The New Driving Tax

Ya gotta love Eliot Spitzer. Here this guy acts like he’s some kind of progressive during the elections, delivers nothing on his promises other than a pittance of money, and then every time you turn around, he’s got some new fascist program he wants to put in place.

First, it was the Real ID card. How did we go from documenting illegal aliens to Big Brother style national ID cards with biometrics? Fortunately, that one looks like it’s a back-burner issue now. We shall see. But the new thing? How about cameras on the streets, catching traffic violators? Well, if he has his druthers, it’s coming:

Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

Spitzer also proposed Tuesday that Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Yonkers and Nassau and Suffolk counties be allowed to have traffic safety programs similar to one in New York City that uses cameras at red lights. The Legislature must approve installing cameras. Last year Buffalo was rebuffed when it requested permission for 50 cameras expected to generate $3.5 million to hire more police officers and pay for other public safety initiatives. Spitzer’s request would allow up to 50 cameras for each locale. The cameras snap photos of license plates so that tickets can be issued to the owners of vehicles that run red lights.

O.I.C. So, this is only to catch red light violations? I don’t think so. Right there in the article is the fact that installing the monitors will raise revenues by 3.5 million dollars a year. Janet Napolitano in Arizona is already balancing her budget using revenue from the same types of camera monitors.

Notice that this has nothing to do with prevention. In fact, prevention is the last thing they want. It’s about raising revenue for the state off our failings as humans. Instead of having cops out there, watching what’s going on, making judgment calls based on all available evidence and maybe sending someone off with a warning, we’ll have disinterested cameras clicking away and raising insurance rates across the state.

Good for corporations, good for the state. I believe that’s the definition of fascism.


The Subprime Meltdown and it’s Consequences

Here’s an interesting ripple in the Subprime debacle: Niagara County has been looking forward to a new HSBC data center project worth millions of dollars in tax revenue, but those plans have apparently been put on hold by the company who is reeling from the Subprime fallout:

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online – DEVELOPMENT: HSBC passes up Cambria property

“Given the current overall business climate, we are not proceeding at the original development pace we had planned for our data center in Niagara County, New York,” the statement said. . .The reference in the statement to a business climate may be a way for the bank to point to the recent subprime mortgage market crisis which has hit the industry hard.


Oh, About That Maggie Brooks “F.A.I.R.” Plan?

All of that genius fiscal planning Saggy Maggie did was predicated on the notion that New York State was planning on increasing funding to schools. Well, now there’s rumblings in Washington that this may not happen at all:

State budget ills put planned school aid hike at risk || Democrat & Chronicle: Local News

Spitzer and the Legislature earlier this year agreed to raise aid to local school districts by $1.1 billion this year, and $7.6 billion between last year and 2010.The second installment is due in the new fiscal year that begins April 1. But at a budget conference Tuesday, Francis and budget experts from the Senate, Assembly and state comptroller’s office agreed that state finances in the immediate future are shaky because of the recent Wall Street nosedive, the mortgage-lending crisis and the skyrocketing price of oil.

“When Wall Street gets a cold, New York state gets pneumonia,” said Francis, who pointed out that the state depends on the financial-services industry for about 20 percent of its tax revenue.

Have you signed the petition to end this debacle, yet? Can your kids afford you not to?


Cadaver-gate Comes to a Head (and some fingers. . . )

Well, the lights went dark for about a few months, but the Cadaver-gate fiasco has finally resulted in some arrests here in Rochester.  At DragonFlyEye.Net, this story has been dutifully and consistently reported on throughout the whole thing, and the story will continue to be updated as new facts come to light.

For more backstory on the whole thing, see the DragonFlyEye.Net Cadaver-gate Series here, here and here.  Channel 10 also has a good wrap up on their site.  The basics are that a company in New Jersey has already long-ago had all of it’s controlling staff arrested for a number of crimes related to stealing body parts off of the dead.  They made deals with funeral homes, forged documents like consent forms and medical examination records and then sold the pilfered parts to hospitals in other cities at a profit.  Well, that company setup a satellite company here in Rochester, and some local funeral home directors got nabbed in the local investigation by Mike Green: