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Over the last three weeks, with the weather warming up, Susquehanna city letter carriers have been attacked twice by loose dogs. On another occasion, I have instructed a carrier to curtail delivery to an entire street because of a loose Rottweiler. Luckily, none of these instances have resulted in a dog bite. I have contacted the local police department and the animal control officer to report these situations.
Susquehanna Borough does have an ordinance pertaining to dogs (#419). It states that it is unlawful to “allow for any person within the Boundaries of the Borough to allow any dog under his ownership, keeping or control to run free of any restraint or to leave the boundaries of said owner’s or keeper’s property unless controlled by a leash or similar restraint (Section 3, #2).”
Postal policy states, “Delivery service may be suspended when there is an immediate threat (including, but not limited to, threats due to loose animals) to the delivery employee, mail security, or postal property. Suspension of service should be limited to an area necessary to avoid the immediate threat. (POM 623.3-Withdrawal of Delivery Service).”
If you are not compliant with the dog ordinance, please do so immediately. Your carriers want to deliver today’s mail today, however I will not allow the carriers (city or rural) to enter into a situation which may place their safety and health into jeopardy. In addition to your mail, you may be affecting the timely delivery of your neighbors’ mail as well.
Lastly, if your regular carrier has a bond with your animal, please do not think that the substitute has the same bond. Any carrier has the right to not deliver your mail if a dog is loose or blocking the path to the mail receptacle.
Thank your for your cooperation with this important safety issue.
Roger H. Stonier
Marching Through The Rubble
The immovable object, President Ahmadinejad of Iran, awaits the irresistible force, President Bush. The intransigence of the former and the bellicose rhetoric of the latter makes a clash probable. If Iran does not back down, President Bush may find that he has painted himself into a rhetorical corner. Not following through on his veiled threats of military intervention will make him appear weak and irresolute, both anathema to a President who prides himself as being both strong and resolute.
About 400 nuclear research sites have been identified in Iran. Many of the vital facilities have been constructed in deeply-buried, blast-resistant bunkers. They are widely separated, camouflaged, and some are purposely located in heavily populated areas. Moreover, dummy sites have been built with bogus ventilation shafts designed to fool satellite imagery. To mislead drone sensors, radiation is emitted from false sites.
To seriously cripple Iran's nuclear development, genuine sites must be identified and pared down to targets considered to be essential. This will require advanced intelligence and specially designed bombs: bunker busters. The military has a choice of two.
Big Blu is a massive ordnance penetration weapon. The 20-foot-long missile carries a punch of 6,000 pounds of high explosive. It is guided by GPS and capable of pinpoint accuracy. Big Blu can penetrate 25 feet of reinforced concrete or 200 feet of earth. This is thought to be enough to destroy or debilitate any underground bunker.
The drawback with Big Blu is its size. At 30,000 pounds only a B-2 and B-52 are capable of delivering it. The B-2, with a carrying capacity of 40,000 pounds, can carry only one, and the giant B-52, which has a maximum payload of 70,000 pounds, might be able to manage two. But when dealing with targets which may number several score, the use of Big Blus are not practical.
The weapon of choice by default is the B61-11, a 1,200-pound nuclear bomb. This bunker buster is so light that even an F-16 fighter jet, which can carry 15,000 pounds of ordnance, could accommodate several. The B61-11 has dial-up detonation ranging from 0.3 kiloton all the way up to 340 kilotons.
A B61-11 set at 0.3 kiloton has the equivalent explosive force of 666,000 pounds of TNT. This is equal to the destructive power of 111 Big Blus. But there are serious drawbacks with this weapon. First, its maximum penetration is only 10 feet. While this is sufficient to send devastating shock waves down to 100 feet – the deepest subterranean bunker – it is not enough to contain a mushroom cloud of deadly radiation.
There is also the release of secondary radiation from the underground nuclear facility itself. Multiply this by 10, 20, 30 times or more, and you have an uncontainable environmental catastrophe. In Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan outbreaks of cancers, tumors, lung diseases, and grotesque birth defects have followed the use of depleted uranium. B61-11s create a far more lethal type of radiation and in vastly greater quantities.
It is possible that U.S. action against Iran will be coordinated with Israel. In 2004 Israel purchased 500 bunker busters from America. It is difficult to imagine that she acquired these bombs for use against the Palestinians or Syria, but easy to envision their use against Iran. The early acquisition of this specialized ordnance raises suspicions: Exactly how long ago did military planning for the bombing of Iran begin?
British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw considered the use of nuclear weapons in Iran to be "completely nuts," nevertheless, it has many advocates. Speaking before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Richard Perle, former Defense Policy Chairman for the United States, trivializing their use said that “a dozen B-2 bombers could handle the problems overnight." After the AARP, AIPAC is the most influential lobby on the Hill. Some have called it a "de facto agent for a foreign government." Mr. Perle has dual citizenship with Israel.
Former U.S. weapons inspector, Scott Ritter warned that the United States Ambassador to the U. N., John Bolton, known to his critics as Bonkers Bolton, will say in a speech before that international body that America cannot allow Iran to threaten the U.S. and we must act unilaterally to defend ourselves. How does Ritter know this? He says he talked with Bolton's speech writer.
Trailing the environmental consequences are a trifecta of legal problems to be overcome: 1) The Judge Advocate General of the Air Force must insure weapons are reviewed for legality under international law. A critical factor in this review is whether the damage and deaths caused by a weapon are disproportionate to its military advantage. Given that the B61-11 has a minimum explosive force equal to eight fully-loaded semi-tractor trailer trucks, approval will require creative laxness. Immediate causalities could be in the tens of thousands; long-term deaths due to radiation would add many more thousands. 2) The International Court of Justice ruled that the use or even the threat of nuclear weapons other than for the very survival of a nation is illegal. Iran presents no existential threat to the United States. 3) Under the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty all signatories agreed to cap the "vertical development of nuclear weapons." The military repeatedly assured congress and treaty members that we would not proceed with "vertical development." The B61-11 is a new weapon never field tested but designed and tested sub rosa – in violation of the treaty – with computer simulation.
Perhaps the most compelling caveat to committing an act of war against Iran – whether conventional or nuclear – is that such an act could unite that country's Shiites (about 23 million men of fighting age) with Shiites in neighboring Iraq (about nine million men of fighting age). The results of this federation in occupied Iraq and generally with the world's two billion Muslims could be a nightmare from which awaking would offer no escape.
Will President Bush go marching through the rubble of Iraq to Iran? The President, November 12, 2002: "We don't know how close he is today, but a Saddam Hussein with a nuclear weapon is a grave, grave threat to America and our friends [Israel]. . . ." Sound familiar? As Yogi Berra once said, "It's deja vu all over again."
New Milford, PA
Get A Receipt
The gas companies and dealers are making it rough, especially for those that can’t afford high gas prices. It seems that when there’s a commotion overseas the prices go up. Sometimes, for no reason at all they go up.
Let’s give the dealers something to do and worry about. Get a receipt when you buy gas. Isn’t that a good idea? Make them earn the extra dollar. For instance, on their letterhead have them write the date, the number of gallons and the cost, and have the clerk sign it. You get a receipt for everything else you buy, why not gas?
What A Disgrace
When many dairy farmers opened their milk checks this week, many were stunned to find out their advance check for the first 15 days of milk in April was worth only $11.11 per cwt.
We wrote editorials that this price was coming, but it was hard for dairy farmers to accept the $11.11 per cwt. as reality until they saw their checks. Unfortunately, some dairy farmers received only $10.68 per cwt. for their milk.
I called some milk handlers to see if they would raise the price to $12 to help out the dairy farmers.
Clearly, the whole pricing mechanism is a farce. Furthermore, it is a disgrace for dairy farmers to receive $11.11 per cwt. for any portion of their milk. In February 1981, manufacturing milk was valued at $12.68 per cwt. This is 25 years ago! How can anyone possibly stand by and watch our dairy farmers being treated this way?
Anyone who calls himself a dairy leader, whether he is in a dairy co-op or farm organization, a member of Congress, a worker at USDA or an economist for any college or university, should hang his head in shame for allowing this pricing mechanism to place undue hardship on the average dairy farmer.
There have been many golden opportunities to do something about pricing milk differently, but we keep on staggering along like a drunken hobo with no real plan to correct the pricing inequities facing dairy farmers.
Surely, everyone must be more than aware of the continuing dramatic costs that are being experienced by all dairy farmers.
A dairy economist wrote recently that it was a mystery how cheese prices could increase a few cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). I say, “It’s a complete mystery to me why we still price milk to dairy farmers the same old way.”
Some say dairy farmers are producing too much milk, but many would say if imports of dairy products were curtailed, dairy farmers would see better prices.
Some say fluid sales are flat. Please visit many of the dairy cases in your grocery stores. See how many rows and rows of “coffee-mate,” “international delight,” and “silk milk” have invaded your dairy cases. I visited a store in Sayre, PA (Bradford County), and I was well pleased to see how the manager has the artificial dairy products separated from the real milk.
Dairy farmers, please don’t let the politicians continue to tell you the best they can do is give you the “Milk Income Loss Contract” (MILC) payments! Please look at what the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) is continuing to do for the Pennsylvania Class I milk that stays in Pennsylvania. They currently have a $1.93 premium that goes to dairy farmers to help defray their costs. If Pennsylvania can do this, then why can’t it be done at the federal level?
Isn’t it time to investigate the CME? Whey should a few carloads of cheese establish the price of milk in the United States?
The time has arrived when dairy farmers must stand up and demand changes.
Let’s curtail some of the dairy products coming into the United States.
Let’s get the imported “milk protein concentrate” (MPC) out of our dairy products.
Let’s make sure your advertising and promotion people are visiting stores to make the dairy case truly a dairy case.
Finally, let’s bring the dairy farmers’ cost of production into the pricing formula. Then if there is too much milk, penalize the producers for 5% of the so-called “over production,” but let’s establish the right price on the other 95% of the milk.
Manager, Pro Ag
Children Must Be Taught
Something has happened to America's greatest resource, America's future – our children.
We teach our children a lot of things, but we, as adults have been remiss in teaching manners. I admit, I am one of the guilty ones. I know, I know, the schools will say it is the parents’ responsibility. The parents will say it is the school’s responsibility. Well, somebody better do it – and soon. Maybe it should be the school's responsibility, as part of the curriculum, to teach manners, part of every day living and in a controlled setting.
The children use inappropriate language, make disgusting noises with their mouths, shove, yell, won't share – at their worst. Out in the world (the real world), a child bumps into you accidentally, never an "excuse me." They are disrespectful to elders, make fun of them. I can only imagine what goes on at the movies, mall or playground.
Children must be taught what is expected of them and they won't learn it from TV. American children are inundated with vulgarity and sleaze.
Our schools have done a wonderful job with the dress code for students. It must be a difficult job. This can be done with everyday manners.
Children must be taught that when they go out in the world, good manners and proper clothes will give them an edge. Rules in sports are always obeyed.
Our children are the next generation of this country. Maybe we can help them shoulder the load, maybe our schools can help.
Instead of my usual "facts and figures" type of letter, I would like to instead offer some suggestions on strategies to stop the price gouging of fuel. If people would be willing to just stick together for a few days, we could make the price gouging oil CEO's know that we mean business. Do not let anyone convince you of the lie that we cannot do anything about it. The only ones stopping us are the liars that convince us we can’t. Let’s try these ten strategies, we have really nothing to lose.
Get behind Farm Bureau in their ethanol and bio diesel initiatives. Support them in their efforts to make ethanol and bio diesel plants get into operation as quickly as possible.
2. Support the governor’s coal to diesel strategy.
3. Demand that all the oil from Alaska currently going overseas stay here. Yes, good friends and neighbors, they have never stopped drilling in Alaska, they are drilling now and have always been.
4. Let's have a letter writing blitz to the United States Attorney General's office and demand criminal proceedings and prosecution of the corporate oil barons, CEO's and top executives for criminal price gouging. Any other industry, and there would be people in jail for what these guys are doing. The time for “investigation” is past. One does not need a Ph.D. to look at the numbers and see it!
5. How about making the month of May "Necessity Only Month." In other words, only purchase groceries, bare essentials, and buy just enough fuel for commutes to work and necessary travel. Do not purchase anything you do not absolutely need. Boycott all luxuries. Patronize no restaurants, entertainment venues, malls, etc. Let the economy drop for a few weeks and see if it sends a message. Remember November of 2005 when the price of fuel "magically and mystically" dropped below two dollars? As soon as the Christmas shopping season was going to be successful, the fuel prices shot up 40 cents overnight. How quickly we forget. Remember history, it worked in France and Germany when the people protested unfair taxes.
6. Do not buy any car that does not get a minimum of 31 miles per gallon city. Not highway, but city. Let the 20-mpg garbage that they are trying to shove down our throats sit on the lots and rot. Think about it, why should one spend $30,000 for 30 miles per gallon highway. Two- and three-thousand dollar used cars get that.
7. Truckers’ Unions: please go on strike! Last year, you promised that if the price of diesel went over $3 per 9/10 you would strike. Well, we the people need you to keep your word. And you independents out there please join them. If you do not, you will not be in business for very long either.
8. Demand our legislators stop wasting time and tax dollars on trivial nonsense issues and tell them to fix this fuel price-gouging problem now. Tell them we are not interested in their excuses. "It didn't happen overnight" is not an acceptable excuse. It is a lie. The price gouging did indeed happen overnight and we want the corporate oil barons in jail for their crimes against the everyday people.
9. Ask real questions, and demand real answers. No more political double-talk! Questions like, how does this price gouging affect national security, law enforcement, highway maintenance, tourism, and most importantly agriculture? How about the rest of the economy? How much are our taxes going up because of increased costs? Ask how anyone expects to fix Social Security if people are put out of work due to fuel prices. Ask how seniors like making choices between buying prescriptions, groceries, or home heating fuel. If diesel is cheaper to produce, then why in the name of all that is good is it more expensive at the pump? Isn’t that the very definition of price gouging? These are real questions that they do not want to have to be made to answer.
10. Every time the television media says that the high prices of fuel are "good" for us, call them on it and let them know that they are either incompetent or liars. A Scranton news report actually had the nerve last week to say that this could be good for the local economy. I would like to know what school educated the fool that came up with that one, so I can recommend against anyone studying there!
Gibson Township, PA
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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