Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20

Thursday, January 20, 2011
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Attitudes about gay billboards shows why they are needed

Re Jan. 11 article, “Critics urge removal of gay signs”: In Our Own Voices, the Capital Region’s only organization explicitly serving the needs of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people of color has been receiving negative media attention for an ad campaign focusing on increasing the visibility of gay men of color. The reaction of some members of the Schenectady community only reinforces the needs for such a campaign.

Apparently, showing gay men with their families, in church and on a basketball court is still considered “inappropriate” and somehow morally suspect.

Day-care provider Pamela Spicer is concerned that the billboards might raise questions for pre-schoolers on their way to the public library about “what gay means;” questions she doesn’t know how to answer.

Here is the answer, Pamela. First of all, if your pre-schoolers are able to read the words “I am gay,” the first thing to say is “great job reading.” Then you can simply explain that gay is when two people love each, like two women or two men.

If these images evoke community hostility and confusion, it only points to a greater need for increased state Department of Health funding, or else how will Pamela Spicer work with LGBT colleagues, or provide services to same-sex parents whose children attend the pre-school. I am concerned about what she will say when the child says, “My two moms love each other?”

I suggest that the In Our Own Voices ad campaign has proven our need for an expanded educational program so our Tri-City area becomes increasingly accepting of its diverse citizenry.

Arlene Istar Lev


GE can’t make products with `geniuses’ alone

Re Jan. 14 article, “GE ‘geniuses’ get their own special day”: GE’s recognition of its “geniuses,” including many from GE Global Research, is commendable. However, real genius is taking good ideas and inventions and turning them into new products that will grow GE’s businesses.

The small, applied research and development labs of GE’s manufacturing businesses were nuked by Jack Welch, but he opened research and development labs in China, India and Germany. Jeffrey Immelt, the current CEO, is opening a new lab in Brazil. The “genius” ideas from GE’s Global Research labs require manufacturing expertise to turn them to useful and profitable products. The expertise can only come from engineers and scientists who work and are located at the manufacturing sites to provide the daily technical support needed to introduce new products.

As the inventor of the high-voltage insulation systems used in GE’s generators and large motors, I can attest that the greatest challenges of any new product development come after the invention — solving manufacturing and quality glitches, determining the chemistry and variables that affect cure kinetics, mechanical and electrical properties. All these difficult problems have to be solved before a reproducible, reliable product could be manufactured.

New insulation systems were invented, developed and implemented for new generations of generators because GE Energy still had a lab in the Schenectady plant where its people had in-depth knowledge of materials and manufacturing know-how. The timing was also fortunate. It was just before the bureaucratic Six Sigma and incompetent Black Belt technical leaders created barriers.

GE needs more than “geniuses” in Global Research labs in four continents. GE needs manufacturing know-how that only knowledgeable engineers and scientists in product department labs can provide.

Mark Markovitz


What Obama needs to hear in Schenectady

Suppose you had a brief encounter (say one minute) in a reception line to speak with President Barrack Obama on Friday in Schenectady. What would you say? Sixty seconds isn't much time, so I've thought long and hard.

Schenectady has long been recognized as the home of power generation. Mr. Obama has come here to see for himself the advances in energy technology like wind and battery, while also recognizing GE's large steam turbine department. Here is what I would say:

Presidents before you have faced challenges and made bold endeavors. America took over construction of the Panama Canal a hundred years ago, when France failed, and President Theodore Roosevelt made sure the effort succeeded.

In the 1950s, America needed a leader to push Congress to fund the construction of the interstate highway system and President Eisenhower met that challenge.

President Kennedy challenged America to beat the Soviets to the moon in the decade of the 1960s and we succeeded in July 1969.

The bold endeavor in the second decade of the 21st century should be for American energy independence. Be bold, Mr. President, and make it happen. Millions of jobs will surely follow.

David Lucier


Strock practices what he protests in column

Re Jan. 13 Carl Strock’s column: He chastised the Republicans/conservatives for criticizing and ridiculing the liberals and Democrats, when practically his entire column was used to vilify, defame, name-call, disparage and degrade Republicans/conservatives.

He contemptuously maligned Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Republicans/conservatives. He intimated that the recent Arizona shootings were the fault of the right wing, when anyone in their right mind knows that the shooter was mentally deranged and politics had nothing to do with the shooter’s actions.

Instead of his column being named “Angry Ones are deeply offended,” it should have been titled, “I hate Republicans/conservatives, and I don’t care who knows it.”

This column was full of spite and hate, undocumented and un-American!

Jeanine Precopio


Biblical quotes imperfect, but it doesn’t matter

Re Jan. 16 Carl Strock column, “How reliable are those Bible quotes?”: Carl Strock’s view on the reliability of biblical quotes brought to mind my own ability to recall important moments in my life.

I experienced a memorable, life-changing event in February 1975. About 30 years later, I wrote a memoir describing it and conveying the facts and feelings. Then, just this past October, I wrote a supplemental memoir, detailing one aspect of that event. When I compared the two writings, I found an older woman telling me something in the early version, while in the later one, a teen-aged boy told me. All of us were present at the event. Frankly, I forget who said what, but something of the sort certainly happened.

I must agree with Carl that the reliability of biblical quotations would not meet newsroom standards. However, the gist of that story and the salvific quality of “the Good News” come through, in spite of our overanalysis.

We need not rely on the details of a story for its truth to move us.

Kernan Davis


Link NYC rent control to property tax cap

I am writing in support of Gov. Cuomo’s proposed 2 percent cap on property tax increases. Property taxes are currently too high in New York and are rising at a much faster rate than 2 percent. We need to get upstate and Long Island taxes under control or more businesses will leave.

In the past, limiting property taxes has been blocked by state legislators from New York City, since New York City already has lower property taxes to support rent control. This June New York City rent control will expire. We need to demand that our upstate and Long Island state legislators link New York City rent control extension to the proposed 2 percent cap on property tax increases.

This will stop New York City’s state legislators from blocking the property tax cap.

John Bergener


Tap the rare minerals in the Sacandaga Basin

If you get to ask only one question to either President Obama or Jeff Immelt, the CEO of GE, ask them if they know of the tremendous ore reserves of lithium minerals and rare earth oxide minerals just 30 miles away in the Sacandaga Basin?

You may visit our Website: or search Great Sacandaga Lake Deepening Project for more details. If you would like our inaugural newsletter, which speaks directly to the strategic minerals found in the Sacandaga Basin, just ask.

Arthur Michael Ambrosino


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January 20, 2011
8:19 a.m.
WordWiz78 says...

Arlene, I agree with every point you make, bar one: preschool teachers shouldn't be explaining to their students what it means to be gay at all. Ms. Spicer shouldn't be concerned about what to tell them, because the appropriate answer should be: "That is something you should discuss with your parents." It is NEVER a preschool teacher's place to discuss matters of love, sexual or otherwise, with their students, unless you're talking about loving ice cream or loving mommy and daddy and their family. If the student is insistent and will not let it go (which, given the attention span of the average preschooler, is highly unlikely), the teacher should deflect their attention to other matters and mention it to the parents so that the parents can answer their child's questions.

January 20, 2011
8:20 a.m.
WordWiz78 says...

@ Mr. Lucier: Well, first I'd learn how to spell his name - BARACK - correctly. lol

January 20, 2011
11:39 a.m.
duke1942 says...

Wiz, who are you to correct or criticize Mr. Lucier's version? He may be much more intelligent and it could be satirically spelled! lol

January 21, 2011
10:46 a.m.
WordWiz78 says...

duke, lighten up, man. It was a JOKE. Humor, you know? Hence the "lol" at then end.

January 21, 2011
10:58 a.m.
Newsworthy says...

Ms. Precopio, speaking of people in their "right mind", how are you able to get into the mind of the Arizona shooter? You seem very sure of your OPINION.

January 21, 2011
11:19 a.m.
Newsworthy says...

Kernan, your personal example is admirable (I guess) but not a useful comparison (or rebuttal) to Strock's column. Your experience is first-person; you were there. The bible is not. It's pretty safe to say no one is alive now who was present at any of the events in the bible. The bible is a metaphorical collection of tales, passed verbally at first, then translated through different languages of different cultures at different historical times. It's kind of like the game of "telegraph". In addition, organized religion has been used as a means of social and political power for millennia; quite likely some of the writings were "directed" for such a purpose. I'm not judging any religious faith, but faith is based upon evidence and if the evidence is at odds with the world we see, it should be questioned. Biblical quotes are often used out of context, as well, which I believe Carl pointed out. If you believe something merely because it is written in a book, I'll send you a book portraying me as the ruler of the western hemisphere and you owe me half your income. Just kidding, of course.

January 22, 2011
11:25 a.m.
WordWiz78 says...

I take no issue with anyone who wishes to use passages in the Bible (or the religious text for whatever religion they follow) as a moral compass for their own life. Where I have an issue with it is two areas.

The first is when they attempt to use passages from any religious text to tell me how I need to live MY life. Last I checked, we still live in America, which is still, I believe, the land of freedom. Religious freedom was one of the key reasons the original settlers came to this country and founded a new nation. You can view religion however you see fit, but so can I, and just as I have no right to push my religious views on you, the same applies in reverse ("you" being a generalized term here).

The second problem I have with people quoting the Bible to justify things is that they often misquote, paraphrase or use "selective quoting." It's easy to quote "eye for an eye" and ignore "turn the other cheek." Homophobes are very good at quoting Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination." Yet, this is the only place in the entire Bible in which homosexuality is clearly discussed as a sin. Yet, homophobes discuss it as though it is more important than the Ten Commandments or the birth of Christ! Many other things appear in the Bible as accepted practice - slavery, polygamy, "righteous" murder, and incest, amongst others - that aren't exactly considered acceptable today. Just because the Bible says something, doesn't necessarily make it so.

I guess the biggest problem with quoting the Bible or another religious text is that many people do so, not for the purpose of making life better for anyone, but to justify their own hatred, violence, and bigotry.

January 22, 2011
12:29 p.m.
irene58 says...

No one wants the Sacandaga DREDGED Mr. Ambrosino. Seek your fame and fortune elsewhere.

January 22, 2011
12:32 p.m.
smith says...

It's interesting that when someone disagrees with a tenet, those holding the tenet are automatically bigots and haters. I suppose I do dislike the unnecessary things people believe they have a right to that break down social order, spawn greed and dishonesty, and are forced into the minds of our children. It might be a personal right if those that wish to behave counter to good advice were the only ones that payed their hard earned money and suffered the pain for the resulting economic and social breakdown. But that isn't the case.
As for the Bible and homosexuals; you hear more about it because they keep it going. There is no place in the entire tome where homosexual sex is exhibited in a positive light or as a family arrangement. There is nothing keeping them or any sinner out of a church either: What keeps people out is declaring they have no sin; therefore, they keep themselves out--not the other way around--they don't need church. Of course common sense is the strongest case against forcing everyone to accept this as "normal" behavior and force them to fund benefits for a charade that mocks marriage.

January 23, 2011
10:19 a.m.
WordWiz78 says...

smith, I didn't say that "holding the tenet" makes someone a bigot. Treating someone as inferior because of their lifestyle, race, gender, age, etc, is what makes someone a bigot. Using religion to justify that bigotry is where I have the problem with those people. I believe the two biggest tenets of Christianity are that everyone is equal in the eyes of God - and that would include homosexuals - and that only God has the right to judge people. So, if you're such a superior person because you're a "good Christian," then why is it that you are allowed to break the two most basic tenets of Christianity?

I don't know where you are coming from with the whole "What keeps people out is declaring they have no sin" BS. Stating that homosexuality is not a sin is not the same as someone claiming to be without sin.

No one has been able to give a logical reason why they think gays are inferior to others or why they shouldn't have the same rights. There is no biological difference. The law states all people are created equal. Christianity states that all people are equal in the eyes of God. The only thing making gays inferior to certain people is their own bigotry.

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