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Local Commentaries

Imagine No Sewer System Or Power Grid

Water is one of the things we depend on. We simply expect it to be there. We rarely think about what it takes to deliver safe and abundant quantities of that precious liquid to our taps, not even when paying our water bill, until it’s not safe to use. The same is true about other ...

Traveling Changes During COVID

Most Americans like to travel. It is part of our DNA. We have a big country, and it has always been accepted that we can cross state lines without customs barriers or border controls. This has changed with COVID-19. Now, you have to be careful if you leave the state and travel to a state ...

A Productive 1st Year In The Senate

I will never forget the evening of November 5, 2019. It was Election Night and the returns were in. I was going to be the next State Senator for the 57th District. I was overwhelmingly grateful to the voters of our region for trusting me to represent them in Albany and I immediately began ...

Disappearing Middle In US Politics RIP

If one thing has become clear during this election year it is that the center in U.S. politics has all but disappeared. It’s been said that politics is a blood sport but never before has the rabid and blind passion of the sports fanatic manifested itself so acutely in the political ...

Trump Gets Court Appointees Right

President Trump rightly calls appointing Supreme Court justices one of a president’s more important duties. Activist justices lean toward basing decisions on their own policy preferences, while originalist justices lean toward basing decisions on the meaning of law as written. The ...

Dems, Your Leaders Are Radicals

The election is closing in, and voters will have to make choices, not only for the presidency of the United States, but also for various senators, representatives, and other officials at the national, state, and local levels. It would be nice if there were clearly good guys and bad guys, but ...

Dems Could Revive A Reagan Tax Reform

Conservatives have every reason to love Ronald Reagan. He cut taxes hugely on high incomes. Once a union leader, he became a ruthless union-buster. He warred endlessly against welfare. But the darling of the Right made one sharp Left. His landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986 called for equal taxes ...

More Engaged, And Tired, Electorate

It used to be that “voting time” meant a day certain, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Now, with early voting and voting by mail—that time has started already. I have no problem with making voting easier. The average voter turn-out in America in my lifetime has ...

No News Is Good News

The only way anything has ever survived this world was because it was cared for and nurtured. That goes for babies and the Honda sitting in your driveway. It also goes for the sauce you made last Sunday and the flowers you planted in your window box last summer. And so, too, does it apply to ...

President Trump Has Common Touch

ERIE, Pa. - Here and there this campaign season one sees an unusual lawn sign. It appears to be not from a candidate’s campaign but from persons acting independently. It urges voting for a particular presidential candidate. The candidate is President Trump. Yet none of these are ...

To S. Dakota In A ‘Big Rig?’ In My Dreams

I might have enjoyed making my living as a long-haul big-rig truck driver instead of as a journalist — except for the long haul, big-rig 18-wheel tractor-trailer. I relearned that last week during a drive to and from South Dakota, 16 hours out and 18 hours back. Younger daughter Natalie ...

How To Disagree

There is a good country/western song I was listening to on the radio the other day sung by Billy Dean about a couple that has split up but who still want to remain friends. It goes: “There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy. There’s only you and me and we just ...

Technology Is A Set Of Tools

For a number of years I have been involved with and advising various people and organizations in several countries in Africa and other parts of the world. The primary reason is because I was using Facebook and posting my writing and other items for a number of years. The technology allowed me ...

This Presidential Election Matters

Let’s pick up where we left off last week. Joe Biden, the Democrats’ 2020 presidential candidate, rightly says he’d be “the most progressive” — read: liberal — president in American history. That understates the point in at least two ways. First, he’d likely be even more ...

Halloween Was Fun There For A While

I have come full circle about Halloween. As a little kid, I hated it. I was scared of going out after dark, wearing a “costume” of one of Dad’s too-large jackets plus a cheap dime-store mask. As a young adult, I enjoyed Halloween. I liked getting the kids dressed up, and accompanying ...

Society Is Better When Assumptions Match Reality

It is amazing to me to contemplate that there are seven and a half billion people in the world, and yet none of them are identical. Even identical twins, though they may share genetic material, cannot live in same body, experience with the same eyes, ears, and other senses, or have the same ...

The Vice-Presidential Debate

Last week, in this space, I criticized the first Presidential debate as being neither a “debate” nor “Presidential.” This week was a bit different. I thought that Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris had a generally civil, though partisan, discussion about the ...

Sunday, It’s A Gift That We Didn’t Know We Needed

There is just something about a Sunday that just does it for me. It’s the comfortable way it greets you with a warm embrace and a hot cup of coffee. The way the air feels on a Sunday is just so much more inviting than a droll Tuesday or finicky Thursday. There’s church to be had, big ...

Flu shot? Yep; COVID Shot? Well, Maybe

What will we do if and when a COVID vaccine becomes available? I do not know whether I will accept such a vaccine. But a brush with pseudo-influenza last month was a sobering reminder that flu and COVID are both killers. I did not actually “have the flu” last month. I did have a ...

The Night The Wheels Came Off

I must admit that I don’t stay up late anymore watching TV. I made an exception to that rule last Tuesday night and watched all 90 minutes of the Presidential debate. It was a sad spectacle, really. It was neither a debate nor Presidential. It was an attack dog event put on by an ...