"Sustainable development" in Tioga County, NY

Who could possibly be opposed to it? It sounds so good.

Those chartreuse areas highlighted on the map to the left are "Areas in the Town of Spencer with potential for having one or more rare or endangered plant or animal species." It's a fact that it's a possibility! Delta smelt, anyone?

Here's the latest iteration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan for the Town & Village of Spencer NY (click on the image below to open the doc). Please read and contact town council members with your thoughts:

 

 

CT has UConn, NYS has...UCon?

Who could possibly object to this?

ALBANY — A statewide initiative will start to expand opportunities for prisoners to get college degrees, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday...

Read the whole thing and the comments, too.

From our own inimitable contributor, Publius:

NEW COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY --- FREE DEGREES WITH FREE ROOM AND BOARD

To obtain your free college education, courtesy of Governor Cuomo, just commit a felony and go to jail!  Do not accept probation or parole.
 
Our experts can help you find a crime that carries a four year sentence so you can get that four year college degree.  And, don't worry about distractions.  You'll be free to concentrate on your studies in your own "room" in the prison while receiving three meals a day at State taxpayer expense.  Good prison libraries and high speed access to the web guaranteed.
 
We know prisons and can help you apply to the right one.  Just fill out our form and tick off the boxes of the Cuomo supplied amenities.  Need tennis courts?  Weight lifting rooms?  We can tell you how to get to the right accommodations.  For just $1,000 we can help you stage a felony that will open the door to these riches.
 
If you have children in need of free college educations, our experts can tell you which crimes are most likely to enable them to join in this program.
 
NY is open for felons.  Get tax breaks, free food and lodging, free degrees.  Cuomo loves you.
 
Show your thanks to our governor, send money to the Cuomo campaign, DeBlasio Street Lefties Asylum, South Bronx, NY.
 
***
 
 

Solar plexus

I hear a blow to this area can cause a loss of consciousness. That's what must have happened to the guy who wrote a guest viewpoint that appreared recently in both the Ithaca Journal and the Elmira Star-Gazette--he doesn't appear to have been conscious when he composed it:

Solar panels on your roof? Create your own electricity? Why not? Especially if your roof is not totally north-facing and not shaded by trees or buildings.
 
My wife and I as well as our daughter and son are all scheduled for installation by a local contractor late next spring. Cost? $0 down with a 20-year lease. The best part is not that New York and the federal government offer a zero-cost subsidy to any home owner, nor is it the electric cost savings achieved in one’s monthly bill. The best part is each solar house will reduce greenhouse gases that are killing our planet....
Look--I have no problem with "alternate energy" (or people who feel virtuous about using it) as long as it can stand on its own financial feet and doesn't amount to yet another form of income redistribution in the form of taxpayer subsidies.
 
 
Here's Tom Reynolds' take on it:
 
The anti-fracking crowd continues delivering half-truths and deceptions; facts cause them enormous problems.
 
Gilroy spends half his opinion scaring people about coal mining in Pennsylvania, which has as much relevance to hydro-fracking as a party line telephone has to today’s cell phones. Perhaps he learned this technique from “Gasland”, which was as much of a documentary as “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter”.
 
His comments on gas drilling are the usual talking points which do not bear up under closer scrutiny. They are great scare tactics to use on the uninformed since they deceive readers with half-truths and misconceptions. 
 
He brags about Germany’s solar industry, but here are additional facts about Germany worth noting. According to studies by the Fraunhofer Institute, only 5.3% of Germany’s electrical power comes from solar, and their national goal is to get 80% from solar by…2050. (Solar power would power the entire country from about noon to 2 pm). It is the smallest “major” source of Germany’s electricity. 
 
Solar is also heavily subsidized in Germany, as it is in the US, but it has a big financial problem in that their electrical grid faces a costly expansion to accommodate further growth. (That same electrical grid expansion in the US is estimated to cost as much as $2 trillion.) And Gilroy concludes by saying the “price is right” to go solar in 2014; that sounds like the same economic timeliness we heard about the Obama’s UNaffordable Care Act. But the green energy folks have never let economic and budget consequences be a factor in their position.
 
Oh yes, the US is poised to add more solar power than Germany will add in 2014. Of course, none of it will be produced by Solyndra!
 
Upstate New York is economically dying because the “Greens”' deceptions have paralyzed the governor. Green advocates such as Gilroy should be thanked by the unemployed and underemployed for keeping them unemployed, underemployed--and leaving NY for jobs elsewhere.
 
As for "the greenhouse gases that are killing our planet", well...
 

Not only do words matter...

Your word matters.

Tolkien is a never-ending source of inspiration.

 

About 8 months ago, I wrote a post concerning the use of his Lord of the Rings in a graphic from New Yorkers for Life. And I just saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and something occurred to me as I was peering through the 3D glasses--the regularity with which the idea of giving one's word occurs in The Hobbit and the Ring trilogy.

 

It used to be a common expression: "You have my word." Gandalf puts it in question form: "Do I have your word?" Which while it might be answered somewhat grudgingly in the affirmative is not a question whose answer would be thought of or taken lightly.

 

At least at one time.

 

One friend said that he hadn't heard anyone use that expression--to give one's word--in a very long time.  Another said that in the past his family would settle business dealings on the strength of a handshake, the physical manifestation of giving one's word--but that those days were gone.

 

And that's a big problem. Because if my word is meaningless, why would anyone trust me?

 

Trustworthiness seems to be one of those virtues that has lost its lustre at best, or largely disappeared at worst. One need only look at the political realm to see that this is so. People continue to vote for politicians who claim to have principles but whose word is worthless and who demonstrate again and again that they simply cannot be trusted. No matter--they get re-elected again and again.

 

But while the political class's unethical and immoral behavior is clearly an issue, it's a broader societal problem. Wouldn't it be refreshing if regular people would, for instance, be principled and say what they mean and mean what they say?

 

As an example, in a book entitled The Case for Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism, author Jeffrey Bell helps dispel

…a long-held myth, typically perpetuated by self-described liberals in the mainstream media but also by self-described libertarians, that whenever the moral issues are prominent in elections, conservatives lose...

But, as Bell wrote

…Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964. The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix -- I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.

So contrary to what friends on our own side would have us believe, 

…if conservatives simply shut up about issues like abortion and marriage and focus on things like debt and fiscal responsibility, there's no guarantee when it comes to election time.

This is often not simply a matter of a difference of opinion--it's a conscious tactical decision on the part of those who are supposedly on our side. They want us to believe, in this and in other matters and despite all their protestations to the contrary, that there's only one way to skin a cat--their way. For the most part and speaking only for myself, it's a tactic that's worked.  I've been naive and actually quite gullible.  No more.

 

Now other friends might see this conclusion as being overly critical and harsh--too judgmental.  But there's nothing wrong with judging people. In fact there's nothing wrong with--gasp!--discriminating.  It's considered a plus to have discriminating taste or a discriminating palate.  And speaking as someone who grew up in NYC constantly being admonished to be "situationally aware," if you can't discriminate between a situation that's safe and one that isn't, you won't survive very long.

 

Chrissy the Hyphenated has a interesting post on the question of judging--and I maintain that "lefties" are not the only ones who use this technique:

Lefties are big on throwing, “Judge not” at Christians in a way that really means, “Shut the hell up...”


...Jesus also said specifically that we are supposed to judge … not that Lefties know or quote that one. It’s John 7:24.

  • Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly. [NABRE]
  • Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. [NIV]
  • Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly. [NLT]
  • Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. [KJB]

His words here are based on God’s law as given to Moses:

Leviticus 19:15 – You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your neighbor justly. [NABRE]...

In the political world especially, not holding to principles, not keeping one's word, betraying a trust, are often excused in the name of "prudence."  It's possible and definitely laudable for people to forgive others, especially friends, for exercising this sort of faux prudence. But those friends should not be surprised to find that they are not entirely trusted again. That's just prudent behavior on the part of the betrayed. It's an inconvenient and poignant truth that forgiveness and trusting again are not the same things.

And do read the rest of Chrissy's post here

So it is not only OK but absolutely essential for our survival as a country to use our God-given faculties to discern what's REALLY going on--even with people we count as friends or consider to be allies--and draw conclusions appropriately. The conclusions may not always be flattering and may run contrary to what the other members of our own tribe believe to be true.

But it's critical as we start a new year facing what appear to be insurmountable challenges that we engage in this kind of discrimination and not simply accept what we're told to think, sometimes by those we like to count as friends.

Tom Shippey, author of JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century, wrote of the vile orcs:

"…Orcs…have a clear idea of what is admirable and what is contemptible behavior, which is exactly the same as ours. They cannot revoke what [CS]Lewis calls 'the Moral Law' and create a counter-morality based on evil, any more than they can revoke biology and live on poison.  They are moral beings, who talk freely and repeatedly of what is 'good', meaning by that more or less what we do.  The puzzle is that this has no effect at all on their actual behavior, and they seem…to have no self-awareness or capacity for self-criticism. But these are human qualities too… (p.133)

No kidding.

A New Year's resolution? Perhaps to keep the channels of communications open, where possible.  But to also realize that it may just be the case that [Luke 12:52-53] :

…52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 "They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

From The Hobbit…Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire":

Wolves in sheep's clothing

[Note: you can click on the first three images to embiggen]

Doug Wilson has a dandy post, "The Scars on Your Forearms," re: the Phil Robertson controversy but which also has much broader application methinks. Speaking of "sophisticated" Christian leaders--shepherds--he writes:

...When shepherds have neglected the flock for so long, and the wolves are ravaging them, and the sheep come up with some kind of strategy to defend themselves, and the shepherds sit up on the ridge, laughing at the tactical inadequacy of what the sheep are attempting, what shall we call that?

 

So what do we need? We don’t need generals. We have that. We need generals who fight. We don’t need leadership councils. We have those. We need national leaders who fight. We don’t need pretty boy preachers. We have those. We need preachers who fight. We don’t need evangelical regiments of pajamaboys. We have that. We need fight, and we need to fight with everything we have — heart, strength, and brains. All in.

 

Show me your forearms. Unless there are scars all over them, then I honestly don’t want to hear your views of the inadequacy of these cultural clashes (Gal. 6:17). When the barbarians are throwing their scaling ladders against the city walls, if the only defenders at the top of those walls are Chick Fil A employees in paper hats and hot grease from the deep fryer, and rednecks with their beards and shotguns, and nobody at all there from Red Brick Memorial Reformed, Rev. Forsythe P. Snodgrass, D.Min, minister, then let us be frank. We shouldn’t blame the folks who are there.

Definitely read the whole thing.

 

So, you ask, what of this broader application beyond merely the cultural clashes that Wilson refers to here?

 

Well, as they say, when a door closes, a window opens.  Having recently closed a door--slammed it shut, actually, but it was necessary; it had been slightly off its hinges and allowing heat to escape at an alarming rate for quite some time--I started thinking about windows.  So naturally I thought of the London School of Economics.  Doesn't everyone?

 

Before you conclude that the aforementioned door isn't the only thing off its hinges...the London School of Economics was founded by a group of Fabians who are "depicted in the famous stained-glass Fabian Window designed by George Bernard Shaw. The window was stolen in 1978 and reappeared at Sotheby's in 2005. It was restored to display in the Shaw Library at the London School of Economics in 2006 at a ceremony which Tony Blair, PM at the time presided over, emphasizing New Labour's intellectual debt to the Fabians."

 

Who were the Fabians? To put them in contemporary context,

The attempt to fully nationalize health care has been rightly criticized as a “Fabian” move on the part of President Obama and his cohorts. The term evokes Fabian Socialism, the influential group behind the British Labour Party and the London School of Economics who wielded the power of some of the 20th Century’s most famous authors to sell not only a socialist-collectivist system, but one run on behalf of the oligarchical elite and managed by technological experts…

 

...Founded in 1884, the Fabian Society boasted such writers (propagandists) as H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, Jack London, Virginia Woolf, Annie Besant and plenty of influential and wealthy ideologues.

 

George Orwell, a co-mingling socialist who became disaffected with the aims and methods of the Fabians...exposed much of this in his infamous 1984 – curiously placed a full century after the founding of the incremental Fabians began in 1884. Among the many clues left in his most powerful novel is “INGSOC” a newspeak abbreviation for the ruling party who practiced English Socialism…

 

…Orwell spotlighted a tyranny that would progress from and ‘improve’ upon the socialist systems of the Soviets and Nazis by admitting to themselves that their ultimate goal was power [ed. note: 1984 was published in 1948]…

 

…The Fabian Socialists had indeed committed to a gradual takeover by any means necessary, preferring the use of gradualism and deception, and taking for its two logos a turtle (carrying the slogan: When I strike, I strike hard) and that of a wolf in sheep’s clothing…

Ah.

 

At Canada Free Press (unfortunately, we don't seem to have a US Free Press) over 4 years ago:

…The Fabian Window is a beautiful, if sinister, thing…
 

...Built to commemorate the founding of the Fabian Socialist Society, the Fabian Window contains images that are clear, unapologetic and, as a friend of mine once said—brazen. It is one thing, as Lenin said, to howl like wolves in order to live among wolves; however it is quite another to advertise the fact that you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Yet, the socialists who constructed the window had no qualms about advertising the fact that they had a hidden (or not so hidden) agenda when it comes to reshaping the world.

The window contains the image of two men—founders of the society—hammering the globe (from the top down no less) with sledgehammers—imposing their will on the world so to speak. They are not voting; they are not persuading; nor are they preaching to the masses. They are hammering the world with very big hammers...

…More ominous still—the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Amazingly, the Fabian Window contains an image—just above the fellows hammering the world—that is as clear as it is foreboding: the socialists are wolves in sheep’s clothing. I often wonder why they did not choose a less ignoble animal. What about a courageous lion? A proud bull? A vigilant hawk? A noble horse? No, they chose a wolf—a cunning, ravenous, devious, and scary critter—and cloaked him in a sheepskin. Why? Because, as Lenin taught, if you want to operate in a capitalist society you must disguise yourself. Put the sheepskin on and you can easily mingle with the flock. Until you decide to shed the skin and consume the flock. The most frightening thing about the image is that the socialists make no apology about being wolves and living among sheep…

…The current occupants of the White House look and dress like capitalists and profess to believe in freedom—all the time hammering the world and remoudling it nearer their heart’s desire—which, of course, is the motto inscribed on the Fabian Window. Does it say, “remould it nearer the will of the people?” Or, “remould it nearer the will of the voters?” No, the socialist window commands them to: “remould it nearer [their] heart’s desire…

There's more to that window but you get the idea.

Today's Fabians are progressives (some would call them "liberals," but I think that does a disservice to actual liberals) and they come in both flavors--Democrats and Republicans. We do ourselves no favors if we pretend that the Republicans in sheep's clothing are any different than Democrats in the same attire. Either way, they are convinced of the superiority of both themselves and a big, all-encompassing government, despite routinely clothing their wolfishness with sheep-like language.  

In other words, they lie. 

In an American Thinker post on school bullying, a psychotherapist (who parenthetically says, "I tell clients that being surprised by another person's behavior often results from erroneous assumptions about the person, usually because you see them as you want them to be rather than as they are"--another point that has relevance here with respect to the political class) writes about moral intelligence:

…Moral intelligence is the foundation of human achievement. Without a basis in moral intelligence science is used for destructive purposes and art ceases to uplift. Moral intelligence comprises three mental faculties: 1) intuition about the significance of life; 2) understanding a code that distinguishes good choices from bad, and; 3) the courage to take individual responsibility to combine intuition and understanding into moral action. Moral knowledge is collective wisdom passed from generation to generation…

Fancy that--there's actually a wisdom we humans have acquired over millennia. And contrary to the prevalent moral relativism, that wisdom tells us that lies are lies, no matter what the source. As Rudyard Kipling pointed out in 1919 in "The Gods of the Copybook Headings," there are those who will try to convince us that water doesn't make us wet, fire doesn't burn us, and that two plus two doesn't equal four:

...In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, 
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; 
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, 
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. 
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, 
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, 
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, 
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! 

So what are our choices?

We can keep on making excuses for the lies of the political class--both parties…"our guys understand but CAN'T be entirely truthful because then they won't get elected and then we can't govern"…"we know our guys lie but at least they lie less than the other side does!" The lesser of two weevils argument. Cold comfort to know that they realize the danger but can only play "Nearer, My God, To Thee" whilst simultaneously running for election or re-election. That does takes a certain amount of talent, I'll grant you.

But we're enabling substance abusers. It helps neither the enabler nor the abuser in the end. 

Or we can hang around waiting for Kipling's terror and slaughter to return and bring with it a resurgence of the gods of the copybook headings, a return to common sense and moral knowledge. 

A little late. Talk about learning the hard way. And simply hanging around waiting for bad stuff to happen doesn't sit well with many people.

Or we can try to do better by taking George Washington's approach:

If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God.

What a concept--standards! Principles! Imagine that. But having principles engenders more work, like holding the feet of those who are supposed to be representing us and keeping the ship of state on course but away from icebergs to the fire.

If that seems rigid and unbending, so be it.  As Iowa radio host Steve Deace wrote recently in a Facebook post addressed to inside-the-beltway "conservatives":

We in the grassroots are not irrational purists. We are against compromise because there is nothing left to compromise. This is no longer the America of a by-gone era, when a slightly left-of-center Democrat Party and a slightly right-of-center Republican Party negotiated and duked it out within basically the same moral value system. This is now an era when basic Constitutional freedoms once taken for granted are discarded and ignored, when lawlessness reigns instead of the rule of law, and when those who believe in even a modicum of moral restraint are lumped into the same septic tank as the notorious hate-monger Fred Phelps…
 

…There are two distinct ideas of civilization wrestling for control of these United States. Sure, not all of us who disagree with what's happening to our country agree with each other on everything, and hopefully one day we'll have enough freedom and liberty again to actually have that debate. But for now the Red Coats are on our shores, and the Visigoths are surging over the wall. We are fighting for the survival of our very way of life here. We need your help, not promises to fight some day in a future that never comes, or endless droning on about process on Fox News or in interviews with National Review…

I would hope that pols who profess to NOT be 21st-century Fabian Socialists would be making the danger we're in crystal clear at every opportunity since the iceberg IS looming. And it's true that many of them--most of them--tack right as elections also loom, and that we need to treat them like puppies who manage to do their business on the newspaper (what an apt image) and give them attaboys and attagirls when they say--but much preferably do--the right thing.

But how do we keep them crapping on the newsprint and not the carpets beyond Election Day?

Doug Wilson has another essay in which he makes the point that "Organized labor is piracy without the boats and eye patches." 

In a more general political sense, some would say that the way to fight progressivism is to be aboard the pirate ship with the thieves themselves and their crew of enablers--ineffective, dense shepherds and sleeping dogs--and rot the piracy from within.  After all, that slow and steady takeover of the system from within is what the other side has done so successfully.

If that works for some, great. Do what ya gotta do. Doesn't work for me. I find that for a whole host of reasons, being on the inside encourages being vocal--but not necessarily verbal. Those two things are not the same at all.

I'd rather be on a frigate with the leathernecks. And I never did like how I looked in an eye patch. 

Somebody needs to make clear the danger we're in. Most of our fearless leaders either don't believe we're in that much danger, don't much care, think that iceberg is a variant on "creative destruction," or simply find it impossible to articulate what their supposed principles are and so are singularly ill-equipped to fight back against the wolves even if they are not truly wolfen themselves.

Shepherds they ain't. But sheeple we've been. We need to be "the folks who are there," as Doug Wilson wrote.  

He finished his essay on scarred forearms with Isaiah 56:10. The "rest of the story," though, is instructive as well (Isaiah 56:10-12):

10 His watchmen are blind,
They are all ignorant;
They are all dumb dogs,
They cannot bark;
Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
 

11 Yes, they are greedy dogs
Which never have enough.
And they are shepherds
Who cannot understand;
They all look to their own way,
Every one for his own gain,
From his own territory.

12 “Come,” one says, “I will bring wine,
And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink;
Tomorrow will be as today,
And much more abundant.”

Makes "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die" seem the height of realistic restraint in comparison.

Those shepherds are trying to sell us a bill of goods about what tomorrow will bring.

In fact, neither the dogs nor the shepherds have much to recommend them. We'll have to protect ourselves from the wolves as best we can.

Breath of Heaven

 

 

 

For your quiet contemplation:

 

Did you know...

 

 

...that the bright lights at A&E cooked up "Duck Dynasty" in order to ridicule the Robertsons? Didn't exactly turn out the way you expected, did it, A&E?

Your Friday night music video. Country folks can survive:

Utopia

You do know why Thomas More made up the word utopia, don't you?

If not, all will become clear.

As a native New Yorker (as in New Yawker), I never could understand the appeal of the place.  Well, it's about to become a lot less appealing—even, I suspect, to the most rabid devotees of the cult of "the city."

From a piece entitled "The Coming Detroitification of New York":

The high cost of all things New York has reached such an extreme that it now costs a truck $102 just to cross the George Washington Bridge. No worries; after Bill de Blasio has been the mayor for a few years, no one will want to come into the city anyway.


De Blasio’s election was the ultimate triumph for the lunatic Left:

Headlining a Brooklyn fund-raiser for the group New York Communities for Change, Mr. de Blasio was hailed as a progressive hero and the fruit of a more than decade-long battle by labor groups, grassroots organizations and the Working Families Party to crown one of their own. …

Definitely read the whole thing.

You see, de Blasio is opposed to having welfare recipients look for a job—I know, I know, that's a really harsh requirement—but is in favor of essentially forcing individuals to pick taxpayer pockets take government handouts. So why is his party called the Working Families Party?  Doesn't sound like a whole lotta work will be getting done on his watch.

Other, more local, politicians are proudly endorsed by the so-called Working Families Party, too...Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton for one and Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson for another. Why is this important?  Because many state "Democrats" run under both banners—the Democrat Party and the Working Families Party (WFP). Why? One reason is that then they can suck in the uninformed voters who still believe that there is such a thing as centrist Democrats.

But for the most part, there isn't.  In NYS, there's the WFP, and the WFP has rather close ties to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) .

And none of those groups—the Democrat Party, the WFP, the DSA, the CPUSA— has the best interests of upstaters at heart.  Assemblyman Bill Nojay today described a conversation in an Albany elevator with a fellow legislator, a Democrat, in which Nojay remarked that Democrat policies were having an adverse effect on upstate jobs.  The Dem's response? "Why would we want upstate jobs?"

They have no intention of creating upstate jobs. They would much rather that all of us who resist their statist, collectivist ideas would simply leave, as many already have. Then, like de Blasio in NYC, they could establish their utopia in NYS and eventually throughout the country. Panem.

Which brings us back to More. He needed a word for a place that didn't, and couldn't, exist. Utopia means both "good place"—the meaning that probably comes to mind first—and "no place."

There's a reason why the term "Left" is often prefaced with "lunatic."

Shut thy pie hole, knave!

At the Daily Caller via Weasel Zippers:

A California county has banned a veteran employee from criticizing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because a coworker who overheard the criticism was offended...
Almost don't need to say any more than that but you could read the rest anyway, just for kicks.
 
Watch that water cooler chit-chat, you scurvy swabs.
 

I have a proposition for you

Six, to be exact. That's how many potential amendments to the New York State Constitution voters will decide on in this year's general election on November 5th.  What are they?

FORM OF SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL NUMBER ONE, AN AMENDMENT
Authorizing Casino Gaming
The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Shall the amendment be approved?
 
FORM OF SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL NUMBER TWO, AN AMENDMENT
Additional Civil Service Credit for Veterans with Disabilities Certified Post‐Appointment
The proposed amendment to section 6 of article 5 of the Constitution would entitle a veteran who has received civil service credit for a civil service appointment or promotion and subsequently is certified as disabled to additional civil service credit at a subsequent appointment or promotion. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
 
FORM OF SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL NUMBER THREE, AN AMENDMENT
Exclusion of Indebtedness Contracted for Sewage Facilities
The proposed amendment to Article 8, section 5 of the Constitution would extend for ten years, until January 1, 2024, the authority of counties, cities, towns, and villages to exclude from their constitutional debt limits indebtedness contracted for the construction or reconstruction of sewage facilities. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
 
FORM OF SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL NUMBER FOUR, AN AMENDMENT
Settling Disputed Title in the Forest Preserve
The proposed amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution would authorize the Legislature to settle longstanding disputes between the State and private entities over ownership of certain parcels of land in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. In exchange for giving up its claim to disputed parcels, the State would get land to be incorporated into the forest preserve that would benefit the forest preserve more than the disputed parcels currently do. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
 
FORM OF SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL NUMBER FIVE, AN AMENDMENT
In Relation to a Land Exchange in the State Forest Preserve with NYCO Minerals, Inc.
The proposed amendment to section 1 of article 14 of the Constitution would authorize the Legislature to convey forest preserve land located in the town of Lewis, Essex County, to NYCO Minerals, a private company that plans on expanding an existing mine that adjoins the forest preserve land. In exchange, NYCO Minerals would give the State at least the same amount of land of at least the same value, with a minimum assessed value of $1 million, to be added to the forest preserve. When NYCO Minerals finishes mining, it would restore the condition of the land and return it to the forest preserve. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
 
FORM OF SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL NUMBER SIX, AN AMENDMENT
Increasing Age until which Certain State Judges Can Serve
The proposed amendment to the Constitution, amending sections 2 and 25 of article 6, would increase the maximum age until which certain state judges may serve as follows: (a) a Justice of the Supreme Court would be eligible for five additional two‐year terms after the present retirement age of 70, instead of the three such terms currently authorized; and (b) a Judge of the Court of Appeals who reaches the age of 70 while in office would be permitted to remain in service on the Court for up to 10 years beyond the present retirement age of 70 in order to complete the term to which that Judge was appointed. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?


What to do, what to do? (By the way, here's the text of the NYS Constitution.)

Well, many people may simply say "yes" to "Shall the proposed amendment be approved?" in every instance, probably for no good reason.

Some are saying vote "no" to every question. Why? Because until the SAFE Act is repealed, there should be as little cooperation with NYS government as possible. Send a message.

Believe me, I get that.

The Conservative Party of New York State has a different take—they go halvsies on yesses and noes.  To find out which amendments they support and which they don't and why, read this.

The New York Family Research Foundation also lists reasons for and against each of the propositions.  

The amendment getting the most attention is the first one—perhaps you've heard the radio ads touting the economic benefits of casino "gaming" (have you noticed how the word "gambling" has been replaced by "gaming"?—as if blowing your retirement nest egg at Turning Stone were on a par with playing Super Mario Bros. whilst sitting on your couch) or seen the impassioned editorials and letters to the editor for and against.

The Republican county executive in Chemung County and the Republican chairman of the Tioga County legislature have come out in support of casino gambling Prop 1. Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R-101st Dist.) is opposed to it.  Republican Michael Vasquez, who is mulling primarying Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY22) in 2014, recently wrote

...casinos are a great gimmick to distract from the invasion on freedoms and privacy (like the NY Safe Act) but it fails to address the real problems in New York State’s economy – politicians, taxes, and a lack of vision or will to do anything substantive. 

An e-mail making the rounds makes this interesting case:

If your answer is NO to 50% of the questions below, YOU should VOTE NO TO ALL 6 RESOLUTIONS:
 
Is the way they will appear on the ballot a balanced view?
 
Do you completely understand the language in the 6 resolutions?
 
Do you 100% agree with any of the 6 resolutions?
 
Do you know what it means to change the NYS Constitution by ballot resolution?
 
Do you know the contents of the 6 ballot propositions?
 
Have you been schooled on all that is in the 6 propositions?
 
Do the majority of the voters even know of the 6 resolutions?
 
In June the legislature voted on 187 bills in 3 days – did they read & understand them before they voted?
 
Do you know which legislators voted yes to the 6 resolutions?
 
Did your government make a good effort to educate the voters about the 6 ballot resolutions?
 
Do you know how the 6 resolutions got on the ballot?
 
If your answer is NO to most questions – the smart thing to do is vote NO to all 6 resolutions....
It's true that none of these resolutions is so urgent...after all, the state's been in the economic doldrums for ages now—and is the law of unintended consequences likely to be suspended for casinos?—the land title issues in the Adirondacks have been around for a century, and so on.
 
Think about it before you vote.
 
h/t Ralph
 
 

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