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Politics Is Local
"Let me tell you something I learned years ago, all politics is local." Tip O'Neill, long time Speaker of the House.
I went to a local government meeting. I wanted to protest an ordinance, regarding handicap parking. Now before you think that I have a problem with handicap parking, you would be wrong. I have personal experience with folks who use canes, walkers and wheelchairs. I thank God whenever I can get a handicap parking space. It’s so handy to be able to have access to the building they want to go in.
This ordinance takes away from having the small businesses, that are across the street, any place to put handicap parking in front of their buildings. The regulations for that is, the spaces are on a street, and are not in a parking lot. If they were in a parking lot, both sides could be used for handicap parking. Think big box store parking. Handicap access is designed to let the handicaped have access to buildings first. Barely used grassy areas should be at the bottom of the list of practical uses for valuable parking space.
The parking that is currently serving the needs of our handicap folks, is in serious need of repair. There isn't a level spot for a walker, forget trying to get over the wheel barriers, or between them, and the front two walker legs will drop a couple of inches, if after one is successful in picking the walker up in the first place, and will toss a person down. The access for the handicap van, borders the sidewalk. And the busiest street in town. Did I mention this is a one way street as well? Maybe I don't speak the queen’s language, as I just couldn't seem to convey to them what a treacherous spot this is, and why. It was suggested that only the boozers would run over anyone crossing the street; the near misses I've experienced happened with middle aged people, on a cell phone.
After some defensive standing, and raising of voices, the council looked at the offered pictures, and a copy of the Americans with disability law, and decided they would move the parking 6 feet further down, still on the grassy, and not business side of the street. Why does government insist that public buildings have large (unsightly, and often a long walk up a grade) handicap ramps, and then have the back-handed ability to not allow parking on that side of the "Boro Street"?
I understand totally that this one way boro street, that is accessed from two different directions (north and south) and has the distinction of being on an angled intersection, which means you can be stopped at the entrance, while cars wait for other cars to pass through, so you can turn on this short sighted street, and not see a person crossing from the boro provided handicap parking area. This would not be a problem, if council, in formulating this ordinance would have asked someone to engineer this site. An engineer would have stated the obvious disadvantage to the handicapped person, by reason of location, and may have suggested that there is work to be performed to meet current disability law. An engineer would also know all the regulations, local, state and federal, and might even have experience with handicap modes of transportation, including the tricky wheel-chair in the trunk of the car, and stated, this isn't a good location for handicap parking.
After some discussion, it was stated that maybe, in light of this new information, this ordinance should be tabled; a council member stated that since the form wasn't presently filled out, they can adjust it. The motion to pass an uncompleted ordinance passed. I am appalled.
It does remind me of the Tip O'Neil quip, and begs the question, who is the council member that this ordinance serves? How often does this activity, of filling in the blanks of these ordinances after they are passed, happen?
And why haven't I been going to council and township meetings more often? And where is the rest of public? Well, I will start going again to these important meetings, not only to keep political sketchy behavior in check, but to listen to the salacious gossip during the portion of the public input. I can honestly say, these meetings are better than any reality TV show, I only feel sorry that the reporters do not really "tell it like it is."
Opportunities For Bedbugs
Talk about careless! The recent “Citizens United” decision by this country’s Supreme Court has opened the door to xenocracy. Well, if that word is not in the dictionary, then it should be. Anyway, it’s properly defined as “rule by strangers.”
No, I don’t think that has happened to the United States just yet. Well, I might concede “undue influence exerted by strangers.” Anyway, it took a news tidbit about the national Chamber of Commerce to get me thinking along those lines. According to a few news outlets, that august organization is soliciting funds in Bahrain, an obscure Muslim island nation in the Persian Gulf. Supposedly, it serves the world as a neutral zone, wherein anybody with serious cash is welcomed. Anybody may, out of the glare of public view, conduct business of various sorts.
The allegation being, these funds the Chamber solicits will be used in support of Republican candidates, now vying for various American congressional offices. To be fair, spokespeople for the Chamber assure anyone who’ll listen about stringent internal financial controls. Those controls will ensure that the money, even if it might come from anonymous sources, will be used in manner, proper and legitimate and compatible with the best interests of the United States. What those controls are, so far, no news outlet has revealed.
What has me concerned is the conjunction of anonymity and Bahrain. To reiterate, that obscure Muslim island nation serves the world as a neutral zone. Well, as I understand the situation anybody with serious cash is welcomed. What’s more, nobody with serious cash is excluded. Hezbollah, which I call “bedbug” and our Department of State designates as “terrorist,” does possess serious cash. So, it’s a lead pipe cinch that not so august organization is conducting business in Bahrain.
True enough, my knowledge about financial gimmicks and shenanigans is quite sparse. Still, I have to wonder just what opportunities our Supreme Court, thanks to their being so careless, has opened up for those bedbugs. After all, whoever eats my bread sings my song.
A Alexander Stella
By Their Creator
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins with “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” On Wednesday, September 15, while giving a speech in Washington, President Obama quoted the above portion of the Declaration of Independence. When he came to the “by their Creator” part, he made a long pause while standing at the podium with teleprompters on either side and then continued, omitting the “by their Creator” part. I need to make sure that you all clearly understand what this omission means. That being: we are not endowed with certain unalienable rights by our Creator but by some entity other than our Creator, if at all. Now what or who would that be if not our Creator?
Following this line of thought and with the experience which we have of this man and his fellow travelers, I conclude that he means that we derive our rights from the State. The implication of that is that our rights - Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, have been bestowed upon us by the State and, of course, what the State giveth, the State can likewise taketh away.
You may choose to delude yourself into thinking that this is not credible or possible but simply look around, my friends. Your Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness are being diminished every day by the Federal Government and those who run it. Cass Sunstein, our Regulatory Czar, is taking a scythe to our rights every day as he writes the regulations that follow legislation. Sarah Palin spoke about Death Panels and was ridiculed but today the drug Avastin is no longer an approved drug for cost, resulting in the inevitable early demise of folks with breast or colon cancer.
Wake up and smell the decay! It is all around us! Take back control or you will be making up part of the smell. Find the news source hated by the Progressives and pay attention. Start at five this afternoon. If you remain ignorant, you do so by choice and your grandchildren will curse you in their chains of Marxism. Support the men who share your fundamental beliefs, irrespective of the campaign rhetoric. Half truths and innuendo are not the stuff of real men. Dump those who vote with Pelosi and Reid. Make sure that you vote and encourage all around you to do likewise.
Elk Lake, PA
Faith Is Not Proof
With regard to her defense of ”Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” apparently Ms. Annette Corrigan never chose to check the details on the internet which I provided previously.
Since then, I have found further and stronger back-up of my opinion that Mother Teresa was a fraud. Ms. Corrigan seems to be unaware that there is a record of what went on. To access this information on the internet, you only have to enter “Mother Teresa - criticisms,” or “Aroup Chatterjee - Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict.” Dr. Chatterjee, a Calcutta native, states that for the 27 years preceding 1985, when he moved to Britain, he never heard of Mother Teresa or her Mission, the Sisters of Charity; nor did he know anyone who had.
Dr. Chatterjee was appalled by the picture of his native Calcutta that has been presented to the western world, as opposed to how it really is there. He negates just about everything Ms. Corrigan insists is true. I advise those who question his veracity to go online and read his treatise - you can read enough of it to make you ask a lot of questions. You will be shocked to find that, during the summers and monsoon seasons in Calcutta, Mother Teresa was only there during the year of 1994. During those miserable times in the other years, she found it important to be in the United States, or elsewhere. By checking news reports and other sources, Dr. Chatterjee found out where she was - and where she wasn’t.
Entries by ex-nun Susan Shields, ex-volunteer worker Mary Loudon, and Dr. Robin Fox’s report in the British medical journal, Lancet, can be found. There is little praise in any of these entries for Mother Teresa.
Ms. Corrigan states that she “has the privilege of knowing a person who has worked long hours with Mother Teresa.” She does not provide the name of this person, or any particulars that anyone could research. I have sought answers about what Mother Teresa actually did, at first not as one who doubted her, but because I was interested to find out what she did. I did not expect the kind of proof I got! Dr. Chatterjee, in his book, gives background on what he writes. You can go back and find the information from the same sources. He did not “make up” the information in his book. Ms. Corrigan, on the other hand, provides no names, no particulars, no documentation, no proof of any kind, that her information from this “person she knows” is anything but hearsay.
If people wish to continue honoring the idea of “Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” that’s fine, so long as they realize it is a myth, and don’t denigrate those who know better, and who understand that any spectacular premise must stand the test of proof. “Faith” has nothing to do with it. This is modern-day, and proof, one way or the other, can be sought after and found.
Beating The War Drums Again
I monitor politics closely, and I'm now picking up chatter from Republican insiders that indicates that they've got their hearts set on attacking Iran if they ever get back in power. Now if you think the Iraq war was a mess, Iran would make it look like the Cub Scouts' Blue & Gold Banquet. Any attack would strengthen the hand of the mullahs just as the people are yearning to break free, delaying their liberation for a generation. And it would do nothing to stop Iran from developing the Bomb - if in fact they even are. Their various nuclear-related facilities are numerous, dispersed, and well-hidden, and knocking out a few of them would only make them angry, and more likely to want the Bomb as a deterrent to a future attack.
The threat of another, and worse, quagmire when we're bleeding to death financially from the previous two should be kept in mind as people sour on Obama for not fixing the Republican-ruined economy instantaneously. No one could have done that. Not even Good King Ronald.
Stephen Van Eck
Response To Cabot's Letter
We're innocent, protested Dan Dinges, President and CEO of Cabot Oil and Gas.
In two identical, full-page, open letters printed in the Press & Sun Bulletin (September 28), and the Weekender (October 1), Mr. Dinges defended his company “regarding the ongoing water situation for a small group of residents in Dimock.”
“[W]e strive for the best practices as it relates to safety and the environment,” wrote Mr. Dinges. And perhaps you do, sir, but your record indicates that you're not striving half hard enough.
According to the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, of the 952 violations identified as most likely to harm the environment, Cabot ranked No. 5 in a list of 43 gas drilling companies.
Not only does your company have a disgraceful environmental record - only four were worse - but Cabot also has a record of ignoring violation notices. The DEP ordered Cabot to close and remove an earthen pit in Williamsport. Cabot's response was no response. The company consistently brushed aside the DEP's written and verbal requests.
As a last resort, the regional director of the DEP, Robert Yowell said, “More aggressive enforcement action was necessitated after the company ignored previous requests.”
In Dimock, the DEP charged Cabot with “unpermitted discharge of polluting substances” and “failure to prevent gas from entering groundwater.”
“Cabot had every opportunity to correct these violations [in Dimock], but failed to do so,” wrote the DEP. “Instead, it chose to ignore its responsibility to safeguard the citizens of this community and to protect the natural resources there.”
The most valuable of the “natural resources” is clean water, water that a “small group of residents in Dimock” - as you marginalize them - no longer have. A large area of the aquifer under Dimock is now irretrievably poisoned and is bound to spread.
This polluted plume is not stagnant; it is dynamic. No one can tell where it will migrate to or predict its future ill effects. The only remedy is to connect 18 homes in Dimock to a waterline. The cost: $11.5 million.
You wrote, “No private business model would support such an investment.” Well, Mr. Dinges, it is not “an investment.” It is reparation for contamination that amounts to about five weeks of Cabot's profit - a sum which it can easily pay.
Mr. Dinges, have you considered insuring your business for such incidents? Probably not. The premiums based on hydro fracting infractions, and, in particular, Cabot's record, would be astronomical.
You wrote that the core of the problem is “a tendency to communicate through the media instead of with the Company.” No Mr. Dinges. The core of the problem is your company's dismal record of violations, pollution of aquifers and wells, ignoring DEP notices, and snubbing aggrieved citizens.
Lastly, you take refuge behind the fallback position of all hydro-fracters. You want “scientific data” to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between Dimock's chemicalized water and your company's drilling.
All right, here's some of the evidence:
1) Extremely high pressure readings in the wellheads.
2) There is bubbling at several of the wellheads. This indicates defective wellbores as the cause of the contamination.
3) Water testing by a private environmental firm found widespread contamination of drinking water with toxic chemicals in Dimock. The company states that these chemicals are frequently used as additives in fracting fluid.
4) Isotopic analysis. This method fingerprints a gas by identifying its unique ratio of isotopes. Fingerprinting can connect the point of origin of a gas and areas of migration. The DEP has done isotopic analysis in Dimock. The test indisputably links the migrating gases as originating from Cabot's wells.
Is this the “scientific data” you wanted, Mr. Dinges? I think not.
“Any responsible company would have immediately understood that they had a very significant problem,” said John Hanger, head of the DEP. “Cabot just wants to ignore all that.”
New Milford, PA
An Environmental Engineer's View
My name is Loren Salsman and I have lived on the Meshoppen Creek Road in Dimock for 15 years. I likely have increased levels of methane in my well as a result of natural gas drilling around the vicinity of my home. My average methane level is one of the highest in the affected area in Dimock.
My education includes a B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering Technology from the Penn State University at Harrisburg. My experience includes two plus years in Environmental Consulting, including extensive groundwater impact studies, 13 plus years in petroleum construction and design, and 1.5 years as a Public Health Sanitarian specializing in residential well water.
Upon moving into my residence in 1995, I quickly noticed that there was supersaturated gas in my well water. When pouring a glass of water, the water would be slightly cloudy, and then the bubbles would rush to the surface, dissipate, and the glass of water would be perfectly clear. Our water test at the time of the purchase of our home revealed moderately hard water and iron levels as well. I knew from my education that these bubbles were from carbon dioxide or methane, and that high mineral and gas contents in water can lead to sulfur water through microbial breakdown of the gas and minerals. So if you have sulfur water, there's a good chance that you have a significant level of methane in your water. Fortunately, there is no scientific evidence out there that the methane is harmful. Please note that there is no Primary drinking water standard for methane. Primary drinking water standards are set for constituents that present health hazards. Methane in water is not known to be harmful to human health and there is no Primary or Secondary Drinking Water Standard set for methane.
When a neighbor tried to "recruit" me for the lawsuit against Cabot, he informed me that now "I even have e-coli in my water from Cabot." Another resident in the lawsuit was in the Susquehanna County Independent stating the same thing. E-coli is a bacteria that is only found in the intestines of mammals. When found in well water, the presence suggests that you or a neighbor has a poorly constructed septic system that is contaminating the water. E-coli has nothing to do with the drilling process.
One family on Carter Road has brown water. Brown water is a result of soluble iron coming out of solution and making the water look brown. Although your clothes may be rather dingy after washing them, iron is good for you, and not hazardous to drink (it's in your vitamins).
Cabot is in the process of designing and installing on site water treatment systems as needed. The systems consist of one or two methane aerators (depending on methane concentration), and ozonator, and pre and post treatment filters. The systems have proven to reduce methane levels to less than 5 ppm, reduce concentrations of total metals, and disinfect the water. Upon installation of this system, my water quality should be better than it has ever been in the 15 years I have lived on the Meshoppen Creek Road. When reviewing the data and performing a cost benefit analysis, no engineer would ever recommend a $12 million project for 18 residences which, other than their on lot septic systems polluting their own water, have perfectly fine drinking water. The on site treatment systems that Cabot will install will solve all the minor problems that have resulted from drilling. Additionally, water treatment systems such as those being installed by Cabot, are tried and true remedies and have proven to be the solution of choice by PADEP for similar (and worse) water quality issues throughout Pennsylvania.
I hope the new governor will take a fresh look at the science and leave the emotion out of the decision to run a water line. After all, if you have had to drink Montrose water lately, I'm sure that you would prefer my treated well water over chlorinated lake water any day.
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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