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Seeking justice for the Justices

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To the editor,

For better or worse, Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in as the 114th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, after a reputable psychologist, Dr. Christine Ford, charged that he raped her while he was in prep school. It is clear that she passed a polygraph [lie detector] test, but Dr. Ford suffered lapses of memory which hurt her credibility.

According to the late WOR-Radio talk show host Bernard Meltzer, lie detector tests are only 51 percent reliable. I have a friend who is a criminal psychology major, who said sodium pentathol [truth serum] is 95 percent reliable. It is true that nothing is foolproof and in a court of law this would be inadmissible, but if defense lawyers and prosecutors could agree that if a suspect is willing to take such a test and be willing to suffer possible severe side effects for his freedom, the government would save millions of dollars and perhaps clear people who could very well be innocent [if they were victims of] mistaken identity, [which] could greatly reduce incarceration.

While I agree Christine Ford is basically an honorable woman, I am reminded of the Chicago’s Gary Dotson, who was framed for a rape by Cathleen Webb when she got pregnant with somebody else. Gary Dotson, it is true, was a small time criminal who had been in and out of prisons before and after his three-year stay for rape, but Cathleen Webb, the woman who framed him, later admitted she lied.

It turns out that Justice Kavanaugh was no choirboy, but to accuse him of a crime he did not commit is an outrage.

In 1937 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Senator Hugo Black (D–Ala.) to the U.S. Supreme Court. Black had formerly been a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but was confirmed by the Senate 52–20. Lyndon Johnson appointed Abe Fortas to the U.S. Supreme Court [although] Mr. Fortas in his early 20s had been a member of the Communist Party. Abe Fortas became a hawk on the Vietnam War while he served as an associate justice in the nearly four years he was on the court.

Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh were accused of something far worse and were confirmed by the narrowest of margins. The Senate Judiciary Committee advised the Senate [that Thomas was] unfavorable and not recommended for confirmation. Thomas received a 52–48 vote by the Senate; certain Senators who voted for him did so with gritted teeth because then-President George H.W. Bush promised certain aid for their states.

One way to avoid future mishaps would be if the President would consult Senate leaders in advance, which the then-Sen. Hugh Scott (R–Pa.) advised the then-President Nixon [to do] after two nominees, Judges Clement Haynsworth and G. Harold Carswell, did not survive the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process. This might ensure, although not guarantee, a more favorable outcome for judicial nominees to the courts.

Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

The naming game

To the editor,

I cannot see why there is great hubbub about naming the Brooklyn Municipal Building after a famous Brooklynite, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Being a Republican, I believe it is only right to place her name on such a fine edifice.

I do have ulterior motives, as when it is decided to start naming things after a person, that person is usually dead or dying or has worked so long in a position, it is a way of moving them along.

Here’s to you, Ruth, and as soon as they unveil the plaque and you, one way or other, leave your position in the Supreme Court, President Trump will then name another highly qualified woman to the bench. Then lets see the Democrats and the “me too” Nazis try to drag her good name through the mud. The clock is ticking, so let’s sit back and see all the fun that will happen, with this future Supreme Court nomination!

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Make bad kids behave!

To the editor,

The new teacher contract just provides the same old nonsense. Why nonsense? It refuses to address the major problem of retaining teachers in the so-called hard-to-staff schools. For years, teachers continue to leave these ineffective schools in droves due to the complete lack of discipline in them. Throwing more money is not the way to solve the problem. The young, eager teacher shall soon become disillusioned with this and after a while, they will chuck it as well.

Instead of working to improve discipline in the schools by the removal of chronically disruptive pupils, the system looks for all kinds of inane solutions that will never work because of the continuous presence of the unruly. Only the United Federation of Teachers, with Unity Caucus, would agree to these terms. Why? When was the last time that the union hierarchy was in the classroom teaching? They are so grateful to be out of the classroom that they will agree to almost anything. Anything said about the restoration of “600” schools for the unruly and more suspensions for behavioral infractions? Of course not, liberals are too afraid that the psyche of the “brat” shall be hurt. Of course, it’s alright to disrupt others from learning and the school can always say that the teacher is not motivating the recalcitrant.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Fond transit memories

To the editor,

The recent Oct. 7 New York City Transit Museum’s antique bus display from the 1940s and 1950s at Brooklyn Bridge Park was a great trip down memory lane. It was a time when bus drivers had to make change and drive, at the same time. No one dared bring any food on the bus or leave any litter behind.

The 1956 Fifth Avenue Coach Lines (which was taken over by New York City in 1962) bus was the first prototype air conditioned model built in the nation. It also included other new features, including a push-type rear exit door, rear area wrap-around seating and flourescent lighting. There was also air-ride suspension, which became the industry standard. It is still used today.

There was also the famous Jackie Gleason bus built in 1948, used for “The Honeymoone­rs.” It was designed for New York City and included a double-width door to speed up passenger entering and exiting.

In the mid 1960s, air-conditioned buses were just becoming a more common part of the fleet. The air conditioned buses that we all take for granted today were virtually non-existent during the time of the 1964–65 World’s Fair. Air conditioned buses were still a novelty. It was not until 1966 that NYC Transit first purchased over 600 buses with this feature. Subsequently, all new buses would include air conditioning. By the early 1990s, 100 percent of the bus fleet was air conditioned.

You had to pay separate fares to ride either the bus or subway. There was no MetroCard, affording free transfers between bus and subway, along with discounted weekly or monthly fares. Employee transit checks to help cover the costs didn’t exist. New York City Transit bus drivers had to use a coin collector to make change for riders. Aug. 31, 1969 was the first day that bus riders either had to deposit a subway token or the exact amount in coins directly into the fare box. Drivers would no longer be required to make change. They could concentrate of driving instead of multi-tasking. It became the passenger’s responsibility to deposit the exact fare in cash or subway token directly into the fare box when boarding the bus.

All the driver had to do was look through the upper portion of the fare box and make sure that the fare was paid. Previously, drivers had to deal with potential robbery while in service due to carrying cash.

Safety increased for drivers, passengers, and buses. There were fewer traffic accidents involving buses. Bus operators spent more time concentrating on driving and less on making change for riders. On time performance improved as passenger boarding time sped up.

Drivers no longer had to deal with money when returning to the bus garage. Other transit employees known as “Vault pullers” would unlock the bottom of the farebox and empty the contents. Coins and subway token revenue would be sorted, counted and wrapped within the safe confines of a secure money room within the garage.

In 1996, MetroCards were introduced, which provide free transfers between the subway and bus. This eliminated the old two-fare zones, making public transportation an even better bargain. Purchasing a weekly or monthly subway–bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips. Fast forward to today, and you can see how MTA public transportation is still one of the best bargains in town.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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