Cuomo Legacy Depends on Curbing Corruption

cuomoWhen New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was criticized earlier this year for having a quiet approach to state ethics reform, he said this: “I don’t know how I could have been any louder on ethics than I was in my [State of the State Address] and I don’t know how I could have been any stronger in statements I’ve made since the scandals than I’ve been. And I don’t know how I could have been any more aggressive in my proposals.”

But the only thing that’s gotten louder is the anger and frustration coming from New York citizens in a state that has become a hallmark for corruption. Cuomo came into office in 2011 promising to be the champion to clean up the dirty politics that have plagued Albany for a long time. Since then, it has gotten much worse, with more state officials sent to prison, the recent prosecutions of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and an investigation of the Moreland Commission shutdown—which involved the governor himself—though he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

And now, as if things weren’t bad enough, nine men connected to the governor’s upstate economic revitalization effort were arrested last week on charges ranging from bribery, extortion, fraud and conspiracy, the latest lasso by U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara, who has brought cases against a dozen state officials since 2009 in an anti-corruption crusade. Among the accused is Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s former executive deputy secretary who was also his campaign manager during his re-election bid in 2014. Percoco was also an adviser and close friend to his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo. The accused also includes SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros, who was the architect of Cuomo’s efforts to attract high-tech jobs to the state—someone the governor called “a genius.”

While it was indicated the allegations in this matter didn’t include the governor himself, this is a critical blow for Cuomo, both to him personally and to his legacy. Not only was his signature achievements tainted by men he had the utmost respect for and confidence in, but it happened right under his nose—and as of right now, there’s no evidence to suggest he knew what was going on.

The significance of these recent arrests is this. Pressure on passing ethics reform swelled in the last year because of constant exposed corruption in the state Legislature. But this is the first time during Cuomo’s administration that criminal charges have been filed inside the executive branch. While Cuomo has so far been able to keep corruption at arm’s length, it is now is in his lap, so it is clear he needs to devote new energy to ethics reform at all levels of state government, especially if he plans to run for a third term in 2018, as he has gestured.

No more can he simply talk big about ethics in speeches and then blame lawmakers for not delivering a bill to his desk. No more can a legislative session end with no agreement and Cuomo just throwing up his hands saying “well, I tried.”

The fact is, Cuomo has the ability to make ethics reform a reality, if he would only use it. The governor has shown us before he can be quite ruthless in getting what he wants. He was able to push the controversial SAFE Act through using a late-night “message of necessity” with no hearings, no testimony and no time for opponents to make a case against it. He spent years drilling away at increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour against a reluctant Legislature. Then he barnstormed across the state in a bus tour earlier this year to tout the proposal. He even devoted part of the tour to advocate for paid family leave.

All three of those proposals eventually turned into bills that were passed and signed into law. Why? Because the governor flexed his muscles, sold his idea and made the public rally around him. Imagine if he put that kind of energy into cleaning up the Capitol. Now, a bus tour to promote ethics reform doesn’t exactly sound sexy, but as Cuomo said at one of his $15 wage rallies, “I am convinced when people understand what we are talking about, they’re going to support it.” A cleaner government isn’t hard for people to understand and it isn’t difficult for them to support. All they need is to hear him talk about it.

The question is, will he use that leverage he possesses? Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, thinks Cuomo can use the recent arrests as a road map for reform, but he understandably says, “the problem is he’s gotten other maps before and he’s never used them.”

This time Cuomo has a map that practically shouts directions at him. He should seize the opportunity. If ethics reform means as much to him as he says, he will step up and do what he has to do to create a thorough package that includes all the key points to preventing and reacting to crooked politicians. Only then can he become the ethics champion he claimed he would be when he first ran for office. As of right now, the only champion we have cleaning up Albany is Preet Bharara.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at

Candidates Need to Acknowledge the Free Press

08assessweb1-master768When the founding fathers sketched out what would be the U.S. Constitution, they deemed it necessary that a free press was essential to preserving the democracy they were forming, and such, included it in the First Amendment. Not a dozen years later, President John Adams, a founding father himself, signed into law the Alien and Seditions Act, which in part, made it a federal crime to “write, print, utter, or publish…any false, scandalous and malicious writing” against the government.

Thankfully, reason was restored and the law was repealed two years later and no similar statute has come about since. However, this year’s contentious presidential campaign is between two candidates who clearly show their distaste for the press—and that distaste is unlikely to end when whichever one of them moves into the White House.

When talking about Donald Trump, you can’t go too far without mentioning the press. One, because he has been the unchallenged master of the media spotlight for the last year and a half, and two, he has an obvious reputation for constantly criticizing reporters, at one point referring to them as “the lowest form of humanity.”

Now, a candidate attacking the media is nothing new—but banning them is. Until recently, the Republican standard bearer had spent the last few months prohibiting a handful of news organizations from his press conferences and campaign events, including information giants like The Washington PostThe Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, Univision, Politico and BuzzFeed. These bans also disallowed these outlets’ reporters from flying on the press charter, which follows Trump around the country.

While the bans were mainly symbolic, as they hardly halted their coverage of the candidate, it was clearly an unprecedented and frankly undemocratic maneuver. Politico editor Susan Glasser said it best. “Access to a major party’s presidential campaign events shouldn’t be a favor to be granted or withheld to the independent media depending on how the candidate views the coverage,” she said.

As of the beginning of the month, Trump removed the bans on those media groups, but he is still reluctant to remove his hands from the media’s throat. Last week, he proposed that moderators should not fact check his or Hillary Clinton’s remarks in the coming debates. His reasoning has its arguments, but in this election, in this age of information where internet memes and bias websites have distorted the conversation, too many facts have gone unchecked already—some facts that aren’t facts at all. On the contrary, Mr. Trump. Moderators should step up their fact checking of both candidates in debates, not to the point where they steal the show, but allowing skewed facts or outright lies from either candidate to voters when millions are watching isn’t exactly desired either.

While Trump wants to limit facts, Clinton keeps facts limited. Despite Trump’s quarrel with the media, he has actually been surprisingly open to giving interviews and having press conferences. The latter can’t be said for his opponent. Clinton went 278 days without a single press conference this year. That long of a drought from a presidential nominee has frustrated both the media and her fellow Democrats, and it should frustrate the pubic as well. While she boasts she has given more than 300 interviews this year, those interviews don’t stand up to the freewheeling and spontaneous format that comes with press conferences—which is why she doesn’t do them often.

Clinton’s comfort zone is being in control, and the media is in control during press conferences, leaving room for her to look unauthentic or awkward on television or to slip up and say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Press conferences are also likely to bring up her biggest closet skeleton—her emails—the one thing she doesn’t want to talk about. But they are an issue, she did lie to the American people about them and whatever questions regarding them that a reporter deems necessary to ask should be asked.

Her campaign and supporters highly criticized NBC’s Matt Lauer’s bombardment of the subject during a recent town hall, in which asked, “Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying, if you want to be commander-in- chief?” Not only is it one of the most talked about topics in this election, but it was also relevant to the forum’s topic—national security. In that sense, it’s perfectly logical to ask her those sorts of questions, even if they are tough. It’s surprising that even after 25 years in the national spotlight, Clinton has yet to understand that any person running for president is subject to harsh scrutiny if they expect to get job. She should know that better than anyone.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about all of this is that neither of them are even president yet. They haven’t begun to deal with the nation’s greatest crises, where they will be questioned on their words and actions every waking moment for the next four or eight years. They haven’t been grilled for that bad jobs report or terrorist attack that could happen during their term. They’re going to have to allow certain reporters in. They’re going to have to hold many press conferences. They should get used to that.

Are they going to reinvent the Alien and Seditions Act? Of course not. But this election should remind us that freedom of the press regarding the most powerful person in the world is not something we can take for granted. Because it’s the only thing that stands between us and them.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at

‘Birther Movement’ Was Never Worthy of Living

Barack Obama

Last week, Donald Trump finally told the American people that he acknowledged Barack Obama was born in the United States and is therefore a legitimate beholder of the office of president. Period. Phew! Now we can all sleep easy. But the billionaire businessman could’ve just as well have said, “the sky is blue. Period.”

While Trump can probably credit the conspiracy regarding the president’s birthplace as partly responsible for his political uprising, and while it is appreciative that he has put the issue to rest, the fact that it became an issue at all and that it dragged on for as long as it did is both disturbing and ludicrous.

As recently as last Wednesday, in an interview with The Washington Post, he declined to say Obama was born in the United States, saying “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.” Whether that means he was still unsure or was simply waiting for the big moment when all the big TV networks would be aimed at him, it’s still a topic that never earned any warrant worth discussing.

The U.S. Constitution states any candidate for president must be 35 years of age, a resident within the United States for 14 years and a “natural born citizen.” That last part is the ammunition for the defense of those who firmly believe Obama is not a U.S. citizen. While the Constitution doesn’t clarify what “natural born citizen” means directly, the consensus has long been that it is anybody that has citizenship at birth and doesn’t have to go through a naturalization process to become a citizen.

Barack Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, two years after the territory became the 49th U.S. state. His birth certificate and printed newspapers at the time have confirmed all of this. His mother was an American citizen. His father was from Kenya. Therefore, that means Obama is a natural born citizen. Even if he had been born in Kenya, as many claim, or any other country in the world for that matter, as long as his mother was an American citizen, Barack Obama was qualified in those regards to hold the highest office in the land.

The president has repeatedly referenced this attack against him throughout the years, both as a serious one and humorous one, telling reporters recently that “I was pretty confident about where I was born.” And one can understand why this whole prospect would bother him so. It’s a deeply personal insult for anyone to question one’s citizenship when it is blatantly clear and put out in the open for all to see. I doubt many people wouldn’t feel the same if theirs were inquired about.

But it’s more than that. It’s not just a personal insult. It was unquestionably a racist overtone to undermine a candidate who could become the first African American president. Long before the age of Trump, most remember the issue was abundant during the 2008 campaign. Hillary Clinton supporters, though not the Clinton campaign itself, used it as a way to counterbalance Obama’s swell during the primaries. A few months later, Jim Geraghty of the conservative website National Review Online asked the Illinois senator to release his birth certificate.

Now, Obama is certainly not the first presidential candidate to face this challenge. Chester Arthur, Barry Goldwater and Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, all had their citizenship questioned during their individual White House runs. Indeed, former Republican candidate Ted Cruz faced the same onslaught, battling lawsuits in several states to put him on the ballot during this year’s primary season. Cruz was born in Canada. Like Obama, his mother was an American citizen, his father wasn’t. And like Obama, Cruz was cleared, as he should’ve been, to run for president.

The difference between Obama and those other examples is, one, the others were White, and two, the others’ challenges were either short lived, or hardly made it into the discussion of the campaign. The difference is, eight years after being elected and with no evidence to support any different conclusion, we are still talking about Obama’s birthplace. If we need any other convincing, let’s not forget that Obama’s own 2008 rival, John McCain, was not even born stateside. He was born at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone. While there was a small discussion regarding his ability to run, it was settled without much fanfare. And it certainly wasn’t John McCain that Trump was talking about last week.

President Obama is certainly worthy of criticism. He is certainly worthy of harsh review for his policies and actions over his tenure as leader of the free world. He’s far from perfect. Anyone in this country has the right to agree or disagree with that. But there can be no dispute about where he was born and to whom. In his acknowledgment announcement, Mr. Trump said regarding the Birther Moment, “I finished it.” The fact is, he finished it for him. The rest of the country finished it long ago.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at

It’s the Economy That Elects the President

Execution Drugs

James Carville, the aide to Bill Clinton in his 1992 presidential campaign, was certainly not stupid when he coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Just as the plight of the working class was constantly at the center of presidential politics 24 years ago, it is so during this turbulent election. As recent as July, the Pew Research Center reported that the economy was still the number one issue for voters this November, finding that 84 percent of those polled say it will be a very important factor in who they cast their vote for. As important as terrorism, immigration and education are, the state of the economy determines the next president. That’s just how it is. If times are good, Americans will vote to keep the status quo. If fiscal times are hard, they will undoubtedly choose the “other candidate” or “other party” who is not in power, in hope that the status quo can be changed.

We’ve seen this time and again throughout presidential history. The first time the economy elected the president was in 1896, when the age of big business was in full swing. The election took place amid the Panic of 1893, the worst economic depression the nation had ever seen up to that point. Unemployment climbed to 20 percent and those who were lucky to stay employed suffered big wage cuts, resulting in labor unrest and a record number of strikes, like the infamous Pullman Strike of 1894. William McKinley was painted as “the advance agent of prosperity” and that helped carry him to the top. McKinley oversaw a nation that recovered from the depression and, in doing so, helped keep the Republicans in the White House for most of the next 35 years.

Calvin Coolidge was one of those successors who was lucky enough to inherit the office during the Roaring 1920s, when consumer spending skyrocketed and the economy was booming. Therefore, the American people decided to “keep cool with Coolidge” and elected him to his own term in 1924.

The Republican dominance ended in 1932 when the Great Depression left millions without work, without food and without faith in the man in charge. The situation was so grim that during the Bonus Army March, in which thousands of World War I veterans descended on the Capitol Building to demand their pension checks early, Franklin Roosevelt told a friend, “Well, this elects me.”

The post-war boom left the economy on the back burner for multiple elections, until Jimmy Carter was ousted by Ronald Reagan in an election year filled with inflation gains and long lines at the gas station.

And of course, in 2008, markets had already been struggling for nearly a year. Then just one month before Election Day, Dow Jones industrials tumbled nearly 780 points in its largest one-day point drop ever. At the same time, banks were failing and the Labor Department was reporting a 159,000 job loss in September and then a 240,000 job loss in October. When that occurred, Barack Obama might has well have said, “Well, this elects me.”

Alright, so why is it the economy, stupid? Simple. The economy is the only thing that affects everyone and the only thing that everyone understands. Not everyone has a child so education may not matter all so much to them. Not everyone knows exactly what goes on in the Middle East so maybe foreign policy isn’t at the front of their concerns. But everyone knows how important it is that they keep their job. Everyone understands how important that paycheck is every Friday. Everyone knows that being able to afford health insurance while also putting food on the table shouldn’t be an impossible task. Not everyone may comprehend the full extent of what goes on down at Wall Street, but it becomes crystal clear when their factory leaves town or if they notice gas prices go through the ceiling.

So, what does all of this mean for 2016? We’re definitely not on par with the Roaring 20s or the Great Depression. We’re stuck somewhere between them. The economy will still be the entity that makes Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump president, but who it will be really comes down to one word: Recovery.

The economy is better overall than it was in 2008, but voters must decide if it has gotten better fast enough under President Obama. They must decide if the president has done enough to create jobs, stimulate consumer spending and ascend the Middle Class. If they believe he has, they will vote for Hillary Clinton to succeed him. If they believe Obama hasn’t acted quickly enough or believe he has done so with the wrong policies and wrong ideas, they will go to the “change candidate”—Trump. And while Clinton has led in a lot of polls over the last month, Trump still prevails as the candidate most voters believe is best to handle the economy—56 percent to Clinton’s 41 percent according to a Sept. 7 CNN poll. 

What the 2016 election will turn out to be is an economic crossroads. Eight years ago, Obama offered hope and change amid the worst economic crisis in generations. Now, we’ll see if we stick with that for another four years or if we seek a different kind of change we can believe in. Either way, it’s the change in our pockets that will help us decide.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at

Will 9/11 Never Happen Again?

Travel Trip Sept. 11 New Downtown

Fifteen years ago, a lot of us thought we were safe. We had entered a new century, and a new millennium. The Internet and the digital age were beginning to transform our public and private life. A contentious presidential election had left many of us sour. And we were getting our first taste of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Shrek on the big screen.

And then that fateful Tuesday morning happened, that clear September day when we were glued to our TV screens, in utter disbelief about what was transpiring. With all our military might, our technology, money and our intelligence, the U.S. was attacked on its own soil for the first time since Pearl Harbor, and terrorists had successfully carried out the biggest and most destructive act of terror in history. Suddenly, we weren’t so safe anymore.

A lot has changed in the last 15 years. The infamous Patriot Act gave the federal government sweeping new powers to combat terrorism efforts, new aviation laws are in place to make our skies safer and we’ve been involved in two long wars in the Middle East. It’s been 15 years and no similar attack of such a large magnitude has since occurred in our country. Are these efforts a certainty that an attack can’t happen again? Of course not.

To find evidence of this, one only has to look back 23 years. Eight short years before the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York came down, the 1993 bombing of the complex killed six people and injured a thousand. The alleged intention was to bring both towers down by planting a bomb in the North tower, and detonating it would cause the North tower to topple into the South tower, which would no doubt be devastating and kill many people. The terrorists involved were captured and tried. The damage to the buildings was assessed and repaired. But terrorists returned just eight years later to the same exact location to carry out their long-awaited deed—and this time, succeeded. And we didn’t see it coming.

What does one do when trying to launch a substantive attack? Search for a weakness. Find that weakness, and a door opens to strike. These terrorists found that weakness, and all it took were 19 men with box cutters, four with pilot training and a couple of commercial jet airliners.

It’s easy for us to look back now and wonder why nobody saw 9/11 coming and why we couldn’t have prevented 9/11 from happening. But there were those who saw the clouds building before the storm rolled in. Ten years after the Twin Towers were completed, the government agency that owned the facility began examining possible terrorism threats, but ignored its security team’s recommendation that public parking should not be permitted in its parking garage underneath the buildings. Public parking allowed the 1993 bombers to park their vehicle with explosives in a prime position. And after that bombing, 9/11 fallen firefighter Ronald Bucca kept a set of building plans of the Twin Tower in his fire marshal’s locker.

It’s easy for us to look back now and see the writing on the wall. But the point is we didn’t see it then. After the 1993 bombing, after all of the notorious plane hijackings all around the world in the 1970s and 1980s, when four-inch bladed knives were still allowed on planes, we still missed the mark. The weaknesses that those terrorists found to use against us to kill thousands of our own were right in front of our eyes.

You don’t defeat terrorism by having the biggest bombs or the toughest military. You defeat terrorism by staying one step ahead of the terrorists. And it’s about time for us to reevaluate where we are and make sure we’re staying ahead. Yes, our new systems and new laws make another 9/11 less likely, but there are other ways to kill Americans besides flying planes into skyscrapers. There are many horrifying scenarios, including terrorists acquiring or building their own nuclear weapon. A nuclear 9/11—it’s a terrorist’s dream come true and our worst nightmare, and it’s something we unquestionably need to be focusing on in the coming decades.

Every Sept. 11 gives us a chance to mourn those who perished and those who perished while trying to save others, but it also gives us a chance to remind ourselves that 9/11 is not just about a moment of silence in a classroom or at a memorial one time a year. 9/11 lives with us every day, from our first responders to our intelligence to our government that gets thousands of tips each day from those who threaten our safety. Will our new securities preserve our safety? Are we defeating terrorism? Or are there more terrorists out there, waiting and watching to find our next weakness?

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at

Fighting School Threats is the State’s Homework


The 1999 shooting at Columbine High changed schools forever. Never again would these buildings be seen only as a place where our innocent youth go every day to live and learn. Nearly two decades later, we are all too familiar how a school can suddenly become the scene of the worst kind of carnage humanity is capable of producing. I was in kindergarten at the time and remember seeing the TV images of the students running out of the Colorado school by the dozen, though I didn’t know the context of the situation. Nor did I understand why my small backpack with only some papers and a Cat In the Hat lunchbox was so thoroughly searched through at my school’s front door for the next week.

But in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, it became clearer. In the three years following those terrorist attacks, my tiny school was victim to a tiring string of bomb threats and other incidents concerning student safety. One was a bomb threat written on a bathroom stall. Another was a powder feared to be anthrax found inside a library book. There were many others, so many it felt like a good portion of those years were spent isolated in the gymnasium or on the far side of the soccer field after being evacuated from the school grounds.

Luckily, none of these occurrences turned out to be legitimate, but those incidents and similar ones at schools all around the nation have underscored a new hurdle in our 21st century education system—not just preventing another Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech—but preventing the threats and hoaxes that make us fear that our school will be next.

As students everywhere return to school this week, such instances are increasing. The Associated Press reported in August that the number of school bomb threats in the last academic year alone, based on media reports, was at least 1,267, roughly twice as many as in 2012-13.

It’s no longer just an annoyance. Now these threats are really beginning to interfere with the way schools operate, not just as a disruption from academics and for police, but in how safe students and faculty feel inside their campus, which in the age of Sandy Hook, needs to be up to par.

Luckily, school security has increased exponentially since Columbine. Locked doors, surveillance cameras, more patrol officers and a series of lock down and school shooting drills are all the new normal, but more attention needs to be paid to those who create bomb or shooting threats, either as their true intention or merely to generate panic for their own amusement.

But we’re past the point of scribbling on bathroom stalls. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have provided a new avenue for making threats, one that goes beyond the walls that surround our schools. It happens more than we think. Just last week, an individual threatened to “shoot up” Henninger High School in Syracuse, posting on Facebook, “I’ve officially decided to shoot up Henninger im killing everyone I see and then I’m killing myself afterwards and this is not a joke nor a threat this is a promise so I suggest u transfer or say your last prayer.”

Police and administrators simply cannot ignore threats. Each requires an immediate response, even if all signs point to a hoax, which most of them are. And we can’t very well take away technology from these sorts of people. So we must resort to the next best thing—enact tougher consequences on those who conduct these acts to deter others from doing the same.

Ohio, which the Educator’s School Safety Network estimated had the second highest number of school bomb threats last year, has taken a step in the right direction. The state is proposing legislation that would permit schools to expel students for months for making certain kinds of threats and then have them evaluated to determine whether they’re a danger to themselves or others. It would also let schools and law enforcement seek restitution from a student’s parents for the costs of responding to their threat.

Legislatures in Maine, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York have also toyed with bills redefining such punishment. The current law in New York classifies a threat of fire, explosion or release of a hazardous substance as a class D felony for falsely reporting an incident. But many kinds of threats can lead to merely a misdemeanor. Indeed, the New York bill is the result of a case in a Delaware County school where an adult woman used social media to make repeated threats, including using photos of dead children, which caused a constant police presence, cancellation of school events and parents keeping their children home. The woman was charged with misdemeanor harassment and released. Later she resumed the threats and was arrested again but charged with the same because the threats didn’t legally reach the level of a bomb threat. The New York bill would make all mass violence threats against a school a felony. The bill passed in the Senate in June, but has yet to pass in the Assembly.

Students possess a number of unquestionable rights in the years they spend in school. But the most fundamental one is that they are able to learn in a secure and un-hostile environment. That fundamental right is being violated more than ever with the uptick in school threats, those made of any kind. Right now they probably care most about recess, but our students are in the process of becoming those who will cure diseases, protect our community and pass the laws of our future country. And anyone who does anything that interferes with that process shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at