with home rule
I hear more and more people saying that Luzerne County home rule government has not lived up to their expectations.
A common criticism: home rule charter does not provide adequate checks and balances.
The council-manager form of government is the most popular structure of local government in the United States. I believe the perceived problem revolves around not following the provisions in the charter, not the charter itself. Checks built into the charter include a controller watchdog function; accountability, conduct and Ethics (ACE) commission and an 11-member council, all oversight functions to help keep government honest and effective. Unfortunately, all three have had limited success. Controller audits are generally disregarded, his charter-mandated unrestricted access denied; ACE commission has dismissed all 13 complaints brought before them; and a majority of the part time Council members lack a fundamental understanding of government operations and policy making experience.
Edward Demings said, “It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best”
don’t back Plan B
Congressman Matt Cartwright’s “no” vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, is reprehensible. I realize that he and Sen. Bob Casey always profess to be practicing Catholics.
With regard to Plan B, Senator Casey stated, “I have serious concerns about providing unfettered access to these drugs to children. I support access to contraceptives, including Plan B, but believe that decisions regarding its availability should be made very carefully and with a measure of common sense.” Since the manufacturer of Plan B has stated that the drug can cause an abortion, my suggestion is for Senator Casey to sponsor a bill to stop it from being sold over the counter.
Both the senator and the congressman must know that claiming to be Catholic carries a great responsibility. It means nothing to say you’re a “practicing” Catholic if you’re not willing to stand up and truly be one.
Seek self-help group
People suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, depression, sleepless nights, fear of leaving their homes, etc, should know there is help. I had these symptoms for more than five years and got well when I found a self-help group called Recovery, Inc.
The program was founded by Dr. Abraham A. Lo, a psychiatrist. The program is run by lay people (18 years and older).
You can get more information via the website – www.recovery-inc.org, or by calling Peg at 570-288-0266.
Meetings are held at 7 p.m. Monday at Haly’s Trinity Lutheran Church, Wyoming Avenue, Kingston, and 7 p.m. Thursday at Dorrance United Methodist Church, Wyoming Avenue, Kingston.
Must our games be
filled with violence?
I read where Judge Tina Gartley, District Attorney Stephanie Salavantis and Mr. Carmen Ambrosino, a longtime leader in the fight against illegal drugs, have launched a program targeting youths in an attempt to reduce “gun violence.” They will be swimming against riptide of popular culture that glorifies remorseless, gratuitous and graphic violence in movies, TV dramas and video games.
It is noteworthy that Adam Lanza, the Columbine murderers and others were hooked on violent video “games.” However, the psychiatrists on retainer for the producers of this material insist that there is no relationship between a violent video game and a specific act of violence. Their lawyers site protections of the First Amendment and the producers site freedom of artistic expression. Vice President Joe Biden met with these producers and he was told that nothing would change. Hence, the issue was dropped. Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the “game” producers.
It is true that the proximate cause of a specific crime of violence and a video game is difficult if not impossible to prove. But the question should be whether we need this excessive violence in games and entertainment at all, particularly where youngsters are concerned. Our entertainment appears to be more banal as each week passes.
I fired an M16 for the first and last time at the range at Eglin AFB in 1967. I was a Squadron Commander. During conversion of aircraft I was a range officer. Consequently, I was well informed regarding military ordnance. I had an opportunity to observe a youngster play one of these “games.” It was “Call of Duty.” In this “game,” the hero was armed with the M16. The enemies were killed in gory detail, with heads and arms exploding from full automatic gunfire. Not a scratch on the hero. Moreover, the youngster showed me a list of optional weaponry. It included RPGs, Claymore mines, grenades, and, a dozen different kinds of military assault weapons. In short, this child knew;more about the operational characteristics of military ordnance than I did as an Air Force officer! I asked him if there was an age limit on the accessibility to these kinds of games. He said, “Yeah. Seventeen.” He stated his parents bought it for him. Our culture has been so conditioned to gratuitous violence that parents don’t think twice about the “games” they purchase for youngsters. Being interactive, the youngster can experience a real “rush” while playing the “game.” Incidentally, this is a good kid.
Last week on The View, a producer displayed a facsimile assault rifle to be used in playing violent video games. The youngster can load and lock the action and ram magazines into the receiver. The producer’s two boys, ages 9 and 11 play the games. Hence, our youngsters, in the virtual world, can keep pace with the child soldiers in Africa and elsewhere.
We are so addicted to violence that signs have to be placed on fences at little league games reminding parents not to attack officials because of a “bad “call. Major league sports now have bench clearing brawls on a regular basis. The Romans enjoyed the gratuitous violence in the Coliseum, we observe it in the virtual world of the movie theater and on the TV monitor. The violence is virtual, but the rush is the same. The gun, in the minds of some is inherently evil. Some evil people do misuse guns and they should be prohibited from owning them. Conversely, many youngsters enjoy legitimate shooting activities — i.e. skeet, trap, sporting clays, competitive rifle and pistol shooting. A young lady won a gold medal in shotgun competition at the summer Olympics. She was ignored by the media. These youngsters come from well-adjusted families and never commit crimes. And in fairness, youngsters who play violent video games are not the typical mass murderer.
The question still remains, must games and entertainment be so violent?
Frank J. Keller