EDITORIAL: We can all learn something

HOW MUCH NEWS can a person absorb in a day, an hour or a lifetime? There should be measurement units like stories-per-hour or cubic talking heads.

There is research on the mechanics of memory but whether it’s relevant to our species’ appetite for news isn’t clear. All we know is that the way people here and across the nation receive news continues to change rapidly. So is the definition of what consumers now call news.

This week I had the pleasure of talking with a class at Columbia-Greene Community College about newspapers. These young adults were well-informed and politely curious. Only one or two said they had recently read a newspaper. They get their news on their mobile devices. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Why not a Green New Deal?

BLAME CHRIS GIBSON. The popular congressman who represented the 20th District until the end of 2016 got a bipartisan resolution through the House of Representatives that acknowledged human behavior is a cause of climate change and lawmakers ought to do something about it.

Back in 2015, when the GOP held a commanding majority in the House, Mr. Gibson got 11 of his Republican colleagues to step up as co-sponsors. The rest of the party kept its collective head in the sand and then acted surprised when Democrats won control of the House last November.

It took Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-14th) a week after taking office to introduce the Green New Deal resolution that would have the House acknowledge its duty to mobilize the nation to eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions, provide clean air, water and food plus a sustainable environment along with good jobs for everyone and wealth shared more equitably… and that’s only Page 2 of the 5-page Resolution H. Res. 109. Read more…

EDITORIAL: AIM cut goes too far

ATTENTION COLUMBIA COUNTY taxpayers. Your towns and villages are too rich. Your leaders have managed your money too carefully. This is New York. These things are not allowed. You will be punished for your good behavior starting April 1.

No kidding. That’s when the state budget is supposed to take effect. It’s likely to be on time again this year because both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s mansion are controlled by the same party, although it’s important to remember the pride Democrats take in disagreeing with each other. It’s possible that willingness to squabble could save towns and villages a lot of money if it leads to a revised state budget.

Squeezed into Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2019-20 state budget is a reduction in something called Aid & Incentives to Municipalities, or AIM. It’s a program that provides direct state funding to villages, towns and cities. The funding for cities, including Hudson, would remain untouched. But 846 towns and 480 villages around the state would lose whatever they were expecting to get. All 18 towns and 4 villages in Columbia County will lose these funds. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Petition forces action in G’town

MOST ATTENTION on the First Amendment these days has something to do with one of the Big 3 freedoms: religion, speech and the press. Occasionally somebody gets worked up about number four, the freedom to assemble. So quick, name Freedom Number 5.

Stumped? It’s the freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievance. It’s not one of the glamour freedoms. But people do use it with surprising results. Consider what happened in Germantown last week.

Seven Germantown residents filed a petition in state Supreme Court claiming that the town Planning Board improperly approved the site plan for a proposed Dollar General store on Route 9G near the center of the hamlet. The residents brought their action under Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules. They weren’t asking for money. What they wanted and what they got was a judge–in this case, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Henry F. Zwack–to order the town Planning Board to obey the law. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What’s so funny about it?

YOU DON’T HEAR so many tired jokes about the polar vortex and climate change this year, although the president tweeted about that. So there’s still an audience for misleading reassurances that we’re not making the world get warmer. It’s just that fewer people are laughing.

What can you do about it, right? It’s a big planet and plenty of other countries are big polluters and aren’t doing their part, either. Why should we change our ways? We have a nice place to live and we take pretty good care of it.

Good questions. But let’s start with that last thought. It turns out that, as a county, we aren’t quite as neat and tidy as we’d like to think. Do you know which types of plastic packaging can be easily recycled and which can’t? Now and then do you slip a food container with some food on it into your recycling? Read more…