State can’t run canal system right, so should abandon it
Re the Dec. 5 article on the high cost of repairs to the state canal system due to damage caused by Tropical Storms Irene and Lee last year:
First of all, who is responsible for the incredible incompetence in canal operations that led to all of last year’s damage? As demonstrated by the preparations for Superstorm Sandy, raising the gates at the locks can and would have prevented most, if not all, of the damage sustained last year. Thankfully, it would appear that lessons were learned, but at a very high price. Shouldn’t someone be held accountable?
Second, why does New York state continue to operate the canal? Does the high cost of operations, maintenance and repairs (funded by our Thruway tolls) justify these expenditures?
I live close by the canal and only see pleasure craft using it, no barge traffic. Pleasure boats could still use the river without the locks, due to the many marinas, with very little inconvenience. Has anyone in our incompetent state government even looked at the numbers to see what the savings might be if the canal were shut down?
In these precarious fiscal times, taxpayers are owed this kind of evaluation. We might even find that the Thruway system would be self-sufficient!
Running fatal crash pics insensitive to survivors
The very worst moment in your life is finding out you have just lost a person you love. The second worst is opening your newspaper and seeing the vehicle all smashed and mangled on the front page and then turning on your television and seeing it played over and over.
What in God’s name makes this necessary?
I lost my beloved aunt in a freak car/truck accident back in 1976, and my precious 16-year-old niece five years ago to a bad car accident. What a painful and unforgiving sight that is. I can still see that image in my mind, and it still takes my breath away.
I can only guess that the sensationalism sells newspapers and draws viewers to the TV stations. People are naturally curious as to what happened but it is certainly not necessary to splatter pictures on the front page for all to see. And the same goes for the television stations showing the horrific accident scene as it unfolds.
If anyone thinks the shock value of seeing an accident is going to prevent them from happening, they are wrong. The ones who are deeply affected by it are the ones who know the person involved.
Displaying the pictures is a macabre reminder of a great loss and is a very painful experience that adds to the deep sense of loss you are already living through.
I wish you would stop this practice.
Entitlements sent us over the cliff already
Listening to politicians talk about the “fiscal cliff” would be comical if it weren’t so deadly serious.
Federal revenue for 2013 is projected to be $2.9 trillion. Of that, more than $2.6 trillion will be spent on mandated [programs] and interest on the debt. This leaves less than $300 billion for “discretionary” spending, the majority of which is military.
If we were to eliminate all discretionary spending, it would take more than 50 years to pay off the debt. Having no military for half a century is, of course, unthinkable.
We can tax the rich. Let’s tax them at 100 percent. Take it all. Then you’ll have enough money to run the government for almost three months. Then what? You can’t tax the rich any more, you’ve already taken everything they have.
The only solution is to reduce mandated spending (Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, etc.). This, of course, is political suicide for any politician foolish enough to propose it.
And now they talk about the fiscal cliff? I’ve got news for you, folks. We’ve already gone over the cliff. And it’s only a matter of time [before] we are smashed on the rocks below.
Energy crisis talk turned some heads around
I am thankful to the League of Women Voters, the Schenectady County Public Library, the Capital Region Energy Forum, and [physicist and photovoltaic solar cell expert] George Possin for the Nov. 28 presentation in the McChesney Room, “Oil/Gasoline Depletion: Crisis of the 21st Century — The end of transportation as we know it?”
It was an inclusive presentation on energy for our future.
Mr. Possin spoke to a packed house, which was a clear indication of the number of people concerned about our future energy resources. It was an in-depth program, because Mr. Possin answered thoughtful questions for 45 minutes following his talk. In addition, he gave us online resources to review.
I came away believing that we need to make decisions about our energy program using science, not politics. The talk underscored which energies will have more benefit, and in the process, make sure to prevent environmental damage.
I learned that there will be no single answer to our energy needs. It will not be easy, and there are no simple answers.
It was a truly engrossing program, probably because Mr. Possin communicated the stark reality of our future energy situation. It was apparent to many of us that we are compelled to take some action, now.
Don’t suppress voters’ rights in 46th District
In the general election Nov. 6, some states like Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida attempted to suppress the voters’ right to cast their ballots. In Pennsylvania, the Republicans openly said the new laws to make it more difficult for the citizens to vote were directly aimed at defeating President Obama.
Currently, it appears that a similar situation exists in New York’s 46th Senatorial District. The Republicans gerrymandered this new district to assure that their candidate, George Amedore, wins. Out of nowhere, Cecilia Tkaczyk conducts a grass-roots campaign to successfully challenge Mr. Amedore. It is now in the courts for one judge to determine if some absentee ballots are valid.
The vast majority of these ballots from Ulster County, Tkaczyk’s stronghold, have been questioned by the Republicans. Hopefully, the judge will favor on the side of the voter. Let democracy speak.
Too many hidden fees bleed 401(k) investors
A major untold scandal is the transition from pensions to 401(k) plans, a gold mine for Wall Street, managing $3 trillion in “defined contribution plans” and all the fees involved with those plans.
“An ordinary American household with two working adults will cough up almost $155,000 in 401(k) fees over a lifetime,” according to CNN Money. Arguing that investors can’t consistently beat the market, economist Burton Malkiel says that “a blindfolded monkey throwing darts at a newspaper’s financial pages could select a portfolio that would do just as well as one carefully selected by experts.”
The dreaded federal government might offer as competition the nonprofit management of 401(k) funds. At a minimum, absolute transparency should require disclosure of all 401(k) fees. Obviously Wall Street lobbyists are fighting to prevent transparency.
Why kill the cash cow when you can milk it for a lifetime?
Richard Moody Jr.
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