Thursday, November 17, 2011

Philosophy: Considering Diversity and Equality

A while back I asked why it matters whether women are represented in science? I was interested to know if we care about whether a variety of communities show up in fields, professions and pastimes, why do we care? Is it simply a matter of increasing the number of loyalists to our mission, or does it come from an openness to change the very system that stands resolute like Uncle Sam declaring “I want you!” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adirondack Cross-Country Ski Season Preview

Two inches. According to Olavi Hirvonen, owner of the Lapland Lake cross-country ski area in Northville, two inches of dense snow is all that’s needed to get at least a few kilometers of Lapland Lake’s trail network open for skiing. And if anyone should know, it’s Olavi: with 34 years experience grooming Lapland Lake’s trails on a daily basis, he’s considered to be the most experienced groomer in North America.

While we’re waiting for the snow to fly, here’s a round-up of what skiers can look forward to at Adirondack cross-country ski centers this winter.

Lapland Lake in Northville has 38km of trails that are snowcat groomed with trackset and skating lanes, plus an additional 12km of marked and mapped snowshoe trails. Lapland Lake will host its two-day annual Open House and first annual X-C Ski Swap Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26.

Garnet Hill Lodge in North River has 55km of groomed trails and is adjacent to the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area for virtually unlimited backcountry touring. As in past winters, Garnet Hill will offer its popular “ski down, ride back” shuttle bus service to lodge guests and day visitors.

Dewey Mountain Ski Center, located in Saranac Lake and owned by the Town of Harrietstown, has 15km of trails that Olympians Billy Demong and Timothy Burke consider home. The trails are groomed and maintained by Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters, and the area enjoys strong community participation in programs like its Dewey Mountain Youth Ski League (where Burke and Demong both learned to race), Graymont Tuesday Night Race Series, and the popular Friday Night Ski Jams. Dewey Mountain Friends, a grassroots support group, has undertaken a multi-year effort to widen and improve trail grading, drainage and signage, and eventually replace the ski center’s lodge building.

Cascade Ski Touring Center in Lake Placid has 20km of trails that wind through spruce / fir woods and connect to Mount Van Hoevenberg and the Jack Rabbit Trail. Cascade’s full moon ski parties have become a Lake Placid institution, with lighted trails, bonfires and hot chocolate, and live music in the lodge. Full moon dates at Cascade this winter are January 7, February 4, and March 10 (all Saturdays).

Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid has more than 50km of trails that were home to the 1980 Winter Olympic cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions. The expertly groomed, scenic trail system continues to be the site of World Cup and Junior Olympic competitions, but is open to recreational skiers as well. The 30th Annual Lake Placid Loppet, known as one of the best amateur ski races in the country, will be held on February 4. There are 50km and 25km classic or free (skating) technique events that follow a demanding but beautiful course laid out for the 1980 Olympics.

All of the ski centers above expect to open as soon as there is sufficient snow, so in the meantime wear your pajamas inside out, do a snow dance, and above all else… THINK SNOW!

Photo credit: Mount Van Hoevenberg / ORDA

Jeff Farbaniec is an avid telemark skier and a 46er who writes The Saratoga Skier & Hiker, a blog of his primarily Adirondack outdoor adventures.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Pub, Ticonderoga

Thanks to Pam’s archaic GPS, we found The Pub quite by accident. The GPS just dropped us in the middle of Montcalm Street in Ticonderoga, with no immediately visible sign of The Burleigh House (which we later found), the intended destination. We found a place to park on the street and looked up to find The Pub’s welcoming sign. Though not on our list of places to review in Ti, it certainly seemed to fit the criteria by name. We peeked through the tinted glass façade to see a well-lit, rather new looking pub, then ventured in.

Several patrons sat at the bar watching college football and chatting with the bartender. We selected a few seats at what Pam determined was a “P” shaped pine bar, and queried the bartender on beer and drink options. Though the pub offered no drinks unique to their establishment, Billy the bartender was quick to come up with a flavored vodka recipe with Whipped vodka, orange vodka, orange juice and milk. Pam found it not only nutritional, but tasty too. Several selections of both draft and bottled beers are available, and reasonably priced.

Having arrived ravenous, we reviewed the menu and opted to share nachos with beer battered jalapenos and the tidier, eat-with-a-fork boneless chicken wings. Both were delicious and served appropriately with proper fixings of bleu cheese, salsa and sour cream. “If you don’t get salsa and sour cream, might as well not get nachos,” says Pam. A modest but varied pub menu offers appetizers, burgers, wings and fries. Most items are priced between $3.50 and $7.99.

The P-shaped bar, which seats about 15, is partitioned by a wall, and we realized that we hadn’t selected the best seats for a full view of the pub. Along the wall behind us were three bar height tables and two to three more on the wall on the other side of the room. With three pub tables equally dispersed, the pub appeared ready to accommodate any size crowd. Another pair of tables in the front of the room provide seating sidewalk-side for people watching. A pool table in the back corner is perfectly situated for unencumbered play; an opening in the center wall allowing contact with the bartender from the pool table without having to walk around to the bar.

The bartender, Billy, was friendly, professional and eager to answer our questions. The Pub has been owned by his brother, Jeremy Treadway, since 2009 but, interestingly, was owned by their grandfather from the 1950s to the 1980s, when it was sold, then closed for seven years. Jeremy later bought the place, bringing it back into the family. In the ‘50s it was known as Bob’s TV Bar, the first bar with a television set in Ticonderoga. It was later renamed the North Country Pub. A Native American chainsaw carving stands guard inside the front door. It came with the bar when they bought it in 2009 and the new owners felt it should stay.

The Pub is open year-round, Thursday through Sunday, and only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Though opening times vary, there is an obvious pattern easy to remember: 4 p.m. on Thursday, 3 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Typically the pub closes at 12:30 a.m. Summer tourists and winter snowmobilers make it a favorite venue any time of year. the pub features Happy Hour on Friday with a buy 1 get 1 special until 7 p.m. and $10 buckets of beer and food specials on Sunday. Even if you miss their specials, pricing for food and drink is reasonable off Happy Hour too.

As a common meeting place for area professionals, The Pub seems to be the type of place to drop in anytime (Thursday through Sunday, of course). They offer live entertainment two to three times per month in the winter and every Saturday in spring and summer.

An information sheet on the bar indicated that a dart league was forming for the winter. If darts aren’t your thing, there’s always pool, foosball, jukebox music, trivia night and Spin-the-Wheel Fridays for entertainment. Four TVs should cover your viewing needs during any sports season.

If on street parking is limited, the pub has a parking lot behind the building for patron use. Several general public parking areas are also nearby.

Whether visiting The Pub on purpose or by accident, for drink, for food or for entertainment, you shouldn’t be disappointed in the clientele, the atmosphere or the staff. Though we can’t speak for the entertainment, the food and drink are good too. After you’ve liked Happy Hour in the High Peaks on Facebook, be sure to visit the pub Ticonderoga, NY and like their facebook page too.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dan Crane: Adirondack Backcountry Hygiene

Exploring the backcountry of the Adirondacks is hard work. Regardless of whether it is exclusively done on well-worn trails or way off the beaten path, hiking generates a lot of sweat and stirs up plenty of dirt. When the stench emerging from a sleeping bag in the morning instantly brings tears to the eyes, there can be no doubt; some backcountry hygiene is now a dire necessity.

Adding some backcountry laundry to the usual camp chores can mitigate this smell to some degree, but often more extreme measures are necessary. Although everyone’s tolerance to intense body odor, sticky skin and slimy hair may wildly vary; it is inevitable that at some point the sickening smorgasbord of filth will exceed even the hardiest individual’s ability to ignore it.

Although personal hygiene may be optional for the solo backcountry enthusiast, it becomes a downright necessity for those traveling in groups. One of the few things worse than smelling one’s own overpowering body odor is enduring the stench of someone else’s natural aroma.

Some people prefer the simplest solution to a dire body odor situation. Just a dip in a nearby lake or stream does the trick for these trepid souls. Unfortunately, finding a rocky-bottomed water body in the Adirondacks is not always an easy task. Plus, there is the threat of leeches, snapping turtles, overly enthusiastic fish and a whole menagerie of other creepy organisms to deal with.

For those looking for a more traditional bathing experience, only a little planning and a few pieces of extra equipment are required. The ultimate goal of backcountry hygiene is to deal with the stench and other associated issues without over burdening the weight of the backpack.

Soap is an important component of any backcountry adventurer’s personal hygiene system. Simple biodegradable soaps work best as they have less impact on the environment than the more aggressive, heavily marketed alternatives made by the major manufactures.

Using soap with insect-repellent properties, like Sallye Ander No-Bite-Me, allows for added protection against all blood-craving insects. Having a single piece of equipment satisfy two purposes, such as these repellent soaps, is a weight-conscious backcountry explorer’s dream.

A small sponge comes in handy for rinsing off the soapy residue or engaging in a sponge bath. Currently, I use an ecotools™ cellulose facial sponge. These sponges come in threes, are made of cellulose, contain no petroleum by-products, are minimally packaged and the limited packaging is printed on recycled paper.

Use some type of basin filled with water to wet and rinse the sponge. Backpacker’s Pantry’s collapsible pack bowl works extremely well. It is lightweight, flexible, and extremely packable as it folds down completely flat. Just make sure to dispose of the waste water 150 feet away from any stream, lake or pond.

After cleaning with soap it is important to hold off the inevitable stink as long as possible. Typically, deodorant sticks are used back in civilization to accomplish this task. Deodorant sticks are typically too bulky for backpacking into the backcountry.

An alternative I use is a deodorant powder, such as Thai Crystal & Cornstarch Deodorant Powder. It claims to be free of aluminum chlorohydrate, controls wetness, offers 24-hour protection and is unscented. I typically pack it in a small plastic film container (you do remember film, right?). Since it is a very fine powder I usually place the film container in a small plastic bag, just in case.

Nothing spurs the desire to take a shower more than the slimy feeling of greasy hair in the backcountry. This is especially true at night when it is often no longer possible to cover it up with a convenient hat. Unfortunately, this feeling cannot be fully alleviated by just wetting your hair in a convenient lake or pond; only a thorough shampooing can alleviate this situation.

Despite their utility back in civilization, liquid shampoos are inconvenient in the backcountry. They are not lightweight, require a sturdy container (which often seems to leak despite all attempts to the contrary) and are often heavily scented (which attracts all types of insects, including the biting and stinging kinds).

An alternative to liquid shampoos are solid shampoo bars. Although they typically come in large sizes, they can be cut to a convenient small size for an extended backcountry adventure. They do not leak, can be easily placed in a plastic re-sealable bag and tend to have subtle scents. My favorite is J.R.Liggett’s Shampoo Bar, which I like so much I use it at home fulltime.

The dirty water reservoir of an inline water filter system can be helpful for rinsing shampoo from hair. The reservoir, with the inline filter removed and the hose tied off in a loose knot, when filled with water makes an effective shower. Just be sure not to tie the knot too tight since undoing it with eyes closed is a daunting task.

I use an old Platypus 3L Big Zip Reservoir with some surgical tubing for my inline filter system. The surgical tubing is supple enough to be easily tied and untied regardless of whether my eyes are open or not. Three liters is more than enough to rinse the shampoo from my hair with enough left over to rinse my back and arms. Make sure the water is not too cold or risk having an intense headache after the shower.

Do not forget to have a lightweight and highly absorbent pack towel handy for all of the above activities. They are not only handy for drying but become an effective defensive weapon when wet against crafty biting flies that have discovered the sweet spot on the back where few people can reach. I currently carry a MSR Ultralite Pack Towel for just such occasions.

Spending many days in the wilderness often requires taking steps to perform some backcountry hygiene. Fortunately, personal hygiene in the backcountry does not have to be another tedious chore and can deliver sizable dividends when exploring the backcountry in groups. Otherwise be prepared to spend much of the trip alone with a stench of your own making.

Photos: A perfect place for a late summer bath on Moshier Reservoir by Dan Crane.

Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kimberly Rielly: Understanding The Adirondack Brand

What does ‘Adirondacks’ mean to potential visitors?

There continues to be much discussion throughout the region centering around the topic of the Adirondack “brand”. As the destination marketing organization for a huge chunk of the Adirondacks, I thought we’d chime in, too. And we bring good news! There is clear evidence that “Adirondacks” does, indeed, mean something to potential visitors.

The basic premise of the various comments is that the Adirondacks need a consolidated brand to compete in the marketplace with established brand concepts like those that exist for Vermont and Maine.

We wholeheartedly agree.

The word brand is an overused term and is usually confused in general discourse as being just a tagline. A brand is not a tagline. And tourism promotion doesn’t create brand. Rather, a brand is what your customers think it is. Your product’s brand promise must be based on customer input, and you must be able to deliver on that brand promise. (Disney World does not promote itself as “Sin City”, and Coca Cola doesn’t promote itself as a remedy for sleep deprivation, as they can’t deliver on those promises.) As such, a destination’s brand IS the visitors’ experience and perception of that experience.

But a consolidated brand for the Adirondacks is not as simple as that.

Why are all of Lake Placid’s businesses promoting themselves instead of just promoting Lake Placid? Why are all of the Adirondack towns and villages, from Lake George to Old Forge, promoting themselves instead of marketing the Adirondacks? (For that matter, why are the Thousand Islands, Adirondack and Finger Lakes regions promoting themselves instead of just marketing New York State?)

We say it all the time in promotional materials; “the Adirondack region is a patchwork of public and private land”. Economically, the region is also a patchwork of public municipalities and private businesses. And they all compete for market share – it’s the American free enterprise system. That’s not going to change.

If we, as marketers, “owned” everything inside the blue line, we could force everyone to adhere to the Adirondacks’ brand guidelines, and police all use of the approved logo and messaging that reflects the customer experience. But this isn’t Disney World. The Adirondack region as a whole is only treated as one entity from a regulatory standpoint; by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). Otherwise, it is, indeed fragmented into separate delineations for counties, and various New York State agencies with multiple regions, including DEC, DOT, Parks and Recreation, ESD, etc. Each of the many agencies’ and municipalities’ jurisdictions are split into inconsistent, overlapping sizes and shapes within the region, including the lines that designate the I Love New York Adirondack Region for tourism promotion.

Yes, there is one entity that promotes the entire region. The Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (ARTC) is a consortium of seven counties that share resources to promote economic development through destination marketing. Each of the counties in the region pool their granted New York State I Love New York program funds, which are mandated to be used to market the Adirondacks collectively. The ARTC promotes the Adirondack Region as a destination with targeted campaigns in our feeder markets along the I87 and I90 corridors, driving leads generation through the region’s umbrella website, visitadirondacks.com, and toll free numbers.

And there’s evidence that the Adirondacks DOES mean something to potential visitors. We know from a Visitor/Market Opportunity Analysis that was conducted in 2008 that the Adirondack attributes – the unique mix of mountains and lakes and rivers, and the outdoor recreational activities they offer – are the primary driver of visitation to the region. And in a recent study conducted by Cornell University School of Hotel Administration for I Love New York that included a survey of consumers interested in traveling to New York State, respondents are more familiar with the tourism regions than with cities and counties. And, the Adirondacks ranked third in a list of 42 regions, cities and counties (behind New York City and Greater Niagara) as a location with which respondents are familiar.

That demonstrates pretty strong brand awareness.

Despite the market recognition, there remain barriers to success. Although we still can’t force every restaurant and tackle shop to adhere to one, coordinated Adirondack branding message, there is strength in numbers.

We should work toward diminishing the lines that splinter the region, so that the Adirondacks within the Blue Line are clearly defined by all state agencies as one region and that we recognize that environmental protection can increase economic vitality. If the current pieces that comprise the Adirondack region’s fragmented puzzle were one, complete picture, it would go a long way toward achieving a consolidated, cohesive approach to hamlet revitalization and sustainable tourism.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to promote our destinations as we have been; by promoting unique Adirondack experiences, and tying them all to the Adirondack name. Turns out, it means more than you might think.

FYI: If you haven’t seen the ARTC promotions, it’s because you’re not in our target market! View a sample 30-second TV spot on YouTube.

Kimberly Rielly is the director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Christmas in the Central Adirondacks

For my family buying a huge amount of gifts is just not in the budget. We are being selective and trying to make the gift mean something a bit more than just ticking a master list of “I wants.” Part of what we love about living in the Adirondacks is the opportunity to meet artists, make crafts and participate in activities together. I’ve asked my children to think about what they really want to receive and want to give.

For those around the Central Adirondacks Inlet, Indian Lake and Old Forge are celebrating an early Adirondack Christmas. Inlet and Old Forge are once again co-hosting an Adirondack Christmas on Main Street allowing people to walk through the local stores and peruse locally made crafts, meet store owners and truly get in the holiday spirit.

The activities in Old Forge range from horse drawn wagon rides to meeting sled dogs. Perhaps free crafts at The View or seeing reindeer at Walt’s Diner is more to your liking. Throughout the weekend watch an unique performance of the “Cast of Bronze” carillon, a tower of 35 bells played using a keyboard.

On Sunday have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus or join in the Reindeer Run at 1:30 p.m. which starts at the Goodsell Museum (antlers are provided) After the race take a break at the Strand and watch a holiday film (If you wear your antlers get ½ price matinee admission and a free small popcorn.) Well worth wearing antlers.

In Inlet, browse the shops and then stop by the Inlet Town Hall to have gifts wrapped for free. Enjoy a candy cane hunt at Arrowhead Park and a Children’s Holiday Film Festival, dog parade and tree lighting with Santa. Of course, that barely covers all that is offered. Keep in mind there is a shuttle that runs between the Thendara Station and Inlet for those not wanting to drive.

“Made in the Adirondacks” is the theme for the 14th Annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour (CCT), which gives visitors an inside view of the lives and work of more than 45 local and regional artisans and crafters.

Annelies Taylor, Technical Supporter for the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour says, “We give out a map with all the various activities and crafts at the Chamber of Commerce as well as at any of the crafters’ homes. There are over 27 stops with some places hosting more than one artisan.”

According the Taylor each crafter strives to decorate his/her house in a festive manner. Guests are also greeted with hot cider and coffee when welcomed into various locations. People will have the opportunity to see how and where each craft and artwork is made. The Adirondack Center for the Arts will also be presenting Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella at the Indian Lake Theatre.

“There is also a children’s craft on Saturday from 10:00 a.m – 11:30 a.m. where children can have the opportunity to make a gift for someone else,” says Taylor. “Parents can stay or leave their children during that time. There will be someone in attendance during the craft so parents can use the time to do some shopping of their own.”

Adirondack Christmas on Main Street will take place throughout the weekend of November 25-27 in Inlet and Old Forge. The 14th annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour will take place November 25-26 at various times and locations.

Well, with these and more opportunities coming our way, it looks like everyone’s Christmas list can read, “Made in the Adirondacks.” Enjoy the holidays!

photo of Father Christmas used with permission of the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Local Food: Adirondack Cranberry Compote

While most people associate Massachusetts as cranberry bog haven, wild cranberries can be found on low-lying bushes throughout the Adirondacks up through to Canada near streams and ponds. Harvested in the fall, this vibrant fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and a welcome staple at many holiday tables.

Native Americans were probably the first in our region to use cranberries as food, especially in their preparation of high-energy pemmican, made by drying a mixture of venison (or other meats) and fruit. Now, we not only see cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, but bake with the fruit, adding them to cakes or muffins, and snack on the dried, sweetened variety. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Autumn is Warming at the Fastest Rate

WPTZ meteorologist Tom Messner reported a record high (65°F) in Montpelier Monday. The low (46°) in Saranac Lake yesterday was higher than the average high for November 14 (43°), according to Weather Underground. Last week, on November 9, Saranac Lake broke a record when the temperature reached 67°.

As much as the odd warm fall day seems to take us by surprise, temperature fluctuations are a normal part of the transition to winter. But it is strange to see fresh sprouts in the garden, which is ordinarily frozen by now.

Autumn is warming more rapidly than any other season locally, evidenced by records kept between 1975 and 2005. Paleoclimatologist Curt Stager, of Paul Smith’s College, last year analyzed data averaged from eight U.S. Historical Climatology Network stations throughout the Champlain Basin. He found that the most significant warming occurred in the fall, with an increase of 3.6°F in average temperature; year-round temperatures rose 2.1°F.

Adirondackers tend to fixate on ice-out, but Stager points out that ice-in is having a greater impact on lake cover duration. “For example, freeze-up at Mirror Lake [in Lake Placid] now comes 12 days later than it did in 1910, but spring ice-out arrives only two days earlier, and that smaller change is not statistically significant,” he concluded in Climate Change in the Champlain Basin: what natural resource managers can expect and do, a report sponsored by the Adirondack and Vermont chapters of the Nature Conservancy (and co-authored by me) in 2010. See page 10 of the report for more detail on temperature trends.

Graphs by Curt Stager, from Climate Change in the Champlain Basin. Caption: Temperatures averaged from eight USHCN weather stations in the Champlain Basin 1976–2005. The only statistically significant linear warming trends were in the annual, summer and autumn records.

You can also follow Curt on his FastCompany blog


Monday, November 14, 2011

Changing Adirondack Bat Populations

Interest in bats has steadily increased over the past several years as the problem of white-nose syndrome has become more acute, especially in the Adirondacks. As people become more familiar with this unique group of mammals, numerous questions regarding their ability to survive the ravages of this rapidly spreading disease continually arise.

While there are answers to a few questions, most have none, other than “best guesses” or “ideas” from very intelligent wildlife biologists who have regularly studied these creatures. However, even the experts are limited in responding to some questions about bats, as there has not been much research conducted into numerous aspects of their natural history and population status, especially here in the Park. Although some features of bats are well known, many habits and behavioral traits of these winged animals still remain a mystery. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Repeating Past History: The Occupy Movement

Despite the wisdom of elders and some noted quotations (“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”), we are often caught up in another axiom that defines insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” When I was much younger, both of those ideas impressed me as I read books about French Indochina and France’s miserable, lengthy, disastrous attempt to rule, particularly in Vietnam.

It fueled my anti-war sentiment when the US decided to ignore the past and repeat the mistakes of the French. After another decade of slaughter, the results were the same. It struck me recently that “Occupy Wall Street” should read pertinent history to avoid the results of the past.

If you follow the media stories covering today’s movement (the 99 percent vs. 1 percent), you’ve heard about this new idea that the extreme wealth and corporate greed of the 1 percent should have limits. Likewise, you’ve heard claims from those favoring the 1 percent that by trying to raise taxes on the rich, the 99ers are waging class warfare against our wealthiest citizens.

Clearly, these are all new ideas resulting from a situation like no other. However …

If you enjoy history, you’ll probably enjoy this headline from 105 years ago, appearing in The New York Times of January 6, 1907: “The Country’s Wealth: Is 99 percent of it in the Hands of 1 percent of the People.” Similar stories appeared in many other publications.

What happened then is happening again today: supporters of the 99ers are speaking out on behalf of the unemployed, the underemployed, the underpaid, and the poor, while the other position is defended by those who feed off the 1 percent and must serve as their bullhorn. And, as usual, the 1 percent itself remains largely silent, content to have others speak out for them.

As for those siding with the 1 percent, who have declared the Occupy Wall Street movement as class warfare against the wealthy—it’s certainly a novel idea, right? These three quotations support that premise.

On the side of the 99: “The cry of class warfare was raised against us by the government and wealthy classes, as pure propaganda, in the hope of enlisting sympathy of the public against labor.”

On the side of the 1 percent, regarding tax loopholes for the wealthy: “… to collect the taxes, the administration now seeks to attack the rich and the thrifty … This becomes part and parcel of the class warfare which has been waged … to gain popular favor with the masses…”

And finally, against the 99, portrayed variously as troublemakers, lazy, shifty, drug abusing, etc.: “A peculiarity of all professional agitators of class warfare in the United States is their personal aversion to toil. Many of them never did a day’s work at manual labor. They know no more about the working people of America than a pig knows about Christmas, yet profess to be the tireless champions of the working class … and have hit upon a plan for feathering their nests without ever laying an egg. They just cackle and collect.”

Those who are involved in today’s issues would be well served by researching protests of years past, which might prepare them for arguments made against the movement. Read the three quotations again, and consider that they came from 1920, 1937, and 1949, respectively, but could just as well have been uttered by any number of talking heads who ramble on in today’s media, especially the day-long “news” shows.

Perhaps by knowing the questions that have been asked so many times in the past, and the answers that were given, there might be the possibility for change.

But for observers who look at history to see what has gone before us, it’s hard not to subscribe to another famous axiom: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” General translation: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Photo Top: NY Times headline, January 6, 1907.

Lawrence Gooley has authored ten books and dozens of articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. Expanding their services in 2008, they have produced 19 titles to date, and are now offering web design. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


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