Letters (Nov. 26-Dec. 3)

mail-letter-sqState right to ban fantasy sports gambling

I commend NYS AG Eric Schneiderman for ordering FanDuel and DraftKings to shut down daily fantasy sports (DFS) in our state. DFS as run by these operators is predatory gambling of a type not allowed by amendments to the NYS Constitutional ban on gambling. Furthermore, it is internet gambling. No kind of internet gambling is legal in NYS now. To quote the AG:

“… These companies are based on business models that are identical to other forms of gambling. FanDuel was created by a veteran of the legal online betting industry in the United Kingdom, while the CEO of DraftKings suggested that it operates in the ‘gambling space,’ and described its revenue model as ‘identical to a casino.’

“FanDuel and DraftKings have made the argument, over and over . . . that they run ‘games of skill’ and are therefore legal. . . . New York law prohibits sports wagering — betting money on a future event outside of the gambler’s control — regardless of the skill involved. Yet this provision . . . is deliberately ignored by both FanDuel and DraftKings.

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“Consider the final moments of a football game where the outcome has been decided and the winning quarterback takes a knee to run out the clock . . . . Let’s say it’s Eli Manning. Statistically, this play would cost the quarterback one yard — a yard that could make the difference between someone on DraftKings or FanDuel winning or losing tens of thousands of dollars.

“What did that have to do with the bettor’s skill? It’s the classic risk involved in sports betting.

“Games of chance often involve some amount of skill; this does not make them legal. Good poker players often beat novices. But poker is still gambling, and running a poker room — or online casino — is illegal in New York.”

Stephen Q. Shafer
Saugerties

 

Free speech explained

Regarding Phoebe Hoss’ letter to the editor: I love people that say “I am all for free speech except…”. Guess what. That makes you not for free speech. It is either free or it is restricted. There is no exemption in the constitution for “hate speech” or any other speech for a reason. The first amendment was made to protect offensive speech. If it was not offensive, why would it need protection? Our founders had much to say that was offensive. They too were called traitors. They too were put on a watchlist. They too had foreign troops amassed against them. And they were absolutely right in doing what they did.

Let me explain with an analogy. If a president of the United States — let’s call him a ridiculous name, say, George Bush — if he said in a speech he believed in “punishing his enemies” (referring to his political opponents) then he had the IRS go after them (like Obama’s IRS targeting scandal) then he had the Department of Homeland Security put all people who believed in, say, gun control, abortion rights, global warming, socialism, etc. on a terrorist watchlist (like the list Obama put half the country on), then Bush said he wanted his own domestic army as well funded as our military(as Obama did), then Bush instructed his attorney general to conspire with the UN to amass an army of foreign leftist-hating troops (or America-hating troops as Obama has), would that not be traitorous? If Bush had given Al Qaeda weapons to do a hit job on his enemies, would that not be traitorous? A long list of government authorities agree that this president has committed treason. The only reason he has not been impeached is the spinelessness and corruption of our Congress.

As to your belief that you can negotiate instead of using a gun, tell that to all the rape and murder victims out there. If you don’t need a gun, congratulations, you are fortunate. Others among us are not so lucky, including our police, soldiers, and the rest of us who stand up for what is right.

P.S. Thank you Saugerties Times for believing in free speech and printing my traitorous letters!

Karl Krause
Saugerties

 

Salvation Army’s homophobia

I was dismayed to see another Salvation Army bell ringer in front of the Saugerties Price Chopper and Adams again this year.

I’ve research the up-to-the-minute facts concerning the organization’s position on gay rights to find out that they have tried to “contain” their homophobic position that they are continuing. In the evidence I’ve read, their concern is not shown in apologizing and having a dialogue with the LGBT community, but in trying to cover it up and “handle it.”

As blogger Zinnia Jones in the Huffington Post writes: “The Salvation Army continues to maintain anti-gay theological stances, and continues to discriminate against its own employees and their partners. The organization historically ‘abides’ by anti-discrimination laws by way of shutting down services in areas where such laws apply. The Salvation Army has given no indication that it intends to change any of these anti-LGBT policies.

“Supporting the Salvation Army this season, whether by tossing your change in their red kettles or donating your used goods to their resale shops, means assisting an aggressively anti-gay church in furthering its goals of discrimination. Would-be donors should consider whether ‘doing the most good’ might mean supporting one of the many other effective and reputable charities that provide for the needy without engaging in anti-gay beliefs, policies, or political activities.”

Additionally, please note that there are many, many other worthwhile local not for profits that Price Chopper and Adams can support that are not homophobic: Family of Woodstock, Saugerties Council of Churches Food Pantry, the Patriot Project, Arc, etc.

Mark Smith
Saugerties

 

Playhouse recognized

The Woodstock Playhouse and Woodstock-Saugerties have reason to celebrate. The Playhouse has emerged as a new member of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. Now recognized for its overwhelming contribution as a home of treasured American Theatre and Music History, the non-profit organization and its leadership have reclaimed the national and regional spotlights which now illuminate the iconic site.

Thank you to Ulster County leadership, board members, sponsors and individuals who have wholeheartedly facilitated the growth of the Woodstock Playhouse during these past important years.

I encourage everyone to support the Woodstock Playhouse by attending their regionally acclaimed offerings, making donations, visiting the historical site, or giving gifts such as gift certificates and tickets to family, friends and those less fortunate. Visit WoodstockPlayhouse.org to join the celebration which is your iconic Woodstock Playhouse.

You have made a difference, and together the possibilities are endless.

Douglas W. Farrell
Vice president, Woodstock Playhouse

 

Give a thought to land preservation

Woodstock Land Conservancy will be participating this year in the national “Giving Tuesday” campaign, occurring the Tuesday after CyberMonday. This online effort promotes donations to non-profits on Tuesday, Dec. 1, amidst the heady shopping days following Thanksgiving.

It goes without saying how grateful we are to the entire community which has supported our work since 1989, when our new organization saved the Zena Cornfield from development. Since then, thanks to many of you, we have preserved over 1,000 acres, and have made possible the public’s access to a number of gorgeous views, forests, habitats and waterways. We hope you and your family will find time to enjoy these magnificent places soon. And, currently we are hard at work in supporting the efforts to build the Ashokan Rail Trail which will open up the spectacular north shore of the Reservoir to our communities for the first time in a century!

We welcome your support for us on Giving Tuesday. Visit us at ulsterpub.staging.wpenginelandconservancy.org.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Maxanne Resnick
Woodstock Land Conservancy

 

Golf tourney success

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I wish to give my thanks, along with my sincere appreciation to all the sponsors, volunteers and players who made the SAA’s 24th Annual Sawyer Motors / Sawyer Chevy Golf Tournament an overwhelming success. Many of you have carried on the same tradition of support, year after year, for the past 23 years.

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Many thanks to our Tournament Sponsor Bob and Larry Siracusano for their tremendous show of generosity to the SAA with minimal costs, along with sizeable donations and contributions. Both are truly remarkable individuals, we are most fortunate and lucky to have both of them as part of our great community.

Additionally, John and Sara Smith, proprietors of Rip Van Winkle C.C., the venue host. Their show of support and generosity today, along with that same display from the very beginning, 24 years ago, by the Smith Family has been, and continues to be, unprecedented. If anything, John and Sara have not only continued the Rip’s show of generosity, they have expanded on it, every year.

The combined hundreds of businesses, organizations and individuals who have taken various levels of sponsorship each year, along with those who have donated and contributed prizes, gifts, etc. and the 80 players, some, who have participated since year one. Thank you for your continued support and generosity.

My many thanks to the Tournament Committee, along with the other volunteers who play roles and work the tournament, the day of. Special thanks to Committee Member Alice Kirlauski, who spearheads many components of the event, including the spectacular Program Journal. To all of you, your tireless efforts, dedication, support and generosity has been unprecedented. I, nor any one person, could ever do without each and everyone of you.

For the 24th consecutive year, the tournament has been a sell-out and overwhelming success. None of this would be possible if it were not for all aforementioned, all for the benefit of the SAA, our youth and community. I can never begin to extend the amount of thanks and appreciation equal to your support and generosity.

I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and safe holiday season, along with hopes you are able to enjoy the season and the wonders of Christmas to its fullest with family and friends. May 2016 bring you nothing but happiness and good health, along with being your best year yet. Thank you all, again, and all the best to the best!

Greg Chorvas
Chairman, SAA Golf Tournament