Jim Heaney's recommended reading includes hot takes on Terry Pegula, the potential successors to Brian Higgins, and a couple of Big Brothers.

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There’s been a fair amount of horse race coverage of the competition to succeed Brian Higgins in the 26th Congressional District. Charlie Specht of The Buffalo News named the three leading contenders – Tim Kennedy, Mark Poloncarz and Byron Brown.

Where do they stand on the issues? What sort of agenda would they would bring to Washington?

  • Poloncarz is the most progressive of the three and has a solid track record as county executive and before that, comptroller, although there is the matter of him and Kathy Hochul rolling over for Terry Pegula on the Bills stadium deal. 
  • Kennedy is a middle-of-the-road Democrat with a history of sometimes playing footsies with Republicans. Probably the most likable of the three.
  • Brown says he would be a centrist, but given his incompetence as mayor and estrangement from the party leadership, I don’t pay much mind to his interest in the job.

Speaking of the Bills stadium, construction of the Pegula Palace has claimed its first victim: an event venue within earshot of the new stadium that’s closing after more than four decades due to disruption from construction work. J. Dale Shoemaker alerted me to the story with a note that read: “Garrett [Looker] and I were at the public hearing where this business owner (the husband) implored Adam Walters and County officials to do a full SEQR review (environmental impact statement) of the Bills Stadium so that nearby businesses like his wouldn’t be harmed.” The county, of course, passed on the review.

And speaking of Pegula – who, of course, made his fortune fracking in Pennsylvania – three new studies have linked fracking with childhood cancer, severe asthma attacks and low birth weights. Pegula’s companies have a subpar track record of following environmental laws and regulations, as I reported in 2018 and 2011.

Andrew Cuomo is considering a run for mayor of New York City, reports Politico and the New York Post.

 Donations up to $1,000 made by Dec. 31 will be matched

Covid set back learning for millions of schoolchildren. Poor attendance now that schools are back in session is a contributing factor to a host of problems, academically and otherwise.

A relatively small number of people not only own a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth, but are responsible for an outsized portion of carbon emissions. The 1 percent contribute as much to global warming as the bottom two-thirds of the world’s population. Blame it on their investments and lifestyles, including jet settingAnother report found: “The richest 10% of people in many countries cause up to 40 times more climate-heating carbon emissions than the poorest 10% of their fellow citizens.”

Big Brother, Part 1: Wired magazine reported on a White House sanctioned program that allows police access to access trillions of phone records of mostly law-abiding citizens. The surveillance program has “allowed federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to mine the details of Americans’ calls, analyzing the phone records of countless people who are not suspected of any crime, including victims.”

Big Brother Part 2: LexisNexis, the data and information company, last year sold surveillance tools to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. One critic said LexisNexis has “become a one-stop shop for accessing a range of invasive surveillance tools.” Makes me glad I stopped doing business with them several years ago.

Yes, a lot of people shop online, but brick and mortar stores still account for 85 percent of retail sales, according to the Pew Research Center.

Covid underscored the need for ventilation systems that keep the air clean in buildings. Not that most building owners are listening.

These kids lived – and died – for football. Literally.

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