Gus Murphy makes an excellent point in your February 11 issue: both
parties are culpable for the serious fiscal and monetary decline facing
future generations of Americans. George W. Bush engineered a policy
whereby a great deal of money, some insiders are saying $14 trillion,
was donated to Wall Street. President Obama executed the Bush donation,
which has been his chief achievement besides reappointing Robert Gates
defense secretary. Of course Obama threw in an extra trillion of "stimulus"
to corrupt contractors, such as to the mob-linked construction firm
that is building the power plant in Middletown Connecticut that killed
five people last week.
But there is one difference between the parties. There is a movement
of Republicans called the Tea Party which rejects the big business-
and special interest-linked Republican leadership. I have been at
two well-attended meetings of the Kingston Tea Party. At the Tea Party,
complaints about George W. Bush are as frequent as complaints about
Barack H. Obama. On the other hand, I know of no large group of Democrats
who have not goosestepped behind Obama every step of the way. Indeed,
the Wall Street-financed media, starting with MSNBC and CNN, have
made every effort to paint the Tea Party as violent extremists because
they threaten the Bush-Obama, Republican-Democratic Wall Street-Washington
Where are the Democrats who protest Obama's massive subsidy to Wall
Street? I can tell you where we Republicans are. I can also tell you
where plenty of Obama-cheering limousine liberals are. But where are
the Democrats who don't like $14 trillion subsidies to special interests?
West Shokan, NY
With more than a third of our children now overweight and many already
diabetic, Americans of all political colors should commend the First
Lady for her recently announced campaign against childhood obesity.
But taking on such an enormous problem is going to require a lot more
than praise. And it will require more than heart-healthy choices,
limited TV, and "opportunities for exercise" - buzzwords
that public-health experts have been tossing around for years with
no apparent effect.
This will require something very old-fashioned and very unpopular:
self-discipline and self-control.
There are many factors which contribute to our current epidemic of
obesity: the near-elimination of physical labor by technology; the
disappearance of playgrounds and neighborhood ballgames; too few miles
walked, and far too many driven. All of these things add up to a soft,
comfortable life, which is hazardous to our health. One rather obvious
fact seems to be repeatedly ignored: We Americans simply eat way too
much food, while millions of other people are starving.
We eat not only once or twice a day, but three or four times a day.
And despite what we may think or say, we adults are very bad examples.
And so as noble as our intentions to help children may be, they will
continue to fail if we do not recognize that we ourselves are the
problem. If we want our children to change, then we have to start
with ourselves, and start to eliminate our bad eating habits.
I have recognized these bad habits in my own life, and have decided
- along with other friends - to change them. This starts with daily
exercise. Also, since the recent tragedy in Haiti, we have decided
to only eat two meals a day, and quite often skip dinner as well.
With the money we've saved, we are sending checks to local people
who are involved in grass-roots relief efforts: a local obstetrician
who is traveling to Haiti this spring, or a couple who support four
There is much more we can all do, simply by saying "no"
to some of the many pleasures that we take for granted. Then we can
give away the money we've saved to people who are suffering. Many
little steps can make a big difference.
School districts should keep on ripping out vending machines and buying
fresh local produce instead of processed foods. But these efforts
must be accompanied by a serious debate about the role of personal
responsibility. Let's talk not only about calories and diets and exercise
regimens, but about self-discipline, self-control and self-denial.
And then we need to turn that talk into action, starting with ourselves.
When we start with ourselves, our children will catch on very fast.
We will be surprised how happily they will follow our example.
Pastor Johann Christoph Arnold
The top military commander, Mullah Baradar was captured in Pakistan,
at the same time as the surge in Afghanistan takes place. Their spiritual
leader, Mullah Omar is still undetected, as of today, (Tuesday). However,
this appears to be a change in Pakistan's former hands off behavior.
The New York Times reports that at least 480 people were killed in
suicide bombings in Afghanistan in 2007, dropping to 275 people killed
in 2009, and dropping to about 15 people a month recently. The cooperation
of Pakistan in this arrest suggests a change in that country's policy
of supporting the Taliban even after 9-11. The New York Times speculates
that: "Pakistan had previously bought off Washington by co-operating
on the capture of al-Qaeda figures, while keeping the Afghan Taliban
leadership safe. But, with the Afghan insurgency spiraling and now
arguably a bigger problem than al-Qaeda, it seems that the Americans
had run out of patience."
Is it possible that our Commander in Chief is doing better with the
world outside of the U.S.? It surely seems as if the fighting between
us, is almost insurmountable, so perhaps his tactic is to make us
safe, while we work it out amongst ourselves. As I see it, we still
have a somewhat racist country, which is led by the Tea Party, followed
by a large number of Republicans and ending with a small portion of
Democrats. Our first Black President is now our Commander in Chief.
That's good news, considering who our former Commanders were, (especially
if you take Cheney into the picture). So, if Obama can leave us with
a bit less fear of terrorists who presently want to see us all dead,
it appears that we will have to take financial matters into our own
hands, while the politicians duke it out, leaving important domestic
matters up to us.
As I see it, the rich will continue to be rich, many of the middle
class will have to shovel out their own driveways, and hopefully encourage
their teenagers to trade with their elder neighbors for some good
old fashioned home-made cookies. I believe that it's time for us to
dig out some treasures from our attics and dig deeper into our hearts
to once again prove that we can retain a government "Of the People,
For the People and By the People." As a reminder: Democracy is
not a Spectator Sport.
If the Town of Shandaken board meetings are not going to be replayed
on Time Warner municipal access channel 23 as advertised, perhaps
the frame listing airtime as Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays @7:00 PM
and Saturdays, Sundays @12:00 Noon should be removed or corrected
to reflect the rare times those meetings are actually replayed. I
tuned in last week ( Feb. 11-15) on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and
Tuesday at the time listed, only to find (surprise) no meeting. And
this has occurred more often than not these past few years.
Is there some reason, legal or otherwise, why these meetings are only
televised once a day, five days out of seven? (or NOT televised?)
The other 160 plus hours of the week has this channel replaying a
10-minute loop consisting of local events and info. Am I the only
one who is unable to attend these meetings and is interested in what
our elected officials have to say? Just curious. One final thought...perhaps
now is a good time to take down the ad for the "cookie walk"
and Christmas boutique that took place on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009.
Also, thumbs up for Channel 20, OCSTV!
Mt. Tremper, NY
My name is Tallas Sandy, I'm 16 years old and live in Phoenicia. I
left for Japan on February 9th for two months to visit a sister school
of mine. I go to the Hudson Valley Sudbury School in Kingston on Zena
Road. We follow the Sudbury philosophy of the Sudbury Valley school
in Framingham, Massachusetts. In Japan there are two Sudbury schools
but they are new and very small, the one I'm going to is in Hyogo.
I plan on going to see how they operate and and experience the culture.
I've also been invited to Kyoto where another school is trying to
start up. So I will be similar to an Ambassador of Sudbury.
I have been studying Japanese on and off for 5 years with a native
Japanese woman, who in fact lives in Phoenicia too! I have been infatuated
with Japan and it's culture since I was 7 years old. I was introduced
by my cousins who watched a decent amount of Anime and played a lot
of video games. Through these venues I discovered Manga, which is
a Japanese comic or graphic novel. In these books I learned a lot
about Japanese society, not only their traditions but about pop culture
as well. By going to Japan I hope to improve my language skills, learn
about a completely different society and culture from my own and to
make unforgettable memories.
Living in a small community such as Shandaken, one has the upper hand
of knowing others' business. I planned on working rigorously to pay
for my trip. By word of mouth many people heard about my trip. I work
at the Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room in Big Indian as well as
the Phoenicia Library. Without the people who I work with I wouldn't
be able to meet the requirements for my trip. I can't thank those
people enough (you know who you are), for so many people to come and
offer me their help is astonishing. I guess thats a bit of the beauty
in living in our area.
With my trip I hope to inspire the community, especially the youth
of the community to aspire to explore the world. The possibilities
are endless on this planet and no matter how much I love being up
here in the Catskills I can't remain here forever. I believe that
everyone should travel and see sights that they never knew where there.
With that said I hope that everyone enjoys the New Year and I'll see
you all when I return from Japan.
P.S. I will take millions of pictures. So everyone can see a bit of
Japan through my eyes.
C. Tallas Sandy