Friday, Jan. 25
It was soaring rhetoric, but can it fly in the real world — you know, the world where congressional Republicans say no to everything?Supporters and even some of his numerous enemies agree that the United States’ first biracial president gave a great speech at his second inauguration on Monday, but did Barack Obama make the very best of it? Not for people who want real gun control.While Mr. Obama said many of the right things, he declined to seize the moment by exploiting the most powerful bully pulpit in the free world to put gun control at the top of the to-do list.If he’s waiting until the State of the Union address on Feb. 12 — the birthday of his hero Abraham Lincoln — to formally renew his call for gun control, Mr. Obama is making a big mistake.Pundits agree that he has only about a year in which to get major legislation passed, so the guy needs to kick some butt. He should call out lawmakers in Congress — Republicans AND Democrats who are petrified of the National Rifle Association — and gun nuts who want no restrictions on weapons.Mr. Obama needs to spend his political capital, left over from a big re-election victory, and expend the intestinal fortitude necessary to get military-style assault weapons out of the hands of the general public, end the insane and insidious loopholes that allow visitors at gun shows to purchase weapons on the spot and with no background checks, and institute a federal registry of all weapons.These common-sense measures and others, which would have been enacted long ago were it not for a plethora of cowards in Congress, will help to prevent another Newtown, Conn.-type of slaughter of innocent life.Send letters to the editor to: email@example.com
Get rid of the morons on City CouncilAre you kidding me? To Councilman Dennis O’Brien, who is quoted in last week’s cover story on property taxes as saying, “There are no free rides. I believe every property owner has to pay in” in regard to the blatant robbery of its citizens in the form of a major property tax hike:You, sir, are an idiot. We are paying way too much taxes as it is, due to the incompetent and wasteful fools in City Hall. With the recent federal tax hike causing people to struggle even more, you believe we need to pay more. How in the hell is our economy supposed to improve if the citizens have less to spend? Looks like another 1776 is in order, but the government and greedy corporations are working us so hard for little pay, who has the time and energy to do anything? This country and especially this city are going to hell fast.All of City Council must go! They are overpaid, clueless morons that do not really care for the people they are supposed to serve. If they stopped playing politics and stopped being so wasteful, there would be no need to raise our already too high taxes.Tim RogersTaconyTax reform is the great equalizerYou made some very cogent points in your editorial last week about the city needing to be more efficient in collecting taxes and running its departments (A message for City Hall). However, the negative tone gave the impression you were against the property tax reform the city is initiating.I think this is one of the most refreshing things this city has ever done. For the first time, property taxes will be based on the actual value of real estate. Yes, some who have been under-assessed will have to pay much more, but that is only fair, and the city is making efforts (even in the state legislature) to make that transition easier. If your interest is mainly Northeast Philadelphia, I understand that taxes may actually be lower for some sections.It is time to applaud the mayor and those forward-thinking Council people for coming up with the first fair method of assessing property.Edward S. MarksWinchester ParkEngine 38’s reopening was long overdueIn what should have been a red-letter day for the residents of Tacony, the Mayor Nutter/Fire Commissioner Ayers regime proved once again their cold and callous downgrading of fire/EMS protection to the public.At a neighborhood meeting with the community in early 2006 attended by the captain of Engine 38, myself and many off-duty members of the company, the newly appointed deputy commissioner of staff services told the residents of Tacony that they would not lose a day of protection from the closing of Engine 38’s firehouse.Surprise! In all the many months (and years) that PennDOT made it clear to the city that the I-95 improvement project required the ground that the station sat on, the city leaders should have started construction of the new firehouse to assure a seamless line of fire/EMS coverage to that neighborhood. But, no! Not these two omnipotent personalities.So in February 2009, the station on Longshore Avenue was shut down and the company relocated to Bridesburg, rendering them totally useless to protecting their local district.About 18 months later and realizing that their existence at a remote site was senseless, the company was deactivated until just recently.On Jan. 8 this year, Michael Nutter and Lloyd Ayers put on their bright faces and pretty clothes and took full advantage of the photo opportunity to “bring this brand new firehouse to the people of Tacony.”This city “leadership” (if you care to call them that) knew all along that they were shutting this company down and now act as if we “owe” them something. In my opinion, what they fully deserve is nothing but contempt from the community that they stabbed in the back with their broken promise.Many members of my family live in Tacony and Mayfair and I’m furious that this administration went almost four years without proper coverage in this area.I’m sure that they are immune to criticism, as they’ve already proved, but the taxpaying public should exercise their right to blast this city administration for failing us once again.To the newly assigned personnel of Engine 38: Welcome back. You’ve been gone too long!Larry ShellenbergerLieutenant (Retired)Philadelphia Fire DepartmentDisturbing cartoon excluded IsraelI am appalled at the disgusting political cartoon on your opinion page in the Jan. 9 edition. Why do you identify the West Bank, and ignore the country of Israel? Don’t give me the excuse that Israel is a very small country and that there wasn’t any room to identify it.Don’t stoop to the level of the Middle Eastern countries that refuse to recognize Israel as a legitimate country, the Jewish homeland, and a great, reliable ally to the USA!Gail SchwartzBustletonEditor’s note: Tom Stiglich’s cartoon included the Israeli cities of Haifa and Jerusalem.The unkindest cuts of allThis letter is addressed to the individual who has been littering some streets in the 19115 ZIP code area.This person goes to a lot of trouble to cut pages of the Northeast Times into small pieces. They then place these into an open plastic bag onto the street and allow the wind and the traffic to distribute thousands of the pieces in every direction, making it almost impossible to clean up.I’m assuming this person reads the Times before shredding it and will realize that what they are doing is a little weird.I hope you get the treatment and therapy you need and funnel your energy into something more constructive. Good luck.John MurphyBustletonA sizzling, simmering gun control debate:A pundit’s predictions1) The Congress will not pass the president’s bill to mitigate gun violence.2) The president likely will use the executive order to implement all or some of the bill’s provisions.3) The NRA and the radical right will call for the president’s impeachment, revolution and other nut-job tactics.4) Most or all Republican House members and a few gutless Democrats will continue to pimp for the NRA and the gun industry in the name of everything but saving lives.4) Consequently, in reaction to the public outrage it precipitates, specifically in an attempt to avoid a Democratic landslide in 2014 and its control of both the House and Senate, Republican-controlled state legislatures will pass election laws further strengthening the current effects of gerrymandering as a way to guarantee Republican wins EVEN WHEN THEY LOSE THE POPULAR VOTES.5) A public firestorm will ensue, making Occupy Wall Street look like a candlelight dinner for two.6) The Republican Party as presently configured will cease to exist.7) Republicans who castigate Chris Christie for his “speaking truth to (their abuse of) power” will result in his bolting from the party and becoming an independent, thus enabling a bipartisan ticket of Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie to win the White House in 2016.Arthur GurmankinBustletonKeep an eye on our rightsTo comment on the recent atrocities and the outrage against certain firearms, I must remind the readers that the U.S. is one of the leading arms dealers in the world and therefore responsible for the deaths and maiming of more children than you want to see.A close view of a homicide is repulsive. The politicians will blow smoke for expediency over this issue. They can legislate, but you have to face the fact we live in a dangerous world.Remember the Machiavellians whose lies led to the deaths of thousands of Americans and these traitors were not held accountable? Where is the outrage?The National Defense Authorization Act allows the U.S. military to arrest anyone without due process and remain indefinitely incarcerated.What happened to the Constitution? If we ignore our rights, one by one they may go away.John McHughModena ParkGun rights are God’s willIt seems to me that most of the writers of letters to the editors forgot what gun rights means.Rights come from God and can’t be taken away except by force. The Pennsylvania Constitution is more favorable of gun rights, as Section 21 states: “The rights of citizens to use guns in defense of themselves or the commonwealth shall not be questioned.”It seems most citizens of the commonwealth forgot this. As Thomas Jefferson stated, “The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”George Washington never tried to ban guns after the Whiskey Rebellion. He actually pardoned the rebels.Please remember all federal gun laws violate the 2nd amendment and all state gun laws violate Section 21.Jason HencoreBridesburgHis national nightmareAfter this year’s election and all the gun violence going on I am more certain than ever that we have way too much government.All I hear about are gun laws (we have about 20,000 now). Have we stopped illegal drugs and illegal aliens? Was prohibition successful? This is a snow job to make it seem like they’re doing something.While government officials are protected by heavily armed security, will we be left helpless. This is the first step toward socialism. All the while, our politicians get pay raise after pay raise and all of them point the finger at the other guy.My God, they cannot balance a checkbook, but we must. All that time to fix the fiscal cliff fiasco. Four years of service in politics, a pension, free medical and they stuff Obamacare down our nose. Those is harm’s way in the service of our country after 20 years get 50 percent pension.I hope this is a bad dream and I will wake soon.John McCallRhawnhurstThe madness just goes onWe continue our angst about guns, and politicians run to the cameras with new proposals to ban rifles, clips or ammunition. But we don’t talk about the other “ammunition.” I noticed last week that ultra-violent movies such as Django Unchained and Texas Chainsaw in 3-D, continue to pack in the audiences. Pop music continues its assault on the ears with violent music blasted from our boom boxes on wheels. Our pro football playoff stars are still preening and posturing after hard hits — and rubbing the opponents’ noses in the dirt after touchdowns. Our weekly TV shows continue to mock and ridicule people who are fat or just can’t sing in tune. The media laugh at religious people, push gay-marriage, and mock male-led families, as even manliness is seen as a problem.We continually push female achievement, at the expense of boys, and we feed boys violent video games to satisfy them in their cocoons of resentment. All this is ammunition, too. And our babbling politicians think there is no consequence?The culture we have made is our problem. Yet, we continue to light the fuse — and wonder why we have explosions.Richard IaconelliRhawnhurstSpeak your mind …Letters should be 300 words or less. Short letters have a better chance of getting published. All letters are subject to editing and MUST include the writer’s full name along with daytime and evening phone numbers for verification purposes. Anonymous or illegible letters will NOT be published. Mail to: Letters to the Editor, Northeast Times, 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA 19053. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
With gun violence at the forefront of the nation’s conscience, a local family is reeling from the loss of their son and brother, a recent victim of the epidemic of gun violence here in Philadelphia.
Neighbors in Port Richmond are coming together in support of a three-year-old proposal to convert the vacant Nativity B.V.M. School into housing for restricted-income seniors.