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Issue #65

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Features:

Christmas in Hell: No, Virginia, There is no Santa Claus- Matt Taibbi

Disinformation Age: America Loves a Good Liar- Allan Uthman

Power 1, Truth 0: RIP Gary Webb, Journalism - Michael Manville

Insane in the Ukraine - Matt Taibbi


Faux-tures:

Celebrity Holiday Greetings

Ridiculous Gift Guide

Tips on Buying Thoughtless Gifts

Giambra Admits Drinking Live Sea Monkeys

Area Child Expects Lame Christmas Gifts

Paris Hilton's What Hot & What's Not in 2005

Advice From John Ritter's Ghost



Departments:

Buffalo in Briefs

BEAST-O-Scopes

Page 3

Separated at Birth?

[sic] - Letters

I HATE YOU: The Senate, Slaves to the South

DJ's Notes from the Big House

The Straight Dope w/ Dr Rotten




Movie Reviews:

Kino Korner



Comix:

I Witless News - I. Gonzalez

Deep Fried - Jason Yungbluth

Bob the Angry Flower - Stephen Notley


BEASTIVITIES


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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2004 The Beast

 

Giambra Quits Ripping Off Taxpayers On Furniture


Funny how an enormous public outcry and a criminal investigation leading to charges by State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer can change things, including shady county bidding practices which usually send all furniture orders straight to Joel Giambra's chief fundraiser Jim Spanos and Buffalo Office Interiors. When Giambra got elected, the two knew they had a goldmine on their hands and schemed up a sweet scam which took over half a million dollars out of taxpayer stockings. At least that's as much as we know about. An actual bidding process was recently undertaken for current furnishing projects and, unsurprisingly, Buffalo Office Interiors is not the low bidder and contracts will be going to competent, reputable companies who've been in business for more than two years. Too bad the contracts are worth less than $200,000, nothing near the business B.O.I. had exclusive, overpriced rights to since its inception. Take one guess where the money's coming from? That's right, the dregs of the Tobacco Settlement money, better known as Giambra's Personal Slush Fund, tons of free cash now gone bye-bye. That's Erie County for you, happily flushing itself down the toilet after Buffalo.

As for Giambra, The poor guy can't get a break and has announced he won't seek a third term-seems he's not too popular for some reason. We can be sure that the Republicans have another snake oil selling leach lined up right behind him, and are hoping to dupe your asses into voting for him. The News made it a 24-point double headline complete with an overhead quote ("I am not running for reelection as county executive") and an ass-kissing subheading ("He Wants No Politics To Hamper His Agenda"). In announcing he won't run for re-election Giambra whined about being heckled on the street and at the Bills game. Good.


Poor Joel


Why does Joel Giambra get so much sympathy from the Buffalo News? Shit, you know why, this is Buffalo! That shit is no news flash to Erie County voters who would relish nothing better than electing a poo-eating chimp from the zoo over Giambra any day of the week. This little gem came the day after the budget "passed" which raises our already outrageous sales tax to 9.25%. What can we say about this asshole and his misdeeds which cheat taxpayers pretty much every hour of every day? Not much. Nancy Naples released an audit last week detailing all the fraudulent purchasing practices in county government, nothing new there about how county government spends too much of our money buying shit from their friends which we don't really need, especially when the county's so broke they have to raise the sales tax. and, just for the record we yelled "How's the cancer, jackass?"


Budget Mess


When our wonderful new budget got passed, it was the result of a secret meeting between Giambra and a few county legislators coming to an agreement only a few minutes before the deadline that would have made the infamous red budget law. That's a violation of the state's open meeting laws, which obviously doesn't mean shit. So they emerge from the room, tell everyone how to vote, and it passes without legislators even reading the contents contained in hundreds of pages about what they're voting for. All they knew for sure was their patronage jobs were being saved, taxes and fees were going up, and their precious $150,000 in handout money would still be available.

Now there's at least two lawsuits challenging the way the budget was passed, one by a taxpayer, the other by Nancy Naples, both contending the process was flawed and illegal. According to Naples, who seems to enjoy the pain-in the-ass role, budget amendments must be passed individually and not in package form, as they were in this case. The budget's not really passed; votes still need to be taken in December and January and they could be different now that legislators have had the time to actually read and understand what they passed. If a court upholds these challenges, it's quite possible the dreaded red budget will go into effect on January 1st. If that happens, it should backfire on legislators, but probably won't, since you're probably not paying attention.


Crooked Cops


It happens every day, probably as you're reading this: somewhere out there in Buffalo-Land your friendly, neighborhood drug dealer is getting shaken down by the cops. They scare the shit out of him (or her), rough 'em up a bit, take the cash and the stash, then disappear, leaving the bewildered dealer thoroughly freaked out and in danger of a punitive capping. Afterwards, they split up the money and sell the drugs themselves or through other drug dealers. It's called "lunch money." At least that's the case with formerly respected Buffalo Narcotics Detectives Rene Gil, Paul Skinner and Sylvestre Acosta. Gil is ratting in open court on his former crooked colleagues about various aforementioned activities, as well as telling tales of planting evidence and habitually violating the civil rights of suspected drug dealers in order to make arrests. Skinner's brother Gerald and four others are already in prison for this stuff, and recently suspended Detective Andres Ortiz was also implicated by Gil in over four hours of testimony. Sounds like somebody's Narcotics Department is seriously screwed up, just like every other institution around here invested with the public trust. On the bright side, the BEAST can assure our faithful readers that your illegal drugs will be as readily available as ever, depending on drying or cooking time and individual dealer quirks.


Too Good To Be True


Frank Cannata's resume reads like a perfect Boy Scout record: elementary school teacher, church organist and choir director, ex-school board president, and current principal of the Charlotte Sidway Elementary School. Beloved by students, parents, administrators and church types, Cannata's drug possession arrest this week sent waves of shock throughout the Grand Island community. Seems the good Mr. Cannata has a serious jones for crystal meth and Ecstasy and the DEA busted him redhanded with a meth pipe in his mouth. At least he was high as a kite when they lead him off in handcuffs and the pain of horribly ruining his life was muted at the time. The pastor of his church urged the community not to rush to judgment. Right. Police became suspicious when Cannata raided the budget to pay the Chemical Brothers to remix the school's anthem. Cannata insists the bust was part of an elaborate conspiracy to harsh his groove.


Hockey Season!


Not gonna happen.


How Low Can You Go?
There's lots of different crimes: despicable ones, crafty ones, and then a long list of subcategories to stupid. Snatching the donation basket in church is of the latter variety, a desperate move which turned out comical at St. Gerard's Catholic Church on Bailey and East Delavan. Willie Bell, 26, waited until all the collections were in, then grabbed the basket and bolted, prompting more than a dozen screaming parishioners to give chase. They flagged down nearby police officers, who must have thought the bunch were chasing Jesus himself. Bell didn't get far before being nabbed, and had to suffer a chorus of church folk preaching down to him about the eighth commandment as he languished in the backseat of a patrol car. Stealing from church-who does this guy think he is, a preacher?


Coming Home


Local Indians are itching for a new battle with the state for inviting out-of-state tribes into New York to open casinos. An Oneida tribe from Wisconsin contends the purchases of their land in Oneida and Madison Counties back in the 1700s was illegal and therefore they have the right to open neon cash cows there. Naturally our own Indians, especially the Seneca, have cried foul; after all, they do technically still live here. Of course it's the Seneca's hard line stance against submitting to a state sales tax which has caused the Pataki administration to scare up some friendly Indians who'll kick back to the state in the proper manner. There are already approved deals with the Cayuga tribe of Oklahoma to build a casino in Monticello, an hour north of New York City. Sort of ironic: whitey kicked them out of here back before "laws" ruled the land, and now he invites them back. For the next few years, the only people making money on this will be lawyers, but at least we won't have any new evil casinos popping up!



County Moves to Protect Moose, Squirrel

It would seem not everyone in the Erie County government is a humorless stooge. An alert reader with too much time on his hands was searching the County website and stumbled upon some farcical "most wanted" pages on the Sheriff's section. The spurious "suspects" include Hannibal Lector, Boris Badenov, and, of course, Osama Bin Laden.

Now, part of us wants to use this discovery as an opportunity to once again flog the County for squandering money and time in every way conceivable, even making up fake web pages. But frankly, this is funny, and we can't pretend that we wouldn't have been right there laughing our asses off with the government tech-geeks who put these pages up, if we worked there.

You can check it out yourself, for however long it takes for someone important to read this, at http://www.erie.gov/sheriff/most_wanted/hannibal.asp, /boris.asp, and /bin_laden.asp. At least somebody's having fun over there.


Soft Drugs, Hard Time

Any move to reduce the Draconian mandatory penalties implemented under New York's ill-conceived and obsolete Rockefeller drug laws is a good thing. The laws require mandatory minimum sentences for relatively minor offenses, starting at 15-to-life.

So we're happy to hear that after 10 years of dickering, the laws have been altered. But the results aren't that great. The mandatory minimums are still there, but they have been reduced-the new minimum sentence for owning or selling a few bags of grass is 8-to-20. Years. In other words, a rapist still does less time in New York State than a nonviolent drug-related first offender.

So, the laws are still insane, akin to locking people up for decades for running whiskey during prohibition. Add to that the fact that over 90% of drug offenders in prison are black or Hispanic, while whites account for the majority of drug consumption. Hmmm, guess honkies are just better at not getting caught.

The changes are better than nothing, especially when politicians are scared stiff to appear "soft on crime," and the prison industry wants more clients. But jailing someone for years on a pot bust still doesn't make sense. It's expensive, and self-defeating-any exposure to our hellish prison system can make a formerly peaceful man into a psychopath. The conservative RAND Corporation found in '97 that treatment is 15 times as effective as jail time in reducing serious crime. It's also a hell of a lot cheaper.

Drug addiction is a medical problem, and if outrageous punishments haven't solved it after thirty years, it's time to rethink the strategy entirely, not just roll it back.



 

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Disinformation Age

Allan Uthman

....The problem with the left is that our whole model of changing opinions—that contrary facts will alter people’s views—is inherently flawed. Mundane, oafish Americans, in a national competition to see how many $3.99 “support our troops” ribbon magnets they can fit onto the backs of their Suburbans, simply aren’t interested in reality...Let’s face it; there is a sizable chunk of the population who deny the validity of evolution—evolution. Who are we kidding, thinking we can make them see the errors in Social Security privatization?


Christmas in Hell!

Matt Taibbi

NO ONE NOTICED, of course, but last year, I did not file a column on Christmas week. This was not because I was too busy with a long schedule of holiday merry-making.

On the contrary: As editor Jeff Koyen can attest, I actually tried to write a column on Christmas last year. I spent three long days reading and rereading the old New York Sun's hideous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" column, and tried to come up with a satisfying counter-argument. The opening was easy enough:


Celebrity Holiday Greetings

Hey everyone! Aren't my tits great? Truly they are a gift unto us from the Holy Father. I'm so hot for Jesus!

Please buy Nick's album. He could really use the help.

 


Power 1, Truth 0

Michael Manville

On December 12th I opened my Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times and saw in the obituaries that Gary Webb was dead. More specifically, I saw that Gary Webb had killed himself. He had, it seems, shot himself in the head. When movers arrived at his house on Saturday they found a note on the door that said "Please do not enter. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance."


Ridiculous Gift Guide

Matt Taibbi

The Devito Code: A new and baffling sequel to the much-lauded Da Vinci Code, involving a murder mystery in Hollywood which leads to the pointlessly protracted revelation of a secret code interspersed throughout the body of work of actor/director Danny Devito.


Insane in the Ukraine

Matt Taibbi

I've been trying to avoid the subject of Ukraine, not only in this column, but in general. Like anyone with strong ties to Russia, I have a whole range of feelings about Ukraine and Ukrainians, not all of them generous.



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.



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.



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."



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.