Secret Service must catch up with technology

8 / Monday, February 2, 2015
Secret Service
must catch up
with technology
The good news is that the two-foot-long
drone that crashed inside the White House
grounds last week was flown not by a terrorist,
but by a drunken intelligence agency employee who had no intention of breaching presidential security.
The terrifying news is that — despite a ban on
drone flights inside Washington, despite technologies meant to block them from flying in
unauthorized areas, this device, available at
Radio Shack, flew, unimpeded, into what should
be one of the most secure places imaginable.
The drone was, apparently, too small to be
caught on radar. Incredibly, it was the same
model that the Department of Homeland
Security has just displayed at a conference,
outfitted with three pounds of fake explosives.
A counterterrorism official told The New York
Times that such small devices could also be
used for a chemical or biological attack.
That last week’s crash was a mishap, and not
an attack, was a blessing. But it was not a sign
of competent policy.
In fact, it was a second warning. Last summer, another hobbyist flew a device just a
block from the south lawn, according to a
report filed with the Federal Aviation
Last week’s crash must be the last such
warning before the Secret Service does what’s
necessary to keep the president and his family
In just the last six months, the Secret Service
has let one man hop the White House fence and
another with a knife run into the White House.
A Department of Homeland Security report
says the agency is stretched “beyond its limits.”
The assessment is frightening, preposterous
and inexcusable.
The Secret Service must expand its so-called
limits to deal with newfangled threats of today,
like drones.
The technology is real, right now. It offers
tremendous boons, like packages delivered
directly to our doorsteps. But it must be regulated and controlled to ensure the safety of all
Americans, and the President most of all.
— The New York Daily News
Today is Monday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2015.
There are 332 days left in the year. This is
Groundhog Day.
In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pa., held its first
Groundhog Day festival.
In 1914, Charles Chaplin made his movie debut
as the comedy short “Making a Living” was
released by Keystone Film Co. The musical
“Shameen Dhu,” featuring the song “Too Ra Loo
Ra Loo Ral,” opened on Broadway.
In 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the
Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory
for the Soviets in World War II.
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS: Robert Mandan is 83. Tom
Smothers is 78. Graham Nash is 73. Bo Hopkins
is 71. Ina Garten is 67. Christie Brinkley is 61.
Shakira is 38.
— The Associated Press
The Recorder, Amsterdam, N.Y.
Sharing a few facts
To the editor:
The nominees for the worst performance given by an
elected official in Amsterdam are: Mayor Thane,
Alderwoman Hatzenbuler. The Oscar for acting as a
great leader goes to … Mayor Thane.
Supporting documentation for this lofty honor:
• Falsely claiming credit for removing the blight in the
city citing the Chalmers and Esquire buildings as examples. Really. What about your plans to turn those two
sites into high-priced apartments?
• First blaming the lack of progress on the inability to
work with past councils only to reverse that position (in
an election year) to noting that positive gains were made
in the last seven years due to the cooperation of past
• Mayor Thane: “City’s finances have been out of
whack for over a decade,” yet for the last two years has
put together a budget without knowing how much money
the city really has.
• Mayor Thane: “Increased revenues by millions of dollars.” You can’t count grant money as revenues.
• Mayor Thane: “Do you follow the person who points
out problems or do you follow the person that’s done
something about them?” There is a famous quote by two
famous actors in the movie, “The American President.”
Michael J. Fox (aide to the president): “People want
leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through
the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover
there’s no water they’ll drink the sand.” Michael
Douglas (president): “People don’t drink the sand
because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they
don’t know the difference.”
Mayor Thane’s leadership has turned Amsterdam into a
dump which is the very dump she initially fought against
in her first election. Many good things have happened in
the past seven years in Amsterdam but not because of
Mayor Thane. Don’t believe in everything she says. Her
dialogue of her achievements is just a mirage. Her
thoughts are not facts.
Baseball banquet a great time
To the editor:
Last Wednesday I received a phone call from Brian
Spagnola, who spearheads the Mohawks ball team at
Mohawk park. He invited me to their annual banquet.
After attending the banquet Saturday evening, I must say
I was very impressed and never realized the size of this
organization. The turnout of attendees was overwhelming. The committee that presented this banquet put a lot
of thought and hard work into it. I thoroughly enjoyed
I would like to say this community is very fortunate to
have people like Brian and Rob Spagnola and their team
who bring sports to this community for everyone to
come out and enjoy. I was very proud to have worked on
some of the field renovation, I was very happy to donate
our larger trucks and loader to help get that project completed in a timely manner. There were so many wonderful contractors as well as towns as municipalities showing their help and support to make this project work.
I encourage everyone the next time you hear criticism
and nonsense about what these people do, ignore it and
join the community enjoying their efforts and please support them in anyway you can. Great job.
Thanks from the Winter Showcase
To the editor:
Dear Winter Showcase XVII performers, loyal audience members, and members of the community:
The showcase was a huge success. There were so many
wonderful compliments about the performers, the diverse
styles of music, and for one audience member, “The best
showcase program ever.” Thank your for volunteering
your time and talent to perform for the community. Your
music enriched the lives of many people both young and
old. Many thanks to: Margaret Lazarou, Theresa
Jackson, The River Valley Ringers, Alice Sorensen &
Matthew Tobey, Gene Marie Callahan, The
Sentamentalists, Marigay Harkins, Mary Lou Bryan &
Connie Shepherd, Amanda Grab, John & Kim Nethaway,
Brian Kugler, Richard China, Jennifer Mongin, Patricia
Valiante, Ann Bottisti, Maria Bottisti, Kim Miseno,
Amanda Meliosky, Jennifer Stella, Alexandra
Kouloriotis, Ron Gardner, Mike O’Neil, Josh Nelson and
the 2014 scholarship recipient, Michael Hugo.
And a special thank you to all of our fans, family and
friends. It is so heartwarming to see your faces in the
crowd and behind the scenes too.
A special thank you goes out to United Presbyterian
Church, for allowing us to perform in their beautiful
A special thank you to Matt Ossenfort, Montgomery
County executive, for kicking off our show.
A special thank you to the Girl Scouts Troop 2316,
2245, 2281 and leaders Joan Krohn and Laura Brittain
and Michele Mason Demitraszek for handing out programs and taking tickets. It was such a huge help. I hope
we can work together again.
And a special thank you to Grace Frederes, who annually puts together the reception with the help of all the
expert cookie makers in the bell choir.
And a special thank you to Linda Meola and Chris
Sherlock, for their tireless efforts setting up before the
show and tearing down with the help of many of the bell
choir players and stage manager Richard Boice.
And a special thank you to Margaret Lazarou for her
help, guidance and support. It means the world to all of
And a special thank you to the Amsterdam Recorder
for the great coverage and beautiful pictures, WCSS and
John Becker for promoting our show and the Gazette for
their wonderful article.
The Margaret K. Lazarou music scholarship is alive
and well thanks to you.
We will be back next year on the last Sunday of
January for Winter Showcase XVIII.
We hope to see you then,
Co-directors, Amsterdam
Making for an impossible situation
To the editor:
I am writing as an investor and manager of Schine
Memorial Hall and as an initial member of Mohawk
Harvest Co-op and as a chamber member both personally and professionally. The proposed conversion of the
former NBT buildings at 10-24 N. Main to an addiction
treatment facility is contrary to everything we have been
trying to promote. This would eliminate all that we have
been trying to achieve to save downtown Gloversville
and ultimately Fulton County. Schine at one time had
rented a storefront space next to NBT bank to a smoker
and there were often two or three people smoking and
hanging about outside this area and it made it very difficult for residents/shoppers to walk on the main street or
even to go to the co-op or other businesses along there
including the NBT Bank and the chamber itself. The
sidewalk is not very wide and it was difficult for people
to get to the various things along that section, with only
two or three people standing there talking and smoking.
And NBT Bank complained as did the chamber and the
co-op. The Argersinger Building where the program is at
the present time never looks particularly attractive. In
actuality, it’s fairly unkempt looking. There are usually
people standing outside. The new rehab center would
surely have a lot more activity and would definitely
make for an impossible situation. With all the empty
space available in downtown Gloversville, it would seem
that there would be a more appropriate spot. Perhaps one
that even has parking for the employees and is near a bus
stop. One that even has a working furnace. These key
buildings do contribute to the commercial health of
downtown and do pay taxes and are important to its
regeneration. I hope that the chamber and NBT Bank and
St Mary’s Healthcare are on the team with those of us
whom are working to achieve a viable downtown and to
promote commercial growth.
DOONESBURY CLASSICS ~ 1981 / By Gary Trudeau