Opinion | ‘We Finally Have Something to Celebrate’: The Infrastructure Bill Is Signed – The New York Times

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To the Editor:
Re “Biden Signs Bill for Bolstering Infrastructure” (front page, Nov. 16):
At a time when all of the news that we absorb seems to be bad, we finally have something to celebrate, the signing into law of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, a long overdue initiative that despite consistent promises was never enacted by President Biden’s predecessor.
The bill makes critical improvements in our country and provides something for every community. It will create countless good, well-paying jobs as critical infrastructure work is undertaken that should have begun years, if not decades, ago.
The bill had widespread bipartisan support until working with those on the opposite side of the aisle became even more subject to condemnation. Today, Republicans who cooperate with the Democrats on anything are branded as traitors and risk being thrown out of power.
Nevertheless, the measure received the support of a sufficient number of Republicans to push it over the finish line. Those members of Congress who wish to tout its benefits to their constituents will now be able to display how they have brought home the bacon for their district’s or state’s benefit.
As a realist, I do not expect many more significant victories for this president in an environment in which those on the opposite side of the aisle seek to ruin his presidency, but I am thankful that he now has one piece of highly significant legislation to his credit.
Oren Spiegler
Peters Township, Pa.
To the Editor:
Included in the just signed infrastructure bill is a provision that will expand access to high-speed internet service and help narrow the nation’s digital divide. However, once this digital infrastructure is built out, many new broadband subscribers will also be exposed to online scams, invasions of privacy, computer viruses, malware and social media disinformation that unfortunately are enabled and accelerated by high-speed internet.
Rather than simply connecting people who have not had much previous broadband expertise and letting them fend for themselves, the Biden administration should develop and distribute training materials to all such new subscribers on how to navigate the internet safely, responsibly and securely to ensure that this expansion of broadband doesn’t also result in a surge of digital dysfunction.
Lloyd Trufelman
Katonah, N.Y.
To the Editor:
Re “Men Should Speak Up for Family Leave” (Opinion, Nov. 12):
Jessica Grose writes that she’s “full of rage” because people tune out new-mom stories. I get it. I’m still angry when I think back to my experience, even though I’m a grandmother now.
I disappeared from my toddler daughter into the hospital when I was 30 weeks’ pregnant with my second child. Doctors stopped my contractions and ordered me to stay put — flat on my back — until the baby was born. When my daughter was finally allowed to visit, she’d cry out: “Please, don’t give me away, Mommy!” when visiting hours were over.
My son was born five weeks premature during an emergency C-section. I spent a sixth week in the hospital recovering from surgery. Once I got home — with a preemie and a toddler whom I hadn’t lived with for the past month and a half — I was expected back at work! My maternity leave had been largely used up by my hospital stay.
Parents shouldn’t have to choose between losing their jobs or caring for family members. We all have a vested interest in the well-being of babies, and that starts with parental paid leave.
Susan E. Anderson
Chicago
To the Editor:
Re “To End the Crisis at Rikers, Close the Jails” (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 12):
Jonathan Lippman, a former New York State chief judge, is right to condemn the deplorable conditions and unacceptable number of deaths at Rikers Island. His recommendations, on how to reduce the jails’ population until they can finally be closed, should be implemented.
There is another measure that should be adopted that would make a significant impact on solving the problems he identifies. Many people spend inordinate amounts of time in jail awaiting trial because there aren’t enough judges to conduct trials.
In New York appointed judges are compelled by the State Constitution to retire at 70. This requirement, enacted when 70 was considered ancient, makes no sense in the modern world and results in the loss of scores of experienced judges who could handle the backlog of cases fairly and efficiently.
Until the Constitution can be amended to remove this outdated barrier, the Legislature should provide for the reappointment of these retired jurists as emergency judges empowered to preside over criminal trials and quickly reduce the number of defendants languishing in jail.
Gerald Harris
New York
The writer is a retired New York City Criminal Court judge and former chair of the city Board of Correction.
To the Editor:
Re “To Your Door in Minutes, but Raising Questions on the Way” (news article, Nov. 10):
The major reasons that drive us to choose the foods we eat are taste, convenience, price and healthfulness. Although new super-quick delivery services check many boxes, I’m afraid that even fewer people will be flipping packages over and reading food labels than ever before, since most won’t even see labels until they get their food home.
Bonnie Taub-Dix
New York
The writer is the author of “Read It Before You Eat It — Taking You From Label to Table.”
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