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News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.


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  • You’re using way too many words and devoting far too much useless energy by trying to parse the situation here. Let me try mine.

    Like you, I’ve been both a lawyer and a journalist- and both come with implicit rules of civility and courtesy. You don’t earn them- you GET them. You need an extension of time? Anything short of blowing a statute of limitations, I give it to you. You misplace a document I sent you (or maybe, even, the original of what you sent me)? I send it to you. But. Fool me once, shame on you because there isn’t going to be a second fooling, and those courtesies disappear through the end of time. I’ve only acquired a short list of those over almost 30 years, but I know every single one when and if they’d ever ask and they will hear “no” at the speed of light.

    It’s the same with the journalist hat on. Everybody gets their gaffes.  Nobody really thought Obama meant he’d been to “all 57 states” when he literally said that,  everybody knew it was a momentary campaign-trail speech lapse, and nobody other than the wingnuts ever tried to make anything out of it. But the other side of the health care debate in general, and Collins in particular, are on the short-list for having worn out their right to courtesy with the press, credentialed and citizen. As for Collins himself, he gets no pass after all of the debate dodging, the back-room machinations over Bellavia (both this time and in 2011), and his history of denying his bad actions. And don’t even get me started about giving a shred of gaffe-courtesy to the side of the health care debate with unlimited resources and unlimited chutzpah in using them- who spread lies about “death panels” and “coming between you and your doctor” and “OMGWTFITSATAX!!!!” and who pontificate about “repeal and replace” without committing Word One to what they’d replace WITH.

    You said it. That’s the fact, Jack.

  • Remember Chris Lee did not intend for anyone from his district see his Craigslist photos

  • You forgot the best part where Howard accused us of ‘lying’ about him after we factually described his actions regarding the Collins quote.  These observations of the facts, according to Owens, were actually lies due to our ‘partisan blinders.’

    (The quotes used in this comment were used in context, no quotes were harmed in the writing of this comment.)

  • This story should be that Chris Collins thinks the healthcare is so expensive because we get what we pay for. The cancer comment was doltish, but the fact that it is getting play over a substantive issue brings down the conversation.

    •  Rob hits the nail on the head here: this is exactly the point. Many US physicians, who have the best damned union in the world (it’s called “the AMA”) have somehow gotten the idea that God has promised them a seven-figure salary. Insurance and HMO owners and investors and pharmaceutical industry owners have gotten the same notion. We spend out time going nuts over dumbass quotes like this one from darling Chris, while our pockets are picked: day, after day, after day.

  • Howard Owens, The Batavian, September 12, 2008:

    On its face, the opening part of the quote from Governor Palin sounds like brain-dead drivel, but in context, clearly, she misspoke. More likely, she meant to say. “The physical proximity of Russia to Alaska has nothing to do with my qualifications or experience on foreign policy.”

    A question for Mr. Owens – are you a reporter or a stenographer? One would think that when a candidate for Congress states that “People now don’t die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things…”, a sentient journalist would at least look up and say “er….what?”

  • Alan, your snide gloating is loathsome. Fortunately, I believe most of the people in this Congressional district pay little or no attention to you. I’m tired of every political debate being reduced to who can get the most juice from an 8-second sound byte.

    • Or, maybe it’s important to figure out more about the people who seek to obtain votes in order to go to Washington and represent us. Six of one, half-dozen of the other, I suppose!

      Incidentally, I don’t really care what you accuse me of. But if your problem is with sound bites, this piece is about 2,000 words. Suck it up, buttercup, and realize that your guy is an asshole.

  • This from the party that has its propaganda wing arguing that Obamacare is now a new tax.  Because the Supreme Court said so.

    • I mean, is he wrong? The crux of the argument is that you decided to write an opinion piece about what Collins MEANT to say. How do you know that? Did Mr. Collins tell you off the record what he meant to say? Did he or his campaign otherwise communicate to you that he MEANT something different from what he said?

      If he didn’t, you’re simply making something up to try and spin Mr. Collins’ comments, and that’s not something any journalist should do. 

  • I’m looking forward to having Owens and the Batavian tell us what you meant to say in this story, instead of what you actually wrote.