Hope again in 2010
As we finally bid farewell to 2009, I’m remembering events that we surely would rather forget!
Our economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,the not-so-perfect state of healthcare and education —all cry out for more positive changes.
I’m hopeful that people in 2010 will besaying, “Enough is enough” and will act. One way isto contact our elected legislators, insisting that thevery changes necessary to improve our lives will cometo fruition.
Perhaps then we could look forward to ahappy, peaceful and prosperous New Year!
A world in crisis
2009 is ending almost as troubled as the year began. The world remains in the grip of crisis, conflict, anger, threat and danger. Many who caused the problems continue refusing to change. The peoples of the world who wish to live in peace and security are subjected to powers beyond their control.
The inauguration of President Obama was a golden moment. The flames of hope and inspiration burned brightly. Confronting conditions unseen since the election of FDR it was wishful to believe the woes of the nation would evaporate within a year. Obama’s popularity has fallen mostly due to unfulfilled expectations and the failure of the president to stake out positions. By seeking consensus, he is viewed by many as weak.
Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and a worldwide financial crisis made worst by banks fearful to lend and greedy to enrich themselves are threats we must confront in 2010. Engagement has not ended Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Israel would rather build on seized Palestinian land than pursue peace. Extremists kill constantly throughout the Muslim countries and attempt to blow up planes. Drone attacks eliminate terrorists but have little effect on recruitment.
Domestically the hatred that defines relations between Republicans and Democrats is becoming institutionalized. When politics takes precedence over devotion and loyalty to the nation, the U.S. faces unrest, acts of violence and internal divisions that are more threatening than external enemies could ever be.
We are in peril.
Health bill harms NY
The Senate healthcare bill, as presently promulgated, would burden New York taxpayers with in excess of $1 billion in extra Medicaid costs while denying critical aid to city hospitals that serve the poor.
In many states, the feds would pick up almost all the initial costs by providing Medicaid coverage to everyone up to 133 percent of the poverty level.ButNew York would be ineligible for this assistance because we already cover most people up to 150 percent — more than the basic requirement of providing healthcare for the poor. Consequently, we will lose out.
The New York House delegation, headed by Rep. Charlie Rangel, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, must collectively demand equitable financing of the Medicaid expansion, which is due to take effect in 2015. To his credit, Rangel seems game, and is optimistic New York is going to come out better than we are now. He also rightly categorized the provisions as “totally unfair.”
The daunting reality is that New Yorkers would be immensely burdened by the Senate’s version of the national health plan.Gov. David Paterson estimates the new $1 billion a year cost because of an additional million New Yorkers joining the Medicaid rolls, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg has warned that cuts on the table could force closure of clinics.
The House version of the health plan offers relief to all states and would save New York $4 billion a year. A clear priority should be protecting aid to city hospitals that serve the millions of uninsured. Congress must make sure that emergency care costs are covered. Clearly, New York needs, and deserves, more from the final health reform legislation.
DOE ruined our school
As a retired Jamaica High School teacher, and present coach of theQueensdefending championgirls’ outdoor track team for the past 5 years, I am ashamed of the Department of Education for what they did to our school (“Klein: Jamaica H.S. closure is painful, but necessary,” Dec. 24, multiple editions).Jamaica High School was designed to fail by the department.
To bring our stats down, it took three to four years of constantly sending us youth from the Riker’s Island correctional facility, underacheivers from Brooklyn and Far Rockaway who could not function in their own schools, recently arrived immigrants with limited English skills and a high percentage of special education students. That is why our graduation is not up to par, according to the DOE’s fussy statistics, which are highly questionable.
The same students that were sent to Jamaica will be sent to the next high school building needed by the DOE. The students I mentioned need not apply, they will bring down their graduation rate.
Nice going, DOE. Mission accomplished.
West Hempstead, L.I.
Class size is key
Chancellor Joel Klein thinks replacing one big high school, Jamaica, with a smaller high school, a middle school and a specialized school will bring faculty closer to students. However, class sizes remain large in small schools as well.
If Klein wants to improve schools, he should cut the student/teacher ratio. He could do this without closing schools, but by providing more money to hire teachers. Jamaica could succeed if given the same opportunities as the new schools he plans to replace it with.
The writer is a library media specialist at Jamaica High School.
Mets vs. Braves
Ignore the Braves at your peril, Lloyd (“Bay watch,” Sportsbeat, Dec. 24, by Lloyd Carroll). Having Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Nate McLouth from day one will be huge — and Derek Lowe and especially Chipper Jones are virtually certain to rebound from their weak 2009 campaigns. If Troy Glaus is healthy and Jason Heyward delivers as advertised, Atlanta will score a lot more runs too. Their only obvious weakness is lack of overall speed. But they’re still much better than the Mets — even if the Mets are healthy.
Fair Lawn, N.J.
My cash, my clunker
Finally!I was thrilled to see that something is finally going to be done about these scam artists!(“Queens Auto Mall cited for deceptive practices,” Nov. 25, South Queens edition.)
I am currently involved in a lawsuit with QAM due to their deception. I financed a car from them about a year ago. After giving them a $2,000 down payment and signing the paperwork, I walked back across the street to take possession of my vehicle only to find that it would not start! I could not drive it off the lot and they refused to refund my money!
Glen Head, L.I.
Expect MD shortages
Where government has taken over medical treatment, taxpayers and patients both suffer. Doctor shortages are one result.
The public health system in Canada is held as a model for the United States. In 1993, it took an average of 9.3 weeks for a Canadian patient to see a specialist after he or she got a doctor’s referral. Recently, the visit to see a specialist has reached 17.3 weeks. The quality of medical care will not be improved when the government steps in.
George Washington recognized this when he said, “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
My ode to the military
A few weeks back, I decided to write something for our men and women in the military and for those who served in the past.
So I wrote this song, “We Owe it all to You.” A newspaper editor told me if it were a YouTube video, he would promote it in his paper. So I then got in contact with AnySoldier.com and was given permission to use the photos they sent me. My wife put the slide show together, and now we want to get it to as many military personnel as possible, and their families,to let them know how we feel.
Discs have been made and sent overseas, and the song is in hundreds of VFW and DAV halls across the country, and USO’s around the world. I’ve heard from radio DJ’s across the country, it’s on military bases, camps, forts, VA hospitalsand more.People are putting the site and info on their Facebook, MySpace and Twitter accounts.
Please pass this on to as many as you can, for our military. This is their song!
Thank you for your time. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
St. James, L.I.
Blinded and blindsided
Last September, Bayside High School installed an electric sign in front of its building. Immediately, this bright flashing sign disturbed neighbors who felt it was out of character for the neighborhood.I expressed these concerns to Community Board 11.
Many in the community agreed that the sign was inappropriate and got involved. Particularly instrumental were the East Bayside Homeowners Association and C.B. 11s ad hoc sign committee, who exposed the fact that the sign is almost certainly illegal. The school recently turned off the sign, pending a determination from the city Department of Buildings concerning its questionable legality under the zoning laws.
On behalf of the residents who live near the school, I want to thank all those involved for working to help remove this eyesore.
Meeks must go
Our congressman, Greg Meeks, is in the papers again. As usual, the news is not good.
I have twice written about Meeks’ penchant for junkets, especially to the Caribbean. He’s at it again, and as the Daily News reports, is “unabashed” about the profusion of trips and treats courtesy of lobbyists.
He admits lots of trips to luxury resorts and hotels, especially on the island of St. Lucia, but instead of the excuse that he visits the islands because so many of his constituents originate there, he says it’s “good for his marriage.” Taxpayers are responsible for his marriage therapy? Give me a break!
Meeks neglects to add that most of these trips have been paid for by indicted Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, who stands accused of stealing over $7 billion from investors, a la Bernie Madoff. Oh, and did I mention that Meeks is big on Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez?
This guy has absolutely no shame. We should all hang our heads that he gets elected over and over again. That no one even runs against him. The 2010 elections are coming up and Meeks is ripe for the picking — surely there is a decent, smart person in the 6th Congressional District who can run and be an honorable representative.
It has been said that people get the government they deserve. If Meeks holds onto his seat in 2010, all I can say is welcome to the madhouse that used to be called the U.S.A., and there’s no one to blame but us.
MTA fails the public
Is it just me, or did the MTAonce again show its lack of respect and pure arrogance — or maybe just ineptitude — last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the weekend snowstorm?
The riding public are just pawns in their little stupid games. For three straight days I stood on the corner of 67th Avenue and Fresh Pond Road waiting in vain for a functional 58 bus to come. In the bitter, biting cold, during Christmas week when people needed to get home and get things done, all of a sudden … the 58 does not exist!
At 5:30 each night I got off the M train to catch the 58, and three nights in a row 58 line buses passed us up with passengers in them. The 5:45 driver never opened the door and blew right by us; he had like eight people on. Each night they discharged seniors, women with small children and strollers mid-block into the bitter cold and wind and then went into the depot, taken out of service. On three separate nights I personally stood there over 55 minutes waiting.
Dozens and dozens of people abandoned with no answer, no explanation: No one cares. The best of the indignity is having 10 buses pass you going “out of service” into the depot. I still don’t get that.Why are we talking buses out of service during rush hour?
I hope the dispatcher, the union and the drivers are all happy and meeting their stupid quotas or guidelines (which they all change to suit themselves when they don’t want to do something anyway). If the purpose of the transit system is to transport passengers, they totally get an “D” for that … a D for dumb!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, riders; it’s only going to get much, much worse!