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I have been struck by those who brag about taking part in the insurrection on various dating apps on their smartphones. I wonder, is that really an attractive thing? Obviously, they think it is. Manly, virile, to beat on police with flag poles, and talk about executing Nancy Pelosi by hanging. Right?

And then the penny drops, as we come to learn that some number of women have been gathering screen shots and correspondence with men who were at the insurrection and bragged about it — while they are looking for a date, mind you. The potential dates, some of them, then turned that info over to the FBI.

So it is that one Robert Chapman of Carmel — yes, our Carmel — came to be busted by the FBI. Looking for a date on Bumble, he got stung by the FBI. After posting selfies of himself inside the Capitol and bragging to a potential date. The FBI and other authorities like the Metropolitan Police in Washington, DC, have now busted some 439 people in connection with the dangerous insurrection at the Capitol.

 

Slowly, surely, the tenacity of the FBI is bringing these folks to heel. When an agency like the FBI latches onto something, like that theft in 1984 of federally provided government cheese for the needy — a story I covered 37 years ago in Rochester — they don’t quit. Plus, the electronic tools and tracking capabilities are even better today. Just look at all the info we voluntarily give up just by having a smartphone.

Again, my view is round them up, these insurrectionists. Every. Single. One. Our country will be safer for it. And, some number of bad dates will have been avoided. Plus-plus. An interesting thing is going on with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Now that he is no longer the darling of the press, and now that a rolling set of scandals have caught up with him, he’s taken to prohibiting members of the press from attending the events he holds. We learn about them only from a briefing transcript of his remarks, and photos provided by his office. Earlier this month was a great example. On April 13, he was outside, at the Angry Orchard Cider House in Walden. The establishment has 60 acres. Its buildings are huge — think, barn-size. And there’s Cuomo, outside, talking to the cider makers, the farm workers, the members of the state Farm Bureau. But nary a reporter.

My father belonged to the Farm Bureau. It’s long been the definitive farmers’ group on farm policy. Changed somewhat now, as the perils of Big Ag are more well-known these days, but it’s still a force.

Anyway, Cuomo was announcing a new effort to vaccinate workers on farms in the state and at food production facilities. Important stuff, right? Reasonably good news, too: New York State was providing 500 doses to Sun River Health, a local health care network, to administer vaccines to Angry Orchard employees, as well as farm and food production workers from other facilities in the Orange County area, of which there are many. The shots started last week, on April 21.

But Cuomo doesn’t want to take any questions these days in a public setting, certainly not from anyone who might ask about senior deaths in nursing homes or about the sexual harassment charges he faces and the investigation into them by the Attorney General.

And I’m thinking this: Cuomo is a paid public official. The people working for him to produce this material are paid NYS workers. Many of the people he is appearing with are paid NYS employees. The issues he’s talking about, at least some of the time, are important, with public policy impacts. Many of these places at which he appears would welcome the exposure. Cuomo’s only press interactions lately are over Zoom, with much more opportunity for his staff to control events and from whence any questions come.

Alas, these days in Cuomo’s world, it’s an audience of one. And neither Cuomo nor the mirror image audience want to be bothered by any questions on important public issues.

Until next week.

Douglas Cunningham is editor of the Putnam County Courier and the Putnam County News and Recorder, in Cold Spring. Reach him at 845-265-2468 (usually in the office at least part of Saturday and Sunday) or by email at editor@pcnr.com.

This column is my opinion. You are free to disagree.

Letters are always welcome: 500 words or less, Word document or plain text, local topics, and local writers preferred. Please include the word Letter in the subject line. Send to editor@pcnr.com.

Below, Gov. Cuomo, shown at far left, announced in Orange County a new, targeted effort to vaccinate workers at NY state farms and food production companies. The event on April 13 was closed to the press, despite the obvious outdoor setting. Speaking is Chris Kelder, New York Farm Bureau State Director. Photo/Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

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