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Apologist for gov’t snooping should turn over passwords

Apologist for gov’t snooping should turn over passwords

*Apologist for gov’t snooping should turn over passwords *Let teachers do jobs without Common Core *

Apologist for gov’t snooping should turn over passwords

In response to Mr. Richard Alvarez’s June 24 letter, “As long as personal info isn’t abused, it’s OK for gov’t to snoop”): Mr. Alvarez must live in a different nation than the rest of us. Last I checked, the Fourth Amendment protects our citizens from unlawful search and seizure. No warrant, no wiretap.

Mr. Alvarez draws a parallel between the mass collection of the data of innocent citizens and a “failure to take seriously the briefings he received that a major attack was planned using airplanes,” referring, of course, to 9/11. Of course, he fails to grasp that there is a major difference between gathering information from a legal investigation, and simply collecting everyone’s personal conversations without benefit of a warrant.

Mr. Alvarez appears to be under the opinion that, as long as our information isn’t abused, it’s OK to steal it. Well, by that definition, as long as I take good care of Mr. Alvarez’s car, it’s OK for me to steal it. Also, who makes the determination as to what constitutes “subversive?” If they are never listening in, how do they decide that a conversation has something “dangerous?”

It doesn’t matter if the government ever uses a private conversation between me and my loved ones, or even hear it — the very fact that they are recording it “for possible suspicious activity” not only violates my privacy, but also undermines the entire American justice system, in which the first and foremost principle is “innocent until proven guilty.”

I — along with every one of my fellow citizens, including Mr. Alvarez — have now been branded a “potential threat to national security” without ever having committed a crime. If we’re going to do that, let’s just start throwing everyone in prison now, before they ever commit a crime, because we all have the potential to do so.

I’ll tell you what, Mr. Alvarez: Since you are so complacent about privacy, put your money where your mouth is. Send another letter to the Gazette, asking them to publish your home address, phone number, Facebook and e-mail passwords, so that we may all have access to your private conversations.

We will never listen to them or use them against you — “I promise.”

Sean Mearns


Let teachers do jobs without Common Core

Thanks to the teachers for rallying against the Common Core and its effect on the students in our schools.

I do think it is a good idea for students to receive an equal education. I also believe, along with many parents, teachers, students and grandparents, that the Common Core agenda is not well thought out and is detrimental to our students and schools.

The children who are good students cannot achieve because they have not been taught the Common Core foundation. They are tested more than taught at schools, because the teachers are not allowed to teach according to individual students’ needs.

The children who are already having a difficult time in school, just give up. With the stressors of our current recession, many parents are not able to give their children the additional support this curriculum demands. We need to consider individual students and the needs of specific school environments and provide the support they need to achieve and to become good workers and citizens.

In some cases, it might be food or a safe, supported place to do their homework. Or even access to health care, whatever, but individualized to meet their needs.

My point is that teachers who are trained to evaluate and help children learn should be given the support and tools they need to do this very important job.

Jean Nicholas


Unborn have personhood and deserve protection

“Women are united,” says Assemblywoman Deborah Glick of Manhattan regarding the idea that all women support the passage of a law that would allow abortion to be legal until a fetus is deemed viable outside the womb [June 21 Gazette].

That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is unconscionable that anyone would propose that a baby, just prior to its birth, could legally be disposed of at the will of its mother or father or anyone else. Personhood is not a matter of opinion or based on the changeable wills of human beings; it cannot be defined arbitrarily by individuals whose own self-interest affect their judgment.

Every holocaust that has ever been inflicted on humanity has had as its basis the same false idea that we can define what is human and what qualifies for protection based on our own limited perspective.

The late-term abortion proposal should never have been included in the women’s equality package because it denies the voices of millions of women who are vehemently opposed to abortion and countless others who might support abortion under limited circumstances but never to this degree. Its inclusion in the package was an attempt to manipulate an outcome on a controversial issue and hold other reasonable legislation hostage to the detriment of women.

All of humanity is affected by abortion, and its abolition or establishment as law should not be implemented under the guise and false designation as the united will of the women of this state or country.

Mary Jones


OK to pass Women’s Equality Act minus one

On behalf of the YWCA NorthEastern NY, I want to thank our Capital Region elected officials who supported the Women’s Equality Act!

The YW would also like to thank and acknowledge the 100-plus businesses and organizations that signed on as early sponsors of the governor’s proposed agenda, and the Capital Region residents who made telephone calls to their legislators, sent e-mails and faxes, signed petitions, made personal visits to legislators’ offices and participated in press conferences and rallies in support of the passage of the Women’s Equality Act.

The recent Siena poll showed that the majority of New York residents supported the Women’s Equality Act in its entirety. YWCA women across New York state are saddened that we have just squandered an opportunity to ensure that New York state reclaim its leadership role as a state that is committed to women’s equality — a state where the health, safety and potential of each individual is not based on gender; a state where our daughters and granddaughters can look forward to a level and equal playing field.

Gov. Cuomo’s leadership needs to be recognized for bringing forth the “Women’s Equality Agenda” in his State of the State address in January 2013. This agenda was designed with 10 points that break down barriers women face in the essential areas of life. It reduces discrimination in the workplace and in housing. It improves women’s safety and well being, and ensures equal treatment under the law.

I thank and applaud the state Assembly for passing the full 10-point Women’s Equality Act as one package! I now urge them to please reconvene and pass the nine points that were approved by the Senate.

Rowie Taylor


The writer is the executive director of the YWCA.

Liven up Schenectady with summer events

Who is in charge of PR [public relations] and entertainment for the city of Schenectady? Summer is here. Downtown needs to have an event going on each and every week (either weekend or a given weekday). Keep it simple.

There should be a farmers’ market weekend with special local tastings. Would the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or Brownies like to host an event? Or maybe Vietnam veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, along with local National Guard members, showing off gear?

How about a police/firefighters recognition day with some competition events? Any rock climbing clubs, dance studios, archery, sports groups, hot dog and hottest wing eaters?

Schenectady isn’t dead, just asleep!

Allen P. Tanner


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