EDITORIAL: Is a bigger law better?

EVERYBODY NEEDS AN EDITOR whether you write for a living or occasionally tweet your thoughts. Even editors need editing, as readers of editorials might have noticed.

The software in our gadgets reduces misspelling but doesn’t yet reliably correct for missing context or lack of clarity, though gmail will gladly finish your sentences.

From corporate PR spin, to academic jargon and semi-translated instructions for foreign-made products, there’s a world of misinformation and confusing prose unrelated to malicious disinformation and hate speech. Sometimes you find it in legal documents. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Time to make choices

THERE’S AN ELECTION next week. But not for everybody. It’s a primary that allows the members of some parties in some places to pick candidates for a handful of offices.

How much do primaries matter? Not much until you get your tax bill. Then, some people get angry. Others shrug. “They’re all no good,” they’ll say, because we’d rather blame anybody but ourselves.

There will also be another vote in early August, when a handful of people who know exactly whom they’re voting for and why, will pick Democratic candidates for state Supreme Court judges. It’s called a judicial convention and it will have a direct impact on Columbia County. More about that below. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Join the parade

WE DIDN’T START covering the Hudson Pride Parade and the ever growing number of events that are part of the annual OutHudson Pride Festival until 2012. By then it was the third annual festival and growing each year. This week the celebration marks its first decade. It’s a milestone worth noting.

When the first festival was held in Hudson, same-sex couples could not get married. Marriage equality became law in July 2011, so when that third year came along, there was real progress to celebrate. By now most kids don’t remember when two adults who loved each other couldn’t get married because of their sexual orientation. All kids face plenty of challenges ahead, but their world is a little more just, now that same-sex marriage is a legally protected right.

Kids are a part of this festival. Some of them identify as LGBT or Q. Others don’t but are there with family or friends anyway. If you ask, they might tell you it’s a fun way to spend a few hours… as long as they get some screen time too. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Can we defeat potholes?

THE TOWNS OF CANAAN AND NEW LEBANON have flexed their political muscle and convinced the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to fix the lunar landscape known as state Route 22. Or at least 3.5 miles of it.

The method used by the two small, David-like towns to bend the DOT Goliath to their will is no secret. And now at least one other town is pursuing a similar strategy. Kinderhook residents who live along, or frequently travel on the stretch of state Route 203 between the Village of Valatie and Niverville may soon be asked to sign petitions that call on the state to repair that section of the busy highway.

The success of these efforts depends on support from elected officials at the town, county and state levels. And there’s a media component too. For the Canaan and New Lebanon case it was exposure on an Albany TV station plus social media (for those who have internet service), and coverage in a “legacy” media platform, otherwise known as The Columbia Paper. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Getting to know you

THINK OF ALL THE PEOPLE you meet now by cell phone. They offer you money, prizes, good jobs or a conversation with an incarcerated relative who needs a couple hundred bucks to make bail.

Now imagine they could see as well as hear you–without you knowing it. Artificial intelligence (AI) can instantaneously decide whether you’re who you say you are by scanning your face and matching you with your bank account and medical records, not to mention your favorite flavor of ice cream or unpaid traffic ticket.

In China police already use AI to subjugate the Uighur minority. The U.S. government is working on this technology too. Currently there are no laws restricting it’s use. Read more…