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Issue Home April 28, 2010 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Take Care Around Farms

The Susquehanna County Farm Bureau celebrated Rural Roads Safety Week April 18-24 by encouraging county residents to travel safely on the roads this Spring. This time of year, farmers are busy working in the fields and driving tractors, farm trucks, wagons and large equipment on roads. To the distracted or impatient motorist, vehicles such as these can pose a threat when safe driving practices are not practiced.

For example, if a car is moving 55 mph and comes upon a tractor moving 15 mph, it only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between the car and the tractor. Remember not to rush when driving on roads where you might encounter large farm machinery. Slow down, immediately, when you see the orange Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) triangle and pass farm equipment only when it is safe for you to do so. Even if you have to slow down to 20 mph and follow a tractor for two miles, it takes only six minutes of your time, which is approximately equivalent to waiting for two red lights. Caution, courtesy and special attention to safety tips can make a critical difference in ensuring safe driving conditions on rural roads.

On behalf of the Susquehanna County Farm Bureau, I encourage all residents to be aware of farm equipment during their travels on rural roads. By working together, we can make the trip safe for motorists and farmers.


Janice Webster

Susquehanna County Farm Bureau

Tea And No Sympathy

Coverage of the latest Tea Party event is still resonating in my brain, and it's led to numerous insights.

Teabaggers are fond of complaining that the government is not listening to them. This implies that they should, and must do what they want. Teabaggers have an arrogant sense that they alone are true Americans, and that they're 100% unquestionably right in their views, while the government and the media are plain wrong. But as the old song goes, it ain't necessarily so.

While they're complaining about not being listened to, it must be pointed out that they, themselves do not listen! I've repeatedly asked why they're still angry about bank bailouts, when the banks paid the money back with interest. I get no answer. I've asked where we should cut spending to solve the deficits they condemn. They make no suggestions. Would they have preferred that, rather than the hated stimulus bills, the government had done nothing and let the economy totally collapse into another Great Depression? Apparently they think "what would you have done?" is just a rhetorical question. As is asking why, when Bush took record surpluses and turned them into record deficits, they breathed not a word of misgiving. I did. But they didn't listen!

In addition to "not listening to me," another popular teabag refrain goes like this, "I'm tired of the government taking everything I have and giving it to lazy bums who refuse to work." Oh really? So that's where your taxes primarily go? In an economy where there are six unemployed for every opening, that's more than mean-spirited, it's astonishingly ignorant.

The bottom line about this dyspeptic lot is, they're selfish and motivated by resentment - like a snot-nosed child whining that Johnny got a cookie and they didn't. Such immaturity and negativity cannot produce good public policy. Neither does spouting buzzwords like "Socialism!," the meaning of which they clearly don't understand, shed any light on the situation.

Will the politics of juvenile resentment triumph? It's up to the rest of us - who are the majority by the way - to see that it does not. Teabaggers have no answers. They're just venting.


Stephen Van Eck

Rushville, PA

Government Service (An Oxymoron)

Once upon a time, people with a high sense of civic duty would find employment with some branch or another of the Federal Government. The pay and benefits were not as high as in the private sector but the security was high and the retirement benefits were good also. But something happened over the years so that now the whole concept has been turned on its head. Along with keeping the job security and the retirement benefits, the average Federal Employee in 2008 received a salary of $66,591 while the private sector employee received, for the same occupation, $55,500. The benefit package of the Federal Employee, in 2008, was $40,785 while the private sector employee was $9,882. Total package Federal was $107,376 while the private was $65,382. So much for the service in government service. These numbers are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not Fox News nor the Tea Party. While I don’t know what happened in 2009, President Obama just signed an Executive Order giving civilian Federal employees a 2% pay raise for 2010. We know that the Federal Government is madly hiring (16,000 IRS agents alone just to dun us if we don’t buy health insurance) while our non-government unemployment rate is 9.7%, not counting those who quit looking and, while we’re at it, how many friends and relatives do you know that are still getting paid as high as they did in 2008, much less get a raise, that is if they even have a job?

Adding insult to the above injury, are you aware that in the Government takeover of the student loan program, part of Obamacare as a gimmick to slew the cost, there is a provision that if the graduate goes into Government service, we, the taxpayers, will forgive the total cost of his/her education if they remain in such service for ten years. I don’t know about you, but I think that the private sector is in serious trouble (not news to me) as the government entices more and more into the non-productive sector, leaving fewer and fewer of us out there earning an honest living and paying the taxes which support this whole Ponzi scheme. Of course, if this is OK with you, or you are in Government service, just do nothing. Or, if you are like me, help make a real change in November. Oh, and don’t forget to keep connecting those dots.


Joe McCann

Elk Lake, PA

Uncertainty, It's The Only Way To Go

A few months ago I watched a program about quantum mechanicals (the behavior of subatomic particles). The fascinating aspect about this invisible world is that nothing can be known for a uncertainty; it is a world of probabilities.

A Nobel laureate concluded the program saying, "Uncertainty, it's the only way to go." Interesting, I thought, because it's the same principle that operates on the visible plane of life: uncertainty, only probabilities.

That's our world; a place where our every move is a roll of the dice, a step into the unknown. A one-dimensional world where the past - what we remember of it - fades rapidly away, the future is only guesswork, and in the present our every action triggers consequences only a few of which are known (we think), others unknown, most unknowable.

A casual word or insignificant act is like a pebble dropped into a pond (or an ocean) that ripples outward affecting every drop, every molecule of water in the pond. This, in turn, has a secondary affect, then a tertiary, and so on to an infinite number of reactions and outcomes which are impossible to predict.

This interconnectedness physicists call the butterfly effect. For example, a butterfly fluttering his wings in Montrose will, in time, affect the weather in Rio de Janeiro. Conversely, a storm in Rio will, after several years, affect the age-defying butterfly.

Man, Homo sapiens, is anything but sapient, that is, “wise.” We are the most profoundly ignorant of creatures knowing nothing of the long-term consequences of our acts - the butterfly effect. We get used to our benighted state and quickly become unaware of it, like fish blind to their watery world.

Now add human foibles and frailties to ignorance to create a world of uncertainties, surprises, some good, some not so good. A few days ago a family had one of those "not so good" surprises. Greg was on his way home, almost there, then, in a flash, his car veered off the road and rolled. He was crushed to death.

Nothing unusual here. It happens more than one hundred times a day, every day. Only this time it was not someone else, not some stranger.

Always the uncertainties. Perhaps that's what makes each day somewhat of an adventure. The unexpected problems, the unanticipated troubles, the simple pleasures, the joys, and the occasional tragedies; the cavalcade of good and bad that makeup each day. Life: it's quite an adventure.

But, at a point, the adventure ends. Like a jigsaw puzzle, each person is a piece. When a piece is taken out, a void is created (that interconnectedness). It can never be filled since each piece is one-of-a-kind. Unique. Irreplaceable. It is forever an empty space. Memories attempt to fill in the gap but they lack substance, only sad reminders of what once was and can never be again.

Though death is never more than a breath away, the illusion of earthly immortal persists. John Gotti's underboss, Sammy Gravano, near the end of his life said, “Life, the whole [expletive deleted] thing lasted only five minutes.” Profane, yes. But there comes a time when these words will fit every one.

Christians believe there is an afterlife: heaven. Strangely, the Scriptures reveal nothing about this celestial realm. No one knows what heaven will be like; we can only imagine it. But how can we imagine perfection?

What will it be like to live in this unearthly land, a spiritual abode where that unpredictable admixture of good and evil can have no place; a world without the ignorance of the mind and weakness of the flesh? In this heavenly home there can be no probabilities, only certainties.

Heaven. What a strange place, about as strange as earth.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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