Monthly Archiv: October, 2020

Don’t censor those with opposing views

first_imgSkidmore College should embrace the opportunity to hear views which run contrary to the prevailing view on campus. Integrated education, the empowerment of women, and many other ideas that are now widely accepted were once seen as unorthodox and dangerous. The advancement of knowledge requires that we must sometimes encounter positions which upset our beliefs or even that might even seem counterintuitive. To deny this is to assert that one has already learned everything that a speaker may have to say.The students who wish to prevent Professor Peterson’s visit have ironically cited his defense of free speech in his native Canada as a reason to exclude him. Whether the students ultimately believe in Mr Peterson’s view isn’t a basis to prevent themselves and others from hearing the perspective of an accredited academic and lecturer. I urge the students and faculty of Skidmore College to reject this attempt to censor thought at an institution founded on the value of contrary beliefs and educational opportunities.Mario MascaroTroyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, Feb. 14

first_imgGovernment must solve border crisis Long considered a political talking point, the immigration crisis poses both a humanitarian issue and security threat.The former can be ascribed to those fleeing violence, poverty and government corruption, while the latter arises from gang-members looking to terrorize.Frequent headlines illustrate each reality and have been exploited by both parties to gain popular support in addressing their preferred priorities.Brutal trafficking conditions by unconscionable smugglers are heart-wrenching, as is the separation of children from their parents upon arrival. Moreover, gang-related murders and the infiltration of drugs is equal cause for resentment. The only reason that would merit the recent 35-day government shutdown is the incapacity of our representatives to solve the problem.Mirroring these immigrant factions, past reform bills have failed over the competing interests of amnesty and border security, mutually exclusive, in that improperly vetted immigrants gaining citizenship is not secure and motivates further smuggling. Meanwhile, a steady flow of caravans gives resonance to the request for a largely symbolic wall, which would be better positioned along Mexico’s southern border.Attenuating illegal entries would then free resources to hire more immigration judges while temporary legal status is granted to illegal migrants.If our government is unable to resolve an issue pertinent to public safety and welfare and distracts from foreign aid initiatives that could treat the problem’s source, then perhaps it shouldn’t remain open past this three-week spending bill.Stephen DansereauAlbany I’m writing in response to Mr. Belardo’s Feb. 8 letter and his diatribe against “dumb liberals” and the identification requirements to enter federal facilities. I thank Mr. Belardo for his service in World War II, but he has the facts of the ID requirements all wrong. In the aftermath of 9/11, measures were introduced in Congress to enhance our national security. In 2005, both houses of Congress were controlled by the GOP and the president was George W. Bush.They passed the requirements that go into full effect in 2020. In 2020, it will be necessary to have enhanced identification to board a domestic airliner, enter a federal building, among other things. New York state was one of a few states that complied with the new rules by offering enhanced IDs early on. Sorry to correct you Mr. Belardo, but you are barking up the wrong tree. Thomas BensonSchenectady Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionDems focused on downstate interests Distressed about the state of the countryI’ve been watching the news and seeing how completely malfunctioning our government has become in the last few years that it’s absolutely heartbreaking. Don’t dictate what’s defined as murderIn response to Elizabeth Lerner’s Feb. 7 letter, I ask where her authority to define murder for the rest of us comes from? The law? It was once legal to beat slaves. Jim Crow was the law of the land in the south. Nazi Germany provided for the legal elimination of undesirable or those afflicted with mental-health issues. So the legal argument does little to bolster a moral stance.But then, I was astonished to read her definition of the abortion we are all talking about as the “removal of immature non-breathing, non-conscience (sic) cells.Science clearly has third-trimester fetuses as viable, feeling living human beings. For Ms. Lerner to cling to that outdated, minimalist definition of a baby is both ignorant and appalling, considering we are talking about a child’s execution.There’s no medical reason for a late-term abortion to occur other that the convenience of the mother. That does not qualify as “health care.” I can only react in horror at the level of indoctrination it takes to justify killing living babies and making it out to be some sort of right. Killing a bald eagle egg is a crime, but killing a child in vitro is “reproductive health care.”Patrick WalshGuilderland In his Jan. 30 letter I think Howard Schlossberg doth protest too much about New York state Democrats largely representing New York City and downstate interests.When you look at the type of agenda that the governor and his Democratic allies in the Legislature have pushed in the past few weeks, it’s clear there is no real upstate agenda for Mr. Schlossberg’s Democratic Party. There’s no greater example of that than the governor’s proposal to rip over $60 million in state funding from the budget for our upstate towns and villages that depend on that funding to provide services and keep taxes down.Late-term abortion, giving free taxpayer dollars for college tuition to illegal aliens, and further eroding our Second Amendment civil rights are just some of the other low-lights of a downstate-driven agenda of Mr. Schlossberg’s Democratic Party, which is drunk with power and cares very little for upstate New York’s values or economy. Just wait until they pass the single-payer, government-run socialized medicine plan and legalizing marijuana, which is next on their agenda.With the Democrats’ agenda, thousands have already left the state. If Mr. Schlossberg is the last one left upstate after the Democrats have their way with our economy and way of life, please make sure he turns the lights off.Joanne Hwaszcz Schenectady Inmate pay raise is moral and practicalThe Gazette’s Feb. 8 editorial attacking state legislation (A.1275, S.3138) to raise wages for prisoners is wrong on several fronts. First of all, the prison minimum is proposed to be raised only to $3 per hour.  It’s now as little as 10 cents, a fact that was not mentioned in the editorial. Leadership of the Department of Corrections knows management and security depend as much on incentives as coercion.  I have no strong opinion on any of our presidents since Clinton, but the actual Congress and Senate are nothing but schoolyard bullies posturing to each other with no care for the country itself or the people.For years, the reality television shows have made us look like fools to the world. But now our politicians are the joke.A lot of television shows claim to be non-biased, but the only television shows I watch that truly follow that are Kelly & Ryan Live, The Talk and David Muir. I was listening the other day to my music library of my favorite songs and two of them made me contemplate these days. One was a song from a movie I saw when I was 14 called “One Tin Soldier,” from The Legend of Billy Jack in 1971.A Disney movie, Pocahontas with the song, “Colors of the Wind” in 1995. They made me almost weep because both time periods made me dwell on what is going on currently.I know comics used to make a joke of this saying, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Why can’t we? Kathryn HardingSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists As a religious volunteer in the prison system for seven years, I saw how incentives can be effective.Opportunities for compensated work, education classes, better living quarters and other elements give inmates a reward for good behavior, reducing the burden and risk to guards and civilian staff, visitors and volunteers.Correctional Industries (CorCraft) provides skill development for inmates, but unfair compensation. CorCraft produces furniture for public agencies at below-market prices and returns a healthy profit to the State treasury. Perhaps taxpaying private sector furniture makers deserve a playing field that is not so drastically tilted toward the prison competitor paying its workers 65 cents per hour on average. Raising the wage would be fairer to these companies and their workers as well.  Like a lot of good legislation, the Assembly/Senate bill is not only practical, it’s morally correct.As we observe Black History Month, we should reflect on the abusive systems of slavery, mass incarceration and injustice that have characterized so much of minority workers’ experience in the American economy over the centuries. The time for “corrections” is overdue.  Gordon BoydSaratoga Springs Don’t fault libs for ID requirementslast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Friday, Nov. 29

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWork together to fight climate changeI write to support the city of Schenectady joining the Capital District MEGA Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and urge Mayor Gary McCarthy to act boldly and decisively to be one of the first large municipalities to support this important initiative.Let’s build upon the City Council’s recent passage of enabling legislation and join our neighbors from 10 other local, greater Capital Region communities to form an aggregate market that can promote an effective demand for clean, affordable energy.We all know that working together we are more likely to realize the economic benefits of a partnership with the MEGA administrator, the organization that works with other CCAs and has a proven track record of securing volume discounts for members interested in promoting clean, non-fossil fuel generated energy.But for me, the most critical element of this partnership effort is to make a regionwide, collective impact on reducing our use of fossil fuels, fuels that are responsible for global warming.As a 30-year Schenectady resident and grandfather to two beautiful children, I am deeply concerned that we do whatever it takes to mitigate the worst aspects of climate change, to be effective stewards and ensure that all future generations can prosper on this planet. To me, it is our moral imperative to aggressively confront this challenge, and I invite all my fellow Schenectadians (and beyond) to join me.Michael Tracy-IrelandSchenectadyUrge vote against new trade proposalThe Aug. 8 edition of Politico’s Morning Trade cited a study by two faculty members of the University of Ottawa law school, in such they posed the question: How much of the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) trade agreement is also found in the 34 chapters of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA)?The Canadian researchers found that 57 percent of the stipulations in the TPP trade agreement are also contained in the 34 chapters of the proposed USMCA.President Trump opposed the TPP during his 2016 campaign, and three days after taking office he pulled the United States out of the TPP. I wonder how the president can now support the USMCA, when just a short time ago he was opposed to 57 percent of its content.Could it be because the U.S. trade negotiating team was led by Robert Lighthizer, a veteran member of the Council on Foreign Relations and that the unfavorable portions of the TPP agreement are hidden in the 1,800 pages of the proposed agreement.Please email the president, your two senators and your congressional representative opposing passage of USMCA.George Van SchaickSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

Self-storage gets more funding

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Car wars

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Trouble in bulk

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Justice chief blasts Trump for making job ‘impossible’

first_imgTopics : His interview came as Trump stands accused of interfering with the sentencing recommendation for his former advisor, Roger Stone — prompting four Justice Department prosecutors to resign from the case this week.The outburst was all the more remarkable as Barr has emerged as a powerful defender of Trump, earning the nickname of the “president’s attorney” from critics.Barr has been at the center of allegations that he decided — allegedly under pressure from Trump — to overrule his own prosecutors and seek a lighter prison sentence for Stone.He has previously been criticized by Democrats and legal experts for seeming to assist Trump during the independent investigation into whether the president was helped by a Russian influence campaign during the 2016 election. The two men are so close that there was immediate speculation that Barr’s television interview may have been more about managing public opinion than a real outcry against Trump’s alleged interference in judicial affairs.The controversy comes about a week after the Senate acquitted Trump of impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations, including into Trump’s political opponent Joe Biden.Another staunch Trump ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported Barr’s comments about the tweets.”If the attorney general says it’s getting in the way of doing his job, maybe the president should listen to the attorney general,” McConnell told Fox News.White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Trump had “full faith” in Barr.”The president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all,” she said in a statement.That message was amplified by Trump’s National Security Advisor who insisted the president has “tremendous confidence” in Barr.”He’s a fantastic member of the cabinet, he has a very strong relationship with the president,” Robert O’Brien told reporters at the White House.Trump’s Twitter muscle Unlike any president before him, Trump frequently uses social media to broadcast his opinions and decisions without going through traditional statements to the media.Grisham indicated that Barr’s comments would not change that, referring to the White House’s frequent claim that professional media organizations misrepresent Trump and therefore need to be bypassed.”President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news,” she said.Trump uses Twitter in particular to make instant, high-impact interventions, often reacting to events in real time.In the latest case, he used his Twitter pulpit to speak out in defense of veteran Republican consultant Stone.Stone was convicted in November of last year of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into the Russia 2016 election affair.Trump has denied that his tweets attacking the original sentence of 87 to 108 months recommended for Stone — and in support of Barr after it was reduced by more than half — amounted to political interference.Chief Judge Beryl Howell, of the DC District Court in Washington that will sentence Stone, said in a statement that “public criticism or pressure is not a factor” in sentencing decisions.When asked whether he had spoken with Trump about recommendations in the Stone case, Barr replied: “Never.””I’m happy to say that in fact the president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case,” said Barr, who is due to testify next month to Congress, where Democrats have voiced deep concerns about his conduct in legal matters involving the president.In the interview, Barr said he had been “surprised” by the sentencing recommendation filed by prosecutors on Monday, and was intending to “amend and clarify” the department’s position the following day — when Trump fired off his tweet.”Once the tweet occurred the question was, ‘Now what do I do?’ Do you go forward with what you think is the right decision or do you pull back because of the tweet — and that just sort of illustrates how disruptive these tweets can be.” Asked whether he was prepared for repercussions for speaking out against Trump, Barr replied: “Of course.””I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody,” he said, “whether it’s Congress, newspaper editorial boards or the president, I’m going to do what I think is right.”center_img US Attorney General William P. Barr on Thursday delivered a highly unusual public rebuke of Donald Trump, saying the president’s tweets were making his job at the Justice Department “impossible.””I have a problem with some of the tweets,” Barr said in an interview with ABC News, adding: “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.” “I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” said Barr.last_img read more

EU to unveil plans to boost European firms, rein in US tech giants

first_imgThe European Commission will on Wednesday launch the first of a raft of proposals to help European companies exploit their rich trove of industrial data and at the same time rein in online giants Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Inc .The data strategy and artificial intelligence discussion papers are part of a bigger scheme to help European companies better compete with US tech giants and state-aided Chinese companies in the digital world.European digital and antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager and European industry chief Thierry Breton will present the proposals around noon. They will come up with a final draft by the end of the year following feedback from interested parties. The core of the EU’s data strategy is the creation of a single European data market and smaller data markets centered on key industries, according to a draft seen by Reuters last month.Other elements include new rules covering cross-border data use, data interoperability and standards related to manufacturing, climate change, the auto industry, healthcare, financial services, agriculture and energy.One of the possibly controversial proposals calls for doing away with EU competition rules against anti-competitive data sharing.In response to complaints about the power wielded by large online platforms, the Commission is also considering introducing rules to stop these companies from unilaterally imposing conditions for access and use of data or benefiting from this in a disproportionate manner.The discussion paper on artificial intelligence aims to set up a framework to govern the use of this technology used by an increasing number of companies, a draft seen by Reuters showed. The rules would apply to high-risk sectors such as healthcare, transport and predictive policing.More onerous rules known as the digital services act, which could force the tech giants to take on more responsibilities for their actions and content hosted on their platforms, are expected to be announced towards the end of the year.Topics :last_img read more

Google to invest over $10 billion in 2020 on US data centers, offices

first_imgLast year, the company said it would spend over $13 billion on data centers and offices in the United States in 2019.The tech giant’s total costs and expenses surged about 19 percent at $36.81 billion for the recently reported fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.Topics : Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it would invest more than US$10 billion in offices and data centers across the United States this year.The company added that the new investments will focus on 11 states including Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.”These investments will create thousands of jobs – including roles within Google, construction jobs in data centers and renewable energy facilities, and opportunities in local businesses in surrounding towns and communities,” Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said in a blog post.last_img

Coronavirus deaths rise to 145 in Iran, infections near 6,000: Ministry

first_imgTopics : Iran’s death toll from coronavirus reached 145 on Saturday after another 21 people were confirmed to have died during the last day, among them a conservative lawmaker from Tehran, officials and local news agencies said.Announcing the latest deaths from the virus, a health ministry official said in a televised briefing that the tally of confirmed infections had increased by more than 1,000 during the last 24 hours, totaling 5,823 by Saturday.Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for world opposition to US sanctions which he said were draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus. Iranian Lawmaker Fatehmeh Rahbar was among those who died on Friday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, in another sign that the disease is spreading within state institutions.On March 2, Tasnim reported the death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi. He was a member of the Expediency Council, an entity that resolves disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council – a hardline watchdog body.Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi and another member of parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, have said they have also contracted the virus.As authorities work to contain the outbreak, Iran’s Mosque Authority postponed all gatherings and celebrations until further notice, the Mehr news agency said.Iran is the epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East as most of the cases reported in the region are either people who were in Iran or who caught the virus from people who had visited the country. center_img “[President Donald Trump] @realDonaldTrump is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID19 – while our citizens are dying from it,” Zarif said in a tweet.”The world can no longer be silent as US #EconomicTerrorism is supplanted by its #MedicalTerrorism,” Zarif said, without referring to any new sanctions.Trump has said he hopes the sanctions will limit Tehran’s ballistic missile program and influence across the Middle East. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and its missiles are for deterrence and defensive purposes.In Zurich, a senior Swiss government official said on Saturday that a Swiss channel to export food and medicine to Iran’s struggling population without running afoul of US sanctions is off to a good start, with dozens of companies keen to take part.last_img read more