Friday, July 29, 2005

Next WNY Progress Report - Congressman Brian Higgins!!

On the next WNY Progress Report
co-hosts Cliff Parks and Kevin Burd

will be joined by very special guest:

Congressman Brian Higgins

Please Call in with your questions or comments:

855-6848 or 855-6862

Tuesday August 2nd
4:00 - 5:00 PM
WHLD 1270 AM

Just another example of the WNY Coalition for Progress having a positive impact in our community by bringing today's newsmakers directly to you!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Next Foreign Policy Working Group Meeting - 8/2/05

The next WNY Coalition for Progress Foreign Policy Working Group meeting will be held on:

TUESDAY, August 2nd
at 7:00 pm

at Cafe Allegro
(1374 Hertel Avenue).

An agenda will be posted closer to the date of the meeting.

Originally it was reported the meeting was on Wednesday August 2nd. Well August 2nd is TUESDAY, so that's when the meeting is. Sorry for any confusion.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Next WNY Progress Report - NYS Sen. Byron Brown

Next WNY Progress Report
Tuesday, July 26th
4:00 - 5:00 pm
WHLD, 1270 AM

Co-hosts Cliff Parks and Kevin Burd will have in the studio as a special guest Democratic Mayoral Candidate NYS Sen. Byron Brown.

Please Call in with your questions or comments for what is sure to be a good program:


This is the second in a series of interviews of City of Buffalo mayoral candidates that the WNY Progress Report is presenting.

Also, if you enjoy the show you can show your support by keeping it on the air by sponsoring the show. Please contact Cliff Parks at 440-2619 to find out how you can help keep on the air one of the best radio shows in Buffalo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Comment On Steve Calvaneso Interview

If you listened to Cliff Parks' and Kevin Burd's interview of Buffalo Mayoral candidate Steve Calvaneso on the WNY Progress Report today please offer your comments on the candidate and the interview questions below.

Also, Cliff and Kevin will be interviewing mayoral candidate Byron Brown on next week's show, and if you have any specific questions you would like them to ask Sen. Brown please post them below as well.

The only way we can make the show better is from your comments, so comment away!!

WNY Coalition for Progress' Homepage:
WNY Coalition for Progress' Radio Show: the WNY Progress Report

Reminder - Steve Calvaneso on Today's WNY Progress Report

On Today's WNY Progress Report
4:00 - 5:00 pm
WHLD, 1270 AM

Co-hosts Cliff Parks and Kevin Burd will have in the studio as a special guest
Democratic Mayoral Candidate Steve Calvaneso

Please Call in with your questions or comments for what is sure to be a good program:


Next week's show will feature City of Buffalo mayoral candidate Byron Brown.

Check out the WNY Progress Report website!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

NY Times Article on Medicaid Fraud

There is an excellent article in Today's New York Times on Medicaid Fraud in New York State. I suggest everyone read this article, because if you live in NYS you are impacted by the Medicaid program. Also, check out the reference to the issue in the City of Buffalo's School District, it is discussed in detail at the end of the story.

New York Times
July 18, 2005
New York Medicaid Fraud May Reach Into Billions

It was created 40 years ago to provide health care for the poorest New Yorkers, offering a lifeline to those who could not afford to have a baby or a heart attack. But in the decades since, New York State's Medicaid program has also become a $44.5 billion target for the unscrupulous and the opportunistic.

It has drawn dentists like Dr. Dolly Rosen, who within 12 months somehow built the state's biggest Medicaid dental practice out of a Brooklyn storefront, where she claimed to have performed as many as 991 procedures a day in 2003. After The New York Times discovered her extraordinary billings through a computer analysis and questioned the state about them, Dr. Rosen and two associates were indicted on charges of stealing more than $1 million from the program.

It has drawn van services, intended as medical transportation for patients who cannot walk unaided, that regularly picked up scores of people who walked quite easily when a reporter was watching nearby. In cooperation with medical offices that order these services, the ambulettes typically cost the taxpayers more than $50 a round trip, adding up to $200 million a year. In some cases, the rides that the state paid for may never have taken place.

School officials around the state have enrolled tens of thousands of low-income students in speech therapy without the required evaluation, garnering more than $1 billion in questionable Medicaid payments for their districts. One Buffalo school official sent 4,434 students into speech therapy in a single day without talking to them or reviewing their records, according to federal investigators.

To read the article in full (it is quite long but very good), please click above, or if you do not have a subscription to the New York Times online, here

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On the Next WNY Progress Report - Mayoral Candidate Steve Calvaneso

Next WNY Progress Report
Tuesday, July 19th 4:00 - 5:00 pm
WHLD, 1270 AM

Co-hosts Cliff Parks and Kevin Burd will have in the studio as a special guest Democratic Mayoral Candidate Steve Calvaneso

Please Call in with your questions or comments for what is sure to be a good program:


This is the first in a series of interviews of City of Buffalo mayoral candidates that the WNY Progress Report will present.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Talking Points

So you can see the weak defense of Rove and characteristically vehement attacks against Joe Wilson / Valerie Plame, I present to you:

The GOP Talking points.

I guarantee every one of them will be all over the media by tomorrow. I also guarantee that most TV news will regurgitate them as if they were somehow relevant and factual.

GOP on Offense in Defense of Rove

GOP on Offense in Defense of Rove
Washington Post

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 13, 2005; A01

Republicans mounted an aggressive and coordinated defense of Karl Rove yesterday, contending that the White House's top political adviser did nothing improper or illegal when he discussed a covert CIA official with a reporter.

With a growing number of Democrats calling for Rove's resignation, the Republican National Committee and congressional Republicans sought to discredit Democratic critics and knock down allegations of possible criminal activity.

"The angry left is trying to smear" Rove, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, a Rove protege, said in an interview.

A federal grand jury is investigating whether anyone in the Bush administration unlawfully leaked the name of a CIA official, Valerie Plame, to the news media. Although the White House has previously said Rove was not involved in the episode, a recently disclosed internal Time magazine e-mail shows that Rove mentioned Plame, albeit not by name, to reporter Matthew Cooper before her name and affiliation became public in July 2003. The grand jury is scheduled to hear from Cooper today.

The emerging GOP strategy -- devised by Mehlman and other Rove loyalists outside of the White House -- is to try to undermine those Democrats calling for Rove's ouster, play down Rove's role and wait for President Bush's forthcoming Supreme Court selection to drown out the controversy, according to several high-level Republicans.

The White House said Bush retains full confidence in Rove, but for a second day officials would not answer a barrage of questions about Rove's role in the leak scandal on the grounds that the investigation is not complete. But the RNC -- effectively Bush's political arm -- weighed into the controversy in a major fashion.

Mehlman, who said he talked with Rove several times in recent days, instructed GOP legislators, lobbyists and state officials to accuse Democrats of dirty politics and argue Rove was guilty of nothing more than discouraging a reporter from writing an inaccurate story, according to RNC talking points circulated yesterday.

"Republicans should stop holding back and go on the offense: fire enough bullets the other way until the Supreme Court overtakes" events, said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.).
Rove has not been asked by senior White House officials whether he did anything illegal or potentially embarrassing to the president and he spent most of the day strategizing on Bush's Supreme Court nomination, aides said.

"No one has asked him what he told the grand jury. No one has deemed it appropriate," said a senior White House official, who would discuss the Rove case only on the condition of anonymity. "What you all need to figure out is, does this amount to a crime? That is a legitimate debate." Still, some aides said they were concerned about the unknown. "Is it a communications challenge? Sure," the official said.

Privately, even Rove's staunchest supporters said the situation could explode if federal prosecutors accuse Rove or any other high-level official of committing a crime. William Kristol, a conservative commentator with close White House ties, said it would be hard to imagine a prosecutor conducting an investigation that has landed one reporter in jail and challenged the constitutional rights of the journalism profession without indicting someone. Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald "is the problem for the White House, and we have no idea what he knows," Kristol said.

Bush has said if any White House officials were involved, they would be fired. The president yesterday twice refused to answer questions on whether Rove should be dismissed.
The controversy involves former U.S. diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had been sent by the CIA in February 2002 to Niger to investigate allegations that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was attempting to buy nuclear material. Wilson subsequently became a critic of administration policy in Iraq and after the invasion in March 2003 questioned whether Bush had exaggerated the threat from Hussein.

After Wilson went public with his concerns, columnist Robert D. Novak reported that he had been told by two administration officials that the Niger trip had been suggested by Wilson's wife, Plame. It is a federal felony to knowingly identify an active undercover CIA officer, but legal experts said such a crime is very difficult to prove.

Whatever the legal considerations in the case, the emerging record suggests that the administration was involved in an effort to discredit Wilson after he went public with his criticism.

According to the Time magazine e-mail, the conversation between Cooper and Rove took place a few days before Novak's column appeared in July 2003. Cooper says Rove raised questions about Wilson's credibility, offering a "big warning" not to "get out too far on Wilson," Newsweek has reported.

The e-mail comports with a previously reported conversation between a Washington Post reporter and an administration official two days before the Novak column ran. The administration official, who has not been identified, described the Wilson trip as a boondoggle that was set up by his wife and was not being taken seriously by the White House.
Rove has maintained he neither knew Plame's name nor leaked it to anyone. In an interview yesterday, Wilson said his wife goes by Mrs. Wilson, so it would be clear who Rove was talking about, and noted how Rove attends the same church as the Wilson family. Wilson said Rove was part of a "smear campaign" designed to discredit him and others who undercut Bush's justification for war.

Wilson was a chief target of the new GOP offensive designed to take some pressure off Rove. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said the White House did not have to discredit Wilson. "Nobody had to do that," he said, adding that "he discredited his own report" by including unfounded allegations. The RNC talking point memo included a list of anti-Wilson lines.
"In all honesty, the facts thus far -- and the e-mail involved -- indicate to me that there is not a problem here," said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). "I have always thought this is a tempest in a teapot."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company
If this happened in the Clinton Administration the GOP would be filing criminal charges against the leaker and obstruction of justice impeacment charges against Clinton. Pure hypocrisy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Opening up the discussion

Since I hold the key to this blog, I'm inviting anybody who's interested to email me if interested in becoming a participating member of & contributor to this blog.

WNY Coalition Gets a National Internet Plug!

The WNY Coalition for Progress got a nice plug on the main page of the Democracy Cell Project as today's "Five Minutes a Day for Democracy" example of how an organization can have a positive impact in its community.

The Democracy Cell Project (DCP) is a non-profit organization with a bold approach to using online communications to integrate, educate, and include the millions of people across America who are ready to work for a more democratic country. It's team members are spread across the nation, and comprise some of the best and brightest leaders and organizers this country has to offer. It is dedicated to assisting individuals and communities to tighten their messages, build coalitions, and organize on the ground to make political change a reality.

We thank them for the nice comments, and wish them well in their efforts.

Democracy Cell Project:
WNY Coalition for Progress:

Monday, July 11, 2005

7-11-05 Washington Post - UK Memo Cites Troop Reduction Plan

U.K. Memo Cites Plans For Troop Reduction

By Glenn Frankel and Josh White
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, July 11, 2005; A01

LONDON, July 10 -- The United States and Britain are drawing up plans to withdraw the majority of their troops from Iraq by the middle of next year, according to a secret memo written for British Prime Minister Tony Blair by Defense Secretary John Reid.

The paper, which is marked "Secret -- UK Eyes Only," said "emerging U.S. plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006," allowing a reduction in overall U.S.-led forces in Iraq to 66,000 troops. The troop level is now at about 160,000, including 138,000 American troops, according to a military spokesman in Baghdad.

Reid on Sunday did not dispute the authenticity of the document, but said that no decision on troop levels had been made. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman said officials there had not seen the document.

The undated memo, which was reported in the newspaper The Mail on Sunday, stated that "current U.S. political military thinking is still evolving. But there is a strong U.S. military desire for significant force reductions to bring relief to overall U.S. commitment levels."

While top U.S. military commanders and Pentagon officials have been hoping to reduce troop levels in Iraq for some time, the British memo is apparently the first time such a significant reduction has been outlined under a specific timetable. President Bush has refused to set a withdrawal date, citing concerns that such a deadline would allow insurgents to wait out the U.S.-led occupation.

The memo, posted on the newspaper's Web site, notes a debate between U.S. officials at the Pentagon and military leaders in Iraq, saying that officials in Washington favor "a relatively bold reduction in force numbers," differing with battlefield commanders, "whose approach is more cautious."

To read the rest of the story click HERE!!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Healthcare Group Examining Medicaid Issues

Coming after the release of the Bass Pro report, other WNY Coalition for Progress working groups are reviewing and preparing reports on issues that impact us all. One such examination is being done by the Healthcare Working Group of the WNY Coalition for Progress as it reviews the issues related to Medicaid in New York State. Your input is greatly appreciated as they continue to examine this matter and offer their perspective on an issue that has a tremendous impact on all counties of WNY.

To be a part of this group, and help out with this project, please contact Healthcare Working Group Chair Dean Carroll by dropping him an e-mail HERE!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terrorist Attack in London

To those who may not have heard it yet, there was a coordinated terrorist attack in the heart of London today. We call on all out there to keep in your thoughts and prayers our friends overseas as we all continue to battle the scourge of terrorism.

To find out more about the day's events please click on any of the below news sources:

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

To Sandy Beach listeners:

We did not advocate for the implementation of a tax-free zone downtown, nor did we advocate for Bass Pro to be sales-tax free.

So, the entirety of Sandy's show today is based on ignorant misinformation.

Bass Pro Media Roundup

Channel 2
WBEN: Check the webpoll on the sidebar
WBEN article
WIVB (4)
Buffalo News has posted a good portion of the news conference itself.

Thanks to Ellen & Mark for help on the report & logistics in getting it out there. Thanks to everyone for constructive criticism & suggestions & support. Thanks to WNYC4P for putting this thing out & thanks to everyone for their kind words.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

WNY Coalition for Progress Issues Report in Favor of the Proposed Bass Pro Project


Buffalo, NY – On Tuesday, July 5, 2005, the Western New York Coalition for Progress issued a comprehensive report in favor of the proposed Bass Pro/Memorial Auditorium rehabilitation project. The Western New York Coalition for Progress’ WNY Development and Economic Affairs working group chair Ellen Poch stated that, “in issuing the report we hoped to offer an unbiased review of the proposed project and along the way perhaps clear up any misconceptions. Though we support this project, we do not look at it as a silver bullet that will save downtown Buffalo. Instead our members support this project because it is a very important step forward in the redevelopment of downtown Buffalo.”

Alan Bedenko, the leader of the team that performed the research and prepared the report, noted that, “while the initial public investment to the project is large, there are a number of valid reasons to support this project. When looked at in the grand scheme of the future of downtown Buffalo and the Buffalo waterfront, Bass Pro is just one piece - though a large one - that already includes the Erie Basin Marina, Naval and Servicemen’s Park, the hopefully soon to be completed Erie Canal project, HSBC Arena and the Cobblestone District.”

The report may be viewed on the Internet at .

You can find the Western New York Coalition for Progress on the Internet at

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Coalition Bass Pro report: a preview by Channel 2

From Channel 2 (WGRZ):

Report on Bass Pro Set for Release

Posted by: Laura Steele, Anchor/Reporter
Created: 7/4/2005 3:57:54 PM
Updated: 7/4/2005 4:53:04 PM

Watch Laura Steele's Report

The Western New York Coalition for Progress is set to release its own, independent report on how much Bass Pro would revitalize this area.

"I don't think Bass Pro is going to all of a sudden turn Buffalo into some kind of bustling city," says Coalition member, Alan Bedenko. He says the group's report examines both Bass Pro's contract with the city of Buffalo and what effect the chain has had on other communities its settled in. During that research, Bedenko says, "I have yet to hear a bad word about Bass Pro."

The report comes as Bass Pro's officials are expected to update Western New York leaders on its plans to renovate the Memorial Auditorium downtown.

The WNYCP report comes out tomorrow.