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© 2004 The Beast

No Class - Stellar week for the FBI, who continue cracking down on Internet child pornography, nabbing two teachers in the latest sweep. What a surprise. The first guy, Christian M. Butler of Tonawanda, teaches computers in a Niagara Falls Catholic school, where he regularly downloaded kiddy porn on his laptop. This apparently drove him to fondle a few ten-year-old students. He pled not guilty in court, hoping to prolong the trial long enough to get his sphincter welded shut in preparation for some serious vacation time behind bars. The second guy, Jeffrey Hart, also of Tonawanda (?), teaches art at two Kenmore middle schools and was caught downloading the kiddy porn at home, thankfully not at school. In a signed statement, he admitted using AOL to get pictures of children from age 4 to 17 engaged in sexual acts. We kind of wish none of this were made public—the FBI is hammering these perverts simply by tracking e-mails on seized computers, and all this publicity will only drive scumbags further underground. But tonight there are at least two guys sitting home alone who feel the world closing in on them, with nothing but their memories to comfort them.

Charge it - Here’s where Joel Giambra’s juggling balls start falling to the ground. Because the government he leads is spending money at ferocious rates on unnecessary new furniture, computers, supplies, bloated staffs and budgets, Erie County is running $10 million in the red at present with at least a $25 million deficit projection this fiscal year. Now good ol’ Joel needs to can 85 city workers, and you can bet none of the firees will be any of his many friends and relatives “working” for the county. Not raising taxes this fiscal year while running for re-election worked out well for Giambra, not so good for county employees or residents. Everything seemed so rosy during his campaign, despite the Highway Department and furniture scandals, which should have tipped voters off that something was more than amiss. Then we learned the county’s blown through the Tobacco Settlement money like drunken sailors—no more free gravy to pour over gaping budget holes that made him look like such a responsible leader. Giambra’s “plan” (i.e. muscle-flexing gamble) to save money was early retirements, only the people he wanted to force into retiring didn’t go for it. Giambra and his cronies are so entrenched in powerful positions throughout the county government, they believe they can act with impunity and we’ll just bend over and take it. You thought the mafia was bad; this is worse because we’re the ones getting whacked. And to think this putz wanted a 40% raise! Legislators like Paul Tokasz and Al DeBenedetti, and CSEA president Florence Tripi, have accused Giambra of playing politics; the early retirement plan he hatched with conspirators in Albany was completely disingenuous and idiotic. Now the county has to scramble to make cuts and freeze money, all because Joel Giambra is hell-bent on getting as rich as possible before voters drop him into the nearest trash can like a fresh bag of dog-shit.

Aud-ction - Tony Masiello thought it was just a brain-fart but it turned out to be a solid log of an idea: Why not sell off everything left inside the Aud to manic E-Bay shoppers? Brilliant! Everybody wants rat-chewed gold, blue and orange-colored seats encrusted with beer, and decades of deeply ingrained gas deposits! It must mean Bass Pro is really coming if Big Tony’s ready to let the warped basketball court go in pieces to the highest bidder. There’s also lots of advertising boards for anyone who dreams of owning a gigantic Sahlen’s Hot Dogs or M&T Bank sign. “It’s a good way to make fans happy and raise some money for the city,” says our mayor. Right, we’re such dolts we’ll be happy shelling out our meager savings for garbage from a bygone era. We guess this idea is cheaper than paying for demolition crews and dumpsters.

J. Jonah Jameson Vindicated - They can’t agree on a budget, but the State Legislature and Governor Pataki have agreed that Spiderman is a serious threat to New York and must be stopped. It all started when Connecticut and New Hampshire threatened legal action on the Kellogg Co., makers of all those fine breakfast cereals, for enclosing Spiderman wristwatch toys powered by tiny mercury batteries as a prize for kids, a simple movie tie-in which puts asses in chairs on opening weekend. Kellogg’s had to recall every dangerous box of Froot Loops because both states have strict laws banning mercury powered childrens’ toys, but New York does not. So in true monkey see, monkey do fashion, Pataki made a circus of signing into law a similar bill for New York, holding up a “Spidey Signal” and a box of Frosted Flakes, declaring the toy “a toxic chemical that can do enormous damage.” Bravo to all of our elected officials for getting down to brass tacks and working together to deprive everyone the joy of yanking a stupid prize out of a box of cereal as we’ve been trained to do since adolescence. The law won’t go into effect for a year, but state watchdogs are already barking at Kellogg to get their evil bio-terror the hell out of New York. This is the most important thing those fucks in Albany came up with all last session? It’s a wonderful piece of legislation; politicians look good and children are now safe from evil breakfast cereals. No word when kids will be safe from alcoholic, drug addicted, or psychotic parents, relatives, teachers, friends and strangers, but when another state figures it out, New York will be quick to follow suit.

Bad Billionaire - Back in 1952, a young midget named John Rigas had the ridiculous idea to start a cable company down in dreamy Coudersport, PA. Remarkably, it paid off and grew into a monster, making the pious visionary a billionaire in the process. Somewhere along the way, though, saintly John Rigas himself became a monster, along with his sons, demon spawn driven to suck up piles of money and shit it out all out on capricious personal pleasures. We’ve been waiting four months to hear the word “guilty,” and nothing could be more satisfying than knowing these detestable corporate raiders will lose all their money and go to jail like the criminal scum they are. The jury convicted Grandpa and son Timothy each on one count of conspiracy, two counts of bank fraud, and 15 counts of securities fraud, serious federal crimes that will draw from 5 to 30 years on each conviction. It’s no secret these guys cooked the books, hiding $2.3 billion dollars in debt and lying to banks and investors about Adelphia’s true earnings while inhaling many millions from the company. The figures are mind boggling, especially if you earn minimum wage. The Rigases made one-note rap stars driving Bentleys look like financial geniuses: they had twenty-some company cars between them, their own private golf course (no, not a private club, a full 18-hole course with a golf pro and a driving range all to themselves), along with the obligatory mansions, exotic houses and high rise Manhattan residences. They flew Christmas trees for the daughter all over creation in the company jet, as well as hot actresses vacationing in the Caribbean, and at the end John Rigas was drawing a million dollars cash a month from the company. In the process, Buffalo came within a hair of losing the Sabres, and did lose the Adelphia Tower, which would have brought thousands of jobs into downtown had it actually been a serious endeavor. Looking back, it’s clear it was a classic scam and we were the patsies. Grandpa Rigas is now a convicted felon facing the rest of his natural life in jail, considering bladder cancer and a bad heart. Stay tuned for the sentences, and, of course, a long list of civil lawsuits aimed at recovering every last dime these porn-banning pilferers stole through their cable monopoly. If you feel sorry for John Rigas, remember: old assholes are still assholes, not worthy objects of mercy. Maybe Grandpa and the boys will get a taste of some prison-style burgling firsthand before they go to that Great Country Club in the Sky.

Good Billionaire - After the Rigas betrayal of the Sabres and their $100 million HSBC Arena, the future of professional hockey in this town was dire until would-be governor Tom Golisano stepped in from Rochester to buy the team. Despite having been given the brush-off by local politicians favoring the disreputable Mark Hamister and whatever graft they would’ve scammed from that scheme, Golisano hung in there and bought the team, even while knowing he was inheriting an overpriced nightmare. The Sabres haven’t made the playoffs in three years; the Stanley Cup season is a fading nightmare, and your average Buffalo Joe can barely afford toilet paper, much less shell out a hundred bucks for a pair of decent seats to watch hapless losers get their ass kicked. We originally liked Golisano, because every BEAST employee gets a Paychex paycheck every two weeks without fail, even if their columns are completely incoherent, but we loved him for snubbing Masiello and Giambra during the purchase announcement, making it clear those two transparent idiots didn’t help at all. After losing over $8 million last season and watching the team play to a mostly empty arena every night, Golisano, who never thought much about hockey before he bought the Sabres, decided to dramatically lower ticket prices across the board, launching a massive media campaign to advertise the fact that seats are as cheap as they were at the Aud. Games are now priced with consideration for the opponent and the night of the week, a weighted schedule which makes actual business sense. This is what we like about Golisano; he studied the problem and took decisive, intelligent action in an attempt to at least break even. If the Sabres make only one dollar the season it’s a success; the team stays afloat and, more importantly, stays in Buffalo. Needless to say, it would be highly interesting to see what happened if Golisano (or somebody like him), a civic minded, wealthy businessman who knows what it’s like to eke out an existence, get elected governor. Of course we reserve the right to completely change our minds and go off on Tom in any or all subsequent editions of this column, especially if he ever does manage to get elected. Either he’s a master manipulator or the genuine article—and rabid, hockey-loving Western New York fans see only the latter for now.

Martha Dearest - Get to decorating, Martha; your five months in hell have arrived and that blue jumpsuit looks atrocious on you. Everyone is a self-fulfilling prophecy; people who hate themselves suffer, and this self-loathing bitch is no exception. She built up billions on paper, feeding insecure housewives an irresistible line of fantasy bullshit, and became one of the richest females on the planet in the process. Why she blew it all gambling on a pittance of stock is beyond comprehension. Actually, Martha’s going down for lying about the transaction, not the trade itself. Compare that with a Florida court ruling in 2003 that Fox News was not legally barred from acting to “falsify or distort…news reporting,” essentially granting them the right to lie. So it’s a serious crime when you lie to the Feds, but lying to everyone in the world is no big deal. Anyway, we’re buying Martha’s stock—this tough old bitch will be back, provided she can survive 5 months at Club Fed on low-thread-count sheets.

Good Eats - This could only come from down South where hicks regularly engage in animal cruelty for laughs. There’s still places down there that have Animal Dumps, little concrete bunkers where idiots drop their unwanted animals through a one way door late at night and pretend they never existed. Anyway, hope you’re not squeamish: Two pit bulls “wandered” into a sick animal shelter in North Carolina and hit the jackpot when they found 13 helpless cats waiting to play. Naturally, the well-trained dogs ripped them to shreds in a sheer frenzy. A worker came in early that Friday to care for the cats and instead found a big, bloody, horrific mess and two well-nourished pit bulls sleeping it off in back. The owner of the dogs was cited for creating a public nuisance and for allowing the dogs to run free, highly ticketable offenses. We hope he gets the maximum fine because those dogs sure had help getting into that building. His name hasn’t been released; apparently Wilmington officials don’t want hordes of outraged radical animal activists descending upon their sleepy little town. The only consolation is that someday soon this asshole’s going to trip and fall and the dogs will do him like they did the cats.


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