HomeNewsLetters to the Editor (June 12, 2013)

Letters to the Editor (June 12, 2013)

Time to take a look at the Patriot Act

Given the potential for abuse of power, including but not limited to political expediency, is it time to re-write and/or amend the Patriot Act to include the following provisions?

1) No NSA (nor any other federal, state or local government agency) act of surveillance shall occur without a writ of “probable cause,” which shall be evaluated by the FISA court and which shall continuously be subject to scrutiny by a neutral oversight body.

2) Where expediency/exigent circumstances necessarily delay the presentation of said writ, the writ shall be subsequently forthcoming within a reasonable period of time as determined by the oversight body.

3) Any/all NSA et al information gathered on individuals/entities that does not meet “probable cause” standards — if/when so determined by the oversight body — shall be expunged from all NSA et al government data bases/records for all time, and, any/all references to such expunged information shall be inadmissible in any/all subsequent actions.

4) At no time shall the NSA et al government agencies, its employees, designees, etc., local, state or federal, place any information, software, etc., on the hard drives or any/all other devices of any private citizen, business, etc., under penalty of commensurate breach-of-privacy laws.

5) Any/all NSA et al-obtained information previously gathered via acts of “domestic spying” on private citizens, businesses and other entities not meeting “probable cause” standards, shall be permanently expunged by systematic shredding/deletion conducted in the presence of the oversight body, which shall verify the process during and upon completion of the process. All affected entities shall be apprised of the expunging and further apprised that the expunged information can never be admissible in conjunction with any/all adverse actions.

National security is crucial and necessary but it must be implemented with protocols that do not violate or bypass American citizens’ Constitutional protections particularly with regard to “probable cause” standards.

Arthur Gurmankin

Bustleton

Libraries should fine those deadbeats

The Free Library of Philadelphia in its infinite wisdom is now proposing the forgiveness of all overdue book fines.

Their reasoning is that the poor little darlings can’t afford the fines and to not allow them to take out more books when they haven’t returned the ones they already have (and probably never intended to return in the first place) would stifle their initiative to read.

Obviously, the Free Library of Philadelphia hasn’t noticed the new iPhones with apps that all these kids seem to have.

Also, let’s not forget the monthly fees required for the service. Or the $100 sneakers they all seem to be wearing.

So instead of encouraging kids to be responsible, in true idiotic fashion, the city would rather instill irresponsibility in these kids. Why not later forgive them for stealing cars or breaking into people’s homes because to make them own up to these things would create a hardship?

With ideas like the one proposed by the Free Library of Philadelphia, it will only serve to teach kids to be irresponsible and that there are no repercussions for their acts.

Peter DiGiuseppe

Rhawnhurst

Democrats wrong on culture issues

I see that Councilman Jim Kenney, as leader of what might in all justice be termed the Democratic Party’s cultural deterioration section, has succeeded in his efforts to create special rights for members of the city’s sexual minority community. His efforts represent the latest chapter in the ongoing efforts of the left to blur the natural distinction between the sexes in the name of their twin gods Equality and Progress. Needless to say, legal attempts to achieve this have been attempted before and they always fail.

Since our erstwhile councilman seems to dwell among ideological clouds, it is clear he needs a lesson in real-world experience.

I have a challenge for him: I suggest he haul his keister off to the nearest Time Machine, set the dials for the 1930s and for Soviet Russia. Once there, he can learn firsthand about how successful the most organized attempt in history to blur sexual differences in the name of a specious notion of Utopia turned out. Heck, I’ll even pay the good councilman’s fare.

And if I were a city councilman, I would immediately introduce legislation to repeal Kenney’s bill, which serves no true common good, but merely furthers the ideological agenda of his party and the sexual desires of a tiny subset of the city’s population.

As we conservatives turn now to face the future, we can state we have faith in the future and, yes, we build the future and that is why we speak out. We want a better world, not a brave new world. The road we have traveled thus far in the culture war had been long, and what have we discovered along this long road? We are not alone.

We are no longer alone, isolated, old fuddy-duddies, out of touch with “hip” values — no, indeed. Rather, Kenney and those on his side will be revealed as those who live outside reality.

That a majority of City Council and the mayor went along with Kenney is no surprise. After all, they’re members of that self-same party, the party that elected the most inept president in American history at the behest of the most venal, short-sighted, ill-informed electorate in American history.

George Tomezsko

Fox Chase

She’s hoping to keep St. Leo Church open

Thank you to parishioners, graduates and friends for all of the support that you have shown to our beloved St. Leo. We are very disappointed in the Archdiocesan decision and have decided to appeal the decision. St. Leo is a viable and vibrant parish. We are confused about the decision. We did everything that the Archdiocese has asked us to do.

In the next few weeks, please continue to attend St. Leo as you regularly would. In show of support, please write letters to both Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Fitzgerald. I also ask, most importantly, for your prayers at this time. We pray for our parish community of St. Leo as well as the parish community of Our Lady of Consolation and any other parishes going through a similar situation at this time. And, lastly, please pray for our priests. They are good and holy men who have served our St. Leo well. We have been very blessed.

Ann Marie Kuvik

St. Leo parishioner

Faith only for those who can afford it?

St. Joachim’s was my childhood school and church. More importantly, the communities need churches. Has there been any effort to look at sharing the church buildings with other faiths?

All communities need a church. To close too many churches in one area is disturbing. Given this is a lower-income area, its residents are subject to more stresses and hardships than our richer parishes. Religion for those who can afford it? Jesus walked and lived among the poor. In today’s society, if he were here I guess he’d need to beg to get bus money to go to his Father’s house.

I think we need to really look at ways all churches can share our faith and our wealth. Don’t abandon the poor.

Jacqueline Young

Bustleton

Boyle and Williams pandering for votes

Upon reading that politicians Brendan Boyle and Tony Williams are pushing legislation that requires mandatory Holocaust instruction in schools, I hoped that the general public could see this for what it is, blatant pandering to people with a special interest.

First, the entire premise is laughable because the Holocaust is already taught as part of standard history education (remember learning WWII?), which makes this “legislation” akin to mandating that you put gas in your car.

Beyond that, if there is a need to mandate specific instruction, it would seem to me that whereas once America was the world leader in medicine, technology, industry, engineering and other fields, we have fallen behind.

I would recommend we require math and science education to help regain our footing as the best in the world.

Further, given recent history at a more personal level, perhaps we should educate our children on how to balance a checkbook and how to manage finances to prevent the hardships that exist now.

While these bills may seem like a good idea, they also have unintended consequences. Read the bill and find provisions for fully funded continuing education — your tax dollars will pay for teachers to take courses. I know a math teacher in New Jersey who was paid to take a college course on the Holocaust. He’s 70, by the way. I’m sure taxpayers are thrilled to foot that bill.

What irritates me the most is: Why the Holocaust specifically? Clearly, the politicians hope to pull a specific voting bloc.

Newsflash — the Holocaust wasn’t on our continent or even an atrocity against Americans. If you feel the need to pass legislation like this, maybe we could think about our own people. Maybe we could remember events like the Bataan Death March. Oh, but that wouldn’t pull votes.

Mike Zecca

Torresdale

End war, rebuild the United States

Another Memorial Day has passed.

It is a day set aside to honor those who died or served in war. War has become a way of life. Possibly, there has been reason to fight to the bitter end. However, troops come home with post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts. Even unemployment stares them in the face. We as a nation need to end our quest to be in wars.

Rebuild our nation’s broken cities, end poverty and provide jobs for everyone who wants to work. Bring about a better tomorrow and a better future for our children and for the generations of the years to come.

Marie Patton

Fox Chase

Schools should not cut counselors

I am writing to urge City Council and the state legislature to find additional funding, so the school district will not have to make the drastic cuts necessary to balance its budget.

I believe Superintendent Hite is giving a straight story, and has been honest with the city and state about the district’s needs.

I am a retired school psychologist, who has worked in (Trenton) city schools for 25 years, so I know the importance of support staff, especially counselors.

My daughter is a counselor at a grade K-8 school in Northeast Philadelphia. Her typical day is loaded with school support activities. She meets regularly with parents, to facilitate support for the students. She does regular conflict resolution, preventing fights among students. She manages crises, and often has to stay after school to meet with social agencies around students being abused, or suicidal students. She does individual and group counseling.

She is responsible for Response to Intervention (RTI) activities and plans, to help regular education staff deal with problems to prevent special education classification of students.

She often works through her lunch period, and actually schedules meetings (“Lunch Bunch”) with students on her lunch hour.

She runs school programs on anti-bullying and character education in assemblies and in classrooms, and has to be a part of attendance and special education IEP meetings. She provides the counseling required by student Individualized Educational Plans, and attends meetings of the School Leadership Team.

Besides the IEPs for special-needs students, she is also responsible for helping to develop ILPs (Individual Learning Plans) for all students. She organizes career days, so students will have the benefit of learning about career opportunities from actual professionals in various fields.

She also has to handle all the applications for middle and high school, which means she is required to be knowledgeable of district placement options. She also coordinates interagency meetings to make sure all are communicating and working together for the students’ benefit.

If this seems like an unending list, perhaps it is, but I hope it will convince all that school counselors are not just a superfluous addition to the school budget.

Counselors’ work has saved students’ lives, and has made principals’ responsibilities much more manageable. It is hard to imagine any school running effectively without counselor presence.

Edward S. Marks

Pennypack

Mayor Nutter’s not-so-nice legacy

Mayor Nutter is concerned about what his eight-year legacy would be.

Here are some of the choices:

A. All of his temporary tax increases became permanent.

B. He left Queen Arlene on her throne way too long.

C. His continuing battling with the firefighters and other city unions.

D. All the above.

Mayer Krain

Modena Park

Hey Hillary, answer questions on Benghazi

According to an article by Associated Press correspondent Donna Cassata, the current Secretary of State, John Kerry, who just replaced Hillary Clinton, who was at the helm of the State Department when the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya actually occurred in September, says that he is ready to answer any questions regarding that incident.

My question is: How the hell does he know? He wasn’t there, and why isn’t Hillary answering the questions? And does she honestly expect us to nominate her as a candidate for president of the United States? The only thing that she had to say, so far, was, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” in a very sarcastic tone, as if to silence some pestering children.

Well, it matters to us, Hillary, you were supposed to be in charge when these murders occurred. You were obliged to have competent professionals in position to react responsibly and immediately to alarming intelligence and avert vicious attacks on your embassies in dangerous areas like Libya.

Are you going to tell us that there was no intelligence? No forewarning? Not a hint that there might be a plot to execute a violent assault on one of your consulates on Sept. 11, the anniversary of our worst nightmare, perpetrated by radical Islamists?

Shame on you if you had no intelligence, and shame on you if you did, because no one took precautions and no one responded with necessary help for Ambassador Stevens or those other three helpless Americans under your care, and on your watch.

Why is it when powerful people in government take us all for fools and blatantly lie to us, that they totally forget that we are the people who put them there?

They all knew what actually happened, from Obama on down, but they used a convenient occurrence like this offensive video on the Internet to cover up the truth, for which they would have embarrassing questions to answer. The same questions that are being asked by the congressional subcommittees as we speak, are very similar to the questions that were asked following the Watergate scandal, which incidentally, brought down a president.

James O’Keefe

Lawndale

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