Letters to Editor
We can't hide Personal demons Working for gas firm? Drilling his 'facts' Rifle team history A model for Christie Plan for pensions Column lacks civility Travelin' man Too big to ignore Consider ECH
USE OF DRONES
nIt is no surprise that Charles Krauthammer champions [Feb. 17] drone assassinations and declares the execution of such (pun intended) to be the right and duty of the executive branch of our government.
Ten years ago the executive branch of our government created the great deception of Iraq nearly ready to attack the U.S. and its allies with its weapons of mass destruction. The reward for this deception was the authorization to use force and a 10-year war that followed.
The total human suffering and death on both sides from this war is incalculable, and also ignored. And now the current foreign policy establishment desires the president carry out the drone assassinations of his choosing anywhere around the world, including our own country.
As Judge Andrew Napolitano recently wrote, "When the president kills without due process he disobeys the laws he has sworn to uphold, no matter who agrees with him. When we talk about killing as if it were golf, we debase ourselves. And when the government kills and we put our heads in the sand, woe to us when there is no place to hide.''
nBe still my beating heart! Is hell freezing over? Charles Krauthammer actually defending (sort of) Obama's use of drones? Leonard Pitts going to bat (sort of) for Chris Christie? How nice it would be to see this as the norm on editorial pages and in the Facebook blogosphere.
I am appalled when I see the "Hate Obama,'' "Hate Boehner'' or "Hate (pick your politician)'' venom poisoning the airwaves, the web and the Letters to the Editor section of this paper each week. This polarizes society every bit as much as the politicians it seeks to criticize.
Ultimately, it will be facts, reason and compromise that will bring civility and progress back to our nation. In the meantime, all you Facebookers, bloggers and letter writers (you know who you are), take a "page'' from columnists Krauthammer and Pitts (and a deep breath).
Find the courage to acknowledge that your personal "Satan," be it Obama/Pelosi/Reid or Boehner/Ryan/Palin, whoever, has both attributes and flaws and that we need to find common ground with those with whom we disagree politically.
James M. Darby
East Hempfield Township
nIn his opinion piece [Feb. 17] about the benefits of gas drilling, state Rep. Gordon Denlinger makes two questionable statements.
First, he says that there hasn't been a single case of groundwater contamination caused by drilling. Then why did the gas drillers provide drinking water to families whose wells suddenly became contaminated after gas wells were drilled nearby? Surely that is cause and effect.
Second, he states that Pennsylvania lost manufacturing jobs because federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations for factory emissions forced manufacturers to move to cheaper locations overseas. He is mistaken: Jobs moved overseas because doing so increased the share value of those companies for their Wall Street owners.
In Germany, emissions regulations are far stricter than here, but German industry, both light and heavy, continues to operate profitably. They know that unemployment costs society more than complying with environmental regulations.
Rep. Denlinger's opinion piece looks almost as if it was written by the gas industry.
Charles B. Lane
nI struggled through Rep. Denlinger's self-satisfied piece [Feb. 17] on how drilling and fracking the Marcellus is benefiting the state. He praises Act 13 as striking a proper balance between environmental safety and economic growth and chastises naysayers who've tried to alert us that Act 13 strips municipalities of their former right to restrict gas development through their zoning codes.
But when Denlinger leaps from opinion and anecdotal information to claim that "there hasn't been a single case of groundwater contamination caused by drilling," I cannot remain silent.
There are too many cases of contamination to cite here, but in Bradford County alone there are at least 80 homes with plastic storage tanks providing water to people who can no longer use their own wells for bathing, much less drinking.
In most cases, the gas industry requires the signing of a nondisclosure form before water is provided to the homeowners, ensuring that their story isn't circulated. More often people with contaminated water settle out of court for less than the lost value of their water, and agree to sign nondisclosure clauses.
Perhaps Denlinger should look at the State Impact PA website, or Amy Mall's blog on the National Resources Defense Council website, of incidents of contamination: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/amall/incidents_where_hydraulic_frac.html
As for Lancaster County receiving $440,000 of the impact fee, maybe we should hang our heads in shame, as residents in Butler hold spaghetti dinners hoping to raise the funds their neighbors need to buy safe drinking water.
Elaine Lapp Esch
nI want to clarify some information that was written in the article headlined "Responsibly on target'' [Feb. 17]. Inadequate research was done on the history of the rifle teams.
I was a member of the rifle team at Ephrata High School in 1950-51 and 1951-52. The article stated in the article that it began in the '60s, so I know it was in the late 1940s, if not earlier. There were other school teams at that time, including Manheim Township, Garden Spot, Solanco and Conestoga Valley. The article also was inaccurate in that we did use live ammunition, but at 50 feet, not 30 feet.
None of my other family members have been on the team since that time. However, I am still very interested in the sport and continue to check the results in the paper. I am not against guns, but I did appreciate the comments in the article in regard to training on gun safety. To me, that is a priority.
George D. Wolf
nI'm wondering about the historical perspective involved in the kerfuffle over Gov. Christie's weight. Reading an autobiography written by Helen Herron Taft, in which she describes her 300-pound husband as 'that adorable Will Taft,'' I'm struck by all the things the man accomplished in his life -- despite his obvious girth: judge of the Ohio Superior Court; U.S. solicitor general; dean of the Cincinnati Law School; president of the U.S. Philippine Commission; first civil governor of the Philippines; secretary of war; president of the United States; professor of constitutional law at Yale; and finally, chief justice of the Supreme Court.
He died at 72, maybe of exhaustion, but not of obesity. Just saying.
nKaren Shuey's article on pension debt [Feb. 17] was interesting and informative.
However, under the topic "any other ideas,'' she states, "Other than the proposals laid out by Corbett, there are no other plans to consider.'' There is at least one other viable and productive plan available.
It has been forwarded to Sen. Mike Brubaker and to the governor by the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees Executive Director Richard Rowland, and needs to be considered by all legislators. It makes total sense and will mitigate future pension reform costs to taxpayers.
nSteve Cornell [Feb. 10] says that for the Democratic Party, "civility and rational thinking [have] been hijacked.'' He goes on to claim that "being a liberal requires uniformity to a growing list of litmus tests,'' and if you are pro-life "you'll need to remain in the closet if you wish to be accepted in your party.'' The accusations pile up.
Nowhere in the column, though, is there a single concrete example to support even one of Mr. Cornell accusations. One continually wonders, just who are these bad people telling Democrats they're not permitted to think independently? Mr. Cornell never tells us.
Even worse, much of what he says is patently untrue. As far as not accepting pro-lifers into the party, for example, does Mr. Cornell not remember that Pennsylvania has a pro-life senator whom party officials begged to run in 2006, and who was then re-elected to wide Democratic applause in 2012?
This column seems not to exhibit the civility and clear thinking Mr. Cornell demands of his political opponents. More light and less heat, please!
nLooks like the White House is now a travel agency. Separate Air Force One flights are now being offered to Hawaii, Aspen and Palm Beach, all expenses paid.
Surf ... ski ... golf ... sun.
Call now for best available seating.
nIn response to the recent article on the convention center and its funding and future, I have talked with and listened to several involved parties. I have also made two presentations to the commissioners at their work session and formal public meeting (recently).
There are two key issues: (1) Our county needs Wells Fargo bank to act in a more timely fashion to help reduce the perceived unsure future of the convention center so we don't keep losing bookings to Hershey and beyond, and (2) the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau has to play a stronger and more visible role in bringing tourist and association business traffic to our county.
Scott Martin, chairman of the commissioners, is working to finalize negotiations with Wells Fargo bank -- we need a more rapid settlement from it to assure continuity of bookings.
With respect to a more assertive, effective, supportive CVB for the tourist industry, its new president, Kathleen Frankford, has a unique opportunity to take the lead in bringing Lancaster County together. We all have so much at stake.
Bruce L. Clark
nIf you are planning a hospital stay, consider Ephrata Community Hospital. I spent 17 days there. My doctor and nurses were so kind, caring, concerned and helpful. I had to have a test done one night, and I was afraid to have it done. The tech with me said she would hold my hand and not leave me.
I will never forget your love and your kindness to me. The professional way your hospital is conducted is geared to each individual. That hospital stay was protected, good and special to me.