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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017   
Vol 10.7   
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Editorial
Ethical Rise New Problems Need New Philosophic Work

While so many of us are glued to the news from our nation's capital, not to forget growing rumblings about possible wars on several fronts, we've been recently reading up on CRISPR, the latest BIG development that allows for human manipulation of destinies within DNA strands themselves. As with all major scientific breakthroughs, this one is occurring across borders, without government input, and could spark both major advances in medicine, as well as major steps forward into new worlds via integration with Artificial Intelligence gains of recent years.

What's been gaining our attention has been the sudden rush of ethicists to deal with the myriad repercussions than can now explode from our latest strands of knowledge. Talk about reviving the importance of philosophic thought and its many traditions, and once again separating it from dogma and politics. Mass communication and medical breakthroughs were one thing, the internet and robotics another. Combined with new ideals for diversity, equality and international freedoms, new frontiers are definitely beckoning!

For my money, I'll be delving back to the Greeks, Aquinas, Kant and more modern relativists. And boning up on the greatest humanism of our literature! On other fronts, we've been hearing about surges in manufacturing developments throughout the state and elsewhere in the Northeast. A Trumpian effect? Definitely not, given the ways in which it's all emerging from a pipeline that stretches back into the previous eight years. And the contemporary manner of what's being developed, with most jobs now needing high tech training.

Locally, we saw a story this week out of Ulster County government all about a little-known policy concerning the use of project labor agreements for construction projects of over $1 million that's been in place since 2001, but apparently never used. Similarly, we've been wondering about the ethics of new manufacturing jobs without benefit of either solid training opportunities being offered up by government, or the solid labor movement, and unions, which did so much to build up the solid blue collar world of meaningful work so many were hankering for at the ballot box last November.

Again, we're dealing with ethical situations that need deep thought beyond politics and dogma. Is it best to let jobs simply be created, or to also be thinking about what sort of jobs we want and/or need? Along these lines, we've been intrigued of late with the new business community's emphasis on sustainability and socially responsible entrepreneurship, where a vivid and responsible sense of community is key to all new business start ups. Sound too idealistic? Hey, it's what the new money that's now moving out from the dotcom and disruptive industries worlds is demanding. Do we ignore it and try and shift money back to where it was?

Good luck with that!

On a whole other front, we've got to hand it to ourselves for having made it through the last week of storms. Even though there were quite a few still living without power, or proper plowing, by the time we were writing this, we do have to admit how rousing it always is to see communities come together when faced with the rigors and challenges Mother Nature can throw our ways. Tragedy? No. A chance to rise? Yes. And best of all, a means by which we can all once again see how much we all need each other in neighborhoods, small towns, cities, states, nations, and as a single globe.

Talk about really stretching ourselves beyond the fears of the day!

Lastly, we want to give a shout out this week to all our kids who've been achieving so much in sports, scholastics, in recent stage productions, and despite constantly hoping tomorrow will be a snow day. From Rondout Valley wrestlers to Blue Devil bball wizards, Pine Bush swimmers to all those kids building snow men and women, snow forts and even igloos of late: you're the tops.

Enjoy this weekend... and keep working, everyone, to make all our lives better, even if it takes some hard thinking and major hauling.



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