Thursday, February 18, 2010

News & Stuff

BAD NEWS. Included in a recent TimesUnion news story was a sentence that exemplifies a recurring journalistic malpractice:

Also present [at a gathering of New York State politicians] were Gov. David Paterson and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to run for governor.

By means of that sentence (Jimmy Vielkind; 2/15/10) the author pretends to identify (and thus to have succeeded in detecting) a mental state, an expectation, that exists apart from any particular cranial host. Embedded in what passes for a straight news story, the sentence accordingly conveys the metaphysical suggestion that mental states such as expectations do float independently of particular minds. Also conveyed is the suggestion that suitably trained reporters can detect such phenomena. In addition, the sentence conveys the suggestion (in the absence of a disclaimer) that the cited mental state, the named expectation, is true.

------Putative reporting of that sort—metaphysically goofy, presumptuous, evasive, pretentious--is no rarity in mainstream news organs. It occurs not only in ostensible accounts of what “is expected” –

Merrill Lynch Is Expected to Quit Downtown for Midtown

--New York Times

This year is slated to bring another record-setting crowd, with an estimated 20,000 people expected at the free festival.

--Daily Mail (Catskill NY)

A request for proposals is expected to be noticed in June.

--Daily Mail

Jerry Brown, who’s expected to become President in 1980, or 1984 at the latest, will not only make history. He’ll make it sit up.

--The Australian.

--but also in ostensible disclosures of what currently “is understood,” “is believed,” “is known,” “is seen,” “is regarded,” or “is perceived”—by nobody in particular, by everybody, by the ether.

BAD/GOOD NEWS. The Greenville Press, GreeneLand’s best weekly newspaper, may not be defunct. Yes, three issues have not appeared. The paper’s office in the Greenville town building is silent and rent payments are overdue. Telephone calls are not answered. No announcement has been issued. Attempts to reach Linda Fenoff, the paper’s publisher, editor and most prolific writer, have been unavailing. What has happened, Ms Fenoff told Seeing Greene (2/15/10), is that she suffered a collapse from exhaustion and was hospitalized for several days. Now she is resting at the home of a friend, is still weak and depressed, but is “absolutely” determined to get back to the job.

PROMISING NEWS. The Watershed Post, a new Web site that is based in Delhi and aimed at covering events and people all around The Catskills, was launched just recently. It is accessible Blog mistress Lissa Harris, a refugee from a collapsed alternative weekly in Boston, harbors “this quixotic idea of a Catskills-wide outlet that both locals and NYC types are reading. Something a little more cosmopolitan than the weeklies, a little more gritty than the various Hudson Valley lifestyle pub[lication]s, and a little less touristy than the [faded Catskill Mountain Region] Guide.”

“FRAUDULENT FUNDRAISERS” is the headline on an item in the February 6 edition of the Cairo-Durham school district’s newsletter (on line at ). Superintendent Sally Sharkey warned of “two individuals going from door to door selling flowers. They were claiming to be Cairo Durham cheerleaders. These individuals have no affiliation with the school district and are not fundraising on behalf of any school organization.” That heads-up led to the arrest on February 9th of Floylene Smith, 18, of Catskill (5281 Route 32). Ms Smith has been charged with perpetrating a scheme to defraud (2d degree). (She was not tagged with a charge that, according to The TimesUnion, was filed against some Colonie massage parlor employees: unauthorized practice of a crime. That prompts us to ponder the identity of non-criminal, authorized practice of crime).

OMISSION? After a Durham police officer was convicted of sexual misconduct, and after the jurors’ Guilty verdict was based clearly on their rejection of alibi testimony provided by fellow Durham police officers, the Town Council’s regular meeting took place (on Tuesday, 2/16/10). The case did not come up.

DWINDLING: the school population of Cairo-Durham Central School District. According to Educorps consultant John Yagielski, as reported in The Daily Mail (Doron Tyler Antrim, 2/4/10), the current K-12 population is 1493—down from 1820 in 2001-02. Extrapolating from that change leads to projecting a population of only1265 by 2013-14 (but there’s nothing iron-clad about the recent rate of decline). The reduced school population brings a reduced amount of site aid from the State, necessitating a search for ways to cut expenses.

GRANTED to 15 GreeneLand organizations, in allotments made by GreeneLand’s Arts Council from the State’s Decentralization Program Project Support funds: grants totaling $22,517. The sum is less than half the value of applications. Amounts ranged from $892 (to Oak Hill Preservation Association for Oak Hill Day) to $2700 (to Greene Arts Foundation for musical stage adaptation of the book O’Sullivan Stew). These “re-grants” must go through established organizations to individuals. That requirement generates some odd connections, such as a mountain wolf center and a pet sanctuary being conduits for theatrical projects. Anyhow, the total grants amount to a pittance compared with allocations made by the Athens Community Foundation to projects in that town: $153,000 in grants last year to 22 local groups. The money comes from a $3 million pool that was started by a big PILOT (payment in lieu of tax) payment by Athens Generating Company.

FRIDAY: opening performance of DragonFly Performing Arts production of the Tennessee Williams play “The Glass Menagerie,” in Cairo (973 Main St) at 8pm. Additional performances will be given Saturday (2pm; 8pm) and Sunday (2pm).

SATURDAY: Open house at Banner Hill woodworking and pottery school, 741 Mill St, Windham, noon-4pm. Demonstrations.;

----- >Opening reception for “Lumina,” an exhibition of photographs selected by Fawn Potash and Jill Skupin, at the Arts Council gallery in Catskill (398 Main St), 5pm. With Greene County Camera Club sponsorship. For a slide show of the works, go to

SUNDAY: To regular services in churches all over GreeneLand, the Peace Village Learning & Retreat Center offers a “Special Get-together and Meditation for World Peace.” The event seems to be connected to Shivatri, which a Center message calls “a commemoration of the Night of the descent [sic] of Shiva,” and/or a “celebration of remembering and reclaiming our inheritance of Peace, Power, and Protection.”

DAILY MAUL. “Athens Supervisor Lee Allen Palmateer said the candidates, which included Nora Adelman,…and Howard Zar, was a ‘talented group of people’.” The Athens Community Foundation’s “total assets in December 2009 was $3.079 million.”


Chip said...

Seeing Greene seems to be taking lessons from the Daily Maul:

In Thursday's Blog:

"FRIDAY: opening performance of DragonFly Performing Arts production of the Tennessee Williams play “The Glass Menagerie,” in Cairo (973 Main St) at 8pm. Additional performances will be given tomorrow (2pm; 8pm) and Sunday (2pm)."

Uh...first we have Friday night's performance and then tomorrow (also Friday), there appear to be two additional performances. Is that so?

MKK of Durham said...

Wishing all the best to Linda Fenoff. She is an outstanding writer and editor who has done a great job of covering the REAL NEWS in northern Greene and southern Albany Counties. She has continually made personal sacrifice to keep us all informed. I am desperately sorry that this has led to her poor health and financial challenges. I do hope to see her writings and the paper again. People are missing the paper because it is so good.