Readers sound off on hard times, big boy pants and subway brass

Hard times for hard-working people Union, N.J.: To Jennifer Chu, who led the protest in Elmhurst where people yelled at homeless families to “get a job” and “stay away from our neighborhood”: I wanted to let you know that homeless people are not “hobos,” as signs there referred to them (“New shelter doesn’t fly,” July 2). My husband and I had a very good, stable life for 30 years — including our own company, which we finally had to close due to a lack of business. That meant we had to sell our beautiful 3-bedroom log home on 15 acres of land in Maine, and that caused us to end up in a homeless shelter in New Jersey. It was a hard year, but thanks to people who care, unlike you, we have jobs — and just moved into our new apartment. During the past year, I met so many good people — with solid work histories and college degrees, myself included — who are just down on their luck and going through rough times. My wish is for people like you to spend some time that way. Maybe then, you wouldn’t be so quick to judge those you obviously know nothing about. Audrey Hamilton It names itself Middle Village: As someone who had to declare bankruptcy in my early ’20s, I’m not at all surprised the teens of the U.S. are falling behind the rest of the world in fiscal know-how, since we were never taught it. I propose the Department of Education create a mandatory class, at least for one semester, to teach our children the basics: how to budget, credit card payments, balancing check books, what interest is, etc. They could call it home economics! Robert Lazauskas Clinton cash laugh I Deer Park, L.I.: So Chelsea Clinton is charging $75,000 per speech. Hiring someone who “doesn’t care about money” certainly is expensive! Mitchell L. Goodstein Clinton cash laugh II Ozone Park: I find it entertaining Chelsea Clinton gets a speaking fee equal Continue Reading

Amazon’s new Local Register offers small businesses a mobile reader for credit card payments

Amazon is courting brick-and-mortar small businesses as it moves into the burgeoning mobile payments market. The online retail giant on Wednesday launched Amazon Local Register, a credit and debit card reader that connects to a smartphone or tablet for easy point-of-sale payment. The new system, in which a merchant swipes a credit card through a portable reader to record a sale, is similar to services offered by Square, eBay’s PayPal Here and Intuit’s GoPayment that are geared to small-biz owners and entrepreneurs. But Amazon’s reader is being introduced with a lower transaction fee than its competitors that will make it ultimately cheaper to use. Merchants who implement Local Register before Oct. 31 will pay a rate of 1.75% for each transaction through January 2016, compared with Square’s 2.75% rate and Paypal’s 2.7%. Amazon’s rate will go up after the promotional period, but users will still pay less than the competition at 2.5% per swipe. The reader, available now on, costs $10 and is delivered within two days with free shipping (it’ll be sold next week at Staples stores). The first $10 in transaction fees will be credited back to the user’s account, so the reader is basically free, the company said. “For Amazon, it’s a strong strategic move in a category that’s doubling every three to four years in terms of revenue,” Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a consumer industry consulting firm, told the Daily News. Mobile payments “is a high-margin business with low-margin competition, and it’s an opportunity for Amazon to save shoppers and business customers a material amount of money,” Flickinger said. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Readers sound off on vets caught in the middle of the government’s Sandy funding flap and flu shots

Our gov’t is failing our heroes Oceanside, L.I.: This Navy veteran is appalled at the delay in fixing and reopening the Manhattan VA hospital (“GOP push would heap misery on suffering vets by nixing VA hosp funds,” Jan. 12). It will be a cold day in hell when I send another donation to any Republican Party-endorsed candidate or fund-raiser. I am also considering dropping my Republican registration and becoming nonaffiliated. Allocate the money now, so the hospital can open and give the care these veterans deserve. John F. Rossano Mastic Beach, L.I.: Here we go again. The chicken hawks in Congress, who have no problem sending our young men and women into harm’s way, can find money for the Defense Department to buy enough weapons to destroy the world 10 times over but cannot find the funds to restore the Manhattan VA hospital. I guess they feel veterans’ health care is nothing more than an entitlement. How shamefully wrong they are. Bob Morrow Enough to . . . Manhattan: Scaring the public to sell flu shots? If they’re genuinely concerned, they’ll give them free of charge. Is there no end to getting rich off human miseries? Henry Correa . . . make you sick Brooklyn: Every worker at Emblem Preferred Health on Montague St. was coughing and sneezing. I asked if they’d gotten flu shots, and they said no. Anyone who was not sick or infected before going to the center will become ill after because of the infectious coughing and sneezing. This was wrong! Flu shots should be mandatory for those working in the health care system, as it is in other states. Justine Swartz Police farce Fairfield, Conn.: The Reagans on “Blue Bloods” are the most sanctimonious, self-righteous family on TV. The show is one big rah-rah for the NYPD — which is odd, since all the characters bend the law when it suits them. That does nothing but make me mistrust the police. Victor Grisiatis Barking up the wrong Continue Reading

Readers sound off on North Korea, political corruption and the Holocaust

Slam dunk diplomacy Hoboken, N.J.: Forget China. There is only one man who can rein in North Korea and Kim Jong Un. Save us, Dennis Rodman! Paul Richard Put politicians on the  couch Laurelton: Now that light is again be shined on the profound depth of political corruption in New York, I believe there is a solution that will prevent some future criminal acts by politicians in our state: When people run for elected office, they must be subject to psychological examination, with the cost paid for by the potential candidates. This exam would be similar to, if not the same as, those taken by people seeking law enforcement positions, with the same factors leading to disqualification. Should a person be disqualified, he or she would be able to seek medical treatment for those issues, covered by private insurance or out of pocket. Once the physician gives a legally binding statement that the issues have been resolved — through medication, therapy or other means — the candidacy would be permitted. This would apply to all potential candidates, including incumbents, for any elected office in New York State. W.R. Lertola Thick as thieves Staten Island: So a member of KPMG has been charged with insider trading, a big no-no in the business world. KPMG, which monitors the New York State Lottery, fits right in with the Albany political culture. Robert McKenna Lest we forget Scarsdale, N.Y.: Thanks to the article by Tanyanika Samuels (“Terror and tears,” April 7), I will be able to shed more light on the Holocaust for my fifth-grade students. They have already read the story of Anne Frank, a testament to the choices that even victims can make in a world of chaos. The heinous consequences of Nazi terrorism and murder are beyond fathomable. It is a story that must be told and retold on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Phyllis C. Murray Test of caricature Brooklyn: That was a fairly unflattering drawing of Christine Quinn in Continue Reading

Readers sound off on Chuck Hagel, school bus drivers and guns

In defense of Hagel for Defense Mineola, L.I.: Re “Trying an old smear on a decent man” (column, Jan. 8): Richard Cohen knows a thing or two about “the rancid stench of anti-Semitism,” and he is unafraid to condemn the duplicitous whispering campaign against former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel. A few infelicitous remarks about the so-called Israel lobby are not prima facie evidence of a visceral Judeophobia. In truth, Hagel is a friend, not a foe, of the Jewish state. Moreover, as a Vietnam War veteran, the twice-decorated Hagel would strengthen the military bond between the U.S. and Israel. Whether as CIA director or secretary of defense, Leon Panetta is a tough act to follow. But Hagel’s patriotism, gravitas and geopolitical acumen make him the ideal choice to lead the post-Panetta Defense Department. Rosario A. Iaconis, chairman, Italic Institute of America Why we fight South Ozone Park: Who’s ripping off whom? The starting pay for a school bus driver in Local 1181 is $14 an hour. You don’t get medical benefits for two years. It takes six years to reach top pay, which on average is $50,000 per year. Currently, if the company you work for doesn’t get enough routes, you are transferred to another company at the same pay. Is it fair to start at $14 again? Jose Lopez On the cheap Staten Island: It appears that Mayor Bloomberg’s fiscal strategy is to reduce salaries by eliminating the senior, higher-paid employees who have given their working lives to New York City. He is attempting to bid out the school bus contracts without the job security workers once enjoyed so new companies can hire lower-paid drivers. He is trying to do the same with teachers by closing schools and reopening them under new names and replacing their staffs. This is nothing but an attempt to break the unions. Ricky Karpen Stomach-turning Jackson Heights: Recently, 1010 WINS interviewed people about who they thought Continue Reading

Readers sound off on Mitt Romney and Trayvon Martin

Mitt's road I Brooklyn: Rick Santorum has been blasting Mitt Romney for months. He said that Romney would be the worst choice for a Republican to run against President Obama. He blasts Romney for everything he stands for. Then he has the nerve to come out and say that he would be Romney’s running mate? What a hypocrite! Kind of says that everything Santorum has been saying are lies. Ronald Cohen Mitt's road II Flushing: I will consider voting for Romney after he goes for a 12-hour ride tied to the roof of his car, much as his family’s dog once did during a family vacation. Ambrose J. Bono Mitt's road III Bronx: Mitt Romney says he has the “experience and vision to get us out of this mess.” I am not sure what economic data billionaires like Romney are referring to, but those of us supporting President Obama refer to “this mess” as recovery. Larry D. Fowler Mitt at the movies Glendale: Perhaps we should send Mitt Romney to see “The Hunger Games,” the semi-controversial new movie that just about everyone seems to have a strong opinion on. Romney today: “I found it to be an earthy, entirely possible depiction of a postapocalyptic world, especially possible if I am not elected President.” Mitt tomorrow: “Hated it.” As Emily Litella so succinctly would have commented, “Never mind.” Diana Mischler Battle over health care Barnegat, N.J.: The irony of the debate on the individual insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act is that if Obama and the Democrats had proposed a single- payer system like Medicare for everyone, the Republicans would have countered with the individual-mandate proposal. The mandate has always been a GOP plan. Originated by a Republican think tank in the 1980s, GOP senators proposed it in the ’90s as an alternative to the Clinton health plan — and then it became the centerpiece of Gov. Romney’s Massachusetts health plan. Continue Reading

Readers sound off on the G train and calling killers “animals”

G whiz! A subway grand plan Astoria: Queens residents struggle to catch the G train because it has been cut to two stops in the borough. But the G could be rerouted to underserved parts of Long Island City. Build a tunnel under the Steinway/Broadway tunnel and extend the G from its terminus, Court Square, north to Queens Plaza, 36th St., through the new tunnel and then west on Broadway. This could connect with the R and M trains, then continue to 31st St., connecting with the N and Q. The next station would be 21st St., where the train would turn south and serve Long Island City High School, the Crescent St. co-ops and area shoppers. The G could then stop at 36th Ave. to serve the Ravenswood Houses, connect with the F line at Queensbridge and go east on the F tracks until it meets up with its current route under Northern Blvd. The next stop would be Queens Plaza, closing the loop and continuing south to Brooklyn. This would invigorate what is today an impotent line. Kosmas Patikoglou The savage breast Staten Island: I am tired of people referring to those who commit heinous crimes as animals. When was the last time an animal murdered someone and stuffed the body in an air vent? Never. The term for these criminals is “savages.” Don’t insult animals by misusing the term. Robert Morganbesser Where’s the beefcake? Farmingdale, L.I.: Seriously, Daily News? Every day in your paper I am subjected to at least one picture of bikini-clad or half-dressed women, and when you finally print a picture of a man in a bathing suit, it’s an overweight Eli Manning? Give us women some eye candy , too. Or leave that type of picture to magazines. Diane Gallart Blowing the whistle Hollis: Despite the need to root out corruption, and with the risks city workers take in reporting it, the Daily News mocks those with the courage to speak out against those stealing from taxpayers. Why else call them “snitches” (“An itch to Continue Reading

Small businesses increasing revenue with ‘Square’ electronic payment service

Word is spreading quickly among small American businesses hustling to thrive in tough economic times -- hip young Internet payment service Square will give them an edge.The brainchild of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square lets anyone take credit card payments using smartphones or iPad tablet computers.Barely one year old, it is used by 750,000 merchants and handles $2 billion in transactions annually, chief operating officer Keith Rabois told AFP.The San Francisco-based startup is aiming to snag the 26 million American businesses that do not accept credit cards and is planning to expand outside the United States next year.Square charges a 2.75 percent fee, on par or lower than merchants would be charged per transaction if they went directly through credit card companies, but has the advantage of no set up costs."Square increases the prospect of closing a sale," Rabois said. "In a tough financial time, we make it easier. We remove a lot of the pain from starting a business and growing a business."Rabois believes Square can eliminate the need for cash registers, eventually letting people run small businesses almost entirely from iPads using inventory, billing and other features in software.The company was named after the small, square magnetic-strip readers plugged into smartphones or iPads to allow people to swipe credit cards. It feeds credit card information to free Square software and avoids the need to rent or buy credit card processing equipment.A Square Card Case application at the iTunes store even lets people run tabs at businesses and pay using just their names."You can get a massage, bicycle to the farmers market and never have to pull out the credit card," Rabois said.Making it easy to begin taking credit card payments has been a boon for small businesses from sole operators based at homes to brick-and-mortar shops.Massage therapist Joey Garcia credited Square with being the reason that his client list is double that of a classmate even though both set Continue Reading

Spring weekend getaways near NYC – with special deals for News readers

As the winter weather breaks, the itch to flee the city takes root. Country air, grass underfoot and the thwack of a screen door suddenly seem like essentials, not luxuries. A spring fling is what’s called for — a change of scene, a new adventure — not too far away and for a price that will keep the spring in your step from bouncing away. So we’ve done all the work for you. North, south, east, west and easy: Here are 14 guilt-free weekends within 100 miles of New York City, all under $500 for two people — and a couple of extra deals exclusively for Daily News readers. SOUTH, BY THE SHORE A quick pirouette away from three performing arts centers, the Heldrich Hotel and Spa is a gateway to the cultural center of a revitalized New Brunswick, N.J. The hotel is accessible via a fast trip from the city on NJ Transit, and it complements the area perfectly. The Heldrich boasts a remarkable fine-art collection, including commissioned pieces from local artists, and makes a convenient base for exploring. Stay two nights and save 20% when you book online. A Luxury King room is discounted to $95.20 per night, which means you’ll have plenty left over to spoil yourself with a day package at the spa. On the first beach block in Ocean Grove, The Majestic is one of the best-kept secrets along the Jersey Shore. Built in 1870, it was completely renovated in 2000 without losing a grain of its historic grandeur. Soak up the salt air on the front porch, or chill out with panoramic views in the sun-filled widow’s walk. Have an appetite for water sports? The Ocean Grove Surf Shop occupies the lower level. A nifty-sounding Ghost Tour Weekend includes two nights in a premium queen room, breakfast, two tickets to the Original Asbury Park Ghost Walk nearby, plus psychic readings for two. $350 plus tax.   NORTH, UP THE HUDSON Rhinebeck is one of those quaint historic towns Continue Reading

Readers sound off Memorial Day, Hillary’s history and Beyoncé’s ripped pants

Today is far more than a day off Brooklyn: Memorial Day honors those who fought in conflicts in the past and present. Many who come home are not prepared to lead a normal life, for they are still fighting a war inside. Many do not receive the support that is necessary to heal. It takes a long time to heal, yet if they receive help from doctors, support groups, friends and family, then it is possible they can lead a normal productive life. They deserve it. Joseph V. Comperchio Glendale: What is the meaning of Memorial Day? I honor the fallen and thank all the vets who served and who serve now. I thank them for my freedom. I thank them for my free speech and the right to protest. I thank them for their sacrifice and I thank their families. It is not about BBQs or sales. It is about showing support, love and gratitude to those who served — and who either lost their lives in battle or afterwards from injuries that they sustained while serving. God bless all! Paul (Duke) Heinz The reason for the day Howard Beach: We must remember on this Memorial Day and every day: The soil we tread upon was made free by those who lie beneath it. Richard O’Connor Support the vets Brooklyn: I don’t know why I see television ads telling us we should support our soldiers with donations when they come home from the war when it should be the President and our big Congress people who should be doing that. Soldiers, God bless you and thank you! Salvatore LaRosa Stop the wars Fresh Meadows: To all the President Obama haters, think about this: How many soldiers have died under the current administration as compared to the Bush administration? The President has kept us out of a couple of wars by not rushing in and sending our boys to die. I don’t know why there are so many war-loving people out there. In every war, too many lives are lost, families are split up and lives are ruined for the returning soldiers. When mothers weep for their Continue Reading