Letters (April 7-14)

mail-letter-sqCounty Beat?

Given the title of this column, I’m disappointed to read parroted prose from a “regular commentator on Fox News” that although poorly put together, seeks to demean presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Mr. Reynolds should stick to something he might understand, county politics.

Ralph Childers


Change And ‘Revolution’

I’ve heard the word “revolution” used by Bernie Sanders and more recently by Susan Sarandon, a Sanders advocate. They need to be more specific.

Are they talking about picking up guns? Do we remember the useless and violent ends of the Symbionese Liberation Army (who kidnapped Patty Hearst) and the murders and imprisonments of Black Panther members? Do we remember the Weather Underground when some of  the most politically articulate of the 60’s generation were reduced to playing cops and robbers?


Are they talking about replacing the Constitution? A mechanism for  this exists in the Constitution, itself. Everyone is free to work for a Constitutional Convention. But I daresay, given the Trump brigade and the strong and strange right wing, I wouldn’t be so sure a better governing document could be enacted.

Are they talking about an involved citizenry? We can do that now. We can visit, write, phone our representatives every day. I wish people would, but this isn’t a “revolution.”

If people feel discouraged because of mega corporate power (which our agrarian founders couldn’t imagine), let’s get to work. It takes political and local organizing, not slogans and messianic leaders. It takes compromise among our very diverse populations, not uncompromising idealistic flourishes from  bygone eras. Witness the enormous changes produced by the Black Civil Rights, the Feminist, the Lesbian and Gay movements. And these changes were all accomplished without “revolution.”

Sharon Stonekey


Reactionary Gibson

I was watching Morning Joe Thursday morning, March 31. Alex Burns, a New York Times journalist, was a guest expert in the discussion of Trump’s latest gaff: criminalization of all women who have abortions (that is 30% of all American women).

I was surprised to see Burns giving lip service to “the importance of the abortion issue.” In a recent article he wrote (New York Times, February 7, 2016), an interview with Congressman Chris Gibson, who voted to defund Planned Parenthood twice and is a staunch opponent of abortion rights, Burns didn’t ask one question about Gibson’s stand of these critical issues.

I called this to Mr. Burns’ attention in a letter I wrote him; he declined to answer.

This is one glaring example of how the state of journalism has deteriorated in recent years. Burns missed an opportunity to expose Gibson: a right-leaning politician in our midst posing as a moderate. Burns just never asked the appropriate questions.

It is unfortunate Mr. Burns was taken in by Chris Gibson’s good looks, charm, delightful demeanor and impressive background. These attributes should not “snow” a decent journalist. Gibson is a reactionary on women’s rights: please check out his voting record on women rights, as well as other issues.

Mr. Burns: Be a journalist! If Chris Gibson runs for governor, I urge you to write a follow-up article and ask the right questions this time around.

Joanne Michaels
West Hurley



There has been a lot of media on the problem of heroin use and addiction. What we don’t focus on is addiction in general. How many of us are addicted to our cell phones? How many lives are lost because of them while driving and increasing our car insurance rates.  How about the food we eat? Keeping up with the Jones? Gambling? We probably all have some kind of addiction in our lives. Unfortunately, there are those of us who are deceitful to support their addictions.

I’m not undermining substance abuse. I’ve had it in my family and understand how difficult it is to overcome it and stay sober. I’ve seen success and repeated failure. We should also reflect on our other addictions. Instead of just focusing and putting our energy on the most serious, with a dismal success rate, we should try working on the less severe addictions, giving us the strength to eventually overcome the hardest if that time should come. I feel that it should be part of our school curriculum. I’m sure the corporate world would work against this. After all, they’re benefiting from our addictions.

Rich Spool 


Better films

I wish that the movie theater at the Hudson Valley Mall would offer more movies beyond the typical, often inane, Hollywood hash. For example, Michael Moore’s latest film, Where to Invade Next, ought to be seen by every American and then discuss. The film offers a tour of several countries’ systems with the purpose to claim their “good ideas” and bring them back to America. It is an eye opening, jaw dropping experience.

An interview with a woman reporter from Tunisia makes an essential point. Americans lack curiosity. When Americans think they are the best, they see no reason to look elsewhere in the world. She knows much about America, but most Americans know nothing about Tunisia. For example, Tunisia is a Muslim country that has provided free legal health services to women, including abortion, since the 1970s. Their “Arab Spring” protests removed a brutal dictator. Citizens then demanded and got equal rights for women specifically written in to their constitution. The extreme conservatives who controlled the legislature stepped down to accept the will of the people allowing for more diverse interpretations of their religion. Imagine!

The film will astound you when you see the school lunches in France, education programs in Finland (rated #1), workers in Italy and Germany, prisons in Norway, and the difference women bankers in Iceland made during the 2008 banking collapse.

In this region only the theaters in Rhinebeck, Woodstock, and Rosendale have served the public by showing this film. Residents now will have to seek other means to see it. I suggest signing up online to these alternate theaters for movies that can be intellectually stimulating and emotionally entertaining. Vacant entertainment can be appealing at times, but Americans need to have more curiosity about the world.

Checko Miller