Northeast Times

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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