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Skip political rhetoric, be honest about how to help our country

Friday, October 12, 2012
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Skip political rhetoric, be honest about how to help our country

Bob Lindinger’s Oct. 4 letter [“Romney vs. Obama is like night vs. day”] is a good example of what’s wrong with our political discourse.

He perpetuates propaganda, i.e., our president is “a socialist who denies American exceptionalism.” He misrepresents facts, e.g., Obamacare has “unelected panels deciding who gets what care”; when this panel is actually charged with finding best practices that can improve health care while lowering costs and is legally prevented from prescribing care for patients.

In general, his letter presents his party’s line of simplistic “solutions” to very complex issues, e.g., use our reserves of oil, coal and gas vs. “crony support of wind and solar energy” — ignoring the fact that recent oil spills have substantially impacted our environment and dealt a severe economic hit to the effected region. Also, ongoing uses of oil and coal accelerate climate change and the increasing scope and severity of “natural” disasters that result.

Natural gas is a better choice, but New York faces a dilemma in the uses of hydraulic fracturing to get gas from the shale deposits in our state. Can we really afford to purposely contaminate million of gallons of water per well with a probability of contaminating more water by accident? Not to mention the impact on the communities facing the convoys of trucks or pipelines needed to transfer materials to the sites and move the gas to market.

It should be remembered that growth in our national debt has been expanded by credit card-funded wars over the past 10 years, our need to bail out key auto industries and banks, as well as aiding communities across the country from increasing “natural” disasters. It also should be noted that while we welcome “an opportunity-based society,” we are not particularly fond of those who make their profits by creating toxic financial products that helped create our recent recession, or taking over companies to drain their assets and move them into bankruptcy, leaving people unemployed without health care and pensions.

Also, a strong military does little to keep America strong when it is deployed into unnecessary wars that place our youth in harm’s way, impacts their families and destabilizes a region of the world that is important to our well-being.

Do we really want a government that does not redistribute income to help the folks in great need, like our own communities recovering from Hurricane Irene?

This election should be less about our major parties winning, but what is needed to move our country forward in positive ways. We desperately need jobs that can sustain workers and their families. We don’t want to burden our grandchildren with our country’s debt, but we also need to leave them a country that protects the beauty we have enjoyed.

Charles R. Blunt

Middle Grove

Local musicians helped elevate ‘Mary Poppins’

I had the good fortune to catch the Oct. 5 performance of “Mary Poppins” with my daughter down at Proctors. The production was first-rate, from fabulous and clever set design, to terrific dancing, singing and acting. Were it not for the short drive home, I would have sworn I was at a Broadway theater!

Proctors is a top-notch entertainment venue, and we are so blessed to have such a wonderful facility in our backyard. [Proctors CEO] Philip Morris and his staff should be commended for keeping the arts in Schenectady vibrant, vital and entertaining, with fabulous programs in this gorgeously restored historic theater.

However, it occurred to me as I was perusing the program that another group of people deserve some kudos here — the members of Schenectady Musical Union, Local 85-133, who served as the orchestra members for this great production. With the utmost professionalism and skill, these local musicians proved that we have talent enough here in Schenectady to rival much larger cities. This was attested to by the fact that the company producing “Mary Poppins” hired 10 of our musicians to play in the pit.

Not every show is willing to take the chance that locals can handle the pressure of a high-profile, professional production like this, and they bring along a self-contained orchestra to be safe. Not in Schenectady, though! Our local musicians are quickly gaining a reputation for being able to handle anything thrown at them, including the high pressure of a short run show like Mary Poppins. And they were terrific! The pit sounded as good as any I’ve heard on Broadway.

Major props go to Nat Fossner, the Proctors booking agent, for assembling such a talented group of musicians: Cathy Sheridan and John Hines on trumpet; Dan Cordell on bass trombone/tuba; Mike Meidenbauer on trombone/euphonium; Victor Sungarian on french horn; Norm Thibodeau on flute, Tom Gerbino on clarinet; Nat Fossner on oboe; Andy Janack on percussion, Mike Wicks on bass; and Erica Picard on cello.

Bravo, Proctors, and bravo to the talented musicians who call the Capital Region home.

Steve Weisse

Schenectady

The writer is a member of the Schenectady musicians’ union.

Obama broke too many campaign promises

Barack Obama campaigned against the Patriot Act. He campaigned against Guantánamo Bay. He campaigned against warrantless surveillance. And, as soon as he was elected, he tossed his campaign promises into the trash, along with our Bill of Rights.

He failed to close Guantánamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. And now he claims the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists.

The Patriot Act was renewed at his request, giving him even more power to spy and pry into our private communications without a warrant.

At Obama’s request, Congress included in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act authority for the U.S. military to arrest and detain — indefinitely and without charge — U.S. citizens.

Barack Obama poses a clear and present threat to our civil liberties; yet for the past four years his supporters have apologized for, excused and ignored his actions. Their “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” approach to his malfeasance is akin to a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage bonds with his captor despite the obvious threat to his existence.

Obama’s war on our civil liberties is a fact — a matter of public record — yet his supporters keep on touting him as our “best hope.”

Our best hope? Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

Walter F. Wouk

Summit

Leave accident victim’s family to mourn in peace

Re Oct. 5 article, “Community fills church to mourn boy’s death”: I couldn’t help but become infuriated at the media’s lack of compassion. I am referring to the passing of a young Burnt Hills child and the coverage of his funeral.

Why does the media feel the need to capture the family at the worst moment in their lives? They are mourning and burying their child, sibling, grandchild, cousin, nephew, classmate, etc.

It was an extremely dark and sad day, yet the media felt the need to capture this and plaster it on the front page of the newspaper. A simple article dedicated to the many accomplishments and memories of this young boy would have sufficed.

I understand the media has a job to do. However, the family deserved a lot more respect than what was shown to them by the local media.

Having the front row to a family’s sorrow as they load their son’s casket into a hearse is the most classless, tasteless act I have seen in quite some time. May I suggest working on your tact?

Jacqueline Barber

Rotterdam

CIA shenanigans need to be exposed

Thank you for bringing attention to the David Wise article [“The CIA Burglar Who Went Rogue,”] in the October issue of the Smithsonian Magazine [Sept. 22 Gazette].

During my ordeal with the government in 1998, information made available to the public was tightly controlled by the CIA and therefore extremely biased and skewed.

Now that you have raised the tip of the iceberg above the government’s murky waters, I have hope that the whole story of my fight against CIA mismanagement and Justice Department malfeasance will someday surface.

Doug Groat

Kingsport, Tenn.

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comments

October 12, 2012
10:33 a.m.
newyorker65 says...

To Jacqueline Barber... unfortunately, newspapers have no tact or scruples! They live by the old rules... if it bleeds, it leads...

October 12, 2012
11:09 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Charles R. Blunt

Wrong those wars on not on the budget for one and Obamacare does have panels, I have read it which is something most democrats in Congress failed to do, remember Nancy Pelosi said we have to pass it to see what was in it? Obama is a joke and has too shakey of a past and had he not been given a pass by the liberal media he would not have been elected dog catcher except in Chicago.

October 12, 2012
9:17 p.m.
Newsworthy says...

Charles Blunt makes a good point. Voters need to stop making their selections based on political parties. The partisanship exhibited by Congress is reflected by voters, in many of these letters and in TV interviews. There is no moderation, no compromise - it's an attitude of "you're with me or against me, with no common ground".

As for Walter Wouk's comment about the attack on American civil liberties, let's remember that it was George Bush and the Republicans who came up with the so-called Patriot Act, giving the government the right to spy on citizens without warrants and detain suspects indefinitely, without counsel or communication with the outside world. Senator McCarthy would be proud and George Orwell would feel vindicated.

October 12, 2012
9:53 p.m.
ljordan says...

Charles Blunt
My thoughts exactly while reading Lindinger's rant. You said it better than I could.

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