Letters to the editor: August 29, 2012


A plea for Pump­kin
With sum­mer end­ing, every­one goes on their fi­nal va­ca­tions — the last at­tempt of lux­ury be­fore the warm weath­er is gone for an­oth­er year. Un­for­tu­nately, some people would rather fo­cus only on them­selves, rather than the ones un­der their care. Be­ing in res­cue, I see so many pets be­ing aban­doned in shel­ters or the streets by people leav­ing for va­ca­tion. People can come back home, but their dogs or cats nev­er will again.
Pump­kin, a sweet or­ange tabby, is a vic­tim of this cruel neg­lect, as she and her two kit­tens were found starving on the streets just a few weeks ago.
Pump­kin’s kit­tens were ad­op­ted, but their lonely moth­er sits in a crate, still wait­ing and wish­ing for love again. If any­one can help give (or foster) this sweet and gentle girl a true home, please con­tact her care­taker, Janice, at zeusms08@aol.com or by call­ing 267-269-4040.
So if you need to go away for a while, please have plans for your pets be­fore you leave. There are al­ways fam­ily, friends and board­ing ser­vices to watch over your fur-baby. This way, you can both come back home, to­geth­er. Please, don’t let your pets wind up like the oth­ers — for­got­ten — like poor Pump­kin.
Gina De­N­ofa

Shame on Mark Co­hen
The latest rev­el­a­tion that state Rep. Mark Co­hen is once again atop the list of per diem re­cip­i­ents in the state House is hardly a sur­prise, but it’s a con­tinu­ous out­rage that should be a con­cern to all who care about how their tax dol­lars are spent.
Ac­cord­ing to AB­C27 in Har­ris­burg, Rep. Co­hen sub­mit­ted a re­quest for re­im­burse­ment total­ing nearly $40,000 for the year 2011, tax-free. In es­sence, he drew two salar­ies. This is es­pe­cially shame­ful, when one con­siders that the dis­trict that Mr. Co­hen has rep­res­en­ted for the past 40 years is one of the poorest. This is in part why al­most 40 per­cent of the voters in the dis­trict voted against him, cit­ing Mr. Co­hen’s grot­esque sense of en­ti­tle­ment and de­tach­ment.
With fam­il­ies throughout the com­mon­wealth strug­gling to make ends meet in this tough eco­nomy, Mr. Co­hen finds it ac­cept­able to ob­tain per diems on hol­i­days and Sundays, and even on days that the House is not in ses­sion. Un­fazed by the nat­ur­al cri­ti­cism of his con­duct, Mr. Co­hen deems his ac­tions to be le­git­im­ate, even de­clar­ing, “I may well be the hard­est work­ing state le­gis­lat­or.” There are a num­ber of le­gis­lat­ors that work hard, if not harder, but yet don’t par­take in this ab­us­ive ritu­al.
But per­haps most vex­ing in this scan­dal is the fact that Mr. Co­hen has ceded the mor­al ground and good gov­ern­ment man­tra to state Rep. Met­calfe (R-But­ler), the chief ar­chi­tect of the voter sup­pres­sion bill, who said the Phil­adelphia Demo­crat’s  use of per diems is “ab­us­ive.” It’s an em­bar­rass­ment to Phil­adelphia, and Mr. Co­hen knows bet­ter and his con­stitu­ents de­serve bet­ter.
Numa St. Louis
Note: Mr. St. Louis chal­lenged Rep. Co­hen in the April 24 Demo­crat­ic primary. He won 37 per­cent of the vote.

It’s time to give Coun­cil the heave-ho
I see that City Coun­cil people are up to their old tricks again.
They get three months va­ca­tion and cost-of-liv­ing in­creases for most of them, which some de­clined (very few). They did OK the budget by vot­ing for more taxes for prop­erty own­ers. It’s the same old gang, same old voters. We did get six new mem­bers, but they’re start­ing to act like the old mem­bers.
We need a ref­er­en­dum this elec­tion. We voters have to stop Coun­cil mem­bers from spend­ing a life­time at their jobs. Our pres­id­ent is lim­ited to eight years but City Coun­cil mem­bers are in for life.
This must not con­tin­ue. The voters must stand to­geth­er and vote for term lim­its for City Coun­cil — no more than two four-year terms. Coun­cil mem­bers are no bet­ter than our pres­id­ent, but they have it made. Free cars, gas, cred­it cards.
This Novem­ber, let’s get a ref­er­en­dum. It’s do or die. They must go.
Jerry Foglia Sr.

Ali doesn’t de­serve the Liberty Medal
May­or Nut­ter, how can you give the Liberty Medal to a draft dodger? Muhammad Ali  was nev­er a Muslim un­til he got draf­ted, then he changed his name from Cas­si­us Clay. The only fight­ing he did was in the ring to make money and be a cham­pi­on. He is no bet­ter than Jane Fonda and oth­er draft dodgers. What did he do for free­dom as my­self and oth­er Vi­et­nam vet­er­ans did in the 1960s?
Please do not dis­cred­it our vets from all wars by giv­ing the Liberty Medal to a draft dodger. The only thing he de­fen­ded was his title.
Charles Ih­len­feld Sr.
Port Rich­mond

Don’t let your guard down — it can be costly!
I nev­er thought I would be the vic­tim of theft be­cause I thought I was so care­ful!
I watched TV and listened to everything in­struct­ing view­ers what pre­cau­tions to take to avoid that from hap­pen­ing. Well, as you prob­ably guess, I was wrong.
I was in a Deals store, prac­tic­ally empty, with my friend, each go­ing our sep­ar­ate way. I shut my purse, placed it on the cart’s child seat with safety straps wrapped around it. I con­tin­ued walk­ing be­hind the cart, the purse dir­ectly in front of me. A “sweet young wo­man” ap­proached me to ask an opin­ion on a table­cloth. I moved to the side of the cart to look, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw a move­ment, turn­ing, and I knew im­me­di­ately what happened.
In that split second, my purse was un­snapped and my wal­let taken. A well-dressed man stood there. I yelled for him to re­turn the wal­let, which he denied hav­ing. As it turned out, he had passed it to a third thief and be­fore you knew it, they were leav­ing the store. I fol­lowed them to get the li­cense num­ber. The plate was un­trace­able.
I called 911 then my bank, as my deb­it card was in my wal­let. Thank­fully, it was in­act­ive. After I got an in­cid­ent re­port num­ber, I went home to call PennDOT (for my photo ID) and all the com­pan­ies for my cred­it cards, med­ic­al cards, etc. I did not have my So­cial Se­cur­ity card or Medi­care card on me. I leave them in a safe place at home.
After all the calls were made, I was con­cerned about ID theft, when one of the agents from the Amer­ic­an Ex­press fraud unit ad­vised me to call one of the cred­it bur­eaus, and they in turn would no­ti­fy the oth­er two to red-flag my info in case an at­tempt was made to steal my ID. Will it work? I hope so. Most banks also of­fer a ser­vice for a small monthly fee to do the same as long as you feel it’s ne­ces­sary.
Was I angry? Yes, at my­self for be­ing so trust­ing and let­ting my guard down. Am I angry at the thieves? No, I feel sorry that they make a liv­ing from hurt­ing oth­ers in this way. Maybe one day, they will have an epi­phany and de­vel­op a guilty con­science. Do you think so?
My pre­vent­at­ive ad­vice to you:
1. Call 911 and get an in­cid­ent num­ber. The cred­it com­pan­ies want it.
2. Do not talk to strangers who ask for ad­vice. Po­litely say you are in a hurry.
3. Pho­to­copy all charge cards (front and back) along with oth­er im­port­ant pa­pers you need to carry, and put them in a safe place. This saves time when you need to make your phone calls.
4. Be aware of your sur­round­ings at all times. The store I was in was al­most empty.
5. Per­haps not keep­ing cred­it cards in your wal­let would help.
 These thieves know the win­dow of time they have be­fore charges are closed. They are that good. I lost $60 in cash and al­most $2,000 on charges. Don’t let this hap­pen to you!
Fi­nally, to the lady in line who offered me money to help, God bless you and thank you. To the 8th Po­lice Dis­trict of­ficer who took the re­port, thank you, also.
Anna Chi­ango

Hat­ing gays is not the Chris­ti­an way
I ap­plaud City Coun­cil­man Jim Ken­ney for stand­ing up for his be­liefs in­stead of bow­ing to the fan­at­ics out there! Mr. Ken­ney, it’s about time politi­cians speak out for what they feel in their heart in­stead of cav­ing to a few votes.  I am a re­li­gious per­son — Baptist, if you must know. I was raised with a be­lief in God and Je­sus. A God that cre­ated ALL people. A God that does not dis­crim­in­ate. A God that loves all of His people.
We are all born in­to sin. None of us is per­fect. For­tu­nately, we have Je­sus to help with the for­give­ness of our sins. I do not be­lieve that be­ing gay is any more a sin than lov­ing my neigh­bor, my sis­ter, my child. I be­lieve my God wants us to love and be loved. And I’m sure He would be happy that two of His people found love and wanted to com­mit to a mono­gam­ous re­la­tion­ship.
 It wasn’t too long ago people were against whites mar­ry­ing blacks, or even Itali­ans mar­ry­ing Ir­ish. Cath­ol­ics dared not marry a Prot­est­ant back in the day. Well, today is a new day and those things are now ac­cep­ted, are they not? That’s a good thing, too. As one Baptist who mar­ried a Cath­ol­ic, I’m glad times have changed.
It is a shame that Mr. Cathy, pres­id­ent of Chick-fil-A, cares to spend mil­lions of his money protest­ing against gay mar­riage. That money could do so much good try­ing to fight can­cer or heart dis­ease. I was raised that be­ing Chris­ti­an meant lov­ing every­one, not just the ones I agreed with.
It’s a shame so many people want to spend their en­er­gies and money on hate and dis­crim­in­a­tion. My moth­er would say “that’s not be­ing a good Chris­ti­an.”
Jeanne Lowery-Coyne
Fox Chase

Clergy-ab­use let­ter missed the facts
In the Aug. 8 edi­tion, the North­east Times ran a let­ter by Dr. Sunil Niyogi, a former as­sist­ant pro­fess­or of phar­ma­co­logy at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­versity, giv­ing air to the nox­ious fumes of a pois­on­ous anti-Cath­oli­cism (An im­port­ant les­son from the clergy ab­use). He presents symp­toms of cog­nit­ive dis­tor­tion so severe that per­haps even the tra­di­tion­al pre­scrip­tion, a dose of real­ity, may have no ef­fect.
 Monsignor Lynn was ac­quit­ted of con­spir­acy; on the two charges of child en­dan­ger­ment, he was ac­quit­ted of one of them and found guilty of the oth­er. Dr. Niyogi suc­cumbs to hal­lu­cin­a­tions when he sug­gests that Monsignor Lynn “fol­lowed Pres­id­ent Nix­on’s con­ceal­ment tac­tics in the Wa­ter­gate break-in epis­ode.”
 When he is not con­demning whole­sale the Cath­ol­ic hier­archy “through the ages,” Dr. Niyogi is at­tack­ing priests: “Now, the col­lar of the priests is im­prin­ted with pe­do­phil­ic stars.” But, it is Dr. Niyogi’s mind that is im­prin­ted — with rank bigotry and its tell­tale symp­tom: the be­lief in col­lect­ive guilt.
 Dr. Niyogi is in the grip of an anti-Cath­ol­ic de­li­ri­um so out­land­ish that he even goes so far as to fling a mor­al teach­ing of the Bhagavad Gita at priests. Next time, he should try something a little less exot­ic, like get­ting his facts straight.
Mar­cus Pli­en­inger
Dir­ect­or of Policy Stud­ies
Cath­ol­ic League for Re­li­gious and Civil Rights

An ap­pre­ci­ation of Ed Kelly
By Don Bren­nan
It was 1978 or 1979 when I first en­countered Ed­ward T. Kelly. I was fresh out of Temple Uni­versity, wear­ing my journ­al­ism de­gree on my sleeve, ready to set rivers on fire, and here was Ed Kelly lit­er­ally run­ning around the main ban­quet room at the Dor­al Cater­ers in Rhawn­hurst with me in hot pur­suit.
Well, I was try­ing to catch up to him any­way.
“Rizzo’s com­ing! Rizzo’s com­ing, kid!” he said, frantic­ally pla­cing ma­ter­i­als on each table in the hall shortly be­fore a Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce lunch­eon at which former May­or Frank L. Rizzo had sched­uled a last-minute ap­pear­ance.
“Got a lot to do today,” he said, breath­lessly. “Got no time to talk to you today.”
Weekly news­pa­per re­port­ers — es­pe­cially in the days when the dailies were king — are very fa­mil­i­ar with re­jec­tion. However, Ed Kelly prom­ised me an in­ter­view at a later date.
“Stick around for lunch, kid,” he said. “You know Rizzo, he’s al­ways en­ter­tain­ing.”
I don’t re­mem­ber much about the lunch, but Ed Kelly was as good as his word. We met a few days later, and thus began a friend­ship that las­ted more than 30 years un­til his death Aug. 20 at age 86.
In his hey­day, Ed Kelly might have been the greatest pro­moter of his time. But frankly, he rarely spoke to me about him­self. It was through oth­ers that I learned about his per­son­al suc­cesses and his un­dy­ing love for his fam­ily.
He lit­er­ally de­voted much of his adult life to the Pennypack Park Mu­sic Fest­iv­al, and once a cause worked its way in­to his heart, look out: He would not give up un­til he got your at­ten­tion.
Dur­ing my al­most 28 years at the News Glean­er news­pa­pers, Ed Kelly planted him­self in my of­fice on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions on be­half of pro­jects that be­nefited oth­ers or for people who needed help. He was so pas­sion­ate about some things, he would break down and cry.
He grew up in the teeth of the De­pres­sion, and like so many oth­ers from that era, he nev­er for­got how lucky he was to have sur­vived.
Every now and then, you come across someone like Ed Kelly, and you’re bet­ter be­cause of it.
Heav­en, be­ware: Tell the an­gels to tune their trum­pets. You’ve got a mu­sic fest­iv­al com­ing your way.
Don Bren­nan was ex­ec­ut­ive ed­it­or of the News Glean­er news­pa­pers from 1978 to 2006.

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