EDITORIAL: Who says this?

IT LOOKS AS IF SOMEBODY disposed of our lawn sign last weekend without our permission. It’s not the first time, but the earlier disappeared signs supported candidates for political office. This most recent sign was what you might call aspirational, affirming our beliefs in science, the power of love, that sort of thing. It was creepy to think that somebody disliked the candidates we supported so much that they stole cardboard signs with our candidates’ names. It’s worse than creepy now.

Who can tell whether a missing sign continues a nasty tradition of political vandalism. How would we know it’s not the way a poisoned mind prepares to engage in mass murder.

I have no special insight into the murders in the Buffalo suburb Saturday, May 14. I tried to sort out what I should feel given that I was hundreds of miles away and have no family or friends there. I thought of sympathy for the victims, and relief that it was not happening to my family or neighbors. It was not a reassuring assessment our safety. Read more…

Why’s Putin matter?

NEXT TUESDAY, MAY 17, is Election Day for the six public school districts in Columbia County and most of the 731 districts statewide. Here’s something to consider if you’re registered to vote and you plan to cast a ballot in your district: Don’t let Vladimir Putin influence your decision.

Every school district has to have a budget, and no matter which district you live in, the school budget is a public document. It tells you how the money will be spent (staff, administration, materials, transportation, etc.) and where it comes from (mostly the state and the district’s property tax). The election gives us taxpaying citizens a chance not only to express our opinions about the amount of the budget with a Yes or No. It also gives us a chance to vote on which school board member candidates (all of them volunteers) are best suited to set district policy overall.

So what’s Putin got to do with it? His war is a big part of why gas prices are so high. High gas prices are one of the reason the overall rate of inflation is historically high. All of us need to remind ourselves that it is not the fault of students, teachers or administrators that gas costs so much. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Planned Parenthood’s prepared

IF YOU’RE A LAWYER you can read the “initial draft majority opinion” written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and draw your own conclusions. The case before the Court is called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. If you don’t have a law degree you’ll have to join the rest of us depend on experts to interpret the arguments and what they mean… unless you can make it to Page 5 of the opinion.

That’s where Justice Alito’s 90-page opinion comes to a conclusion about two other Supreme Court cases, one of which is a household term. That case would be Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, which has essentially guaranteed a woman’s right to have an abortion until the fetus reaches the point of “viability” for the last 50 years. The other case is “Planned Parenthood v. Casey” in 1992, which supported Roe v. Wade.

Here’s what Justice Alito wrote on Page 5 of his draft opinion: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” Read more…

EDITORIAL: My time with Covid

YOU’LL PARDON THE BREVITY of this editorial. I am recovering from Covid-19. It came on suddenly last Thursday. It may or may not have departed by now, a full week later. I’m waiting for the results of my latest home test.

I am vaccinated (2 shots of Moderna) and boostered (2 more shots), facts that are backed up by the dogeared COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card from the CDC. All of this will sound familiar to those of you who have had this sickness or who’ve have have taken steps to avoid it.

I was fortunate enough, it seems, to have the drug PAXLOVID which, when started soon after infection, may reduce the severity of Covid. We’ll see. Read more…

EDITORIAL: A teenage newspaper?

THERE’S NOTHING THAT SAYS we have to write ourselves an annual birthday letter, but now that The Columbia Paper and the www.columbiapaper.com are officially teenagers that’s reason enough to offer ourselves some advice.

The newspaper and website were born into bad times. It was the late winter of 2009 and the number one domestic problem was the huge loss of jobs as the economy imploded. Thousands of people were laid off each week and it seemed it would never end. But not so much here. Columbia County apparently had a stronger job market to begin with and the unemployment data suggested that many people who wanted to work could find a job.

There was one exception as far as I could tell: the newspaper business. In early 2009 the newspaper chain that owned the twice-weekly Independent newspaper summarily closed it and laid off all but one employee. Many of the rest of us weren’t having any luck finding gainful employment using the skills we’d honed at The Independent. I get that. If you’re a big company you don’t necessarily want to hire people whose previous job experience includes writing about the shortcomings of of big companies. Read more…