On June 30th, this coming Monday, an era will end at one of the Capital Region’s most respected institutions of higher education, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. President James Gozzo will leave the helm of this exceptional college – turning its leadership over to the new president, Dr. Gregory Dewey. I have been fortunate to have known President Gozzo for virtually all of his 16-year tenure at the college, a college which has been transformed by his presence.
With the fall of Mosul to ISIS terrorists the goal of a new state incorporating territory in northern Iraq and Syria may be a reality. As I see it, this is more than a Sunni-Shia conflict within the confines of one region. It has the potential to be the catalyst of World War IV, the Cold War being World War III.
Let me try to put some things in perspective. I spent a decade in the Legal Service Program which provides lawyers for the poor, first as a store-front lawyer, then in the management of programs or running a clinic. One of the recurring issues we used to debate was whether to focus on what we called “Band-Aids” or systemic change.
Catching sight of a TV photo of conservative mischief-maker, Ralph Reed, (former anti-Indian tribes lobbying crony of the notorious Jack Abramoff) in the late news, recently, announcing that he was preparing once again to organize young Christians in a typical chapter of Ralph Reed chicanery, strongly reminded this pundit of the wisdom shared by Confucius, in his Analects, that: “Learning without thought is labor lost; while thought without learning is perilous.” In light of all the sudden public angst about this Nation’s seemingly unsuccessful efforts to establish a well-functioning system of public education, the last thing we need is any kind of input by the likes of the crafty Mr. Reed. Apparently, though, there is more than a little need of constructive concern, on the part of all of us, about how our young people are being educated and this brought to mind Marshall McLuhan, he of “The Medium Is The Message” fame.
Now that the lackluster 2014 legislative session is in the books, New York’s elected officials turn their attention to November. The statewide offices of governor, comptroller, and attorney general are all up. All 213 legislative seats and 27 Congressional House of Representatives are up for a vote.
What I always notice about water tumbling from a cliff or gurgling downstream is the way the noise from its rush makes everything near it sound much quieter. Perhaps it is because I am in the mountains, away from the distractions of urban life, work, and daily nonsense. Maybe it is because the pulse and swirl of water gently force me to listen to the inevitable movement of time and life around me.
Earlier this week, the New York State Assembly overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill that would ban the use of so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy – treatments that aim to change sexual orientation – on minors. During the time I wrote this commentary, the New York State Senate had yet to vote on the bill. They have until the end of today, when the 2013-14 legislative session officially closes, to pass the bill. Should it pass, Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law. This would make New York the third state – following California and New Jersey – to outlaw efforts to turn gay kids straight.