Solar makes a heckuva lot more sense than fossil fuel
Re the Sept. 2 letter from Thomas Donohue, alleging that New York state is wasting money subsidizing solar energy installations, there are two sides to every story.
With solar energy, New York state is subsidizing a safe, clean and healthy source of power. Currently our government spends billions of dollars subsidizing fossil and nuclear energy.
What are the actual costs of fossil and nuclear fuels? For our military to maintain the supply? For the environmental damage by fossil fuel mines, wells, pipelines, spills? For health costs, including asthma and even deaths? To store spent nuclear fuel and insure their facilities against liability?
If we paid the actual costs, we could not afford them.
Once a solar system is paid for, the energy produced over its 40-year or longer expected life is free. Fossil fuel energy costs will only go up.
Solar energy is usually generated on-site without other costs. Any comparisons should be against the entire cost of fossil fuels, including delivery charges, taxes and fees.
Significantly more carbon dioxide is generated in the manufacture of hydro dams and nuclear power plants than the minor amount in solar power.
Solar energy systems provide 100 percent of the energy for our homes. Last year we generated 2,500 kilowatt hours of excess electricity. We now use the excess in our 2012 Nissan Leaf.
In lieu of using batteries, we pay $16.54 per month to National Grid for a grid connection. We estimate saving between $3,500 and $4,000 per year.
Our house, as well as others in the Capital Region, will be on the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s Green Buildings Open House tour on Oct. 13. Go to “Our Energy Independence Community” website at www.OEIC.us/Tour for information.
Joanne and Paul Coons
Personalities shouldn’t influence voters’ choice
Which candidate has your vote in the upcoming presidential race? What influenced your decision? Do you support [GOP presidential candidate] Mitt Romney because he shares the same religious beliefs and family values as you or because you agree with his political stand on health care reform?
As a campaign strategy, the candidates have been publicizing their background and family life as a way to increase their likability. We all want to elect the person that most resembles the stereotypical image of an all-American president, because that’s what we expect.
The issue is that we’re being blindsided by personal qualities of the candidates and what their image is rather than focusing on the issues that our country needs to address, such as health care reform, education and unemployment.
The election is quickly approaching, and it’s time for the candidates to take a stand and voice their plans post-election, rather than try to impress viewers with their personalities.
Photo IDs unneeded, since voter fraud is nil
In response to James P. Kirby’s Aug. 31 letter asking, “What’s the big deal about photo ID for voting?” I’ll tell him.
Until one looks at its deeper implications, requiring a photo ID to vote may sound like a good idea. But let’s look at the history of voting in this country. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark piece of legislation, outlawed discriminatory practices that for years had kept many Americans, mostly blacks, from voting. Specifically, it prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure ... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”
Until that time, literary tests had been used by some states to prevent African-Americans from voting. With the return of photo ID requirements, we have some states finding a new way to disenfranchise poor, black and elderly voters. Many of these people simply do not have a driver’s license, which has become the major form of photo ID in this country.
What is especially outrageous is that those who continue to use the examples Kirby did, fail to show where high voter fraud has ever been a problem, and in fact, cases of voter ID fraud are virtually non-existent. The “bad guys” may rob you, burglarize your home, steal from your bank account, or, as in the cases he mentioned, some might even try to pick up your library book, your drugs at the pharmacy, buy alcohol illegally, or obtain other services not entitled to them. But they do not tend to vote illegally.
Anyone who is going to commit a crime is highly unlikely to commit that crime in the voting booth. Rather, we know that it is a ploy by some white, middle class and wealthy voters to keep the poor, elderly and black citizens — voters who tend to vote Democratic rather than Republican — from voting.
Kirby states that photo IDs are required for everyday activities and must be required for voting to protect the integrity and validity of the voting booth. I say that men and women have fought and died for our right to vote, and we must fight to protect the right of all citizens to vote and choose our leaders. We must not deny that right to anyone under the guise of assuming that voter fraud is a major crime when all studies prove it simply is not.
Cutting government will slow economic recovery
What none of the budget deficit hawks are talking about is what happens to the employees who are cut from the budget when the public sector contracts.
They will collect unemployment checks, apply for food stamps and Medicaid, they will buy few discretionary consumer goods and they will pay minimal taxes.
We are led to believe by budget hawks that magically, the private sector is going to generate millions of new jobs to absorb the displaced public-sector workers. Each million dollars of reduced spending for public employees equals four-plus lost jobs; cut $1 trillion from the debt and that equals 4 million man years of labor, e.g. 1 million people working for four years. This doesn’t include the multiplier effect, either — positive when the bureaucracy grows or negative when it contracts.
As the public sector contracts, fewer consumer goods will be purchased, meaning that employers might even lay off workers. The government will collect fewer taxes and states will be left to pick up additional Medicaid and unemployment insurance costs.
Austerity will put us in the poorhouse faster and longer than goosing public-sector spending until the private sector recovers.
Richard Moody Jr.
Romney has got to be better than Obama
On Nov. 6, Americans will decide who will run this country. We can all agree that we cannot continue on this path. We have given the current administration four years to get the job done.
This is the first time in American’s history that our children will not be better off than their parents. I am so fearful for my children and what the future holds for them. We are a broken country and need to change the direction we are in.
I truly believe we only have one shot at fixing this mess, or American may never recover. We need to give [GOP presidential candidate Mitt] Romney and [GOP vice presidential candidate Paul] Ryan a chance. Can it get any worse? I don’t believe so.
Ethics breach should cost Silver his job
I agree with Eileen Gallo’s Sept. 2 letter regarding [Assembly Speaker] Sheldon Silver. Laws and rules must apply to all citizens.
Unfortunately, many of our local, state and federal lawmakers seem to be “above the law.” Misconduct should not be tolerated; when it does happen, our money is used to cover it up.
The governor advocates ethics reform. What are his thoughts about Mr. Silver using over $100,000 of taxpayer funds as hush money to cover up assault and misconduct?
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