If you are a voter in this country, you should speak English
Re Robin Schnell’s April 1 letter, “English-only voting rule doesn’t quite make sense”: I am astounded that, she being a teacher and all, she is apparently unaware that one of the requirements of becoming a U.S. citizen is to be capable of speaking its official language: English.
If you stop to think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Unless you go somewhere near the Canadian or Mexican border, all of our traffic signs are printed in English, at least the ones with words on them. You know, ones like “Stop,” “Yield,” “Wrong Way” — silly little insignificant things like that. So are emergency signs, things like “Keep Out,” “Danger” and “Ambulance Entrance.”
As to Schnell’s suggestion that anyone voting on matters concerning the Middle East should learn Arabic or Hebrew, their ability to speak Arabic in a vote conducted on American soil, in an American building, by English-speaking people, is irrelevant. Now, an understanding of the issue they are voting on would make sense, but what you suggest is like suggesting that, before anyone can decide what car to buy, they’d better be fluent in Honda and Volkswagen.
Should people be able to know the realities of things they are voting on? Absolutely. Voting on something you are uneducated on is a good way to accidentally cast a vote against something you believe in.
However, Schnell’s making that argument doesn’t help her side, but rather hurts it. In order to be able to take advantage of the different sources of education in our country, one must be able to actually understand the language it is presented in, which in this country is — you guessed it! — primarily English. Or perhaps she would care to foot the bill to have every pamphlet, every newscast, and every voter instruction card printed up in 800 different languages.
No one is suggesting that people who speak other languages can’t be educated people, or intelligent ones. However, if I moved to the Middle East, you’d best believe I would be expected to learn the language spoken by the majority of the population. No reason people can’t do that here, as well.
Fracking’s costs may well exceed its benefits
We only need look at our neighbor to understand why we distrust that government will protect our water. [New York Times Nov. 2, “Pennsylvania report left out data on poisons in water near gas site.”]
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests for 24 metals, only eight of which were reported. A whistleblower, [a] scientist from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, revealed the incomplete study before a court. This, from a lawsuit claiming that natural gas extraction and storage of fracking wastewater had contaminated drinking water and sickened seven plaintiffs.
Professor John Schwartz of Ithaca College estimates the potential gain from gas drilling in New York state would be $1.1 billion annually, $22 billion over 20 years. This figure doesn’t account for tax burdens from explosions, fires, accident cleanups, contamination of air, soil and water, environmental damage, infrastructure damage, and human health costs.
Proven gain from tourism, farm, dairy, outdoor sports, hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, grapes and wine is $20.87 billion annually — $418 billion over 20 years. That’s 19 times the possible gain from speculative gas drilling.
Traditional New York state industries provide millions of jobs, which high-volume hydraulic fracturing will largely destroy. Who stands to gain from gas industrialization? Not New Yorkers!
If you’re against nuclear, you must be for fracking
Citing safety concerns, Gov. Cuomo wants to close the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants when their licenses expire in 2013 and 2015.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s [NRC] estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Indian Point was: Reactor 2, one in 30,303; Reactor 3, one in 10,000, according to an NRC study published in August 2010. MSNBC.com reported, based on the NRC data, that “Indian Point nuclear reactor No. 3 has the highest risk of earthquake damage in the country ...”
The 2,000 megawatts of missing electrical generation for New York City could come from coal, but won’t there be overwhelming pressure to use “clean, cheap” natural gas?
Those of you opposing nuclear power practically guarantee a wholesale increase in the use of natural gas for providing electricity to New York City; gas turbines have a fast construction phase. This will lead to massive pressure to allow fracking in upstate regions.
How could Gov. Cuomo oppose both nuclear power and fracking on a national stage when President Obama and Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz both are in favor of fracking? “Drill baby, drill” is the mantra of the Democrats!
Richard Moody Jr.
Arming more people wrong response to crime
The March 30 AP article, “In Tucson, critics pan plan to give guns for protection,” indicated that members of the Armed Citizen Project collected over $12,000 to buy shotguns and sell them with firearms training for $400 to individuals in Tucson.
The neighborhoods targeted experience car thefts, illegal drug sales and shootings, so the Armed Citizen Project members want to arm individuals, without background checks, to increase home protection. The use of [the] $12,000 in donations to buy shotguns and sell them to individuals living in crime-ridden areas seems to be a vigilante response to protect law-abiding residents from criminal activities.
Shotguns will not solve the social and economic problems in neighborhoods where the greedy created the growing rich-poor economic abyss and the global recession. There are better, more peaceful ways.
The lawmen in Saratoga Springs are assisting their school district with a policing service to protect students and teachers. Cooperation and the use of democracy — by residents, business owners, community services agencies, lawmen, politicians and crime victims — to develop a community-oriented policing plan to confront the arrogant and inconsiderate punks bullying our neighbors is needed more than shotguns.
Double coupon flap no big deal in context
I am writing regarding the Feb. 27 article about Price Chopper facing a $100,000 fine over a coupon flap. It’s too bad about the situation, since Price Chopper does so many great things for our community.
I, too, was confused months ago about the double-coupon offer, which in hindsight should have clearly stated that it was only for “Up thru 99 cents.” Since then, though, my Glenville Price Chopper has honored doubling the whole $1 coupon deal when offered.
Thinking the same situation would be at Shop Rite, I recently drove the extra distance to the Niskayuna Shop Rite to take advantage of what I thought were some double $1 coupon offers, and also to buy two other special sales items. When I got to the store, the two sale items were not available, and when at the cash register, I found that they only double “Up thru 99 cents,” therefore, negating my so-called “smart” purchases and the cost of driving the extra distance.
One other appreciation of Price Chopper is that, to my pleasant surprise, when I recently went to fill an antibiotic prescription, there was no charge! Apparently, Price Chopper offers this free service for about seven antibiotics. What a nice thing! It’s hard enough when families have unexpected doctor bills due to illness, but then they often have unexpected costs burdened on them to fill a prescription. Thank you, Price Chopper! You are a good neighbor!
Albany Med a leader in catheter heart care
In response to the March 25 AP article [“Fixes replace heart surgery”] on The Daily Gazette front page that described new options for catheter-based heart care procedures, I thought it was important to inform readers that some of the innovative procedures that allow for quicker recovery times and less scarring are available close to home.
Albany Medical Center initiated catheter-delivered valve replacement over a year ago and has successfully treated more than 70 area residents who had no other local option for care. We also offer a procedure that delivers — through a catheter — a patch able to plug a hole in the heart.
These are among a wide variety of minimally invasive approaches such as mitral valve repairs and bypass surgery we employ to help patients as part of our commitment to making the latest technology and procedures available right here.
Edward V. Bennett
The writer is chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Albany Medical Center.
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