2017 August 12

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Blenheim-Gilboa Visitor Center
Charles Baker State Forest
Delmar, NY
First Amendment
The Woods
Utsayantha Mountain

August 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Good evening! Mostly cloudy with some drops of rain and thunderstorms and 67 degrees in Delmar, NY. Enough rain to chase me back in. Calm wind. The dew point is 64 degrees. Sticky with the air so saturated, a low fog around. The skies will clear around midnight. 

It was the final night with a sunset after 8pm for the year with days only getting shorter as winter approaches. A thunderstorm meant we couldn’t see the sunset but it will be clear tomorrow, a bit with a pre-7pm sunset. 

Quiet day for the most part. I went to the maul to return the kayak paddle and bought one last shirt from Sears at their going out of business sale. I have enough dress shirts, including many unboxed for a while so I hopefully make it through next year without having to find alternative place for comfortable, long lasting dress shirts. Also bought some groceries and clear recycling bags which Walmart seemed to no longer stock. I like them not just for bottles and cans but also for storing and keeping stuff dry while camping. Easier than trying to guess with the white or black garbage bags. 

Made a good choice for staying in town this weekend. Both nights have been fairly stormy and we only had limited sunshine today and for a while it was quite humid. Sure I like camping but not in the rain. I do want to get up to Piseco-Powley Road again before it gets too cold to enjoy the Potholers. 

It was fine staying home, working on some new code and graphs for the blog. I imported some new moon and sunlight data into the blog so I can use it for many new things. 

Tonight will have scattered showers and thunderstorms before midnight, then a slight chance of showers. Patchy fog after 2am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low of 63 degrees at 6am. One degree above normal. Maximum dew point of 64 at 9pm. Light southwest wind. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. In 2016, we had mostly cloudy skies with some clearing in the early hours of the next day. It was very sticky. It got down to 73 degrees. The record low of 43 occurred back in 1957.

Tonight will have a Waning Gibbous Moon. The Last Quarter Moon is on Monday night with mostly clear skies. The Harvest Moon is on Tuesday, September 5th. The sun will rise at 6:00 am with the first light at 5:29 am, which is one minute and 4 seconds later than yesterday. Tonight will have 10 hours of darkness, an increase of 2 minutes and 29 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will have patchy fog before 7am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high of 79 degrees at 3pm. Two degrees below normal. Maximum dew point of 63 at 6am. Northwest wind 8 to 11 mph. A year ago, we had partly cloudy skies. It was very sticky. The high last year was 92 degrees. The record high of 98 was set in 1947.

It looks like tomorrow is going to be a nice day. I’ll try to do something fun without going too far away like Thacher Park. Already next weekend is sliding down hill but maybe that will change. I don’t know. I’ll keep an eye on that. 

In four weeks on September 9 the sun will be setting at 7:14 pm, which is 45 minutes and 44 seconds earlier then tonight. Autumn is approaching. In 2016 on that day, we had rain, partly cloudy skies and temperatures between 87 and 69 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 75 and 54 degrees. The record high of 94 degrees was set back in 1959.

Looking ahead, National Dog Day is in 2 weeks, Lowville Cream Cheese Festival is in 5 weeks and Beaver Moon is in 12 weeks.

I believe that democracy functions best when there is a wide variety of ideas, and that people are allowed to peacefully protest to communicate their views. Protest is an important part of our democracy, it allows people to communicate their message, and also provides a method of publicly venting frustration over dysfunction in government. In democracy, there are always winners and losers, and not everybody can get their way. But they can voice their opinions.

I dislike anybody who condemns either those who protesting for or against the removal of the General Robert Lee monument. Certainly there are arguments on both side of the monument debate. He’s a historical figure, a very successful general, who ended up fighting on the losing side of the war. Industrialization and the big cities of the north won. Slavery and the other agrarian traditions of the south lost. But he was joined by millions of other Americans that agreed with him, and in the south, succession was the widely supported choice. On the other hand, I can understand why many African Americans feel a monument to General Robert Lee is deeply offensive, and they would like it removed from their city. Many African Americans view the monument as a tacit endorsement of slavery, segregation, and other racist and outdated ideas. They are on the winning side of the battle; they got the local government to agree to remove it.

I’m not one to take stand on the issue, except to defend the right to protest. I get why the pro-statue and anti-statue activists are marching. I think it’s good that their voices are being heard, and the debate is being furthered. Many historical statues in our country are old and represented dated values, and we should reconsider their placement on our public grounds. Even long revered public figures have their flaws – indeed the Phillip Sheridan statue in Albany isn’t without it’s criticism. He burned whole villages, turned his forces against civilians and murdered whole tribes of Native Americans. We need more review of outdated statues in public places, with replacement with more contemporary figures that are closer to today’s values. Statues and the outdated values they represent shouldn’t last forever. I am certainly not against one participating in politics if they so choose. It’s important the public’s voice is heard in its governance. Certainly, the pro-statue position is not a popular one, especially in the north, when for so many generations people have been taught that the actions of the south were evil.

Protests shouldn’t be allowed to spill into violence. That’s why we have laws and police that enforce the laws that prohibit violence and punish those who engage in violence. But like it or not, protests often bring together angry minds, and sometimes violence occurs at protests. Police can’t break up a lawful assembly, and indeed they can only watch and discourage violence. Protesters do need to take a deep breath, follow the laws that are currently in effect, and peacefully protest. Every city has sidewalks, parks, greens, and other public spaces where like minded people can get together an assemble. When you take a stand on an issue, there is likely to be somebody on the opposition.

While protests go on, life in an city grinds on. Protesters should refrain from unlawful crossings and blocking of streets, and should they interfere with either pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic, they must either be asked to move or be prosecuted for disorderly conduct or other offenses. Protesters can not be allowed to stop traffic, especially when emergency vehicles need to get through. Protesters should not be allowed to block access to businesses, shops, medical facilities, or people’s homes. But they certainly can hold up signs, hand out literature, and inform people of consequences of the businesses they are choosing to engage in. I have no problem protesters with yelling at people who choose to shop at Walmart on Black Friday, military leaders, war veterans returning from Vietnam or those going to an abortion clinic. People have a right to get their message out, as questionable as it may be. 

Law enforcement has an important role to protect the right of peaceful protest, and to keep the peace. Some people, angry about the loud voices of the opposition may choose to violently attack their opposition. This is never acceptable. It’s the job of police to monitor protesters, to ensure they have an opportunity to get their voices heard while retaining all their protections of safety and well-being as provided under the law, and that ensure protesters have the opportunity to get their message out in a lawful way that doesn’t impact ordinary commerce of a city, beyond the rubbernecking of passing drivers and pedestrians.