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Noted and passed for Oct. 4, 2010

Posted: October 1, 2010 5:41 p.m.
Updated: October 4, 2010 5:00 a.m.

* We were pleased to see former Camden resident Claire Bryant receive the prestigious Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach, presented recently in New York City by McGraw-Hill Publishing Companies. Bryant, a skilled cellist, has long been involved in teaching others and in spreading the glories of music. Her recognition was appropriate.

* We note that Amtrak has unveiled a $117-billion, 30-year initiative that would create a high-speed rail system on the east coast, with trains traveling at speeds up to 220 miles per hour. There’s no funding plan, so this is far from a reality, but it reminds us once again of what a huge mistake this country made in abandoning a rail system that was the primary means of transportation until the time of widespread air travel. Europe’s rail system is superb, but it remains to be seen whether the United States can ever come up with something to challenge it.

* A half-century after John F. Kennedy was elected president, we look back somewhat wistfully. Though Kennedy certainly engendered strong feelings among both supporters and critics, he governed at a time when there was much less partisan bickering than there is today. For instance, it would be highly unlikely for a Democratic president in this era to advocate tax cuts to stimulate the economy or to be hawkish on foreign policy, two stanches taken by Kennedy. Both Democrats and Republicans today could do much more to help the country return to a time of more political civility, but it doesn’t appear to be headed that way. The handsome Kennedy and his elegant wife created an atmosphere of hope and patriotic pride; we could use more of that nowadays.

* It was never clear why comedian Stephen Colbert was invited to testify on immigration issues before the House Judiciary Committee, and his pointed and critical comments weren’t the norm in Washington, but it was a bit enjoyable to watch some of the pompous representatives react with righteous indignation that their judgment could be questioned. We’d wager there were many Americans who would side with Colbert in the matter of pricking the pride of some of the Washington elected officials.

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