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Featured In Our Feb. 8th Issue Of The Susquehanna County Transcript

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Issue Home January 31, 2006 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

The Nonsense Continues

Adolph Hitler once wrote that, “If you tell a lie long enough, and loud enough, and often enough, the people will believe it.” He also was quoted as saying, “The bigger the lie, the more believable it is.”

It is my opinion that the price gouging oil barons and their excuse generators have studied these statements well, and, seem to be proving them to be true. I believe that we are being lied to consistently about the necessity of the price of fuel at the pump.

I feel one of the biggest lies is using conservation to justify price gouging. While the conservation of our natural resources is indeed a very important topic, it is a separate issue. Conservation of fuel is not a legitimate reason to allow what I believe is illegal. Another lie I feel is the cost of production. The reports of “record profits” combined with the history of when the prices went up, are enough for anyone to be suspicious. According to the Energy Information Administration, the national average price of highway diesel, for example, on 8/4/2003 was $1.46, on 10/4/2004 was $2.20, and on 10/4/2005 was $3.15. It is now around the $2.60 to $ 2.75 mark locally. I find it very difficult to believe in that short a period, the cost of production caused a price spike that big.

Blaming the 2005 hurricanes is another lie. I asked Senator Santorum about this. In a letter to him, I asked why the fuel price gouging of 2002 thru 2004 was blamed on the 2005 hurricanes. The price of fuel was primarily gouged before those hurricanes were even a light breeze. His response was a two-page letter that had nothing to do with my question. He only blamed the hurricanes again, then wrote that he was supportive of looking into giving federal money to people to pay for fuel. Think about that one. More of our tax dollars filling the pockets of the price gouging corporate oil barons. And worse yet – political double talk to distract from the direct question. That doesn’t sound like the Sen. Santorum that criticized the Democrats for wasting our tax dollars. In fact, that does not even sound like an answer that the Republican party would support. Perhaps he should “look into” going after the source of the problem.

I also asked Mr. Santorum why trivial side issues were being given priority instead of the hurtful fuel prices. Political “circular talk” and distracting from real issues seems to becoming the norm. He did not even address that question. I still blame our elected legislators for being asleep at the wheel, wasting our tax dollars and their “power” on foolishness like their own pay raises, professional baseball investigations, fights over intelligent design and the big bang, the 10 commandments, unconstitutionally investigating private citizens, etc. This list of shame is growing daily. The latest I heard on WPEL’s news was that the state legislators are looking into eliminating the election of the Lt. Governor, taking away more voter choice. Now just how is that argument going to benefit Pennsylvania?

Think about it: Who is going to care about any of these side issues if people can’t afford to heat their homes or put fuel in their cars to go to work? Mark my words, BIG problems are coming, and the recent FORD layoffs are just the tip of the iceberg. It is my opinion that FORD, GM, and CHRYSLER can’t pedal their cars because people are just not impressed with 25 miles per gallon. If the car does not get 35 city minimum, I certainly do not want to hear about it.

Did you know that the PA Department of Agriculture was ordered to cut their budget by 10% right before the legislature voted themselves that ridiculous pay hike? Guess what the number one industry is in the commonwealth: You got it - Agriculture!

Atty. General Tom Corbett is investigating local retailers for price gouging. While that does get publicity, it is the corporate oil barons that are in control, not the local retailers. All that is doing is stifling competition. Anyone else notice how the price of fuel is not that different from station to station in each area now?

I say we should expand operation clean sweep to the federal level as well. The incumbents have proven by their pay raise votes, their power plays, and their waste of tax dollars, that they do not really care about “R vs. D”, so why should we? While the Republican party has the majority at the federal level (as well as the state), the Democrats that sit quietly on their hands and do nothing are just as guilty! Fire them all at the ballot box in 2006. Thomas Jefferson once said that a little revolution is healthy for a democracy. We have two “revolutions” per year, namely a primary and general election. Let’s vote for the new people only, regardless of party, no exceptions.


Barney Wilkins

Gibson Twp.

How Do We Change It

Whatever happened to our ambulance crew? It wasn’t so long ago that they were on the ball all the time.

With each generation that comes, each one changes their ways, but with the health and aid of our townspeople, it shouldn’t. especially with the ambulance. We all rely on them and when they don’t come when called, it has everyone in fear that they are going to be forgotten. When it becomes to be a half hour, and three calls later before they show up, it does not make it fair for the hurt or sick. Then, when the elderly have heart or breathing attacks, I can only imagine how they feel when they don’t come right away.

Many times I have overheard some of them express that they don’t have to show up because there’s enough of the other ones that can be called. That just turns my stomach.

The way I feel, plus many more in town, it was a lot better until the younger crew (not all of them, but some) took over.

When the older crew was on, it always took no longer than five minutes after the first call and they were at your side.

I can also remember when they (older crew) were on, our ambulances were faster than all the other companies around us. Now, ours is the last to respond.

Something has to be done to get this crew to step up and do their duty faster.

All the help they get from our donations should give them the incentive to give back to us just as fast. That would show that they are appreciative for all the help that was given them.

The organization is all volunteer, but they knew this before they came into it, and nothing is more fulfilling than helping your neighbor.

Today, there are too many that live just for themselves. Somehow, that has to stop. The question is, how?


Marquita Hawkins

Susquehanna, PA

Come To Our Senses

Our government has spent one trillion dollars on the war in Iraq.

Over two thousand of our young Americans have been killed.


They have been fighting among themselves for thousands of years and now their country is being destroyed.

Our country is a young country, a new race of people on this earth with a mixed heritage. We Americans are from the whole world and ethnic pride has never prevented anyone from being part of this country, America.

Everyone needs to come to their senses. Write to your Congressman, write to your President, write to someone to end the war in Iraq. You do have a voice.


Marion Dabulas

Susquehanna, PA

Basic American Rights

I don't want this country turning into a police state, where people are afraid to say what they dislike about the USA. The whole concept of freedom is that you can voice your opinion without the government spying on you, listening to your telephone conversations, or intercepting your e-mails. Let's keep the USA free of people who say we have to give up our rights because of "possible terrorism."

Enough with the scare tactics.

Marge Rowe

Thompson, PA

It’s A Shell Game

How can a school property tax reduction actually mean a tax increase? Some legislators and our governor are desperate to diffuse the public’s anger about property taxes and pay raise issues and are trying to cobble together anything on property taxes that will make them look good to the voters this upcoming spring primary election. This plan currently being bandied about in Harrisburg would reduce school property taxes, while raising either sales or income taxes, or both. Beware of the shell game.

The legislation means only a “temporary” property tax reduction. There is nothing to stop school boards from raising their millage, and nothing to stop counties from doing a reassessment. Their feeble plan does not reduce county or municipal property taxes; something they don’t mention. And there is nothing in their legislation to prevent your county and municipality from raising your property taxes.

When school taxes are later raised again, and your county and/or your municipality raises your property taxes, you will be back to paying those high property taxes again. And you will also be paying the higher sales and/or income taxes. That’s how a property tax reduction becomes a tax increase.

Remember, this legislation is not designed to address property tax reform. It is designed to get your governor and your legislators reelected. Please don’t be fooled again. Tell your legislators and all candidates for governor, the only property tax reform you are interested in is abolishment of all property taxes on primary residences.


Lee Blose

Dayton, PA

Disagreeable Disagreements

In Mr. Jason Legg's column "From The Desk of the D. A.," dated January 18, he discussed the propriety of expressing his personal opinions vis-a-vis the office he occupies. Apparently a few took exception to his comments written in a previous column of his which seemed to have religious references and were thought to violate the separation of church and state. It was argued that Mr. Legg's personal beliefs have no place in the office of the district attorney.

I take exception to the exception. In my view to maintain a separation between an office to which one is elected, specifically that of district attorney, and one's personal opinions is not only artificial, it is impossible. How one reads, interprets and applies law is very much a part of one's personal makeup and moral basis as it is of the law per se. It is as if the law were an inert body – no more than marks of ink on paper – that comes to life with the spirit imparted to it by whomever reads it.

An example of the interplay of personality and interpretation is textualism vs. the living-document approach to the Constitution.

A textualist, Justice Antonin Scalia for example, argues that we should be "guided by the text and not by intentions . . . external to it . . . to constrain judicial discretion." So a textualist insists that departure from the explicit stated meaning of the Constitution is in reality the piecemeal abandonment of the document.

On the other hand, Justice John Stevens, also a member of the Supreme Court, maintains that the Constitution must be flexible enough to adapt to societal changes. The Founding Fathers recognized this and allowed for formal changes in the Constitution, i.e., amendments, 27 of which have been made. Additionally, there are informal modifications resulting from court decisions and executive agreements.

Personal predilection, personality, the way one is constructed will determine which approach one supports: the conservative textualist or the liberal living-document view. This is as true for a large body of law as it is for the Constitution.

Justice Ruth Ginsburg favors liberalizing pornography laws while, no doubt, her conferee on the nation's highest court, Justice Clarence Thomas, would oppose it. Here different viewpoints have their roots in moral values. And so it goes. Unanimity on a Supreme Court vote is as rare as disunity is common.

The point is this: If it were possible to strip from one's being personality and morality – to rob the law of shades of meaning and subtle nuances – then the personal views of the district attorney – if there then could be any – should be censored. But this is not possible, and imagining that it should be so cannot make it so.

Mr. Legg's "editorializing" is nothing new. That is what law is. Either he has cited the personal views of other attorneys and how they have interpreted the law, or in rarer cases, he has given his own opinions on specific laws. In either case, it differs little from editorializing except that the subject area is confined to law and its parameters are more narrowly defined.

In a broader sense his views about Christmas, intelligent design, and references to Thomas Aquinas are not only proper to express, but should be made known. Mr. Legg is a publicly elected official; personal transparency goes with the office. It is essential for the electorate to be informed about an elected official, to know about him personally, what he believes or doesn't believe, his morality, his integrity for these characteristics and qualities are what will determine how he "reads" the law and the vigor with which he applies it.

Moreover, Mr. Legg did not overtly support or criticize religious holidays or intelligent design. What he did do was add related thoughts to an ongoing discussion of controversial topics – part of the democratic process to which district attorneys are not excluded.

Where I part company with some is not due to their viewpoint, but because of the harsh spirit in which differences were expressed. From the time we first discovered that the eraser on a pencil always wore down long before the pencil, to the awkward ineptitude of our first date, to the daily demonstrations of our own shortcomings, we are reminded that no one has yet cornered the market on truth.

In short, if one presumes to correct another, then let it be with a degree of humility and respect. There is always the possibility that the one offering correction is the one in most need of it. But by all means let opinions be voiced. In discussion that is civil and good-natured there is much to be learned from each other, in argument there is nothing to be gained, and in acrimony there is everything to lose.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA


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