THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: One Cuomo bio’s enough

I WAS RECENTLY APPROACHED about the possibility of writing a biographical study, detailing the fall of Andrew Cuomo.

If you’ve never written a biography, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t easy. It is much easier to write a book about a person you like and, to put it mildly, I do not love Andrew Cuomo, although I will admit that I do feel sorry for the guy.

I loved writing about Mario Cuomo because I loved Mario Cuomo. We only had one major difference of opinion and that was about Mario’s son, Andrew. Mario Cuomo was a people person. He was unique in that he was funny, engaging and he liked people. Most of all, he was very, very smart. Trying to keep up with him was damned near impossible. I can’t tell you the number of people who have told me that they would schedule their trips home from their weekend houses to New York City to hear the Capitol Connection and its star, Mario. Read more…

KNOW THE VAX FACTS: What can we do?

JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE to join friends and family, get back to work, and visit our favorite restaurants, we are coming to grips with our new reality. Cases of Covid-19 are rising across the country again. To date, new infections in the U.S. are over 120,000 cases per day with 600 people dying each day. If only we had a way to fight back against the deadly virus.

News alert!  A historic investment of resources by the public and private sectors in multiple countries, building off decades of vaccine experience and research, led to three different vaccines approved for emergency use by the FDA. Why were they approved?  Because several dozen experts prioritized reviewing the data (because it is an emergency) from highly regulated research protocols and found them safe and effective. Since that time, more than 350 million Covid vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S., and the vaccines have proven to be extremely safe and effective in the real world, especially at reducing hospitalizations and deaths.

Parts of the country that have low vaccination rates are being ravaged by the Delta variant, which is twice as contagious as the original virus. Nearly all recent U.S. deaths caused by Covid-19 are among the unvaccinated. The vaccination rate among adults in Columbia County (18 or older) is 69.7% according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the Delta variant bearing down on the county, how many people will end up hospitalized or dead because 30% of adults continue to resist being vaccinated? Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Why do people do this?

WE ALL KNOW that there are lot of ways to commit suicide. I believe that when you want to leave this life, you should be allowed to do so on your own terms. If someone wants out, there are any number of options. Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe and so many others seeking an exit have done it. One assumes that many of those people knew what they wanted and got it. You might argue that some kind of an intervention could have stopped the suicide at the right moment and the person could have lived to an older age. I get that. We have thousands of mental health professionals who can help people get through tough times.

Right now, we are seeing millions of people who are taking a chance on suicide by refusing to get vaccinated. They could be saving their own lives and the lives of their loved ones but have chosen to not get the shot. Maybe I’m nuts, but it seems to me that not following the medical advice to get vaccinated if you can pretty much amounts to suicide. Oh, in some cases you won’t die from Covid-19 but as over 600,000 American families know, in some cases you might.

People all over the country and the world are listening to lies and refusing to accept reality and the ultimate outcome could well be death. So to me, it is either suicide, or the other “s” world, stupidity. If for medical reasons you can’t get the vaccine, that’s one thing. But I’m talking about those who can and choose not to. Read more…

GREEN THOUGHTS: A brush with greatness

SOMETIMES THE WORST GARDEN DISASTERS create happy endings. This was the case for our Norway spruce. A towering giant, it was hit by lightning in July 2015, giving it a fatal trunk crack from top to bottom. While I was glad the tree took the jolt rather than the house, its removal left an ugly blank patch which quickly started to fill with weeds. Faster than an American Pickers guest star at a tag sale, I started acquiring and installing new plants, including two winterberry hollies, a spicebush, a moosewood maple, and best of all, a bottlebrush buckeye.

If you look in your woods for bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus pavia) and don’t find it, please forgive me. I admit that calling it native is a bit of stretch, since the most extensive natural populations are found in central Alabama, with nary a sprig in New York. But get to know this outstanding woody ornamental, and you’ll be hooked, too. The Morton Arboretum calls it a handsome shrub with memorable flowers, while British botanist William Jackson Bean wrote, “no better plant could be recommended as a lawn shrub” and Wayside Gardens proclaims it “one of the best flowering shrubs for the summer.” While I freely admit that Wayside doesn’t go in for understatement regarding anything they sell, for an Englishman to give high praise to an American plant, it has to be good. Read more…