Obama says we (the US) must PUNISH Assad for using chemical weapons "..so abhorrent it demands a response"). But wait! Now he says we could let diplomatic efforts proceed and let the UN oversee just the surrender of the chemical weapons instead. So Assad can avoid punishment just like that?
Why is Obama letting Assad off the hook? (Or is Obama is just letting himself off the hook?). Obama should give his Nobel Peace Prize to Vladimir Putin!
“He did not draw the red line about Assad's use of chemical weapons. The world did. We stood by for too long while Adolf Hitler carried out his genocide. Can we really stand by now?... But Assad has refused to negotiate... Sadly, there is no international outrage. And even if there were, would that stop Assad from doing whatever he feels he needs to do?... Other than an attack on our own country, would anything ever warrant the use of our military against another country? If the gassing of 400 children doesn't warrant it, what would?”
To compare Assad’s probable use of sarin and mustard gas to the Nazi’s use of Zyklon B is inane. To do so is as irrational as attempting to compare the use of a pistol to the dropping of a hydrogen bomb.
And as to standing by, I may have missed it, but where was all this hand ringing, angst and less-than-subtle calls for US military intervention from City Newspaper when the Sudanese leadership was butchering their own citizens in Dufar? While the deaths of 400 children, or people of any age and number, by chemical warfare is reprehensible, it must be placed in perspective. As I recall, in Dufar a HALF MILLION people were killed by conventional weapons. But the calls for American and international intervention on moral grounds were muted. And debate was non-existent.
One is given to ask, perhaps had Dufar, like Syria, been in the Middle East and not in Africa, been the only significant crude oil producing country in the Eastern Mediterranean region, contained sizable accessible reserves of oil and natural gas, and been sitting on top of major oil pipeline routes, there might have been more concern over that area’s fate.
Martin Miller in his comment last week has it right, you will find a way to put Obama in the best possible light no matter what. You have done it again.
Lets start with the Red Line on gas weapons, maybe there has been an implied red line by the world on gas weapons for a while, but Obama used the phrase with stated consequences. He has tried to wiggle out of the statement as has Secretary Kerry in the last weeks, but there are just too many copies of the original statement to make it disappear.
You, in your editorial did not once mention who the rebels are which are fighting Assad. If they wore WHITE HATS maybe the decision to take Assad on would be easier. They not only wear BLACK HATS, but their hats are darker than Assad's. If the rebels had the gas weapons, they would use them without thinking ..... remember these guys like to cut people's heads off. and worst ..... and yes, they happen to be related to a group of terrorist which dropped the two world trade buildings, killing 3000 plus, put a big whole in the Pentagon and killed another group of people in Pa. That was just one strike on this country. If we add the others, there are probably a few more thousands of people killed who are directly related to the US. So exactly how hard is it to make this decision to strike? If we strike, we may be attacking the wrong organization (Assad), helping the wrong organization (Al-Qaeda) and putting the gas weapons in the hands in a group of terrorists who would not hesitate to use them on anyone. My last point, we could start World War III ....... there may be a time and a true enemy of the US in the future ..... AL-Qaeda is not the revolutionary group we should ever defend ..... for they will not hesitate to turn around and use that new found gas weapon on our country.
Everyone needs to hear from YOU about Syria!
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Mary Anna Towler, it's Pittsburgh with an "h," not "Pittsburg." Who is doing the proofreading over there, Unique Fair?
Anna Towler, I read your editorial each week and can always provide a different opinion with facts, figures and references to support my position. This week presents special challenges because you are speaking about a world which I truly believe does not exists.
So, lets start with "what we ought to feel is shame" when listening to King's speech. We should only feel shame if we ignore all that came from that speech, that man, all who marched with him, black, white, Asian, etc. We should only feel shame because of the race baiting comments made by Sharpton and those like him who want division only to continue their purpose in life.
Next, "Racism thrives today just as it did when King spoke", you really need to tell us where you live? I have not seen police beating up large numbers of black people just because of the color of their skin in any recent media report. I have not heard of any large numbers of black students being turned away from college in the media reports. I have not seen one service station with toilets for both white and also black folks. I have not sat in any restaurant where there was a separate section for the black community. Exactly where have you seen any of this? We really need to get some media coverage and AG Holder on it ......
You mention assaults on voting rights, I presume you are speaking about the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia in the 2008 election. Yes there was a clear violation which the Attorney General's office looked into, found real evidence for prosecuting a case, but decided not to for unknown reasons. One of the assistant attorney generals who did the investigation even provided details on 60 minutes and later resigned when the case was dropped. You can't be talking about requiring a voter id or removing from the voting polls dead people which only ENFRANCHISES the registered voters no matter what color their skin is .... Again, if we went back to the days of the march, it was just about impossible for Blacks to vote in the south. That is not the case today! If you have seen hundreds of Blacks being turned away in any of the recent elections, please lets get the media to report on it!
Mary Anna, if you lived 50 years ago and were writing this editorial then, I would agree the concentration of poverty has much to do with racism. Today, sorry I can't agree. I live in the city on the Greece border and work in Gates. I interact with Black families daily who have done exactly the same things may white families have done in regards to the city. If where they live in the city is a bad place, they find a way to escape. This flight to the suburbs is all about escaping the poverty where you lived. It has much less to do with racism. President Johnson started a program long ago called the War on Poverty. It was too little to help both the white and black poor communities. In many ways the government welfare programs have only helped increase those who are dependent.
Then you asked friends for examples about how they experienced racism in this country. Did you ask any person other than your Black friends if they had ever been discriminated against or looked down on. I personally am bald and a group of teenagers choose to call me names and yes I did not like it. With the latest opportunities for bullying, discrimination will continue unfortunately, but to use these few examples and state nothing has changed since 1963 is anything but accurate.
Lets start locally, leadership from our black community includes our police chief, our president of city council and other members of the council, members of the school board, four members of the county legislature, Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, Carol John Davidson, Trustee, University of Rochester. What was the likelihood we could list without much effort this number of individuals from the Black community back in 1963.
Now lets look at national positions, President of the United States, both Democrat and Republican members of our Congress, our Federal Attorney General, Ben Carson, noted brain surgeon, Herman Cain, Successful Business Entrepreneur, Allen West, Professor Carol M. Swain, Ph.D., Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, Niger Innis, Condoleezza Rice, Deneen Borelli, David Webb .... all stand out leaders from our Black community just to start .....
Are there big problems which need to be solved in our communities yes. But, Mary Anna Towler please tell me how this is not real progress for our Black community!
Can i just say most of this just sounds like people just not trusting other people?
I live in an ethnically mixed neighborhood and every time walk from the bus stop to home and i pass a person on the sidewalk--regardless of race--i grip my backpack a little tighter. I don't do this because i'm racist but because my college texts represent about a $500 investment every year that i cannot afford replace.
i've seen families and elderly folks give us dirty looks and then go to another checkout line clear across the store at wegmans just because they didn't like standing in from of a group of college age guys (this even happened after a group of just finished presentations for classes and we were all in shirts and ties).
I've seen cops pull over my 57 year old (white mind you) mother THREE TIMES in one night for registration being out of date.
is there racism left in the world? yes.
so can we really say that ALL of this is racism? probably not.
but that's just my opinion
The American education system just doesn't get it. Schools are forcing reading and math before kids are ready and as a result we have an adult population whose reading skills are limited. Too many people recognize words but can't comprehend complex ideas in writing.
Try this out -- Hungry children don't learn so well. Feed them real food for breakfast as well as lunch and even after school. Now they're nourished. Then figure out that before children learn to read and do math, they need to have a desire to read. So instead of forcing them to sit at desks when their young bodies need to move, provide them with a resource center instead of a school until they are eight or ten years old. Let them learn through play. Provide them with people to read to them -- provide activities that pique their curiosity -- think children's museums and science museums. Provide cooking classes where they can learn simple computation that means something. And let there be opportunities for plenty of physical activity.
Many of them will start learning to read without prodding and without tedious exercises. If they are ten years old and not reading, then start thinking about formal lessons.
I write as an unschooling mother whose children were not forced to read before they were ready and who all are adults who read complex material with understanding.
Contrary to Editor, Mary Anna Towler's, comment that in response to the latest low test-score fiasco, nothing new has been presented by the community on the "hard things" that need to be done, the Coalition for Justice in Education (CJE) has made several research-based, "hard proposals" to the Board of Education, which despite some Board support, have not moved forward. And, why not, given te lack of improvement based upon corporate and standardized test-based reforms over the last 15 years ? Consider the following CJE proposls:
- Given the link between low student academic engagement and the concentration of poverty, lobby the county, state and federal governments for redistribution of tax funding to lower poor, urban school student/teacher ratios to 12:1. (See Class Size research.)
- Again, given the concentration of poverty link to student engagement, lobby with county, state and federal governments for suburban district incentives to create metropolitan school districts, at which no school would have more than 40% of its students from poverty backgrounds. (See Wake County, NC, research.)
- Replicate schools based on the NYS Performance Standards Consortium model, of which Rochester's School Without Walls is a member. This Regents-approved alternative model, requires small school populations, a student-centered curriculum with standards that exceed the Regents and Common Core, performance-based assessment vs. high-stakes standardized tests, strong teacher training for inquiry-based teaching an democratic decision-making. (See Performance Standards Consortium research.)
- Focusing on personalized vs. standardized standards, thereby following the research tenants that honor individualized learning styles, student interest and needs, as well as the professional judgment of teachers. Students would also, no longer be compared to each other or to other school populations. (See Consortium and Eight Year Study research.)
These changes would not be easy to achieve, but would completely revolutionize the system, since corporate and political interests would no longer be driving education policy and practices.
Perhaps a first step for moving in this diection would be to vote for those BOE candidates in the September primary who would support these efforts, rather than "more-of-the-same." Who are they??
Dan Drmacich, Chairman
Coltion for Justice in Education, and
former School Without Walls Principal
More of a concern than test scores should be the "new curriculum" that is being introduced. It is written, developed and implemented by people who are young, idealistic go-getters with PhDs, but who have little or no public school classroom experience. What they do have are hefty salaries, funded by College Board, Pearson, ETS, and other educational consulting and testing companies in an incestuous relationship with the Departments of Education. In 2011, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation against Pearson to determine if they had acted improperly to influence NY State education. In fact, the chief honcho of Common Core, David Coleman, now works for College Board.
When students do poorly on standardized tests , there may be rage, but there is also money to be made by selling curriculum, test prep materials, enrichment materials, remedial materials, teacher training seminars...and the companies like College Board, Pearson, ETS are there to do just that. The problem is that selling materials AND profiting by also providing -and then grading the tests- seems like a conflict of interest. To paraphrase Hamlet: something's rotten in NYS Education.
City Newspaper has long advocated for improving public education in Rochester. However, rather than focusing on distractions like test scores and charter schools, take the mythological advice from Watergate's Deep Throat: Follow the money.
You are right that no one is discussing the "hard things" but I have to challenge you and City Newspaper as well. Why in the world have you not gotten a small group of experts together in one room and hammered out productive and doable solutions. This is extremely realistic and if your paper promoted (weekly) the ideas of this group-maybe, just maybe the Grinch would return the gifts to Whoville. The media has a big role to play and it is disappointing that you are all letting these decisions makers off the hook.
You wrote "Rochester has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. The region's population has grown by over 100,000 in the last twenty years ".
You need to make a distinction in the population of the city of Rochester and the REGION around Rochester (as you mention) when comparing it to the city of Detroit. The population in the CITY of Rochester has not grown by over 100,000.
Detroit is an example of what can happen given 50 plus years of Democratic rule. By this metric, the city of Rochester is better than halfway there. Moreover, the "functional illiteracy rate" in Detroit is a shocking 47%. I'll bet it's not far off what it is in Rochester, especially considering the stellar numbers put up by Rochester's overfunded city school district that has basically institutionalized academic failure.
It would be funny, if it weren't so depressing, that the publisher of a newspaper named "City" would trot out such anti-urban arguments to oppose the Morgan apartment project on University Ave. Density is bad? Replacing a surface parking lot with apartments and underground parking is bad? Mixed-use neighborhoods are bad? (Jane Jacobs spins in her grave.) Maybe you should change your name to "Suburbs Newspaper."
When I first heard about the Morgan project, I thought, "what a perfect place to build apartments." It's close to three grocery stores, to the restaurants of Park Ave., to downtown, and walking distance to museums, galleries, and coffee shops.
The stretch of University between Culver and Goodman is already a mix of different uses and building types--factories, old commercial buildings, single homes and duplexes, museums, apartment buildings, a literary center in an old jail house. More people (that evil "density") might bring even more amenities that people could bike or walk to.
This is what makes a vibrant, liveable city. This is what moves us towards a more sustainable way of life. Not surface parking lots.
Regarding the "visual proximity" to the Eastman House: I love the GEH; I'm a member. But I don't believe either the expanse of asphalt parking lot bordering East Ave., or the new film archives building, were part of the viewscape when George lived there. If the GEH were willing to restore Mr. Eastman's farm and stables, I would be more sympathetic to their objections to being able to glimpse an apartment building through the trees at the back of the Eastman property.
This comparison is ridiculous. Rochester has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. The region's population has grown by over 100,000 in the last twenty years and we've gained over 100,000 jobs since the beginning of Kodak's decline. The inner city has serious problems but you cannot even come close to how bad it is in Detroit. If this was Detroit the mansions on East Ave (where I live) would be vacant wrecks. Kodak managed its decline by retraining and financially supporting many of its laid-off workers. Though they brutally bungled their future through shortsightedness, they did handle the downsizing well. And this changed our economy for the better. We have always been a high tech city, not a rust belt city- this is an important difference from other cities like Detroit and Cleveland. As for B&L, we're losing a company that has been badly mismanaged over the last twenty years but most of the jobs are staying here. From a history perspective it's sad, but economically? Not so much.
I take issue with the way all media sources are reporting the B&L story. It's bad enough that companies like B&L and Kodak have failed, but the media seems intent on attempting to make things even worse. '
Everyone is saying that Valeant is moving B&L's headquarters to NJ. Since Valeant bought B&L, B&L is part of Valeant and B&L doesn't exist and certainly doesn't have a headquarters. I think it would be more factual to report that Valeant will be managing what's left of Rochester's B&L from its headquarters in NJ.
I also look on the bright side. B&L failed and Rochester is probably lucky that a company bought what's left of B&L.
Great article in Time yesterday re: spotting student trouble signs early :
With MCC buying a big chunk of the Kodak Office area, how soon before the Tower is abandoned and given to MCC? Rental property for tax-free businesses, a great windfall for MCC, more fun for the COMIDA handouts... when does this stop?
This is surreal. This "alt" newsweekly advocated FOR demolishing the Genesee brewhouse because, "hey, business, whatev!" but now advocates in favor of preserving a parking lot - a PARKING LOT - because "preservation." I wish I had the words to describe how insane this is, but I've been tragically/comically reduced to "LOL." If you people want to retard the development of your own neighborhood because the sainted George Eastman House told you to do so, then, by all means, proceed....
As for Ms. Towler's specific arguments:
A significant portion of your neighborhood is already paved over. This proposal is to build on top of a parking lot - ON TOP OF A PARKING LOT - so there is no pavement problem here. This argument is specious. If you disdain cars and asphalt so well, you should take that issue up with Village Gate, Writers & Books, the Gleason Works, the Memorial Art Gallery, (ahem) the George Eastman House, et al.
By the way, the converted duplexes you mention are completely irrelevant. "Paved backyards." Uh huh. Did I mention this proposal is to build a building on top an existing parking lot? Right. You don't have to love the proposal, but you shouldn't make completely specious arguments against it. "Converted duplexes with paved backyards outside of the preservation district" is so completely irrelevant as to be farcical and, quite frankly, stupid.
2. The character of the neighborhood:
You asked if the neighborhood will continue to be: "a mix of tenants and homeowners, young singles and families and empty nesters? Or will it become predominantly a neighborhood of tenants?"
Everything about this is wrong. "Young singles and families and empty nesters" will still be the tenants of this proposed apartment complex. So, they are irrelevant to the question of "who will live here?" The character of the people who live there won't change, so you are left with nothing more than "tenants vs. owners." The notion that tenants are bad for a neighborhood is Smugtown gospel, but it is, as most smug things, dead wrong. Bad tenants are usually the direct result of bad owners. Problem properties are almost inevitably owned by absentee landlords. The root cause of almost any "tenant" problem is usually the sainted owners who don't care. Target them if you want to keep your neighborhood clean. And, I have a feeling Morgan will do a fine job screening its tenants for its $1500/month apartments. If they don't, at least they are easy to locate!
Nevertheless, I ask in response: So what if the percentage of tenants increases slightly? What of it? What ills will befall you? I also wonder just how the percentage of renters-to-homeowners will actually change if you add 100 apartments to the mix. You can't just say that adding some apartments will change the character of the neighborhood and imply that the percentage of renters will skyrocket without offering actual data. Can you offer any specific arguments on this point based on actual data?
You imply that density is bad. Do you have any actual argument to back this up? Or data? Because I'd love to offer a counter-argument that, in fact, density is good. Unfortunately, you didn't actually make an argument against density so I have nothing to respond to. You merely opted to be a "concern troll" and ask us all "WHAT IF THE NEIGHBORHOOD BECOMES TOO DENSE? WHAT THEN???" No rational person can respond to this. Density is not inherently bad. Increased density is arguably good. But if you want to make an argument against density, then make it with facts and logic, not your subtle concern over the alleged density problem.
Speaking of density, wtf? The 12-story building at the corner of University and Goodman has, so far, failed to ruin the neighborhood. If that building doesn't count (because....????), then perhaps I should point out the building on the corner of University and Atlantic. You know - the one that defines your entire neighborhood! That one. That "huge" four-story building just doesn't fit with your neighborhood! And all of the occupants are TENANTS!!!! Or the entire Village Gate complex - those buildings do not fit with the neighborhood AT ALL! Or the City Newspaper building - it is huge and out of scale, eh? And what of the huge parking lots surrounding these buildings? What of all the cars that drive in and out to access these buildings on daily basis? And what of the massive Gleason industrial complex that dominates this exact location? What's going on there? Cars? Asphalt? "Huge" building? No?
4. The slippery slope:
That's not how the administrative process works and you know it. Each development is considered by the Board on its merits. If Morgan gets to build apartments here, the next logical step is not tearing down the Eastman House for a condo tower with Mapplethorpe photos instead of windows. That's not happening. So, let's debate each particular proposal on its merits, not on its reductio ad absurdum (what if one the future tenants of the new Morgan apartments is crazy like the Christian Bale character in American Psycho? WHAT THEN? WHAT IF HE HAS STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT PHIL COLLINS? NONE OF THIS EVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF....).
One false assumption is "that every one-bedroom tenant will have a car, and that most of the two-bedroom apartments will have two tenants with cars."
4 out of 5 one bedroom units will have TWO cars, and many 2-bedroom will have 2 or 3 cars. The parking density & consequent neighborhood stress will be MUCH higher than is now being shrugged off.
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