It’s a new year and much is already being made over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech. As one of the most powerful people in New York, liberals, conservatives and everyone in between were waiting to hear the tone and substance of the speech, sizing up where the supposed “battle lines” will be drawn.
The governor’s position is magnified because it’s a re-election year for him, and it is rumored that he has presidential aspirations. Naturally, a big win at the home-state polls this year would strengthen his position among Democratic frontrunners, so it’s easy to see why this speech carries a heck of a lot of baggage. So far, in his first term, he has tried to maintain some balance, but Cuomo’s unfortunately coming under increasing pressure from New York City Democrats, led by newly-elected Mayor Bill DeBlasio, whose ultra-liberal agenda doesn’t necessarily mesh with the goals of the state. Indeed, the new mayor made many promises, some of which will be impossible to keep unless Cuomo yields to that pressure.
“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.” So wrote the British historian Bertrand Russell, and if you’ve read the papers this week you may think he was absolutely right. Years of education do not translate into intelligence let alone an enlightened insight into truth.
I write specifically about the American Studies Association (ASA), a nationwide organization of university professors. In an effort to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, its members overwhelmingly voted to boycott Israel’s academic institutions from collaborations with the universities here in the United States. Among local institutions affiliated with the ASA are New York University, Cornell, Columbia, SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Stony Brook. To be fair, the administrations of many of these affiliated universities have slammed the boycott but are just sitting on the sidelines.
The competition and mystique that surrounds the effort to gain entrance to four year colleges and universities by graduating high school seniors is almost a blood sport. To hear some parents and students talk, it is almost a matter of life and death, or at the worst, embarrassment.
The implication is that if a student is not accepted to a suitable four year institution all is lost. There is obviously no hope for this student. And what in God’s name are mom and dad going to say at the various cocktail and graduation parties they will be attending?
Will there be that pregnant pause when they say their son or daughter is heading to the local community college?
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi University, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace, have lived in Mineola for 59 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
I had the wonderful experience of seeing the second Wheatley Winter Concert of this season. The chorale, honors string ensemble, symphonic orchestra, symphonic band and jazz band all sang and played expertly. Thank you to the amazing students who participated and to their outstanding teachers who prepared them and conducted the program, Angela Luftig, Stan Orlovsky, Peggy Ho and Steve Fitzko. It was a beautiful evening of music. In keeping with our “All In” theme for the year, the program focused on one common subject, Americana. In this way, students studying American history in their classrooms would be exposed to many periods of American history through a musical lens.
The student-musicians researched their pieces, composers and the time frame in which they were written. For example, a sampling of our student performances follows: a choral selection “The Bells,” based on an 1849 poem by American poet Edgar Allan Poe and arranged by John Leavitt; the song, “Brother, My Brother,” by Jack Murphy and Frank Wildhorn, was inspired by the tensions between the southern and northern states that escalated into the Civil War; “Americans We” was written in 1929, at the beginning of the Great Depression, when the composer Henry Fillmore wanted to bring music to the country and ignite spirit and pride in Americans. As noted in the Concert program, “Music usually reflects the environment and time of its creation. We increase our appreciation of music when we understand its historical context.” The thematic selections of the evening supported this type of connection to academic learning, while at the same time created an emotional experience that only the arts can provide.
This letter serves as a sincere thank you and acknowledgment for all the support shown and generous donations for our Annual Bazaar of the Ladies Auxiliary VFW, Post 5253, Albertson from the following sponsors:
1-800-FLOWERS, New Hyde Park
Albertson Electric, Albertson
Everyone enjoys reminiscing. It is practically impossible to attend a wake and not overhear reflections upon the “good ol’ days”. However, I don’t think anything stirs up the memory pot better than the holiday season. Growing up in Mineola with a loving family made my childhood Christmas memories most enjoyable.
Shortly after Halloween, household preparations would get into high gear. My mother, being of German descent, was not the least bit politically incorrect when she announced each year that it was time to give the house a “German cleaning.” Family members would quip, “The holidays must be approaching; Mom is out Simonizing the driveway.”
It may not be one of the more noble holiday traditions but I guiltily admit that one of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to settle down on the couch next to the fireplace with a bag of cookies and my dog to watch the endless stream of Christmas movies
on TV. My wife and kids usually shun the endeavor and remind me that we’ve watched them, literally, dozens of times before. Yet this annual ritual gives me comfort, so I continue.
Editor’s Note: Lou Sanders, who has his journalism degree from NYU, and his wife, Grace, a graduate of Adelphi, founded the Mineola American in 1952, giving the village its first successful newspaper. Lou and Grace, a graduate of Adelphi University, have lived in Mineola for 59 years, and his popular column is a signature feature of this paper.
The good news is that Yopp’s Service Station on Mineola Boulevard, which for more than 50 years has been repairing brakes, carburetors, alternators, tires and batteries, will again have gas—that’s good news for us that have trusted and liked Fred Yopp, as we did his dad and uncle.
I’m going to get straight to the point. Superstorm Sandy slammed into the south shore of Long Island on Oct. 29, 2012. On that date, more than 400 days ago, millions were left without power, and tens of thousands were displaced.
Now I’m reading newspaper articles that are making my stomach turn. Apparently only four (that’s right, four) of the 4,178 Superstorm Sandy-ravaged Long Island homeowners who qualified for federal housing reconstruction aid have actually received a check. Let me elaborate. More than 10,000 homeowners asked for help. Thus far a few more than 4,000 have heard back and only four have actually received a check. We watched press conference after press conference at which eager politicians promised help and took credit for new funding and here we are more than a year later and only 4 people have received a check.
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