Column minimized hall of fame efforts
Re Mark McGuire’s Sept. 22 column, “A Hall of Fame shame: No Kirk Douglas!”: Absolutely not.
The simple fact is that Kirk Douglas was not nominated by anyone inside or outside of the Amsterdam community. Was this an oversight? Absolutely. But this committee had no power to rectify it. I have already suggested to the committee that the bylaws need to be revised for next year, and it will get done.
As far as Mr. McGuire is concerned, I want to sincerely thank him for minimizing the hard work this committee put in to get this long-overdue hall of fame off the ground. I especially want to thank him for his comments, as they were picked up on the national news circuit. One stroke of his pen destroyed all the hard work this committee has done.
The writer is chairman or the Greater Amsterdam School District Hall of Fame.
Stop editorializing in Trump news articles
In another case that frosts me, on AP online Sunday [Sept. 20], one of their so-called “news” writers just had to start out with an editorializing, pre-judging comment on a public figure. And they’re doing it more about Donald Trump than I have ever seen done about anyone.
In an article about some very down-to-earth, truly hopeful advice Trump gave to high school students in Iowa, the writer just had to start (or maybe his editor added to the opening): “URBANDALE, Iowa — Donald Trump’s advice for high school students in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, is uncharacteristically wholesome.”
That’s like another AP writer I read recently, who said something was uncharacteristic of the “potty-talking” businessman, which I don’t think you can find a single instance of in anything he’s said in public.
His way with words does not stoop to poop.
No matter what anyone thinks of his campaign, that’s completely out of line in a “straight news” article, most of all.
Rock City Falls
Try this new solution to ending robocalls
In the Sept. 15 Gazette, Rick Splawnik of Amsterdam asks the question: “Can anyone help stop unwanted phone calls?” Here is how I have done just that.
In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission held a contest called the FTC Robocall Challenge with a $50,000 first prize. The idea was to spur innovations for this worsening problem. They announced the winners the next year.
One of the winners was Serdar Danis, and his solution was the laboriously titled, “Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting, Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID Spoof Detection.”
Now everyone calls it Nomorobo. It works in different ways, but the easiest is by using a feature of your telephone provider’s service. That’s what I did and here’s how I did it.
Go to Nomorobo.com and click on “get started.” All you have to know is to select “landline/VoIP” (that is Voice over IP, if you have digital phone service). Then you click on your provider (Time Warner in my case) and follow the instructions. It works by leading you through your own account to a page where you can add other phone numbers to ring simultaneously with yours; you add the Nomorobo number there. The directions are well laid out. There are no downloads and there is no cost. Yes, it’s free and it works.
I also did my mother-in-law’s phone from my computer, which I thought was a nice feature. Once in a while I get a one ring, but other than that, the calls have stopped. Their website boasts having blocked about 38 million calls.
If you’ve never heard of Nomorobo, I’m not surprised. There were two Time Warner fellows in my backyard recently working on a pole and we got to talking. They had never heard of it either and they had the same complaints as Mr. Splawnik of Amsterdam.
Alas, as a Verizon user, unless Rick is one of the few with fiber-optic service, I don’t think this service will work for him, as Verizon doesn’t have VoIP.
Tired of ‘horse toilet’ spoiling streets, trails
Why must we live in a horse toilet? Living in a rural area by choice, we must tolerate the sights, sounds and aroma that come with living here. Do we have to put up with it on the public streets, sidewalks and worst of all, the Erie Canal Trail System?
I have seen piles of equine excrement on the sidewalk in Fultonville and in front of Stewart’s in Fonda. There are times when I have to walk around this stuff to cross the street to get my mail. We are required to clean up after our dogs. Why not the much bigger piles?
While walking or riding my bicycle on some sections of the Canalway Trail in the town of Glen, it is not possible to dodge those piles or the holes made by horse hoofs (whether riding or driving) and ruts made by wagon wheels. Except for a small section near Rome, horses are prohibited from using the Erie Canalway Trail. It’s very clear in the canal system regulations. Look it up. Regulations, Subchapter D: Canal System — Part 150: General Provisions, 150.6: Prohibited Activities — (10) Horseback Riding. http://www.canals.ny.gov/about/rulesregs/canalregs.pdf.
I have been in contact with the Canal Corp., Montgomery County and the town of Glen to have signage installed to educate everyone concerning the prohibition of horses on the trail. While all entities expressed agreement, I have not yet seen any signage.
I spent the first 18 years of my life on a horse farm, so I know about the nature of horses and the damage they can do. I left the horse farm many years ago by choice for a good reason. Now here I am, back in the horse toilet again, through no choice of mine.
Am I the only one who is bothered by this? Am I the only one who doesn’t like riding and walking around in excrement? Am I the only one who does not want to live in a horse toilet?
Reasonable gun laws are possible, needed
In his Sept. 13 letter, John Osterlitz states: “The recent tragic shootings that have sparked yet another round of anti-gun hysteria beg to be addressed.” I’m one of those hysterics.
True, additional gun-control legislation probably won’t stop any particular shooting, but that’s not the point. Over 33,000 people lost their lives to gunshot wounds in 2013. No other developed country has a gun homicide rate even approaching that level. In today’s news [Sept. 15] alone, there are reports of a state trooper shot to death and the murder-suicide of three brothers and a friend in Louisiana who got into a fight over the choice of music. In fact, as I’m writing this, news bulletins are announcing the shooting of a professor at Delta State University in Mississippi and the shooter is still active.
Politicians calling for tighter restrictions on the sale of firearms, like universal background checks, are not “intellectually dishonest.” In the face of this continuing bloodshed, I’d say they are realistic. No politician, including President Obama, advocates a complete prohibition of firearms. Rather, their efforts are directed at regulating firearms on a level comparable with toys, mutual funds, ladders, swimming pools and automobiles.
Serious gun-control legislation, as was enacted in Australia, demonstrates that we can reduce deaths by gunshot. The Huffington Post reported on Aug. 27 that “after a highly publicized mass killing occurred in the 1990s, Australia banned many types of weapons, introduced a more restrictive permit system, and introduced a buyback program in which states paid gun owners for turning in weapons that the new laws made illegal. Homicide and suicide rates dropped substantially.”
Bryce Williams, who shot the journalists Allison Parker and Adam Ward, was undoubtedly mentally disturbed, given that he videotaped the murders to post on Facebook and then wrote a fax to ABC News after the killings in which he said: “I’ve been a human powder keg for a while … just waiting to go boom.”
Even though no current law would have prevented Williams from going boom — he did purchase the pistol at a licensed gun store and he passed the background check, such as it is — shouldn’t we as a nation do whatever it takes to combat this public health menace?
Certainly, more restrictive legislation would not reduce the homicide rate to zero. But it’s possible such measures might reduce it by one-third. Wouldn’t that level of success make whatever inconvenience the “gun-owning, law-abiding citizenry” had to endure worth it?