Could It Be? Obfuscation, from NYSFree Access

Could It Be? Obfuscation, from NYS

I’ve come to think of those LED signs along our highways as a positive development – you know, the ones with messages that change, based on conditions or traffic alerts. For some days last week, there was an alert to this effect, GMCB Closed 01/12/19. Then, suddenly, late in the week, Closure Delayed; GMCB Open /1/12/19.

And the reasonable person asks, what in blazes is the GMCB? Of course, eventually one comes to Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge. What all of us know as the Tappan Zee Bridge, or perhaps, on a sign, TZB, or in speech, just the Tap. But at 65 mph, the letters GMCB just zip by.

We all know the Newburgh- Beacon Bridge that carries I-84 over the Hudson River. Of course, I know it’s named after Hamilton Fish. But everyone, even its owner, the New York State Bridge Authority, refers to it in public communication like its Twitter feed as the Newburgh-Beacon.

Methinks the state and the Thruway Authority are taking this desire to compel us to call the Tap by its new name a stretch too far. It is not generally known and used, this new name. And, in a public safety context, this obfuscation, even if unintended, can’t be helpful. To most people, GMCB means nothing.

Once I broke the code, the sign was helpful. High winds had delayed the preparatory work needed to make ready the explosives that will blow up the remaining part of the old Tap. This was to occur last Saturday, but is now set for Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the American Lung Association said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “tobacco control policies” have “live-saving potential.” As outlined by the Association and set to be included in the governor’s State of the State address Tuesday, they include:

*Raising the age of sale of all tobacco products from 18 to 21

*Prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies

*Restricting the display of tobacco products

*Giving the New York State Department of Health authority to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products

*Prohibit the use of coupons and other discounts on tobacco products

*Require licensing of ecigarette retailers

And yet, AT THE SAME TIME, New York state, with Cuomo in the lead, is careening toward legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Attacking Big Tobacco on the one hand. Praising legal pot on the other.

Of course, don’t we think that Big Tobacco and Big Pharma are going to end up with a large chunk of the legal pot business anyway?

The state’s approach is not consistent and more than that, is dangerous. We are speeding, speeding, I tell you, toward disaster.

A couple of additional listening and viewing recommendations to add to last week’s list:

*Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World, by Admiral William H. McRaven (retired, U.S. Navy). This short book (1 hour, 44 minutes) draws on the 10 principles he took from Navy Seal training. I will note, though, that the lessons have broad applicability, and I would not call it a militaristic or niche book. Well worth a listen, which I did on Audible.

*The Innocent Man, from Netflix, an adaptation of John Grisham’s non-fiction book of the same name about murder cases and justice, or the lack of it, in Ada, Oklahoma. It is hard not to conclude there’s little justice in Oklahoma. It’s well done, another in a series of pieces to highlight our deeply troubled criminal justice system.

Douglas Cunningham is editor and publisher. Reach him at, or call 845-265-2468. Letters to the editor are welcome, and should be limited to 500 words.

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