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Mailbag: Letters From Readers

May 19. 2013 9:44PM
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Here’s a Yonkers cheer to NBA player coming out

Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran and itinerate center for the Washington Wizards, recently stepped out of the “closet” and revealed that he was “black and gay.”

The reason why he thought it was necessary to mention his race is anybody’s guess. Perhaps he had a funk song in mind: “I’m black and I’m proud” performed by James Brown in 1968. Perhaps it’s an attitude thing or perhaps he was trying to kill two birds with one stone – you know, “gay and human rights” and all that jazz.

Collins is the first openly gay athlete in a major American team sport, which I suppose qualifies as “groundbreaking” news. It wasn’t his intention – or so he claims — “to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” but since he is, he is more than happy to “start the conversation.”

Someone should remind him that no one twisted his arm. I thought his announcement was egotistical and self-serving. He certainly has nothing of which to be to be proud. Ours is a shameless society. It should come as no surprise that our society glorifies dysfunctional behavior and calls it courageous. It is also no surprise that Collins has received overwhelming support from the sports community – not to mention sports columnists and letters to the editor.

Someone born with a body meant for the opposite sex who finds pleasure with someone of his or her own sex merits our compassion rather than our condemnation.

We should not stop loving someone who is different in significant ways. By the same token, we should not be pinning medals on that person.

Alipio Baldi Yonkers, N.Y.

Some things don’t change, especially regarding guns

“If sometime on a distant island one should come upon a people where the houses were all hung full of loaded guns and where they constantly posted sentinels at night, what else would a traveler be able to think than that the whole island were inhabited by robbers? But, is it any different with the European nations? One sees from this how little influence religion has, on the whole, upon people who acknowledge no other law above them, or at least (one sees) how far we are still removed from a true religion.”

The above observation was made in the eighteenth century by George Christopher Lichtenberg. He was a mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and physicist.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Imagine George’s reaction to the recent convention of the National Rifle Association, where a scrum of gunslingers extolled the Second Amendment.

Perhaps we should change the last line of the pledge to the flag to “One nation, under the Second Amendment, intransigent, with blunderbusses and flintlocks for all.”

Bob Singer


Nursing homes need increased Medicaid funds

I am 95 years old and a volunteer at Golden Living Center-Summit in Wilkes-Barre.

My daughter had been a resident there when I was no longer able to care for her at home. I visited her every day and was always pleased with the staff and the care she received. When she passed away in 2006, my other daughter suggested that I volunteer there.

I love volunteering at Summit. I have played the piano, delivered mail, assisted with activities such as playing cards, bingo, games, sing-alongs, serving refreshments, and time permitting, sitting with residents. We talk, reminisce and share laughter.

I am writing to ask our state legislators to support increased funding for Medicaid. Nursing homes need it so badly. Medicaid pays for the staff, and nursing homes cannot cut staff. The nurses and nurse aides already are so busy.

Medicaid pays for activities, and nursing homes cannot cut activities. They improve the quality of life for residents. It keeps their minds and bodies active. They love that.

To our state representatives and senators, please support Governor Corbett’s proposal to give nursing homes more money. They need it so they can care for their residents.

Aldona Smith


Writer of bad review barked up the wrong tree

My wife and I have been running a dog grooming business in Forty Fort for the last 30 years. it was recently brought to our attention that we were listed on the internet at

There was also a website where people could critique our services and give a rating from one to five. There was a price list (all wrong), a list of services provided (mostly wrong), and worst of al a review by a man that had a less than positive experience at a grooming shop in Hazleton that has the same name as ours (Hair of the Dog).

It took a lot of phone calls (yes, that still works) and some detective work to disclose this situation and have the shut down.

We never authorized or asked for that listing and no one sought our approval. It was a free ad and while you are thinking any advertising could only be good, that negative comment, misplaced as it was, for all the world to see, surely can only have been damaging to our business. So, anyone out there who has seen the ad I‘m talking about, please note that the man who wrote that review has somehow misdirected his ire at the grooming shop in Forty Fort, while his experience was in Hazleton. Again, he was never at our shop.

This brings to mind the T.V. commercial that goes “you can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true. Where did you hear that? The Internet.”

Joe and Carol Scovish

Forty Fort

IRS ‘scandal” reveals typical game on right

Karl Rove ran a tax-exempt 527 group, American Crossroads, which he called a “grassroots political organization”. A 527 is an IRS classification for tax-exempt groups formed to elect or to defeat political candidates. Rove was embarrassed when disclosure laws revealed that 97 percent of the funding of his “grassroots” American Crossroads came from by a handful of billionaires.

In response, Rove formed Crossroads GPS (Grassroots Political Strategies) and applied to the IRS for a 501c4 classification (so-called Social Welfare Organization). Many tea party groups followed suit in order to hide their donors.

A 501c4 does not have to disclose its donors and may lobby Congress on legislation. However, it is specifically forbidden to engage in electioneering. This is directly from IRS regulations: “The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” Rove’s group spent $70 million on attack ads in the 2012 elections, a direct violation of IRS rules for a 501c4. That is what caught the attention of the IRS.

Since many other tea party groups had filed 501c4 applications on Rove’s heels, the IRS moved their files to the top of the stack, at worst an overzealous application of bureaucratic expediency. The IRS is required to review applications for tax exemptions and all would have been reviewed eventually.

Rove got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Alarmed at the prospect of losing his tax exemption, he is now complaining that the IRS is infringing upon his freedom to steal cookies.

These fraudulent “scandals” (Solyndra, ACORN, Benghazi, IRS) will continue to be thrown at us. It’s our job as citizens to take a little time to determine the facts of the matter.

Wayne Warner

Clarks Green

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