Letters to the Editor for Feb. 17
Distress caused by dirty energy not worth the money
Re Feb. 12 Viewpoint, “Oil pipeline would be a boon; its rejection should be overturned”: It’s not surprising that Russ Wege, a fossil fuel industry engineer, would push the dirty tar sands Keystone XL pipeline over private farms and public aquifers without a full impact review, in much the same way he pushes unsafe, polluting hydrofracking.
It’s not surprising that amoral, greedy gas/oil corporations push it. It’s not surprising that politicians taking gas/oil corporate bribes (“contributions”) push it. It’s not even surprising that more than 1,200 of us non-corporate, living citizens were arrested for peacefully assembling to petition the government for grievances (see First Amendment) in front of the White House last year, while there were no arrests of corporate executives for the massive Gulf oil disaster.
So, would it be surprising if our grandchildren wonder why we caused so much destruction when we could have used less, and switched to clean renewable energy? Were we that lazy, self-absorbed, shortsighted and stupid?
We can change, but greedy corporations and corporate-owned politicians need to be put on a short leash.
Let’s change now! Why wait?
Fitness group isn’t just for senior citizens
Thanks for your wonderful Feb. 10 front-page picture and article in the “Prime Time” [seniors’ tab].
Although the article appears in “Prime Time.” we are an organization with members of all ages. We see our main purpose as promoting a healthier lifestyle for all ages — primarily through walking, but occasionally biking, swimming, ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Empire State Capital Volkssporters (ESCV) is part of one of the fastest growing sports in the United States.
American Volkssport Association (AVA), our national club, sponsors many family and community-related programs to encourage our motto of “Fun, Fitness and Friendship.” Some of those outdoor programs are Girl Scout Walk-Together, Master and Youth programs.
Our weekend walks are open to all ages, and most can accommodate strollers and wheelchairs. In addition to weekend walking events, weekly Wednesday walks — starting in May and continuing through August — have starting times for both morning and evening to serve the needs of the working or retired.
Our next community walking event will be in Schenectady March 3, beginning at the Holiday Inn at 9 a.m. for registration.
The writer is president of ESCV.
Stop squabbling over strays; fix the problem
It’s very clear that Schenectady County (primarily the city of Schenectady) needs to improve its current sheltering/housing solution for strays. The APF [Animal Protective Foundation] is not, and should not, be the city’s only solution when a stray dog appears. Alternatives must be available in the event the primary shelter is unable to accept a stray.
The ultimate responsibility for stray dogs, according to state Agriculture and Markets Law, is that of the municipality, not APF or any rescues/shelters/humane society.
I believe we all want what’s best for animals, so I feel slightly optimistic that APF and the city will soon be meeting to discuss the issues and hopefully develop solutions to help our four-legged friends whose problems we humans created in the first place (spay/neuter, anyone?) There is no easy solution; we all must work together.
I don’t want to see SPCA [Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] vs. APF any more! These organizations should be working in conjunction with each other, not as adversaries.
Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love animals and is familiar with my humane services background. I have no loyalty to any one organization, but I must stand up for what’s right. Animals over politics every day.
The writer is a former development director and board member of the Schenectady County SPCA.
There goes Strock again, bashing church
Carl Strock’s Feb. 12 column, “The church and the pill: Rx for trouble,” was anti-religion and anti-Catholic, using the recent federal government ruling on health insurance coverage of sterilization and contraceptives as an avenue for expressing his views.
The First Amendment protects his right to write as he pleases. However, it also protects religious rights. Accordingly, the leadership of the Catholic Church urges its members to ask government to ensure that the rights of conscience of all participants in our nation’s health care system are respected.
The church hierarchy has the moral authority to teach and define issues on morality to its members. The institutional church is not a democracy dependent on popularity. Its members have free will to follow or ignore its teachings.
The column was not a defense of the advocates and supporters of women’s rights, but an attack against Catholicism. Despite the statistics cited by Strock, many lay Catholics abhor the infringement on religious freedom by government.
It is evident the Obama administration belatedly recognized its political blunder and altered its original ruling. Mr. Strock should remain in the political forum and refrain from [disrespecting] religious subjects. For instance, his column was impolite concerning his position on celibate priests and family size.
Michael J. Orapello
All audiences should sing national anthem
Re Feb. 13 letter, “Show a little respect when the national anthem is played”: Cheryl Thomas was most accurate in her comments on how the national anthem is somewhat a sideshow instead of taken seriously.
I sing the anthem and get looks, too, but I deflect them by a quick whisper suggesting onlookers hum if they don’t know the words. I am convinced that many don’t know the words because they were never taught. So to correct this situation, I would suggest that all schools or any event producing a program where the anthem is played print the national anthem’s lyrics there.
Then, instead of asking the audience to stand and listen to some singer sing the anthem, change the announcer’s request to: “Please join us in the singing of the national anthem.”
Andrew M. Kopach
End poverty by raising minimum to $12/hour
Re Feb. 12 Viewpoint, “It’s time to raise minimum wage”: Again, we embark on debates about the minimum wage. I believe the minimum wage should be determined by the free market — not by interest groups and politicians.
But for those who disagree with me, why not just stop imposing incremental increases and increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour? Since the poverty wage level for a family of four is $22,500, no full-time worker will earn less than $24,000 a year and — shazam! — poverty will have been eliminated!
John W. Fugazzi
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