Bob Berman is apparently the only person who gets to reply to letters to the editor in real time.
I had hoped that Berman, as a scientist, would address the issues relating to the physics and economics of nuclear power Julian Lines, Tobe Carey and I dealt with in our letters.
Instead he picked up on my response to his rather unscientific argument that if Barack Obama and The New York Times editorial board support nuclear power, it must be good.
I certainly did not engage in “low-level name calling.” It is legitimate and reasonable in this age of unlimited corporate campaign funding, greenwashing, lobbyist-driven politics and scientists on corporate payrolls, to question whether powerful institutions that push polluting industries are doing so out of altruism and the all-knowing-ness of the gods. I am genuinely perplexed why the esteemed Scientist consistently fails to address scientific issues regarding something he so stridently supports, instead insulting critics as “ignorant,” “distorted,” “biased,” believing in “space aliens,” etc. Hence I wondered whether his interest in nukes is purely scientific.
Lighten up, Bob, methinks thou doth protest too strongly. A simple yes or know as to any financial interest in nukes would suffice. I’m sure the readers would much rather hear your scientific refutation of the points we raised. You called a similar letter published in the New Paltz Times “false, distorted, and largely incorrect.” I’ve been out of school a while. Has the Second Law of Thermodynamics been repealed, or Earth’s escape velocity lowered? Is there no plutonium or U-238 in the waste? Have half-lives shortened? Is rocketing the waste into space really feasible?
The “benefits of nuclear power” website has the same unsubstantiated platitudes Bob uses. Carbon-free. Just dump the waste in a geological formation. No problem. It also has a slick video clip by the Nuclear Energy Institute touting “Clean Air Energy,” vaguely reminiscent of the days when Greedy Killerwatt and the Peaceful Atom visited us in elementary school. I would recommend as an antidote [the] Nuclear Information and Resource Service, www.nirs.org.
Many of Bob Berman’s columns are educational and well-researched. Venturing into matters he can only support via industry websites diminishes his credibility in his field of expertise.
Bob Berman replies:
(sigh) Yeah, sure, I own a 30 percent stake in Indian Point and the Nuclear Industry sends me checks. That’s why I’m so rich. And when I urge readers to do their own research, naturally any website that points to benefits must be propaganda or paid-off — unlike this guy’s unbiased websites. And all the environmentalists who now support nuclear power are also paid-off, along with The New York Times, and Obama, and everyone else. And if only I now offer on these pages the health statistics, safety info, and other data that have unimpeachable mainstream university pedigrees, then he will accept it. There. I’ve agreed with everything he’s said. Now can we simply let readers check it all out on their own?
Unjust to DSS
In a recent editorial (Daily Freeman, Nov. 13) a writer openly and unjustly criticized the employees of the Ulster County Department of Social Services!
I would like to clear up a few misleading issues. The first being that DSS has control over the operation of the food stamp program, this is false! The program is a federally controlled mandated program. We must follow a strict code of rules set forth by the federal government. We must approve those that meet the standards set forth by the feds. Second, it is the federal government that approves the vendors that accept food stamp payments, not the local DSS department. Third, it is the federal government that usually investigates fraud in this program. Due to a backlog of issues on the federal level, the State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance and the local DSS office were given permission to do the investigation. The department rose to the occasion and found fraud. They did what we expected of them and that was to protect the taxpayers of Ulster County. This effort was done with the support of the Kingston police, the DA’s office under the leadership on Holley Carnright and the Department of Social Services investigation team.
As Chairman of Health and Human Services I have been critical when necessary and protective when I read blogs and articles that unjustly attack the staff of DSS. County government has worked to make sure the system at our local DSS department protects the tax dollars that are entrusted to them. You try to deal with the high volume of cases as they do; it is a very emotional and demanding job.
Is the system perfect? No! Have we made major improvements? Yes! Will we keep working to protect the taxpayers funding? Yes! Will I as chairman criticize when need be? Yes! Will I defend the staff when they are unjustly being attacked like now? Yes!
Sometimes opinions can be wrong when they are not based on facts! Remember, a million-dollar fraud operation was stopped! Let that be a warning. Fraud will not be tolerated!
Walter G. Frey, Jr.
Chairman of Health and Human Services Committee
Legislator, Dist. 4, Saugerties
The Department of Social Services is appealing to the community for donations in order to provide the needy children, families and senior citizens in our community with Christmas/holiday gifts, new toys, new warm clothing (for children, adults and seniors). Gift certificates for teenagers would be greatly appreciated.
Families and/or children can be “adopted” and monetary donations in the form of gift cards to local stores, or Visa gift cards are also greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, we can no longer accept monetary donations in the form of checks due to changes in county policy. Donations can be sent to the attention of Laura Walzer, Dept. of Social Services, 1091 Development Court, Kingston, NY 12401. For more information, please contact Laura Walzer at (845) 334-5139, Rachel Hunter at (845) 334-5352 or Kristy Granger at (845) 334-5155.
At this hectic time of year, we are often so consumed with our own schedules and obligations that we may overlook those people in our community who may not be as fortunate. In the spirit of giving during this season, we would appreciate any assistance in making this holiday season a special one for all.
Children and Adult Services, UCDSS