Job well done, Rick Gross
Thank you for the article and photo regarding the grotto at St. Bartholomew Church in the April 27 issue of the Northeast Times.
It was a beautiful story.
Mr. Gross is a man much to be admired and respected. Our community and country desperately need men of his caliber.
I am not surprised he is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Dedication and sacrifice were not uncommon among men who served there.
It appears that the Supreme Court will decide against Roe v Wade and send the abortion rules back to the states where 26 states (a majority of states) have laws banning some sort of abortions now.
The Democrats say it will hurt the poor minorities.
If they can pick black women for jobs just because they are black, they can see that all minorities get more money, as not to make them poor.
The Democrats would never improve the poor people’s status because then they would erode their base.
Let each state vote as to how to handle abortions.
Majority votes in each state wins like they taught us in school about democracy.
The May 17 Pennsylvania primary election offers an opportunity to heal our divided republic. A cursory reading of the letters to the editor displays absence of common courtesy, as writers criticize another’s position. First, we need to accept that we have differences, and the reality of a functioning democracy is that everyone can’t have what they want. How might we achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens? The primary, and the Nov. 8 general election, allows citizens to vote for the leaders they believe will represent them. But do we know if and how a candidate will support citizens’ ideas and interests? We have been bombarded with TV ads where candidates talk and talk, but say nothing. Hence, we have no idea if and how a candidate will serve the citizens’ interests. I found promises by a number of the candidates to be confusing. Granted, they make some big promises, but no details are offered how the promise can be delivered. Allow me a few illustrative examples:
• One ad shows a Senate candidate’s brother and mother extorting their proficiency with guns; yet the candidate then declares he is pro-gun and pro-life. A bit confusing, as CDC data from 2020 reveals that 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S.
• A gubernatorial candidate proposes to cut gas tax in half; maybe he will first double the gas tax by executive order; and then rescind it; and, voila, he did cut the gas tax in half.
• A TV personality says elect him to the Senate, and he’ll fire Dr. Fauci. Perhaps this candidate needs to know that a senator doesn’t have that authority.
I urge voters to take their responsibility seriously and don’t give in to glad handing.
Ironic? You bet
Mr. Michael A. Podgorski’s brilliant note to this page (Beware Russian disinformation and those who spread it, 4/20) prompted a response from a Mr. John Farley (4/27) – a letter that featured several questions for Mr. Podgorski. I do not know Mr. Podgorski, but Mr. Farley’s questions for him deal with matters of such timely relevance that many of us who read this page may feel inspired to respond to them.
The following are several of Mr. Farley’s questions for Mr. Podgorski, and my own responses:
Q: “Who are you, sir, to decide what’s in my mind, or in my heart?”
A: Well, who does Mr. Podgorski, or any of us, have to be other than folks who can read? Assuming that Mr. Farley’s words to this page are from his mind or his heart, we all know what is in his mind or his heart, from having read his words in black and white on this page as he exercises his right to free speech.
Q: “Who are you to decide what speech is real or fake, or even Russian disinformation?”
A: Here again, who does Mr. Podgorski, or any of us, have to be other than not brain dead to see through the lies and disinformation tyrants use to maintain power? Mr. Putin says his troops do not kill Ukrainian civilians. Those of us not brain dead know that this is fake news.
Q: “Who are you to insinuate that three taxpaying neighbors of the Northeast are doing the dirty work of Mr. Putin?”
A: Mr. Podgorski does not need to “insinuate,” as Mr. Farley reveals what’s in his mind and heart when he says that, “Someone down in Florida” might call Mr. Podgorski’s warnings to us “fake news!” We all know that Mr. Farley is referring to Mr. Trump, who, in March of 2018 sent a note to Mr. Putin, congratulating him on his winning reelection. This when the rest of the free world knew that Putin’s win was a complete fraud, based on his autocratic stranglehold on power.
And, Mr. Farley forgets what the rest of us remember: That on the eve of Mr. Putin’s war on Ukraine, Trump said that Putin is “pretty smart. He’s taking over a country.” (fundraiser, Mar-A-Largo Club, Palm Beach, Florida, Feb. 23)
Mr. Farley’s letter is mostly in defense of his right to free speech. Mr. Podgorski’s
letter is not at all an attack on this right, but rather a warning that this and other rights
are taken from us under dictatorships such as Mr. Putin’s. Mr. Farley’s support for Mr.
Trump aids indirectly, or directly, Mr. Putin’s “dirty work.” Ironic, don’t you think?
In response to Mr. Farley’s last two opinion pieces, I hope readers are taking note of several glaring contradictions. In typical fashion, his April 13 piece lists a litany of grievances of the radical right. Farley scolds would-be candidates to leave our kids alone, raising the specter of the politicization of children, and yet Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” in an attempt to limit the free speech of LGBTQ+ Americans – signing the bill in front of children – a bill that effectively attacks the free speech of certain other children. In addition, recent censorship efforts by Republican school boards and state Houses across America have resulted in over 1,500 ordinances/laws that ban books, of which the common denominator seems to be whether the books align with the radical right’s political agenda. To be clear, none of this has to do with Critical Race Theory, which is not taught until students are of college age, at which age they can typically vote, sign up for military service and get an abortion – all without parental consent. These are not kids. Farley wrote “leave the kids alone” and yet he politicized them for his own political ends. Farley wrote that we must respect all forms of free speech, yet his party is attempting to pass laws to curtail the free speech of America’s marginalized communities. So who is politicizing kids? Who is banning free speech? Radical Republicans, like Farley.
Further, let me disabuse Mr. Farley of his false notions of free speech. In fact, it is the government’s role via the courts to determine what is and what is not constitutionally protected free speech. For example, if a person were to incite a riot that did grievous damage to the U.S. Capitol – that’s not likely protected free speech and will probably be determined by the courts in the coming months. Further, the First Amendment does not obligate social media platforms to extend anyone the right to say whatever they want, whenever they want. Like all services, you agree to their terms and you use their product according to their terms. Or you don’t. If a platform deems your speech, for example, as “hate speech” and they kick you off, then that is their decision to do so. The First Amendment does not apply because no entity of the government is attempting to abridge your free speech. So sorry Mr. Farley, but not sorry, because your free speech is highly contextually dependent and is not unlimited in the way you have so ignorantly described.
No doubt you believe in your own good intentions. Like you, I support a free and democratically self-determined Ukraine, but just because you don’t believe your points of view align with Russian disinformation does not mean that they don’t align with Russian disinformation. Free speech comes with the added burden of grasping the larger context in which we responsibly disseminate our political views. Instead of making any sort of admission, you attempted to cloak your statements in the immunity of unlimited free speech. This thinly veiled ruse was apparent to any astute reader, and you again exposed the contradiction of what you write on one hand about supporting Ukraine and then write on the other that echoes Russian disinformation. Beyond these self-evident contradictions, and your obvious attempt to avoid responsibility for what you have written, your piece is filled with a series of silly recriminations. Unlike you, I do not resort to questioning a person’s patriotism; I deconstruct your writing in order to expose its logical inconsistency – on display for all readers.
Michael A. Podgorski
Send the bums a message
When you go to the polls this year, please remember.
Remember the empty shelves at your local grocery store.
Remember the higher costs of chicken, eggs, bread, milk.
Remember the price of gas going up over $2.50 per gallon for each gallon of regular gas since 1/20/2021.
Remember the $33 billion that the federal government say it needs right now for emergency funding to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with more tests, masks and vaccines that are suddenly in short supply.
Remember the $83 billion of taxpayer military equipment left behind to help arm the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Remember the rising crime in neighborhoods throughout the entire region and frankly in the whole country.
Remember your wives, sisters, daughters and granddaughters who go from store to store in the middle of the night searching for baby formula for their newborns.
Remember all of this. Then remember to vote and punish the arrogant leaders who only remember you and me on Election Day.
Send them all a message. A message they will always remember and a permanent message that these bums can and will never forget.
Please go out and vote like your life depends on it, because it really does.
Personal responsibility, please
There was a food problem at Mitchell Elementary School that too little free breakfast and free lunch food arrived, and no cafeteria workers were on hand to serve it. The principal paid for pizza herself and the staff bought plates and juice. One teacher gave out an emergency stash of granola bars and apple sauce. Couldn’t parents at the very least be called in to serve their own children let alone feed them in the first place? This is an example of “entitlement” rather than personal responsibility. What did the children do for the 18 months that COVID closed the school?
When I attended my neighborhood elementary school, mothers came to the schoolyard at recess with milk and cookies. We came home for lunch. We were also just as poor. One memory I vividly have is that we had only day-old bread and butter to eat and I said, “I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?” and my father said, “Bread and butter.” I said, “I don’t want bread and butter.” He replied, “Then you’re not hungry.”
Desperate people reluctantly signed up for “relief” (a temporary fix), which was a terrible embarrassment. Today it is called welfare. All families were poor. My recently unemployed father and uncle who lost their jobs to returning WWII veterans took the train to Los Angeles to look for work.
Back in multiracial North Phila., about 75 years ago, parents were responsible for feeding their own children. In junior high for lunch, parents might give a child 2 dimes for a lunch platter of a hot dog, baked beans, a container of milk and the best brown betty imaginable. Those who could not afford the 20 cents brought their lunch in a brown paper bag, which they carefully folded for use the next day. There was no such thing as a free lunch. For some kids, this was their only meal of the day. At Lincoln H.S. where I taught for 32 years, we had a BWAFWHO drive (Because We Are Fortunate We Help Others) to provide food and clothing at Christmas time. Unfortunately, times have changed.