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October 27, 2016
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Another healthcare surprise

The track record for newly created entities providing healthcare in New York State in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is not a very good one.  Read more

Pesticides in your toothpaste

As the end of the New York State legislative session draws near, environmental groups in Albany are pushing to have triclosan banned from most products sold in the state.

The New York State League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) is one such group. According to its website, the presence of triclosan, which was first registered as a pesticide in 1969, has been found in New York waters, and it “impairs muscle function in both animals and humans, including heart muscle.”

So what is it, and how did it get into our soaps and toothpaste?  Read more

Embracing the sunshine

In some places in Sullivan County, it’s clear that the county is already home to some large-scale solar installations. The one outside the Travis Building in Liberty, NY, which went online in 2012, generates 49.9 kW of power with 208 panels.

Another system, which was powered up behind the Sullivan County Community College in 2016, cranks out 2.15 MW of electricity with more than 7,000 panels.  Read more

A gift to the nuclear power industry

State officials are in the midst of a round of meetings regarding the state’s proposed Clean Energy Standard (CES), which will determine how much renewable electricity will be distributed to customers by utilities in years to come. The proposed plan calls for the state to generate 80% of electricity from renewable power by 2050, which is certainly a laudable goal.

Incredibly, however, the proposed CES mandates that rate-payers keep the state’s four nuclear power plants alive by paying higher-than-market prices for the expensive electricity produced by the plants.  Read more

Fixing the state with a constitutional convention

Lawmakers in Albany have shown for years that they are not interested in bringing real ethics reform to state government, despite the fact that 41 legislators have been convicted or accused of committing crimes in the past 12 years. If lawmakers don’t feel like taking action on a specific matter, there are not many ways for constituents to force them to do so. However, there is one political action in which the voices of the electorate could carry more weight than politicians, and that’s in a constitutional convention.  Read more

Making it easier to vote

There is a real possibility that if the rules for primary elections were standardized across the country, and people could choose to vote in either primary and independent voters were allowed to participate in the process in all states, Bernie Sanders would be the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and Hillary Clinton would be playing catch-up. But political parties are not run by the state government, and they make their own rules.  Read more

Let’s move into the 21st century

A lot of politicians like to talk about open and transparent government, especially when they are on the campaign trail, but at a last week’s meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature, a couple of its members suggested that openness can be taken too far.  Read more

The addict next door

I knew that I was going to be facing trouble when I came around after the first seizure. This would have been around 2003 or 2004.  Read more

Earth Day 2016, measuring progress

April 22 will mark Earth Day 47 for our over-taxed planet, a good time to take stock of the environmental progress we’ve made over the decades, which in some cases is significant and, in other cases, looks more like regress.

The modern environmental movement was sparked, at least in part, by Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring,” which detailed the enormous damage being visited on plant and animal species because of the overuse of the pesticide DDT. The public was outraged, and the pesticide was banned.  Read more

Benefits of the state budget

With the economy on the rebound, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature agreed to a new state budget on March 31, which Cuomo called one of the best budgets in years. That might be overstating the case a bit, but there is a lot in it that various groups will like.  Read more