It was an extravaganza of bloodshed; so potent and sweeping in its consequences; so deadly in the colliding of human forces that it has been thrust to the forefront of the historical stage as America’s grand opera. Yet so little is heard or said about the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Perhaps, this is because so much has been written that we have become numb to how our country had once so bloodily and tragically turned upon itself.
I owe a great deal of gratitude to the countless women who paved the way for women like me to contribute to society. Unfortunately, we recently lost one of these pioneers, former Congresswoman and Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, when she passed away of blood cancer this week. Geraldine opened the door for a generation of new leaders. She certainly was an inspiration – and ultimately mentor — to me as I sought my own path in public service years ago.
Preparing tax returns can be frustrating and confusing, but we can help. Hempstead Town’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program offers free tax assistance to senior citizens.
What a difference a year makes.
If you think back to the budget crisis of a year ago and the discussions today, there truly is a marked difference. In both, the state was grappling with a devastating fiscal crisis, but this year the commitment was made to reduce spending as opposed to the cycle of ever more taxes and spending that was the norm in Albany from both sides of the aisle for far too long.
It was one of the most haunting scenes in cinematic history: HAL 9000 is the latest in artificial intelligence; a sentient, on-board computer that functions as the brain of the spaceship Discovery. It understands human language, its nuances and ambiguities, and pleasantly converses with the crew by speaking in the softest, most dulcet tones.
Then Hal, the epitome of technological perfection, seriously malfunctions and Discovery’s two astronauts must disconnect its cognitive functions in order to protect the mission. Wary of HAL, they enter into a see-through soundproof pod to prevent the computer from overhearing their plan. The life force of HAL is represented by an enlarged, piercingly red eyeball. That eyeball now focuses menacingly on the pod. The camera shifts back and forth between the silently moving lips of the astronauts inside the pod and the iconic red eyeball of HAL. Suddenly, the viewers shockingly realize that HAL is reading the lips of the astronauts. HAL, fearing his own technological death embarks on a murderous rage against the crew.
Throughout the budget process this year we have remained true to our commitment – to address the over $10 billion deficit by cutting spending, not raising taxes. New York State does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. To get our economy moving and create new jobs, we need to get government off people’s and businesses backs – hence spending cuts, not new taxes.
We can’t tax our way out of this recession. Governor Cuomo gets it. I get it. Unfortunately, there are others who don’t.
As we head into the final lap of budget discussions in Albany, it is increasingly clear that special interest groups plan to defend their stranglehold on New York State’s purse strings by stepping up their propaganda. These groups are committed to maintaining the historical status quo and will fight, tooth and nail, to block the change we were elected to implement.
Patsy Ann Joinnides
MA Childhood Education
The twin disasters of an earthquake and a tsunami have Japan in a desperate race against time to prevent large-scale radiation leaks in an unfolding nuclear crisis that has the world holding its breath. There is the usual chorus criticizing another nation’s lack of preparedness for a catastrophic event in addition to calls to shut down nuclear power plants altogether. These criticisms and demands are unrealistic since such things are bound to happen and they fail to take into account where the human race would be without technological advances.
It has been a busy week in Albany. We continue the process of examining the state budget. These are difficult financial times but working together, we will ultimately succeed in cutting expenses and providing a framework for real long-term relief. In order for us to improve our state’s fiscal health, we need to provide residents with property tax relief, create jobs and control spending.
In another blast of high stakes rodomontade, Vice President Joe Biden in one of his descending from the “mount of God” moments, augustly proclaimed that our nation needs a $53 billion appropriation to build a high-speed rail and it needs to get the job done in a hurry. These implorations may have been heartfelt, but Americans are not quite ready to come aboard this one-way express to deficitville. Nor does the history of American transportation justify Biden’s confidence about a rail-based America being the dominant mode of transportation.
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