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Americans should learn from Snowden about ‘surveillance society’

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Americans should learn from Snowden about ‘surveillance society’ Put a frog in a pot of cold water on a hot stove and as the water warms, the frog quietly accepts its dying fate. Is this an accurate picture of Americans today? The world is dangerous, but do our security measures magnify the problem? Iran and Afghanistan are wars to nowhere. Civilian deaths that inflame hatred toward America in foreign lands do little to dampen Obama’s ...

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July 9, 2013
7:39 a.m.

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John. I use that same "frog getting boiled" analogy often. We, the people, are getting boiled and we don't know it. We've grown to accept it as inevitable. Why? There are cameras at many intersections (often taking pictures of infractions for revenue), they're going to put black boxes inside cars to monitor your driving, computer chips inside refrigerators, washing machines, TV's. Can you think of any business or item in your house that doesn't have the hand of government in/on it? Now the IRS is taking a closer look at your tax returns if you're of the wrong ideological persuasion. BUELLER, BUELLER, BUELLER!!???

July 9, 2013
10:10 a.m.

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John Kerry came out and stated the Eric Snowden has put American lives at risk. What is the proof of that claim? Obama hasn't produced any evidence yet plants that seed in the public's mind that somehow Eric Snowden has evil motives behind his actions. That spin has been put out by the Obama administration ever since the NSA leaker story went public. I voted for Obama in 2008. He brought change alright. Change from what he envisioned during the campaign. I have been sorely disappointed with his tendency to do the opposite of what he promised as candidate Obama. Ironically, only Foxnews' Eric Bolling has been the only pundit to raise this issue, the rest of the media has been asleep at the switch as Obama's hypocrisy goes unchallenged.

July 9, 2013
2:39 p.m.

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Mickey Marcella, I'd like to see your letter proofread for problems of logic. But in any case, you don't sound like you see both sides of this.

First and foremost, these recent letters this past two weeks have been concerning a very, very questionable "investigation" over a car-bike tragedy where the "investigator" essentially shot himself in the foot by misstating the rules of the road as laid out by NYS showing a clear bias. What I think came from the article were letters from others, myself included, of cowardly people in cars who appear to have feelings of rage for cyclists and the bias of law enforcement for them.

But to address your points:
Just because the posted speed limit is 55 doesn't *require* you to drive that speed. it's up to the driver to use their own judgement as to what's safe especially on rural state roads where you may find farm equipment, horses and buggies, livestock (yes, I've seen that around here) or cyclists. Minimum speed limits apply to interstates, not state roads. It sounds like your friend didn't have that in mind.
"Bike paths" are the familiar term for what are technically Multi Use Paths (MUPs) which means you can find all manner of non-motorized users on them including dog-walkers, joggers, families with children, inline skaters, etc. Most of the grown-up cyclists I'm acquainted with ride at speeds in the teens to twenty miles per hour. MUPs are completely impractical for us.
Instead of telling kids to 'stay out of the road', how about we take the responsibility of teaching the right way to use the road on their bikes (assuming we're familiar with them, I guess)? Common sense says cyclists are very vulnerable and need to hyper-aware of motor vehicles. Where practical, cyclists should stay to the right as far as is safe, and on many state roads the shoulders are as good as being in the lane. But it's *not* up to the motorized public to enforce their perception of what's safe.

July 10, 2013
1:48 a.m.

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In addition to ChuckD comments, the speed limit is just that.. "limit", meaning this fast and no faster. Every state has a "Basic Speed Law" stating that the driver is responsible for driving for the conditions. Driving around a "blind curve" at the "limit" is unwise and irresponsible. If you don't know what is on the the other side of the curve or hill, the responsible thing to do is reduce the risk of a crash by reducing your speed. Driving requires continual anticipation of potential risk and is a demanding task. It's human nature to want to blame "accidents" on everything but our own behavior.

July 13, 2013
8:44 p.m.

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Cyclists often hear the cry, "Get off the road! Stay on the sidewalk (or bikepath)" from motorists who think tax-paying cyclists (yes, we, often affluent, frequently pay more taxes than you) should pay for motorists' EXCLUSIVE use of traffic-free roads.
If you don't like having cyclists on the roadways you use, you might want to stay on the Thruway or interstate? We built those traffic-free roads for you, so why don't you use them?
Maybe because they don't go where you want to be, or in as direct path? EXACTLY the same reason cyclists often shun a bikepath. Roads and streets, with the exception of interstates, were built for the movement of people and goods, with no regard to the mode of transportation, be it foot, buggy, stagecoach, bus, bike or car. Traffic laws are exactly that, TRAFFIC laws, not MOTOR VEHICLE laws. Horses, walkers, cyclists, and motorists are all traffic.
About your blind curve ... suppose a large rock had been in that roadway? Does happen. I'd would have ruined your day, no?
As I tell organizations that solicate me in efforts to lobby for car-free cycling facilities:
"New York State cyclists from the days before cars have succeeded in building the best network of bike routes in the country. We call them "roads" and even agreed to share them with cars."