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Saturday, February 22, 2020


Correction on Not all LOVE is the same

To the editor:
Please note the following correction to my “…LOVE…” letter (published 2/18/20):
The passage referenced as Leviticus… should be corrected to Deuteronomy 6:5.

Michelle Sackett Schroeder

Not going far enough

To the editor:
While it is good news that a partial plastic ban is taking effect on March 1st, the loopholes and exclusions leave groups criticizing the bag ban according to an article by Isabel Braverman on February 11.
The partial ban is a good first step but it rightly should be criticized for not going far enough. I am old enough to remember a time before plastic bags were readily available and the world functioned quite nicely. There is really no reason the ban cannot be total.
Rwanda has a total plastic bag ban and in fact most of Africa now have stronger plastic bag bans then we will. Nothing NEEDS to be in a plastic bag. The same can be said of all single use plastics and single use products of every kind.
The problem is either that people will not recycle these items or that the item is not recyclable or there is no recycling market for the item to begin with. We end up with plastic trash filling up landfills or being burned, and worse yet it is often transported around the globe on container ships before being buried or burned, or simply dumped on land or into the Ocean.
We need to establish standards for packaging that only allows products to be sold in our state where ALL the packaging can be recycled and where there is a market for the recycled packaging; otherwise the product should not be allowed to be sold in our state.
If you establish equal standards for all, businesses will adapt and produce products that generate less trash, and recyclable products that can truly be recycled. Until we take serious action we will not be successful in cleaning up our Planet.

Bill Godfrey
High View

Not all heroes wear capes

To the editor:
On February 11th between 12:30-12:45 p.m. I was driving south on State Route 97 between Skipperene and Gables and a tree fell across the road blocking both sides. A pick-up pulled up on the northbound side and a man with a chainsaw started to work on the tree. In under 10 minutes he had cut the tree into moveable pieces and moved those pieces to the side of the road and traffic started to move.
Whoever you are, thank you for stepping up and being a good samaritan.

Karen Bliss

Not all LOVE is the same

To the editor:
Our broad use of the English word LOVE covers many meanings. This fact can blur the underlying differences.
The Greeks had more than a half dozen “Love” terms some of which have found their way into our vocabulary.
Philia, indicating brotherly love, shows up in Philadelphia - city of brotherly love. There is also Eros that reflects passionate, sensual love. Its counterpart can be found similarly in Roman mythology as Cupid's realm (though Eros is broader).
The Hebrew root word Dodim is found in Proverbs 7:18 denoting in this usage, physical, sensual love. Also it is found in the Song of Solomon 1:2 “…Your love (Dodeka) is better than wine.”
More frequently, the Hebrew root word, Ahavah, is used. It expresses the love Yahaveh has for His people. Jesus of Nazareth referenced Ahavah Love (Leviticus 18:12) when speaking of the greatest commandment.
Ahavah translates to the Greek Agape which is unconditional and selfless love. He said to Love (Agape) Yahaveh with all your heart…(Luke 10:27).

Michelle Sackett Schroeder

Albany places victims and witnesses at risk

To the editor:
The new discovery law in criminal cases mandating that the Prosecution must reveal all of its evidence within 15 days of arraignment is yet another example of Albany being out of touch with reality, and compromising the safety and privacy of citizens, and deterring law enforcement.
THE CHILLING EFFECT: The prosecutor's obligation to turn over to the defense the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any person who has relevant information regarding a case will likely result in citizens refusing to get involved and assisting law enforcement in solving crimes. It discourages bystanders who may have useful information from coming forward because they will fear for their safety and fear harassment or retaliation from criminals and their cronies.
JEOPARDIZING DRUG AND CHILD ABUSE CASES: Confidential informants and other witnesses to drug trafficking will hesitate to cooperate with police for fear of retaliation from drug gangs. One of the key investigative tools in child abuse/sex cases is information given by neighbors and family members who rely on the promise of anonymity. Likewise, mandated reporters such as teachers, aides, nurses and others will now be reluctant to report child neglect and sexual abuse.
Volunteer Firefighters and First Responders may now be dragged into criminal trials and proceedings as “discoverable” witnesses because of their firematic or their other life saving work at a potential crime scene.
The new law permits the defendant to “inspect” the premises and undertake his own investigation of the crime scene. Consider the victim of a crime like burglary or rape, and her horror when she learns that the perpetrator and his lawyer will be allowed back into her home and her bedroom, “to take notes” (???). This is an affront to our right to Privacy. It revictimizes the victim. Today's digital technology allows law enforcement to quickly and completely record any crime scene. What does the presence of the perpetrator and his lawyer add?
DISTRUST OF PROSECUTORS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT: The new law is cloaked in a veil of inherent distrust of prosecutors and law enforcement. Experienced prosecutors' ethical practices seek to resolve cases, protect witnesses (often child witnesses) and see to it that justice is achieved. To this end as a prosecutor I have in thousands of cases provided open discovery and have conferenced, formally or otherwise criminal cases without exposing the victim and law enforcement to undue publicity and exposure. The new law places additional burdens on law enforcement and opens their complete personnel files (medical files?) to the criminal and his lawyer. Prosecutors must be given flexibility to disclose witnesses and evidence in a way that does not compromise the victim, as well as community safety or police investigations.
JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED: The pace of criminal litigation will be considerably slowed. The new law does not streamline criminal cases but rather significantly expands the time frames for pre-plea and pretrial discovery. The new law will slow the disposition of cases, with discovery and protective motions, and overreaching demands for information about potential witnesses, police personnel records and requests to inspect the homes of victims.
IN MY OPINION, and in my experience as Prosecutor and a Judge, this new discovery law must be changed not tomorrow, but yesterday! It is up to good prosecutors to fight for the rights and safety of our communities and our citizens, and make our justice system better. This new law does not advance any of those objectives!

Judge Frank J. LaBuda (Ret.)

Jackie Horner

To the editor:
With sadness, respect and fond memories we read of Jackie Horner's passing.
Before we screened Dirty Dancing in August, 2017 at the Callicoon Theater to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the film, we contacted Jackie to see if she would be interested in hosting a Q&A after the film was shown.
Not only did she enthusiastically agree, but she brought with her props from her days as an instructor as well as copies of a book that included a chapter of her memories of times gone by. She held sway over the adoring, transfixed audience for more than an hour; her memoir was sold out.
Rarely does somebody come along with as much energy, enthusiasm and joie de vivre as was exhibited by Jackie that Saturday afternoon. She was truly a bright and shining gem in the entertainment firmament who will be sorely missed.

Barbara and Jim Kayton
Fremont Center

The People's Voice

In recent days we have heard many comments by the Republican Senators and Congressman that begin with the statement “the American people believe” followed by some minority viewpoint. I would like to point out that the last time the American people spoke out in an election (2018 congressional election) the American people overwhelmingly elected, women, minorities, and young people. According to Wikipedia, “In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, won control of the House. The Democrats gained a net total of 41 seats from the total number of seats they had won in the 2016 elections. The 41-seat gain was the Democrats' largest gain of House seats since the post-Watergate 1974 elections, when they picked up 49 seats. The Democrats also won the popular vote by a margin of 8.6%, the largest margin on record for a party that previously held a minority in the House. Turnout was the highest for a midterm election in more than a century, with over half the electorate casting ballots.”. Even in many State elections we have seen flips from red to blue. What the American people think is very clear.
So please Mr. Republican, don't tell me what the American people believe and think. The fact is the American people thought it necessary to drastically change the direction of our country and put some check on a President gone wild.
The Republican Party is a party of old white men. Just a few years ago the leaders of the Republican Party realized that this fact would become a major problem for the party as the demographics showed that in a few years our minorities will no longer be minorities, but in fact, be the majority. Add to that the fact that more and more young people and women are becoming politically active and registering to vote and run for office. The Republican Party leadership made plans to broaden their appeal and reached out to minorities, young people and women to attract them to the Party.
Then came Donald Trump, an old white man doubling down on an old white man agenda. “Make America Great Again”. Return to the “good old days” of segregation, sexism, racism, hate, and exclusion. An economy good for the rich and the super rich with little benefit trickling down to the rest; low wages so millions of working people have no chance of enjoying the American Dream.
The last great hope for the Republican old white men party, the G.O.P. (Grumpy Old People) is to destroy our democracy and replace it with a monarchy. Trump and company are in the process of doing this. Take a look at his consolidation of power.
• Stacking the Supreme Court (all white nominees, no women) and many federal judges with conservatives
• Encouraging Foreign election meddling- “Russia, if your listening”
• Consolidating control of the Justice Department, with an Attorney General, Mr. Barr to carry out Trumps policies
• Misrepresenting the conclusions of the Mueller Report
• Appointment of conservative judges
• Consolidating control of the State Department, with a Secretary of State, Mr. Pompeo, blindly following Trump's orders
• Trump says, “I can do whatever I want”
• Nearly taking us to war (always a good way to unite people behind their dictator)
• The U.S. Senate after their partisan vote impeachment, has shown us that they are part of the executive branch and complicit with Trump's Imperial Presidency.
• And perhaps the scariest of all, Trump will do nothing to guarantee that we have free and fair elections.
• Little effort to investigate foreign meddling
• Encouraging foreign meddling
• Voter suppression

The GOP knows they are the dinosaurs after the asteroid hit (the elections of 2018), doomed to extinction. No wonder they have lost their senses and don't even pretend to act in the interest of our county, only in the interest of their preservation of power.
The only thing standing between Trump's Imperial Republican Presidency is a free and fair election. I am confident that IF we have a free and fair election this year the American people will elect Representatives, Senators and a President that will restore order, decency and observance of the Constitution.
Sadly, I am not confident that we will have free, fair, elections that will not be corrupted by Russian interference. I do not believe that our national government is doing enough, or even if it is doing anything to prevent the Russian interference. Indeed, the President encourages it. He has dismantled the Federal Election Commission which is supposed to have 6 members, down to 3, not enough for a quorum and basically useless going into the next election cycle.
You read comments on Facebook everyday which fuel the fire of division between friends and family; a fire fueled by the Russian digital devils. The oldest rule in the dictator rule book of conquest is to divide and conquer your enemy. This is what Trump is good at.
I would like you to join me in calling for a public investigation and report of the Russian election corruption efforts and what is being done about it. The public needs to have confidence in our election process. I have read that something is being done, but I don't know what is being done and I am sure that our efforts are not enough to insure a free and fair election.
Join me in demanding to see what changes have been implemented to prevent future cyber-attacks and how we are more prepared by sharing the plan to protect the integrity of the 2020 election.
Join me in supporting legislation to require every voting district in the U. S. to have paper backups of all ballots in 2020.
Join me in requesting that Facebook change the algorithm that promotes the most hateful and divisive posts, to one that encourages healthy conversation, edits out profanity, and promotes the sharing of joyful life moments.
Join me in demanding a complete bi-partisan investigation and report of the “Russian and foreign meddling” and what will be done to prevent it. Write your congressman and Senators along with those Congressmen and Senators that are conspiring to create an Imperial Presidency. Time is running out.
Join me in engaging your friends and neighbors in a conversation of what is really happening, before it is too late. Most importantly make sure you vote for a return to cooperation that will “secure the blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity”* so our kids and their kids can enjoy the promise of this country. A promise for good; for our planet, and for its people.
I hope you save this letter so should our efforts to change the direction of our country fail, and Trump's vision of the world becomes a reality, you can't say Charlie did not warn you.

* Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity: The point of this phrase in the Preamble, and the constitution of the United States as a whole was to help protect the country's hard-earned rights for liberty, unjust laws, and freedom from a tyrannical government.

Charles Barbuti

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