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Can we criticize the Parkland kids?

first_imgThe Parkland survivors should be taken seriously, and sincerely, by those who agree with them and those who disagree alike.Liberals shouldn’t call these children essential to an important debate at one moment and too delicate to engage with the other side at another, just as conservatives shouldn’t say the survivors are too innocent to participate and at the same time criticize them as conniving leftists exploiting their friends’ deaths for fame or political gain.But what Cooke and his opponents don’t spare the time to articulate is the difference between bashing Hogg’s arguments and bashing Hogg himself.No one likes ad hominem attacks, at least in principle.But in this case, those attacks are even less constructive, and even more callous, than usual.That’s because they’re being leveled at a child, and because that child just saw 17 gunned down at his school.And because of the way the debate over Hogg began: with a far-right conspiracy campaign to cast him as a “crisis actor.” For every conservative who has pointed out the inconsistency in Hogg’s defending the deputy sheriff who stayed outside the school during the shooting and then excoriating Florida Gov. Rick Scott, R, for that officer’s failure, there are tens of others who have left substance aside.Instead, they call into question Hogg’s motivations.They accuse him of climbing over the dead bodies of his peers.They accuse him of pretending the killed were his peers at all.It’s one thing to say Hogg gets it wrong on guns, or that threatening boycotts of everything and anything isn’t the surest route to legislative change.It’s another to cry out that Hogg is a liar or an idiot who doesn’t deserve a spot on our television screens.No wonder liberals are on alert when reproof comes Hogg’s way or the way of his fellow survivors. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe Parkland kids are all right — and then again, they aren’t.This tension between viewing the victims of an untold trauma as the best available advocates for gun restrictions and viewing them as, well, victims of an untold trauma has forced commentators on both sides of the debate into contortions.When National Review editor Charles C.W. Cooke tried to slice through one of those knots in an essay on Tuesday, it did not go well.Cooke’s piece, titled “David Hogg Is Fair Game for Critics,” made an already angry Internet angrier still.Cooke was cruel, he was heartless, he was attacking a child who was speaking up only because he and his classmates had been attacked already.What Cooke really argues is this: Many liberals say the Parkland children are the perfect people to explain how to prevent an experience they themselves have had — but that, though they’re adult enough to helm a mass movement, they’re still too childlike for critics to come after them.Cooke says liberals can’t have it both ways. He has a point.center_img That reproof is so often tinged with vitriol not simply for what these kids are saying but also for who they are.It’s natural to want to protect young people whom society has failed to protect.And while Cooke may be correct that it’s inconsistent to inoculate a movement’s leader from criticism on the merits, shielding a child from spite and slander is another matter.In a country where everyone is mad all the time and everyone has the tools to put that madness on the Internet, we often avoid the challenge of addressing someone’s arguments and go after their character instead.Changing that culture might be a big ask in the 21st century, but teenagers who’ve just been through tragedy seem like a fine place to start.Molly Roberts works in The Washington Post’s opinion section.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: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Foss: What does it mean to reside somewhere?

first_imgAsked about the Fort Orange Club newsletter, Smullen said he did not provide the information printed in his biography, as I had assumed. “That did not come from me,” he said, adding that whoever wrote it probably knew that his children went to school in Niskayuna. I reached out to the Fort Orange Club manager for comment, but received no response. Smullen retired from the military in 2015, after 24 years of service that included three combat deployments and a stint in Afghanistan shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.He purchased the property where the Johnstown home is located in 2008, and built the Colonial-style house between 2016-2017. He estimates that he did about 30 percent of the work himself, using skills honed years ago,while working at a family masonry/construction business. “When there’s no school, when there’s holidays, my family is here,” said Smullen, who serves on the Johnstown Board of Assessment. He said that the Johnstown home is his “dream home” — the place where he currently lives and where he and his wife intend to retire. I don’t doubt it. The house is beautiful, and clearly a labor of love. In addition to its design, which recalls a farmhouse circa 1750, the home is notable for its energy efficient features, such as solar panels on the roof and a Russian fireplace.  “An ex-Marine of good standing would not have even considered deceiving the government that he swore to protect,” an Esperance resident wrote to The Gazette, in a letter about Smullen’s fitness for office. “This isn’t a man of moral character who should be allowed to represent people in the 118th Assembly.” After several conversations with the New York State Board of Elections, I came to the conclusion that Smullen likely meets the BOE’s criteria for running for office, which include residing in the district on election day and the 12 months prior. There aren’t a lot of hard-and-fast rules on what it means for a candidate to live in a district, other than that there be a “continuous element,” according to John Conklin, a spokesman for the state BOE. He added, “There’s no minimum number of days you’re required to be there.” Nor is a candidate’s family required to live in a district, or his children required to attend school there.Of course, there’s a difference between the spirit of the law and the letter of the law. Voters might well question where Smullen’s heart is, given his ties to Schenectady County. Smullen, for his part, readily admits that his family lives in Niskayuna during the week. The explanation: One of his children has a learning disability, and the Niskayuna schools provide better educational services than the Johnstown school district. Smullen is not a carpetbagger, and it would be unfair to characterize him as such. His military service took him all over the country and overseas, but he has always voted at the Meco fire house in Gloversville, where, he notes, his grandfather was a “founding chief.” His ties to Fulton County run deep, and when he says that his heart is in Fulton County, I believe him. I also believe that the questions raised about his home in Niskayuna and the primary-residence-only combat veteran property tax exemption are worth taking into consideration before casting a ballot. As a candidate, Smullen’s credentials are strong. But those strong credentials might not matter if he can’t put questions about his residency to rest. Reach Sara Foss at sfoss@dailygazette.net. Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.More from The Daily Gazette:Broadalbin-Perth’s Tomlinson seizing the day by competing in cross country and golf this fallSchenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcyTroopers: Colonie man dies in Montgomery County Thruway crashEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: News, Opinion, Schenectady CountyWhen I met Robert J. Smullen, he gladly pointed out his ties to Fulton County. He was born at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville and graduated from Gloversville High School in 1986. His father still lives in Smullen’s childhood home. “I want to tell people about me,” Smullen, 49, said, while standing in the kitchen of his Johnstown home. “I have a great story about my family.” It is a good story, about a native son returning home after a long and distinguished military career and running for state office in the district where he grew up.There’s only one problem with this story. In recent months, Smullen, a retired Marine Corps colonel who recently served as executive director of the Hudson River Black River Regulating District, has been dogged by accusations that he doesn’t live in the 118th state Assembly District, where he is one of three candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination this fall.  It’s a strange turn of events for a candidate frequently described as a lifelong resident of Fulton County, and it seemed to catch Smullen and his team flat-footed. For me, it raised interesting questions about what it really means to reside somewhere. Smullen’s ties to Fulton County are undeniable. But does he really live there?  “Home is where your heart is,” Smullen told me, when I asked him what, in his mind, it means to reside somewhere. “Without a doubt, my heart is here, in Fulton County.” At issue is the fact that Smullen owns a home in Niskayuna, and that his children attend Niskayuna schools. His new member biography in the exclusive Fort Orange Club’s January newsletter states that he and his wife have “four children and reside in Niskayuna.” Another complicating fact: Until very recently, he received a primary-residence-only combat veteran property tax exemption for two properties — his house at 2169 Appletree Lane in Niskayuna and his house at 265 State Highway 309 in Johnstown. After The Daily Gazette reported that Smullen had the combat veteran property tax exemption applied to two properties, he removed the exemption on the home in Niskayuna and paid the town, county and school district back about $4,437. Smullen has maintained that he made an innocent mistake, that he did not realize applying the combat veteran property tax exemption to more than one home is illegal, and that he simply answered in the affirmative when asked whether he qualified for the exemption, but the damage was done. last_img read more

Kennedy: Food industry challenged by rapid changes

first_imgIndeed, investment bank UBS in June released an 82-page report, “Is the Kitchen Dead?”, that suggested the food-delivery market will grow tenfold by 2030 as meals shift away from being home-cooked with supermarket ingredients to being ordered online and delivered from restaurants or central kitchens.While the idea may seem far-fetched today, UBS noted that factory-produced clothing was, too, in the age of home sewing. “Some of the same characteristics are at play [now] in the kitchen — we could be at the first stage of industrializing meal production and delivery,” according to the report.Bachar noted the future impact of delivery.“There is justified expert concern — including from us — around the impact that food delivery will have on food producers,” Bachar said. “It’s accelerating; it’s not going away. And it’s not 2030 yet, but, boy, there’s a big increase of it right around the corner.”Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist.Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesNiskayuna Co-op reports upswing in revenue and profitSt. Mary’s Healthcare starts expansion that will put coordinate care under one roofEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Business, OpinionDebra Bachar dislikes the word “disruption,” seeing it as overused in business.She prefers “acceleration” to describe change that is ever-faster-moving, driven by consumer social and cultural shifts, relentless technology innovation, and quicker adoption of what’s new. As a result, “The operating environment is producing 20 years of progress in under two years,” says Bachar, principal of Blueberry Business Group in Rockford, Ill., an adviser to the food industry.Bachar, a featured speaker in a webinar offered by the trade group The Food Institute, said the food industry was traditionally coaxed along by investors happy with short-term focus and “linear thinking.”With blinders on to change coming at them from all sides, food companies and supermarkets “kept producing more and more linear versions of themselves in an environment changing faster than anyone expected.”But that led only to firms managing diminishing returns because they were “unprepared for the consequences of the acceleration,” she said.Bachar pointed to changes in consumer habits that have helped align food and transportation, allowing companies like Instacart, DoorDash and Uber Eats to raise millions of dollars to underwrite food-delivery services that propelled the companies to valuations in the billions of dollars.Meantime, advances in voice technology — think Alexa and Siri — are expected to double the number of smart speakers installed globally to 225 million units in two years, according to a slide Bachar presented. For pizza chain Domino’s, mobile voice-ordering already represents almost half of sales.“So the question is … how does this change and impact your strategy and place in the future of the industry?” she asked the webinar participants. Bachar cautioned that if consumers “are being intercepted” before food manufacturers and retailers can reach them, it can have “either a cascading negative or positive effect on what we’re doing in our broader market strategy.”last_img read more

Store-shop boys: new rock’n’roll messiahs

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Jonas eats into business for a net foothold

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Clarkson exit adds to woes in CBRE’s Manchester office

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Brascan tops Morgan Stanley’s Canary Wharf bid

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Health Ministry maintains it follows WHO procedures to test for coronavirus

first_imgThe death toll in China from the coronavirus epidemic rose to 1,483 on Friday, while more than 64,600 had been infected across the country, AFP reported.The Health Ministry’s biomedical research center head, Vivi Setiawaty, said her office had followed the WHO’s procedures for examining samples from patients suspected of being infected with the virus.“Every country in the world tests the samples in level-two biosafety labs. We have not deviated from the guidelines set by the WHO,” Vivi said in a recently issued statement.She added that the ministry’s biomedical research center was equipped with level-2 and level-3 biosafety laboratories, as well as a biorepository laboratory to store genetic materials and clinical samples from patients. The equipment and staff in the facility have been certified by the UN health body. As questions begin to be asked about the government’s claim there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, the Health Ministry has maintained that it is following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) testing standards.Indonesia has not recorded a single confirmed COVID-19 case, despite the high number of Chinese tourists who have visited the country in recent months and the fact that direct flights previously connected Wuhan – the epicenter of the viral outbreak – and several cities in Indonesia. Read also: ‘It’s only a model’: Health Ministry dismisses Harvard study on potential coronavirus spread in Indonesia“Officials from the WHO conduct a quality assurance of our lab every year,” Vivi said.Vivi explained the three steps the lab took to examine samples from patients. After receiving at least three samples from a patient, staff extract the ribonucleic acid (RNA).They then mix the acid with reagents to examine it through a process called reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), in which the scientists use nucleic acid amplification to determine whether the sample contains the coronavirus or its DNA.The sample will show a sigmoid-curve if it is positive for the coronavirus and a horizontal curve if negative.The ministry had received 77 samples from 16 provinces across the country as of Thursday. So far, 71 coronavirus samples have tested negative, while the remaining six are still being examined.center_img Topics :last_img read more

NPC, athletes ready to compete at any given time following Philippines Para Games offer

first_img “At the end, we will follow whatever has been decided by the Youth and Sports Ministry. We are ready for any date,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.This has been the second postponement of the ASEAN Para Games as the organizers had previously announced that the Games, which were supposed to be organized in January, would be delayed until March for technical reasons.Senny said he had not received input from the ministry. “We hope the ministry will make a decision this week.” Indonesia’s National Paralympics Committee (NPC) chief, Senny Marbun, is confident the nation’s athletes will be up and ready to attend the ASEAN Para Games when it is rescheduled, following its postponement due to the coronavirus outbreak. The statement was made following organizers’ proposal of rescheduling the event to May 17 or 26, as reported by Kompas. However, the first proposed date of May 17 will be during Ramadan. This has sparked concern as around 80 percent of the athletes are Muslims. Senny acknowledged that the May 26 option would be preferable.  Paracyclist Fadli Immamudin said his sole focus right now was training.“As an athlete, my sole focus right now is continuing my training. I’ll be ready to follow the government’s decision about this matter,” he said.Fadli said that since the last postponement, the Tokyo Paralympics had been his focus. “I’m now trying to attend several international events to get my ticket to the Paralympics,” he added.The Indonesian contingent comprises 300 athletes, with 38 seeking qualification for the Tokyo Paralympics in August until September.Paracycling coach Fadilah Umar acknowledged that the postponement was unfortunate and might affect the morale of athletes.  However, he went on to say that the postponement had benefited the small group of athletes that aimed to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics as it gave them time to focus on training.“The government needs to find a solution for this,” he said.The Youth and Sports Ministry had earmarked Rp 80 billion (U$ 5,8 million) for training camps for the ASEAN Para Games and the Tokyo Paralympics. Given the latest updates, the ministry has decided to continue the training camp for the ASEAN Para Games.”We must cut some activities to ensure the quality of our training,” Youth and Sports Ministry secretary Gatot S. Dewo Broto said.Gatot vowed that the usage of the additional budget for the ASEAN Para Games preparations won’t disrupt the Tokyo Paralympics budget plan.Senny Marbun said earlier that the whole national training camp activities would spent around Rp 10 billion per month.”Before this, we have asked all athletes to remain in Surakarta to continue the training.”The national training camp has been started since April last year and all athletes are prohibited to leave the training ground during the program.The Indonesian contingent is on a mission to retain the overall champion title it attained at the Kuala Lumpur 2017 ASEAN Para Games with 126 gold medals, exceeding its initial 106 target, 75 silver and 50 bronze. Indonesia overpowered host country Malaysia, which earned 90 gold medals, 85 silver and 50 bronze. Thailand finished third with 68 golds.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Miles away, Indonesian students continue studies, hope to return to Wuhan soon

first_imgShe said that despite being in Medan, she was still attending online classes given by her lecturers at the university. She expressed confidence that the Chinese government would be able to deal with the virus.“Hopefully, Wuhan will return to normal so the students, including me, can return to finish our studies,” Diza told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.She said there were 14 Indonesian students studying at her university in Wuhan. They were all residing in the university dormitory.“When [the outbreak occurred], we were not allowed to leave the dormitory until the Indonesian government eventually repatriated us on Feb. 1,” she said. It has been a week since Diza Laila returned to her family in Medan, North Sumatra, after being repatriated earlier this month from Wuhan, China, where she was studying.The 18-year-old student underwent a 14-day quarantine in Natuna, Riau Islands, before she was allowed to go home over fears of the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).Diza is a student at the Wuhan University of Technology, majoring in computer science. When the outbreak hit the city, Wuhan turned into a ghost town as no one had the courage to leave home, Diza said. The commercial areas were closed as well. Diza said she first heard about the outbreak in Wuhan from the Chinese government in early December 2019. She said she was afraid and immediately wanted to go home to Medan.“Alhamdulillah [praise to God] I am in Medan now,” she said happily, despite the fact that certain friends and neighbors seemed to be afraid to physically interact with her after she arrived on Feb. 16. “I can understand that – because of the lack of information,” said Diza, who felt relieved when she was declared free of the virus.North Sumatra Health Agency head Alwi Mujahit Hasibuan said he was happy to know that the three Medan students in Wuhan, including Diaz, had reached home.“They are not infected with the virus. There is nothing to worry about in interacting with them,” said Alwi as he received Diza at his office on Monday.He said that no North Sumatran residents or foreign visitors had the virus so far. He said the 84 people who had undergone house quarantine in the province had been declared healthy.“All the 84 people have returned to their normal activities,” said Alwi, adding that their house quarantine ended on Sunday.Topics :last_img read more

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