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November 25, 2015
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Confederate pride or racism?

The debate over the Confederate flag has come north. With institutions such as the one that mounts the New York State Fair taking stands on whether the Confederate flag should be allowed to be flown and sold in at public events, the discussion is not only being played out in Southern states, but also all over the country.  Read more

Do smart meters make people sick?

The Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 129 way back in 2008, and it requires utilities to replace the old-style analog electric meters on customer’s homes with so-called “smart meters” by 2019. Electricity suppliers say that benefits to consumers and the electric grid will be significant, while some consumers say the smart meters are making them sick.

First, the case from energy suppliers.  Read more

Social Security; The candidates hold its future in their hands

The federal Social Security program turns 80 years old this month. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935. While he was most concerned with helping to pull the country out of the Great Depression at the time, he appointed people from both political parties to come up with a plan to provide people with dignity once they became too old to work.  Read more

Some lawmakers don’t care what you think; Some big businesses are listening – a bit

Two of the most controversial global issues today regarding agriculture and food involve neonicotinoids and the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in food. Both topics pit the interests of very large and wealthy industries against the interests of consumers.  Read more

Sorensen is right on airport hangar

With the Montreign Casino set to open in 2017, some in Sullivan County think legislators should bet about $1 million in taxpayer money on the idea that gamblers and others will want to pay to make greater use of Sullivan County International Airport (SCIA), and be willing to pay higher fees to do so.  Read more

Investing in health and farming

Sullivan County has been in decline for a long time, and some prudent investments might help the county achieve a brighter future. That is the message Dr. Karin Hilgersom has been spreading at various meetings around the county as she tries to build support for a $22 million Healthy World Institute (HWI). Of course, this is the type of message that’s intrinsically difficult to convey: it’s precisely in times of decline that people tend to be most fearful about their pocketbooks and most unwilling to spend money on anything but the most pressing current needs.  Read more

Letting the banks make the rules

Last week in this space we printed an article that touched on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and how the terms of this far-reaching trade agreement were meant to be kept secret from the public until five years after the agreement had been signed or the agreement was abandoned by the 12 countries involved.  Read more

A separate law for corporations

In 2008, Congress passed meat labeling laws for beef, pork and chicken, in part so that consumers could know what country the meat came from. After a number of legal challenges, the labels started showing up in the past year. They might say, for instance, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

The country of origin labeling (COOL) was sought for many years by cattle ranchers in the West, and would seem like a reasonable feature to offer consumers who are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from.  Read more

Now, entering the game of life...

There’s something about hitting the 50th anniversary of one’s high school graduation that stokes a lot of juices. Add to that the current fundraising effort to fix the basketball court at Eldred Central School (ECS), my alma mater, and I feel like I want to say a few things to today’s students and athletes.  Read more

Universal health care evolves

Priscilla Basset, co-chair of the Sullivan County Senior Legislative Action Committee, recently stopped by a meeting of the Sullivan County Health and Family Services Committee to thank county legislators for their early backing of the New York Health Act (NYHA), which would provide single-payer health care for every New Yorker.  Read more