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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crime time

We ran a story in the Freeman the other day that said the town of Woodstock may institute a curfew in an attempt to reduce late-night crime by youths.

Dan Leader, owner of the Bread Alone bakery in Woodstock, is among those pushing for the curfew. In making his case to the Town Board this week, Leader said his business was "broken into six times last year" and that the vandals "broke the pipes (and) flooded the building." He also said his staff has "had to clean up countless hypodermic needles on our patio."

"It's serious," Leader said. And I agree.

But does he, or anyone, really think a curfew will solve the problem?

Young people who violate municipal curfews generally are picked up by police, taken home to their parents and given a warning - and perhaps are fined if the problem persists.

The people who have caused Leader so much anguish clearly have no qualms about breaking and entering, destroying property and using illegal drugs - crimes that could land them in prison for several years. It's my guess, then, that they're not likely to be deterred by the prospect of being caught violating a town curfew.

Municipalities and their police departments need to reduce crime, to be sure, but success will require more than simply telling young people to be off the streets by a certain time.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oh buoy!

The good news is teenage sailor Abby Sunderland has been rescued from the Indian Ocean two days after her boat was damaged during her effort to circumnavigate the globe alone.

The bad news is she's now aboard a fishing vessel, likely populated only by men ... men who haven't seen a female for quite some time.

Seems Abby might have to be rescued again.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sticker shock

A car parked on Main Street in Kingston this morning had a bumper sticker that read "Had enough? Vote Phillips."

The message, for those who don't know the local political players, was that incumbent U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, should be replaced in Congress by Broome County Republican George Phillips.

But all I took from the sticker was that people should vote for Phillips simply because he isn't the incumbent.

Look, I know there's an anti-incumbent sentiment in this country, and that many current members of the House and Senate are likely to be voted out of office in the November election, but please, please, PLEASE tell me the challengers who are likely to win these races bring more to the table than just being non-incumbents. Please tell me the have concrete ideas for change and that they have platforms that tell us why we should replace the old bosses with new bosses.

Because if they don't, and we elect them anyway, we're just being fooled again.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

TWO blown calls

Bud Selig got it wrong. No two ways about.

It seemed unlikely that there ever could be a bigger mistake in Major League Baseball than umpire Jim Joyce's blown call at first base Wednesday night that denied a perfect game to Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. But Commissioner Selig's decision on Thursday to let the play stand as called was worse. FAR worse.

This wasn't, as initially described, a "disputed call." This was a blown call. Everyone, including the now-repentant Joyce, knows Cleveland's Jason Donald was thrown out at first after grounding to the right side of the infield with two down in the ninth inning on Wednesday. It wasn't even close. Every video replay shows the same thing: the ball in the mitt of Galarraga - who was covering first - and Galarraga's foot planted firmly on the bag before Donald reached. See picture accompanying previous post. This wasn't one of those too-close-to-call plays. It wasn't a case of the runner getting the benefit of the doubt when the call could have gone either way. This was, plain and simple, an umpire failing to see, and hear, the completion of the out with Donald still a full step away from touching first.

What, then, was the point of Selig not reversing the call and giving Galarraga the perfect game? Who was he impressing, or protecting, by refusing to publicly acknowledge what everyone saw to be true? Was he honestly afraid the game's good name would be tarnished if he took the nearly unprecedented step of overruling an umpire? It seems to me that such a move would have helped the game's integrity, not hurt it.

But then, Selig is the man who thinks baseball somehow benefits from his refusal to expel known steroid users and his refusal to void the records of such juicers as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised by his brainless decision in the Galarraga matter.

I guess it's easier, at least in Selig's mind, to forgive cheaters than it is to acknowledge one of the game's most outstanding accomplishments.

And that's a shame.


The blown call

I wanted to write something wise, insightful and downright angry about umpire Jim Joyce's blown call Wednesday night that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armondo Galarraga a perfect game, but Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan did it better than I ever could, so I direct you to his column, here.

I will add this, though: The Debacle in Detroit and the announcement on Wednesday that the great Ken Griffey Jr. had retired make June 2, 2010, one of the saddest days in the history of Major League Baseball.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

'MacGruber' update

A friend posted the following on my Facebook wall:

"MacGruber" took the biggest hit of the weekend, tumbling 62 percent for an estimated $1.9 million. With a mere ... $7.6 million in 11 days, the action spoof is on track to becoming "Saturday Night Live"'s lowest-grossing release ever.

... to which I posted the following response:



Mixed message

I saw a car today that had two bumper stickers - one opposing abortion, the other promoting the rights of hunters.

So this guy is both opposed to killing and in favor of killing.

I'm so confused.