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What you need to know for 01/19/2018

Gibson, Republicans need to give up the fight over Obamacare

Gibson, Republicans need to give up the fight over Obamacare

*Gibson, Republicans need to give up the fight over Obamacare *BH-BL leaders, students turned loss i

Gibson, Republicans need to give up the fight over Obamacare

Rep. [Chris] Gibson’s recent newsletter twists the truth, to put it generously.

Republicans brag that they got subsidy verifications written into the Affordable Care Act [ACA]. Of course, verification requirements for subsidies were written into the ACA from the start; it is so obvious as to be laughable. Clearly, Republicans “agreed” to this provision in order to save face for holding hostage the U.S. government and world economy — costing the U.S. economy taxpayers $24 billion. Turns out Americans like their government to function, after all.

Rep. Gibson can repeat Republican talking points in lockstep with his colleagues, but he must know that Democrats’ “unwillingness to negotiate” was not what shut down the government. House Republicans voted 42 times to repeal Obamacare and failed, then tried blackmail and lost again.

It’s time to take responsibility like grown-ups and promise the American people that it will never happen again. The ACA is the law; it is here to stay and will benefit millions of Americans, which is clearly what Republicans are afraid of.

Mr. Gibson is not a bad guy, but he is a member of a party that is willing to put people’s lives at risk for its radical ideology. As he wrote in his newsletter, “finding an agreement is not that difficult when we come to the table.” In fact, it is his job to pass legislation, and it’s time we saw more of that from the Republicans in Congress.

Judith Simon


BH-BL leaders, students turned loss into a win

I would like to applaud Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake students and staff for turning an unfortunate occurrence into a great [opportunity] for community connection [Oct. 17 Gazette].

Thank you, Coach [Matt] Shell, for making a well-attended (and slightly heckled) sporting event also a lesson in civility and treating all participants with courtesy. Bravo to the BH-BL students who overwhelmingly demonstrated their interest in showing respect for everyone attending school events (and, symbolically, all people).

Bravo, also, for the BH-BL student council’s gesture of reaching out — supporting the idea of finding and sharing what we all have in common, not grandstanding over differences.

As we watch our national leaders try to shut down the government when decisions can’t be focused on what’s most appropriate for our country (“If you don’t play with my toys my way, I’m closing down this playground party”), and see our state’s educational leader and Common Core advocate do the same (“if you don’t lay down the red carpet for my directives, I’m slamming the door on you”), it is wonderfully refreshing to see members of our younger generation show insight and maturity in an incident that could have turned hostile. Instead, what is offered is a chance to become tougher.

As a “recovering public school teacher,” a resident of Amsterdam, and an alumni of BH-BL, I would like to be one of the possibly many to volunteer to help at any Burnt Hills/Amsterdam common event that may occur. Kudos to all of you!

Kittie Coffey Bintz


Tea party supporters know nothing about facts

Re Dave Dankanich’s Oct. 22 letter, “For America’s sake, long live the tea party”: I can answer his question, although E.J. Dionne did a fine job [explaining] why the tea party is not good for America.

No. 1: Their shutting down the government just cost this country’s economy $24 billion! President Bush never paid for anything he did for eight years; that is why we are so in debt. Two unfunded wars, two unfunded tax breaks favoring the wealthy and the unfunded Medicare D prescription plan for seniors — $4 trillion and counting! President Obama had to add all that, plus the cost to clean up that mess, to our national debt.

No. 2: In the Republicans’ zeal to slash and cut everything in sight, they would not approve additional security at any of our outposts — including, tragically, Benghazi.

Also, does Dankanich know how many embassy attacks that killed Americans occurred under President Bush? It was more than two, just to give some perspective.

There is so much that the disgraceful tea party has zero facts on, but I can see by Dankanich’s letter that facts won’t matter, as E.J. Dionne tried to provide some.

Diane Hombach


All arts, all the time back on cable Ch. 17

When our Schenectady cable outlet rearranged their program schedule a few months ago, they cut the Classic Arts Showcase [CAS] on Schenectady Schools Channel 17 down from virtually 24/7 to less than 20 hours a week.

Recently, I wrote them a letter requesting its restoration and their prompt response has been terrific! CAS can now be seen on most of the empty hours on this channel. And with no commercials!

I think it befits a city like Schenectady — which has a special affinity for the arts — to be able to hear and see artists like [pianist] Van Cliburn, [dancer Mikhail] Baryshnikov, and [opera singer] Beverly Sills, for instance, perform outstanding concertos, ballets, and arias over the past 50 years. I have even seen rare videos of fabled conductor [Leopold] Stokowski and dancer [Rudolf] Nureyev on this channel.

CAS has also helped me “discover” new artists, like blind Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, a recent winner of the Van Cliburn competition.

A special salute to Time Warner and the Open Stage Media staff who promptly responded to requests to restore CAS. At the moment I can receive Channel 17 only through my cable box. However, I hope there are plans to make it available without a box, so I can see it throughout my house.

Incidentally, thanks to those of you who bought Adolf’s Meat Tenderizer over the past decades, for the two gentlemen who make this programming available to cable outlets without charge made their money on this product.

Theodore Mihran


A voter’s guide to all candidates, all elections

In November we will once again elect individuals whose decisions will directly affect you and your pocketbook. Unlike national elections, which offer candidates with very divergent platforms, local races should depend more on the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates — no matter which party they represent.

How, then, can you best decide for whom to cast your vote? It probably shouldn’t be based on which candidates have the most signs, the most times their picture is in the newspaper, or how handsome the family portrait in their literature is. Aggressive marketing does not equal superior leadership.

It probably also shouldn’t be based on the endorsement by a political party or private interest group. Generally, local political leaders do not have the power to make these kinds of changes that national leaders can make. And, usually, the platforms between the local candidates are not much different as they both recite lowering taxes, adding more services, and fighting crime, etc., as their goals.

Rather, ask yourself these two questions about the candidates before deciding how to vote: Will they represent the interests of all constituents, no matter who they are or how much they pay in taxes? And will they be available, responsive, and open when you have a question or issue?

Try, if possible, to choose candidates you perceive to be honest, fair and ethical, with no personal agendas. Then, you can feel more comfortable about letting them make the decisions that will, in all likelihood, impact the quality of your life for years to come.

Kathleen Gansfuss


Don’t believe language on casino referendum

I am writing to encourage all voters to oppose the expansion of casino gambling. We can do this by voting “no” on Proposition 1 on Nov. 5.

Although the wording of the proposition sounds good, actually the language is biased toward a “yes” vote. It will not promote job growth, increase aid to schools or bring about lower taxes. It will cause more problem gambling, bring about more societal ills, and make for many family heartaches among problem gamblers.

Please vote “no” on Proposition 1 on Election Day.

Florence McKibben


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