Saturday, June 30, 2012

Declaration Of Independence

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration July 4, 2012

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Page URL:
U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, 20740-6001, • 1-86-NARA-NARA • 1-866-272-6272

Editor's note: For short biographies on each of the 56 signers, click:

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Way I See It

     "The way I see it, Sam, Cortland has to be a DESTINATION, not another piss stop. We need to think big."
     "You mean, George, that big statue of Cortland's Honest Politician near I-81 Exit 11, a location called the GATEWAY TO CORTLAND?"
     "Hell, no. That was the ignorant brainchild of the Cortland Contrarian. Somebody at that blog needs to see a doctor."
     "What about the New York Jets?"
     "That team is a definite draw, but they are only here in Cortland for three weeks in summer. We need a DESTINATION or a show that will make visitors target Cortland year long."
     "Got any ideas?"
     "I do. The way I see it, we could move that all-season resort at Greek Peak from Virgil to Cortland. Of course, it would be expensive. We would have to raise taxes."
     "I get it. Move the mountain to Cortland. Forget about Moses. Now you're talking like the Cortland Contrarian."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chester Gillette and Grace Brown

     Chester Gillette met Grace Brown in 1905 when they were both employed at the Gillette skirt factory* in Cortland, New York. The factory was owned by Chester's uncle, Noah H. Gillette. Chester and Grace kept their relationship a secret from most of their friends and parents.
     Grace discovered that she was pregnant early in 1906, and she wanted Chester to marry her. They planned a trip to the Adirondacks. Grace was under the impression that this would be a wedding trip, but no written evidence was found that Chester intended to marry her. 
     It turned out to be her last trip anywhere.
     On July 11, 1906, Chester and Grace rented a small boat at Big Moose Lake and rowed to South Bay where they spent the afternoon together. He had all his luggage in the boat while she had left her luggage at the train station at Big Moose.
     Her body was found the next day in the water at South Bay. There was a laceration on her head. Chester went to a hotel in Inlet, New York, and was found there a few days later. When questioned about her drowning death, he claimed she jumped out of the boat and committed suicide.
     Her death and the circumstances surrounding her death would lead to a famous month-long trial at the Herkimer County Court House. Chester was found guilty by all twelve jurors. The verdict was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. A plea for executive clemency by Chester's mother was turned down by New York State Governor Hughes. Chester maintained his innocence as he awaited execution after the trial.
     Chester Gillette was executed in the electric chair at Auburn, New York, on March 30, 1908.
     Novelist Theodore Dreiser wrote An American Tragedy (1925) based on the murder, and motion pictures An American Tragedy (1931) and A Place in the Sun (1951) were made from the book. 

Recommended reading: Murder in the Adirondacks by Craig Brandon. Click: for more information.
The Murder Trial of Chester Gillette compiled by the Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York. Click:
* The former Gillette skirt factory is located at the corner of Miller Street and Stockton Place in Cortland, New York. The current owners are Wernick L. and Sons Supply Company.
A tag of historical association:

Cortland Evening Standard, Wednesday, November 18, 1896.


The Gillette Skirt Co. Soon to Begin Work in Cortland.

   In these days of dull times a new enterprise which promises employment of any one is hailed with joy, but Cortland is to have a new manufacturing establishment. It will be known as the Gillette Skirt Co. Its promoter and manager is Mr. N. H. Gillette, who has had twenty years' experience in this line of business, and who was last year with the McGraw Corset Co. at McGrawville, but formerly with the Warners of Bridgeport, Ct., and New York City.

   This company is to manufacture the Paris skirt—a garment which promises to be very popular with ladies because of certain advantages which it possesses. It will be sold through agents and a number of traveling men who handle that style of goods have already expressed their approval of it and their desire to handle it.

   The company will begin in a small way and hopes soon to enlarge. What is known as the McFarlan cabinet shop, in the rear of the house of Dr. H. P. Johnson on Port Watson-st. has been obtained. Ten Wheeler & Wilson and Singer sewing machines have been purchased and put in position. The shafting and belting is up. All that delays the beginning of operations is the failure to appear of the electric motor which is to furnish power. This will be connected with the electric plant of the Cortland and Homer Traction company. The motor is expected this week and it is likely that work will begin next week.

   About a dozen people, mostly women, will be employed at first, and this force will very likely be increased at an early date.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Who Am I? (Number 8)

     I was born in Syracuse, New York on December 7, 1915. I attended Syracuse schools and was graduated from high school in 1933. My father was the maintenance superintendent for the city school district.
     As a boy, I loved sports. I grew up playing the center position in basketball and I pitched in baseball. When I was pitching, STRIKE THREE was the call I most wanted to hear from the umpire.
     After high school, I enrolled at the University of Michigan. It was the beginning of the Great Depression. I concentrated on my studies and joined the Wolverines men's basketball team. I played basketball from 1934-37, and was was selected captain in my senior year.
     Ray Fisher, Wolverine baseball coach and former Major League player, recruited me to play baseball as well. I pitched for the Wolverines baseball team from 1935-37. On June 3, 1937, I struck out 21 batters and allowed 3 hits in a 12-2 victory over the University of Toledo.
     I was awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1937 for excellence in both scholarship and athletics. I earned six letters in basketball and baseball and was graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the school of education.
     After college graduation, I signed a contract to play professional baseball with my hometown team--the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League. On August 3, 1937, I threw a two-hit shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs. I played for the Chiefs from 1937 to 1939.
     I joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in August, 1939. I stood 6 feet 9 inches, and I was the tallest player in the Major Leagues. I pitched in three games for the Pirates at the close of the 1939 season.
     During spring training in 1940, I injured my throwing arm. The Pirates sent me back to the Chiefs.  By summer, my arm had not healed and the Chiefs put me on voluntary leave. In July, the Pirates surprised me and traded me to the Albany Senators of the Eastern League. I refused to go. Instead, I went to the Vermont summer home of my former college baseball coach, Ray Fisher.
I told reporters that I was placing myself entirely under Fisher's direction. "He taught me all I know, and he's the one who can straighten me out," I said.
     After Ray Fisher told the Pirates that I was ready to pitch again, I returned to baseball and reported for Pirates' spring training in 1941. But that started a botched season for me. I was traded to Minor League teams--Dallas, Portland and Albany--with few playing opportunities.
     In 1942, our country was at war. I reported to the Draft Board. I was declared 4F because I was too tall. On August 29, 1942, I married Susanne Corl of Maumee, Ohio. In the following years, we were blessed with two sons and three daughters.
     I returned to baseball with the Toronto Maples Leafs. But my arm was still sore. Earned run averages over 4.0 indicated that I wasn't throwing as well as I had in the past. I requested and was granted voluntary retirement by baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. I found off-season work as a physical education teacher in Adams, N.Y.
     In 1943, Commissioner Landis reinstated me and I rejoined the Pirates. I pitched in a few games that year, and worked off-season as basketball and soccer coach for Groton High School in New York. In 1944, I was traded to the New York Giants.
     My career with the Giants was spotty and lasted until 1946. My arm continued to bother me from time to time. September 26, 1946, was the date of the last Major League game in which I played.
     In February 1947, I told the Giants that I would not attend spring training. Instead, I would complete the school year at Waterloo High School in New York, where I was working as a physical education teacher.
     The Giants did not appreciate my no-show. I was classified as a hold-out, and not permitted to play in the Major Leagues that year.
     So I chose to play semi-pro baseball while retaining my teaching position at school. Until 1951, I played with the Homer Braves, Geneva Robbins and Auburn Cayugas.
     Did I tell you that I played professional basketball? I joined the Syracuse Nationals and played during the 1946-47 winter season, and I played for the Oneida Indians during the 1947-48 season.
     From 1951 to 1955, I was athletic director at Waterloo High School. In July 1955, I was appointed principal at Waterloo High School. The following year I received my master's degree from Syracuse University.
     In May 1960, I was appointed principal at Cortland High School in New York and served as principal until I retired in 1977. Staff, teachers and students always looked up to me. I was fair and honest in my professional judgment and decisions.
     I was code enforcement officer for the City of Cortland from 1980-85. I was given respect because I had presence. It helped to have the law on my side too.
     I passed away January 23, 1988, in Cortland, New York. I was posthumously inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.
     My name is John Alexander Gee.

Editor's note:
     If family or friends have additional tributes or personal anecdotes about John Gee, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who Am I? (Number 7)

     I was born in Cincinnatus, N.Y., October 12, 1860. My mother died after my birth, and I was raised in Cortland by my aunt, Mrs. Helen Willett. My father worked for the Cortland Wagon Company.
     When I was a boy I built a nutmeg grater for my aunt, and I built, for amusement, waterwheels, windmills and a tricycle to ride on railroad tracks.
     I was graduated from the State Normal School at Cortland in 1878, and then transferred to Cornell University for one year to study the electric dynamo. I also studied generators and electric arc lights. I built the first generator and arc light for the Cortland Wagon Company and illuminated the Christmas Festival at Cortland in 1879.
     In 1880, I moved to Chicago. I founded an electric arc light manufacturing business. In 1883, I erected an electric beacon at a height of 303 feet, on top of the Chicago Board of Trade building. The electric arc light had 40,000 candle power.
     As the years progressed, I invented and sold electric arc street lighting, electric machinery for mining, electric safety devices for trolley cars, an electric storage battery, an electric automobile with 4-wheel brakes, a lighting system for motion picture projection, a high power search light, an electrochemical detinning process for the American Can Company, and an airplane stabilizer.
     I drove the first American automobile through the streets of Paris in 1896.
     I was a Republican, a Baptist, active member in the YMCA, and a friend and supporter of President Herbert Hoover. I filed over 400 patents, twice as many as Thomas Edison.
     In 1900, I moved to Washington, D.C. Here I built a laboratory to formulate electrochemical processes for the manufacture of caustic soda from salt, and here I also developed the aforementioned detinning process. 
     Before I moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1904, I sold my electric arc lighting patents to the General Edison Company at Schenectady, N.Y. Later on, this company reorganized and was incorporated as the General Electric Company.
     In Brooklyn, I established another company which bore my name and the name of my major invention. Herman Anschutz-Kaempfe of Germany also shares credit for the invention of the device.
     In my lifetime, I established eight profitable businesses.
     On June 16, 1930, after complications of gall bladder disease, I passed away in Brooklyn, N.Y. I was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
     My name is Elmer Ambrose Sperry, and I invented the Sperry Gyroscope and Gyrocompass.

Editor's note: Read J. C. Hunsaker's short biography of Elmer A. Sperry at:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tom Thumb Visits Cortland

     Then there was General Tom Thumb and his beautiful little wife who appeared in Squires Hall April 29, 1864, bringing with them a magnificent miniature coach no larger than a bushel basket, and drawn by four of the smallest ponies in the world. 
--Cora Edgcomb Higgins, excerpt from a speech given before the Cortland County Historical Society in October, 1948.

     Phineas Taylor Barnum brought his circus to Cortland in 1864. Details of the event--if available--may be found at the Cortland County Historical Society. This piece of general information about the touring circus of 1864 was obtained by a Google search:

In a Barnum Museum programme for the week ending Saturday, September 24, 1864 along with the Tom Thumb wedding party, Commodore Nutt, the Circassian Children, and other attractions, Anna Swan was the Giantess of Barnum's wonderful collection of unusual people. Among the original wood cuts designed especially for P. T. Barnum, and engraved by Waters and Son, the famous New York wood-cut makers, one special cut was made to advertise Anna Swan as the "Giant Girl," Mons Josef the "French Giant" and "General Grant Junior," a dwarf whose height reached on a level with Mons Josef's knees, thus forcibly illustrating the contrast in their heights. Other male and female giants exhibited under the P. T. Barnum management in his New York Museums at various times, whose size put them in a competitive class with Anna Swan and Captain Bates as strong drawing attractions, were Colonel Noah Orr who was advertised as the "Buckeye Giant," Colonel Goshen was known as the "Arabian Giant;" James Murphy as the "Giant Boy" and Jane Campbell was given much publicity as the "Connecticutt Giantess." Colonel Noah Orr was a native of Union County, Ohio, and like Captain Bates, was of such unusual height that he was considered a special feature in museums, circus side-show or as an independent show at the county fairs. At the age of 24 Colonel Orr's height was seven feet, ten inches and he weighed five hundred and seventy pounds. He went on tour of the large cities, one season with the famous Lilliputians Company to appear on the stage at each performance alongside of Gen. Tom Thumb. They were advertised and exhibited as nature's greatest contrast in the size of human beings who had reached maturity.

     General Tom Thumb was the actor's name given to Charles Sherwood Stratton by P.T. Barnum. Stratton was born January 4, 1838, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He was taught to sing, dance and impersonate famous people, such as Napoleon Bonaparte. He was about three feet tall at maturity. He started touring with the Barnum circus at age five.
     In 1863, Stratton married Lavinia Warren. The best man was another little person, George Washington Morrison "Commodore" Nutt. The maid of honor was Lavinia's sister, Minnie Warren. After the wedding, the couple traveled to Washington, D.C. and were received by President Lincoln and his wife at the White House.
     Stratton continued to tour and perform with Barnum's circus, which made him a wealthy man. Eventually he became a business partner with P. T. Barnum.
     On July 15, 1883, Charles Sherwood Stratton, stage-named General Tom Thumb, died of a stroke at age 45.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sam Patch

     In 1829, Sam Patch jumped over Niagara Falls near Goat Island on the American side and lived to tell about it.
     Sam was born in 1799 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. As a child laborer in a cotton mill, he entertained his friends by jumping off the local mill dam. By 1827, he had moved to New Jersey and he started work in a mill near Paterson. On September 30, 1827, he successfully jumped the 70-foot high Pasaic Falls. On August 11, 1828, he jumped the 100-foot high Hoboken Falls. He was nicknamed, "Patch, the New Jersey Leaper."
     He began a daredevil's career of jumping from bridges, factory walls, and ship's masts, and raising money from bets and selling souvenirs. He traveled with a pet bear cub on a chain and a pet fox on a rope.
     He jumped Niagara Falls twice in October, 1829. A 125-foot ladder was extended over the falls from the river edge on Goat Island. Before his first jump, a 15-foot section of the ladder broke near the cliff. The ladder was repaired and re-anchored and he jumped at 4 P.M. on time. No one saw him in the tumultuous water below the falls until he emerged on shore and the crowd cheered. He performed his second jump on October 17 before a larger crowd. 
     Newspapers across the nation announced his feat and a popular slogan appeared: "Some things can be done as well as others."
     He traveled to Rochester and prepared to jump 99-foot high Genesee Falls. On November 6, 1829, he first threw his pet bear cub over the falls. The crowd watched the bear swim to safety and cheered. Sam soon followed the bear over the falls and emerged safely on shore to louder cheers from the crowd.
    But the betting and souvenir money was paltry, so Sam decided to raise more money and make another jump on Friday, November 13, 1829.
     A 25 foot platform was built above Genesee Falls to increase the height of the jump to 125 feet. About 8,000 people watched Sam Patch jump, but he never emerged from the whirling waters below. Boaters and intrepid swimmers searched for him but did not find him. Some people said Sam was drinking before he jumped. Others said it appeared that he wasn't in a vertical position when he jumped but appeared to fall off the platform sideways.
     His frozen body was found in ice next spring. He was buried in Charlotte, not far from the spot where his body was found. A wood marker was placed at his grave: "Sam Patch--Such is Fame." 
     His name became familiar with schoolchildren across the nation, especially in upstate New York. It was used derisively, as a substitute for fool.
    The musical group Pinataland created a song called The Fall of Sam Patch. You can listen to it at MySpace:
     Additional information about Sam Patch can be found at:


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rootstrikers--New Website

Hello Rootstriker:
It has been a year since #Rootstrikers launched at the National Conference on Media Reform  in Boston, MA. Invoking Thoreau — "For every thousand hacking at the branches of evil, there is one who is striking at the root." — I challenged those reformers to join us in this more fundamental fight. And in the almost 100 talks since, I have worked as hard as I can to get everyone I can to see the corrupting influence of money in politics, and how that corrupting root feeds practically every other problem in America today. I am a #Rootstriker. Teaching this is my job.
Today, we launch a new site to recruit more such #Rootstrikers — more souls devoted to teaching this message to everyone who will listen.

Click here to visit our new site and explore our new tools to help this movement grow.
If there are a "thousand hacking" for every "one striking," then there are at least 300,000 #Rootstrikers in America today. We want to recruit them all, and help them spread this message of reform.
I'm not just talking about people who are willing to receive our emails or follow our Tweets. Or even people willing to donate money to fund our work. Those people are important too. We can't exist without their feedback. Our servers go dark without their financial support.
But in addition to them, we also need citizen teachers: 300,000 who will work with us to teach something about this corruption and the crisis it is building. These teachers will draw upon their own experience. They will build upon the teaching of others. And they will make it their cause — as much as they can — to spread this message and the understanding it takes. Not full time. Not even all the time. But enough to get enough of the rest of America to understand what's at stake, and build the will — finally — to do something about it.
The new Rootstrikers website will make it easier than ever to join and recruit others to this campaign. We already have more than 35 cities with #Rootstrikers Meetups, almost a thousand who have pledged to "do whatever it takes" to end the "corrupting influence of money in politics," and a growing library of videos by ordinary people spreading the message, and urging others to join this campaign.
In the weeks ahead, we will make the materials to spread this message even more accessible, and invite you to post your own to our growing library of resources. There's a way to tell this story so that farmers get it. And bankers. And office workers. And retired folks. And students. And police officers. And soldiers. And mothers. But the way to connect these different souls is for different people to try. That's the project we launch today: The effort to translate this understanding into the stories that matter to every group in America, so that enough will join us to make this change happen.
As we begin this next phase, we will keep you in the loop. You will hear from me about our strategy for lasting reform, but you will also hear more from others about how we're deploying it. We have a tiny staff — our new online director, Neal Bastek, comes to us with several years of experience advocating for a free and democratic Internet, and our campaign director, Szelena Gray, who has spent many years in social rights activism — but to strengthen and expand this campaign at the grassroots, we also need you.
So here's the ask today:
2. Think about whether you could be one of the 300k and join if you can; and
3. Spread this call to others who you think could also join this movement for reform: share on Facebook, tweet it, email a friend.
Thank you again for your help so far. And thank you for your help to come.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gasoline Zone Pricing Law Fails Consumers

     In 2008 New York State enacted a "zone pricing" law in an attempt to regulate gasoline prices. At that time, the New York State Petroleum Council published a memo to oppose the law.
     "Gasoline suppliers use zone pricing for the same reason these other industries do--to remain competitive in setting wholesale gasoline prices in different areas of the state or within a metropolitan area," the Petroleum Council stated.
     The oil industry claims that zone pricing is a fair business strategy which weighs distance between gas stations and real estate costs of gas stations.
     Consumers need factual information to judge for themselves.
     To read more on the subject, click:|topnews|text|Frontpage
     New York State Attorney General's report (pdf) on gasoline prices:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good Luck to Nik Wallenda

     Good luck to 33-year old Nik Wallenda. He will attempt a tightrope walk over Niagara Falls, Friday night, June 15, 2012. He will be walking on a 2-inch wire nearly 200 feet above the falls, a distance of 1800 feet from the USA to Canada.
     Wallenda follows in the footsteps of the Great Blondin, who walked on a tightrope over the Niagara Gorge below the falls in 1859.
     To read more about the event and the Wallenda family, click:|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s
     Helicopter strings cables across Niagara Falls:


Click on YNN:
Click on Buffalo News/Topics:
68-year-old Jay Cochane will wirewalk between Niagara Falls buildings during summer of 2012:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Is There A Zombie On Common Council?

     Is there a Zombie serving on Cortland's Common Council?
     People are talking and rumors are flying. We heard that the alderperson in question is a man and that he is a Republican. We at the Cortland Contrarian would like to know more.
     In an effort to discover the truth, we are asking the public to observe and study all public utterances and actions of alderpersons.
     Look closely at the subject. Are his movements slow and hesitating? Do his eyes appear vacuous, expressionless? Is his complexion pale? Does he have a weak odor of decomposing flesh? Have the other uninfected alderpersons recently expressed concern about this person's health?
     Has he been seen at the Blue Frog Coffee Cafe in the company of known zombies--professors, students and the like? Has he been seen lurking near the Cortland Rural Cemetery or funeral homes? Does he have a description of Brocca's brain on his city-issued Motorola tablet?
     Does he use the word 'brain' frequently in conversation, often at inappropriate times? Does he dribble when he stares at you? Does he make you feel uneasy?
     Does he say that fluoride in drinking water may damage the brain, or that sugar in soft drinks may cause hyperactivity to residents who live in nursing homes? Is his wife a public employee? (NIH studies indicate a darker side to the marital relationship.)
     If this Zombie is identified with supporting facts, please leave a comment on this post.

Editor's note:
For tips on how to identify zombies in your neighborhood, please click and read:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When Life Becomes A Nightmare

     The Fall: An Undead Apocolypse by Robert J. Duperre describes a period of time when life on earth becomes a nightmare. Zombies emerge from Mayan ruins and terrorize humanity. The Apocalypse is supposed to occur on June 21. The Cortland Contrarian recommends this book to all serious thinkers and researchers.
     Zombies are on target. They are enrolling in record numbers with the NRA. The Crosman Company, an upstate New York manufacturer of pellet guns, recently established the Undead Apocolypse brand, which includes air pistols, pump shotguns, electric airsoft rifles and zombie-themed targets.
     We believe that it is time for everyone to get serious about zombies. There are places to hide and weapons available for self-defense.
     The UK Daily Mail provides maps that will help you find food and guns:
     CDC report finds zombie eating habits unhealthy, Cap-News:
     For information on the activities of Cortland zombies, read Cell Phone Zombies Take Over Blue Frog Coffee Cafe:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Another Candidate for Hall of Shame?

     Will Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. enter our Hall of Shame? See Hall of Shame dated February 22, 2012 at
     The state comptroller and Albany DA are investigating Boyland's claims for reimbursement of expenses in 2010 and 2011 amounting to $47,039. Allegedly, on several days that he claimed $165 per diem for work in Albany, he was in New York City.
     Boyland was acquitted at trial on federal corruption charges in 2011, but was indicted again for allegedly soliciting over $250,000 in bribes.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Recommended Improvements for Cortland June Dairy Parade

     1. Disallow all elected public officials from participation in the march downtown.
     2. Increase number of marching bands. Invite Sgt. Pepper and his band to participate.
     3. Herd real cows on Main Street, not cardboard cut-outs on wheels.
     4. Crown Dairy Princess and promote Dairy Queen soft ice cream. Offer free samples of soft ice cream. 
     5. Introduce a cow that produces chocolate milk.
     6. Provide taste sessions of free chocolate milk.
     7. Horses and riders must be real. Outlaw rocking horses, hobbyhorses, seahorses, sawhorses and urban cowboys.
     8. After the parade, invite elected public officials to clean the streets and sidewalks. Consider it an act of humility and penance. Also consider it out-of-character.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jobs For Youth--Public Service Announcement

From the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Dear Fellow New Yorker,

Governor Cuomo is working hard to create jobs for New Yorkers, and this includes making job opportunities and resources available for our state’s youth. Two of the Governor’s initiatives – the NY Youth Works and Summer Jobs programs – are specifically designed to connect our young people with businesses and to help them develop the tools they need to succeed in the workforce.

The NY Youth Works program has already found jobs for 6,000 young New Yorkers and there are still approximately 4,000 opportunities available. Qualified participating youth, aged 16 to 24, can receive additional benefits to help them cover costs of daycare, clothing, transportation, and more to support their success in the workplace. To learn more about the NY Youth Works program and to find out if you qualify, click or visit a One-Stop Career Center (find a location here).

Through the NY Youth Works program, businesses are also eligible to receive tax credits for hiring unemployed and disadvantaged youth. To find out how your business can apply for certification, click here.

The Governor’s Summer Jobs program will enable more than 18,000 youth, aged 14 and 20, to find employment this summer. To qualify, a participating youth’s family income must be below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (for example, $37,060 for a family of three) or be a recipient of public assistance. Youth interested in participating in the program should contact their local department of social services (find your local department here).

These programs have already helped thousands of young New Yorkers across the state to find jobs.

Please forward this to any individuals or businesses who may be interested in participating in either of these job programs.
To build a new New York, we must invest in the next generation of New Yorkers by creating opportunities for them to thrive.

Let’s help them succeed, together.

The Office of the Governor.
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Updated Aug 1, 2011
(Cortland County)
Cortland Works Career Center
99 Main Street
Phone: (607) 756-7585
Fax: (607) 756-5531

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