SPAC: Stop cutting New York City Ballet

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Why has the SPAC board cut the New York City Ballet for the third time since 2004? Money isn’t the answer, since no other classical programs are ever cut.SPAC was built in 1966 to be the summer home of the NYC Ballet, arguably the greatest ballet company in the world. Saratoga has the honor of being the only summer home of any ballet company in the world.SPAC and its board keep raising ticket prices for the ballet, allow no community input, and then complain when ballet fans can no longer afford to attend performances as often as they would like. SPAC is housed in Saratoga Spa State Park, which is paid for by the taxpayers, who aren’t allowed to have input about what goes on there. If SPAC board members are unwilling to raise funds to have the NYC Ballet two to four weeks a year, they should resign.Louise J. GoldsteinSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

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Trump’s motives on Jerusalem are unclear

first_imgThe Palestinians would get a state, though the 1967 lines would not be its borders.According to some, the territory they get would not be contiguous.That would amount to substantially less than the Palestinians demand and far more than Israel’s right flank intends to give them.If the administration is serious about such a deal, Trump needs to buy the allegiance of both sides.The capital announcement is a prize that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (weakened by corruption scandals and in no position to push back) can use to assuage his right flank.At the same time, Trump may have told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (who is 82 and running out of time) that no one will object if the Palestinians protest or burn flags, but serious violence will not be tolerated.If Abbas wants his state, he may have heard, he had better make sure to keep the response to Trump’s announcement muted.Netanyahu, in return, may have been warned that in return for his prize, he will be expected to deliver support for the plan Trump’s team plans to proffer. For decades, the Western world has allowed fear of Palestinian terrorism (or Palestinians backing out of negotiations) to silence claims that everyone knows to be true.Such capitulation serves no one. It doesn’t serve the West, for it renders even the U.S. impotent in the face of Palestinian threat.It doesn’t help Israel, which wants the world to acknowledge that its capital being near the seat of King David’s kingdom and the location of the two Temples symbolizes with utter clarity that the Jews have returned home.And it doesn’t serve the Palestinians, who through the use of threat, have immobilized the West and put off the serious deliberations they will have to undertake if they are ever to get the state they want.Whether the president has the focus, skill and interest in making this move the beginning of a positive and far-reaching process, though, remains to be seen.Daniel Gordis is senior vice president and Koret distinguished fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem. Categories: Editorial, OpinionCalling it a “recognition of reality” and “the right thing to do,” President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and that the American Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to the contested city.The announcement leaves many questions, two of which are primary. Trump’s core supporters will likely stick by him through thick and thin.But there have to be some religious voters who find the president’s open endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore — widely believed to have forced underage women into sexual encounters — distasteful to say the least.The Russia investigation looms, as do increasing questions about whether Trump, his family or his innermost circle may be legally vulnerable.It hasn’t been a good period for the president; if Trump was looking for a diversion, he seems to have landed on an effective one.There is one much less cynical, although unlikely, possibility that deserves mention.Trump has long said he will forge a deal between Israelis and Palestinians, and rumors on the street are that the “key principles” of his team’s agreement are emerging.Accounts vary. If anyone can deliver the Israeli right, it is Netanyahu, likely the most skilled political manipulator the country has had as prime minister.With his political life possibly nearing its end and with little to show for his years in office, Netanyahu would like a deal like this to ensure his place in history.How likely is this scenario?It’s hard to say.A careful plan in which the Trump moves slowly and stays on script would hardly be characteristic of his modus operandi so far. But it’s not entirely out of the question.Trump, not surprisingly, is taking heat from all corners, including Palestinians, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, Christian leaders in Israel and even the liberal American Jewish community.Yet even if he was motivated primarily by his own selfish needs, Trump is right — he did the right thing. The first is whether violence will ensue.The Palestinians and Turks are making threats, and Israel’s security establishment is said to be on alert.But many Israelis are dismissing the dangers of what they call “Trumpocalypse.”Unlike hypothetical steps, such as assigning the Palestinians a smaller state than they demand or ending U.S. support for a two-state solution, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital changes nothing on the ground.Many Israelis and even Palestinians thus doubt that, grandstanding aside, the Palestinians would risk much in response to a statement merely acknowledges what the world has long known to be true.The other major question is, “Why now?”Theories abound, of course, but the most obvious explanation is that Trump is seeking both a diversion from his growing problems at home and a bone to throw to his evangelical Christian and Orthodox Jewish base before his support there erodes. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

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Franken doesn’t seem to understand why he had to resign

first_imgCategories: Editorial, Opinion“I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said as he announced his resignation Thursday. Franken, who has been accused by eight women of sexual misconduct, said that he was leaving not because the allegations against him were true, but because “it’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator.”Franken’s statement was defensive and often angry.And though he said he “was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change,” he didn’t seem to grasp what that change might look like or why he has been swept up in it.Franken and many other men have lost their jobs over the past few months because society has finally decided to treat them like other people who allegedly behave in wildly entitled and reckless ways. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists But it is an explanation for the disbelief that some of the men who have been exposed over the past few months seem to feel.The idea that Harvey Weinstein could redeem himself with a week-long stay in rehab, or that director James Toback could bluster his way through hundreds of allegations, seems ludicrous to any of us who have had to choose between our passing desires and the realities of our lives.I’m sure the idea that these strategies wouldn’t work is equally confounding if your life has been defined by a near-total freedom to seek gratification without worrying about the consequences.Franken might not yet understand what happened to him.But like the women who say he groped them, he couldn’t escape his fate.Alyssa Rosenberg blogs about pop culture for The Washington Post’s Opinions section. If this change has been disconcerting to men like Franken, he’s not alone.The reckoning of the past few months has made it clear – if it wasn’t before – that sexual harassment and sexual assault are widespread.It’s also horrifyingly obvious just how many men feel no compunction about using their power to demand sexual contact, and how many of them don’t even bother to demand.They “just kiss.” They just grab, they just open their robes, they just start masturbating, they just force themselves inside women. They “don’t even wait.”But knowing that still doesn’t make it any more comprehensible to me.What must it be like to truly believe, deep down, that “when you’re a star, they let you do it”?Or to be absolutely convinced that you can kiss whomever you want, whenever you want, because to do so is your “right as an entertainer” (as one accuser said Franken told her)?center_img I have absolutely no understanding of how it feels to think you’re entitled to have your every passing whim fulfilled, even if that whim involves another person.I have never expected that much satisfaction out of life.I also can’t understand the specific calculus involved in spectacularly destructive acts of self-gratification.Is a kiss from an unwilling woman or a handful of flesh really worth endangering a career in radio, or a seat in the Senate?Is forcing yourself on a clearly unwilling woman or enlisting her as an obviously miserable viewer in a session of masturbation actually worth the potential loss of your movie studio, or your development deal at a major network?Maybe I’m missing the point.Maybe I just don’t know what it’s like to live without fear of consequence. The truth is, there’s plenty of evidence to bolster men’s belief that they can get away with these alleged acts – that at most, the price they’ll pay is some irksome public humiliation.Clarence Thomas holds a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.Bill Clinton retained his presidency and will retain the cushion of his wealth even if he’s stripped of some esteem.Donald Trump is president. Roy Moore may still become a senator from Alabama.So if Franken sounded petulant and defensive when he announced his resignation, maybe it’s because he is genuinely flabbergasted by the past month of his life.If I struggle to imagine feeling as free and as entitled as the many men accused of sexual harassment this fall, I’m sure it’s hard for those men to imagine navigating the constraints many women (not to mention people of color and LGBT people) have to contend with.This failure of imagination isn’t an excuse.last_img read more

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Put America first: Free innocent U.S. citizens from foreign jails

first_imgIn the case of Turkey, Trump has tried and failed.Both he and Vice President Mike Pence asked Erdogan for the release of an imprisoned American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and were rebuffed.But Turkey, like Egypt, is an ally, and the administration has stopped short of using tools that might create more leverage.How about suspending U.S. military aid and sales to Egypt and Turkey until innocent Americans are released?That would show that Trump really does put America first.Jackson Diehl is deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Editorial, OpinionDuring the Christmas season, it’s worth sparing a thought for a shamefully neglected group of Americans — those unjustly locked up in foreign prisons on political grounds.There are at least 40 of them, in five countries, held as trophies or as de facto hostages and bargaining chips by authoritarian regimes seeking leverage over Washington. In many cases, their only offense was to be a U.S. citizen.About 20 of the Americans — the number is hard to pin down — are held by Egypt, a nominal U.S. ally that receives more than $1 billion in aid annually.Several have been held for years without trial. Turkey, a NATO ally, holds another dozen; strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken openly of using them to force the extradition of a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania.Venezuela this month brought trumped-up weapons charges against Josh Holt, a Mormon missionary arrested 17 months ago — the same week two relatives of President Nicolas Maduro’s wife were sentenced on drug charges in New York. At least three U.S. citizens and a permanent resident are held by Iran — which, along with North Korea, pioneered the practice of seizing Americans on bogus pretexts and then using them to leverage political and economic favors from Washington.Pyongyang, for its part, still holds three Americans months after its release of college student Otto Warmbier, who died days after he was returned to his family. At one time it appeared that the Trump administration might make the aggressive defense of these citizens a signature of its foreign policy.There was plenty of opportunity: The Obama administration often neglected and played down U.S. prisoners in the name of brokering bigger deals and defending larger interests.Fighting for Americans fits well with President Donald Trump’s stated priority of putting America first.In April, Trump pushed Egyptian ruler Abdel Fatah el-Sissi to free Aya Hijazi, who with her husband had spent three years in prison for setting up a nongovernmental organization to help Cairo street children.Hijazi was released several weeks later and flown home on a U.S. government plane for a showy meeting with Trump.Since then, however, Trump and his staff have appeared to lose interest, with some exceptions.Last month the president took credit for getting three UCLA basketball players out of shoplifting charges in China by appealing to President Xi Jinping.center_img Trump then turned on them when they appeared insufficiently grateful. Meanwhile, appeals for White House action on behalf of other prisoners in Egypt — by family members, lawyers and members of Congress — have failed to stir any response.Take the cases of Mostafa Kassem and Ahmed Etiwy, two of the U.S. citizens held by Egypt. Both have been imprisoned since 2013 after being swept up in crackdowns against protests in which they did not participate.Praveen Madhiraju of the Washington-based group Pretrial Rights International said he and two other advocates had contacted officials at the White House and National Security Council a dozen times about the cases but received no response.A letter from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to Trump in August prompted no visible action.But an Irish citizen arrested in the same mosque crackdown that swept up Etiwy was freed in October after intensive lobbying by the Irish government. The Trump administration did recently launch an effort to free the Americans held in Tehran.But so far there’s been no result — and if Trump carries out his threat to reimpose U.S. sanctions on Iran next month, the initiative will be stillborn.last_img read more

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Lystek plan is bad for the environment

first_imgThis plant proposed for the Glen Canal View Business Park will process sludge from sewage treatment plants into “fertilizer.” The process consists of heating the sludge to 167 degrees for one hour and adding lime to adjust the pH (Lystek’s January 2018 informational handout). Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Let’s take a look at the volume of sewage sludge to be processed: 150,000 tons a year. That’s 30 tons an hour, or 600 tons a day, and that’s six railroad coal cars a day. That’s 11 percent of all sewage sludge produced annually in New York state, including large cities (www.dec.ny.gov). It will all be coming here — town of Glen, Montgomery County.The storage reservoir at this site will be 200 yards by 100 yards, capable of holding 75,000 tons — half a year of production — 5.5 percent of all sewage sludge produced annually in New York state (Lystek handout).Application rates are also interesting (U.S. EPA, Typical Biosolids application): Agriculture (corn, grain, soybeans, hay) — five to 20 dry tons per acre annually. Forest land — five to 100 dry tons per acre every two years.These figures are in dry tons. Multiply by four to get the tonnage as applied from the Lystek plant. We have spent decades developing sewage treatment plants to keep sewage out of our water. Should we now spread it on our land? To our elected and appointed representatives: this is a bad idea. What are you thinking?John BlanchardFultontvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

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Thames Valley losing its tech appeal

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Dismal year-end figures for underperforming sector

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Interview: Will and Grace

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Benchmark poaches tenant for Soho letting

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Worth their weight in gold

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