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Dems Agog! The DNC Got No Soul - Al Uthman

Narc de Triomphe: Kerry Loves the Drug War - Matt Taibbi

Whores of Babble-On: Dems Silence Speaks Volumes- Chuck Richardson

Control Freaks: Will The Control Board Save Us? - Eric Gauchat

Jesus and Kirk do Darien Lake: Kingdom Bound 2004 - Ken Barnes

Puberty and Bad Politics: Alt Press Crumbles Under BEAST Sanctions - Al Uthman


The DNC Shuffle: Special Dance Instruction Chart (plus page 3)

Dead/Not Dead? A BEAST Quiz

Same Sex Marriage Ban: Gay? - Scott Borchert and Dan Cory

Joel in Jail?: The BEAST Poll



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Libel Corner: Subway Cannibals, Wal-Mart Corpses

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I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

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© 2004 The Beast


Albany Ineptitude- The smoke and mirrors were back on in Albany on July 22nd when Governor Pataki invoked executive powers and called for an “extraordinary session” of the Legislature. Pataki didn’t have everyone back to Albany for the purpose of hammering out a budget. No, that would take up way too much vacation time; instead the Gov merely wanted to trot out the same school funding bill the Legislature rejected months ago in a see-through appearance of action. Here’s the crisis: Last year the Court of Appeals ordered New York State to spend more on education than the $14 billion already in the budget (the one that doesn’t yet exist), and they have to agree on a number. Pataki proposed spending $8 billion more, while the Legislature favors spending $10 billion more—and that is the river which must be bridged. What’s the damn difference, guys? Split it down the middle, call it $9 billion and hey, while you’re at it GET SOME SHIT DONE WITH THE BUDGET! We’re not allowed within 100 yards of the state capital, but we can imagine what it’s like: A bunch of fat cats with expensive hairdos dressed in nice clothes, guzzling champagne in the back of their chauffeur driven limos, drunk on power and privilege, waving their hands in the air as they pontificate before the television cameras, heads all swelled up under the hot lights. Instead of running our government they just keep running for government, accomplishing nothing for New York except ruining its citizens and businesses. Anyway, if you haven’t guessed how this will all be paid for, the answer is…drum roll, please... gambling proceeds! That’s right, the Lotto, the slot machines, and the casinos popping up like dandelions all over the place are our children’s saviors, a sure sign of dark times, because the smarter people get, the less they’ll gamble. Pataki’s plan never even made it out of committee before the Legislature voted to adjourn and head back out for more summer fun.


F-ing Report Card - Why isn’t there some sort of law forcing our state government to actually perform its function? Because Albany would have to draft and pass it, and it doesn’t work that way, sucker! It should come as a surprise to no one that New York came in dead last in a recent study ranking state legislatures against each other. The report, from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, calls Albany “the least deliberative, most dysfunctional state legislature in the nation.” The stats are incredible: public hearings are held on less than a hundredth of the major laws “we” pass. When those laws make it to the floor, more than 95 percent pass with no debate. Not one of 11,474 bills that made the floor over five years was voted down. Part of the reason for this is that, in a policy unique to our great state, empty seats are counted as “yes” votes in Albany. Read that sentence again. Now, we all know that these guys rarely show up for work anyway, so what kind of shit is that? Maybe we should invite Frank Bruno and Sheldon Silver over for an interview, and assume a “yes” response to each question when they blow us off. Imagine it: “Mr. Silver, do you and Mr. Bruno have a chokehold on the state’s legislative procedures, effectively paralyzing the rank and file from having any say in the governmental process?” “Yes.” “OK. Mr. Bruno, are you a corrupt felcher who gets his jollies watching homeless people freeze to death?” “Yes.” “Thank you for your candor, gentlemen.”


Financial Shell Game - Albany wouldn’t feel right not messing with it’s broke-ass citizens’ heads. First the Legislature proposed raising the minimum wage $2 by 2007 so fast food chain and convenience store employees could enjoy a fleeting hope of financial stability, then Pataki vetoed the measure, saying the minimum wage should be raised by the federal government to keep the playing field level between neighboring states (yeah, that’s gonna happen). Too bad for burger-flippers and dishwashers in New York. But they did agree on a measure which is sure to keep Buffalo bankrupt while allowing Erie County to weasel its way out of debt, and borrow more money over many years to put off the immediate pain and financial horror in the same way crackheads deal with life. By deferring the collection of $980 million in pension costs from December to February, many localities will be able to take advantage of a cheap fiscal gimmick to shuffle debt from one year to another. Buffalo won’t be able to take advantage of this seeming windfall, because it’s fiscal year is different than the county’s, and that’s a good thing because the city is mind-bogglingly broke and it’s best we keep it all out in the open now, but you can bet Giambra will use this loophole to borrow a butt-load more money at high interest rates for ten years. Marcia Wagner, the chief economist on the Citizens Budget Commission, a non-partisan group that studies the state budget every year, said “It’s short-term relief but long-term grief on local government budgets.” We’ve already got that in Buffalo, and it’s coming soon for Erie County, all this borrowing and spending like money grows on trees. Yesterday it was revealed the county needs to raise up to $100 million more in 2005 through property and sales tax hikes as well as fire a lot of people to reduce payroll and pension dollars. Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Erie County’s bond rating and are wisely monitoring the situation closely in anticipation of adjusting further as more dire financial news leaks out. The Legislature and the County Executive are at war over who’s getting fired or takes early retirement; they want Giambra to write off scores of vacant patronage jobs but good ol’ Joel won’t budge, so instead taxes go up and the county government runs like a bad car accident. This is all super-boring stuff for your average beer swilling Buffalonian who enjoys a little puff-puff on the weekends, but people really ought to watch closely because this is our collective bank account these assholes are pissing away like drug dealers at a Hummer dealership. As we’ve already recommended, when you go into that voting booth this fall, please, don’t pull an incumbents’ crank; the only finger-pulls they deserve are from a firing squad.


Firefight - Here come the fireworks the state control board ignited by flexing its muscles and freezing everyone’s salaries. Anthony Hynes, the 2002 Firefighters Union President, supposedly working against current president Joe Foley on the single insurance carrier issue, implored union members in a letter earlier this month that, “It’s time to force a fiscal crisis in Buffalo.” Guess he’s been on heavy medication for the last two years. City firefighters are rightly pissed because they’re facing huge layoffs under a consolidation plan after rejecting a contract proposal which included raises before the state control board came in, unlike the cops who got theirs after agreeing to one-car patrols. The firefighters haven’t gotten a raise since 2001 and are working without a contract, a bleak future that, sadly, many of us in Buffalo face. But we all have freedom of choice in America. Nobody’s got a gun to your head and common sense dictates that if your job sucks so bad (the barometer of which is that the stress is no longer worth the money) then quit bitching about it and use that energy to go out and find a new one. That applies to us all, especially unionized workers whose jobs most unemployed New Yorkers would kill their grandmother for. It’s a sad fact that the only way to make money for most local residents is to move far, far away from here where employment isn’t a problem and there’s always a local colony of Buffalo refugees with whom to watch the Bills lose each Sunday. It’s a real change to come back and visit every once in a while and marvel at this backward town which never changes and never makes any progress, then go back to Wherever and thank your lucky stars you moved to a place where even ditch-digging pays well. Trust us, southern hick towns have more opportunities than Buffalo, plus the weather’s nice and the chicks aren’t all fat.


School Sucks - A shot across the bow from the state control board zoomed over the Buffalo Teachers Federation this week when they announced that “lavish” contracts and “exorbitant” health plans are taking too much away from the whole teaching thing. Board Chairman Tom Baker went so far as to call on the union to “get real for the sake of the children.” Right, only problem is this is America and if you have a signed contract, well, that’s the deal, same way athletes like A-Rod make half a million a game whether they’re worth it or not. Having your wage frozen eats shit, but the control board’s in charge now and there’s no changing that until Buffalo becomes a viable fiscal entity (i.e. many fucking years from now, if ever). See above, if you don’t like it the option to move is awfully attractive, especially if you’re a highly marketable teacher; there’s a whole country starving for educators, places where you can ski or go to the beach on your ample vacation time, places that make Buffalo look like, well, a dying, Rust Belt city. We prefer everyone stay here, but understand some people mature and eventually get realistic about the future and earning enough bread for three square meals every day. The school system here is in awful shape financially, a $39 million budget deficit for 2004 is expected to double over the next few years. The only solution is massive layoffs, 200 people this year alone, as well as switching over to a single health care provider. The union’s delay in accepting this measure will cost between $6 million and $10 million, (didn’t notice all your teacher friends getting those pesky benign moles removed until now, did you?). At the control board meeting where this was discussed, Joel Giambra had the audacity to declare, “Here we have a union and a union leader (Phil Rumore) who is recalcitrant, obstinate, and selfish when it comes to putting children first.” Substitute “county executive” for “union” and, well, Joel’s just looking in the mirror again, trying to envision himself without the hideous throat cancer scar. While you’re all it, please, quit invoking the fucking children, we don’t want to hear from anyone about that except the poor souls actually stuck in classrooms with the little animals. Something has to be done, and that goes way beyond just a rational pay scheme. Buffalo will never turn itself around unless our schools improve by leaps and bounds, but don’t expect the union to give up any hard fought ground without a fight and don’t expect stupid politicians to come up with an intelligent plan anyone would accept.


Female Rapist - Gowanda residents are in a tizzy over the town justice’s 24-year-old granddaughter, the mother of one child, being charged with the “rape” of a 14-year-old boy. Her father used to be the Gowanda police chief, so you can bet this girl had a real screwy childhood that left her with lots of mental issues. Jennifer Namlik’s not quite the looker that fox from Florida was, but what the hell, 14-year-olds are pretty much entranced by any female offering up her Sweaty Betty, even if the baby’s in the next room. All the lurid details are out and a two-light town like Gowanda is going crazy with gossip about the lovers fornicating all over the place. Like any sexually active adult lusting for jailbait, Namlik copped to the old “I didn’t know how old he was” excuse, a likely story. The second-degree rape charge carries up to a seven-year prison term, but we’re guessing Grandpa will use his influence to keep Namlik out of jail and available for the hordes of testosterone-fueled Southern Tier teenagers ready for a run at the Sheriff’s daughter.


Smoking Waivers! - At long last, nine smoking waivers granted! Too bad you have to patronize OTB, bowling, or bingo joints to take advantage of it because Erie County’s waiver process is so unduly complex. Don’t take our word for it, that’s what State Supreme Court Justice Rose Sconiers’ said months ago when she granted Jimmy Mac’s a waiver and was quickly overruled by an appellate court in Rochester. So the bars and restaurants normal people go to still have to play stupid spy games to keep their customers happy while the threat of business-crushing fines loom over them. We applaud every place that says fuck the ban because it’s all bullshit. Soon enough we’ll have so many stupid laws there’ll be a stop sign or traffic light on every single corner and pedestrians will need a license to cross the street and a DNA sample to ride the bus. What an insidious plan, herding all us dumb smokers into gambling halls so we can piss what little money we have away even faster and not be able to get drunk at the same time, thanks a lot. While it is nice to walk into a formerly smoke-filled tavern and actually be able to see who you’re hitting on, forcing individuals and businesses into giving up rights and freedoms is not what America used to be about; the Marlboro Man may have died of lung cancer, but he helped build this country and looked damn good doing it. What happened to the spirit of ingenuity and adventure, the call of the wild, the promise of open skies and endless views? Guess it all got replaced by cities and suburbs and shopping malls run by uninspired idiots who think some book of rules will tell us how to live our lives.


Martha Stewart - Aw, poor Martha. You lied about a stock trade you only did because your ex-boyfriend unnecessarily panicked about his drug company. As noted last issue, Martha Stewart is a woman who sees only what’s wrong, not what’s right, an extremely egocentric attitude which makes her seriously think she can offer to serve her five months jail time at home, then cruise through five months of house arrest and the judge will just accept it like a fresh-smelling flower arrangement. Martha’s home is a 153-acre horse farm in Westchester County, a lavish affair with enough room for half a dozen sprawling prison facilities. Federal prosecutors are appalled: if Martha serves her time at home it will be great for Martha Stewart OmniLiving Media because they can still do the Thanksgiving Special, but it will make the justice system look like the joke it has become. Small-time dealers do years of hard time over a few hundred dollars worth of drugs while Martha Dearest wants to stay at home with an army of servants taking care of everything. What planet is this lady on? Martha would do anything to avoid the Danbury, Connecticuit female detention center she’s slated to inhabit, except beg, profess remorse, or even be reasonable. That’s how it goes when you’re insanely wealthy, demonically driven, and unhappy with the entire world. You expect everyone to fall into line and follow you slavishly. We’re betting the ladies up in Danbury can’t wait to rub shoulders with Martha, because this bitch symbolizes everything that’s wrong with America.


97 Rock/Artvoice Screw A Client - This is a must read for ladies in the local “adult entertainment” industry, you lovelies who can and choose to partake of this fine Literature in your hands. First of all, why are you advertising in Artvoice? BEAST Classifieds are where you need to bring your business because, like you, we are full service providers, actual horny guys who will do back-flips through windows to make sure your ad is perfect, not the asexual Artvoice jerks who treat you like a deranged slut with a credit card. Anyway, don’t go calling 97 Rock and start purring like a kitten to that douchebag “Slick Tom” about your hot oil massage and escort service on the air and not expect the cops to call for a “date”. That’s exactly what happened last Thursday night; detectives heard a 29-year-old woman on the radio and called the phone number from the back of Artvoice. She agreed to some spicy sex acts for the reasonable sum of $150. Now this girl is facing a prostitution rap, all for trying to run a small business out of her home in job-starved Buffalo, performing a true community service for hard-up losers with a boner and bus fare. What a vicious crime; thank God the children are safe now. The cops get their jollies on these bullshit escort busts; it’s a great laugh for them and good press, but you never hear of any male escorts getting “nailed,” do you? “Slick Tom” isn’t in any hot water for promoting a criminal act, he’s way too busy beating that Lynyrd Skynrd song you used to love so much into the ground, and that’s the real crime here.


Deadlines - Lots of messed up shit the last couple weeks. The city topped 33 murders as the East Side turf war continues (a mathematically minute percentage of the population this far into the year). Cops responded by re-launching Operation Clean Sweep, blitzing crime-infested neighborhoods and chasing the street thugs from one block to another, a cool game of cat and mouse that keeps all participants on their toes. Also, some psychotic bitch stabbed her daughter to death because the voices in her head said it would be a good thing. Wish we had voices telling us to kill someone; instead, ours tell us to do stupid stuff like, go to work; drink a bottle of vodka; eat some mushrooms, you know, boring, non-violent shit. Too bad she quit taking her medication, it might have saved the dead kid. What other spectacular, morbid tragedies occurred, you breathlessly ask? In separate instances, prisoners at the Wende and Attica correctional facilities attacked their guards and fucked them up good before getting beat down, always an exciting story which affects nobody but the prison community. A few motorcyclists and ATV riders got killed too, in run of the mill wipeouts. A bunch more people were beaten, stabbed, and shot, and some bogus drug deals went down, as well as a staged gas station robbery teenagers always think they can get away with. There, we just condensed two weeks worth of headlines from Channels 2, 4, 7, and the Buffalo News into one short paragraph. Now go kill somebody, preferably one of your kids, so you too can be immortalized in seventeen words or less.




 

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