Letters to the Editors for April 30

Saturday, April 30, 2011
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Exploiting natural resources is what got us into this mess

In Stephen Williams’ April 23 column, “Gibson may be right about need for power,” Rep. Chris Gibson is quoted as saying, “I want to see us exploit all the possibilities.”

This may be the thinking most responsible for the gigantic environmental crisis we are living in. We have exploited everything to the maximum, leading to a very depleted, polluted and horrendously mutilated planet.

We have burned, bulldozed, blasted, blown up, bombed, clear-cut, dammed, drilled, deforested, dumped, gouged, paved, poisoned, massacred, sprayed and wiped out to our greed’s content. We are leaving behind deserts where there were ancient forests, huge plastic dumps in the oceans, hundreds of thousands of landfills overflowing with non-biodegradable waste, lakes full of acid, skies full of smog, air and water full of chemicals, dried-up and paved-over wetlands, cancer-causing radioactive and other toxic waste sites and dumps.

We have made hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of species of plants and animals extinct. We have fished out many parts of the oceans that people survived and thrived with for centuries. We have melted huge amounts of glaciers and ice caps. We have used and consumed and wasted and warred to the point of no return for many of the areas wounded and ruined by human activities like war and industrial production and development. We have plundered to the point of using up almost all the non-renewables, particularly oil.

What will the future be like for generations to come? Will our children and grandchildren and their children have enough clean water, breathable air, land and food, a livable climate, supplies to live on? Will there be wars over these things — the basics needed for survival? Will future humans be living miserably, filled with hopelessness and impotent anger toward their ancestors for “exploiting all the possibilities” of the planet for their own short-term greed?

Use less. It is so simple. Why should we spoil more of the planet and our environment searching for more power sources, so we can continue in these wasteful and greedy lifestyles? Why can’t we look into our souls and toward the future, and see the simple sense and potential of reducing, reusing, sharing and saying no to our voracious appetites for more, more, more of everything? We live as if there is no tomorrow. We live a suicidal, self-destructive, and fatalistic lifestyle.

Give less a chance. Give tomorrow a chance. Use less. Any other option is useless.

Terri Roben

Ballston Lake

Columnist Scheer was unfair to GE about taxes

Robert Scheer’s April 21 column, “Winners and losers under the new corporate world order,” requires clarification as it presents an inaccurate and misleading view of GE.

First, during the last decade, GE overhauled its business portfolio, selling about half the company. If you exclude the sale of businesses, GE’s U.S. employment is up over the past 10 years. We’ve added thousands of manufacturing and technology jobs, many in the Capital Region. Also, our growth in non-U.S. markets, which Mr. Scheer criticizes, bolsters GE employment here. We have doubled our exports in the last 10 years of products like power turbines, jet engines and locomotives that are made here in the U.S.

Second, GE’s U.S. tax rate has been low the last two years because of big losses in GE Capital. It is incorrect to say, as Mr. Scheer does, GE paid “no taxes at all.” GE will file its 2010 tax return in September and expects to have a small income tax liability. GE’s tax rate will rise in 2011, as GE Capital recovers, as evidenced by our 53 percent tax rate in the first quarter of 2011. Also, GE paid more than $1 billion in other federal, state and local taxes in the U.S. in 2010.

The thousands of GE employees who live and work in your readership area know that GE is not the company Mr. Scheer describes. GE is a proud American company that employs 133,000 people in the United States. We support thousands of other jobs, economic growth and social progress in the communities we call home, including Schenectady.

Gary Sheffer

Fairfield, Conn.

The writer is vice president of communications and public affairs for General Electric.

Sch’dy has its hands full with domestic violence

There is no doubt that public safety is a problem in Schenectady. What most Schenectadians do not know is the magnitude of domestic violence that plagues our homes.

I recently attended the Eastern Avenue Neighborhood Association meeting, where two city police officers briefed attendees about recent break-ins, narcotics dealings and gang violence. Topping 911 calls to the police station, however, were domestic disputes: Eighty percent of 911 calls in the city are domestic violence-related. A newly trained officer was quick to add that domestic violence calls are the most dangerous ones received.

While domestic violence is a crime that affects both men and women, women are the primary victims. Children often grow up in homes either witnessing domestic violence or being abused themselves. The number of child abuse reports has also significantly risen in Schenectady County. According to the state Office of Children and Family Services, the number of Child Protective Hotline calls increased from 2,046 in 2005 to 2,506 in 2009. Some of these abused children will infiltrate the juvenile justice system, become victims of crime, develop chemical addictions, struggle with depression and other mental illnesses, and perpetrate domestic violence onto another generation.

As a family law attorney who has represented hundreds of domestic violence victims and several children that have been abused and neglected, we cannot afford to be silent. Every child in Schenectady has a right to grow up in a home free of violence. And every human being has a right to feel safe, whether they are at home or walking [around the city].

It is time for residents, law enforcement, human service agencies and government officials to work together and solve this heinous problem that affects more Schenectady County residents per capita than any other county in upstate New York.

Heather L. Dukes


The writer is a candidate for City Council.

Obama’s citizenship settled, let’s move on

To the tea party carnival clowns: President Obama is a U.S. citizen. To the 95 percent of Americans who already knew that: I apologize for the 5 percent of the right-wing loonies who harbor biases and other dark thoughts that cause them to be unbelievers.

Thank you, President Obama, for handling this in a thoughtful, mature and very presidential manner. Maybe now the Sarah Palins, Donald Trumps and other Fox News believers can sleep at night. Or more likely, they will return to allegations that President Obama is a Muslim.

I look forward to President Obama continuing his work of cleaning up the mess left after Wall Street and special-interest lobbyists took over our country under Ronald Reagan.

President Obama may not be perfect, but you tea partiers will have to suffer through the fact that he is one of us.

Michael Winn

Saratoga Springs

Mailbox a casualty of winter, replaced in Malta

It has been about two weeks since the Malta Highway Department replaced my mailbox on Knapp Road. I ought to have sent this recognition sooner.

As a longtime Malta homeowner, I truly appreciate the effort of the town highway department to keep the roads clear this past winter. It was a challenge for everyone. The snow banks and visibility cost some of us our mailbox posts and mailboxes. The fact that a crew came through and replaced the posts and mailboxes that snowplow trucks had clipped is very much appreciated.

I’ve been known to take local, state and federal officials to task in the past, so I wanted to let [everybody] know that Highway Supervisor Roger Crandall and his employees did a fine job.

Patrick Reilly


Letters Policy

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There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.

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April 30, 2011
8:59 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Michael Winn I wonder why it took 3 years and several million dollars before he did. Maybe it was the Polls the White House saw that said that 68% of people wonder about his birth... Much more than your 5%..... Also Wall St. was brought on by your Liberal buddies Bill Clinton and Barney Frank.... You can not change reality.... BTW Dr. Michael Savage says Liberalism is a mental disorder. I Agree.........

April 30, 2011
3:06 p.m.
WordWiz78 says...

interesting...somehow the letters in the online version of today's Gazette are completely different letters than those in the printed version. Which is a shame, because I want to reply to one from the printed version. Well, I guess I'll re-type the text of Mr. Edmond Day's letter: "What hospice does, and doesn't, tell you."

"Hospice is the flip side of the 'death panel' coin. Hospice is 'day care' for the elderly and terminally ill. The people too busy to bring up their children now understand that what goes around comes around. The children are too busy to care for their elderly.

Hospice has a place in the health care network, but it is taking on a 'life' of its own. The mantra of hospice is, 'you are going to die.' Clients are told this flat out. Families do not have the guts to deal with death, so they have strangers do their dirty work. Where responsible family members do not exist, hospice has its place.

Having functioned as primary health provider (the person who does the dirty work) and power of attorney for the elderly in my family, no one - not me for sure - ever told a sick person, 'you are going to die.'

Many hospice personnel have an air of authority about themselves. It is a natural high to some, declaring when another is to die.

Hospice is another road to hell paved with good intentions."

That's Mr. Day's letter. Since there's a word limit to responses, I'll put my response in a separate comment.


April 30, 2011
3:20 p.m.
WordWiz78 says...


Ok, my response:

Mr. Day, in spite of your incredibly high opinion of yourself, the only thing you've managed to successfully illustrate here is that you know how to make a lot of inflammatory accusations without feeling the need for any pesky facts to back them up.

Seeing as you yourself make the claim to be the person who functioned as primary caregiver, I'm not real clear where your interaction with Hospice lies that gives you such a "perfect" understanding of what it is. Here is what I do know.

Hospice is intended as an aide for terminal patients, as well as their families, so that the person may pass in their own home, a family member's home, or at least a "home-like" environment, as opposed to a hospital or nursing facility. The families are encouraged to take part in day-to-day activities with their family member. I'm sure more people would like to be able to stay 24/7 with their dying relative, and attend to their needs themselves, but seeing as few of us are a combination of Aristotle Onassis and Dr. Quinn, we have neither the financial capability nor the medical know-how to do so without assistance.

Every patient I have encountered (and there have been a lot) who is being placed in Hospice understands that Hospice is not someplace they are going so that they may get better. They are aware that they are dying, or at least - in the instances in which the patient has a mind-crippling illness - the family is aware of this. I suppose, though, you feel it would be better to just make-believe life is all puppies and rainbows rather than acknowledge reality, while simultaneously trying to make the person as content and comfortable as possible.

How dare you to assume that families don't have "the guts" to face death! Losing a family member is difficult, as is the knowledge that it is going to happen. Needing help coping with this fact, and requesting that help, is not the equivalent of cowardice, any more than a suicidal person seeking psychological help is. It's recognizing our emotional limits.

Amongst all the good Hospice providers, there are sure to be some with a poor attitude, just like any other field. Your letter, Mr. Day, is clear proof that these few Hospice providers hardly have a monopoly on arrogance, though!

April 30, 2011
8:03 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Wordwiz78 again we agree. When my grandmother who raised me was about to die of congestive heart failure in 2003 Hospice was a Godsend. My grandmother lived in Watertown about 3 hours away, the rest of my family for the most part live here. My wife quit her job and drove to Watertown on Sunday afternoon to relieve me who left Schenectady Thursday after work at 5 and drove to Watertown. My niece drove from Albany on Friday night after work at 5 to relieve me.

Now, thanks to Hospice they were able to give direction and guidance. They were all very caring and showed a great respect for my grandmother who passed away at 95 years of age. They helped us understand the medication and if we had questions or needed help they were there. They came two times a day for an hour or so to give us a nuch needed break. It sounds like Mr Day is confused about Hospice's role. They are not a 24 hour caregiver but a shoulder to cry on if needed and a experienced and caring organization that has been nothing but great.

April 30, 2011
8:04 p.m.
wmarincic says...

BTW they came every day for the 6 weeks that she was home amongst her family and loved ones.

May 1, 2011
5:46 p.m.
smith says...

Well, Sheer might not have dotted every "I" in a column restricted to about 600 words, but Sheffer's sophism would be funnier than the comic pages if so much weren't at stake. Typical corporate prevarications.

May 3, 2011
7:20 a.m.
ljordan says...

Terri Roben writes a great letter. Common sense dictates that the most effective way to get more energy is to use what one has more efficiently. It's a low cost, low impact solution that surprisingly gets little play. Well done Terri!

Larry Jordan

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