The rhetoric that came out of the Democratic State Convention was laughable. A favorite target was the Republican-led coalition in the State Senate. Apparently, the gathering played havoc with memories.The Democrats seemed to have forgotten just how dysfunctional and outright corrupt the Democratic-controlled Senate became under their leadership. Agree or disagree with Republican polices, when Pedro Espada and Carl Kruger were running things with the help of John Sampson and Malcolm Smith, ideas were far from the central focus of leadership that investigations have shown to be mostly transactional.Short of doing a Stalinist-type erasure of history, it would be hard to ignore the past when speaking of the future of the State Senate. But then again you have a governor touting the great economic gains in a state that is the second highest taxed in the nation and remains rated as one of the worst in which to do business. The governors supporters run commercials taking about Start Up New York which provides tax free zones for 10 years for certain businesses that can obtain a limited amount of available state controlled space. These zones should be looked upon as oases in a desert.Unfortunately the 99 percent of the state not in the zones is the desert. Texas state policies, for example, have turned just about the entire state into a Start Up program. It is no wonder that Texas Governor Rick Perry has worked hard and successfully to get New York businesses to relocate to his state. As expected, the Democratic Party used its convention to pat itself on the back for the great job members believe they are doing in leading just about all aspects of the state government. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the Democratic Partys great statesmen, so aptly said, You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own set of facts. The Democratic set of facts that came out of the convention should be shelved in the fiction section. * * * I think in order to discuss the controversy surrounding the 9/11 museum gift shop properly, one needs to take a step back from the strong emotions we all have about anything related to that horrible day.Generally, the memorial itself has received high marks for its design and sensitivity. This has come from the public as well as the majority of the families. The realities of the world we live in today require a great deal of security for this memorial actually, $16 million for security of which the federal government pays just about nothing. That has resulted in a ridiculously expensive $24 admission fee to cover this cost as well as a total annual budget of $60 million. The families of the victims are very much a part of the governing body for the memorial. Of course, there will be disagreements, the gift shop being one. That being said, I personally would not want a gift shop at the memorial, but I can understand the need and am reminded that there is precedent at other memorials.However, I do think a greater sensitivity needs to go into choosing the items that are sold. The emphasis should be on educational items. Trashy tourist type items like scarves and earrings cheapen the experience and I do feel show a certain level of disrespect for the victims and their families as well as for all New Yorkers who lived through the period. It is bad enough that these items are on sale throughout the surrounding area. There is a bigger issue at play here. The $24 admission cost is simply too high. This could be somewhat alleviated if the federal government would be pick up a bigger piece of the security cost. If that meaning exploring a more formal relationship with the National Park Service , so be it.
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