Democrats Work to Defy History in Georgia Runoffs That Have Favored G.O.P.

first_imgBut those intimately involved in the two previous Senate showdowns say what happened before is not necessarily predictive of the future. Demographic and cultural change has led to rapid shifts in the state, and Democrats have made concerted efforts to energize and turn out their voters, work that paved the way for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s strong showing in the state.“Both times before, Republicans really turned out and the Democrats didn’t,” said Saxby Chambliss, the former Republican senator of Georgia who won a second term in a 2008 runoff weeks after Barack Obama won the presidency. “This time around, I’m not so sure that is going to be the case. I have told my Republican colleagues that Democrats are fired up going into the race, and with Biden winning Georgia, I assume that gives them momentum.” – Advertisement – In the runoff, held two days before Thanksgiving, almost one million fewer votes were cast than three weeks earlier and Mr. Fowler saw his initial lead vanish, losing to Mr. Coverdell by 16,000 votes — 50.6 percent to 49.6. It was a stinging defeat for Mr. Fowler but a welcome consolation prize for Republicans.“We were more successful in getting our people back than the other side was in getting their people back without a presidential race at the top of the ticket,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who was a consultant to Mr. Coverdell. But he cautioned that the dynamic could be vastly different this time around, given that Mr. Warnock, an African-American, is on the ballot.“Democrats have never had an African-American candidate to vote for at a time when control of the Senate is hanging in the balance,” he said. “The circumstances are clearly different. I don’t know if the outcome will be different.”Mr. Fowler agreed, noting that Black voters now make up a significantly larger share of Georgia’s electorate than they did when he ran.“Whether or not the Democrats can win this thing in the runoff, the demographics are much, much better now they were in 1992,” he said. “The numbers make it more likely than it would have been even six years ago. Either way, it is going to be whisper close.”Mr. Fowler said he shook off the loss fairly quickly, and in 1996, he became ambassador to Saudi Arabia, serving for five years until the election of George W. Bush. Both parties and their allied outside groups are already making huge investments in advertising and grass-roots efforts and a panoply of voter-stirring surrogates — perhaps including Mr. Biden and President Trump — will visit the state over the next two months in an intense effort to win. Vice President Mike Pence is making the trip next week. If Republicans can hold only one of the two seats, they will retain the Senate majority and control much of Mr. Biden’s agenda. If Democrats win both, they will gain a working majority in a 50-50 Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris empowered to break ties. The difference between a Republican-controlled Senate or a Democratic-run chamber is immense when it comes to what legislation would be considered and how nominations would be handled.“I can’t ever recall a time when the difference between a 50-50 Senate and a 51-49 Senate was so stark,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat.Mr. Perdue, like Mr. Fowler, finished first in his re-election bid, with a narrow lead over his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff. Ms. Loeffler, appointed last year to fill a vacancy, trailed her Democratic opponent, the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, a Black minister.The twin runoffs amount to an extraordinary accident of timing that came about because Mr. Perdue’s regularly scheduled re-election race coincided with a special election to finish the term of former Senator Johnny Isakson, who retired in 2019 for health reasons, creating the opening Ms. Loeffler was tapped to temporarily fill.But the unusual runoff rules in Georgia — which require a candidate to gain a majority of the vote to win, and automatically prompt a second contest between the top two vote-getters if no one does — are very much by design. They grew out of efforts by some white Georgians in the 1960s to keep control of the state’s political apparatus after the Supreme Court struck down a system that gave sparsely populated, heavily white rural counties more voting weight than dense urban areas that had large numbers of Black voters.A federal study published in 2007 on the fight for voting rights described how segregationist state legislators then turned to runoffs, which many believed would reduce the likelihood that Black voters would unite behind one candidate to deliver a plurality victory while other candidates split the white vote. By requiring the winner to square off in a head-to-head race, backers of the plan were confident they could better control the outcomes. “Yes, I was disappointed, running six points ahead of the president and being the only state in the country that had this kind of crazy system,” said Mr. Fowler, now 80, looking back on a storied runoff election 28 years ago after Bill Clinton won the presidency.Now that same “crazy system” that overturned Mr. Fowler’s lead, defeating a popular member of Congress known for his folksy stories, has once again seized the attention of both parties. This time, the scenario is playing out in double: Not one but two incumbents, Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, are facing runoffs to keep their seats. This time, the ramifications are even more consequential. The racist origins of the runoff have faded into the background over the years, and defenders argue that it is only fair to require a candidate to win at least half the state’s voters to be elected. “It was just another form of gerrymandering,” Mr. Fowler said.The special election offers a textbook example of why Republicans have wanted to retain the system. Mr. Warnock drew just under 33 percent of the vote, while Ms. Loeffler received just under 26 percent, and another Republican, Representative Doug Collins, captured just under 20 percent. With Mr. Collins now out of the picture, Ms. Loeffler has the potential to consolidate the Republican vote in a one-on-one contest.center_img Georgia’s runoffs, the vestige of segregationist efforts to dilute Black voting power, will determine control of the Senate in races to be decided on Jan. 5. In the past, such contests have heavily favored Republicans because of a drop-off among Democratic voters, particularly African-Americans, after the general election.- Advertisement – In 1992, Mr. Fowler, a former city councilman for Atlanta and congressman considered an up-and-coming force in the Senate, was seeking his second term. He had won in 1986 by surprising a Republican, Mack Mattingly, who had been swept in on Ronald Reagan’s coattails in 1980. Mr. Fowler’s opponent this time was Paul Coverdell, a Republican and a low-key Atlanta businessman, state legislator and ally of the elder George Bush, who had named him head of the Peace Corps.Mr. Clinton’s Southern roots helped him carry Georgia with 43 percent of the vote — the last Democrat to win Georgia before this year — while Mr. Fowler surpassed Mr. Coverdell with 49.2 percent, besting him by 35,000 votes. But under Georgia’s unique law, it was not enough.The runoff rapidly escalated into a bitter clash. As Mr. Clinton prepared to move into the White House, Republicans saw an opportunity to deliver him a quick blow by defeating Mr. Fowler. They pulled out the stops, pouring in money and sending Republican luminaries into Georgia by the planeload, including Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, who promised to turn over his Agriculture Committee seat to Mr. Coverdell if he won.Mr. Fowler drew his own big-name visitor when the president-elect popped over from Little Rock, Ark., for joint appearances in Albany and Macon, where he played the saxophone with a high school band. He and Mr. Fowler raised clasped hands to celebrate what they anticipated as a coming victory.But Mr. Fowler had problems. It was going to be hard to re-create the enthusiasm of the presidential election with the voting finished and Mr. Clinton victorious. Mr. Fowler was also facing backlash for his vote the year before to place Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. Mr. Fowler remembered Justice Thomas, a Georgia native, had strong support from the state’s Black community, but was opposed by leading women’s groups because of his anti-abortion stance and accusations of sexual harassment. He said he believed that opposition cost him. “I’ve had a good, adventurous life,” he said.He said he had steered clear of politics over the years but was changing course in this election, relaying knowledge and ideas to Mr. Warnock and his campaign.“I have dusted off my campaign shoes,” Mr. Fowler said. “I think it is that important.” Updated Nov. 12, 2020, 7:30 p.m. ET WASHINGTON — A first-term senator in Georgia narrowly bested his opponent, outrunning his party’s standard-bearer only to face voters again a few weeks later under a quirky system that briefly made the state the center of the political universe after a hard-fought presidential election.The year was 1992, and Senator Wyche Fowler Jr., a Democrat, had amassed more votes than his Republican opponent on Election Day. But he lost his seat three weeks later.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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West Nile cases rose sharply in 2006

first_img Counties that had the highest incidence of WNND cases were mainly in the west-central United States, with 9.9 cases per 100,000 people in Idaho, 4.9 per 100,000 in South Dakota, and 3.2 per 100,000 in North Dakota, according to the CDC. In today’s issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC reported a total of 4,261 cases of WNV disease in 2006, compared with 3,000 cases in 2005, for a 42% increase. The CDC looks at the number of WNND cases as the best indicator of human WNV disease trends, because health departments are more likely to report them, Mark Duffy, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer with the CDC division of vector-borne diseases in Ft. Collins, Colo., told CIDRAP News. Compared to 2005, the number of WNND cases was up 14% in 2006. Among bird surveillance findings, the CDC said WNV infection has been identified in 300 species, including 11 in which the disease was identified for the first time in 2006. CDC. West Nile virus activity—United States, 2006. MMWR 2007 Jun 8;56(22):556-59 [Full text] One of the hot spots in 2006 was Idaho, which saw its WNND count jump from just 4 cases between 2003 and 2005 to 139 in 2006, which accounted for 9.3% of the national total, the CDC report said. Other states that had high WNND case counts were Texas, with 229, Illinois, 127, Louisiana, 91, and Mississippi, 89. WNV cases were reported in 23.3% of the nation’s counties—731 counties in 43 states—in 2006. The state of Washington reported the disease in humans for the first time. Past yearly WNV reports have shown that the incidence of WNND and death from WNND increase with age, particularly among those who are older than 60. In 2006 the median age for fatal WNND was 58, similar to previous years, the CDC said.center_img CDC’s West Nile virus sitehttp://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm Jun 7, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The number of illnesses related to West Nile virus (WNV) in the United States rose in 2006 for the second year in a row, after a dramatic decline in 2004, suggesting that the virus will remain endemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). See also: Of the 2006 cases, 34.9% (1,491) were West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND) (meningitis, encephalitis, or acute flaccid paralysis), the CDC said. Another 61.3% (2,612) of cases were West Nile fever, and 3.7% (158) were unspecified. There were 161 deaths among the WNND cases, the report said. With the lack of an effective human WNV vaccine, prevention of the disease continues to depend on community-level mosquito control and personal protection against mosquito bites, the report says. The agency said that about 140 cases of WNV infection occur for every case of WNND and about 80% of people who are infected never have symptoms. On that basis, the CDC estimated that the nation had a total of 208,700 cases of WNV infection in 2006, including 41,750 cases of West Nile fever.last_img read more

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Colorado illnesses may be linked to Texas peanut plant

first_imgFeb 16, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – A news report over the weekend linked six Salmonella cases in Colorado to peanut butter made from peanuts produced by Peanut Corp. of America’s (PCA’s) plant in Plainview, Tex., but the natural-foods retail chain that made the peanut butter says tests have found no contamination in samples.The Associated Press (AP) reported Feb 14 that Colorado health officials linked the cases to the Plainview Peanut Co. in Texas, owned by PCA, which also owns the Blakely, Ga., peanut plant blamed for the current nationwide Salmonella outbreak.The AP said the six Colorado cases were traced to peanut butter from Vitamin Cottage Natural Foods, based in Lakewood, Colo. Vitamin Cottage recalled its fresh-ground peanut butter on Feb 2 because of a potential connection to Salmonella cases.But Kemper Isely, co-president of Vitamin Cottage, said today that testing by the company and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed no contamination in peanut butter samples.”No Salmonella has been found in any peanut butter tested so far,” Isely told CIDRAP News. “Both our company and the FDA tested numerous batches. The implication that our peanut butter caused the Salmonella [cases] is a bit premature.”Isely said that 6 of the 16 Coloradoans who have had Salmonella Typhimurium in the current outbreak had Vitamin Cottage peanut butter in their pantries. “We don’t know whether it would’ve been our peanuts” that caused the cases, he said. “There’s lots of places you can get Salmonella.”Vitamin Cottage made peanut butter by grinding roasted peanuts bought from the Texas plant, Isely said. He said the peanuts were roasted in that facility at 350 degrees and so should have been free of pathogens unless they became contaminated after the roasting process.The company voluntarily recalled its peanut butter as a precaution, Isely said. The firm’s recall notice said the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) had reported three people who were infected with the national outbreak strain of Salmonella and who reported eating Vitamin Cottage peanut butter. The CDPHE noted the recall in a Feb 2 news release.The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) ordered PCA on Feb 12 to recall all products ever shipped from the Plainview plant. “The order was issued after dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers were found in a crawl space above a production area during an in-depth DSHS inspection,” the department said in a news release.State inspectors also found that the plant’s air-handling system was not completely sealed and was pulling debris from the infested crawl space into production areas of the plant, leading to adulteration of food products, the DSHS said.Last week, the president of a private laboratory told a congressional committee that his firm had found Salmonella in a product sample from the Plainview plant on Feb 8. Earlier, it was revealed that the Plainview facility had operated without a license or government inspections from 2005 until the current outbreak put PCA in the spotlight.Colorado, Texas, and FDA officials could not be reached for comment on the situation today. Most government offices were closed for the Presidents Day holiday.The Salmonella outbreak involves 636 cases in 44 states and one in Canada, according to the latest count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The FDA’s recall database page says the outbreak has triggered 2,226 product recalls, though no national brands of peanut butter have been recalled.In other developments, PCA applied for bankruptcy protection on Feb 13, according to a Reuters report. Citing the devastating effects of the outbreak and recalls, the company filed for Chapter 7 protection, under which firms liquidate their assets to repay creditors rather than reorganize, the story said.Meanwhile, a survey by the Harvard School of Public Health found some gaps in the public’s understanding of the peanut product recalls.More than 90% of respondents were aware of the recalls, and 61% said they had taken one or more steps to reduce their risk of getting sick from contaminated peanut products, according to a Harvard news release. But among those aware of the recall, 25% mistakenly believed that major brands of peanut butter were involved.Also, while 70% knew that peanut butter crackers were recalled, fewer than half knew that several other peanut butter products, such as snack bars, cakes, and cookies, were recalled, the release states. The survey of a national random sample of 1,283 adults was conducted between Feb 4 and 8.See also: Feb 12 Texas news release about recall order to Plainview planthttp://www.dshs.state.tx.us/news/releases/20090212-sp.shtmCDC Salmonella outbreak pagehttp://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium/update.htmlFDA product recall databasehttp://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfmFeb 13 Harvard news release on survey of outbreak awarenesslast_img read more

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Download the Law on the Provision of Services in Tourism and Hospitality

first_imgAttachment: As of January 01, 2020, the new Law on the Provision of Services in Tourism and the Law on Hospitality came into force. LAW ON PROVISION OF SERVICES IN TOURISM (Official Gazette 130/17, 25/19 and 98/19) As these are important laws for tourism, we bring you a consolidated text of both laws attached. center_img The Law on Provision of Services in Tourism regulates services in tourism, the manner and conditions for providing these services, the contract on travel in a package deal and the contract on related travel arrangement, and the rights and obligations of traders and passengers in relation to these contracts. catering activity regulates the manner and conditions under which legal and natural persons may perform catering activity. LAW ON CATERING ACTIVITY ( (Official Gazette 85/15, 121/16, 99/18, 25/19 and 98/19)last_img read more

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HZJZ: Instructions for catering facilities

first_imgTonight, the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) published instructions for catering facilities, according to which catering facilities from the following groups are allowed: Restaurants, Bars (cafe, pub, buffet, tavern and cellar) and Cattering facilities, but with adherence to all anti-epidemic measures and strict measures of social distancing as follows: Cover photo: Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash It is forbidden to serve food, drinks and beverages in the building.The customer picks up the purchase at the door, window or directly in front of the door of the building.It is necessary to ensure compliance with the highest hygiene standards and keeping the distance of a limited number of customers in order to reduce physical contact and maintain the prescribed distance of 2 meters between buyers, sellers and buyers, and sellers if one charges and the other issues.It is recommended, where not otherwise regulated, to install a partition / protection from plexiglass or other disinfectants of washable material in order to meet all the conditions and safety measures for the protection of buyers and sellers.If possible, payment by contactless cards is recommended.For the cash payment process, it is recommended that the customer first put the money on the counter and then take the withdrawn balance and after each customer the counter is disinfected.The product (beverage, meal, etc.) should be ordered and paid for in a place separate from the place of issuing / taking over the order (ie one person takes over the order and charges and the other issues the ordered), if this cannot be organized, the seller must disinfect hands between billing and ordering and disinfecting the area / counter where billing and ordering takes place between the two activities.Ensure that no crowds are created, and that clear instructions are placed at all entrances and visible places.If possible, it is recommended to ensure the flow of customers in such a way that the adjacent entrance / approach is separated from the exit / exit.In visible places, point out instructions and recommendations for adhering to general rules on hygiene and a strict measure of physical distance.If a drive-in system is organized, it is forbidden to get out of the car and the measures listed under points 3, 7 and 10 must be observed.last_img read more

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In the first four months, there was a 70% drop in arrivals and overnight stays

first_imgDue to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restriction measures were introduced, which directly affected the decline in tourist arrivals in the first four months. Tourist accommodation facilities that realized overnight stays of foreign tourists in April 2020 mainly provided accommodation services to tourists who did not return to their country of residence due to measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease. In the structure of overnight stays in the first four months of 2020, out of the total number of overnight stays, domestic tourists realized 37,4%, and foreign tourists 62,6% of overnight stays. Most overnight stays of foreign tourists were realized by tourists from Slovenia (15,5%), Germany (11,0%), Austria (9,9%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (7,3%), Italy (7,2%) and USA (4,6%). Instead of the opening of the tourist season for Easter (April 12), there was a drop of 99,8% In the first four months of 2020, domestic tourists realized 249 thousand arrivals and 552 thousand overnight stays, which is 48,7% less arrivals and 48,1% fewer overnight stays of domestic tourists than in the same period last year.center_img In April, there was a decrease in tourist arrivals by 99,8% and a decrease in overnight stays by 98,9% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. In the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period of 2019, foreign tourists realized 356 thousand arrivals and 927 thousand overnight stays, which is a decrease in tourist arrivals by 76,9% and a decrease in tourist nights by 76,3% and is a consequence of declining arrivals and tourist nights in March and April. In the first four months of 2020, in commercial accommodation facilities, tourists realized 605 thousand arrivals and 1,5 million overnight stays, which is a decrease in arrivals by 70,2% and a decrease in tourist nights by 70,3% compared to the same period in 2019, they say data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Photo: Pixabay.comlast_img read more

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In the first half of the year, the number of passengers in sea and air transport decreased

first_imgAll passengers in the second quarter of 2020 were transported by ferries and passenger ships, and 51,8% fewer passenger vehicles and 92,8% fewer buses were loaded and unloaded on ships compared to the same quarter of 2019. In the second quarter of 2020 there was no traffic passengers on cruise ships. In the first half of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, the total number of ships arriving in seaports decreased by 36,7%, the total passenger traffic by 54,7% Circumstances caused by the spread of COVID-19 disease directly affected the decline in passenger and vehicle traffic in domestic and international traffic in Croatian seaports and airports. The most significant international passenger traffic was realized with German airports, 28 thousand passengers, which is a decrease of 91,1% compared to the same period last year. In June 2020, Croatian airports recorded 83045 passengers or 94,7% less than in the same month last year, when the traffic was 1.556.373 passengers. The total number of aircraft landings and take-offs at airports in June 2020 was 3, a decrease of 641% compared to June 78,4, when the number of landings and take-offs was 2019.center_img The largest passenger traffic was realized by Zagreb Airport with 43 thousand passengers (a decrease of 87,0% compared to June 2019, when 333 thousand passengers were transported), followed by Split Airport with 25 thousand passengers (a decrease of 95,1% in compared to June 2019, when 510 thousand passengers were transported) and Dubrovnik Airport with 10 thousand passengers (a decrease of 97,6% compared to June 2019, when 414 thousand passengers were transported). The most significant international passenger traffic was realized with German airports In the second quarter of 2020, 2 passengers were embarked and disembarked in Croatian seaports. Compared to the same period in 988, this is a decrease of 2019% and the lowest number of passengers in the last ten years in the observed quarter. In the first half of 2020, compared to 2019, the total number of landings and departures of aircraft at airports decreased by 67,4%, total passenger traffic by 82,5% and total cargo traffic by 31,6%.last_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Monday, Aug. 19

first_imgArts projects are a perfect fit with trailIn mid-July, the Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail hosted the first Color the Canal event with the support of CREATE Community Studios. Both the Friends and CREATE would like to thank Schenectady County for its sponsorship of this event (through Schenectady County’s County Initiative Program Arts, History and Tourism Grant).We’re also grateful to the many community groups and individuals who helped make it a success.Thanks to all our supporters, more than 150 pieces of artwork greeted trail users the weekend of July 13. Art stretched from Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam to SUNY Schenectady and was also placed at locations on the trail in Niskayuna.Color the Canal helped highlight the trail, not just for local users, but also for the more than 650 cyclists taking part in the annual Cycle the Erie Canal ride. The cyclists, from across the country and around the world, ride from Buffalo to Albany over eight days, stopping in communities along the way. Numerous participants told us Color the Canal provided a warm welcome to Schenectady County and was unique to anything they had experienced along the trail.Public art projects serve a valuable role in establishing a trail’s and a community’s identity. We hope this was just the first of many Color the Canal events and that we can continue to use art to promote both our trail, an incredible recreational resource, and the many services Schenectady County has to offer trail users, whether they’re on the trail for an hour or for a longer journey.Gillian ScottSchenectadyThe writer is president of the Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.Grateful for Engel’s work with veteransI’m writing to inform you and the community about the hard work and dedication that Mr. Dan Engel, director of Veterans Affairs for Fulton County, provides for, and on behalf of, the veterans in Fulton and Hamilton County.Many veterans and their families struggle to navigate the VA and federal government bureaucracy to obtain the care and benefits they are entitled to. They often give up in frustration.Dan works tirelessly and relentlessly striving to push the right buttons and get the proper paperwork submitted in a proper manner in order to satisfy the requirements necessary for the veterans to receive the help they desperately need.As anyone who has had to deal with these agencies knows, it can be a frustrating endeavor. Dan never lets it go and communicates often with the veterans and their families to keep them updated on the progress and what they can expect next.He’s a good listener and genuinely cares about the health and well-being of all veterans in the area. He’s a great asset to the community and to veterans.On behalf of all those he’s helped, and is helping, we’d like to extend a grateful thank you for his tireless efforts in the service of others.All our public servants should be as committed and dedicated as he to the community’s they serve.Joel Stuartthe family of Bill StuartWellsEat thoughtfully and help save the planetSo many of us want to step lighter on the planet, but how?One big step is eating thoughtfully. First, eat locally. Choosing farmer’s markets means more nutritional food, local economic support, and a lighter carbon footprint in delivering food to your table.Also, eat seasonally.Freeze or can produce, then in the dark winter, open up a jar of summer.When store shopping, continue to source food as locally as possible for a lighter carbon footprint. And finally, eating greener means eating less meat.As Bill Gates pointed out, “If cows were a country, they’d rank third in greenhouse gas emissions.” Try thinking of meat as a delicacy instead of a staple.Thoughtful eating will bring more joy to your table and to the planet.Caroline BrooksScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCuomo should veto harmful health billAs the operator of a small logistics business that operates on tight margins and relies on attracting the best drivers in the business to ensure our customers get their packages on time, I felt compelled to speak up on an issue that will directly impact our employee healthcare plan.This past legislative session, the Legislature hastily passed a bill that if signed into law by the governor will likely have a serious negative impact on the price of prescription drugs and our employee healthcare plan.Senate bill 6531, which came about after the release of a report on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) by state Sen. James Skoufis, could drastically increase the cost of prescription drugs.Although probably well-intentioned, this complicated legislation could hinder patient access to medication and reduce doctors’ ability to provide the most effective and affordable prescriptions available. The legislation is extremely complicated and requires careful consideration and review — both of which were not part of the legislative process.For this reason, the governor should veto the bill and begin working with the Legislature and stakeholders from patients to our doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, pharmacies and PBMs, and businesses and unions to improve the legislation.If you’re like me, you probably never heard of a PBM before. In doing my research, I discovered that our company’s healthcare plan relies on PBMs to keep costs down for my employees.Why can’t Albany ever think of the little guy?Jack McCabeMaltaTrump didn’t get his way with Russia helpJim Murphy in his Aug. 3 letter (Think about how Trump got advantage) asks three questions. Here are three possible answers:1. I don’t think that Russia necessarily wanted Trump to win. Any intelligence service worth its salt would have had access to all of the emails that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent and received on her unauthorized server. The blackmail possibilities were almost limitless. The Russians probably thought that Clinton would win. As in past elections, Russia wanted to sow social discord and create a lack of faith in our election process. Robert Mueller’s high-priced, fruitless investigation indicates that this time, they were successful.2. Trump and his campaign were unaware of the Russian efforts as they occurred before the election, during the Obama administration. The FBI director testified under oath that the FBI didn’t advise the Trump campaign of this threat. The Mueller investigation didn’t find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.The investigation also determined that Trump had not obstructed an investigation of a crime that had not occurred. Interestingly enough, the only collusion with Russia that was uncovered was that by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.3. Mueller testified that his investigation was not interfered with, nor were resources, documents and testimony withheld nor executive privilege claimed.Too bad that this amount of interest in Russian activities wasn’t present regarding their orchestration of the “Peace” Movement during the Vietnam War. Think of all of the lives, American and Vietnamese, that could have been spared.John HoetkerSchenectadylast_img read more

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Rising to the top

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Watchdog savages Leeds tower

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