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Letters to the Editor for Feb. 23

Monday, February 23, 2009
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Glendale Home gives patients the chance to stay near home

I grew up in Glenville, my parents have lived there for more than 65 years, and both of them worked in Schenectady County. My mother (June Frear) was the bookkeeper for the town of Glenville for 27 years and my father (Robert Frear) worked for the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department and the Schenectady County Highway Department.

My mother was hospitalized on Nov. 20 and we were faced with relocating her to a nursing home, as she was unable to take care of herself. Glendale is right in their hometown, but it was full. Our options were to send her to Fishkill or Rome. We were devastated to think that mom would be so far away with so little time left. We were lucky; just before she was to be moved a bed became available at Glendale. I was so ashamed to hope for another’s death so that room could be made for my mother, but that is the way it happens.

Mom knew where she was, just over the hill from home, and we knew that it was a comfort to her. We were also so lucky to be able to be with her every day, for the eight days that she was there. She left us on Dec. 23, to make room for someone else.

This isn’t how it should be. The county nursing home should be large enough to house anyone who lives in the community. I know about the costs, but when the time comes, and to most of us it will, the need far outweighs the cost. Please support the new facility so that your loved ones are not sent away due to the lack of rooms.

Marilyn Hollenbeck

Amsterdam

Sweet trappings of stimulus hide a bitter pill

The media have finally been rescued from the dreary expectation of unbiased reporting and the Herculean effort of critical thinking. More Willy Wonka than Abe Lincoln, Barack Obama has benevolently transported them into his utopian candy land, where, half asleep, they lie in a bed of gumdrop flowers on the bank of a meandering chocolate river, dreamily contemplating their new purpose in life: Making sure the Wonka bars are properly wrapped, and have just the right amount of sweetness, for eager and rapid public consumption. So shines a free press in a weary world.

Obama’s latest confection is the economic stimulus plan. Although “economic stimulus” is printed on the package, underneath the tin foil is a smorgasbord of liberal everlasting gobstoppers that, once placed into the mouth, will never melt away.

Golden tickets in hand, deserving Americans giddily wait for the treacly fantasy (paid in full by undeserving Americans) to begin. Grown-ups are left to wonder about the health implications of switching from the traditional food groups (hard work, personal responsibility, and self-reliance) to pixie sticks and razzles. And the Oompa-Loompa mainstream media puts a little more shoulder into hefting the latest sack of candy-coated constitutional decay onto the shelf.

Michael Gabor

Slingerlands

Time to rethink U.S. trade policy

In a Feb. 17 AP article, “U.S. manufacturing not dying — just moving upscale,” Stephen Manning argued that American manufacturing is just fine; it is just getting more efficient and changing its focus to products that can be manufactured competitively in this county. He uses anecdotal evidence of manufacturers who are improving their process and statistics that indicate the value of American produced products is still much larger than China (although if this statistic was quoted over time, I am sure that it would be declining rapidly.)

I beg to differ with Mr. Manning’s argument. The U.S. Bureau of the Census produced a report and published it on its Feb. 11 Web site that stated that the U.S. trade deficit for 2008 was over $677 billion (www.census.gov/indicator/www/ustrade.html.) That means Americans import $677 billion worth of goods and services less than we export. This is the number that matters. Americans essentially sent $677 billion overseas last year. That is a billion, with nine zeros. When the U.S. trade deficit approaches zero, that will mean we will begin to export the value of goods and services equal to the value of what we import. When that happens, I will be convinced that American manufacturing is healthy and competitive with world markets.

Until then, we need to rethink American trade policy and stop at the borders products from manufacturers producing in foreign countries that pay slave wages, use child labor, have inadequate health and safety protection for workers, and trash the environment. On an individual level we can try to buy American and when we cannot buy American, we can buy Fair Trade products that assure the conditions that I sited above are not taking place.

If we don’t change our trade policy and our individual purchasing practices, American manufacturers will eventually be forced to abuse workers and trash the environment, or the last of them will be forced to move their manufacturing facilities abroad as well.

Jeffrey S. Edwards

Schenectady

Bailout should begin at home, start with CEOs

I, like most Americans, have closely followed the process in which our government is giving the auto companies and multiple banks billions of taxpayers dollars in cash and loan guarantees without asking any of these enormously wealthy CEO’s to risk some of their considerable wealth [Feb. 17 Gazette].

For instance, Robert Nardelli, of Chrysler (which is privately owned), earned $38.1 million from Home Depot in 2006 and upon being fired in 2007 walked away with a severance package worth $210 million.

Please explain to me why not one member of Congress had the temerity to require any of these individuals to suffer any consequences for their failed leadership while thousands of Americans are losing their jobs from the companies these CEOs run? Requiring banking executives to live on $500,000 a year is ludicrous, since most of them have accrued millions of dollars prior to this financial mess.

When I bought a small business 20 years ago, I was required to put up my own money for the purchase. Why not ask these gentlemen to show faith in the long-term viability of their companies by investing with their own millions?

James Brodie

Schenectady

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comments

February 23, 2009
6:48 a.m.
Matrix says...

To Michael Gabor regarding the sweet trappings of stimulus, could you please rephrase that in English?

February 23, 2009
11:10 a.m.
irishlad1234 says...

Michael Gabor is right on the money, with this economic stimulus plan,It reminds me of a story I once read:
A chemistry professor in a large college had some
exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab, the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.
The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.

The young man said this was no joke. 'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in on the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it, that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity. The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America . The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc.. While we continually lose our freedoms -- just a little at a time.

One should always remember: There is no such thing as a free lunch! Also, a politician will never provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.
Keep your eyes on the newly elected politicians who are about to slam the gate on America .

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