After folk singer Pete Seeger died last week at age 94, Associated Press writer Ted Anthony, who had interviewed Seeger extensively for a book, wrote that he ``was a prominent voice on race, on poverty, on war and peace. He weighed in on the environment on behalf of his beloved Hudson River. In the 1950s, he stood firm against the anti-communist witch hunts that scuttled the career of many a performer, and suffered for it.’’
Yes, when Seeger was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955, he testified that he was ``not going to answer any questions as to my associations, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.’’
In a way, Seeger was fortunate because he was able to cite the First Amendment and simply refuse to answer the questions, though he was charged with contempt of Congress and sentenced to prison.
In the months before his death, he was probably shocked to learn that today the government did not have to ask questions personally, it just spied on people by listening to their phone calls and reading their e-mails.
Despite tougher laws and penalties for texting while driving, it appears more and more drivers are doing it — and law enforcement agencies are catching more of them in the act.
According to state Department of Motor Vehicle records, the number of driving-while-texting tickets jumped 82 percent statewide from 2012 to 2013. And in Otsego County the increase is even greater, with 216 tickets issued last year compared to 65 in 2012 — a 98 percent increase. In Delaware County, that figure is 89 percent.
Gov. Cuomo wants to make the penalties for violations even tougher. Last month, he proposed suspending licenses for one year rather than six months for people under 21 nabbed texting while driving.