The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.
Well, of course
Samuel Alito’s antediluvian draft opinion has rendered the SCOTUS itself illegitimate and irrelevant. The right wing and at least five Supreme Court justices want women to stay “in their place” – in other words, at home barefoot and pregnant and taking care of whatever man (father, husband, whatever) they end up attached to. They have said the quiet part out loud: They’d be perfectly happy to repeal every amendment that passed after the Bill of Rights. They either don’t understand or don’t care (I’d guess the latter) that the whole reason the process of amending the Constitution exists is to make it a living document that can stay relevant across time. They don’t want to have to bring anything to the table, so they remove the table.
Biden’s predecessor’s (Donald Trump) first overseas trip was to Saudi Arabia; it seems his followers want us to have the same or less rights than women there do. The disconnect is clear. And that’s just the beginning. They are after all our rights. Now the courts are stacked against freedom.
Yes, new conservative Republicans (GQP), like the old guard for decades, the anti-choice movement has attempted to brand itself as “pro-life,” but it’s not hard to see through their charade. As “pro-life” Republicans remain focused on criminalizing abortion, it’s not lost on Americans that this is the exact same Republican Party that is hell-bent on harming women and families with their regressive policies once the child is born.
The Moral Minority should have absolutely no say. The alt-right, fundamentalists and extreme conservatives have no right imposing their version of morality on any woman.
The level of outrage by women is real. Women’s rights in America are under attack: tyranny of a minority. A government that uses the strong arm of the state to force a woman to bear a child against her will is barbaric. Right-wingers are rejecting settled American law and replacing it with the religious doctrine of their church.
“Let’s take away self-determination and what a woman does with her own body” should never be a talking point. We must turn to sustained and coordinated activism. We know the stories of the Dark Ages; we won’t go back! Rights are on the block, people. Who is most affected by these draconian and backwards ideas? The poor, the uneducated and often those in Republican states!
The Dems respect women’s freedom and autonomy while reactionary Republican conservatives applaud yanking away the right of women to control their own bodies, strapping them and the men who support “no bans on a woman’s body” into a time machine and thus hurtling it backward. The holier-than-thou GQP credo, “Keep women” in all manners and form, must never stand in this day and age. It is a woman’s uterus and it must be their choice. Period.
Let’s hope the GQP is collectively soiling their Depends. The issues for the midterm get clearer every day. If you vote for anybody in the GQP, you are voting for the American Taliban. So, what do we do? We vote for every office, no matter how high or low. We protest. We contact and contribute as much as we can afford to each and every elected and/or appointed official who might have a smidgen of power to protect these rights. These upcoming midterms are more important than ever. Now, fight. Vote.
Abortion is not always a sin!
Women are not moral morons! Abortion is not always a sin.
The Supreme Court just leaked a draft of a decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and return access to abortion to states. Many Christians are firmly opposed to abortion under any circumstances, and that principle should govern their decisions as individuals. However, many other Christians affirm the necessity of women having access to a whole range of options, including termination of pregnancy, in order to live in a way that honors them, their existing relationships and their relationship with God.
We write as members of the SUNY New Paltz community, director of the Student Christian Center and Episcopal Campus Ministry and St. Andrew’s Church. Episcopal and Methodist denominations:
• Assert the sanctity of all human life, which includes the mother and not just the developing fetus.
• Discourage the use of abortion as a means of birth control or eugenic selection and encourage the use of effective methods of preventing pregnancies.
• Encourage robust and medically accurate education around sex education, birth control and sexuality.
• Assert the fundamental ability of women to make the most faithful decision for themselves, their family and their potential new life.
• Urge prayer and consultation with church leaders and medical professionals when considering decisions about reproductive rights and termination.
In over 40 years of combined pastoral ministry, we have learned that life is messy. We know from the depth of our hearts and the breadth of our experiences that moral decisions are hard. The life of a pregnant woman and the life growing within her are inextricably linked and must be considered together. An unborn child doesn’t exist in isolation – he or she needs an environment before and after birth that will sustain life. We have walked with women who have terminated due to illness, lack of viability, violence and so many more reasons, each heart-wrenchingly necessary in their own way. We have walked [with?] women who chose to terminate pregnancies, even much-wanted pregnancies, because their family, their marriage or their health would be irreparably harmed if the pregnancy were to continue.
The ongoing decisions around family life are often difficult and fraught, but when women have made the decision for themselves, they are empowered, and it is easier to live with intended and unintended consequences.
Our theology comes from a commitment to following Jesus, who:
• Commanded us to love God and our neighbors as ourselves;
• Chided hard-hearted husbands and judgmental religious leaders;
• Condemned the systems and practices that took food from the mouths of widows, orphans and the poor (by extension, we believe Jesus would condemn systems that disadvantage poor women and women of color in the US now and fail to provide access to healthcare for all);
• Respected women and promoted their dignity and well-being;
• Had compassion on women making the most life-giving of choices among dangerous and death-dealing options.
Rev. Dr. Allison Moore
ECM and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Pastor Rebecca Patterson
Student Christian Center
Roe v. Wade violence
I would like to weigh in on the leaked Roe v. Wade memo.
My wife and I worked in Dallas, Texas in the 1980s. It was a time of great activism against women’s health clinics that provided abortion services. My wife worked at such a clinic during those heated times. Through her work, I met Norma McCovey, Jane Roe. I worked in downtown Dallas and met Henry “Boss” Wade, the attorney who was involved in the lawsuit when he was the DA of Dallas County. They framed a unique perspective which can be summarized by a statement Boss Wade made to me at lunch, “For all the things I’ve done, I’m known for that!”
During those days, anti-abortion protestors became increasingly violent towards the clinic staff, the patients and the security staff. The police did not want to become involved. During that time my wife’s clinic was bombed, a storage shed set on fire. She was followed by men all the way back to our home in Arlington, Texas. Anti-abortionists protested in front of our house for months and openly threatened my wife and me, between singing hymns and praying for our destruction. They followed me to my work and even went so far as to speak with my employer at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Dallas asking that I be fired, or they would protest in the front of the hotel. I was described as “a known homosexual married to an abortionist.” Odd if you think about it.
The pinnacle for us personally was when they went to the daycare of my infant son and made intimations of possible violence. We had to change daycare locations. Shortly after that, a single shot was fired through the topmost window of our small house. Their message was clear: You and your family are next. We tried to engage the police, but they were not interested.
I tell you this because we are returning to a time when anti-abortion activists feel empowered to do away with anyone who holds a differing opinion. They believe that they and their actions are righteous and just. Although nominally protected in New York (save for Elise Stefanik’s district), it will once again be open season on women’s rights, with contraception only a stone or bomb’s throw away. The providers will not be safe, nor will their families.
I cornered a protestor at one point and asked him directly why he felt it was okay to threaten my wife and infant child. His response was that he was doing God’s work. Think about it: God was giving him the right to threaten and possibly kill a woman and child over a right that he can’t even exercise. Worse, today they are armed.
So, what is the answer? You must organize, agitate and vote in every town, city and state. If you don’t, you will lose; clear and simple, you will lose. And when you do, there will be no taking it back as the armed men march to your door. I know: I’ve been there, I’ve seen it.
As you know, I have been a fervent advocate for the environment and open space conservation in the Shawangunks for over 40 years.
I believe South Mountain Road in Gardiner is no place for a monstrous industrial behemoth of a cell tower. The balloon test was in no way representative of a looming permanent structure. I saw that from the Ridge and from the exact spot I might see on my daily walk. It is easy for photographers to downplay the real impact. The eye is all that sees it as it is.
Gardiner’s RF engineer suggests at several points that the Wireless Edge tower is in no way a guarantee for better cell coverage and might necessitate additional towers. There is also misinformation about where service is bad. For example, we, the residents of North and South Mountain Roads, have excellent service. How can you accept a proposal with shoddy data proving this tower will be a solution? Wireless Edge must present a performance guarantee.
Wireless Edge has never respected Gardiner’s cell tower law and are suddenly, after ten years, in a hurry to bully us as their unwilling victims while the clock ticks on soon-to-be obsolete technology.
Gardiner should not exempt itself from its carefully crafted zoning laws.
Gardiner should be responsible for protecting their valued highway workers from the threat of harm from a nearby tower.
In 2009, Sensible Wireless for Gardiner, a group under the Open Space Institute umbrella, headed off a 160-foot tower at the transfer station site in the Wallkill River corridor and Shawangunk Mountain viewshed. In a strongly worded opinion, State Supreme Court Judge Henry Zwack found the town’s review of the tower’s visual impact woefully deficient.
Gardiner should stick to your well-crafted cell tower law and once again reject the pressure from Wireless Edge.
Gardiner should reread everything pointed out in the multitude of letters from residents, and particularly the wisdom set forth by Eugene Ruoff, who crafted the cell tower law.
The town might need better cell service, but not at the expense of what makes Gardiner great.
Two regrets: 1) I wish I’d played with dolls; 2) I should have taken more drugs.
Origin of the war story
From our beginning, we humans have survived because we learned to become storytellers. For example, if you were being stalked by a saber-toothed tiger and got away, you had a story needing telling. Once told, your story may have saved lives in your tribe or clan.
Please understand that the saber-toothed tiger story was not a war story; it was the story of a giant beast needing to eat. War stories were born when human groups, for various reasons – food, land and sex – began taking the lives of other tribes or clans to get what they wanted.
The gestation and evolution of warriors’ stories always involved power in its multiplicity of forms. Warriors consistently amplified the stories they told their tribe. Every human holds the fear of death at our core. When the story has the killing of another human, the life-taker needs to exaggerate the battle to justify their need to kill the enemy. Nothing has changed since the first campfire story was told by cavewomen and men.
A soldier needs to become supercharged with energy by fearing losing his own life to face another human with the same brawn, hatred and determination to kill him. But, unfortunately, or fortunately, our imaginations help facilitate making our lookalike enemy into a demon we must kill first, and the safety is often hard to put back on.
Warrior training uses war stories to stretch the warrior’s psyche and morality to push them onto a battlefield. But, after they return home, it can take a lifetime to find a new story ending that will hold love.
Yet the culture, the media and the public are addicted to war stories, and murders are the most lucrative themes in the entertainment industry. The problem is that fear rides far into our imaginations without being splattered with human blood, or hearing the knife-edge human scream in actual death. Then there is the deep, sucking-away sound of your lifetime of trust built by those who sent you to war. Or the silent wail you let out when you get home to find nothing but the empty chrysalis of your soul.
Stories use metaphors to illuminate hard-to-explain truths. The war story is as important today as it was for our earliest ancestors. Why? Because a war story holds the healing of the warrior who knows the level at which war has pushed away peace. Only when the warrior tells the war story can it reach the depth to liberate personal and national peace.
When war stories are censored by the media, such as the fears of a screaming family member whose loved one we killed with drones is muted, or when the muffled weeping of a Marine who lost his buddy to an IED never reached those he was protecting.
We must feel war with all our senses to know of peace. The veterans’ voice holds the truth that exposes our nation to the realities of war and a sure pathway to peace.
Woodstock, colony of the arts?
Our Village Green is the centerpiece of Woodstock. Therefore, one would think that, before replacing the old Village Green benches, Supervisor McKenna would have had Woodstock’s Commission for Civic Design review any potential bench designs. On the other hand, it was a nice touch leaving the labels on the wood so as to inform the public the type of wood they are sitting on.
Keep Single-Family Home zoning
If we want the City of Kingston to continue to have Single-Family Home neighborhoods, we have to pay attention to the new Kingston zoning draft that is being prepared by City of Kingston’s Housing Initiatives Office, run by Bartek Starodaj. To see the early charts, presentations and draft zoning documents, go to Google and type “Kingston Forward.”
The draft document proposes the elimination of Single-Family Home zoning in Kingston. This will allow the mixing of apartment buildings, multi-family rentals, auxiliary small homes and businesses in any of Kingston’s Single-Family Home neighborhoods. This key change to Kingston’s single-family home character is not adequately being debated and talked about in public circles. This Single-Family Home issue is often lost in the debate over bike lanes and walking trails. Let’s ask our aldermen and the mayor to talk about the reasons for this drastic change.
I am writing on behalf of New Paltz Seniors Serving in Place (SSIP). We are very concerned about the following, which impacts us significantly. We understand that some members of Congress are working to expand and strengthen Medicare to include vital hearing, dental and vision coverage. Others are seeking to privatize this important guaranteed lifeline. Although we have all paid into Medicare since we started working, there are plans in the near future to turn Medicare over to for-profit financial institutions from health insurance companies to hedge funds.
We are actively preserving our ability to live as independently as possible. We are alarmed by this development and demand that it be immediately discontinued. Traditional Medicare pays 98 percent of its budget on healthcare. This new REACH program would allow third-party middlemen to keep 40 percent of what they don’t spend on healthcare for profit. It may also require seniors to change their doctors if the medical professional has not opted into their plan.
As an organization, we have written a letter to our representative in Congress. We suggest that everyone who is concerned write a letter or make a phone call.
CVRSA for safer streets
New York State needs to pass the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act (CVRSA). If you are concerned about the safety of all the people who use our streets and roads, please consider actively supporting the CVRSA. To quote from The New York Times Sunday edition (4/24/22) article by Farhad Manjoo, “Riding a Bike in America Should Not Be This Dangerous,” “The United States is in the midst of a traffic fatality crisis. Nearly 39,000 people died in crashes on American roadways in 2020, the most since 2007. American roads have grown especially dangerous to nonoccupants of vehicles (that is, bicyclists and pedestrians). In 2011, 16 percent of traffic deaths were of nonoccupants; in 2020 it was 20 percent.”
This trend must be and can be reversed. In most of America’s peer nations, traffic deaths have been falling because they have made the conscious choice to impose stricter rules on speeding and drunken driving; and they design their roads with safety in mind, as opposed to maximum vehicle speed. As our vehicles have steadily gotten bigger and more powerful, they have also become more dangerous to vulnerable road users.
The CVRSA is a package of bills that includes: the Three-Foot Safe Passing Bill, to protect cyclists from vehicles that come too close; Sammy’s Law, to allow local municipalities to lower speed limits; education for the DMV pre-licensing course on safely interacting with vulnerable road users; more support for crash victims in legal proceedings. New York State needs to do something about speeding and reckless [driving], which happens too often on our roads. Higher speeds lead to more frequent and more deadly crashes. In terms of road design, we need to shift from the car-centric paradigm to one that prioritizes safety for all road users.
Addressing our transportation crisis with this package of bills will also allow New York State to reduce carbon-causing emissions and pollutants. Increased biking and walking have the potential to create major reductions in carbon emissions – but people will not bike and walk more if they don’t feel safe on our roads and streets. (We need that protected pedestrian/bike lane on Henry W. Dubois! Please, no further delays.)
If you want to help bring about passage of these bills, please look up the CVRSA online and join the New York State Safe Streets Coalition. Ask our representatives in the State Legislature – assemblymember Kevin Cahill and State senator Mike Martucci – to co-sponsor these bills. I want to thank the New Paltz Village Board and the New Paltz Town Board for passing resolutions of support for the CVRSA.
In a previous letter, the author rightfully points out how Medicare REACH defrauds the government of money and the patients of healthcare, the only true beneficiaries being Wall Street investors. But what the author doesn’t mention is that we’ve been putting up with these evils for years. Medicare Advantage (MA), like Medicare REACH is paid not for the service provided, but by the head, so they’re likewise incentivized to cut corners on our care; likewise, they indulge in the fraud of up-coding, making us seem sicker than we are, so that the government will pay them more to keep us alive. To the extent that people choose it – currently about 43 percent of the population – MA already privatizes Medicare.
Up to now, we could choose not to go with MA, but now with Medicare REACH, we’ll have little choice. For with REACH, Wall Street operatives don’t bother with us. They reach out, instead, to our doctors or their practices, offering them big bonuses and bigger profits. They try to sell them, not us. And once our doctors sign up with REACH, then we get a message that we are “aligned” with that program (translation: We are forced to go along with it). Our only choice is to try to find another doctor. CMS has made it clear that they want this for the entire country.
Please call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and ask to be connected to the office of Congressman Delgado or whoever is your congressional representative, then ask them to sign on to Representative Jayapal’s letter demanding that the REACH program be stopped. More than 40 representatives have done so; your representative should, too!
Paul R. Cooper
Flooding made the trip from Saugerties to my home in New Paltz a logistical problem. The scenic route I chose would let my granddaughter see one of America’s first great engineering feats, the Delaware & Hudson Canal.
Fortunately, the climb from High Falls over the Ridge to New Paltz (west of the floodplain) had many great views, but until reading your Sneak Peak of the new D&H Canal Museum, its disappearance befuddled me.
Congratulations to the efforts of all who made this engineering icon come back to life, and in what promises to be a worthwhile trip for everyone who likes to be amazed.
I do wish your Ms. Platt had expanded on the role of slaves, mentioned just once. SUNY New Paltz has erased mention of slaveowners from their buildings. Hiding the truth buries the lessons of the truth. Trying to meld the different skin tones of the citizens of the world with “persons of color” is another mistake.
All humanity: white on white, red on red, yellow on yellow, black on black – all have vicious histories! Each atrocity should see the full light of day, be understood and not be forgotten. Never forget! Perhaps then we can actually experience Never Again!
I had my father, a design engineer, to help me understand the genius of Roebling that, in fact, imagined and erected this marvel that ended our dependence on Great Britain for coal: this 100-mile manmade river that floated coal and farm produce from the interior through mountains and over rivers. Roebling’s Brooklyn Bridge is far better-known, but not nearly so great a contribution to the immense growth of the American economy, and thus our ability to fight tyrants across the world. Always, please, tell the full story.
Do not miss this new museum, readers. You will be awed.
SCOTUS abortion draft: regional variation in universal rights
The draft Supreme Court decision overturning the Roe and Casey decisions on abortion asserts flaws in the criteria those decisions set for the state’s interest in regulating abortion. It notes that abortion is unique among arenas in which the right to privacy, and the liberty of personal action it supports, are central, because abortion may set that right against the termination of a potential new human life.
At that point, the draft decision becomes blatantly flawed. After noting that ordered liberty is limited and involves defining boundaries between competing interests, the draft proposes that “the people of the various States may evaluate those interests differently.” In the case of abortion, this is dilettantism, if not an attempt to avoid institutional responsibility: The draft identifies that the rights being balanced are that of a mother, to personal liberty in her sexual behavior and reproductive choices, versus the right to life of her fetus, once it has developed to the point of having the functioning components of a human being, if yet unborn. Both of these are inherent rights; they are grave and fundamental to negotiate with. That these rights are universal is an underpinning of the American system. Diminishing their significance to a level where local cultural opinions or political constellations are free to decide how to balance them ignores that. If the Court’s role is to ensure that the law aligns with the Constitution, the first role of the Constitution is to guarantee these inherent rights, for all, equally.
The draft’s support for regulation of abortion by the states is part of its broader emphasis that regulation of abortion is properly the province of the legislative branch. But if the balancing of the inherent rights involved should not differ state by state, then such regulation would fall to the Congress. Division on abortion in Congress is profound, reflecting division on the issue among the states, so results cannot be expected to be forthcoming from there. In the absence of federal action, punting the question to the states will ensure that justice in outcomes for mother versus child will vary across the nation.
I wonder if there is an intention to let existing abortion precedent be torn down, with the expectation that when state-level restrictions rush to fill the resulting void, opposing social forces will bring those before the Court, and afford it the opportunity to set new precedent that is better-constructed. But in the interval where that has not yet occurred, those grave inherent rights of mother and child will not be uniformly protected. This is unacceptable.
Tissues, toilet paper, napkins and paper towels all come from the clearing of virgin forests unless the product is labeled “100% recycled.” Choosing 100 percent recycled products (now easily found in your local supermarket) is a simple way to save birds and other wildlife, their habitats, and slow down the sixth mass extinction and climate change driven by our species’ mass consumption of the planet’s resources.
Choose life. Choose recycled products. Be a humane being.
Speed reduction on Route 212
I’m encouraged by the willingness of the Town of Saugerties to support our grass-roots effort to reduce the speed limit on Route 212’s existing 55mph zones. The current 55mph zones include a number of commercial businesses utilizing trucks and heavy equipment and single-family homes using blind driveways to enter the roadway. These 55 mph zones typically also have minimal or non-existent shoulders, making evasive action, if necessary, impossible. Our small neighborhood’s road enters onto 212 just past a blind rise and S-curve, making left-turns especially risky. As a final reason to consider the speed reduction, the east-west orientation of 212 means that drivers face significant sun glare in the early morning and late afternoon, increasing the risk of accidents with vehicles or pedestrians hidden by the glare. We support the Town’s efforts to take steps to enhance safety along the 212 corridor.
In his “Tucker Carlson is anti-science” letter, Neil Jarmel encouraged Fox News viewers to “please find a real news station” that doesn’t offer “faux conspiracy theories” or any other “bad comedic misfiring.” Speaking of faux conspiracy theories, I recall that CNN, MSNBC and most of the MSM spent two-and-a-half years 24/7 promoting the phony Trump/Russian collusion/conspiracy theory and chose to ignore the genuine Hunter Biden laptop story when it appeared. And has there ever been a worse misfiring than comedian Laurie Kilmartin stating she wants “to make sweet love” to the SCOTUS’ opinion-leaker, and if he is a conservative (and she gets pregnant), to inform him that she “joyfully aborted our fetus”? (Ms. Kilmartin shared this comedic misfire during an MSNBC panel discussion hosted by talking head Ayman Mohyeldin. I’m sure Neil found Laurie’s statement as hilariously funny as Ayman and his panel.)
In any event, despite Neil’s disapproval, Tucker Carlson and Fox News continue their unprecedented reign at the top of cable news. Meanwhile, CNN’s and MSNBC’s shrinking fanbases are an increasing source of concern for these left-leaning stations. With this in mind, Neil decided to take his own advice and watch CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter. Mr. Stelter, the anchor of CNN’s Reliable Sources Show, often complains that he and his network are falsely accused of anti-Republican bias. However, after reviewing clips of misleading coverage by Mr. Stelter, Neil was stunned to discover that Brian’s reputation for bias was well-deserved. Moreover, after further investigation, Neil concluded that not only CNN but MSNBC and most of the MSM were too often purveyors of disinformation because of political bias.
Gobsmacked over this discovery, Neil searched for a way to express his surprise and outrage. A secret admirer of Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld, who often pokes fun at the portly Mr. Stelter’s love for sweets and food in general, Neil decided that a song parody inspired by Gutfeld’s view of Stelter would be the best way to go. The following parody of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” titled “Brian Loves his Hostess Twinkies,” is the fruit of Mr. Jarmel’s efforts to register his new feelings about media bias. (I must admit, Neil does a pretty good job on this one.)
Picture yourself at your desk in your office
With plates full of chocolates and Twinkies galore
The Internet’s trending “Steltzer is biased”
You grab a cake and close your door
Picture yourself on your show with Paul Krugman
And Paul is complaining, “Biden’s plans have gone south”
You give him a Twinkie that will distract him
And then put two more in your mouth
Brian loves his Hostess Twinkies
Stelter really loves his Twinkies
Brian has to have his Twinkies…ah-h-h-h
Soft yellow sponge cake that melts in your mouth
Makes all your fake news seem true
Reach for the package that’s close to your bed
And you’re gone
Brian loves his Hostess Twinkies
Stelter really loves his Twinkies
Brian has to have his Twinkies…ah-h-h-h
Picture yourself in a store buying groceries
There’s no baby formula left on the shelf
Fearing store shortages will include Twinkies
You grab all that’s left for yourself
Picture yourself in your house after dinner
You’ve just heard the news “Hunter’s laptop is real”
You often said that the story was fake news
And this bad news spoils your meal
Truth in reporting’s the goal of your trade
But you never give it a thought
You only think of fake stories and food
That you’ve bought
(Repeat 5X to fade)
Biden really hates ultra-MAGAS
CNN Plus was a big failure
Fox News has the fairest news programs…ah-h-h-h
Although private companies can make their own rules about what they’ll allow on their platforms and, also, cannot violate yours and my Constitutional free speech rights, Twitter is NOT a private company ever since going public in 2013. It’s just like Zuckerberg’s cancel machines, Facebook (META) and Instagram. And, they’ve all grossly abused their power by shutting down conservative free speech and cancelling anyone who offers intelligent and factual rebuttals to their liberal kingdoms of wisdom and righteousness. I don’t know about you, Steve, but I strongly object to being dismissed and cancelled by such kings as Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Parag Agrawal, et al.
Your bakery scenario, although not an accurate comparison, is another example of a violation of yours and my 1st Amendment rights of freedom of religion and the exercise of religious beliefs and values. A baker, florist or photographer has a perfect right to refuse to provide their services to same-sex couples as they adhere to their religious beliefs. By any stretch of the imagination, this is NOT discrimination nor is it a violation of any rights to which the same-sex couple may perceive or imagine that they have. There are plenty of these specialty providers of services that have no problem providing their services to same sex couples. Despite posing no problems or inconveniences to these couples, they arrogantly and callously choose to sue those businesses who are merely exercising their Constitutional religious rights, in hopes of shutting them down or putting them out of business.
Regarding the proven to be Trump-Russian collusion hoax, we all know that Mueller’s blood thirsty anti-Trump crew thoroughly exhausted themselves for two years in trying to find ANYTHING that could have led to a credible impeachment or even, possibly, a conviction, but they failed miserably. The conclusion that the investigation “does not exonerate him” refers, no doubt, to extremely minor offenses, behaviors or actions.
Even though you see no problems, whatsoever, with our new off Broadway Czar and her “Disinformation Governance Board”, I believe that quite a significant number of Americans — Republicans, Independents, AND even Democrats — alarmingly smell an Orwellian society on the rise, with us looking more and more like China than our beautiful, or once beautiful, U.S.A.
John N. Butz
Speed limit safety issues on Route 212
My wife and I have lived on a small private road off of State Route 212 in West Saugerties since 1996. In the area of the state route where we live there are well trafficked businesses like Immune Schein Elixirs and Tea House, The Red Onion Restaurant and Especially Swedish Auto, as well as entities like J & J Tree Service and Central Hudson. The Saugerties Landfill and Transfer Station is another intermittently busy stop on the highway. There is copious traffic in and out of the businesses and residences, as well as private, transport and freight vehicle which use 212 as an artery between Saugerties and Woodstock, and beyond to Mt. Tremper. There are also numerous driveways and small roads used by the residents who live interspersed between these businesses and the forests surrounding the developed areas, and, naturally, often accessed by delivery and service vehicles.
The state speed limit on Route 212 of 55 MPH has always been a notable safety problem during all of the 26 years I’ve lived here. However, it has now become a severe and urgent problem during the last few years of population growth and increased tourism to our area. On the winding, two-lane portions of 212 that have a speed limit of 55 MPH, it is not unusual to see vehicles moving at 65 or 70 MPH. Adding to the safety issues, the speed limits change constantly and irrationally along the length between Saugerties and Woodstock, as drivers look to noisily and recklessly speed up or suddenly brake at the whim of inconsistent signage. Some signs are only posted in one direction of the two lanes of traffic. It is time for the NYS DOT to reduce the limit on Route 212 to 40 MPH on all of the length of 212 for the safety of all residents and visitors and the peace of mind of everyone who uses the highway or lives near it.
A tribute to Eva Ballantine
My friend of 54 years. How I will miss her intelligence, compassion, wit and compelling spirit. A remarkable, dramatic presence, forceful, complex and sometimes fierce in her desire to be strong.
Underneath that bravado, Eva was loving and empathic professionally and personally with thecourage of her passionate convictions. A force to be reckoned with!
Eva loved beauty, the aesthetic of the many gardens she created and cultivated. The miracle of nature’s wonders thrilled her soul. The cycle of the seasons coincided with her moods. Winter for Eva meant desolation, spring was rebirth, fall, the time of her birthday, was resplendent with the colors she adored, its harvest the culmination of nature’s bounty.
Summer was the time to water and weed to bring her gardens to their full and most gorgeous potential. No vegetables, for Eva. The Pistils, shoots and blooms of rooted flowers were her passion.
Her family meant the world to her as she grew older, just as she had meant everything to her beloved mother, dear Omi, the magnificent Aunt Bella whom she resembled, and Frieda, all of whom she lavished with love and care in their old age. While in HER old age, surrounded by her children, especially by Tad and Lucy, she could live at home comforted by her beautiful treasures and her beloved pets. In spite of her decline, she was blessed by their care and devotion. As her friend, I am so grateful for their love and meticulous attention to their remarkable mother.
I will miss my dear friend Eva. But she will always be in my heart.
She is tending her garden with those she loved and missed in her long life on Earth, and one day we well be joyful together again.