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Links of the Day:

– Time Warner pulled MSG from its lineup, after failing to reach an agreement on how much the cable company should pay to carry the sports network. Sabres and Knicks fans are in the dark. Each side is blaming the other, according to a report in the Buffalo News:

The two sides have been arguing over how much Time Warner should pay to carry the MSG networks. Time Warner has said MSG sought a 53 percent increase; MSG said Time Warner’s offers are outdated and not in the ballpark with what other cable companies pay.

The delivery of niche channels like MSG still relies on the distribution power of cable companies. I bet channels and shows will be individual commodities in the future, perhaps accessible on your iPad or Internet-connected television. That could make these contract disputes a thing of the past and give consumers choice and control.

Fortunately for MSG-watchers, Verizon FiOs picked up the network recently. Rochester, of course, doesn’t have Verizon FiOs, to the lament of many.

– An awesome story in the Democrat and Chronicle details the revival of the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood. This is very real. A photographer and I drove down West Main Street last week and talked about the resurgence.

– Central New York’s Amish communities want their own school buses. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports on a battle between a school district and the Amish, who don’t want their children exposed to modern kids. The Amish also need to start school later because of farm chores.

– What’s more important? Chicago’s shipping economy or keeping the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes? Everyone who cares about the lakes should pay attention to this debate.

– Last week I called Rochester’s New Year’s party lame. Evidence surfaced yesterday that maybe it’s not so lame. Now I’m convinced it is indeed lame. Buffalo’s New Year’s festivities brought 100,000 people to its downtown. Wow. We have work to do, Rochester.

Links of the day:

– I blogged earlier this week about Rochester’s lame New Year’s Eve party that ends at 10 p.m. And features bouncy houses, face-painting and kazoos.

Apparently, Rochester is not alone in ending the festivities well before midnight. The Wall Street Journal reported on the proliferation on early events around the country:

Even the most social people find it more convenient to get a leg up on the new year. At Boston’s First Night, an annual New Year’s arts-and-cultural celebration that attracts a million, organizers say attendance for the events that happen earlier in the day is as high as those that happen closer to midnight.

Other towns, zoos and amusement parks have created an even earlier alternative New Year celebration, dubbed “Noon Year’s Eve,” with countdowns and ball drops that happen when the sun is high in the sky.

I still think it would be nice to celebrate the new year when the new year arrives. That would not preclude earlier events for those who want to go to bed early.

– Americans have been going crazy over the success of Finnish schools. Their teachers are highly regarded, well paid and well trained. But there’s something we conspicuously leave out when describing Finland’s education system, The Atlantic reports:

“…there are no private schools in Finland.”

This notion may seem difficult for an American to digest, but it’s true. Only a small number of independent schools exist in Finland, and even they are all publicly financed. None is allowed to charge tuition fees. There are no private universities, either. This means that practically every person in Finland attends public school, whether for pre-K or a Ph.D.


The problem facing education in America isn’t the ethnic diversity of the population but the economic inequality of society, and this is precisely the problem that Finnish education reform addressed. More equity at home might just be what America needs to be more competitive abroad.

– We’ve heard of public health initiatives giving free syringes to drug addicts. But crack pipes? Vancouver is doing it.

Once again, Rochester has announced its official New Year’s Eve celebration will end at 10 p.m.

That’s ridiculous.

The city describes the festivities as “family-friendly” and “wholesome.” Other cities, however, manage to hold family-friendly events and ring in the new year when the new year actually arrives.

Here’s what is happening at the Riverside Convention Center, according to the city’s press release:

The festivities will kick off with a DJ Dance Party for the whole family featuring Jimmy C’s Music Machine.  Kid-friendly inflatable attractions will include a giant bounce house,  climbing wall, obstacle course, bungee run and giant slide.  The City’s “Recreation on the Move” program will be providing crafts and games.  Visitors will be able to dress up and get their picture taken in an Old Time Photo Booth.  Also featured will be two caricature artists, henna and airbrush tattoo artists, a stilt walker, clowns and a magician.

At 9:50 p.m., the crowd will move outside the front doors of the Convention Center where they will be welcomed by Mayor Richards.  Gary Mervis, founder and chairman of Camp Good Days and Special Times, will lead the crowd in a “KazooFest” just prior to the City’s spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks finale which will close out the evening with an amazing aerial display at 10 p.m.

Sounds like a blast…if you still play with GI Joes and Barbie dolls.

The cities of Saratoga and Syracuse hold self-described family-friendly “First Night” celebrations that include music, activities and midnight fireworks. Buffalo has a midnight ball drop preceded by a concert.

I rang in the new millennium on the Main Street Bridge watching the city’s fireworks display. The streets were filled with people having a great time. People weren’t indoors watching their kids play house inside of a balloon. They didn’t go home at 10 p.m. to watch a ball drop on television.

Come on, Rochester, let’s have a real New Year’s Eve party. I promise we’ll behave ourselves.