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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 08/17/2017

Obama’s failure has been noble, but House’s has not

Obama’s failure has been noble, but House’s has not

*Obama’s failure has been noble, but House’s has not *Use common GPS to make trains safer *Remember

Obama’s failure has been noble, but House’s has not

Recently the approval ratings for both President Obama and Congress have fallen to all-time lows. It is important to examine the issues which precipitated these historic declines.

In the case of the president, the ratings have fallen largely because of the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the president’s failure to make good on his promise that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it.”

The Obama administration is working hard to repair the damage associated with these issues. In the next few months we will know if these efforts have been successful. In any case, the president’s desire to provide health insurance for millions of uninsured Americans is a worthy objective from both an economic and moral perspective.

In the case of Congress, the ratings have fallen largely due to the obstructionist behavior of the Republican-led House. The House has failed to take action on a number of Senate bills including the federal budget bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and the immigration reform bill. All three pieces of legislation have been supported by the majority of Americans including many Republicans.

We well remember the negative economic impact of the government partial shutdown brought about by the failure of the House to take timely action on the federal budget bill. The Republican-led House has not only been obstructionist but also has failed to offer constructive alternatives to the Senate bills. I see no worthy objectives behind the House behavior.

The president has made serious mistakes regarding the Affordable Care Act, but the intent of the act is consistent with American values. In my opinion, the actions of the House are inconsistent with American values and are harmful to the nation.

Don Steiner


Use common GPS to make trains safer

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

According to the Dec. 9 Gazette article, our legislators are striking again with a typical “non-solution” to a problem that could readily be solved, and with significantly less cost.

The problem [stems from] the fatal train derailment resulting from excessive speed on a curve which resulted from an engineer “nodding” or “dozing” because of the train’s hypnotic motion.

They are proposing that video cameras be installed to view the operator and the tracks, hoping the knowledge that they are being recorded will keep them alert. What nonsense!

The technology for a real solution is readily available and easily adaptable — the common global positioning system (GPS). Mine is a $150 Garmin, which has instant readout of the local speed limits and the auto’s current speed.

A simple alarm system to “awaken” the operator could readily be adapted to give a variable loudness warning, ranging from a low buzz to an ear-splitting siren, depending on the train’s speed relative to the local limit.

Of course, I am certain these wise politicians see the advantage of their approach is they could justify the creation of another government surveillance agency to review all the video data and assess the necessary fines on those who doze.

William Johnsen


Remember Sandy Hook, and fight for gun control

Let’s not forget the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place last Dec. 14.

Last Christmas I wrote about this issue. Both my wife and I are teachers in the public schools, with one child still attending, and we’re still concerned about school shootings. We aren’t against honest and healthy citizens owning guns, but we would just like to remind you about this anniversary and ask for your support for effective and powerful action to adequately protect our children and schools.

In order to help, I’ve made the following pledges, and I hope you will join me in this effort to save our country and schools from this carnage:

1) As a father (of two) and teacher, I promise to love and nourish the minds, bodies and souls of my children, all children, and the students in my care; to spend time with them and guide them gently so that they will not resort to violence, but to love instead.

2) I will continue reminding my colleagues, family, friends, the media and political representatives, to pass meaningful, just and effective gun control laws in our state and country to make our schools safer and prevent further violence and carnage.

3) I will remind state government officials to restore the correct amount of financial assistance to the poorest school districts in our state (mine is Schenectady city schools), so we can do our jobs, teach our children and protect them better!

4) I will go on line and sign any petition for better gun legislation. To do so, log on to; and to get more info on gun violence and to stop shootings, visit

My hope and prayer for this Christmas and the future is that we all work together and unite in this effort to prevent gun violence committed by our own people against our own people.

May God bless Sandy Hook’s children and teachers who have given their lives. I hope they didn’t die in vain, for our good, for our country’s and for the whole world’s — and that America’s culture of violence and death may soon turn into a culture of peace and life.

Ottavio Lo Piccolo


Springboks should make amends over Mandela

Nelson Mandela used the all-white Springbok rugby team to aid the integration of South Africa. He did it after he was released from prison and after he was elected president.

There was an unfortunate incident involving the Springboks during Mandela’s prison term and during the resulting broad boycott of South African business and cultural activities.

The organizers of the Springboks should use the occasion of Mandela’s death to recall his rich history of moving South Africa forward. Their shameful disregard of the boycott should be repudiated.

Otherwise, they stand on the wrong side of history, with George Bush and Dick Cheney, who opposed the boycott supporting prisoner Mandela.

Mike McLaughlin


No need for footballers to celebrate every play

Some years ago, the NFL fined players for excessive celebrations after scoring touchdowns. Now, we can’t watch a play without someone “hot dogging” how great he is.

We try to teach young kids in sports not to gloat when they win or perform well, but role models in major sports we can point to are practically nonexistent.

I enjoy watching the local high school sports, where this type of behavior is not acceptable. The NFL should wake up before it has more problems than just concussions.

Gerard F. Havasy

Clifton Park

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