Saint Paul had it right in Ecclesiastes: There is a season for everything. This timeless sentiment has nurtured and salted my objection to what appears to me an amalgamation of America’s most cherished festivals and holidays. I don’t want to sound peevish about this, cross or just touchy about things that bring people joy and happiness. But why is it that people can’t celebrate the holidays in their proper and sequential order?
Is it necessary for us to hear “Jingle Bells” two weeks or more before Thanksgiving? It is not that I don’t adore Christmas music; I just don’t want to listen to it when I’m at the beach on a hot, summer afternoon. Orson Welles, in another context, once pitched a commercial saying, in a way only Orson Welles could, “That we will sell no wine before its time.” The holiday season, just like good wine, should observe a timetable that will bring out the full flavor of its effervescence.
Not To Worry
We’re from the government and we’re here to help you. These ten most feared words in the English language viciously pound the eardrums in the wake of the egregious Obamacare rollout. Every step menaces with pitfalls and booby traps of higher premiums, higher deductibles, co-pays, penalties, mandates, hidden taxes and subsidies. It’s an awful mess with the Democrats hoping that a civil war for the soul of the Republican Party distracts public attention from this never ending boondoggle.
In a quiet suburb in Texas it had become customary for a group of housewives to share a cup of coffee along with their daily worries. One woman, Marina, was especially troubled since her husband Lee was again out of work. With two small daughters to care for and beleaguered by grocery bills and the rent, the future looked glum. This prompted another to mention that her brother who worked at the School Book Depository, a warehouse in downtown Dallas, was hiring. Marina excitedly relayed this news to Lee who applied and was hired.
If you’re a person who values common sense, then prepare yourself to be disgusted and angry. I’m about to tell you about a sensible piece of legislation that’s long overdue, but is being blocked by the New York State Assembly, which is shamelessly pandering to its constituents with your tax money. In fact, you may be shocked to learn that we even need this legislation at all, let alone that it’s being systematically stymied by some in Albany.
Currently, New York issues something called Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to our welfare recipients. It works much like a debit card and it allows us to help our needy neighbors in an efficient yet dignified way. The system conveniently provides a Food Stamp and a Cash Assistance component all on one card. As it stands, strict regulations dictate what can be purchased with the Food Stamp allotment. Cash assistance, on the other hand, is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. To be clear, there are no restrictions whatsoever on the use of the Cash Assistance component. None. It’s doled out like cash.
This year, the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District has a major goal to improve communication in all aspects of its operations. At the board of education meetings, residents are asked to leave their e-mail addresses when they speak during the visitors’ portion of the meeting.
The board is committed to responding to residents’ questions within 24 hours as a way of improving communication. On the school level, we follow the communication chain-of-command to ensure questions can be answered right at the source of the inquiry.
Is love a candle
to keep a flame burning
in the vast open night?
Is love the match
that lights the candle?
Could you imagine if, tomorrow, school districts across New York State had to absorb more than 400,000 new students? Or picture your local school enrolling hundreds of new students and the effect it would have on class sizes, let alone our ability to provide books and materials, desks and lockers. Our current facilities could in no way withstand that kind of blow. In each district, new schools would have to be immediately built and hundreds of teachers, aides, and support staff would have to be hired. With the average cost to educate a student in New York at over $20,000 annually, you could bet our already sky-high school taxes would zoom to astronomical levels.
In what I suppose was an unusually rash moment, the distinguished columnist Murray Kempton, who not infrequently transmuted newspaper argot into high-brow literature, declared that before Richard Nixon even took the Oath of Office as our 37th president, he was one of the five worst presidents in American history. Such adventurous and ill-conceived thoughts are, of course, not unknown in fits of passion, like when a euphoric Karl Rove stated that George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 was evidence of a permanent Republican majority.
Long before Lee Seeman became my successor on the North Hempstead town board, she was my friend and she remains so to this day. And that is because of who she is. Nobody cares more deeply about the good of our community than Lee.
For Lee, public service is the goal, not the means to a self-serving end. She is totally committed to the needs of all of her constituents and has the innate ability to unite factions to achieve a common good. Lee Seeman is able to do this time and again because she is hard-working, graceful and most importantly, she cares. Her dedication to the community is evident in the Town programs to which she has dedicated her efforts, such as the 311 call center which is a model for accessing public information and Project Independence which enables our area seniors to age in place in their own homes.
Halloween has never been nearly as frightening as the current state of affairs in Washington. Debt ceilings, sequesters, threats of a government shutdown, a $17 trillion deficit and a train wreck of a rollout called Obamacare. The nation’s capital has turned into a haunted house without the fun. Perhaps Edward Bulwer Lytton, a mid-19th century English novelist, best described the heavy atmosphere when he minted perhaps the most famous line in all of Gothic literature: It was a dark and stormy night. Our politics are indeed dark and stormy.
Obamacare is the eye of the storm, both because of the ensuing chaos and ineptitude regarding the near impossibility of signing up for it, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent creating a user friendly website and Republicans overplaying their hand in responding to its unprecedented incursions. Ulysses S. Grant may not have been a political genius, but his descendants in the GOP would have been well served if they followed his sage advice: The best way to repeal a bad law is to strictly enforce it.
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