News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Columns

‘Uxurious’ Misread Fateful Visit

‘Uxurious’ Misread Fateful Visit

Painted As Figure Of Fun, Susan B. Anthony Went On To Make History

Editor’s Note: Here is The Freeman’s Journal Feb. 9, 1855, account – in prose and poetry – of Susan B. Anthony’s appearance in Cooperstown, to be commemorated with a State Historical Marker that has just arrived at the village’s First Presbyterian Church. The tone marks the flippant attitude in some quarters at that time.

Mr. Editor:
Your readers should be apprised that last Friday was a great and eventful day in the history of human events. It was one of these epochs whereat Time pauses to set down a stake from which after generations may measure his further flight.
Henceforth, let it be noted in Phinney’s calendar that the 9th day of February, 1855, was the day when the memorable “Woman’s Rights Convention” was held at Cooperstown! – and let the mothers of Otsego, in all coming ages, teach their children to revere its anniversary, as the day when “the strong-minded women” gave the horn of liberty such a rousing blast among the echoing hills of our county.
…A gentleman was called to the chair, and a secretary and two vice-presidentesses were appointed. The president, after a few appropriate remarks, introduced to the audience, Miss Susan B. Anthony, who took the rostrum.


Her theme – the wrongs that
patient woman bears;
To sew, to spin, to mop and darn
her lot;
To do the drudg’ry, while man
takes the pay.
She all the pangs of Eden’s curse endures,
While man her pleasures shares,
but not her pains.
Give woman but the right of
suffrage, she
Will soon have equal laws,
and what is wrong
Will speedily set right.

Audible sobs were heard among the henpecks

Majority Senate Democrats Begin Shutting Out GOP Voices

Majority Senate Democrats Begin Shutting Out GOP Voices

And so it begins.
Day one of the new Democrat majority in the state Senate began, in many ways, as expected.
A new leader was elected (from just outside New York City) and immediately outlined the policies the Democrats would be pursuing in the coming year.
This is how a change in majority works, and I take no issue with that. However, I was deeply concerned on several fronts.
I have consistently voted for a permanent property tax cap, and I was pleased to hear the new leader mention that as a priority. The problem was that no other Upstate concerns were detailed, and that is a major disappointment.
Economic development is lagging behind in many counties outside of the five boroughs of New York City, but that fact is being swept under the rug by the new leadership regime.
I have previously outlined New York State’s population loss, and the news is filled with stories about Upstate businesses closing their doors.
We need to focus on policies that will cut taxes, eliminate burdensome government regulations, and lower the cost of doing business across the state. Those are the steps needed to create an environment conducive to job creation.
My Republican colleaguesand I have advanced a number
of initiatives in recent years to address our state’s economic shortcomings. We will continue to

Digital Infrastructure Will Allow Us To Compete With Big Tech

Digital Infrastructure

Will Allow Us To Compete

With Big Tech

The New York Times recently (Dec. 15, 2018) ran a disturbing article entitled “The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural Economy.”
The article documents what anyone living in Otsego County knows all too well: the increasing economic and cultural gap between affluent urban centers and poor rural areas like ours.
Rural areas have an ageing, shrinking, under-skilled population, with dwindling prospects for ‘good’ jobs.
According to the Times writer, Eduardo Porter, this is largely because the new, “tech-heavy” economy can flourish only in
big cities where a plethora of
companies can draw on a larger, better educated population
skilled in digital techniques and applications.
The cheap labor that rural America once supplied to industry is now found in China, and the new American urban digital economy has little need for unskilled workers.
“Factory jobs,” Porter tells us,  “can no longer keep small-town America afloat.”

ZAGATA: Renewables Not Ready To Replace Gas

Column by Mike Zagata for January 11, 2019

Renewables Not
Ready To Replace Gas

MIKE ZAGATA

Those who oppose using fossil fuels to provide the bulk of our energy needs without offering viable alternatives are depriving this and future generations of job opportunities. When our country attempts to keep our illegal immigrants seeking to enter our country illegally in pursuit of jobs, Nancy Pelosi and those aligned with her call it “immoral”. What should we call doing that to our own citizens?
When those opposed to fossil fuels argue against them, they point to their environmental impacts, especially their contribution to “climate change” and laud renewables as being “pure” when it comes to the environment. Is that really the case?

KUZMINSKI: ‘Populism’ Isn’t A Dirty Word

Column by Adrian kuzminski for Jan. 3, 2019

Populism’ Isn’t A
Dirty Word,It’s As
American As Apple Pie

BY Adrian Kuzminski

Our columnist was prescient: Adrian Kuzminski’s 2008 study of populism, “Fixing the System,” foreshadowed Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s populism by eight years.

Since 2016, we’ve had an explosion of political upheavals around the world – all widely described as populist: the Brexit vote in Britain, Trump’s election, and the rise of separatist and nationalist parties in Europe and beyond. We can also include the “yellow vests” in France and movements in places like Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, and the Philippines.Back in 2008, at the time of the financial crisis, I published a book about the history of populism called “Fixing the System: A History of Populism, Ancient & Modern.”  It didn’t make me famous, but it did aim to understand the rising political phenomenon of populism – something which since has morphed into a global tidal wave.

Populism is easily misunderstood. It can be found on both the left and right of the political spectrum. It’s not about how liberal or conservative you are. It’s about the failure of the system to provide economic and social security for a large part of the population.

ELLSWORTH: Not So Wild In The Heart

From The Heart Of Ohio

Not So Wild In The Heart

CATHERINE LAKE ELLSWORTH

Although we do not normally make any New Year resolutions, we must admit that we did this year, as there are times in life when we tend not to make the best choices, leaving us needing to make some changes.

And such seems to be the case when we chose the name “From the Wilds of Ohio” for our current writings.  Since doing so, we have discovered there is actually a place in Cumberland, Ohio, which is called “The Wilds.”

From their website we learned that “The Wilds is a private, non-profit conservation center located on nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed mine land in rural southeastern Ohio. It was created as the conservation center of the future by a group of civic leaders, political leaders and zoo professionals who believed that a serious scientific approach was required to find solutions to environmental concerns.”

We understand, from those who have visited The Wilds, that it is well worth the trip.

ZAGATA: Today, Renewables Can’t Go It Alone

Column by Mike Zagata for December 21, 2018

1. Today, Renewables
Can’t Go It Alone

Mike Zagata

We all share a concern about our environment and what forms of energy to use in order to maintain our lifestyle and position in the global economy.
Fossil fuels are non-renewable and thus the day will come when they are gone. Energy companies know this and realize that, in order to remain viable, they must look for renewable alternatives.
However, there isn’t a magic switch we can turn on to allow us to go from a dependence on fossil fuels to relying solely on renewables. We need a bridge to get us to that point, and natural gas is that bridge.

KUZMINSKI: Public Banks, ‘Greenbacks,’ Might Close Gap Between Rich And Poor

Column by Adrian Kuzminski for December 14, 2018

Public Banks, ‘Greenbacks,’ Might
Close Gap Between Rich And Poor

Adrian Kuzminski

I brought up the Green New Deal in my last column as the only political agenda I’ve seen which, whether we agree with it or not, at least tries to measure up to the magnitude of the two biggest problems we face: climate change and economic insecurity.
Let’s take a closer look.

ZAGATA: How Sequoias Were Saved Offers Lesson On Forest Fires

Column by Mike Zagata for December 7, 2018

How Sequoias
Were Saved Offers
Lesson On Forest Fires

Editor’s Note: Among his many credentials, Mike Zagata is currently director of organization development at the New York State Forest Owners Association.

Mike Zagata

The fires burning in California are indeed tragic, but their severity could have been averted.
If politicians and environmentalists had bothered to research the ecology of the brushlands and forests in California, they would have discovered that they are fire dominated – in other words, they rely on being burned on a regular basis to be rejuvenated.
The Giant Sequoias are the classic example.
For decades preservationists put out naturally ignited fires in the Sequoia-dominated forest. Over time, scientists observed a decline in the number of young Sequoia trees as they were being replaced by true firs (Abies) and Douglas fir.
Why was this happening?

KUZMINSKI: Democrats Can Rebuild Around Climate Change, Economic Justice

Column by Adrian Kuzminski

November 30, 2018.

Democrats Can Rebuild Around Climate Change, Economic Justice

Adrian Kuzminski

Now that the Democrats have made a comeback by capturing the House of Representatives, they are faced with how to use their new power. Up to now, they have been obsessed with Trump, and split on how to address the problems of the day.
We’ll get to Trump in a moment. But first, let’s look at what the Democrats have to say about the big issues of the day.
These boil down to two super-problems: runaway climate change for all and increasing economic insecurity for many. It’s hard to think of any major issue which isn’t entangled in one or both of these, or that wouldn’t be greatly alleviated by progress on either of them.
Status quo Democrats (the Clinton-Obama tradition) have become the party’s conservatives. They’ve been running the show for a generation, and have failed to rein in either climate change or economic insecurity. There’s less and less reason to think they can deal with these mounting problems.

Progressive Democrats, by contrast, are largely defined by the Bernie Sanders movement, which, revealingly, calls itself “Our Revolution.” They are also influenced by the Green party, particularly by its call for a Green New Deal, recently endorsed by Bill McKibben.
The Green New Deal is remarkable in its focus on the twin problems of climate change and economic justice. So far, it’s the only alternative this writer has seen to business as usual (just Google “Green New Deal”).
The Green New Deal calls for closing overseas military bases and using the savings to help finance domestic renewal. It demands an end to subsidies and tax breaks for fossil-fuel related industries. It insists on an immediate transition to 100 percent renewables.
It identifies the financial system, led by too-big-to-fail private banks, as the main obstacle to economic restructuring. It proposes an alternative public banking system to fund infrastructure, guarantee employment, transition to renewables, offer free education through college, and provide single-payer, comprehensive Medicare for all.

Revolutions are risky business.
Can revolutionary excesses be avoided? Climate change and economic insecurity are increasingly catastrophic. Is a Green New Deal what we need to cope? Is it practical? Can it gain broad support? Can it hope to overcome its formidable opponents? Can its goals be achieved without chaos and abuse of power?
A lot will depend on the answers to these questions.
But, like it or not, the Green New Deal takes seriously our most intractable problems, and gives us a sense of what it will take to deal with them. If we’re going to have a revolution, this is the one the
left envisions.
Progress on big issues is unlikely, however, unless Democrats (and Republicans) learn to deal with Trump. We all know his faults. He has also become the voice of social grievances his critics have mostly, to their peril, ignored. Perhaps most important, he denies climate change and takes extremes of wealth for granted.

Whatever collusions and financial ripoffs might be pinned on Trump, even if illegal, blend all too easily with what many corporations and governments do routinely these days. In these ways, he’s as American as apple pie.
He should be impeached if impeachable offenses can be established. But for impeachment to stick, to avoid the appearance of political vengeance, it has to be part of a larger sense of renewed justice that speaks to the revolutionary changes which seem to be increasingly in the air.
That means getting serious about climate change and economic insecurity – two items not on Trump’s agenda.

Adrian Kuzminski, a retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, lives in Fly Creek.

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