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Issue Home February 3, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Dear Editor

I am writing in reaction to the letter from Bruce and Edna Paskoff (Transcript, Jan. 20, 2010). The Paskoffs are organizers of the local “Tea Party Group,” and another called, "We the People." These organizations speak to some who have legitimate gripes concerning health care, jobs, and more. But after reading the letter, there is good reason to question their real motives.

The letter is mostly innuendoes. Most of it can be found, word for word, on internet blogs, lacking in informed substance and written by folks who are angry about anything or everything.

Although the Paskoffs’ organizations claim to have mottoes of “unity” and “working together,” their tone is rip apart, and their theme is anti-Obama… with the obvious intent to discredit his presidency and to destroy every effort to solve the crises that he and we face as a nation.

The Paskoffs list nearly 40 Obama appointees, then proceed to smear each one with labels that are in many cases untrue or ridiculous. Strange for a group that claims to believe in the “intelligence and common sense of the average American Citizen.” Take for example how they labeled the White House Advisor on Domestic Violence - “Lynn Rosenthal …vicious anti-male feminist; supported male castration.” Go to www.snopes.com and find out that it was once used as a piece of satire (carbolicsmoke.com) about another woman. Surely a lack of good taste, even in satire, but here, the writers have used the letter to the editor to smear a respected, nationally recognized leader. Did they think we would swallow such garbage? The writers should apologize publicly for such indecent ridicule.

I urge readers to check out blogs and emails and organizations before you take on their colors. I found one revealing article in the Examiner, Philadelphia, Aug 22, 2009, www.examiner.com, entitled “Some information on the We the People Organization Whose Members Have Brought Guns to Rallies” (i.e., to Obama rallies).

It will be a great new day when some who feel so strong about our country will quit their loud insensibilities, show civil respect, and make a real effort to work together with those who are struggling to make a better world.


Mary Gere

South Montrose, PA

Empty Promises And False Hopes

Americans spend $7,300 per capita in public and private money for health care - that's 2.5 times as much as the average of industrialized nations. Despite this, however, The World Health Organization ranks the United States only 37th in a list of 190 nations. Norway is next to the U.S. in health care expenditure per person with $4,800, yet it is ranked No. 11.

So what are we getting for the annual $2.3 trillion we spend on health care? Not much. It seems we're being short-changed.

There is no question that for bodily injury stateside treatment is the best the world has to offer. How, then, could we be rated directly below Costa Rica, little better than a third-world nation?

The majority of patients in a doctor's office or in a hospital are not there because of a physical injury, but for a cavalcade of disorders collectively called metabolic syndrome (MS). This is a cluster of six maladies: cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, excess weight, an abnormal cholesterol profile, high blood pressure, and arthritis.

Heart disease, once a rare affliction, today claims 630,000 lives annually. Add cerebrovascular disease to this and the toll is 770,000 - that's twice the number of American servicemen killed during the entirety of WWII.

Right behind vascular diseases is type-2 diabetes, the kind that one acquires. It's an out-of-control epidemic. Seventy-million adult Americans have it or are pre-diabetic. Formerly, it was called adult-onset diabetes. No more. The illness has worked its way down to progressively younger ages. Today, there are two million diabetics and pre-diabetics under 20, hence the new name, type 2.

Being overweight is not just a cosmetic problem; it is a severe metabolic disorder. Risk factors for almost all diseases increase in lockstep with excess fat. An estimated 300,000 persons die prematurely every year because of too much body fat. And the fatstats are shocking: 65 percent of Americans are either overweight (10 percent more than ideal weight) or obese (20 percent more than ideal weight).

It's the same story with the other infirmities under the MS rubric, and their numbers are soaring. Why? Clearly, the thousands of billions of dollars spent annually on drugs to treat these ailments have had little positive effect. Drugs, for all their TV hype, offer only empty promises and false hopes.

The question in view is this: Why are diseases which were once rare now rampant? Could Benito Mussolini have unwittingly provided a clue?

In 1925, IL Duce banned the production and sale of white flour. From that time until 1945 there was no increase in heart attacks in Italy, yet in the United States the disease continued unabated. Going a step further, could the answer to diminishing the diseases of MS be as simple as eating the way our grandparents ate?

In the early 20th century, sugar-laden products and white flour (which digests almost immediately to sugar) were either nonexistent or rare. Soda, candy, ice cream, and white flour products such as donuts, cookies, cakes, pastries, and a host of other heavily-sugared and processed foods were not available.

A little more than a generation ago families consumed wholesome, home-prepared meals. Today we eat out of boxes, cans, and Styrofoam-wrapped fast-foods at a drive-in; atrocious fare that's guaranteed to produce dis-ease.

Limiting the ingestion of these foods while increasing the amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets may be far more effective than toxic pharmaceuticals and at a fraction of the price. But this is only a first step, albeit a big one.

Take a few more steps...

Add other unprocessed, high-quality foods: milk, eggs, whole grains, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, cheese, and nuts. Consider supplements such as a premium multi-vitamin and mineral formula, vitamins D-3 and C, and omega-3 essential fatty acids. And by all means avoid hydrogenated fats, fried foods, and deli meats.

Sufficient sleep and moderate daily exercise will round out a lifestyle that will, in time, produce health.

Two thousand years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, wrote, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” Good advice, but you'll never hear it from Big Pharma.


Robert Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Lay Up Your Treasures

Forever is a joke. I invent as much credence in eternity as I do in the Tooth Bunny and the Easter Fairy. My attitude was informed at Penn State. According to the most authoritative of scientific opinion, the “heat death” of the universe will be a long time in coming.

Before that happens, there shall be a jot of time, during which my sister will be remembered. Several centuries hence, maybe, some archeologist will happen upon the morgue for the Susquehanna Country Transcript. When my sister Virginia was a young girl, it was then the Susquehanna Evening Transcript. At the age of 87, Virginia Stella Znamirowski died.

For my part, I wonder what kind of world that putative archeologist could be inhabiting. It might be a world, in which jazz and baseball and the American Constitution exist only as figments of folklore. Well, I do have some idea of what kind of world my sister inhabited. Virginia would pay some attention to national events, if some friend of hers engaged her in relevant talk.

By the way, that rarely happened. And whenever such a conversation started, the urge to continue would rapidly dissipate. And so, the conversation would turn to other matters.

Her world was emphatically personal. Our brother Louie was part of her world. Luiggi Carlo, before anglisizing, was the most sensible of her four brothers. Against his advice, she married the man, whose name she kept until her death. It was not a happy marriage.

Even so, it produced her two sons, in whom she took justifiable pride. Today, they pay their taxes, and avoid scandal ad controversy, societal assets. Truth be told, they have made their way in the world way better than I.

I was part of her world. When I was a toddler, she called me “chicken.” Her Christmas present to me was for “chicken.” Our brother Joe called me “teuche.” She was around, when those two brothers of ours died. Within the blink of a geological eye, I and Angelo, the other brother, will be like her.

Her older son can be frank in his appraisal of people. His mother, so he once said, was stubborn but weak willed. After 87 years of tears and some laughter and much affection from those privileged to know her, in her own way, my sister Vig went gentle into that good night.

Sometimes, our father would address her as “Virgie.” Isn’t it strange? At the moment, I’m unable to recall how our mother addressed her. During the last few years of our mother’s life, when she was blind and bed-ridden by reason of diabetes, my sister Virginia tended to her. No professional nurse could’ve done half so well as did my sister.

Maybe, Vig is now with both our parents and the angels... oh, yes, and our two brothers. Here on earth, sometimes, angelic was the last attribute either I or our brother Joe would confer upon our sister.

Not too long ago, I took her to our parents’ graves in Saint John’s Cemetery. After I had planted one geranium, she decided I should plant a second. And I did so. I’ll skip over the sorry details.

When I drove her to Turnpike Terrance apartments, I was ready to shoot her.

For the last few years of her life, that’s where she resided. It’s a good bet ever so many people living there remember her fondly. One or two may even chuckle over an occasional spat.

Oh, that sister of mine was a drama queen. Out of the blue, she would pick a fight with me. And the incident would conclude with my apologizing to her. At the moment, I’m unable to recall any incident like that concluding differently.

I’m telling this story to validate my assertion that she could reach in and tap ever so gently on my heart. I can believe and I’m sure I can find, easily, people on whom she worked her charm. No doubt about it, she was a people person. Sometimes to her detriment, she would do what she could for her friends. I suppose the two children she left behind would corroborate.

We are advised by Holy Writ to lay up treasures in heaven. Without giving the matter too much thought, introspection was lacking in her constitution, that is what she did throughout the entire course of her life.

It’s only proper for me to conclude with this sentence fragment: “much affection from those privileged to know her.”


A Alexander Stella

Susquehanna, PA

Dear Editor,

With the deftness and efficiency of a high speed manure spreader, the president delivered his State of the Union speech on January 27. Respect for you, dear reader, prevents me from soiling you with all of it.

I am very concerned, however, with one new addition to the president's repertoire of populist pandering. After bashing and blaming Bush, banks, Wall Street, insurance companies, cable and news stations and, of course, the Republicans, for his failures, a new theme was added.

The president had the temerity to bash the Supreme Court for its recent decision in favor of "the right to engage in free speech, especially political speech and the right to freely assemble." This right was stifled by the McCain Feingold Amendment passed in 2002.

What the Supreme Court decided on January 21, 2010 was to restore "ancient First Amendment principles." The Court found that "...the fact that some speakers may have more wealth than others does not diminish their First Amendment rights."

Is it the role of any president to abuse his power in attacks on the decisions of the Supreme Court? The president has been called a "constitutional scholar." Does he think that constitutionality depends on who is in power and not the law of the land? He did swear an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The president should know that there are three equal, separate branches which govern our republic. He would be a better steward of our country if he relegated himself to the executive branch instead of trying to be the man who would be king.


Bruce Paskoff

Montrose, PA

The National March For Life

“Love one another as I have loved you” - this is what God expects of us to secure His blessing from generation to generation.

Whether or not you attended or knew someone attending the annual March for Life in our nation’s capital, the object is clear - speak up when needed in defense of your right to be born, because those yet to be born need to hear all of us reassert on a regular basis this great God given right, less they suffer evil by our indifference.

At least 30,000 men, women and children attended the Washington D.C. march; most of them were university and high school students.

The Pro Life Movement in American, through public education networking and prayer, has been instrumental in defending the constitutional right of little people in their mother’s womb by defeating several times the Obama Administration’s power grab of our nation’s health care systems.

Keep America free - vote for babies. For updated information go to www.nrlc.org or www.priestsforlife.org. These two organizations encompass most of the others.

Thank you. God will surely bless your efforts.


John Mann

Susquehanna, PA

The Scorpion

There is a fable that goes like this: Once upon a time, a great deluge came upon the land. Flood waters were rising quickly and there were two creatures trapped on a small plot of ground soon to be overtopped by the water. They were a rabbit and a scorpion. The rabbit was about to set off swimming to higher ground but, of course, the scorpion couldn’t swim. The scorpion pleaded with the rabbit “Let me climb on your back and ride with you to higher ground.” The rabbit replied “Oh, I can’t do that, you would surely sting me and I would drown.” The scorpion replied “I wouldn’t do that because I would drown also.” It sounded pretty logical to the rabbit, as rabbits go, so she agreed. About half way to high ground, the scorpion stung the rabbit, who exclaimed as she was about to sink out of sight “Why did you do that?” To which the scorpion replied “That’s just what scorpions do.”

Wednesday evening I listened to the Scorpion, but I am not going to let him ride on my back.


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA

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