Sunday, September 3, 2017

School Scope: Eclipse Eclipsed by Texas Floods - Norm in The Wave

Published Sept. 1, 2017

School Scope: Eclipse Eclipsed by Texas Floods
By Norm Scott

August 28, 2017

I spent a few hours viewing the eclipse in the parking lot behind my friend Mark Rosenhaft’s Central Vision Care in Cedarhurst. Mark, an amateur astronomer, set up a telescope with a filter and attracted a crowd of people oohing and ahhhing at the views. Mark got some great photos too.

News is moving so fast. The heavy news from Charlottesville was overtaken by the big eclipse news of a week ago was which was soon eclipsed by the Texas floods. And then there is Korea. Of course on the daily Trump beat, the beat goes on. On education news, the scores from last spring’s tests are out ­– (why does it take them so long, one might ask?) – and the press is going nuts over reporting on the 800 or so ATRs (Absentee Teacher Reserves who may be placed into schools against the will of principals (which occurred in the system from its beginning a century ago through 2005). My problem is – too many choices. I would love to be able to tie all the hot button issues together in a sort of grand unification package in a positive way to counter the sense that life on earth may be doomed.

There was a sense of sock when America saw Nazis giving the Hitler salute and shouting anti-Semitic slogans marching so openly in Charlottesville. I was interested to see the reaction of some of my fellow Jews who had not been as perturbed when Muslims or African-Americans were attacked. Some segments of the Italian community connected to the shame of the Mussolini fascists. Identity politics runs deep. I heard a lot from some Jewish friends about doubts over the removal of Confederate statues – you know people who went to war against the USA to preserve the enslavement of black people. “Even so, history shouldn’t be buried. How about the slave owners’ faces on our money,” they said? When I asked how they would feel if Germany had statues of Hitler to “preserve” history or if they had his face on their money, I got silence. Remember, in the south, Lincoln was and still is the enemy for ending slavery and preserving the union. Not a lot of statues went up to him below the Mason Dixon line for decades ­– I’m still not sure if there aren’t more statues to Lee and Jefferson Davis than to Lincoln.

We began to hear a lot about the Antifa – the antifascists, often consisting of anarchists, who believe in making a stand against fascists,  or those they brand as fascists. I have mixed feelings about how to respond but the Trump response that there were good people defending their statues celebrating people who were not just slave holders but were out to destroy the nation and just ran into a Hitler-inspired march caused much outrage. The actions of some Antifa in some ways defused the power of a peaceful protest and gave the right a wedge argument that might appeal to some potential allies. What is clear is that the left – whatever that means nowadays - has no coherent strategy compared to the Steve Bannon led alt-right.

Speaking of Bannon, some on the left actually line up with some of his positions. Like Korea – the last straw for Trump was when Bannon in speaking to left wing press said there was no military solution in Korea, thus also enraging the globalists/neocons from both Republicans and Democrats, as does the alt-right position on Russia, which has been under assault by the deep state for a hundred years. The Bernie wing of the left also dovetails to some extent on economic populism. Remember, NAFTA in the early 90s, which came out of both Bush I and the Clinton admins, was vilified by the left, including a massive protest in Seattle at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in 1999 which included an Antifa-like wing smashing windows.

One thing we all can agree on is that flooding is bad whether in Houston or NYC, though we are remembering those Texas politicians (Ted Cruz for instance) who voted against fed support for us after Sandy. But people who point this out don’t want retribution and want the big, bad federal gument to keep funding people in trouble. What we don’t seem to agree on is the extent of global warming and what is causing it. Harvey is record-breaking and to assume there is no factor of global warming involved is short-sighted.

And speaking of waterways, how some kudos for a change to Bill di Blasio for bringing a massive possibly game-changer to NYC transportation with ferry system that for the most part works very well at a great price? And Rockaway was at the top of the list to get it going and it has worked even with the small boats. Instead we hear a lot of carping over the details as they get worked out. With the Wall St.-Astoria with a stop at 34th St. connection opening this week things become more intriguing. Just don’t expect things to take less time given getting to the ferry (even those little bus shuttles work like a charm) and wait times to change to another ferry. (When I want to go uptown I walk from the ferry to the 4,5 for the East Side and the 2,3 for the West Side.) For people commuting to work, the A train – if it worked better can still be a better option. Maybe the local politicians and  press should spend a little more time on fixing the “A” than chasing unicorns with the mythical Rockaway Rail Line.

Norm never stops chasing after unicorns at

1 comment:

  1. You get an A for tying numerous disparate issues into a seamless column. From my reading, Houston bears substantial responsibility for a lack of zoning ordinances and the rampant development in areas designated as flood plains. However politically impractical, it would behoove the Congress to take a serious look at the effects of climate change and pass legislation to contain reckless real estate expansion and provide appropriate guidelines for the building of structures that could withstand the punishing extreme weather events that are becoming the rule, rather than the exception.

    Abigail Shure


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