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What you need to know for 04/30/2017

Columnist wrong to brand black males as ‘domestic terrorists’

Columnist wrong to brand black males as ‘domestic terrorists’

*Columnist wrong to brand black males as ‘domestic terrorists’ *Common core’s fallacy: one size does

Columnist wrong to brand black males as ‘domestic terrorists’

I was shocked, and somewhat discouraged, to read the Sept. 8 article by [McClatchy-Tribune News Service assistant sports editor] Gregory Clay likening the prevalence of violence by “young black males” in America to domestic terrorism. While I can expect such lazy and ignorant assessments from people under no obligation to the public, it is disheartening to see them unabashedly in print in the newspaper.

There is a strong connection between crime and poverty, including the indirect effects of concentrated poverty. There is also a strong connection between race and poverty. Blacks are the most impoverished racial group in the country, followed by Hispanics. (As to why blacks are the most impoverished, I don’t know; maybe 400 years of back wages due might do it?)

There is, however, no direct causation between race and crime. Poverty, and the underfunded schools, low employment and lack of social services that come with it, increase crime rates. And in many regions of this country, for a variety of reasons, race is strongly correlated with poverty.

For those who aren’t convinced by the numbers, here’s some anecdotal evidence — most of America’s recent “gun massacres” — Sandy Hook, Aurora, Colorado, Virginia Tech — were perpetrated by young, white or Asian men.

But, of course, America and the rest of the world, too, should be terrified of young brown men, whether they are foreign or domestic — for who else could ever be so conveniently labeled a terrorist?

Morgan Michel-Schottman

Ithaca

The writer is a student at Ithaca College.

Common core’s fallacy: one size does not fit all

Thank you, teachers, for rallying against the common core and its effect on students.

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.

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 stresses of the 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.

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

Hagaman

View from bridge isn’t as big an issue as guardrail

All the hype about the solid wall on the Western Gateway Bridge connecting Scotia and Schenectady, and your Sept. 10 article and picture, shows something more important missing.

Where is the guardrail that separates the sidewalk from vehicular traffic? Maybe you can’t see the river, but you can certainly drive up on the sidewalk. People should be asking how this pedestrian safety rail did not get replaced.

Sure, I understand sidewalks on busy streets do not have guardrails, but this bridge did. So now, after all this commotion, they are planning to have a rail on the other side [instead of a wall], so people can see.

Will there be a guardrail to protect pedestrians from traffic?

Andrew M. Kopach

Rotterdam

Davidson stretched limits of credibility

L.D. Davidson (Sept. 8 op-ed) points out how Gov. Eliot Spitzer should not be castigated for his past acts of soliciting prostitutes, but judged solely by his intellect and his successes as governor and attorney general. His private life is his business.

He argues that the accusers of Spitzer’s past immoral acts are Puritans whose private lives have never been brought to public attention, many of whom have accepted legal bribes, hinting that they, not Spitzer, are the evil-doers. However, he fails to mention the names of those accepting legal bribes. I wondered how you categorize a legal bribe? I thought all bribes were illegal.

He goes on to emphasize his liberal beliefs by uplifting past Democrats such as John Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt (both had extramarital affairs) and Catherine the Great (I surmise she was picked because of her anti-religious policies). His list of not-to-be-trusted politicians, who just happen to be conservative, include Sarah Palin (all liberals like to pick on Sarah Palin), Margaret Thatcher and Eleanor Roosevelt (choosing her was confusing).

But the surprise of all surprises, which is the reason I am writing this letter, was his [inclusion] of St. Peter (the bedrock of Christianity). What was his thought process in picking St. Peter?

I’ve read many articles by liberal journalists such as E. J. Dionne, Froma Harrop and Richard Cohen. I may not agree with their points of view, but they never gave me the impression that their motivations were to insult conservative readers. Mr. Davidson’s article did exactly that.

Giving his article top billing on the Opinion section was very disappointing. I have read all of Mr. Davidson’s articles, and enjoyed most of them, but this one revealed a bias I never expected. He is too liberal for my liking.

Vince Alescio

Clifton Park

Bombing won’t help Syria’s innocents

Please, no more bombing and/or wars at the hands of America. If we really want to help Syria, forget the bombing just this once.

We can best serve the Syrian people by planting all our available ships loaded with humanitarian aid in the closest port to the people — especially the children — who need help. Food, medical aid, housing, clothing — whatever they need. Few Americans will object, and just this once, let’s try something that kills no one and helps everyone.

There is no doubt that this will cost fewer dollars and help so much more than bombing.

Livia Carroll

Schenectady

Trashy videos don’t fit in a library’s mission

With its new policy of allowing patrons to borrow 10 movies at a time, the morphing of Schenectady County Public Library into a video store is now complete.

Webster’s definition of a library is “a place in which books, manuscripts, musical scores or other literary and artistic materials are kept for use but not for sale.” [Philanthropist] Andrew Carnegie ensured that the public would be able to benefit from such a collection with his huge monetary contributions toward the construction of hundreds of libraries throughout the land.

But one has to wonder just what he would think of the library’s generous video policy. How can anyone believe that Hangover I, II and III or Princess Barbie movies are literary and/or artistic? How does this push toward lending movies jibe with the library’s mission of promoting literacy?

We all are aware of the drastic budget cuts imposed on the library by the county. Wouldn’t it make more sense to devote the remaining meager resources toward more literary endeavors?

We have a wonderful library system in Schenectady County. Let’s make sure that it continues to promote the vision that Andrew Carnegie had so many years ago.

Christine Witkowski

Scotia

The writer is a member of the Friends of the Schenectady County Library board, but this letter represents her personal opinion.

Global warming rooted in science, not politics

John Gaetani's (Sept. 7 letter) makes clear that he opposes the political proposals to control the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. To him, regulations or a price on carbon pollution are a threat to “freedom.”

Fine, let’s debate how our country and the world should best confront the threat we face. But political opposition does not change the underlying science, ranging from fundamental physical principles, understood for more than 100 years, to cutting-edge technology and modeling, that our current path is an unacceptably dangerous one.

Policy derives from science, not the other way around.

Jeffrey Corbin

Niskayuna

The writer is an associate biology professor at Union College.

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