Postmaster general deserves to be fired
Rep. Brian Higgins is fighting on behalf of the American people to protect the Postal Service from itself. The News, in its reporting and editorial coverage, has understood very clearly what the problems are with the USPS, and what should be done, and not done, to correct the problem. Postal unions, a majority in Congress and the media have been pointing out the same thing for months. The problem is the unfair level of prefunding of benefits and overpaying for pensions. The USPS, if it were operating on a fair playing field, is actually making a profit!
So what is the recommendation of the postmaster general in Washington? To close mail facilities all over the country, which will slow the delivery of mail, to reduce service to five days per week and, in effect, start dismantling the Postal Service. Higgins is trying to protect up to 700 jobs in Western New York and the postmaster won't even release the full report about the plant closure without the filing of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the same management structure that forces the union to appeal to the National Labor Relations Board to get information on contract violations.
The people's post office is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Because of a phony, manufactured "crisis," postal management is trying to destroy the greatest delivery network in the world. The postal board of governors should fire the postmaster general and his entire team of toadies; the vice presidents, district managers, and all the rest who couldn't care less about maintaining and growing the Postal Service.
American citizens who depend on the mail and believe in a universal communication network for all should call their congressional representative and senators and demand protection of their Postal Service.
Robert J. McLennan
President, Branch 3, National Association of Letter Carriers,
Buffalo/Western New York
Give Buffalo teachers a new, fair contract
If the Buffalo Board of Education is serious about improving its schools, why doesn't it offer incentives for Buffalo teachers to go along with the new state teacher evaluation rules?
A new and fair contract would give both sides what they want and avoid the silliness of a boycott by parents. Compromise is not a sign of weakness; rather it shows common sense.
Catholic institutions may overstep bounds
I read in The News of Rep. Kathleen Hochul's shameful treatment (over "conscience" and birth control) at a town hall meeting from a hostile audience recruited by a Catholic priest.
I would like to tell readers of an experience that my daughter had at a local Catholic hospital in 2007, which illustrates how "conscience" actually works. She was scheduled by her OB/GYN for an amniocentesis, in order to determine if her unborn child had cystic fibrosis, like her firstborn child, Julia. Julia was born with meconium, a side effect of CF, blocking her intestine. She had to have surgery when she was 18 hours old. She almost died. She spent 10 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospital.
My daughter's OB/GYN did research and found that if meconium is detected at inception, while still inside the womb, the baby should be delivered immediately by induced labor, and then given a super enema to dissolve the meconium.
My daughter arrived for her appointment, only to be told that no amniocentesis was possible. The nurse hugged her and told her that her baby was in "God's hands." My daughter was told by her OB/GYN that the test had to be performed in her fourth month or not at all. She started to sob when she realized that there would be no test, and her baby might die. This woman and other nurses continued to hug her and tell her it was in "God's hands." My daughter does not believe in abortion and said, "Why are you doing this to me? I'm not going have an abortion!"
When the nurse heard this, she said, "Oh, let me make a phone call. We will have you in there for the test in about 15 minutes." Obviously, religious viewpoints at this hospital are more important than delivering care to those who need it. Patrick did in fact have cystic fibrosis. He is now 4 years old.
Free contraception isn't good for society
The administration's controversial family health plan ignores increasingly undesirable afflictions in our society. There are still a few who remember personal responsibility-driven behavior in America before World War II. For most, sex began with marriage, and communities dealt severely with pregnancies in unmarried women. Errant fathers took responsibility, including some "shotgun marriages." Unwanted pregnancies were a tiny percent, as were divorces. Not perfect, but a moral compass for child rearing in two-parent families.
Now fast forward about eight decades. Billions of dollars in liberal family help has led to our current culture of dependency. Out-of-wedlock births are sky-high -- 50 percent or more of births in some communities, despite widely increased use of contraception. Homes with two married parents have decreased significantly. Divorces are more common.
And now the government wants to meddle even more in personal behavior and religious beliefs. Shouldn't it encourage a return to earlier personal responsible behavior, instead of taxpayer-funded contraception, free for those who want recreational sex?
No one is being forced to use birth control
I read the Feb. 29 News article, "Hochul under fire in flap on birth control." Republicans and the Rev. Leon Biernat are attacking Rep. Kathleen Hochul over the contraception mandate. These attacks would have come even if she did not make her remark about the Constitution.
To my knowledge, no one is forcing women to use contraception; it is their personal choice. Also, studies indicate that contraception is self-funding, which means there is no added cost to insurance premiums. So I wondered: Why the fury over the insurance mandate?
Then it occurred to me. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church and some priests, such as Biernat, teach that contraception is immoral while the large majority of their congregants do not follow this teaching. Rather than reflect deeply on why Catholic congregants ignore their teaching, church leaders seem to find it less threatening to "kick" this issue into the political arena and demand instead that politicians address their concerns. This, of course, allows church leaders to stay in denial about their own problems as spiritual leaders.