Thursday, July 28, 2005

Metroland Staffers Smoke Crack!

While I can't argue that the local and arts sections of our local paper can be quite good, I can certainly take great exception with Metroland staffers for voting the Glens Falls Post-Star "Best daily Newspaper of 2005" !!!!!!

I'm a Post-Star subscriber, so I see the "paper", in total, every day. Unfortunately, the Post Star is not just the work of the handful of people Metroland is celebrating (arts and local).

I have to wonder if this award is just some kind of kiss-ass attempt to make up with Ken Tingley because Metroland had the nerve to cover our "Molly Ivins Read-In" last year protesting Ken's overt display of Republican bias, canceling Ivins' column right smack in the middle of election season!

It should also be noted that the "Best Daily Newspaper of 2005"
cheerleaded the occupation of Iraq (and still does), reduced space for letters to the editor by almost 30% over last year and makes it a practice of shutting independent political candidates out of its news coverage.

Which part of this did the Capital District's "progressive" news magazine think made the Post-Star the "Best"?

Its strange, because Rock Hill was voted Best Bread Bakery (or Best European Bread Bakery) each year that we advertised in Metroland. We stopped advertising with them when they fired our longtime sales rep. I asked why they had fired this longtime employee and friend of ours and they never even gave me the courtesy of a response so I cancelled our advertising with them. The next year we apparently weren't even in the running for "Best of" anymore. Strange, huh? We still make the bread exactly the same way we did before ..... ;-)

I can only wonder what kind of crack those wacky loonies are smoking down there now to choose such a mainstream corporate paper as their favorite? I guess the Daily Gazette doesn't advertise with them anymore, either .... (ha ha ha)

* Here's the actual piece *

The following "Best Of" selection was made by Metroland staff members.

Best Daily Newspaper - The Post-Star (Glens Falls)

The first thing you notice about The Post Star is what an appealing-looking newspaper it is, with its nice newsprint, clear, easy-to-read typeface and first-rate layout. (Hey, aesthetics are important.) Happily, The Post Star has the substance to match the packaging. They have solid coverage of local news such as the dam break in Fort Ann, and their features, like the recent series on domestic abuse, are well-researched and written. And they’re hip enough to run album reviews of stuff like Sleater-Kinney and Yo La Tengo in the arts section. A pleasure to read.

* The following letter to the editors at Metroland was written by my friend who used to work for the Post-Star, Rob Barendse.


your choice of the post star as best daily newspaper is astounding. it is among among the worst rags in the country. you may like the "looks" of this rag but beauty is only skin deep. the paper is almost unamimously despised by the residents in its area for its mean-spirited, opportunistic, and close-minded coverage. with steadily dropping circulation numbers your favorite paper will eventually bury itself. big on self-congratulations and narcissism, they have cut the available space for letters, supported and continue to support the illegal war in iraq, don't give fair play or coverage to third party political candidates, print without questioning every lie this government feeds them, and routinely ignore any opposition viewpoints. i couldn't imagine a worse choice. that they may print the occasional "in-depth" series stems not from an altruistic desire to expose truth but from an opportunistic and capitalist bent to exploit whatever seems popular at the moment. they use a dart board approach in choosing their stories. i know. i used to work there.

rob barendse

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The "God of the Free Market" - Adam Smith

Many modern "conservatives" and economists are prone to tout Adam Smith as the "God of the Free Market" especially when it comes to discussion of American capitalism and globalization. This great letter to the editor (copied below) was recently published in the Times Union and was obviously written by someone who values the REAL and COMPLETE works of Adam Smith. In many instances, Smith's works have been excerpted (or boiled-down) to help rationalize the greed and stupidity that have become almost synonymous with globalization and the unconscious investment that have become so pervasive in our society. The letter is well worth a read.

These "specialists" regularly refer to Smith as a defender of the new breed of laissez-faire capitalism in which they indulge and apparently have little or no idea of what he actually espoused, as this letter clarifies. Their propagandistic and extremely limited view of Smith and his work reminds me of how we, as Americans, often treat the legacy of Martin Luther King. Doctor King understood (and had become quite active against) both poverty and the Vietnam War and all those who profited form both. He understood the connection and in his speech, "Beyond Vietnam", he helped many others to see the structural and class ills that were the primary cause of war and poverty. Then he was murdered. His legacy in the mainstream media (and in many peoples' minds) has become that of the "slain, civil rights leader". We never hear about his very clear and outspoken efforts to alert our populace to the dangers of war and systemic poverty and the interconnections he so clearly saw. I feel that this widespread "dumbing-down" of his message is akin to spitting in his face. To misrepresent his legacy by glossing over those parts that might not be as "marketable or tidy" as they deem the struggle for civil rights to have been is a travesty and those who engage in this "half-celebration" are using Martin's legacy without any real respect for the man or his work.

Many "Smith-appreciators" buy and sell air for a living and exploit third-world and American workers while pretending that they serve some useful function within our society. They think that the vast accumulation and concentration of wealth which their behavior facilitates is somehow in keeping with strengthening the market in keeping with their hero's beliefs and theories. They would do well to study the REAL and COMPLETE works of Adam Smith and maybe they wouldn't be so quick to "fly the Smith flag" as they learn that he was categorically and absolutely against the concentration of wealth. I have included an excerpt from the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which, mainstream as it is, seems to encapsulate Smith's convictions in a much more honest manner than most economists and Wall Street types seem to.

Enjoy the letter. Then send to your favorite "faux conservative" or "socially-unconscious" investor who will enjoy it immensely, I'm certain. ;-)

(Letter To The Editor from the Times Union)

In U.S., concentration of wealth is the enemy
First published: Friday, July 22, 2005

The dangerous concentration of wealth, the growing poverty and the erosion of our middle class are disturbing.
Adam Smith's development of the theory of the free market is what is needed. He was born in a time of feudalism when the top 5 percent owned everything. He said:
1. The Free Market requires that money is circulating so all members of society can have the necessities of life.
2. The enemy of the Free Market is the concentration of wealth. If you have the Free Market, you can't have the concentration of wealth, it must be in circulation. They are mutually exclusive.
3. He gave the Deity the name of the Invisible Hand "without which neither morality nor social order is possible."
The Invisible Hand is the moral potential within each person. When that is developed, those planning the economy will not be greedy. "In this way the unsocial actions of acquisitiveness, undertaken solely for private gain, are transmitted into the social act of creating wealth that will benefit all."
You can find this in the book "The Essential Adam Smith" by Robert Heilbroner. We need Adam Smith's Free Market to stop the greed, exploitation and worshipping of wealth running our country.
Saratoga Springs

(excerpted from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia)

One of the main points of The Wealth of Nations is that the free market, while appearing chaotic and unrestrained, is actually guided to produce the right amount and variety of goods by a so-called "invisible hand". If a product shortage occurs, for instance, its price rises, creating incentive for its production, and eventually curing the shortage. The increased competition among manufacturers and increased supply would also lower the price of the product to its production cost, the "natural price". Smith believed that while human motives are often selfish and greedy, the competition in the free market would tend to benefit society as a whole anyway. Nevertheless, he was wary of businessmen and argued against the formation of monopolies.

Smith vigourously attacked the antiquated government restrictions which he thought were hindering industrial expansion. In fact, he attacked most forms of government interference in the economic process, including tariffs, arguing that this creates inefficiency and high prices in the long run. This theory, now referred to as "laissez-faire", influenced government legislation in later years, especially during the 19th century. However, Smith criticised a number of practices that later became associated with laissez-faire capitalism, such as the power and influence of Big Business and the emphasis on capital at the expense of labour.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Local Soldier's Death Goes Un-Recorded

Last week, I sent out a piece from a website called
A reporter from that site claims to be in possession of a leaked Department of Defense document showing that the DoD has been under-reporting U.S. casualties and deaths. The report claims that the DoD doesn't count deaths that occur while fatally wounded soldiers are in transit to Germany (because they didn't actually die IN Iraq). It says that they are only counting deaths that occur on the ground IN Iraq. The report supposedly shows that real DoD's figures for U.S. fatalities in the Iraq theater are between 7 and 9,000 soldiers, thus far.

As an example of what the author is talking about, I have posted a copy of the Post-Star's story about a local soldier, Stephen Z. Madison, below. Army Specialist First Class Madison died at Fort Riley, Kansas on June 26, 2005 from complications he suffered from severe burns received while showering IN Iraq while posted there last year. After reading the Post-Star's story, check the official website of fallen soldiers listed from the occupation of Iraq (the address is posted directly below this missive). Can you find Stephen's name? He is NOT listed. Why not?

National press have done absolutely nothing to investigate this apparent under-reporting and many are already seeking to discredit the author who wrote the initial piece. Interestingly, a Vietnam vet who is a good friend of mine says that this happened all the time in Vietnam, as well. It is all very hard to prove but what better place to start than an absolutely provable example like this one? Do you think that the LOCAL press will pick this LOCAL story up? Ever wonder who's pulling the media's strings?


Soldier’s widow says military is to blame
Corinth Family seeking answers in bizarre death


Published on 7/7/2005Local NewsTHE POST-STAR

The widow of Army Spc. Stephen Z. Madison, a Corinth native who was badly burned in Iraq last year, is faulting the military for her husband’s death on a Kansas Army post last week. According to Mary Madison, her husband was treated at the post hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday for an apparent bad reaction to new medicine he was given to ease the pain of the burns. Both days he was released from the hospital, and he died later on Wednesday, according to Madison, a Corinth native who was formerly Mary Walsh. She said she found her husband unconscious when she tried to wake him for dinner on Wednesday evening, and emergency responders were unable to revive him. She said she doesn’t understand why he was released from the hospital. “I blame (the military) very much because the next day, he died,” Mary Madison said in a phone interview from Fort Riley, Kan., late Tuesday evening. “If he was under observation, they would have seen something happen to his body.”

Fort Riley has released no information about his death, except that foul play is not suspected. Nothing further will be released until an investigation into the matter is complete, according to post spokesman Jeffrey Coverdale. According to family members, Stephen Madison suffered third-degree burns to his torso and upper legs while showering at the base in Balad, Iraq, last September. Jamie Wooten, a close friend to Stephen and Mary Madison at Fort Riley, said it was her understanding that the showers in Iraq were spraying only cold water no matter how hot they were set, which caused soldiers to set them as hot as possible. She said Madison was unaware they had been fixed on the day he was injured, and he passed out in the shower and was scalded.

Madison was on his second tour in Iraq as a helicopter mechanic with the 82nd Medical Company of the 541st Maintenance Battalion at the time. Coverdale and officials at the U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of combat forces deployed overseas, were not able to provide any official version of Madison’s Iraq injury on Wednesday. Coverdale said some information in media outlets was inaccurate, but would not be specific. The lack of information from the military has been criticized by Madison’s parents, Debra and Stephen R. Madison, who welcomed local media outlets into the family’s White Street home in Corinth on Tuesday. Mary Madison said she’s even having trouble getting answers on the post. Madison’s family said they view him as a casualty of the war in Iraq. That makes the circumstances and the lack of information surrounding his death more frustrating, according to Mary Madison. “If he died in Iraq, it would be handled a lot differently,” she said. “Because he died in his house, they’re not taking it as seriously.”

A service at Fort Riley was scheduled for Wednesday. Services were also scheduled for Friday at the Densmore Funeral Home on Sherman Avenue in Corinth, and at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville on Saturday. Madison will be cremated, according to his wife. She said she and her husband were just embarking on a life together, and they planned to someday move to Boston and for him to become a forest ranger. “He is like the sweetest man ever,” Mary Madison said. “I want him to be remembered more than just being an Army guy — he had plans for the future.” She said her nights in the last week have been mostly sleepless, and expected her husband’s death would really sink in at Wednesday’s service. “I’ll be really good during the day, and then, during the night, something will click and I’ll just lose it,” she said. “Once it starts, it will be real.”

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Support Local Business!

Dear Editor:

Yesterday, my ten year-old son needed a new bat. Unfortunately, Dick’s was the only place that had the correct size. The $80 (!) bat dented twice during its first use. The ball was regulation and I’m pretty sure that John’s not on steroids!

I brought the bat and receipt back to Dick’s. The clerk said he couldn’t refund my money but would be happy to help me contact the manufacturer. “The manufacturer didn’t sell me the bat, your store did,” I said. He said, “It’s not my policy. It’s Dick’s.”

I am a local businessman. I have coached both baseball and hockey. You can be sure that any future players of mine will hear the “Dick’s bat” story and get a list of all locally-owned, responsible, sports retailers from which they should buy their equipment.

This experience reminds me of why it is so important to vote November 8th for a mayor who actually understands the value of keeping things local! I hope that you will all consider voting for my good friend, Esmond Lyons, the only mayoral candidate who supports small local businesses and farmers as an integral part of his platform.