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Criticizing government patriotic, too

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Because we knew the 4th of July was going to be a steamy day, our little band of volunteers got to work early. We had finished our project long before it was time for the picnic and fireworks up the road.

Our task was to clear Japanese knotweed from a small stretch of the creek running through our little hamlet. Knotweed, which I have bemoaned in this space before, is classified by the World Conservation Union as one of the planet's worst invasive species. Its bamboo-like stalks are taking over banks of waterways throughout the Eastern United States, crowding out native plants, narrowing water channels and thus worsening the potential for flooding. Its web-like roots are so sturdy that they can damage even concrete foundations.

Please do not tell me that you can cook knotweed like rhubarb. That makes this dreadful plant sound too benign. It's so evil that some banks in England won't write a mortgage for a home that has knotweed on its property, or even an adjoining lot; in Scotland, you can be prosecuted for spreading knotweed, even unintentionally.

Ah, those sensible Scots! What lobbyist will take up the good cause of convincing New York legislators to follow........

© Times Union