Category Archives: politics

Red light, green light, one-two-three

Did you play that game when you were a kid?  We usually alternated between Red Light and Mother, May I? on autumn evenings which grew more quickly dark as each day passed.  They were fun games to play during times, which I recall as, much more simple than today.  No batteries or cords necessary.

These days, I run for fun.  Unfortunately, negotiating my way around the streets of Albany isn’t always fun.  I play a different game now – Green light, red light, one-two-three.  Are you familiar with it?  It’s where you watch the light cycle through from green to yellow to red and then count “1, 2, 3″ before approaching the intersection.  If you fail to follow the rules, like the scofflaw driver blowing through the red light, you’re likely to get run over.  Really.

There isn’t a single time I’ve been out getting some miles in, when I haven’t observed drivers running red lights.  It is no joke.  I can appreciate the frustration with Albany’s lights which sometimes seemed timed expressly for making me late for my destination.  I get it.  But, seriously?  Is it really going to be worth running a person or animal over?  Drivers in Albany really need to drink a big old mug of slow the f*ck down.

Red light cameras are controversial and considered by some to be invasive, but I truly believe their value in potentially protecting lives exceeds their threat to privacy. Folks are concerned that the company which will be monitoring the cameras will be aggressively doling out tickets because they are a for-profit entity. So? Don’t run red lights and it will cost you nothing.

Albany is a fine place to live.  We have invested in schools and libraries and crosswalks.  There are cool new places to shop and eat and our mayor is committed to the arts.  Wouldn’t it be great if families felt comfortable moving into our city because they knew that public safety was a genuine priority?  I’m all for quality of life tickets a la Giuliani, jaywalking, bike riding in the wrong direction on the streets, drivers failing to respect pedestrians in crosswalks and red light runners.  Give them a warning then give them a ticket.  If the ticket comes from a camera monitored traffic light, give them the picture, too.  It’ll last longer, right?

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Filed under Albany, Local, News, Observations, politics, running, upstate New York

My primary problem

I’m a teacher and a member of NYSUT.  I’m not always a fan of my union or some of the marketing with which they provide me.  Things like solicitations for rental car companies and insurance opportunities don’t seem like benefits as much as they feel like invasions of my privacy and personal information.  I don’t like it.

My union, however,  provides support to me and my peers when we are threatened with disciplinary action or termination.  Neither NYSUT or my local union guarantee me retention of my professional position in the case of an issue, but they do ensure my right to a formal process thanks to tenure.  On some primary level, they are working for me and I am appreciative of that benefit.

Our current governor, Andrew Cuomo, began his “tenure” with great promise.  The vote to pass gay marriage in the NYS senate was a thrill to witness and I have a number of friends who finally share the same right to wed that I’ve had my entire adult life.  An unequal situation has been rectified and all residents of New York now enjoy the same fundamental right.  Unfortunately, that’s the only example I can provide as an instance of when our governor worked to ensure that all New Yorkers shared the same opportunities.

Since that auspicious beginning, I have grown completely disenchanted with our arrogant and bullying governor.  Maybe it wasn’t completely his initiative, but during his administration, education was “improved” by instituting a new professional evaluation rubric, a new comprehensive curriculum was adopted and layers upon layers of new testing mandates were created. Along with a new tax cap, of course. We all know how easy it is to do more with less, right? His mishandling of the findings of the Moreland Commission was the “adult” equivalent of taking his ball home and quitting the game when the rules (or more accurately, findings) failed to go his way.  His recent behavior when approached by the politically unconnected professor who is challenging him in today’s primary, revealed his true colors to me in a manner which I find despicable.

Far from being the man who can clean up Albany, Governor Cuomo has instead contributed his own smear of dirt and mud on the political process and government of my state. Tuesday, 9/9, is the day when registered Democrats can send him the message that they don’t like what he’s doing to our state.  We can vote for Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu and enjoy the sensation of bubbling in the circle(s) on today’s ballot next to those fresh new names. Even if they don’t win today because of their lack of experience and membership in the good ol’ boys’ club, it will be a pleasure to vote for someone, instead of against someone else.  I’ll never vote for Cuomo again.

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Filed under Albany, Education, politics

Keeping up with the Kardashians and Duck Dynasty – reality?

I don’t really watch a lot of television, but when I do it’s either a series like Mad Men or Downton Abbey, or sports. The only reality TV I watch, other than American Idol or the occasional episode of The Amazing Race, is on the Home and Garden channel.

I remember first becoming aware of the Kardashian family 5 or 6 years ago while having a manicure in a nail salon in the mall.  If I remember correctly, they were at some ski resort and there was all sorts of drama – fighting between the sisters, lying to one another, and lots of conspicuous consumption.  The sisters had a tendency to pose with the ever-so irritating duck lips  Yuck.  Keep up with them?  No, thanks.

Since that time I’ve become increasingly more repulsed by this family who makes a business of creating an impression of desirable beauty when in reality they are nothing more than exploiters of all things ugly.  It’s hard to tell which is more disturbing – the fact that this family is eager to sort their personal laundry on air or that millions of people are enthusiastic spectators to the mess that is their lives.  What does this say about our culture?

I’ve never seen Duck Dynasty, but I think I understand the premise – it’s the antics of a family who have created a family business of actually selling a product, some sort of duck caller, unlike the Kardashians who merely sell their souls.  From what I’ve seen in the media, the patriarch of the family has alienated some viewers with his outrageously homophobic opinions, which he presents as originating in his religious beliefs.

Here’s the thing – I don’t really know anything about this guy or his family. I honestly don’t care if he really believes that homosexuals are going directly to hell.   It doesn’t matter to me at all because his opinion holds no value in my world.  You see, my reality is populated with people who both maintain personal boundaries and value diversity, rather than exhibitionist mediawhores and judgmental conservatives.

Duck, duck, gross.  I’ll pass.

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Filed under News, Observations, politics, Rant, television

The end of innocence: The assassination of JFK

image: popmatters.com

I wasn’t alive when JFK was assassinated, but that fact didn’t prevent me from feeling the void he created in the world’s conscience. As the child of immigrants, the knowledge I have of my country, and it’s history, have come to me from school and the media, rather than directly from my parents.  The Kennedy family, however, is the exception to this rule. 

The glamorous magic that was the Camelot of the Kennedys, transcended my Mother’s lack of interest in politics.  I think that, to her as a newly arrived immigrant, they represented the boundless opportunities of her chosen country.  During a time of uncertainty, with the threat of nuclear war a constant shadow, it seemed that the first family, with their youthful beauty, provided hope for what was to come.

On that day in Dallas, our country lost that hope.  The promise of his administration was extinguished and a dark cloud seemed to take permanent residence over all of his surviving family members, both immediate and extended.  I was born nearly three years after his death and I’ve always perceived the Kennedys to be our own American version of a Greek tragedy.

I haven’t spent much time researching the assassination and the conspiracy theories which have tenaciously survived (and grown) for these past fifty years.  I wonder if we collectively want to subscribe to the belief that Oswald couldn’t possibly have been working alone because we don’t want to believe that any single person could change the course of history singlehandedly, at least not in such a devastatingly dark way.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

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Filed under Events, News, politics

October recap – Moms@Work

image:timesunion.com

image:timesunion.com

I can’t believe another month has flown by!  Here’s some of what I’ve been up to over at the timesunion.com.

First, there was the politics of pasta.

Then, I fell in love!

Alas, my ship sailed.

I put some pieces together.

And recognized that I couldn’t always do it myself.

But, I can drive a standard shift.  Lefthanded, too.

Which is a good thing because sometimes, I want to get away from my picky-eating children.

It wasn’t my knickers that got bunched up – it was my breasts which got squeezed!

Soccer season wrapped up leaving  lessons on the field that should last a lifetime.

We got more treats than tricks.

 

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Filed under Albany, beauty, Boys, cancer, Cooking, Events, family, holidays, house, Moms@Work, politics

Your choice today…

558887_10151999036987889_307448373_nVote – or don’t discuss politics. Maybe it is my first-generation American mentality, but I don’t understand why people don’t exercise their civic rights and responsibilities.  It takes only a moment, generally, and provides a genuine opportunity to be part of a process.  I haven’t missed an election since I turned 18 and I sincerely hope the experience of accompanying me to the polls wears off on my boys.  I find it kind of exciting that my oldest son will be able to vote in the next presidential race, even if he sometimes threatens me by describing himself as conservative.  I certainly can’t be described using that C-word, but when it comes to fiscal choices, like the gambling proposal on today’s ballot, I am decidedly cautious.  That’ll be a “no” vote from me.  If you’re undecided or unaware of this year’s ballot proposals, please click here before heading to the polls.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

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Filed under Albany, Events, politics

Testing – 1, 2, 3

No notice on this really – I’m sorry!  It’s my fault, not Pat’s.

From NYS Assemblymember Pat Fahy:

Local Education Forum:  School districts across the region are feeling the strain of limited federal and state funding, a convoluted funding formula, and increasing testing and other state and federal mandates. To give voice to these concerns, the Capital Region legislators will host a local forum to hear from educators about the Impact of State Mandates and Testing on K-12 Students on Wednesday, June 5th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 711A in the Legislative Office Building in Downtown Albany. The forum will provide an opportunity to hear from urban, rural, and suburban school districts on these challenges and all are welcome to attend.

Maybe you can get there?

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Filed under Albany, Education, Events, Local, politics, Schools