Thanks for the tix
I just wanted to thank you for the Islanders tickets that I won in the “How Lucky Can You Get” contest. My husband and I took our son and our 7-year-old grandson with us. It was the first hockey game for our grandson, Ryan. The seats were great, seven rows from the ice. Ryan had the best time and we had so much fun watching him watch the game. Thank you again for such an enjoyable family evening.
Everyone on the dole
The income tax was envisioned as a means of paying for government services. The IRS has been transformed into the Internal Redistribution Service that facilitates the appropriation and redistribution of our money in a variety of ways, among them bailouts, earmarks, subsidies, grants and welfare via the Earned Income Tax Credit.
President Obama in a recent press conference referred to tax cuts as government spending. This mindset is a misguided progressive view of the role of government that assumes the peoples’ money belongs to the government. Not one journalist asked the pertinent question: “Whose money is it?”
Americans are by nature beneficent and the most charitable people on the planet, yet the most productive of us are being admonished for not caring enough and not paying our “fair share” of taxes. The truth is that the top 10 percent of taxpayers pay 70 percent of the taxes. Almost 48 percent of U.S. citizens pay no income tax, and over 30 percent of those receive welfare in the form of EITC.
The government is depleting our wealth by borrowing and spending at an unsustainable rate. It has run out of other people’s money and its enforced benevolence has impoverished us to the brink of bankruptcy.
What is incomprehensible and alarming is the number of people who deny or are oblivious to the peril and challenges we face.
It’s history, not misogyny
With an ongoing recession and a civil war brewing in Libya, it was unbelievable to see my local congressman grandstanding before the press to remove Triumph of Civic Virtue, the famed but neglected nude sculpture, from the lawn of Borough Hall. If Anthony Weiner had some appreciation of art history, he would understand that the image is an allegory, and not an endorsement of chauvinism. It is shameful enough to live in a borough where history is paved over by development and crumbing away in neglect.
Now, we have the forces of political correctness working to destroy our borough’s history. The fact that the statue was designed by Frederick MacMonnies, sculpted by the Piccirilli brothers and funded by a woman named Angelina Crane does not deter Weiner. Neither does the fact that my mother, who happens to be a woman and a voter, finds no offense with the statue, and is more offended by the ongoing recession and rising gas prices.
An an art educator, I tell my students that a monument serves as a physical link to the past, its ideas and its imagery. Even fascist, communist, and Confederate monuments have much to teach us about the societies they represented, as opposed to a society that only cares about its own moment in the sun.
Perhaps some elected officials would prefer a rootless Queens where a Flushing film palace is collapsing, space-age towers from the 1964 World's Fair are rusting and an allegorical statue that condemns corruption is crumbling. I pray that Queens will be saved for future generations to cherish.
The writer is adjunct professor of Art History at Touro College.
The implications and consequences of the Wisconsin turmoil are even direr than our newscasts depict.The politically motivated 5-4 decision by our right-leaning Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions, with their members numbering in the thousands, would henceforth be accepted as a “person.” As a “person,” each would be free to contribute as much money as they choose, to the party of their choice, the Republicans from their wealthy oil and corporate benefactors and the working middle class from the worker’s unions.
Gov. Scott Walker is desperately trying to break the unions, despite the fact that they have acquiesced to his wishes to reduce their wages and pensions.He wants also to strip them of the ability to even participate in the negotiation of their contracts. The goal is to destroy unions.If that “person” voting for the rights of the middle class is eliminated, the only “person” left standing is the corporate giants’ “Person”: Gov. Walker’s benefactors (aka the Koch brothers).Our elections are theirs to buy at will with no competition.
USA: Going once, going twice — sold! To that one “person” with the highest bid!Congratulations.
Family first, civics second
In the Feb. 24 letter “Why we volunteer,” Maria Thomson shares her views of volunteering for civic organizations and states that “when you are a truly committed volunteer you take time from your family. You postpone vacations and dedicate your free time to community problems …”
I disagree. There is nothing more important than your wife, your husband, your children. A person’s family always comes first, no matter how much he or she cares for their community. And there should never be a need for a person to dedicate all of his or her free time to community problems. If you reach that point you’re not a volunteer, you’re a martyr.
By definition, “civic” means that you are part of a larger community, and the weight should be spread out and carried by numerous volunteers. In other words, it's better to have 50 people who can donate two hours a month than two people who can donate 50. There is no faster way to scare off volunteers than to tell them they have to make such an overwhelming and unnecessary commitment.
I would also like to address the final half of her letter, which takes people to task for joining for the “wrong reasons” and admonishes them for their behavior when they leave the organization. Think about that for a moment. They haven’t even volunteered yet and they’re being shown the door and scolded for their behavior on the way out. In other words, “Here’s your hat, what's your hurry?”
Finally, Ms. Thomson writes about a “dearth of volunteers.” The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, of which she is a longtime director, has attracted over four dozen volunteers since January. That’s not a dearth, it’s a flood. The WRBA welcomes residents of all ages and abilities to join our organization — not just to tackle the problems that we all face, but to bring added value to our community. To learn more about the WRBA, visit us at woodhaven-nyc.org or call us at (718) 296-3735.
Edward K. Wendell
Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association
Caffeine + alcohol = trouble
Last month’s article “Study finds energy drinks bad for youth” (Feb. 17, Health & Fitness section) was really a great wakeup call for those of us who use these beverages to try to get that quick pick-me-up. I would like to take it one step furtherwith the youth athlete population and alcoholic drinks.
Last year a study from the American College of Sports Medicine about NCAA athletes at a major Division I university showed that 78 percent of athletes consumed alcohol and 92 percent of them had participated in alcohol binge-drinking episodes (five or more at once) — which, although alarming, isn't too surprising since most of us know that college kids drink, and often too much. However, 47 percent combined alcohol and energy drinks, with 29 percent participating in “energy-binge” drinking episodes (three or more energy drinks on one occasion) while combining the alcohol.
These students, based on the study, were significantly more likely to engage in energy-binge drinking when consuming alcohol as opposed to using the energy drinks by themselves. And, if that wasn’t bad enough,those who were combined users (alcohol and energy drinks) consumed more than double the alcohol when compared to those who consumed alcohol alone. With this combined use, they had significant increases in risk-taking and health consequences, such as being more likely to drink and drive and experiencing rapid heart rates.
The worst thing is that energy drinks have increased in strength over the past few years, and some contain three to four times the caffeine as others. Some may contain herbal stimulants, like yohimbine and evodamine, which can be much more dangerous than caffeine, and most are not regulated by the FDA. These drinks “work” by creating an artificial stress response, so basically they do not really give a person that “new energy” they believe they are getting when they buy it, and can be doing real harm to the body.
Please, we need to teach our kids about the damaging nature of these drinks before they do something dangerous.
Dr. Ken Vitale
The writer is a physician.