As is custom, Governor Cuomo gave his State of the State speech in which New York governors traditionally outline where we stand and where they hope to take us. The news outlets naturally put their own spin on things so although there’s not enough room here to touch on all aspects of the speech, I thought it would be good to review a few major ones together.
Much attention was paid to the Governor’s call for a constitutional amendment legalizing non-Indian casino gambling and the plan to build a convention center, casino and hotel complex at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. Constitutional amendments have to be approved twice by the legislature, then once in public referendum so I think it will be difficult to build that kind of consensus.
I hoped there was more to the update than was provided so I could fully understand the issues that Congresswomen McCarthy wanted us to be aware of.
I can certainly empathize with the Congresswomen’s frustration with the state of affairs in Washington D.C. I do agree with her that we deserve more stable and responsible leadership than what we are getting but it is not because of the Tea Party Republicans.
While it is true that the issues related to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” are not simple we should not be influenced by much of the misinformation that has been disseminated and we should base our decisions on the facts and develop a regulatory regime which can assure safety and environmental sensitivity.
It is ironic that natural gas development, which can reduce carbon emissions by a third compared to oil and a half compared to coal, is caught in an emotional debate over environmental impacts. As businessman and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, using data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, this abundant new gas source has reduced our oil imports from 60 percent in 2005 to 47 percent today. Recent events in the Middle East should reinforce the need for a U.S. energy policy based on domestic natural gas.
Magnificent would be the best way to describe our Corpus Christi Choir. The members are Nancy Becker, Marta Bertoni, William Boerner, Katherine Bautigam, Janet Bromfield, Irene DeMedeiros, Maria Dos Santos, Janet Langer, Franni Luisi, Lisa Madson-Connor, Dolores Mangold, Adriara Mello, Tom Murphy, Christina Nunez, Tom Schmitt, Sindy Seabra, Pat Tobin, Greg Tranchina, Mario Valdellon, Michael Vezzi and the director, Troy Gordon.
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Tsontos Furs was founded by a great friend of mine, Mike Tsontos. Mike was wounded and captured by the Germans in the North African campaign. When he was hit and laying on a stretcher he was next in line to be operated on, when two Germans were brought in wounded. He figured they would be moved ahead of him and was surprised when they took the casualties one by one whether they were German, Italian, American or British. He spent three years in a prisoner of war camp. As the Nazi fortunes declined, the POWs received smaller and smaller rations. He says that on the whole the American and British POWs were humanely treated except for the starvation diets. The German treatment of the Soviet POWs in the next compound was brutal. The Germans treated the Russian POWs like they were not human beings. Mike weighted 200 pounds when he was captured and 110 pounds when he was finally liberated by the advancing American forces. Years later he opened Tsontos Furs and built up a prosperous business.
(Editor’s note: The following is a copy of a letter from Senator Charles Fuschillo and the Long Island Senate Delegation to the LIPA Board of Trustees opposing LIPA’s rate increase proposal. The letter was read into public record at a LIPA public hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 6 regarding its rate increase proposal.)
Once again a selfish and intransigent Tea Party brought the nation to the brink of disaster. I’ve gotten dizzy watching House Republicans flip-flop and backtrack in their efforts to win political points.
This is a victory for everyday citizens – from the scores of job seekers who attended my career fair at Hofstra University this month and told me of the importance of unemployment insurance, to the thousands of Americans who tweeted about how this whole charade could bring painful hardship to their families.
Yuletide Greetings were everywhere at the mayor’s annual Christmas party. Among those present we got to talk to were Joyce and Karen Gorycki, Bob and Kyle Teemsma, Rich Forestano, Walter and Joan Hobbs, Vivian Yuan, Jackie Wladyka Emilia Morelli, Meredith and Leah Minkoff, Whitney Kwiatkoski, Shelby Grynberg, Tiana Taliepe, Nick Pontolillo, Janice Cosenza, Dina Schuldner, Pat Lackner, John and Sara Herling, Betty McLoughlin. She’s the president of the Irish American Society. John Carroll, John Colbert, Michael Veezi, Manny Grilo, John Davanzo, John and Kathleen O’Shea, Bob Rosenthal, George Durham, Denny McCrave, Julian Mikowski, Peter Ferreira, Timmy Balos, Tom Mikowski, Andrew Martone, Jr., David DeSilva, Leo-nard Reis, Michael Palumbo, Neil and Joan Young, Mayor Scott and Pat Strauss, Sen. Jack Martins, John Broder and Richard O’Callaghan.
For fans of the television program Seinfeld, one of the most beloved episodes introduces a rebuttal to the year-end frenzy, a made-up holiday called “Festivus.” The brainchild of George’s father, a character named Frank Costanza, the traditions of his invented holiday are exercises in dysfunction but of course, pretty funny.
One of the “traditions” is the “airing of grievances” in which people take a moment to explain to family members how they’ve disappointed them in the past year. As an elected official, I’ve often joked that it might be nice to have people “air grievances” just once a year as opposed to sharing them constantly. To be sure, the most difficult part of this type of service is answering people’s criticisms.
Mr. McMillan’s column brings up a very good and eye-opening point. Our visa system allowed 1.3 million foreign residents to come in legally last year. There is almost a visa for every letter of the alphabet with very high allotments for each. How can we be expected to absorb so many people each year? We need to eliminate nonessential immigration categories that are driving the biggest population explosion in U.S. history.
With all these visas out there it would be a good idea to support legislation that would amend federal law to require at least one parent of children born in the United States be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident before being approved for citizenship as well as eliminate the extended family visa categories and reduce the annual number of family-sponsored immigrant visas to end unnecessary chain migration.
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