Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe wealthy already pay enough in taxesI understand Paul Krugman has a Nobel Prize, but so does Obama. It shows how easy it must be to win a Nobel Prize. McGraw, fund-raiser deserve much praiseI was surprised to read Thomas Hodgkins’ Jan. 14 letter criticizing the Niskayuna Town Pool’s Wild Turkeys Swim and Dive team’s annual efforts to raise funds for the Donna M. Crandall Foundation that serves those living with cystic fibrosis, a devastating and life-threatening disease.Specifically, the letter attacked the team’s volunteer parent coordinator, Denise Murphy McGraw. Unnecessary wall will bankrupt the country Trump’s wall is a magician’s formula to divert our attention away from his problems. It’s also a formula for national bankruptcy. He demands $5.7 billion, essentially ransom, to reopen the government. It’s a sham, as the wall price would be trillions, really a pipe dream. Trump’s demand would cover wall maintenance alone, for less than a four-year presidential term of office. We’re paying this price already in the form of the highly effective FBI and Department of Homeland Security, assuming that their employees eventually do get paid.We can learn from the Israelis’ 2002 wall along the West Bank. A 2012 article by Haggai Matar in +972 Magazine reported its price after 10 years. Maintenance alone was $260 million per year, about $500,000 per kilometer in roughly 2007 dollars (halfway between 2002 and 2012). That includes active and passive surveillance to prevent tunneling, and staffed checkpoints to control passage of vehicles and people in both directions. Extrapolating to the full 3,145-kilometer U.S./Mexico wall suggests an annual bill of about $1.5 billion for maintenance alone.The astronomical construction price shows that a U.S./Mexico border wall is a non-issue. The Israeli construction price converts to U.S. $2.6 billion for 525 kilometers, about $5 million/kilometer. Extrapolating to the full U.S./Mexico border suggests a 2007 construction price of about $15.6 trillion. We must protect ourselves against becoming victims of Trump’s practice of bankrupting institutions fiscally and morally. We also must maintain our focus and protect ourselves from being diverted away from critically important, real issues.Dr. Robert A. MichaelsNiskayuna Horrified by conduct of Covington kidsI’m horrified, shocked and nauseated to read about the total disrespect the students of Covington (KY) Catholic High School showed toward a Native American elder and a military veteran, no less, at the Indigenous Peoples March at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18.Chanting “Build that wall,” these idiots didn’t even realize that if original people built such a wall, their great-grandparents, grandparents and parents would have been walled out. Have compassion for federal workersIn his Jan. 17 letter, Dr. Arthur Salvatore seems to denigrate sympathy “for these [federal] workers who will be fully recompensed.” Yes, they may eventually get paid, but for now, how do they buy food for their family? How do they pay to keep a roof over their children’s heads? The good doctor may have the financial means for performing those actions without additional current income, but many people don’t. I suggest that a little sympathy just may be in order.Jerry BoehmAlbany Something is missing in how these young people are being educated. They disgraced their school, but may only be practicing what they have been taught: intolerance. The rest of us who watched news tapes and read articles about the incident will never know, but their educators will. They are raising the next generation of leaders. I can only say: God pity us all.Sally MagidSchenectady Mr. Trump, I can’t even bring myself to call him my president, has created his own national crisis. He calls some media news “fake.” He creates the fake news with all his lies and then blames them. The border wall is a joke. Everyone knows that for a century since this country has been using drugs illegally, cocaine and marijuana have been shipped through air transport from Miami, New York, Canada and Los Angeles. El Chapo is now on trial for trafficking drugs through underground tunnels big enough to drive a truck through. A border wall isn’t a fix. Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s attorney, needs to retire. He’s an old attorney who thinks he’s still the mayor of New York City and that whatever he says about the Russian collusion, someone is going to believe.Dianne BurnsSchenectady His comment that imposing heavy taxes on the rich makes economic sense is garbage, pure garbage. Unless of course you wanted to slow our roaring economy down to, say, Obama’s economy. Then it makes sense. Krugman is nothing but a demo-hack. You know, someone that just wants to find fault with President Trump or any high-profile Republican. He cites Christina Romer, Obama’s first economic adviser, claiming 80 percent is a good rate for the highest earners. Ha. She also claimed Obama’s economic plan would result in 4.5 percent to 5 percent growth!The Democrat god JFK knew that lower taxes made for a booming economy. President Reagan cut the highest tax rates from 70 percent and the amount of revenue collected by the government exploded. Democrats immediately mention the deficits that resulted. The deficits were because of spending, not the tax cuts. Again, this is a fact that is inconvenient for the left.Perhaps Krugman can start a liberal wave and voluntarily pay more in taxes to help out.The top 10 percent pay in excess of 50 percent of the taxes. They pay enough. Our government doesn’t need more in tax revenue, it needs to cut spending. New York keeps raising taxes and the wealthiest keep moving out. Eventually, when the Democrats run out of the wealthy to punish, they will move down the economic ladder and punish you.Dave EdwardsHalfmoon Congress: Fully fund VA and keep it publicA Daily Gazette Jan. 13 news article reported the Trump Administration is intensifying efforts to privatize parts of the Veterans Administration (VA) health service, despite “critics, which include nearly all of the major veterans’ organizations.” Suzanne Gordon, a health care journalist for 30 years and author of “The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare,” spoke in Troy Nov. 16. She acknowledged the VA is not perfect, but insisted the VA is vastly better suited to provide health care to veterans than the private sector. Unlike the private system, with its many providers and separate practitioners, the VA provides integrated care. VA physicians can literally walk veterans down the hall to colleagues with different specialties and make a “warm hand-off.” Without change, get used to wetter futureMr. Moody raised two questions about global warming in his Jan. 18 letter. First, global climate models: Why don’t they include water vapor? Actually, climate models certainly do include water vapor. Water is the most important greenhouse gas. Without it, even the tropics would commonly experience frost warnings at night.Water vapor, however, is short-lived because it rains-out on a time scale of only days. That means it responds to global warming caused by long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and is not a primary cause of it. As Mr. Moody correctly pointed out, the warmer the world gets, the more water the air can hold, making global warming that much worse.His second question was about melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet: What can we expect from its melting? Greenland is indeed melting, ever-faster, and meltwater from there and elsewhere is contributing to rising sea levels.At the beginning of the last century, sea levels rose at about 0.8 mm per year, 1.9 mm in most of the 20th century, and 3.2 mm (about 1/8 inch) now. This rate is expected to increase. That’s why coastal areas worldwide must plan for a wetter future.Kurt HollocherSchenectady Help countries protect vulnerable citizensTo fix the immigration problem, a holistic approach to South America is required. Walls alone are a Band-Aid that can be tunneled under or cut through. While the Middle East has been the focus, the elephant in the room is right at our doorstep. Teddy Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy recognized it. Why are we so blind? Climate scientists know effect of vaporRecently I’ve heard twice that the models of climate change are wrong because they don’t include the water vapor.The first time I heard this, I was worried because it seemed logical that there was lots of water vapor in the atmosphere and that it would absorb sunlight and heat up the atmosphere.I was told that it was because the climate change scientists were dishonestly trying to put the blame on CO2 and methane. However, when I checked, to my surprise, there was an order of magnitude less water vapor than CO2 in the atmosphere and that its effect is insignificant relative to CO2 and methane. The second time I heard about water vapor and climate change was in Richard Moody’s Jan. 18 letter, when he claimed the water vapor is left out of the models because “it’s too difficult to model.” I’m confident that the hundreds or thousands of climate scientists around the world have the equations and data to model water vapor if it was “far more common than CO2 or methane in the atmosphere. Rudy Macander Clifton ParkMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Trump and Giuliani spread lies and blame VA staff are far better equipped, she said, to care for the very specific, complex problems veterans have: chronic pain, suicide, toxic exposures, hearing loss, mental health, substance abuse and sexual trauma. Each war has a specific set of toxic exposures. Many veterans have post-service adjustment problems non-vets do not have. Veterans who have killed people in war often need special care. All VA staff work on salary, so they have no incentive to over-prescribe drugs. The VA staff is one-third veterans; they know the veteran’s culture and are thus more effective healers. Rather than being hoodwinked by the greedy privatizers, who are primarily concerned about maximizing profits, Congress should adequately fund the VA and keep it a public entity.Tom EllisAlbany Democracies do not dehumanize peopleFear is a very powerful emotion. Fear is routinely used by dictatorial leaders to unite people around them and against a perceived enemy. The most extreme example in the past was the dehumanizing of the Jews in Nazi Germany. All it took to turn a population was constant media lies and an amoral leader. Besides being divisive, fear promotes anger which in turn results in violence against the people who are demonized.Today, according to our leader, we have many groups to fear: Central American migrants, Muslims, Mexicans and others. This implies we can inflect violence and inhuman treatment against them, which is wrong and un-American. Most, if not all, are peaceful and decent. True democracies do not demonize groups of people. The people who are coming from Central America come in desperation with their small children.These people are trying to escape the rapists, murderers and drugs. The reason for the mass exodus is the result of uncontrolled violence in their native country. Their only crime is wanting to live and work in our country, like our immigrant forefathers. I have been a part of the Niskayuna Town Pool community as an athlete, coach, lifeguard and pool manager since I was in elementary school. I grew up at the pool, and it has contributed to my work ethic, spirit of cooperation, commitment to voluntarism and appreciation of community.Mrs. McGraw’s volunteer work is largely responsible for the positive influence the pool has had on my life and lives of so many others.Certainly, her guidance while organizing the swim-a-thon has made me realize the power in community-based action for effecting change.Today, I’m a scientist working towards my PhD in Neuroscience focusing on the biochemical mechanisms of psychiatric disorders with a particular interest in substance abuse disorders. I know my career path has been shaped by my experiences working for the benefit of others, experiences I may not have had were it not for the town pool, swim-a-thon and Mrs. McGraw’s guidance.The swim-a-thon is the highlight of the summer for dozens of Niskayuna children, and it should not be misinterpreted and attacked. Even more assuredly, the volunteer who makes it possible should not be attacked; she should be celebrated.Andrew StewartNiskayuna Labeling any group of people as criminals is a lie and immoral. We cannot become a country of fear because our nation of “we the people” will no longer exist. We must come together to solve America’s problems. Fear and anger make us weaker as a nation. This letter does not attempt to solve the immigration issue or dictate a solution. And it does not support open borders. John DworakRotterdam Soviet-style socialism, bad governance and the United States’ demand for illegal drugs corrupts societies from the police to the presidents. The people suffer under lawlessness from gangs that prey on unarmed victims. The government has assured their helplessness. Citizens who can’t pay extortionists or tolerate rape of their daughters are killed. Police are unable to protect them. We have a microcosm of this in the United States, in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, where strict gun control assures that only the criminals have guns.The caravans will continue solely out of sheer desperation. This plays into Trump’s hand. He should address the cause, not the effect. Border security is critical to our nation and it includes walls, but not exclusively walls. A Marshall Plan is needed to address these countries to restore the rule of law and to allow people to live free of terror. In Brazil, people are now being permitted to defend themselves. A free society needs legal immigration to prosper. We need all kinds of skills here. However, more people can be helped, and helped better, by helping them where they are, not by bringing them here. Let’s give them that chance with our foreign policy.Bruce MartindaleCharlton
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Indonesia’s loan growth fell to a more than 10-year low in February as a cooling economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic hit credit demand across business sectors.The country’s banking industry recorded a 5.93 percent loan growth in this year’s second month, the lowest expansion since November 2009, according to Financial Services Authority (OJK) data. The figure is lower than 6.1 percent booked in January.Non-performing loans (NPL) jumped to nearly 2.8 percent, the highest since May last year. “The slow loan growth was caused by weak demand in line with the economic cycle, which has been slowing since 2019’s fourth quarter,” said Bank Permata economist Josua Pardede on Thursday.Read also: Avoiding quarantine will inflict greater economic harm, says survey“Considering that the COVID-19 pandemic will slow down the domestic economy, particularly household spending and private investment, loan growth in 2020 is estimated to continue to be weak,” he added.The spread of the coronavirus has forced the government to call on citizens to stay home to contain the disease contagion, causing business disruptions and hitting people’s purchasing power. Official data show that COVID-19 had infected more than 1,986 people with 181 fatalities as of Friday afternoon. The government projects Indonesia’s economy to grow 2.3 percent this year under the baseline scenario, which would be the lowest rate since 1999, or contract by 0.4 percent in the worst-case scenario as the pandemic batters activity.Josua said the pandemic had significantly hit six sectors, namely the transportation, warehousing and communication sector, the accommodation, food and beverage sector, wholesale and retail trade, the agriculture, plantation and forestry sector, the mining sector and the processing industry sector.He projected Indonesia’s loan growth to reach between 4 and 6 percent this year compared to 6.08 percent in 2019. The OJK and Bank Indonesia previously set a loan growth target of around 11 percent this year. The central bank recently slashed its projection to between 6 and 8 percent.State-owned Bank Mandiri president director Royke Tumilaar said in a teleconferenced press briefing on Wednesday that the country’s second-largest bank by assets value would revise its loan growth, which was initially penciled at between 8 and 10 percent this year. However, he stopped short of mentioning the new figure.Read also: State firms to focus on ‘slimming down’ while avoiding layoffs“But this doesn’t mean there are no loan expansions. At certain times, [loan disbursements] will be very selective,” he said.He expressed hope that the bank could still maintain collectibility and keep NPL in check following a new OJK regulation that eases bank loan restructuring.The OJK relaxed debt quality assessment and restructuring requirements for debtors. Banks now only assess the quality of a loan worth up to Rp 10 billion (US$594,282) based on a debtor’s timeliness in paying the loan’s principal and interest. Previously, the banks also assessed the debtor’s business prospects and financial condition.Debtors who restructure their loans will get an improvement in their loan quality after the process and banks can implement such a policy for any loan amount, among other policies.The central bank, on the other hand, has also cut its benchmark interest rate twice so far this year by a total of 50 basis points (bps) to 4.5 percent to cushion the economy from impacts of the disease.While the benchmark rate cuts could potentially push down bank interest rates, its impact on loan growth would be limited as risks tended to increase, Josua argued.“Therefore, government stimulus like social safety nets, cash transfers and stimulus for the affected sectors, coupled with counter-cyclical and cyclical policies from the OJK as well as relaxations from BI, will boost economic activities after the COVID-19 pandemic ends,” he said, adding that all of these would ultimately push up loan growth.Meanwhile, Bank Mandiri chief economist Andry Asmoro was of the view that the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the economy and banking industry remained uncertain.“Hence, banks will remain cautious about the affected sectors and will focus on managing asset quality,” he wrote in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Topics :
MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNMingling with Cubs players and staff on the field at Marlins Park before the teams’ game Monday, Zambrano hesitated at first, then showed an email from the independent Chicago Dogs, based in suburban Rosemont, Illinois, welcoming him to the 2019 team.Carlos Zambrano says he had “an encounter with God” that brought him back to baseball. https://t.co/7fyx3FigAz— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) April 16, 2019A year after what the Sun-Times described as a halfhearted comeback attempt in Mexico, he promised this, citing “an encounter with God”: He is serious about his attempt to return to the majors as a reliever.”Now I want to play,’’ he said. “Now I want to see what happens.”So, too, might Cubs fans.Recall that Zambrano, who arguably had the best pure stuff in a rotation that included Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, got in a fistfight in the dugout with catcher Michael Barrett in 2007, was suspended six games in 2009 after a heated argument with an umpire (and destroying a Gatorade dispenser) and in 2011 gave up five homers in a start in August, was ejected and cleaned out his locker in Atlanta and left Turner Field, reportedly telling teammates he was retiring.He never pitched for the Cubs again. They suspended him after the meltdown in Atlanta and new club president Theo Epstein traded him to the Marlins. Former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is plotting a comeback.Zambrano, a talented but mercurial right-hander with commanding stuff a decade ago, told the Chicago Sun-Times: ‘‘Why not? Bartolo [Colon] pitched until he was 45. I’m 37.” But, the Sun-Times noted, as often as old friends found him on the field Monday in Miami for hugs and jokes about whether he could pitch Monday, Zambrano “had an air of seriousness behind his smiles while he watched the Cubs take batting practice.”Last year in the Mexican League, his fastball touched 89 mph, tops in the league according to the story, and he said he hit 94 during winter ball in his native Venezuela.‘‘I want to see if I can throw 95 again,” he said.
Ja Morant and RJ Barrett, Williamson’s former teammate at Duke, are expected to be the next two picks, but everyone else after that is up in the air. ESPN will broadcast the NBA Draft for a 17th consecutive year. Here’s everything you need to know about how to tune in, including the start time and first-round draft order.MORE 2019 NBA DRAFT:SN’s final mock draft | Top 60 big boardWhat channel is the NBA Draft on today?Date: Thursday, June 20Time: 7:30 p.m. ETTV channel: ESPNLive stream: Watch ESPNESPN is planning to go live from Barclays Center with a pre-draft show starting at 7 p.m. ET. Rece Davis will host coverage along with analysts Jay Bilas, Chauncey Billups, Mike Schmitz, Bobby Marks and Adrian Wojnarowski with Maria Taylor on the floor interviewing players as they’re drafted. The 2019 NBA Draft is upon us, one week after the Raptors took the series against the Warriors to win their first championship.It’s a foregone conclusion the Pelicans will take Duke star Zion Williamson at No. 1, further fast-tracking New Orleans’ rebuild after reportedly acquiring Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball from the Lakers for Anthony Davis in a blockbuster trade over the weekend. In addition to ESPN broadcasting Thursday’s coverage, the NBA Draft can be streamed on Watch ESPN. Viewers in Canada will be able to watch the NBA Draft on TSN. NBA Draft order: Round 1PickTeam1New Orleans Pelicans2Memphis Grizzlies3New York Knicks4Los Angeles Lakers*5Cleveland Cavaliers6Phoenix Suns7Chicago Bulls8Atlanta Hawks9Washington Wizards10Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas)11Minnesota Timberwolves12Charlotte Hornets13Miami Heat14Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia)15Detroit Pistons16Orlando Magic17Brooklyn Nets18Indiana Pacers19San Antonio Spurs20Boston Celtics (from LA Clippers via Memphis)21Oklahoma City Thunder22Boston Celtics23Utah Jazz24Philadelphia 76ers25Portland Trail Blazers26Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston)27Brooklyn Nets (from Denver)28Golden State Warriors29San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto)30Milwaukee Bucks*The No. 4 overall pick is part of the reported Anthony Davis tradeYou can find the complete two-round order of picks here.