Saturday, July 21, 2012

The 'Race Card' in voter id debate is drawn.

Apparently I am likely to 'harbor negative sentiments towards African Americans' according to “'he Nation' blog and a study by the University of Delaware. In the words of Spock, 'fascinating'


In another study, those who do not support some sort of voter ID reform are also more likely to have a name remarkably similar to those in Disney movies, be dead, or registered to vote in multiple locations. I would provide a link to this study, but it is a study I did over the course of about 15 seconds. In other words I am made it up.

I really didn't have anything against, 'The Nation' or the University of Delaware until they decided to play and push the 'race card' for political gains.

Clearly I support some type of voter ID law and I also support voter registration purges. Both should be done because clearly many citizens of this country cannot be trusted to be honest. Those that say that voter fraud is not a problem because the stats don't show there is one are blind. Go to and just search, you will see poll workers just handing out ballots. When these types of laws are in effect you will most likely see lower voter turn out and there will be complaining that it is because of disenfranchised voters. I see it another way, of the law not allowing people not eligible to vote.

What I don't support is the timing. First you cannot do it during a major race such as President. You have to give it a trial run when the peoples numbers are lower so you can figure out the problems you may not have thought of. Second you have to give people time, enough notice that they will need and ID or have been removed from the registration rolls so they can either get an ID or re-register. I would think 6 months would be good enough but a year would also do.

The last thing I would like to throw in there. Start putting a Photo on EBT cards and accept that as a form of ID. This would also help cut down on welfare fraud.

Just for the record, I am not racist. My Girl Friend is white.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pittsburgh Pirates, Serious.

Back in December I commented on some ofthe Pirates off season moves. Now that we're coming up on the trade dead line I figure I'll take a stroll though that post and also go over some of the guys that Pirates should be looking to pick up. Of course this is just a fan's point of view.

Right now the Pirates are 51-50, 11 games over .500, a half game out of first place with only 4 teams in all of Major League Baseball that have a better record.

After a horrible offensive start to the year, being held up by top notch pitching and on the bat of Andrew McCutchen, they where at or near last in nearly every offensive category. The teams bats started lighting up at the end of May. Nearly every player started getting hits when needed. It was truly one of the best performances by a MLB team I have seen in years.

The star of the team is Andrew McCutchen who is leading the league in Batting Average of .369 and is in the top 5 for Home Runs and RBIs. As of right now he is a Triple Crown and MVP candidate. Not enough can be said for his individual performance this year. Neil Walker the past month has been outstanding as well raising his average to .299

Pittsburgh's pitching staff has been outstanding with little downside. James McDonald and A.J. Burnett have been the top two starters along with Eric Bedard, Kevin Correia and recently off the DL Jeff Karstens. A couple others have made a few starts as well. Over the season the team ERA is 3.55 good enough for sixth in the MLB and a opponent batting average of .245 which puts them at eighth.

Last year around this time the Pirates picked up Derrick Lee and Ryan Ludwick. I was excited but I am not a huge fan of rentals, which turned out what they where. They didn't seem to make a huge impact and the moves may have made things worse.

In the off season the Pirates signed Clint Barmes to replace Cedano at short. At that point I didn't think any one could be much worse at the plate than Cedano was. Turns out Barmes has not hit much of anything this year. Though he has had some clutch hits this year. Barmes has been fairly steady fielding but has made a few errors that have been entertaining. At short it is hard to find an available player, but over all he is overpaid in my opinion.

Rod Barajas was another pickup that I thought was over paid. His base speed and hitting are far from the best but his experience and ability with the pitchers is worth a lot. While I still feel he is a little over paid, over all I think it has been a good pickup.

Nate McLouth did not last long in his second stint in Pittsburgh. He did not cost much to bring back though it clearly was still too much.

Erik Bedard, I am pretty disappointed in his performance. I didn't expect him to win 20 games but teams seem to have his number. Seems to throw good pitches but they just all get hit. Once someone figures out why I think he'll be dangerous.

A.J. Burnett is the best player on the Pirates the Yankees are paying for. Between him and Barajas, I feel have helped the confidence of the whole pitching staff.

Casey McGehee, Hasn't been the best but was fairly cheap and can play first and third.

Position check.

First Base: Jones and McGehee have been platooning the role and doing fairly well. Hague has come up to play the position fairly well too. In the line up you want to have Jones in when you can.

Second Base: Walker has been a beast at the plate the past month, his fielding has been better than average.

Short Stop: Barmes has done a fair job fielding but over all at the plate has been pretty bad. A few others have filled in from time to time but over all right now Barmes is the best option.

Third Base: Alverez has come alive. Tied for fourth in the NL in Home runs and eleventh in RBIs. He has also got some clutch hits. His average and OBP are rather low and his strike out number is still pretty high but he has made a huge leap this year and seems to be getting better as the year goes on. McGehee also fills in when Alverez is on rest or has a bad pitching matchup.

Catcher: Barajas as played the position great though batting hasn't been the best he does have power. McKenry has also played pretty well. Picking off people taking second has been pretty bad.

Outfield. The only sure thing out there is Andrew McCutchen. One of the better Center fielders in baseball along with his bad make him a serious MVP contender this year. Left and right are up in the air. Jones has been playing some Right field Not the best but far from the worst. Presley, Sutton and Hernandez have been playing left.

Pitching. A.J. and J-Mac have been outstanding. Karstens is doing pretty well since his return. Correia has been holding his own. Bedard continues to get hit on, Though his last outing was pretty darn good. (one earned run, yeah good). In the bullpen, Lincon and Grilli have been darn good with Hanrahan closing. It is hard to argue they're not doing well though some improvements can be made.

There are some players available at the trade dead line that could fill some gaps, most notably short and outfield.

Justin Upton: While Arizona hasn't said he is on the market, they are listening... which means he is on the market. I like this guy but his numbers out side of Arizona take a dive. He is under contract through 2015, has a decent enough glove and could do as well as any other option we currently have available. The cost will be high

Carlos Quentin: This guy gets on base. But most likely would just be a rental. However he would be cheap and give us time to find or develop another out field option.

Marco Scutaro: Shortstop is much needed, this guy can play it and is better than average behind the plate. Again most likely a rental given his age. However should he decide to stay in Pittsburgh, he shouldn't cost any more than Barmes has.

There are plenty of available rentals available at pitcher as well. However I do not feel most of these would be viable for the Pirates at this time.

In the minors there appears to be a few players that are nearing their time.

Marte could be the outfielder the pirates need though his strike out numbers seem a bit high. Cole, we've been hearing about him since he was drafted. I see both of these players getting some time in this year.

Again all this is just a fans point of view, I am by far an expert.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Seneca Nation of Indians vs New York State. Gaming compact.

I just read a story in the Buffalo News and skimmed through the comments. It is pretty amazing how little people know about the issues that are effecting them directly. The story involves the Seneca Nation's Casino in Niagara Falls and the City of Niagara falling apart due to with held payments from the Seneca's. According to the story, the Seneca Nation currently owe around $58 Million to the City of Niagara over the past three years.

I'll preface the rest of this post by saying I am not a Lawyer or Politician, I know I don't have all the information, but clearly after reading some of the comments on the story; I know more about it than the people directly effected (and I live about 3 and a half hours away).

So in 2002, New York State and the Seneca Nation of Indians put together what they call a Gaming Compact that allowed the Seneca Nation to put up a few Las Vegas style casinos in New York State. In this Gaming Compact (found here: the Seneca Nations agreed to pay the state and local municipalities a portion of the take in. The compact also provided for exclusive rights to the Seneca Nation for large portions of Western New York State. This seemed to work well for everyone involved (money wise) for a few years.

In recent years New York State, like many other states; have approved what they called racinos that are basically race tracks with slot machines in them. Some of these racinos are in the Seneca Nations Exclusive zone. Because a deal could not be worked out and it appears the Seneca Nations grievances have been ignored (at least it looks that way) the Seneca Nation with held payments to New York State. The last number I have seen suggests the amount was around $300 Million, I would speculate that the total is now closer to $400 Million but do not hold me to that.

Since the problem with the Compact is NOT the local municipalities (mostly Niagara and Salamanca) and they are in a tough spot financially, the Seneca Nation offered to pay them their portion directly. The way the deal works, for local municipalities to get their money they have to go through the state so they can take their processing fees out of it. Of course New York State did not want this so they said they COULD NOT do this.

What is the result? Run down buildings, streets falling apart and layoffs. Is this the fault of the inability of New York State and the Seneca Nation to work out a deal? I would have to say no. It would've happened anyway. New York States failed financial policies are well known and only seem to be getting worse. However the payments surely where helping and could have continued helping.

The Gaming Compact provided New York State away to help themselves and to help the Seneca Nation. It was a true Win Win situation (financially speaking) for everyone.

I am not sure at what stage the conflict is now, but I heard something about arbitration not too long ago. The arbitration could be bad news for all parties from New York State not getting any money to the Seneca Nation not having any exclusive zone.

In my opinion the safest way...
  • Calculate how much the Seneca Nation lost because of the zone breach.
  • Do some math and take that out of the amount 'owed' to New York State.
  • A reasonably sized fine to the State for breaking the Compact out of the State's portion NOT the municipalities, paid to the Seneca Nation from the State of New York.
  • Change the Gaming Compact so that the Seneca Nation can and will pay municipalities directly.
  • The Seneca Nation to pay the remainder to effected parties directly.
  • Order the racinos in the zone to pay a portion of their gambling take ins to those they hurt the past few years (mostly Niagara and Salamanca areas). All be it a pretty small portion.
  • Further bar any more racinos/casinos in the Seneca Nations exclusive rights zone.
  • Ask that the municipalities set some of the payments back for use for emergency funding for natural or financial disasters.

Personally I don't like it, clearly New York State broke their contract with the Seneca Nation. But something like this would help everyone right away pretty quickly. Assuming everyone sticks to it, it would also provide for future financial security.

So it comes down to, who is the bad guy?  Who ever gave the racinos their permit inside the Exclusive zone. Also who disallowed payments directly to the municipalities? No one is completely in the right in this but from what I see New York State caused the most harm to those directly effected.

Some of the comments on the Buffalo News site are pretty outlandish from people who are effected by this situation.  I feel for them, but don't let anger and frustration cloud your judgement. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pennsylvania Voter ID law... really?

In Pennsylvania you need a photo id to vote now (pending the courts review this month). 'They' are reporting that 758,000ish voters do not have ID from PennDot.

The left is complaining that new law disenfranchises the poor, elderly and minority voters. It seems highly democratic districts such as Philadelphia are the ones mostly effected by this with around 186,000 voters with out PennDot Ids.

The Law requires voters to have an acceptable form of photo id to vote. These forms of ID include a Drivers License, PennDot photo id (non-drivers), Student ID with an expiration date, a passport, Military ID or another form of Government ID.

Personally I think the idea is sound. Every election you hear of complaints of voter fraud. Last election I heard a story that a campaign had a bus full of people that would drive to different districts and vote in multiple locations. True story or not laws like this will keep them from gaining any recognition.

Here are some real questions.

Why do these people not have photo id?

Why does it seem a very large portion of these people live in Democratic districts?

Here is some speculation on my part, keep in mind I am just making this stuff up based on what I have read.

These people do not have a drivers license because they don't have a car because they cannot afford it. These same people don't have pass-ports because they cannot afford to travel. They do not have student ids because they cannot afford to go to school. Since they don't have a job apparently they do not have a government id and they're not in the military. Got the theme here, they are broke. They also happen to live in a democratic district. A 'simple' solution to this would be to add a photo to the Access card and allow it. This would also help cut down on welfare fraud.

Many of the elderly and disabled let their PennDot id expire because they cannot get it renewed because of physical limitations. It is a shame but it is also the way life goes.

Along those same lines, they may have died.

Students come and go, it is not a shock that some former students are still on PA's voter registration and not living in PA any longer.  It is also fairly safe to assume that new students would register as well.

These people do not exist. There have been many complaints of voter fraud. I would not be surprised if a detailed audit would turn up that a good portion of them 768,000ish voter registrations are fraudulent.

So why is the vast majority of these people in democratic districts? Well If my speculation above is even partially correct you have an idea.

Also keep in mind that the 768,000ish people are only counting id's from PennDot and not the other forms of acceptable id.