I’m a journalist, author and psychoanalyst. I have written editorials and have been editorialized myself in Newsday,The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. When I read Michael Miller’s “Viewpoint” (“American’s Deserve a Life After 6 p.m.,” The Weekend, April 30-May 6), I recognized it as one of the finest editorial pieces I have ever come across.
I recall the first time I watched the infamous Cadillac commercial Mr. Miller referred to, and how persuasive and really evil it was. For those who have not seen the ad, it was a 60-second spot of a handsome actor walking through his luxury home, past his built-in pool and approaching his new Cadillac. All the while he discusses how ridiculous the lazy French are for taking off “all of August!” and how Americans are so smart to be willing to sacrifice all their time and energy to work and buy and work and buy.
I don’t mind reasonable incremental changes to our children’s education. What I see, however, when you follow the money with Common Core, is an opportunity for billionaires like Bill Gates to apply monetary influence over politicians in order to gain political favor. I see a public school system focused more on testing and memorization of useless trivia, than students truly learning and grasping concepts.
With Common Core, I see corporations eventually profiting from access to our children’s confidential information, and a further invasion into our privacy. Will any of us be surprised if somehow Bill Gates’ Microsoft eventually benefits from computerized testing and educational software in our public schools?
A recent article by Senator Jack Martins regarding “The Heroin Highway” touched upon some very important concerns for every parent in our community. And while most of our children do not find themselves on this “highway,” the statistics and trends for drug use and abuse are alarming. And sadly, in spite of our best efforts, they are not decreasing.
Drug use is not a problem we can arrest our way out of. It is not a problem that emerges overnight because of “bad parenting” as some have proclaimed. It is not a problem that emerges because of one choice in one moment, although we do know that for some, lives can be lost that quickly. More often than not, drug use begins because of so many things that have gone wrong or not enough things going right. It often begins not with the use of drugs but with the breakdown of those things we know to be vital for children growing up in today’s times.
I regret to advise that I did not win the nomination for governor of the Libertarian Party of New York. Congratulations to this year’s slate: Huntington’s Michael McDermott for Governor; Rochester’s Christopher Edes for Lt. Governor; Queens resident John Clifton for Comptroller and Manhattan’s Carl Person for Attorney-General.
Westbury resident Richard Cooper and his quest to be the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Governor was the subject of John Owens’ column, “The Local Man Who Would Be Governor” (The Weekend, March 26-April 1).
Anton’s “Collaborative Excellence” editorial rightly and generously offers “hearty congratulations to all (42) of the teachers throughout Long Island” who have been designated by New York State as “Master Teachers.” You explained that these 42 teachers “show excellence...in subject matter and teaching...by cultivating thorough understanding of the students...(and) involve family and community.” But you also noted that “because it is so new, many people may not be aware of this program.”
I somehow blew up my brother-in-law’s power washer last week. I don’t know how, but you know the feeling. You try never to borrow anything but when you finally do, not 20 minutes in, the otherwise indestructible machinery that’s been well-used for 15 years suddenly and inexplicably starts sputtering and belching smoke like a wounded Godzilla.
It’s a shame too. I was trucking right along, smoothly blasting away muck and grime when I suddenly heard a bolt blow clean off the side of the machine. So my meticulously planned three-hour task turned into a full-day excursion as I headed to the Home Depot to educate myself on the wide world of power washers and where I bought new ones for both my brother-in-law and myself. Lesson one: better not to borrow anything expensive, for Murphy’s Law will surely intervene.
As Memorial Day approaches, it is important that organizations and individuals, including many of our elected officials, be reminded that there is a Federal Flag Code (Public Law 94-344) that was passed by the 94th Congress (1975 - 1977) as a guide for handling and displaying the United States Flag.
All too often, I see the American Flag positioned incorrectly in a parade or behind someone during an interview on television or pictured in the newspaper. As per Public Law 94-344, Rule no. 10 states “When carried in a parade front with other flags, the U.S. Flag should be always to the marching right of the other flags, or to the front and center of the flag line.”
In “This Illness Isn’t Treated Like An Illness” (The Weekend, April 9-15), Claudia Peters Ragni makes the case that substance abusers’ addictions to alcohol, pills, and heroin “should be treated the same as other diseases” (because) “treating addicts differently from how we treat people with any chronic disease isn’t okay.” While she briefly concedes that “substance addiction is a disease with a behavioral component,” she seems unwilling to admit what an understandable difference that makes in why “it’s not looked at in the same way.”
I don’t think it’s surprising that people tend to sympathize with “innocent victims” a lot more than with people who cause their own problems by their stubbornly-bad life choices.
I ask any parent reading this column to read it all the way through.
Don’t put it down and think it doesn’t pertain to you, because it does. And if it makes you uncomfortable, that’s great. If we’re lucky, a little discomfort now will spare you a lot of heartache in the future.
We Long Islanders have an immense problem on our hands which, if it hasn’t already, will make its way onto your personal radar soon. The problem is heroin and all indicators point to Long Island being the regional epicenter of a growing epidemic. So much so that experts have unofficially dubbed the Long Island Expressway the “Heroin Highway.”
The April 2 Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald reported that 4th-grader Dylan Banner would be competing for the New York State championship in the Knights of Columbus Free-Throw-Shooting contest on April 5. Whether he wins it or “loses,” I’d say he’s already a “winner” for having “drained 24 of 25 free throws to represent all of Nassau County.”
After winning that regional, he “beat out three other contestants from Brooklyn, Queens and Suffolk” to get into the finals at West Point on Saturday. I was especially interested to read about this because not only did I teach fourth grade for many years, but I once made 24 of 25 free throws myself to win a championship when I was a Harpur College senior at SUNY-Binghamton in 1965. I doubt that I could do it again, 49 long years later (at least not without a lot of practice), because I’m now 70-years-old and haven’t shot a basketball for decades. However, this longtime Plainview resident would love the chance to shoot free throws with Dylan when he returns from West Point with or without another trophy.
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