Obama mishandled lead-in to Iraq crisis
Daily Gazette, The (Schenectady, NY) - Thursday, July 17, 2014
Obama fumbled Iraq crisis lead-in
The first step in defense is defining the enemy. Unfortunately, by January 2010, the Obama administration had renamed jihad and radical Islam terrorist attacks as "man-caused disaster."
As we witness the present carnage in Iraq by the Sunni inspired ISIL army, why avoid even the word, "barbarians?" I suggest they all be called "barbarian Islamic jihadists."
A power void in Iraq was created by our not maintaining a sizable stabilizing American military force, a power void that was soon filled by the Sunni Muslim ISIL radicals, who metastasized into an effective army during the neglected Syrian conflict. The ISIL army invaded and now controls Sunni western Iraq, presently threatening Bagdad, Shiite territory.
Iran, also Shiite, will ally with southern Iraq against the Sunni militants. We should allow them to fight it out. Intelligence sources forecast the Iraq invasion months ago. Surprised by news of the invasion, Obama remained unmotivated and apparently unconcerned as evidenced by his four-day vacation, campaign trips and "climate change" speeches. His reactions undermined Americans' confidence in our president and his foreign policy.
If ISIL wins control and lingers in western Iraq, their breed of terrorists will be exported worldwide.
Educate cyclists and drivers on safety
According to New York state, vehicle and traffic laws also apply to bicyclists and pedestrians, not just vehicular traffic. With that said, I believe our entire state needs to increase awareness and educate everyone on these laws and why we have them. Then we need to start the engineering phase by having safe places to bike, walk, cross, etc. Then finally, we need to enforce the laws.
I agree with Mr. Bob Preville, [June 23 article, "Remembering Ryan 10 years later"] that jail or prison isn't the right type of punishment. I myself have been hit when crossing my bike across a street when I was 14, but I survived and memories still exist.
I want to have people like that just know about the mental trauma that is caused. Require drivers to perform community service teaching others to understand the laws and why we have them.
For example: "We have these laws because I [the driver] couldn't anticipate which way you were going." Or, "Someone was using a mobile device while walking on the sidewalk and I [the cyclist] hit them." Just examples.
I believe also that New York should require all cyclists to wear helmets, regardless of the rider's age. That would protect the cyclist and possibly help lower health care costs.
The New York State Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program is a costly program that is resulting from brain injuries due to incidents like these.
Hobby Lobby ruling not a war on women
I am writing in response to the July 7 letter written by Cynthia Swanson.
I want to begin with the end of the letter where Ms. Swanson says, "You bet there is a war on women and it is being conducted by the far right, the Supreme Court, and the troglodytes who think women can't think for themselves." I found this statement ironic since the entire letter was a series of "war on women" talking points rather than original thought. I don't know Ms. Swanson, so it is only my opinion that she has not read the Constitution or the decision handed down by the Supreme Court (Hobby Lobby case).
There are 20 methods of birth control paid for by some or most employers. Hobby Lobby provides 16 of those 20 to its employees. The Supreme Court ruled that they do not have to provide the other four because those four result in the termination of pregnancy, which violates the religious beliefs of Hobby Lobby founders.
Hobby Lobby is not stopping their employees from using those four; they are just not providing them free of charge. If they use any of the 16 methods of birth control, then the expense is covered. That is hardly a war on women. There is nowhere in the Constitution that requires government to provide free health care for citizens.
The argument about Viagra is a non-issue in the Hobby Lobby case, since Viagra is not a birth-control method -- this is just another tired talking point.
I was glad to see the Supreme Court come down in favor of the First Amendment for once. It is one amendment that has become trampled and misrepresented by so many. This was as much a victory for the Constitution as for Hobby Lobby and other businesses with a religious foundation and conviction.
Sandra Malcolm, M.D.
Too many people take shopping carts
While driving on Altamont Avenue in Rotterdam, I saw a lady pushing a shopping cart in front of the Hess gas station as I was driving by Hannaford Plaza.
Three more shopping carts were at the two bus shelters on either side of the entrance road. I was amazed to see what I saw.
Nowadays, people are getting a little carried away.
Walter "Neal" Brazell
Town picked most costly water option
Re July 2 article, "Town water flowing again": The cost to repair these leaks will probably cost the taxpayers a quarter of a million dollars.
Deputy Supervisor Wayne Calder stated: "This is one of the reasons why we raise our water fees."
Really? In 2013 a study was done that showed the town needed another well and pump. I tried to get Town Board members to approve a bond so we could start the work in 2014 -- they would not. Instead of costing the taxpayers $7 a year for 20 years, they elected to raise the fee by $50 more a year.
The most disturbing thing about this additional cost is that over the last three budgets -- 2012, 2013 and 2014 -- this administration has used over $1 million out of the operation and maintenance accounts for water and sewer to get around the tax cap.
These revenues should be used for capital improvement and the maintenance of the water and sewer districts -- not to give out $110,000 in raises.
Spend, spend, spend. When will it end?
Robert J. Godlewski
The writer is a former Rotterdam Town Board member.
Fracking will lead to release of radon gas
The commissioner for the state Health Department must feel like Atlas -- he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. His report on the health effects of hydrofracking will shape the governor's decision for acceptance.
Unlike benzine gas and other cancer-related agents found in Bakken crude, fracking's dangers are of an exotic nature. The buried natural gas is intermingled with radioactive radon gas. Many workers in Pennsylvania have been sickened by it.
Hydrofracking causes gases to escape into aquifers. I'm sure you've seen people igniting water coming out of their sinks. Again, radon could be released into the water we drink. We'll make funny-looking glow sticks.
Radon's threat cannot be refuted by the oil industry. It's an issue it has been very quiet about. I didn't catch it in their commercials.
Their promise of jobs and Utopia blinds us to other facts. Marcellus shale has an abundance of radium, which creates radon gas.
That ticking you hear is a Geiger counter. Are the readings in the state report?
The Gazette wants your opinions on public isues.
There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.
All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.
Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.
For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.
For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.