Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, Jan. 8


Schenectady owes much to Merriams

In reading the obituary of Charles Merriam, Jr. in the Dec. 31 Gazette, I was struck by the really significant civic contribution Mr. Merriam gave to the city of Schenectady.
He was involved in so many organizations and charitable causes it makes you wonder how one person can find time to do all of that, run a successful insurance business and raise a family all at the same time.
On the other hand, I was not surprised. In doing research for my political history of Schenectady book, “Who Runs This Town,” I discovered his father, Charles W. Merriam, was equally involved.
The senior Mr. Merriam was elected to the Schenectady Board of Supervisors for five two-year terms and was chair of the Board of Supervisors for four of those.
He then went on to be elected and serve nine terms in the state Assembly for a total of 18 years.
Finally he was elected and served 12 years on the City Council, a grand total of 40 years serving his community in elective service.
Ironically Mr. Merriam’s only defeat came at the hands of another Schenectady legend, Sam Stratton, in 1949.
In addition, Mr. Merriam was a leader in numerous civic organizations as well during his lifetime.
Schenectady owes a great debt of gratitude to the Merriam family.
B. Donald Ackerman

Wearing masks is not too much to ask

A number of letters have voiced complaints about New York Gov. Hochul’s recent mandate requiring that masks must be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.
Her decision was based on the state’s weekly seven-day case rate, as well as increasing hospitalizations.
The complaints reflect two perspectives: (1) “the state is being dictatorial” and (2) “since I am fully vaccinated, why should I have to wear a mask?”
Regarding the first perspective, the state is responsible for public health and therefore does have the responsibility and the right to mandate actions which protect the health of the state’s population.
Regarding the second perspective, even if you are fully vaccinated, you still can be infected with COVID-19 or one of its variants. While the vaccines are highly effective, they are not 100% effective.
People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have a significantly reduced risk of severe illness.
However, hospitalizations and deaths have been reported among fully vaccinated people with “breakthrough” COVID-19 infections.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 15% of hospital admissions for COVID-19 between June and September involved people who were fully vaccinated against the disease.
Moreover, CDC data shows that, while the covid death rate for vaccinated Americans is small compared to the unvaccinated, it is still significant, about 17% of all covid deaths.
Wearing masks in indoor venues appears to be a minor inconvenience compared to the consequences of infection.
Don Steiner



Taxpayers shouldn’t fund St. Clare’s deal

Not to be unsympathetic concerning an addition possible taxpayer bailout of the St. Clare’s pension, I have always felt that it should never be the responsibility of New York state’s government to make failed private sector retirement investments solvent again.
We already “contributed” around $29 million to that underfunded pension. It is St. Clare’s Hospital and the Catholic Church that neglected to maintain insurance premiums to protect the fund from such an occurrence.
The Church has money to pay off lawsuits brought by those who have been abused by pedophile priests, so they certainly should come up with the money for these pensioners with a legitimate claim to benefits. There should not be one more penny “donated” on taxpayers’ behalf.
Politicians love to spread tax dollars around to “causes” they think will get them votes in their districts, but this is not a precedent that should be set. If my retirement investments are lost in a down stock market, should New York taxpayers make me whole? Was New York solicited by GE pensioners when GE took away their health-care retirement benefits?
It is enough that taxpayers make New York’s public employee pension fund whole when the markets go south. Private sector and non-profit enterprises are not taxpayers’ responsibility.
Gov. Kathy Hochul should not respond to this.
Christine DeMaria
Clifton Park

Burning fossil fuels at root of climate issue

This is in response to the letter (“Reducing carbon could backfire on us”) in the Dec. 29 Gazette by Dr. Jane Slezak.
I would like to believe that Dr. Slezak knows the difference between carbon dioxide caused naturally by outgassing from the oceans, decomposing vegetation, forest fires etc. and the carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.
Carbon dioxide has been captured by the oceans and forests (carbon sinks) for millions of years, absorbed, processed and released back into the atmosphere through photosynthesis as oxygen.
The problem is the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels.
Dr. Slezak asks the question, “if we reduce or remove carbon, how will the solar panels, windmills and electric batteries supply us with oxygen?” My question is do you really believe the goal is to remove all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or just bring us closer to this natural balance?
Stephen Splain
Ballston Lake

Use all tools to keep carbon out of the air

A Dec. 29 Letter to the Editor from Jane Slezak (“Reducing carbon could backfire on us”) wondered if controlling carbon emissions could endanger our supply of oxygen.
Luckily, the answer is an unequivocal “no.”
There are more than 500 molecules of oxygen in the atmosphere for every molecule of carbon dioxide. We are not in danger of running out of oxygen.
Rather, our concern should be the ever-growing number of CO2 molecules which, along with other greenhouse gases, continue to fuel climate change.
If we are to prevent a future with even worse climate extremes, we must use every tool — including the solar panel, windmills, and electric batteries the author worries about — to limit the carbon we pump into the atmosphere.
Dr. Jeffrey D. Corbin
The writer is a professor of biological sciences at Union College.

Support is strong for shared parenting

Is it too early to declare a tsunami of support for shared parenting?
In a word: No!
National Parents Organization, in collaboration with New York Families for Tomorrow and Americans for Equal Shared Parenting, as well as The Fathers Rights Movement, just received the results of an independently conducted poll of the attitudes of New Yorkers about shared parenting.
When viewed in context of the other recent polls conducted in many other states (Researchscape) — the results are clear. There is a tsunami of support for shared parenting.
Let’s focus on the poll from New York. Here are some highlights:
• 92% believe that “it is in a child’s best interest to have as much time as possible with each parent” when the parents are divorced or separated.
• 92% say they “would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports children spending significant, up to equal, amounts of time with each parent following separation or divorce.”
• 85% would support “a change in New York law that creates a rebuttable presumption that shared parenting is in the best interest of a child after parental separation.”
Despite this, legislators have stalled legislation that would create a rebuttable presumption that shared parenting is in children’s best interest.
It’s often said that “if the people lead, the leaders will follow.” And this is nowhere truer than in the area of divorce and custody reform. It is time for support for equal shared parenting to sweep the legislatures of New York and other states forward.
Jason Houck
The writer is chair of the New York Affiliate National Parents Organization.

Grateful for chance to share opinions

Regarding Kenneth Truman’s letter (“Paper needs more balanced coverage”) published in the Dec. 30 Gazette about this newspaper’s biased reporting and commentary, I am in 95% agreement.
Newspaper reporters in general do include much of their own opinion in the articles they write (falsely claims, debunked claim, unsupported theories), rather than sticking to just the facts.
But because our local newspapers tend to lean toward liberal, it’s not surprising that the Op-Ed pages and letters published also lean that way.
For the most part, I have been pleased to read opposing opinions in the “Letters” section (Trump/Republican vs. Biden/Democrat).
And I have been pleased to see that letters have been published with no politics included whatsoever. It teaches me that our citizens are interesting and diverse.
One thing I would like to see are more subtitles in the articles, especially the long ones. I think The Gazette could do this on their own instead of just a copy/paste. Thank you for allowing our citizens to speak and give their opinions.
Patricia Pytlovany

Get on right path or suffer God’s wrath

Are we living in the days of Noah again? Noah of the ark and world flood fame lived during a wicked and corrupt time according to God [Gen 6]. All humanity, except for Noah and his family, were maniacal, amoral and evil to the core.
Worship of self and the desires of the flesh replaced the worship of God. Idolatry was rampant. People were so wicked God said He was grieved He had made them, so He sent the flood.
Are we living in a time like Noah’s day? Have we become so evil that God is grieved with us as in Noah’s time? Is God about to destroy us as Biblical scholars predict?
In 2 Peter 3, it states, “the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”
D. Lee Chesnut, a retired GE scientist, in his book, “The Atom Speaks,” suggests that what the Apostle Peter is describing is a nuclear explosion where everything will melt. Nothing will be left. Like with the flood, humanity as we know will be gone. Your fate will be sealed for eternity.
If you are not right with God, get right while there is still time. The Apostle John in his first letter wrote, “…if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins…”
Tom Mithen

Humans must act now to save planet

Recently I watched another documentary on climate change. The Earth Is Warming The Earth.
It is finally very clear to me that the environment that humans rely on is in serious trouble. No doubt, no question human release of carbon dioxide has created a climate catastrophe. We’re now in it. It’s obvious we are seeing the signs of destruction.
Governments, corporations and societies aren’t moving fast enough.
The Earth’s climate is changing much faster than the general public realizes. We are already starting to witness things like feedback loops and tipping points. Example: Permafrost thawing is releasing methane gas. Methane gas contains much greater heat-trapping capability than carbon dioxide. These types of events will speed the destruction of our environment. Humanity is in for a shock as it realizes it will not be spared.
Pay attention to what is happening all around us. The fog of our reality is lifting, and the scene is very frightening. Our generation took part in making this mess and it’s in our laps. It’s our responsibility to clean it up.
Be a doer or doubter the Earth’s change is happening regardless. Sit on the sidelines or get in the game. The fight to save human existence has started and we can change the outcome. It’s on us all now.
Don Cerniglia

Focus should be on preventing new cases

I recently published the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 might enter organs, such as the brain, where immune surveillance is ineffective.
An NIH study soon confirmed this. The virus could persist, reactivating when we become weaker.
The weight of evidence now suggests that covid and long covid could become lifelong covid.
Opportunistic virus reactivation is common. Childhood chicken pox becomes adult shingles. ‘Cured’ Ebola re-emerges years later, without external reinfection. Yet, the FDA and CDC remain overly restrictive regarding vaccine boosters.
Our overriding priority should be prevention of as many COVID-19 cases as feasible, not tolerating them because they tend to be mild.
Even mild cases might impose future health and economic burdens. We must adopt the precautionary principle.
That is the lesson we should have learned from Michael Crichton’s infamous Jurassic Park. Lacking dinosaurs, our communities are microbial Jurassic Parks.
They must separate people from a vaccine-escaping virus, for example, via colleges conducting classes remotely.
Omicron is more vaccine-resistant than previous variants. All are evolving toward still greater infectivity, and the pace of this evolution seems to be accelerating. These challenges may overcome careful containment plans, as happened in the real (that is, fictional) Jurassic Park.
A new normal is around the corner. Pharmaceutical firms are developing vaccines tailored to emerging variants within 100 days, and this process already is under way for omicron. The U.S. Army soon will conduct clinical trials of an mRNA vaccine to protect against all coronaviruses, including future variants. To quote Pete Seeger: ”we shall overcome.”
Robert A. Michaels, PhD, CEP

Paper needs better balance of articles

In the Dec. 30 Daily Gazette, Kenneth Truman’s letter (“Paper needs more balanced coverage”) was right on target.
This paper is much too liberal; Truman could not have expressed it better.
How about some articles from Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the mRna vaccines? Or Mollie Hemingway, author of the very excellent books ‘Rigged’ and ‘Justice on Trial.’
Mary Flynn

Act now to prevent, treat cervical cancer

We have the power to get rid of cervical cancer. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Did you know cervical cancer can be prevented with screening and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination? The Cancer Prevention in Action Program (CPiA) would like to share important facts about how to prevent cervical cancer and make it a thing of the past.
Cervical cancer screening tests can find the cells that lead to cancer so they can be removed before cancer grows. Regular screening is recommended from age 21 to 65.
The HPV vaccine prevents most cervical cancers and other cancers caused by HPV. The vaccine is given to boys and girls starting at age 11 or 12 but can be started as early as age 9.
CPiA works to increase cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination rates in our community to get rid of cervical cancer. CPiA helps employers adopt paid time off policies for cancer screening and educates employees on the importance of getting screened.
CPiA educates health care providers, community organizations, parents, and young adults about the benefits of the HPV vaccine.
If you are an employer, health care provider or community-based organization, call CPiA.
Our program can provide education and strategies to help you put cancer prevention into action.
Regular screening and HPV vaccination can reduce, possibly end, cervical cancer. To learn more about how the CPiA Program can help you, call 518-770-6815 or visit
Kelsey Carpe
The writer is health education promotions coordinator, Cancer Prevention in Action Program of Fulton, Montgomery & Schenectady Counties.

Fight misinformation whenever you can

The letter from Dr. Jane Slezak (“Reducing carbon could backfire on us”) in the Dec. 29 Gazette on the necessity of CO2 in plant growth gives us an outstanding example of a few ways to fight misinformation.
We fight misinformation when we spot it, diffusing its power to confuse us.
First, she isolates one element good for plants, ignoring that a regular water supply and comfortable temperature range are also necessary.
Climate change interrupts both of them.
Second, she uses the fallacy of oversimplification by focusing on one single factor.
In his article in a recent American Educator issue, John Cook (an actual expert in climate change), explains that focusing only on CO2 as important for plants to grow is like saying, “Our bodies need calcium, so all we need to eat is ice cream.”
We must all be wary of “fake experts” — those people who seem like that “should” know something but don’t actually work in the area they’re commenting on.
As alarmed as I am that a person with a PhD blithely writes such fact-based and logic-based misinformation, I’m grateful for the chance we all have to become inoculated against these types of messages.
Brenny Campbell
Saratoga Springs

Niskayuna needs to learn from the past

I, as many Niskayuna town residents, would like to remain hopeful that new representation on our town board will focus on what is best for our town leaving partisan politics in our past.
While it is not surprising that Supervisor Puccioni named a fellow Democrat to serve as our deputy supervisor, it is surprising she selected the only one with no town government experience.
A recent article noted that the selection of committee chairs was discussed by all board members and the decisions are non-partisan. This seems questionable.
Typically, all board members chair or co-chair at least one committee unless a town supervisor chooses to deny a board member.
Newly elected Town Board Member Jessica Brennan will be chair of two committees, in addition to her role as deputy supervisor, which likely will be overwhelming.
Newly elected Town Board Member Jason Moskowitz (a Republican), supported heavily by our community with demonstrated outstanding public safety service in Niskayuna, did not receive a chairperson assignment though two positions were available.
Let’s use all of the talents and experience of all our elected officials. Let’s have teamwork at the Niskayuna Town Hall. Haven’t we learned that shared responsibility and oversight is critical?
Diane O’Donnell
The writer served two terms on the Niskayuna Town Board.

Play important news prominently in paper

Getting the first paper of the year is always a pleasure, to be able to see what your neighbors are doing and seeing what important things are happening around the world that made news.
Obviously to The Gazette’s copy editor and possibly to other news media, the Jan. 6 insurrection is a secondary thing. It’s no wonder there is such a difference of opinion around this country as to “is it a threat to democracy,” or was it just a “sightseeing outing” at the Capitol when pages one and five in the Jan. 2 Gazette are about skiing, and the continuation of the blurb from page one winds up on page six.
It just shows where the priorities of some in the media place importance.
If we don’t give this the upper most important spot for our country for this time in history, then we may find ourselves living under a fascist regime, or worse, another civil war. Some in places of power are calling a “divorce” for our country. Please let the real important stuff be front and center and give it the urgency it deserves.
Richard C. Johnson

Misinformation on power line unhelpful

In his Dec. 25 letter (“Follow energy plan on Champlain pipeline”), Christopher Corbett draws unfounded conclusions regarding the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) clean energy transmission line and Hydro-Québec’s ties with First Nations, which demonstrate his misunderstanding of the reality in Quebec.
In 2002, the government of Québec and the Crees signed a historic 50-year agreement on the development of the James Bay region.
Almost 20 years later, Dr. Abel Bosum, former grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, used these words to describe the spirit of this agreement called the Paix des Braves: “In this age of isolation and constant condemnation, it’s important that we never forget what happens when you make your neighbour your friend, a friend that you respect and empower.”
Over the past four decades, our mutual openness has resulted in more than 40 agreements relating to power generation and transmission projects with several Indigenous communities.
As part of its agreement with New York, Hydro-Québec will purchase electricity from the Apuiat wind farm, partially owned by Innu communities in Quebec, as well as enter into a partnership with the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke for joint ownership of the line in Quebec that will connect to the CHPE. These historical initiatives are examples of Hydro-Québec’s commitment to further develop its relationships with Indigenous communities.
Misinformation won’t help us move forward in the fight against the climate crisis. Taking bold collective action now to transition to clean renewable energy across borders with projects like the CHPE will.
Serge Abergel
Montréal, Québec
The writer is Chief Operating Officer at Hydro-Québec.

Covid solutions more complex than shots

In his pro-vaccine piece on covid (“We’re (still) approaching this COVID thing all wrong”) in the Dec. 19 Gazette, Mr. Figliozzi states “The solutions are straightforward and simple. Vaccinate and cooperate.”
If only it were that simple. Many people are refusing them because everything available is still under Emergency Use Authorization (the inserts clearly state that you have the right to accept or refuse the jab); and more and more side effects are becoming known despite censorship. The U.S. covid policy is still a one-size-fits all approach which has been a disaster. Facts and statistics are being manipulated or ignored to promote that narrative.
Success stories in other parts of the world using early intervention with repurposed drugs and supplements have been ignored or censored. Many covid deaths in the United States had comorbidities, begging the question: Did they die OF covid, or WITH covid?
If the United States had led with early intervention combined with vaccines for the most at-risk individuals, hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved. To quote Mr. Figliozzi’s last statement: “You’ve totally missed the point.”
Jim Shear


Online letters

Commenters to online letters who fail to follow rules against name-calling, profanity, threats, libel or other inappropriate language will have their comments removed and their commenting privileges withdrawn.

To report inappropriate online comments, email Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney at [email protected]

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Guy Varoma

Jim Shear you stated a lot of things about Covid without citing who and where it was said …”Facts and statistics are being manipulated or ignored to promote that narrative.” Who is manipulating what facts and what statistics ? Is it some guy on Youtube? Or was it Tucker Carlson? …Anyone can state this or that but when you are called on to show us who, where and when these “facts” as you said….I never usually get an answer or some far right wing website is given like “Revolver News”


Guy, I could not find one fact, not one assertion with evidence backing it up in Mr. Shear’s letter. I had three shots for covid and so has everyone I know. It is a fact that none of them had more than mild sides effects. I know you can’t extrapolate from that small number to the whole population, but at least it is a fact.

More importantly only 5% of the covid deaths are ocurring among the vaccinated, though they are in the majority.

Most covid hospital beds are filled with the unvaccinated.

As you asked whose is manipulating the statistics? What is the goal?

I believe now that irresponsible productions such as Alex Jones’ podcast and even Tucker Carlson’s shows need to be shut down. I think they are mass murderers. As a result of their intentional lies people are dying and I know Carlson is vaccinated, FOS requires vaccination. I don’t know but I would bet Jones is also.

What is their agenda? Trumpian government, money, status, power; they are going to lose.


Jim Shear, you are my hero today! You are spot on about everything you said. Thanks for writing that letter. Saved me the trouble. As for the numbskulls who questioned you here are some “facts” to back him up.

Anthony and Guy, for starters check out the Great Barington Declaration which was signed by more than 10,000 prominent doctors in 2020. Among them Dr. Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford. Also, check out Dr. Robert Malone the inventor of mRNA vaccine technology. Or how about Dr. Harvey Riche or Dr. Peter McCullough. And you are still not satisfied check out Dr. Scott Atlas or Dr. Marc Siegel. And if that doesn’t satisfy you try Dr. Vladimir Zalenko who is a practicing physician downstate in Kyrias Joel. And if you don’t believe doctors, try an investigative reporter Alex Berenson.

The therapeutic medicines are Hydroxichloroquine, Ivermectin, certain steroids like Colchicine ,Fluvoxamine, and the latest to show promise is VIagra among several others. The new treatments from Moderna and Phizer are riddled with side effects and probably dangerous.

Oh and by the way, the CDC has a database called Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System (VAERS). Last that I checked there were over 1 million reported adverse effects reported on it and over 21,000 deaths related to the vaccines.

As for who is manipulating facts and statistics. Try the NIH and the CDC who especially have given instructions to hospitals to report all deaths of people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 even if they actually died of something else as a COVID-19 death. And the inventor of the PCR test which is used to detect SARS-CoV-2
Dr. Kary Mullis says it was never intended for that use. Check him out on YouTube. In addition, that test and the rapid test results give too many false positives. To be fair they also give false negatives.

Where do you get your statitsics from? Oh, no need to answer that. I already know. the fake news.

Alex Jones is a nut job who shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Tucker is not anti-vax. Good for you for your vaccinations. I hope that you don’t get sick from them but the most recent information is that those with three or more shots are more likely to get Omicron than those with less or none at all.


If you can call me a numbskull I guess it is ok for me to call you an empty headed fool as the above post proves. I wonder how Dr. Fauci, NIH, and the CDC has pulled us through so many potential infectious disease crises in the past. By the way, in your list of quack medicines, you forgot to mention two of your orange idols favorites, bleach and getting ultraviolet light inside us somehow.


It is interesting that Tucker Carlson and every employee at FOX has been vaccinated by order of FOX, as have such luminaries as Trump himself and Bill O’Reilly. They promote vaccine hesitancy for political reasons or to please their viewers, presenting vaccination as an issue of choice, not a public health crisis. I guess they don’t think it increases their chance of being infected by omicron. Lord above, how wrong and dangerous can you people be?


For those concerned about inflation, I suggest reading “Biden’s challenge: Finding workers, goods”. p. A4 today’s Gazette:

IT gives factual evidence that Biden and his economic team are implementing actions to increase supply rather than taking the easy way out and limiting buying power through FED activity such as raising interest rates.

One part of the plan is to fight the virus with vaccination/testing requirements to slow the depletion of the workforce through covid illness.

“The efforts include updating ports with money from the $1t infrastructure law, as well as executive actions to increase the number of commercial truckers and plans to increase the domestic production of chips.”

“…investments in child care, families, and health care–which are stalled in the Senate–would relieve supply constraints by making it easier for more parents to work.”

In sum: “We have very strong demand in this economy, and we have constrained supply,” Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers” said. “There’s two ways of going after that imbalance. You can whack the demand side and essentially make people poorer, so that they don’t have the resources to pursue what they want. Or, you can try to expand the supply side–that’s what we’re doing.”


To read an article about what being tough on Russia really means, I suggest “U.S., NATO won’t halt expansion” p. A5

Hint: It doesn’t involve accepting Putin’s word over the C.I.A.’s word or “falling in love” with brutal dictators.

William Marincic

Stephen Splain Here is what most people don’t realize. Gasoline has huge state federal and local taxes included along with an excise tax for road and bridge repair. If the country switches to electric vehicles then our electric bills will go through the roof because those same taxes will be put on our electric bills and don’t think the power companies won’t take advantage of it, how would you like a $1200 electric bill for your home when you don’t even own a car or if you drive a car that runs on gas? All things the lefties won’t tell you. And that’s just the beginning, lithium is a very rare mineral and there really is not a lot of it and it goes into many things besides batteries, that’s going to also go through the roof along with the cobalt being mined with child labor.


As electric vehicles become more dominant, maybe regressive taxes like the ones you pay at the gas pump will be collected differently — not necessarily in a consumer’s electric bill, hopefully with progressive taxes for those who can afford it. Hard to know.

I agree with your comments about lithium which is why research into alternatives is so exciting. What is a problem today could be replaced by something that’s more efficient and more sustainable in the future. Alternative energy is an exciting area to watch. Change can be good if we remember to keep consumers and the planet in mind.


William, Your first sentence(Stephen Splain Here is what most people don’t realize. Gasoline has huge state federal and local taxes included along with an excise tax for road and bridge repair) is the only truth in your reply. What are your sources for the rest of what you posted? As I read every day billions that’s with a B being invested in electric vehicles by large and small companies that train has left the station for fossil fuel vehicles in our future. Will fossil fuel vehicles be around for way beyond our lifetime, you bet, but there future is limited. Why do think many fossil fuel companies are diversifying there holdings now? Take Musk’s investment alone in Tesla as an example of the future.

Again, what is your point?
You’ve got all kinds of grousing and grievances but I see little in the way of solutions from you.


BM, Where were you when the children in Flynt and other parts of America were suffering terribly from lead and other contaminants in our drinking water?

Any child labor should result in action to end it, sanctions on countries that use child labor, and cleaning up our own country, where young immigrant children often labor to provide our produce.

We must also allow more refugee families with children into our country to become the next proud generation of Americans.

We must also stop polluting the air with fossil fuel burning cars so that we lessen the dire consequences of climate change. Yes BM, the polar ice cap is melting, sea levels are rising, storms and wild fires are more frequent, and species are becoming extinct.

Guy Varoma

William all can offer you on your comment on electric cars is:

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.


So many interesting letters today. I really appreciate having a view into what people are thinking, both in the letters and comments here. Whether I agree with people or not, it’s an education. 🙂

Local papers like the Schenectady Gazette are incredibly important to this discourse.

Without them, information about regional issues would be practically nonexistent, leading to shifty moves by those in power without recourse.

The echo chambers of misinformation and paranoia on the internet and social media — as we can see in comments here and in our own behavior (if we’re honest) — would become dominant at an even faster pace. We’d become even meaner, instead of more empathetic to the plights of our neighbors.

Keep up the good work Mark Mahoney and team. Grateful for the Gazette.


I agree, it appears as though Ornamental has been standing more on middle ground with reasoning and logic when expressing views of from both sides. Keep up the good work. Thanks


“If you are not right with God, get right while there is still time.” – “Are we living in a time like Noah’s day?”
Tom Mithen, It would be greatly appreciate if you kept YOUR religion to yourself. – Sadly, along with the unicorn, Noah apparently didn’t consider bringing only logical thinking humans on is Carnival Cruise ship.

William Marincic

Logical thinking humans, Oh the ones that believe a star exploded and everything on Earth just happened to start growing and evolving to perfectly match with everything else. Gotcha….. All of the plants, fruit, and animals just happened to evolve and those plants, fruits, and animals just happened to be the nutrients that a human needed to survive. Bees just happened to evolve and they just happened to be what was needed to pollinate our fruits, vegetables, and plants. Shall I go on?

Guy Varoma

Yes I want to hear more of your ignorance about evolution ….Please go on …Tell me about the one where the guy gets eaten by a whale and lives inside it.

Look up the word “innumeracy”.
Try to understand its meaning, then maybe try to envision what a billion looks like.
But if you approach it with the idea the Earth is 8000 years old, you’re severely handicapped.


Science is real, religious fables are just that.

Thank God, I’m an atheist. 🙃

When considering the incomprehensible complexity and vastness of the universe and what is in it, man is most assuredly ignorant of the what, where, when, and why’s of its creation. For someone to have even the slightest inclination of an answer, let alone profess to have certainty of a specific supreme creator is beyond absurdity.
Believe in what you may. If having faith or religion is a harmless means of making your existence on Earth more comforting, peaceful and serene, I’m all for it, as long as it’s not at the expense of others. But please stop using hypocritical religious manipulation as a tool for destruction and personal gain.
Additionally, I don’t particularly care for any one attempting to plunge their religious beliefs down my throat.


Please don’t go on. Questions for you and Mr. Mithen: What was your God doing for the eternity before he ‘decided’ to create everything?

Is there any hope that instead of repeating the reaction to human sinfulness with a nuclear version of Noah’s flood he will return again as a Man-God and suffer instead, thus settling the debt to Himself and sparing life on Earth?

Doesn’t it make more sense to believe the spark of life co-exists with matter and energy? that it is present throughout the universe and plays out the game of life on the stage of time?

William Marincic

We are all welcome to believe any way we want and your Big Bang Theory is just as preposterous as you say my Christian religion is. One thing I do know for sure, the one thing an atheist in a foxhole surrounded by the enemy does, he prays to God he makes it out alive.

I was raised in a strongly devout Christian family and our family was heavily engaged with the church’s, and our religion’s efforts and beliefs. I still hold some of that within me and am glad I was raised in that environment. I also stepped out of that comfort zone to look at what else this world had to offer and found other religions just as noble as Christianity.
It was about that time I decided no religion had the right to claim to be THE religion of the world (as Christians would have us believe). I also concluded a lot of what the Christian faith taught about history was utter bull puckey, and a lot of what science taught was logical, far more logical than what religions taught.
Science doesn’t have all the answers but science at least evaluates based on empirical evidence and logic. I choose logic and I’m capable of knowing right from wrong on my own.
Frankly there’s far more evidence of extraterrestrial life being real, than a god.

As it happens, I read von Däniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” a long time ago wherein primitive people then ascribed things they didn’t understand to gods.
Surely we’ve evolved past that.

To call everything you don’t understand “God” is truly a lazy way to go through life and as higher-thinking mammals we’re better than that.


We do not know for certain whether or not extraterrestrial life exists. From a logical standpoint it seems it must, but until we have found it we can’t ‘know’.

It is impossible to prove the negative you suggest. Thus far, we assume extraterrestrial life is not god because there is no evidence that it is.

When it descends from the heavens surrounded by angels blowing horns and speaking in a language understood by all people, I’ll be first to say “Look, up in sky, its faster than a plane, more powerful than a train, by god it’s god!”

Until then I assume it will be perhaps similar to us, perhaps different beyond imagining, but nonetheless, bound by the same universal laws we are.


Wrong. You have absolutely no idea as to what I do when confronted with adversity, but be assured praying is not one of them.

Because I don’t use God or religion as a safety net for forgiveness of my “sins”, I believe I am being pushed to be a better man. One inclined to have greater moral character and values, because there is no second chance in life. Just make an honest attempt do it right the first the first time for yourself, those around you and the world we live in. That’s what I believe in.


I had a cancerous kidney removed in 2011. As I went into surgery, a surgery which I might not survive, they asked if I wanted to see a clergyman. I said absolutely not. Actually atheists fear death less than most Christians. We don’t believe there exists a god so evil he would burn our bodies, forcing unbearable agony on us, for eternity.

Your foxhole story is a tired old myth.


Ya know Tony, I just don’t understand how these alt-right conservative Christians can live their lives the way they do if, in actually, they believe in eternal hell.


Ain’t that the truth; and since most of them ignore the moral lessons of Jesus, they better hope it’s not for real. Ouch,ouch!

Guy Varoma

Ya see William back when these stories were created …Religion was science back then. Religion dictated every aspect of those peoples lives. Look what they did to Galileo for daring to say the earth revolved around the sun…All religion is a way to control you. Not until science split from religion and came up with proven facts did we begin to learn. In the scope of the age of the universe we have merely lived just a few minutes since time began. I really don’t what happened 14.5 billion years ago that created our universe. But I do know things don’t change instantly took eons to get us where we are today. this is not the Avengers End Game where one can snap his finger and change the universe as Thanos and Tony Stark did ..That is fiction

Guy Varoma

William what you are is taking a leap of faith…It has no factual basis other than men from 3000 years ago that 3 hairs short of being an ape made up …They were looking for the answer to biggest question in our history ..Why are we here. No one has answered that question with facts yet with certainty, not even science or any religion

William Marincic

Nine different authors wrote the New Testament and most were not in contact with each other yet their stories are almost exactly the same. Believe as you will as will I.

An example of what can happen when allow religion to run the world:

On April 12, 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.

This was the second time that Galileo was in the hot seat for refusing to accept Church orthodoxy that the Earth was the immovable center of the universe: In 1616, he had been forbidden from holding or defending his beliefs. In the 1633 interrogation, Galileo denied that he “held” belief in the Copernican view but continued to write about the issue and evidence as a means of “discussion” rather than belief. The Church had decided the idea that the sun moved around the Earth was an absolute fact of scripture that could not be disputed, despite the fact that scientists had known for centuries that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was right and to clear his name of heresy.

I don’t take all bible stories literally…especially the Old Testament. I follow the red lines, Jesus’s words, for truth. I’d like to live up to that way of being.
I believe there’s something bigger going on…spirituality means there’s a higher purpose to all this…not just happenstance, and then nothingness.


Seneca, a Roman author and philosopher (4 B.C.-A.D. 65) wrote: “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

Rulers have frequently used religion to control the populace. Before books and mass media most rulers allowed only one religion. They used the Church, through its hierarchy and pulpits, to get their message out to the people.

My own belief is that many of the scammers in today’s evangelical churches feel if they can get people to believe their version of Christianity, they can get them to believe anything. For example, even though you, my beloved congregants, are far poorer than I am, you must give me 10% of your earnings so I can dress in style and fly about in my private jet to attend Trump rallies, because he’s fighting for you.


Look up ‘the Jefferson Bible’ for some interesting information. He eliminated the stories of miracles and spirituality but retained the moral lessons of Jesus, much as jclark124 indicated she does.


Just wondering if you know something I don’t: Is jclark124 a “she”, I always assume jclark was a man. Not that it matters.


I’m not sure, possibly because most of the regular bloggers have been males and I just made an erroneous assumption. ~
Perhaps I’m not astute enough to distinguish between the writing style of a man and a woman, if there even is one. Regardless I’m glad you’re a “she”, nice to regularly get a prospective from the “fairer sex”. 🤔 Women have been fighting for equality from the beginning of humanity. Very relevant to todays social discriminatory issues.

I was raised in the 60s & 70s by a feminist, who obviously taught me to be outspoken and opinionated, lol!

William Marincic

Hey Lou do you want to admit that I’m right again that JClark is a female as I said she was?


There was absolutely no relevance to anything in regards to jclark being a woman and posting on this forum other than you makings a childish, I told you so, remark about a non-issue.

BTW, It’s a lowercase j, not a uppercase J. – Have you no respect for the lady?


What possible reaction to the tweet put out by the Texas Republican Party is possible but ‘shame on you’? Text of the tweet to the people of Texas:

“If you can wait in line for a covid test, you can wait in line to vote.”

I am at a loss for words.

Anthony, I will look that up.
About standing in line…guess they overlooked how long Americans waited in line in 2020. Some for 3–7 hours, which is despicable in this nation. A pandemic comes once in a lifetime, but we should have easy voting down by now.


Just type the quote on google and it will come right up. I really would like to hear your reaction once you verify the quote.


That one is interesting but I thought you wanted to verify the Texas Republican tweet:

“If you can wait in line for a covid test, you can wait in line to vote.”

I think it reals a great deal about the rot at the core of the Republican party.

But am completely disgusted with evangelicals or any “religious” person idolizing 45. There’s nothing Christian about him.
And I can’t stand stand others shoving their beliefs down our throats.


January 8th, 2022
Just wondering if you know something I don’t: Is jclark124 a “she”, I always assume jclark was a man. Not that it matters.

I intentionally did not add a question mark. Additionally I added. “Not that it matters”.

William Marincic

But it still was posed as a question just because you didn’t add a question mark Does not mean it wasn’t a question, more alternative facts.


I am amazed by all the definitions and knowledge displayed on here today about evolution and religion. Asking a question I have had since becoming aware of the state of the world and the US in particular. Without a deep search has there ever been a conflict in recorded history that didn’t involve religion? Repressing one, domination and elevation of mine over yours, eliminating one and the humans who practice it.
One I have never heard of is Anthony’s being a atheist trying to do any of the above. There have been religions trying to eliminate atheists, but the other way around?
To get political, there is definitely a “religious” segment to “conservative” thinking which has gone way beyond what William said “We are all welcome to believe any way we want”. Like many parts of the world “conservatives” here in US want all of us to believe in there beliefs and do as they say. Look around the world and see what is repressing minorities, it’s not liberals. The oppressed and prosecuted are usually ethnic and usually is of a different religion or worships a different “god” than the oppressor.

Guy Varoma

You are correct most wars were religious wars…But not all…Our Civil war comes to mind …But both the North and the South both thought God was on their side….If only people would truly follow the teachings of Jesus you would have never seen Trump elected. If there is a god he certainly does not control any of our fates. If he did a few People on this forum would surely suffer his wrath for their hate and racism they have shown


Our own revolutionary war was based primarily on issues of taxation and forced support of the British soldiers occupying the colonies. There was a religious element in the sense that many Americans rejected the quite catholic Anglican Church, with its bishops and archbishops and rigid orthodoxy.


I believe fanaticism is at the root of all wars. Religion, in the broader sense, can take many forms. Communism has a ‘dogma’ that true believers must adhere to: History has been a series of class struggles, and the working class will win the last struggle between themselves and the capitalist class. They will form a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat(worker)’, and create a classless utopia wherein everyone will work for the communal good and take as they need. As with most religions this kind of total devotion and belief is by its very nature intolerant.

Nationalism as promoted in a fascist state is a form of religion. In this version of history the struggle for supremacy has been among the races. If the ‘Aryan’ race can maintain its superiority through not mixing with lesser races, Blacks, Jews, Slavs, mongrels, they will win the struggle for control over the world and put the inferior races to work while they develop the perfect Aryan culture. They must accept the “leadership principle” and pledge absolute loyalty to the dictator of the country. Fuhrer means leader in German. Only then can the “herrenvolk” (higher people) realize their destiny.

Of course innumerable wars have been fought over traditional religious claims. Bottom line, people who see the world as a global community, recognize the basic right of all humans, and follow science, thinking freely, are our best hope. In my opinion anyway.

Fanaticism is the root of all evil.

William Marincic

All I can say is this the fact that lots of Democrats are atheists and especially those who post here that believe that their ancestors were Monkeys, well that answers a lot of the questions that I had.

William Marincic

When I was 16 years old I had a girlfriend that owned a spider monkey, every time I went into her room with her the spider monkey would bang against the cage spit and masturbate. That tells me all I need to know about monkeys.


Perhaps the monkey felt he had some sort of a kindred spirit with you and was turned on by your appearance. Take it as a compliment.

This is exactly why you’ll get mostly snippy responses from me (which you find oh so insulting). You won’t engage in substantive debate. You’ll mock the scientific establishment and everything much smarter people than you or I have discovered with crap like “believe that their ancestors were Monkeys”.
You haven’t answered to your griping about electric cars with any ideas, you clearly don’t understand the huge numbers representing the amount of time life has had to evolve and you clearly have no interest in it.

Well champ, keep posting your mindless drivel here and insulting everyone else’s intelligence and expect to get abuse in kind.

Sheesh, what a way to go through life! Your god must see you people as wasted opportunities.


Two things regarding heaven and hell:

One – If there actually was a hell, that’s where I’d want to go because my preference is to be with my friends and relatives.

Two – If by chance William ends up in his heaven he’s in for a rude awakening. He’ll get to see his all his ancestors in this huge room, I guess??? Perhaps something like Yankee stadium. Then, surprise!! When the lineage goes back far enough, he’ll be having beers hanging out with “monkeys”.

William Marincic

When I end up in heaven I’m pretty sure that my ancestors will not be monkeys. But I will rejoice that I made it there.

Because you’ve accepted Jesus as your lord and saviour, right?

I’ve been asked numerous times in my life if I’ll accept Jesus as my lord and saviour, and I was told that if I didn’t I wouldn’t go to heaven. I said that doesn’t sound very Christ-like to me.

These days it sounds exactly like what you need to do to be a good Republican too. Exactly actually, except “Jesus” now likes to sexually assault women.


Wouldn’t it be interesting to know the religion or what god (besides the gold statue one at the C-pac meeting of the Orange one )the insurrectionists worshiped that told them to spread feces and urinate and to to hang and kill leaders thru out the seat of our goverment on 1/6. The horned guy believed in what god?

Guy, Thought many Southern slave and property owners presented there case for succession as there god given rights to own slaves? Maybe wrong, but they used it to fire up the poor southerners(white) to sign up and oppose the North who was taking away there “god given rights”like they someday were going to own slaves they would be entitled to.


If any serious people out there want some real life proof of evolution, type ‘the industrial moth’ on google search:

Before the industrial revolution there was a species called the peppered moth in England. As the industrial revolution progressed and tree trunks and buildings were darkened by soot, a new moth became more and more common in England, especially in industrial cities such as Manchester. It was black and blended in with the soot covered buildings making it more difficult for predator birds to see it.

This is evolution through natural selection. Modern scientists have actually located the mutation in the gene sequence of the peppered moth that resulted in the darker industrial moth.

William Marincic

Or maybe the moth was always there but took advantage of the soot covered buildings. Which is what I suspect is true.


BM, you suspect many things are true that have no support in reality and in fact can easily be proven not to be true.

Bill Wemple

If you haven’t seen ‘Midnight Mass’ on Netflix, It’s worth a watch. One of the best monologues in the movie was when the character Erin was dying and discussing her end of life and God:

Myself. My self. That’s the problem. That’s the whole problem with the whole thing. That word, “self.” That’s not the word. That’s not right, that isn’t…How did I forget that? When did I forget that? The body stops a cell at a time, but the brain keeps firing those neurons. Little lightning bolts, like fireworks inside and I thought I’d despair or feel afraid, but I don’t feel any of that. None of it. Because I’m too busy. I’m too busy in the moment. Remembering. Of course. I remember that every atom in my body was forged in a star. This matter, this body is mostly empty space after all, and solid matter? It’s just energy vibrating very slowly why there is no me. There never was. The electrons of my body mingle and dance with the electrons of the ground below me and the air I’m no longer breathing. And I remember there is no point where any of that ends and I begin. I remember I am energy. Not memory. Not self. My name, my personality, my choices, all came after me. I was before them and I will be after, and everything else is pictures, picked up along the way. Fleeting little dreamlets printed on the tissue of my dying brain. And I am the lightning that jumps between. I am the energy firing the neurons, and I’m returning. Just by remembering, I’m returning home. And it’s like a drop of water falling back into the ocean, of which it’s always been a part. All things… a part. You, me and my little girl, and my mother and my father, everyone’s who’s ever been, every plant, every animal, every atom, every start, every galaxy, all of it. More galaxies in the universe than grains of sand on the beach. And that’s what we’re talking about when we say “God.” The cosmos and its infinite dreams. We are the cosmos dreaming of itself. It’s simply a dream that I think is my life, every time. But I’ll forget this. I always do. I always forget my dreams. But now, in this split-second, in the moment I remember, the instant I remember, I comprehend everything at once. There is no time. There is no death. Life is a dream. It’s a wish. Made again and again and again and again and again and again and on into eternity. And I am all of it. I am everything. I am all. I am that I am.


I have, for a long time, believed that life is basically a dream. When you’re sleeping and not dreaming you’re dead. When you’re sleeping and dreaming it’s as real as any reality ever experienced, therefore I surmise that when you’ve awake you are just experiencing another dream.

Too bad we’re getting a few nightmares on this forum.


I saw ‘Midnight Mass’. It was fascinating. I remember being really touched by the final monologue you have posted. It reflects exactly what I believe. I don’t have any reason to convince other people it is true. I don’t know if it is true. I believe it because it makes sense to me and is comforting.


Since we were speaking of monkeys earlier, thought I’d mention there was a movie in 1951 ( Bedtime with Bonzo) that starred two monkeys, one was a chimpanzee the other was ex-president.

Anti-maskers, rebels without clues, these are your idiot people. No matter that you might have the jabs, your all out of the same swamp, the same Trump Swamp. Maybe it’s time to start spreading a different message? Before one of your brethren kills someone?

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) — Staff at Families Together of Orange County said Friday they hoped the judicial system ensures employees and other health care workers are protected by the law following a violent attack at their clinic at the end of December.

Families Together of O.C. CEO Alexander Rossel said harassment at the facility over the last two years coming from people not agreeing with COVID-19 testing and vaccinations is nothing new.

“People yelling across the street, some other ones filming, some other ones chasing our vans,” Rossel said, adding that it never got to the point of people being physically aggressive with employees. But that all changed the morning of Dec. 30 with a violent attack at the Tustin location caught on security cameras.
Staff said the man seen on video wearing a white T-shirt arrived outside their mobile vaccine clinic in the parking lot.
According to Tustin police, the suspect is 43-year-old Thomas Apollo of Poway.
Apollo grew angrier after a security guard asked him to wear a mask, accusing workers of being complicit in a COVID-19 “hoax” and saying he was “not a sheep.”

“In the recording, as a worker approaches the suspect, Apollo throws his first blow, hitting an employee,” ABC Channel 7 reported Saturday. “Others, including patients, step in to help as one worker pinned under Apollo takes several punches. That employee, who didn’t want to go on camera, was still recovering Friday and is back to work after receiving emergency medical care.”

Parsia Jahanbani, one of the clinic staff members, told the Los Angeles Times it took five people, including two patients, to pry Apollo off the victim.

“It took seven police officers roughly 15 minutes to restrain Apollo, who was ‘irate and shouting profanities,’ Jahanbani said,” according to the Times.

Alexander Rossel, chief executive of Families Together, said Apollo “was shocked with stun guns about three times and that the police were left with scratches on their arms from the encounter.”

“The medical assistant was taken to the emergency room and returned to work Tuesday looking like ‘a boxer after a fight,'” according to Rossel.

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