Enforcement focus on repeat drunken drivers is welcome
Re the Sunday Gazette’s April 7 story, “New rules take away licenses for repeat DWIs”: I first want to thank the Gazette for doing this story on such an important issue.
I was stopped for drunken driving 39 years ago. That was my wake-up call. Since then I have remained sober.
I completely understand that a person can make a mistake, but I also believe that something has to be done to make our highways safer. In many cases, the first DWI escalates to two, then three, until we finally ask, “when will it stop?”
Many people have forgotten that driving is a privilege, not a right. As for the attorneys who are saying they don’t know what to say to their clients, how about, “if you drink, don’t drive.” Secondly, maybe they should tell them to stop drinking.
Every time a person gets behind the wheel drunk or impaired, there is no telling what might happen. If your driver’s license is important to you, please consider this before you choose to drink and drive.
Edward G. Biittig Sr.
Tax-free on-line sales undermine local economies
I agree with your April 5 editorial, “Tax online sales just like local ones. [I would propose] a national sales tax on Internet sales. But how much? I would suggest 10 percent — 8 percent for the states and 2 percent for Washington to supervise the Internet.
My reasoning is this: Internet sales are fast eating away at local and big-box sales. I have nightmares of suburban malls going bankrupt as tenants flee. The entire national economy could be undermined.
The retail book trade has fallen victim to the Internet, where one store serves all at discount prices. On a local radio talk show, a caller raved about a dot.com shoe store which advertises free shipping, free returns and no sales tax on its website. The moderator happily learned that his favorite sneakers were marked down from $150 to $90. They carry every imaginable brand.
Who would not want to save money? But this new system will eliminate any surviving shoe stores which also provide discounts.
It should be no surprise in the face of this revolution that two venerable retail giants, J.C. Penney and Sears, are in trouble. Well, Sears began as a precursor to the Internet, as a cataloger, and may have to return to its roots. But what will it do with all the stores and the debt used to build them? Where will their employees find jobs? Where will local tax revenue come from?
The simplicity of avoiding traffic jams by ordering goods online and then having them delivered tax- and shipping-free is obvious. It’s a modern-day version of smuggling. But such a system will destroy the economy.
I should think the Commerce Department would be on the case.
Character issues at root of teen promiscuity
Recent articles regarding the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only sex education and medications [being given] to girls under the age of 17 to protect against pregnancy don’t address the underlying needs of the teens who are the focus of the attention.
Sadly, sexual promiscuity has become a substitute for real intimacy, not only among teens but in our culture as a whole. Highlighting, in a schoolroom setting, birth control and ways to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted disease only numb people to the very real damage that is done to individuals when they enter into shallow, self-centered relationships.
The goal of abstinence-only education is to preserve the whole person and to give dignity and special respect to sexual intimacy.
Additionally of concern is the recent move to make the “morning after”-type drug, which is part of a highly regulated industry in our country, available to young women without any counseling or professional support. Medications that can affect a person’s health and may involve other unforeseen hazards and long-term complications are best applied with caution and in consultation with a physician, and not with the predictable panic that may accompany a casual sexual encounter.
Ultimately, efforts to promote solutions to the rapid spread of STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] and teenage pregnancy without strengthening the character of the individuals involved will only lead to more destructive behaviors and disease.
Levity appreciated for heavy-duty editorial
I just want you to know that I appreciated the reference to “The Sound of Music” in the April 6 editorial headline, “How do you solve a problem like Korea?”.
That kind of thing improves the whole day in spite of the serious subject. It did not fall on deaf ears.
Tonko a waffler over insurance exchanges
Re April 3 article, “Credits to help many to pay for health plans”: This article explains that 50,000 people in the Capital Region will be able to get federal cash subsidies from Obamacare to buy private health insurance.
Families whose income is from $32,000 to $94,000 are eligible for subsidy. These insurance plans will be offered through the Obamacare exchanges that New York is creating. The exchange will be a marketplace where consumers can shop for insurance, and companies will compete for the business. Ron Pollak of Families USA says these exchanges are a game-changer for people trying to buy health insurance.
One most interesting comment in the article is Rep. Paul Tonko’s statement that the private insurance exchanges are a free-market solution to drive down the cost of health insurance. He states that these measures go a long way to bend the cost curve, with healthier people paying less for health care.
What an amazing turnabout for Tonko. He has been a very vocal opponent of Rep. Paul Ryan’s Republican plan to reduce costs in Medicare. Ryan’s plan for Medicare is exactly the same as the plan in Obamacare — giving new Medicare recipients a payment to purchase their own private health insurance.
Ryan claims that competition among insurance companies would drive down Medicare costs. Tonko has opposed this use of the free marketplace for Medicare and said it would end Medicare. Now he favors it for the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Is Tonko’s stand hypocritical or just political?
Killing people is never anything to joke about
On April 9, your “Real Life Adventures” on the cartoon page was about a boss giving [his employee] a “lousy evaluation.” The solution was to purchase a predator drone.
To me the message was, kill the boss. That is the same as going after him with an AR-15.
Very poor taste, sending the wrong message.
Keep focus on women’s problems in military
Re April 7 article, “For assaulted female vets, new hope”: The American Association of University Women (AAUW) commends The Daily Gazette, reporter Sara Foss and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for bringing attention to the abuses that women face in the military.
AAUW has been in the forefront of this endeavor by presenting the Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Invisible War,” at the Schenectady Public Library, free and open to the public. The film exposed the sexual assault that women endure in the military and their inability to obtain justice. Presently, the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund is providing legal support to three of the women featured in the film.
In March the federal government announced it had completed its review of new Defense Department regulations for preventing and responding to sexual assault cases in the military. The new provisions include the creation of a Sexual Assault Advisory Council at the Defense Department to oversee enforcement guidelines, clarifying reporting responsibilities, and an option allowing victims to report crimes confidentially — a small step forward.
AAUW members are appalled at what still happens to women in this day and age, and are hopeful that this will bring new focus to this important issue so these women will no longer be invisible in the eyes of the military and society.
The writers are co-presidents of the AAUW Schenectady branch.
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