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

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Separated at birth?

Justin Bieber in 2010, left, and Donny Osmond in 1972.

The difference? Osmond was a decent child singer. Bieber's voice is dreadful beyond description.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On my mind this day

* The National Weather Service has issued "heat advisory" for today ... as if forecasting a high temperature of 96 degrees wasn't enough of an advisory that the heat will be extreme.

* I have no plans to seek political office - ever - but if I were a candidate for mayor of Kingston, I would have a platform consisting of exactly one promise: The city's Fourth of July fireworks will always be on - wait for it now - the FOURTH OF JULY. This age-old tradition of holding the city's fireworks the weekend before the holiday has always struck me as ridiculous, but never more than this year, when the Fourth of July fell on a Sunday and the city launched its fireworks on June 27.

* It's time for Major League Baseball's All-Stars to be picked solely by the league's managers or by the sportswriters who cover the game, because letting the fans participate in the process of deciding the rosters for the Midsummer Classic makes the exercise nothing more than a popularity contest that favors the league's best-known players and those in the largest markets. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto being left off this year's National League roster is the perhaps the best example of how screwed up the current system is. The guy is hitting .318, has 21 home runs, is in the Top 5 in all three Triple Crown categories in the N.L. and is the main reason the Reds are atop the N.L. Central right now, but he finished well out of the running in first-base voting.
And just as ridiculous: Not a single member of the San Diego Padres - who lead the N.L. West, have the best record in the National League and have the second-best record in all of baseball - made the N.L.'s starting roster. Yeah, that makes sense.

* I see the U.S. Postal Service is about to raise its rates again. The service says the higher rates are necessary because its financial losses are growing. It seems that was the excuse for the last increase, and the one before that, and the one before that, and so on. In other words, these rate hikes don't reduce the Postal Service's debt; they make it larger. Why? Because each rate hike leads people to use the mail less, not more, especially in this era when letters have been replaced by e-mails, bills can be paid online, birthday greetings are delivered via e-card, and packages can be handled by the likes of UPS and FedEx for less money than the Postal Service charges. If the Postal Service wants to make more money, it seriously should consider cutting its mail rates, perhaps by as much as 50 percent. Anything in the other direction will do more harm than good - as history has proven again and again.