United Way of NNY helps out food pantries

Regarding the Sept. 7 column titled “Government worsens problems,” author Chris Talgo may have left his brain in the other room before writing it.

[This was a Point/Counter column published alongside one titled “Cities show government works,” written by Dan Vogel.]

That, or Mr. Talgo regards the average reader’s IQ as sub-cretinous.

Worth noting at the start is that Mr. Talgo is affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a conservative/libertarian think tank that has enjoyed funding by the Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil, to name just two of its many big-industry patrons.

Unsurprisingly, the Heartland Institute is one of the loudest voices in the dissonant chorus of climate change deniers.

Mr. Talgo begins with familiar illogic:

Average ACT scores “prove” that private schools do a far better job than public schools in educating our youths.

Apples and oranges, ladies and gentlemen!

Private schools can decline to admit (or retain) students who fail to meet their standards.

Public schools are open to — and welcome — one and all.

Private school students typically come from homes in which education is revered — homes in which the means and motivation to pay the considerable costs of tuition, room and board and incidentals are present.

And anyway, the disparate size of the two cohorts renders Mr. Talgo’s conclusion specious.

Citing this as a prime example of unproductive, out-of-control government, he adds to his “thesis” that tired old “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” quotation uttered while then-candidate Ronald Reagan was throwing red meat to supporters at a campaign rally.

Hyperbole is alive and well on the stump, folks.

Isn’t it odd that smaller-government advocates factions preach “Let’s get government out of our lives” but then, dismayed by some unpleasant development, they bray, “Where was our government when this happened?”

Or, “There ought to be a bureau of …”

Hope that not too many Watertown Daily Times readers fell for Mr. Talgo’s op-ed nonsense.

Robert Graham


The writer is past president of the Norwood-Norfolk Central School Board of Education.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(7) comments


Thanks to this letter writer. So many older people have succumbed to a lifetime of Republican-fed America bashing. If you hate the government please send me your social security checks, only walk on dirt roads, and turn off electricity to your house.

Republicans constantly criticize Obama for admitting America has made foreign policy mistakes (Saddam Hussein didn't have WMD's folks) but worship the America-hating Ronald Reagan who slagged our government at every turn. Reagan's only "accomplishment" was creating a massive government debt.


Well said. But we shouldn't hold our breaths waiting for "Get big gummint off our backs!" types to do any of the things you mention.

My guess is that Talgo knew his schools: government analogy was invalid, but thought he could slip it past "the simple folk."

Holmes -- the real one

Good column.

Absolutely agree with you, Newsjunkie39a and Nice_Commenter.

Sadly, this "slipping it by" strategy has become increasingly commonplace.

The Jay Ambrose column printed here today (11/12) is another case in point.


Thank you. Regarding Ambrose and his ilk, including political cartoonist "Hitch", couldn't agree more.


"Republican fed America bashing"...wow. As someone who has voted both parties in presidential elections...I find this comment interesting and laughable all at once. I am in agreement with you on Bush's folly in regards to Hussein. Ronald Reagan is to some very different to others but he didn't hate America. Come on man, let's have truthful discussions here.


I find every "so-and-so hates America" comment to be ridiculous. While we all can find things we abhor in particular individuals' actions and/or policies, that animus doesn't translate to a hate of country. Who in God's name would enter our public affairs if he/she in fact actually hated America?

Holmes -- the real one

I absolutely agree, Newsjunkie39a.

Those inane "hate America" comments seem to come from the same source as the "you're just mad because you lost" and general name calling kind of nonsense.

It's troubling to think that there are people out there who have such a limited ability to communicate.

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