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Lloyd's Op-Eds

The Weekender - October 27

Jon Huntsman: The Republicans’ canary in a coal mine

The fate of Jon Huntsman’s candidacy for president will go a long way toward determining whether sanity prevails in the Republican Party and whether it has any chance of wresting the presidency from the grasp of Democrat Barack Obama. Huntsman, whose last two jobs were ambassador to China and governor of Utah, does not need to win his party’s nomination for Republicans to pass those two tests. But if Huntsman’s 1 percent support level doesn’t radically improve and if he quickly is drummed out of the primary field because he espouses moderate to traditionally conservative positions, held by the vast majority of U.S. general election voters, then the Republicans will lose the election and be relegated, at most, to the role of “Drs. No” in the House of Representatives. Read More 

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The Weekender - October 13

A fall festival and the Arab Spring

Today is the first day of Sukkot, the Festival of Tabernacles, at the little synagogue in Chatham Center and at Jewish and certain so-called “Hebrew Roots” Christian houses of worship throughout the world. Sukkot, a harvest holiday, also commemorates the 40 years when Israelites wandered the desert after emancipation from slavery in Egypt. The Sukkah, a hastily made grass or straw hut, symbolizes the temporary structures that sheltered the Israelites during those four nomadic decades. It’s a sweet holiday, worthy of everyone’s respect, if not active participation, being a celebration of agriculture, freedom and an autumn thanksgiving as well. Read More 

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New York Times - October 7

"Charging for Debit Cards Is Robbery"

When Bank of America told its customers recently that it would start charging them $5 a month to use debit cards, it argued that it was forced to make that change because of regulations that altered the economics of the cards. Other banks agreed. The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, put the effects of the regulations this way: “If you’re a restaurant and you can’t charge for the soda, you’re going to charge more for the burger.” Both banks were responding to the Federal Reserve’s actions to limit the interchange fees banks charge stores each time a debit card is used for a purchase. Read More 

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The Weekender - September 29

Chatham Plaza: Home of the Whopper

For this column, The Weekender briefly descends from the heady heights of presidential politics to the wetlands on the Chatham Village/Ghent border. I attended the public hearing held on the evening of Sept. 19 at Tracy Memorial Village Hall concerning two competing visions for the development of about a dozen acres abutting Route 66. As one now dead politician frequently intoned while in office (free large latté at Ralph’s to the first reader who sends that president’s name to me at lloydconstantine@gmail.com), “let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not,” suggesting by the title of this column that the best use of the building currently housing Price Chopper, should it leave, is a 23,000-square-foot Burger King. But there were many whoppers, little lies and ludicrous pronouncements made at this public hearing. Without categorizing them, my favorites were the overarching claim to competence and trustworthiness by the Price Chopper contingent and the equally absurd assertion of objectivity and civic mindedness by the Chatham Plaza team. Read More 

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The Weekender - September 15

Mitt Romney — The ‘Karma Chameleon’

Republicans who are Evangelical Protestants (and make up a majority of likely voters in the key early Iowa and South Carolina primaries) are worried that candidate Mitt Romney is not a Christian and more specifically that he’s a Mormon. However, a broader group of voters, including The Weekender, increasingly focus on the distinct possibility that Romney is reptilian and specifically, as the Culture Club crooned, a “Karma Chameleon” who “comes and goes” depending upon which way the wind blows. Read More 

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The Weekender - September 1

Listen to Governor Perry’s call and respond

President Obama’s Midwest bus tour and the Republican straw poll in Iowa marked the beginning of the 2012 campaign. However, neither the president nor any of the Iowa contestants commanded the attention paid to the entry of Texas Governor Rick Perry into the contest for the Republican nomination. In the first of a periodic series of columns on the presidential candidates, The Weekender examines Perry and whether his intemperate criticism of Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are merely Texas tough guy talk or an important indication of what this candidate really stands for and the path he would follow if elected. Read More 

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The Weekender - August 18

Tea Party to Chatham: Drop Dead

“Ford to New York: Drop Dead.” That Oct. 30, 1975 headline in the New York Daily News was thrust into focus again, twice, in recent days. Once was with the passing of Gov. Hugh Carey, widely credited with saving New York City from financial death after Congress and unelected President Gerald Ford rejected all pleas from New York state and city officials to prevent the bankruptcy of the Big Apple during its darkest days. The federal government has bailed out numerous auto manufacturers, banks, insurance companies and other “indispensable” private entities over the years. Presumably, the financial and cultural capital of the world was not deemed indispensable, although President Ford made clear that certain functions in New York City essential to the United States would be maintained. These did not include public education for New York City’s children. Read More 

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The Weekender - August 4

Some things in Chatham make no sense

The irony embodied in the sign could not have been more nearly perfect (The Weekender learned in grade school that “perfect” was the superlative and in Sunday School that is was reserved for God) telling shoppers in the village of Chatham that the adorable little perfume and essential oils shop “Chatham Makes Scents” was closing with some of its best selling items still available nearby at “The Grainery” natural stuff emporium. The announcement that this store was closing, as always, provoked “too bads,” but also spotlighted the incoherent and commercially unrealistic offerings that have occupied a sizable share of Main Street and contiguous commercial blocks within the village over the last quarter century. This, while our beautiful village lacks stores selling things that virtually everybody wants and many people need. Read More 

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The Weekender - July 21, 2011

When (and if) our time comes, let’s not become like the English

If a time comes when the United States no longer is the, or merely a, world superpower (we should all strive for that not to happen or at least anytime soon), let’s resolve not to become like the English. When The Weekender column launched in January, I committed to send back columns from the many places, foreign and domestic, I travel to, but relate them to the communities the column primarily concerns, Chatham and Manhattan. Read More 

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The Weekender - July 7, 2011

Good news from Chatham to Amiens in time for July 4th

The news that same sex couples can marry in New York state and that Steve Saland, our district’s senator, had cast the decisive vote reached The Weekender in Amiens, France at 4:57 a.m. June 25 in an email from The Chick in the Black Dress. I was up early to begin the third and last day of a bike tour from London to Paris and for a few minutes was liberated from the obsessive focus on hydration, carb-loading and pain suppression that is the fabric of such extreme endurance events. Read More 

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