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The Millerton News Opinion/Viewpoint

The case for and against nullification

Insight

At a political event in Connecticut, participants were confronted by a demonstrator bearing a sign admonishing us all to “Read the Constitution!” One could hardly disagree. So I asked her whether she, herself, had actually read the document. She replied, “No, I haven’t, but people should.” Right on.
Another demonstrator carried a sign calling for “Tort Reform Now!” No doubt we could use some reform, but what, I asked, is a “tort”? He didn’t know, but like he said, “Whatever it is, it needs reform.” Right again.

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Is there a friendly way to get rid of spreading phragmites?

EarthTalk

Dear EarthTalk: We have an invasion of phragmites in the wetlands bordering our neighborhood. I understand they are a nonnative plant that, if left unchecked, will overrun the whole ecosystem. How does one remedy this situation in an eco-friendly way?
Jeff Willets
via email

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The diplomat who ate my frogs

Ranting Retiree

Thank you, Facebook. You have uncovered a secret that’s haunted us for some 35 years. What ever happened to Suwit?
He was a little boy from Thailand who rounded up all the frogs in the creek that flows behind our old farmstead, smashed their heads against a rock, then cooked and ate their legs.
I didn’t know any of the frogs personally, but I so much enjoyed listening to them sing “rib it, rib it, rib it,” the frog melody that lulled me to sleep.

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Idea worth considering

The Millerton News Editorial

Sometimes someone gets an idea. A light bulb goes off. Oftentimes the idea needs time to mature, to grow, to sink in to another’s consciousness, if shared, and take root.
Such was not the case at the Pine Plains Board of Education (BOE) meeting last week. As the meeting was coming to an end, school board member Todd Bowen made a very serious suggestion that practically stunned his colleagues into silence. What followed was a confused conversation that concluded with one school board member storming out.

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Well, the grass is ris

The Country Curmudgeon

‘Spring is sprung, the grass is ris. I wonder where the birdies is?’
— Anonymous
Never mind robins. It is not officially spring until the grackles are dancing outside my window. They strut around with their heads thrown back, challenging each other. I guess whoever can stretch his head back the farthest is the winner.

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County Legislature has been working

The County Account

In the first quarter of 2011, the County Legislature made progress on several fronts.

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Update on solar cells

A View From the Edge

Readers of this column may remember our praise for NASA’s invention of the photovoltaic cell and, especially, the wait while advanced photovoltaic cell materials — solar cells — are allowed to trickle down from national secrecy needs (especially the solar cell material printed on a photocopier).
Hopes that this material would be released to public consumption have been delayed, mainly by Department of Defense needs to maintain U.S. superiority in space. In space, portable energy is everything, since you cannot plug in anywhere. Anyway, all that seems about to change.

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Why is it necessary to declare clean water a ‘human right’?

EarthTalk

Dear EarthTalk: Recently the U.N. voted to declare access to safe and clean water a “human right.” Isn’t that a no-brainer? What are the ramifications of this declaration?
P. James
Boston, Mass.
In July 2010 the United Nations (U.N.) agreed to a new resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.” One hundred twenty-two nations voted in favor of the resolution; 41 (primarily developed) countries abstained; and there were zero “no” votes.

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Martin Luther King

Editorial Cartoon

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Strategic materials

The Country Curmudgeon

I am constantly amazed at our misuse of resources. Take aluminum, for example. This is a strategic material. We use it in our aircraft to defend America. We also package our beer and soda in it and then bury massive quantities of the empties in dumps.
How did this all start? I have a CD from the 1950s with one of the first radio commercials for no deposit no return glass bottles. The announcer is positively ecstatic. No more bothersome returning empties to the store. Just throw ’em in the trash!
I think I remember that it somehow felt wrong.

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