Letters to the Editor for Aug. 3
As Sch’dy Museum turns to science, don’t forget its past
As the Schenectady Museum takes its final steps toward becoming a science center, it seems fitting to stop a moment and reflect on the many ways the museum has contributed to the cultural life of this area over the years. Though the change from a general museum has seemed inevitable for some time, financially speaking, that should not diminish an appreciation of past accomplishments.
From the time of its humble beginning in two rooms at Brandywine School to its present location on Nott Terrace Heights, it has been a vital part of many people’s lives.
Its constantly changing exhibits and programs over the years have been the work of talented staff members, many of whom left their mark here and progressed to careers with more prestigious organizations. Helping them have been dedicated volunteers from all walks of life lending their skills to all phases of the museum’s needs. The backbone of the organization were the many board members who gave freely of their time to keep the museum functioning. Organizations such as the Junior League often sponsored special projects.
Caring for artifacts and exhibiting them was only a small part of the museum’s activities. For many years it offered art classes of various kinds, taught by local artists. It was closely involved with the Designer Crafts Council. It sold members’ works at the museum shop, a popular place for unusual gifts, and hosted craft fairs. The museum was formerly one of three sponsors of the Mohawk Regional Art Exhibit and a sponsor of the chamber music concert series now hosted by Union College. Museum tours in this country and abroad were extremely popular and the entire community looked forward to the Festival of Nations held on the museum grounds each year.
Children were always a major part of the mission and school buses brought them from near and far on fields trips.
The planetarium, of course, has always been popular and will continue. The archives, a later development, I assume will also remain. Its priceless collection of technical materials has already drawn researchers from many parts of the world.
What have I forgotten? I started as a volunteer in collections in 1972 and turned in my keys a few months ago, a victim of creaky knees and other aliments. Most recently I worked on the museum master file and if I were there now, I could be more precise about dates and programs, but I think I have made my point,
As the museum enters a new phase with a new name, we old-timers wish it well, but insist that former days be remembered with pride. Hail and farewell, Schenectady Museum!
Penn State not alone in covering up sex crimes
Enough already! Penn State has been vilified by the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] and every editor, sportswriter, and sudden expert on the cover-up of pedophilia, in a witchhunt of proportions only matched by its rank hypocrisy.
If [assistant coach Jerry] Sandusky’s conduct is appalling, where is the outrage that is merited by the continued institutional pedophilia of clergy in the Roman Catholic church? The Council of Bishops is guilty of cover-up far beyond the scale of Penn State, and the abuse and victimization still continue because the hierarchy cannot face the facts of their own corruption, and can hide their “sanctified” sin from the glare of public prosecution. If Sandusky had 10 victims, how many can be counted among the priesthood, past and present?
The Catholic Church is not alone in its tolerance of criminality; the fundamental hypocrisy is in the institutional or organized settings for pedophilia, wherein the victims are supplied as part of the institution’s normal function, be it child programs, mentoring, sports, schools, religious teaching, etc. The possibilities are endless apart from direct child abduction and molestation.
Equally deserving of castigation is the Mormon Church and its history of child abuse, polygamy and denial of women’s rights. I am tired of hearing this is a practice of certain sects only. So what? The head church has made no effort to disown or prosecute these people.
In another display of hypocrisy, a polygamy setting “(Sister Wives”) was a TV show — give me a break!
George W. Putman
Obama believes in the collective, not individual
It’s an American tradition to bestow awards on those who make outstanding accomplishments, and typically the recipients of these awards begin their acceptance speeches by saying, “I owe it all to my parents,” or “to my spouse,” or “to the team.”
President Obama has turned this American tradition upside down. Instead of praising the individual’s effort, he emphasizes the role of the collective. The president said, “if you got a business, you didn’t build that on your own”... “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get that on your own.”
Some claim that those quotes are taken out of context. They should make note of the entire speech where Obama said, “you (the successful) think you are just so smart, there are a lot of smart people out there ... you (the successful) think you worked harder than everybody else, well let me tell you there are lots of people that work hard.”
Clearly the president thinks that no individual is responsible for his or her own success, it was only achievable because of help from others, especially help from the government.
These quotes are what are known in politics as gaffes. Political gaffes are those rare moments when a politician reveals his real, but usually hidden beliefs. Let’s face it, Obama is a left-wing academic who does not understand free enterprise, individual initiative and becoming a success by combining brains with hard work.
Middle class must start voting their interests
It was interesting that the latest government report stated that the economy grew a mere 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012 due to consumers’ conservatism in spending. Praise consumers!
For years prior to the financial meltdown, we have heard that consumers in the United States were savings at record lows and overextending themselves. Sure, borrowing money then was so easy because the banks made it so for several decades and, who was “capitalizing” on credit to consumers? Of course, it was the banks.
Even though it was clear to many consumers that the credit offered them for homes, cars, boats, and everything else was seemingly unaffordable and unreachable, they were assured that they were eligible. However, many consumers knew in their gut that something was amiss. A perfect storm occurred with the middle class left holding the bag.
It is to be noted that many of those “consumers” or the middle class suffered greatly as a result of the recent financial crisis, including loss of jobs, homes and financial stability, so much so that many who considered themselves middle class are now clearly in the lower class.
So now they, and the others who are barely holding onto the middle class, have learned the reality lesson, tightening their belts and more appropriately living within their means, as best as they can. Ironically, they are now being faulted for a somewhat stagnant economy because they are not spending at the levels that drive the economy!
I suggest that the days where the credit providers or banks “rape” the middle class is no longer viable because the middle class has already been tapped.
I would also suggest that those who have been economically impacted in the last four to five years must consider voting their economic concerns (rather than some hyped-up social or religious agenda) in favor of those political candidates who are truly on the side of the middle class economically — as opposed to the upper class or the so-called “job creators” who have failed miserably to help the middle class and who try to capture the uneducated middle class by social issues that offend their beliefs.
Stephanie A. White
Assault weapon ban would only be first step
The hearts of all Americans go out to the victims and the families of the Aurora, Colo., shooting.
However, the events that transpired should not be exploited by either the right or left wing of the government to promote an agenda regarding guns.
The July 26 editorial [As others say it: San Francisco Chronicle], “Cowardly silence on guns,” states “...weapons of war such as the AR-15 assault rifle do not belong in civilian hands,” and that Sen. Diane Feinstein is attempting to renew the ban on assault rifles.
The Second Amendment of the Constitution states: “A well-regulated Militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Once a ban on any particular type of firearm is effected, it becomes that much easier to ban another type of firearm offensive to another individual or political group until all firearms have been banned and the Second Amendment has been rendered null and void by legislative fiat.
Might I suggest that Ms. Feinstein and others of her ilk refrain from using the tragedy in Colorado to promote their own ends and decide that they either support the Constitution in its entirety or they do not. There is no middle ground.
Michael G. Decker
Strock was right about horse racing’s cruelty
Carl Strock’s July 22 column, “Horse racing fun for us, less for horses,” was absolutely wonderful. I thank you so much for pointing out all the cruelty that is involved at the horse races in this country.
I am against any type of animal cruelty, and horse racing is on my list.
Thank you, again, and may I say you are a sweetheart for the article.
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