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September 2009

Planned project: Law enforcement map of the Adirondack Park

I am planning a Google Maps project explicating the bewildering array of police jurisdictions within the Adirondack park and would welcome input from people with some expertise in this subject. The Adirondack Park is a state park that occupies roughly 23% of the State of New York.

Most of the towns within the park do not have their own police forces -- exceptions being places with a robust tax base such as Lake Placid.

For the most part, the law enforcement agencies operating in these towns are not answerable to local town government.

NY State Police squad car is running & keys are in the ignition; no troopers are in evidence

In Essex County, where I now live, there are at least four police forces operating. There are the New York State Troopers, seen mostly along the highways, but also acting as the primary law enforcement agency in many areas. 

Then there is the Essex County Sheriff's Department which has just built an enormous jail in a county with almost no crime to speak of (one murder recorded in a five year period). The Sheriff's department administers the jail which apparently makes money for the county by renting out space to other counties with less capacious accommodations. The jail, called the "Essex County Public Safety Building," is at 702 Stowersville Rd. in Lewis, NY just off exit 32 on Interstate 87 (the Northway), so drive carefully near exit 32.

Orwelian name for the county jail: Essex County Public Safety Building

The squad cars of the Essex County Sheriff's Deputies look like this:

Essex Co. NY deputy

And then there are the New York State Forest Rangers:

NY State Forest Ranger


In Westport, I don't see them around much except in the winter when they stop into Ernie's, next door, for some hot food.

And then there is the United States Border Patrol. Who knew that there was an international border through the Adirondack Park? (Perhaps Homeland Security has found a gateway in the park to R'lyeh, the sunken city where the godlike being Cthulhu is buried?)

International border or no, the Border Patrol operates a check point on Interstate 87 in southern Essex County. This is apparently a post 9/11 Homeland Security thing for the purpose of inspecting vehicles for "illegal immigrants, narcotics, terrorists and terrorist weapons." I was hoping the Border Checkpoint 65 miles south of the border was going away when Obama came into office, but it isn't gone yet. (I find this deeply irritating.)

While I doubt they've caught any terrorists there yet, this checkpoint is probably good for providing billable involuntary tourists for the town of Lewis, NY, mentioned above.

In any case, these different police forces have radically different mandates, training, and patterns of behavior. What I would like to do is create a Google Maps Field Guide to law enforcement in the Adirondacks complete with identifying photos and police scanner frequencies.

I will probably start with Essex County, since the Adirondack Park is big. I would appreciate receiving information about publicly available data that might be useful for this project.

What my life in Essex County teaches me is that it is important to know who you are talking to before you talk to a cop around here.

Also, one thing I would like to know about is what, if any, policing is outsourced to private companies within the park. It is my impression that none of it is, but this assumption could be mistaken.

A clarification for K. Tempest Bradford & Jane Carnall, et. al.

I have discussed in public that my civil rights and those of my children have been violated and that these violations have to do with clashes of parenting beliefs and parenting practices, and I have discussed such civil rights violations in terms of oppression since they involved the use of state power and physical force by the state. 

Jane Carnall and Tempest Bradford and a bunch of their Internet friends seem to think that the appropriate response to this is public ridicule. 

While such blog posts may make Jane and Tempest popular within a certain Internet clique, such posts undercut their claims to be feminists and their claims to be advocates of anti-oppressive practices.

Year's Best SF 13 gets a second printing

YBSF 13 cover

I'm sifting through my mail pile in Pleasantville this morning, and I find a letter from Will Hinton at Harper Eos saying that Year's Best SF 13 has just gone into a second printing. It is really great to get a letter from one's publisher that ends "Congratulations on your continued success!", especially in the current publishing environment.

Yay book! Sell! Sell! Sell!

Photos from the John G. Cramer Symposium coming soon

The blog post I had intended to have up by now was about the University of Washington symposium in honor of my father's 50 years in physics and also his 75th birthday (which comes up next month). But I forgot my camera in Seattle and my parents had to FedEx it to me. 

Also, something really time-consuming and aggravating came up while I was on the ground in  the airport on my way back to Westport, and it has eaten my brain for the past few days as well as putting me in a really foul mood. Now that I have documented the incident and filed complaints with appropriate authorities, I am hoping that I can return to my usual state of bliss by tomorrow morning.

Anyway, in Seattle I gave a speech with a title along the lines of "Recovering Adult Children of Physicists" which I think turned out really well. The Dean's Office was video-taping, so there are a few stories I might have told that I thought better of. I took a couple hundred pictures and I need to sort through them to see which are appropriate to make freely available on Flickr. A lot of them are of people's slides during physics talks, and sometimes the fonts weren't working right. So I don't want to give the false impression that people's equations were wrong. Also, in one instance, the presenter is applying for a patent.

I hope to get these sorted through, and have something interesting for you on this topic tomorrow once I reclaim my brain from the nasty parasite that's been eating it.

A discussion deferred for later

I have removed that post that was here. It was motivated by my annoyance at speculation as to what might or might not have happened in my life by people completely ignorant on the subject. It became clear that really it was not possible to have a sensible discussion unless I can be candid. So, though I don't like to do that, I have removed the post.

I may revisit the issue of the problem of people who view oppression primarily in theoretical terms at some later date when I can -- to steal an image from Samual Johnson -- kick the stone as refutation. From the Life of Boswell:

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it -- "I refute it thus."

The kicking of stones will have to wait.

September 17, 2009

Hartwell & Cramer Year's Best Fantasy 9 is in print!

OurYear's Best Fantasy 9 is now in print from We are their first book in a bleeding edge  experiment to publish SF in new ways. (The primary edition of the book is intended to be the digital, however I think that edition has not yet emerged from Ingram's system.)


I was at the University Bookstore in Seattle yesterday. (In case you are wondering, Duane Wilkins and I are both standing up. He is that much taller than me. Photo by my brother John G. Cramer, III.)