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Issue #65

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Features:

HThe Disaster is 20 Years Young! - Matt Taibbi

Sleeping With the Fishes: Fear Not, Buffalo--Corporate Welfare Will Save You! - Chris Abbey

No Moore Dissent: DLC Targets Populism, Man-Boobs- Matt Taibbi

Drowning the Scorpion: Debating a Neocon- Stan Goff

Condoleezza Rice is Going to Lick Your Beaver- Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Bush Refuses to Pardon Turkey, Execution Proceeds as Scheduled

Kmart, Sears Merge to Create One Big Failure - Josh Righter



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Arcade Fire

MF Doom - Ketchup Samurai

BEASTIVITIES

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills Still Have a Shot at 5th Super Bowl Loss - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley





Issue #64

Download Entire issue (31mb PDF)

 

Features:

Happy Bhopal to You: The Disaster is 20 Years Young! - Matt Taibbi

Sleeping With the Fishes: Fear Not, Buffalo--Corporate Welfare Will Save You! - Chris Abbey

No Moore Dissent: DLC Targets Populism, Man-Boobs- Matt Taibbi

Drowning the Scorpion: Debating a Neocon- Stan Goff

Condoleezza Rice is Going to Lick Your Beaver- Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Bush Refuses to Pardon Turkey, Execution Proceeds as Scheduled

Kmart, Sears Merge to Create One Big Failure - Josh Righter



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Arcade Fire

MF Doom - Ketchup Samurai

BEASTIVITIES

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills Still Have a Shot at 5th Super Bowl Loss - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley





Issue #63

Download Entire issue (18mb PDF)

Features:

Top Ten Hacks of 2004 Election - Matt Taibbi

MEMRI Problems: Was Kerry's Election Bid Lost in Translation?- Chris Riordan

Pick of the Litter: Bottom-Feeding all the Way to the Top

Redwoods Evil, Must Be Destroyed: Bush Wants Some Wood- Kit Smith

Too Cool for School: City Honors Censorship - Al Uthman

Tortures - R - Us - Christopher Lord


Faux-tures:

New Hotel on Baltic Ave: Boon or Burden? - Ian Murphy

10 Tips For Coping with your Dysfunctional Family this Thanksgiving

A Word From Our Sponsors



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Entertainment:

Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner

Music Reviews :

Matchbook Romance/Midtown Show - Chris Meister

Goo Goo Dolls DVD - Seamus Gallivan

Elliot Smith CD- Michael Gildea

Odd Couple CD - Ketchup Samurai

BEASTIVITIES

Sports:

Wide Right: Bills could Make Playoffs--in the NFC - Ronnie Roscoe



Comix:

Beast Comix - Ian Murphy

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley







Contact Us

MERCHANDISE



Archives--Old BEASTs

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#61

#60

#59

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© 2004 The Beast

The Giambra Family & Friends Program

And a good deal it is! Let’s face it, despite all our cool culture, Buffalo is a backwater town and the deserved butt of many national blizzard jokes. The real laugh isn’t all the snow, though, it’s how crooked our politicians are. Guys like, oh let’s just say, Joel Giambra, a complete douche bag who got elected to the highest position in the county by saying the political system was corrupt, then did exactly the same shameful things as his predecessors, only on a much larger scale. We call him Don Giambra because he’s got a lot of family and friends on the county payroll, a huge assortment of misfits and losers milking the system for all it’s got. His good buddy Victor Getz, aka The Driver, makes over $80,000 a year, but he’s only the tip of the iceberg. Thirteen of Getz’s relatives suckle from Erie County’s teat, to the tune of almost $600,000 a year. Giambra’s own relatives account for another $300,000, and that’s not including whatever sweet benefits they get. It’s a twisted spiderweb of friends and relatives and relatives of friends all weaving their way across our government, filling hundreds of jobs without standard requirements like education or intelligence or even passing a simple civil service exam. It’s like magic, even if you’ve only worked menial construction jobs all your life, if your name ends in a vowel and you’re related, well then you too can magically become a $75,000 a year special consultant to the county. Must be nice to be in that tight circle known as the Giambra Family, never having to fear about little things like competency, employment, or a paycheck. You know a politician is really shitty when even the Buffalo News turns on him.


The Patron-Age

County hacks are over deadline, hammering out the 2005 budget. After failing to come to an agreement by their supposed midnight deadline Tuesday night, they’re still trying at press time, with a few hours to go before defaulting to Giambra’s proposed catastrophe. No word yet whether or not the sales tax will be raised 12% to 9.25 cents, but it’s pretty much a guarantee knowing the way things work around here. The public story is that they’re arguing over letting the city share the tax increase, but word on the street is that none of the legislators are willing to give up their personal pork projects—typical. The good news is that Giambra’s sky-is-falling Red Budget has sparked a patronage war, which should remove some of the aforementioned leeches from both the Republican and Democrat sides, as well as force the county to share the extra sales tax revenue with other local governments. It makes us really happy to know connected insiders are going to lose their jobs and actually have to come down to our level and search in vain through the pathetic employment ads like the rest of our broke asses. Others will lose their free cars, cell phones, pagers, and laptop computers (the horror!). These cuts will restore aid to libraries and keep health and public safety workers on the job, and this is only possible because the Democrat controlled Legislature can amend Giambra’s budget without him overriding them (Joel can veto additions, but not cuts). Sadly, none of this will help fix Erie County’s woeful fiscal affairs. It’s  a band-aid slapped on a severed jugular vein. Funny how the “temporary penny” we’ve been paying since 1985 is turning into a “temporary dime” and if you don’t think our spendthrift politicians will keep increasing it ad infinitum you’re on another planet.

Maybe the most horrendous part of this story is that everyone—the News, county legislators, and even Giambra himself all refer to “patronage jobs” without batting a goddamn eye. Any crooked politician worth his salt—Dick Cheney, for instance—knows enough to deny corruption no matter how damning the evidence may be. But Joel is cocky enough to defend it, arguing that, hey, everybody does it, and he needs those patronage jobs. The Legislature talks about eliminating some patronage jobs, probably a small fraction, because they’re certainly in on the game too. The mere fact that these people are so comfortable with what amounts to theft of tax dollars, unafraid of voter retribution, should indicate to you just how worthless they are. And if you’re comfortable with it too, then you shouldn’t complain when nobody plows your street this winter.


Fuel Gouge

Welcome to December, Buffalo; it finally snowed and it’s getting frigid and National Fuel executives couldn’t be happier. Natural gas is at the highest price ever, ensuring broke residents won’t be able to keep comfortable again this winter. It’s the old supply and demand game, which doesn’t account for students, families on welfare, or just plain underemployed locals being able to afford heat. Welcome to America, home of the brave, where the price of basic necessities are wholly out of whack around the country. There are cities out West, built in the harsh extremes of the desert where nothing grows and very little lives naturally unless everything is piped and trucked in. Folks out there live very nicely because government subsidized utilities keep their bills ridiculously low and allow for these air conditioned nightmares to thrive. Meanwhile, upstate New Yorkers get gouged, suffer, and even freeze to death while National Fuel gets rich. This winter the American Dream for us is to stay fucking warm and with all the libraries closing the list of places we can soak up some free heat are diminishing at an alarming rate. Someday we’ll earn enough money to move away, maybe out to Arizona where it’s nice and dry, the golf courses are brilliant green, and the politicians fight like mad dogs to keep utility bills “reasonable.”


Pano’s Problematic Expansion

Elmwood Avenue is the hottest retail strip in the city and they did it all on their own, one business at a time without any bullshit government sponsored incentives. They’re locals, some struggling, some thriving, all deserving of much praise for taking a gamble on making a go of it in Buffalo instead of some Transit Road strip mall. But in true Buffalo fashion, when a guy like Pano Georgiadis tries to grow his successful restaurant, people and groups and politicians come out of the woodwork to stop him from demolishing the flophouse next door. So what if he wants to bring more people to Elmwood Avenue? they say, that house must be saved at all costs because, um, hmmm, well, we don’t really know. Is it the curved turret-like thingy which makes the shingle-style house an architectural masterpiece? Is the ugly red paint job somehow reminiscent of classic, 19th Century bad taste? We don’t know, but the Mayor won’t grant poor Pano a permit to demolish the building because high-minded friends of his, you know the kind of rich, educated people who know better than stupid commoners what’s best, are against the idea. So while Bass Pro gets shoved down our throats without any opposition, local businessmen get the shaft because they’re small fish. At this rate the whole pond should be dried up soon enough and we’ll have only ourselves to blame for this nonsense because we keep electing assholes who screw everything up.


Examine Thyself - Where does a 20-page thin weekly paper get off announcing a new “two-paper” era in Buffalo? Don’t get us wrong; we wish the new Buffalo Examiner all the luck in the world, despite their simplistic politics and desperate obsession with hockey during an NHL lockout. But charging a buck an issue and swearing off morally questionable ads does not position them to challenge a huge daily like the News, and it certainly doesn’t make this a two-paper town. Likewise, their paper-thin assertion that other local alternatives aren’t respectable because there’s booby ads in the back is just silly—we all have to pay our bills somehow, and, frankly, we’ll be surprised (and a little impressed) if the Examiner’s business model pans out.

Their conceit continued in their last issue, featuring a piece on the old Courier-Express a multi-section daily, call “The Other Other Newspaper.” What? Guys, do you really think you can talk this town into believing your paper, a full 12 pages smaller than this one, is any kind of threat to Warren Buffet’s all-smothering pillow of journalistic mediocrity? Puh-leese. Nice layout, though.


Extra Cornbread - Mary Kunz, The Buffalo News’ “Fresh Voice,” has rapidly become a central focus of liberal rage, universally despised among local progressives for her vapid, casually fascist columns. Since the election, she seems to have calmed down a bit, or perhaps she’s been muzzled (we can only hope). But, it would seem, she never fails to get her facts wrong. According to Sam, the owner/operator of Everything’s Special on Allen, one of the best takeout places in town (as long as you’re not in a hurry), Kunz liberally misquoted him in her insipid “Buzz” column a couple of weeks ago. He was especially put off by her use of ebonics. “The word ‘bling’ is not in my vocabulary,” says the disgruntled proprietor. Apparently, whatever Sam really said wasn’t quite “colorful” enough for the wretched Kunz.

On a related note, it seems Alt Press has decided to take aim at Kunz, promising to criticize her at some point in the future. Wow, guys, where’d you get that idea?



 

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Sleeping With the Fishes

Chris Abbey

What do dying urban centers need to keep them afloat when everything and everyone has long since moved out to the suburbs? A gimmick, of course, like the Arch in St. Louis or, even cooler, a Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of fame like Cleveland has! Too bad those ideas were already taken, and the only thing our leaders could think of is resurrecting the long dead Aud and turning it into a massive Bass Pro outdoor shop, along with a hotel and restaurant.


Happy Bhopal to You

Matt Taibbi

THE BHOPAL DISASTER had its 20th anniversary last week, and so was duly (and briefly) commemorated in the inside sections of a few American newspapers.

It is unlikely, however, that any public figures are going to pay tribute to what happened 20 years ago this week. Which is too bad, because as far as America is concerned, the week of Dec. 9 to 16 was the more important week of the Bhopal disaster. That's when we got over Bhopal.


Drowning the Scorpion

Stan Goff

When I was first invited by Dr. Stephen Smith to speak at Winthrop University in South Carolina, I was preparing a trip to Haiti and I didn't give much thought to how I would handle the engagement. I'd just finished being pole-axed by a bout of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and it was everything I could do to just pull the Haiti trip together. So I didn't pay much attention to the person who would appear with me - one Patrick Clawson - to represent "the other side" in a forum/debate billed as "What Next in Iraq? A Post-Election Perspective."


[sic]

Seeing your last rag/magazine complaining about the last Presidential elections made me laugh. You commies have nothing better to do but insult our President, our country and our troops. You all should go back and help your fellows brothers in the Ukraine, where there really was a corrupted and stolen election.


The Top 10 Hacks of the 2004 Election

Matt Taibbi

10 - GEORGE WILL, NEWSWEEK: Will uses big words and pompous literary references to dress up what are basically the brutish and vulgar thinking patterns of a non-union meat-packing plant owner. He is a pig in a lace hat.


MEMRI Problems

Chris Riordan

Stranded from intellect and worthwhile rhetoric in Utica, NY for the last few months, I have made a habit of visiting political discussion boards online for a dose of informed bantering and arguing. I tend to gravitate towards conservative cyber communities because I generally prefer arguing to agreeing.


Pick of the Litter

Pat Ragpicker

It's 4am on a winter night, and I'm parked on a dead end street near Kaisertown. It’s a secluded corner of the city I found by driving around aimlessly. I'm new to town, and penniless after buying my van with $700 I squirreled away the last time I got a paycheck. That was 7 months ago. Over those months, I managed to live off a few hundred bucks while sleeping in a warehouse closet and helping some friends make a TV show to try selling to a network.


Redwoods Evil, Must be Destroyed

Kit Smith

Nature is a bad and inconvenient thing. It must be stopped. That's why so many of us environmental scientists voted for Bush. He recognizes that endangered species are tasty, that Yellowstone is the most awesome place for snowmobiling in the whole world, and that those horrible California Redwoods are home to Satan himself.


Too Cool for School

Al Uthman

In the decomposing cesspool of Buffalo's public schools, City Honors has long been regarded as something of a gem. In fact, it is widely regarded as the best school the city has to offer, with the brightest kids around.


Tortures-R-Us

Christopher Lord

Iraqis wondering what the next phase of the Republicans' invasion of their country will bring should consider El Aguacate airstrip in Honduras. In 2001, 185 bodies were dug up there: the victims were the 'terrorists' and 'enemies of democracy' of the day.




O Buffalo

Al Uthman

It's time to face some unpleasant facts, Buffalo. This country may not be the best place for us anymore. On November 2nd, we all bore witness to a terrible turning point in our history; a bad lifestyle choice, if you will. We had the chance to reject the increasing madness of our nation's leadership, their blind march to pointless war and craven desire to take advantage of us in every manner conceivable, and we blew it. America has spoken, and it said "duh."


Love or 4-Hour Erections

Matt Taibbi

...If history is any guide, the DLC will spend the next four years trying to find a pious bomb-thrower to put up as the nominee- unless, of course, the poll numbers in a few years' time show that Barack Obama is good-looking, black and charming enough to get the party over the hump using the same basic playbook that worked so swimmingly this time.


10 Ultra-cynical Ways to Beat the Republicans

Why did the Democrats lose? At least in part, it's because they thought that being right would actually work in their favor. Let's face it, logic doesn't mean squat in politics. People say there's too much cynicism in politics today, but we think there really isn't enough. Cynicism works. The Republican Party has embraced it, and it has worked wonders for them. The Democrats have made some progress in this area, but they are still lagging badly. If there's any hope for the blue states, they must learn the lessons of Machiavelli and Rove. To help them along, the BEAST offers these suggestions.