Story Archive December 19 2012

A strange case

When Constantine Maroulis was on American Idol, his image was that of a bad boy rocker. So now, stepping into the lead role of Jekyll & Hyde, making its Philadelphia premiere Dec. 26 to 30 at the Forrest Theatre, he seems a natural choice. 

Letters to the editor: Dec. 19, 2012 edition

Questions about officer’s real estate dealsA female police officer was linked to several properties that allegedly were transferred to her without her paying city and state transfer taxes.The reasons for exemption given were that those previous owners   were either her mother, father or sister.Police Commissioner Ramsey is correct to order a hearing for her, because the taxes that she failed to pay were due her employer (the city). I would hope there were not other “oaths” (written or verbal) she took and decided not to adhere to.Mayer KrainModena ParkTax the exiles, ease up on the localsAll our politicians are trying to figure out who should be taxed. We should look at what started this terrible unemployment problem. It started years ago when American companies left to go to other countries where they got people to work for slave wages. Then they send their products back here to sell at our prices.I suggest that our politicians tax these companies and any investments in them, and any companies that stayed here should get tax breaks.John F. RauchutMayfairFor Christ’s sake, it’s still our holidayChristmas has never been taken away from Christians, John O’Neill (Give Christmas back to us Christians, Dec. 12 letter).Let’s ignore the fact that “Christmas” is a holiday taken from the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, and that the evergreen wreaths and trees are yet another Christian adoption of ancient pagan ritual. So perhaps they should be called Christmas trees. Christians stole the idea fair and square. Let us even forgo mentioning the biblical verse Jeremiah 10:2 admonishing Christians against the decoration of evergreen trees (i.e. these holiday trees you speak of).Even most biblical historians will tell you that the birth of this Jesus character would not have been in December. No. This perceived Christmas war that is proclaimed by Christians is more about the government not endorsing ANY religion. It is Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state.It is government property decorating with a nativity scene, cross, Star of David, menorah, star and crescent, etc. that is at issue, but it is only the Christians that seem to be insistent that the government do endorse their religion. I can’t walk down the street without bumping into an inflatable Santa, robotic reindeer, plastic snowmen or blinding lights. I have yet to see a nativity scene or cross in the Irish-Catholic neighborhood in which I reside. But THEY are free to do so if they wish. Even companies are free to do so (perhaps at risk of offending non-Christian customers). But if it is a public piece of property, maintained with citizens’ tax dollars, then no, religious icons should not be displayed.Christmas shopping this year has even extended to Thanksgiving Day! As Mr. Jon Stewart has said, “Christmas is so big, it’s starting to eat other holidays. Watch out Halloween!”Now, to the problem with your idea. Come this time of the year, all one would have to do is lay claim to this religion in order to stay home from work. The majority of people would not come to work then, since the majority of the population is some denomination of Christian. I can hear some saying to themselves, “Since the majority of the population of the country are Christians, why do we have to kneel to the minority?” Majority does not equate to right is the answer.Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. — Mark Twain.   Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it. — Leo TolstoyIn matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. — Mahatma GhandiIt does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds. — Samuel AdamsSo to you, I say Merry Christmas. To others, Happy Hanukkah. Still to others, Happy Kwanzaa. To everyone, Happy New Year. You know what? Happy Holidays to all. Mike Alexander HolmesburgTurned off by the trash that’s on TVAm I starting to get old or is everything on TV lame? We have this crazy cool HD, 3D, LED, giant flat screen that everyone says “Wow!” when they see it. You know what? It’s just the same crap. Reality TV? C’mon, man. TMZ’s version of magazine news on steroids. American Idol and the rest of that karaoke junk where most of the time they stand around talking about absolutely nothing. Network comedies? I’m lucky if I even chuckle at that dumbed-down lameness.News is constantly baiting me to wait until after the commercial to view some video of a car crash or something else. I am actually embarrassed for the anchors because their profession was reduced to this. However, I love The Walking Dead.The simple answer is I don’t have to watch it. Maybe I’ll take the lead from Steve Schmidt of Olney, who sponsored a gift program with his sister Marylou for underprivileged kids last week, and get out of the house and volunteer for something in 2013. Way to go, Steve, good for you! Merry Christmas! It’s not like I’m going to miss something good on TV.Steve MaddenLoganVigil for the angels on Sat.As the nation mourns the victims of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, let us all come together from the West Coast to the East Coast.As part of a national effort called Candles Across America, this Saturday at 8 p.m., stand outside wherever you are, or organize a gathering at your local park, a street corner, etc., with candles, and let’s connect everyone together and show our support and love for one another.Show the families and friends that have been tormented by this incident that the nation is mourning with them and that we will all come together on this day to show our love. I am organizing a vigil at the Franklin Mills mall parking lot on Saturday. We hope for a big turnout in our neighborhood for the angels that we have lost and the ones that need our help. Please bring a candle and join us.Rosemary SantangeloBensalemTragedy in America, againSince 1964 there have been mass murders and multiple injuries at 11 schools, killing scores of innocent children and injuring countless others. Most of the carnage has occurred in the United States. The worst massacre of all time took place at the Beslan School in Europe, where 386 were killed and 700 children injured. Before 1964 there is no documentation of killings of the magnitude listed here.Before speaking to the latest massacre in Connecticut, allow me to provide you with a compilation of these events in numerical order.1) Beslan School in Russia: 386 dead, 700 injured, 9/15/20042) Bath School disaster in Michigan: 45 dead, 58 injured, 5/18/19273) Virginia Tech: 32 dead, many injured, 4/16/20074) Ma’alot massacre in Israel: 26 dead, 60 injured, 5/15/19745) Erfurt massacre in Germany: 17 dead, seven injured, 4/26/20026) Dunblane School massacre in Scotland: 18 dead, 3/13/19967) University of Texas Tower: 18 dead, 31 injured, 4/01/19668) Columbine: 15 dead, 24 injured, 4/20/19999) Ecole Polytech in Montreal: 15 dead, 14 injured, 12/6/198910) Cologne School in Germany: 11 dead, 22 injured, 6/11/196411) Red Lake High School in Minnesota, 10 dead, 12 injured, 3/31/2005Several hours before the Connecticut massacre, a 36-year-old man attacked 22 children in China. No one was killed. The assailant used a knife. We live in a world where children are exposed to violence via TV news, Xbox and prime- time TV shows, such as The Family Guy, which is off the charts. Yet, grade school kids watch.Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Meet the Press Sunday, “We have heard from gun supporters after Columbine who said, ‘It’s too soon to discuss it!’ After Virginia Tech, ditto. President Obama spoke to the issue when running for his first term in 2008. He decried AF-48s and other semiautomatic weapons as problematic. I will have them banned, said the president. Mayor Bloomberg continued, “For every day we wait, 34 more people will be killed by guns.”If we continue with the status quo, by the end of President Obama’s term, 48,000 more people will be dead, in part, because of the NRA and politicians they have in their back pocket. This insidious number is higher than all of our military killed in Vietnam.John T. FritzParkwoodBlame the NRA and cowards in CongressThe NRA pushed hard to prevent the reinstatement of the ban on the sale of assault weapons when the bill was before Congress in 2004. Many cowardly congressmen, fearing the wrath of the NRA, bowed to their demands and voted against reinstating the ban. Because of that, the ban was not reinstated. Had that ban been enacted, there would not have been an assault rifle available for the murderer to massacre those children at Sandy Hook School.So it is fair to conclude that the blood of those innocent children is on the hands of the NRA and those cowards in Congress who lacked the courage to stand up to the NRA.When will we have representatives in Congress who will show the courage to stand up to special interest groups like the NRA and vote in a way that protects American citizens instead of protecting their own seats in Congress?William CooneyFox ChaseFocus on education of stricter gun lawsOnce again, our nation mourns for victims of a mass shooting. This time, 20 children and six adults were shot to death. President Obama should enact laws to curtail easy access to guns. But the fact remains, we have the freedom to possess guns.On another note, many times the shooters have mental health problems. Families of such people need to be aware of various signs — signs that could lead to such violent behavior.Perhaps education as well as enforcement of stricter gun laws will help to curtail these horrible acts of violence and curtail another mass shooting.Marie PattonFox ChaseDoing a lot of nothing about somethingWe the people have allowed power to leave our hands and go into the hands of lobbyists, corporations and longstanding politicians. The focus won’t be on what really caused it, the focus will be on Adam Lanza, the person that caused it. That’s what will allow the victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to be buried and things will move on in the similar fashion.Referring it to grief counselors won’t change what has been allowed. Guns didn’t kill the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Dollars going into politicians’ election campaign funds from the NRA and politics did.We the people love to look at those in power attempting to get away with doing nothing about something that is absolutely wrong, knowing that they can do something.The rest of us look on, merely hoping that someday we will be in the same position of power to change things, until such a tragedy happens to us. Then we wonder what happened.Larry IlariaLawndaleThe Field Trip Please don’t be sad, we’re OKWe went on a field trip todayA secret place where there’s fun to be hadAnd the principal’s with us, so we won’t be badIt’s full of toys and rainbow slidesCotton candy and high cloud ridesA funny zoo full of different thingsI even saw a girl with wingsWe’re not alone so don’t be scaredWe’re chaperoned by angels hereIt’s really nice so I think I’ll stayAnd hold your spot till your field trip dayI know Christmas is here and there are toys to be givenSo please tell Santa that he needs to send them to heavenSophia DeSantisAge 10Into The Darkness You stand there judge and juryDeciding what other lives you’ll endBecause you see no way throughYou want others to come with youInto the darkness away from the lightRemoved from touch cause you hurt so muchYou want others to feel the way you doThat’s why you strike, ’cause you feel it’s rightTo take the innocent on your flight to hellThe life you see before your eyesHas become a bed of endless liesPain is your best friend ’til the endAlthough you know you’re not aloneGoodbye letters you may decide to leaveOr a message on somebody’s telephoneYou choose to take others in your worldWhen you take the life of a boy or a girlThe walls of sanity seem to crumble awayYou believe there’s nothing anyone can sayYou don’t want to be the only one to feel painSo you make sure some of the innocents remainInto the darkness away from the lightRemoved from touch cause you hurt so muchYou want others to feel the way you doThat’s why you strike cause you feel it’s rightTo take the innocent on your flight to hellJohn J. RuppertMayfair

River Ward events for the week of Dec. 19

Bridesburg Historical Society to meet tonightThe next meeting of the Bridesburg Historical Society will be tonight at 7:30 at All Saints’ Marian Hall, on the northwest corner of  Edgemont and Buckius streets.

Heartbreak in Newtown feels too close to home

Shortly after noon on Friday, the news alerts began to appear on my cell phone. 

Pets of the Week (December 19, 2012)

Brighten your days with Sonny Boy

River Wards schools among those recommended to close

On Thursday, Dec. 13, Philadelphia School District Superintendent William R. Hite. Jr. announced an unprecedented list of recommendations for school closures, grade changes, mergers, relocations and program co-locations.

Events (December 19, 2012)

Reunions (December 19, 2012)