A non-profit youth sports organization targeting underprivileged youth. Great idea. But can I do it?

        I live in a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It is a lower income city, in the northeastern  part of the state. We are about 15 minutes from Scranton and about 90 minutes from Philadelphia. At one point it used to be a nice place to live but over the years it has become crime ridden. In fact it is number 18 on the list of top murder cities, did I say that right. Everyday the drug use and crime seems to sucking up another kid and spit them out. There isn’t an inexpensive   place for a kid to play and learn fundamentals in a sport. The cheapest  basketball is $50 bucks at the CYC, a place where the refs told me if they called every foul there would be no score. This is an instructional  league. Any type of travel team or AAU  team gets very expensive. Many of the kids around here are unable to play because of their financial  situation. You would think the YMCA or CYC or someone  would offer a spring program or summer program at an affordable  price. They do not. Nor does the city. I wrote my Congressman Matt Cartwright  several days ago asking him for some direction  and he never responded. Who is there for these kids?

         I want to start a non-profit  youth sports organization  for underprivileged  children. I want to concentrate  on 2 sports, basketball and soccer. Those are the 2 sports you need the least amount of equipment for. Less money for families to spend. I want to offer these kids an option other then drugs, drinking, fighting, gangs or whatever else they may get into. I want to offer a kid the same opportunity  a wealthy kid gas, why punish a child for a parents station in life. I see so many incredible athletes who lack the fundamentals of their sport. For basketball at the CYC, you get 1 hour of practice a week. You get the privilege of playing school teams who practice quite a bit more. Many kids spirits are crushed because of this. A kid who I’d fundamentally sound can compete with less talent, causing that kid to carry better grades, stay out of trouble and stick with their commitment. I don’t think we should be getting wealthy off of kids playing sports, AAU and travel soccer teams. Why aren’t the kids coming first?

          I want to be able to defer cost through federal, state and corporate grants. I want this to focus completely on the forgotten youths of a dying city. Anyone who has played a sport will tell you that it helps you in many other aspects of life. You learn a work ethic, discipline, teamwork, confidence and make lasting friendships. Through all of this you avoid trouble or you cannot play or be with these friends. Some kids can get an athletic scholarship because of this, some will get an academic  scholarship because they work harder to keep good grades because they want to play and go to college. It changes how many kids life daily. Why not offer a program that helps them?

         When the kids would enter are program there will be certain obligations  they must meet for us to defer their costs.
1) They must maintain a B average in school. If I a kid needs help, I would like to offer a tutoring program. Education is the key.
2) They must stay out of trouble. Any detention or suspension will be met with the same at our program. If it us a continuing problem we will refer it to a facility to help. We will try not to leave a kid behind. But they must realize there are repercussions for your actions.
3) They will be required to do volunteer work at a soup kitchen or any other program that requires volunteers to help the needy. To teach them empathy, compassion  and remind them that there are people who have it worse. After my daughter did these with the Key Club at G.A.R. High School she couldn’t wait to go back to help again.
4) To participate and help organize community outreach programs periodically. Several times a year. Anything to reach out to help those less fortunate, even if it is a free basketball or soccer tournament. Through this they will hopefully take pride in their community and look for ways to help improve it.
5) Summer programs and clinics that the kids can help teach. Teach them to give to others in order to help them improve their situation.
Most importantly I want to keep them off the street and out of trouble. Have impromptu  3 on 3 basketball  tournaments, 5 on 5 soccer tournaments. For those that want to play AAU or travel soccer, we will offer those programs but ask the kids to hand out flyers or participate  in fund eaising, all with a qualified adult present. I would like in the summer to offer child care to low income families. Several hours a day. Introduce them to a sport, get them outside and active. Have dodge ball tournaments. We need to fight childhood  obesity  as well.

            I would also like to offer affordable clinics for coaches. Youth coaches effect a child more then many people realize. It would help if they had proper training that didn’t eat up a lot of their time or money. Youth coaches are typically volunteers. They deserve some thanks in this grueling process. The better the coach, the better chance a child has. I want to build a facility  with several indoor courts, several outdoor courts, 2 high school size soccer fields and 2 small children soccer fields. Maybe I am being naive, but I believe this is needed where I live and in most other areas. Why can’t we be the template everyone else follows? I know some areas offer something similar to this. Now is the time for Wilkes-Barre  to offer it.   If you want to take your community back, wouldn’t this be a great jumping off point? Now to figure out how to get it done. Any ideas?

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Peaceful protesting met with police violence. Is the police state real?

          To try to ascertain the exact number of people killed by the police is not possible . Police departments do not have to report to anyone these statistics. Out of 1700 police organizations only 750 actually reported their numbers. Yes, the numbers state that African Americans are killed almost 2 to 1 to white people despite making up only 12 percent of the population. So I do believe it is time for Fox News and the crony conservatives to admit that race is an issue. A great example of the hypocrisy is Sean Hannity. He supported what Cliven Bundy was fighting for his rights and was an American hero. This despite Bundy dodging a tax instituted by conservative  hero President Reagan, he owed millions of dollars in back taxes. He was part of an armed resistance against federal agents and was an American hero. The people of Ferguson or any of these others cities protesting were referred to as thugs and hooligans who were breaking the law. Yes both were said by Sean Hannity.

        If you ever took the time to listen to conservative radio, there are no progressive stations in my area, you will here the perpetuation of this ugly race rhetoric. Rush Limbaugh, who is one of the most disgusting human beings on the face of this earth, said Eric Garner deserved to get choked because he broke the law. Although he refuses to acknowledge that the cop broke the law by using an illegal choke hold, illegal means breaking the law. Fox News is horrible. For a white mass murderer the headline is about how he was bright and brilliant, despite the disturbing fact he killed several people. For Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a wanna be cop, the headline was, he was suspended 3 times in school. Those are just a couple quick examples that show how minorities are viewed by the conservative media, which then trickles down to the dregs of society, the radical conservatives.

Growing up I remember cops carrying a gun, cuffs, baton and their radio. Possibly pepper spray. Cops are better armed now and in Pennsylvania are required to wear their bullet proof vests whenever on duty. There is more crime now then I recall, the local news papers seem to think so as well. But even so, why the militarization of the police force? Aren’t they here to protect and serve? It now seems like the police are an invading force, authorized to use whatever force they want. I understand that if you fight with cops they are going to kick your ass. But killing unarmed people, shooting at them as they run away, beating a woman on the ground who is cuffed, choking people, firing tear gas at peaceful protesters, all while Wall Street is robbing us blind and walking away Scott free. I have had experiences with cops, I have never been beat or shot, but I am white. I have had cops give me a ride to my home when I was intoxicated. They do seem to abuse their power, but as I said my personal experiences were not bad. I truly do not know how it feels to walk in a minorities shoes.

The way our police resemble the military reminds me of videos of Nazi Germany. They robbed people of their rights, arrested who they wanted and abused their power. They also went after a certain group of people, the Jewish people. They systematically decimated them, in the end almost wiping them out. I realize it gas not reached that level, yet. But what is the next step? Can’t indict a cop who shot at a guy 12 times, hitting him 7 times. Can’t idict a cop caught on camera using an illegal choke hold to kill someone. What is next? A group of African Americans or possibly a whole area of town they live in? The whites there are collateral damage in the conservative war on people of color. I feel as if I went off the tracks. But did I? If our justice system doesn’t stop this, who does? How many have to die to change this?

I keep saying conservatives because they believe the victims are wrong. Democrats are spineless, sending out weak statements in order to avoid upsetting the corporate apple cart. We will get nothing from those in our government because they are owned, they recieve their marching orders from the rich and powerful. The 1960s were when the Civil Rights Movement, a mere 50 years ago. Our Conservative Supreme Court Judges ripped apart the Voting Rights Act. I have a very difficult time understanding why these people are so obtuse. Why do they hate so much? Why does this hate pervade our society? Can the media be blamed for all of it? Of course not, ignorance seems to be embraced in our country. People speak of the Constitution, but know nothing about it. The loudest speaker gets the most attention. Sadly that is typically a Ted Cruz or a Sarah Palin.

I believe the militarization of our police has a purpose. Conservatives keep talking about President Obama taking away our rights. I say bull shit to that. That is conservatives mirroring their intentions to keep the focus off of them. Many say that we have become an oligarchy. I believe we are headed to a method of feudalism. Our debt will make us indentured servants,to work their factories and fields. The cops will become their military as our states separate. Conservatives want a group of states with a “defanged” federal government, essentially creating 50 autonomous countries. They will eradicate as many of the poor and minorities that they can. Then live as kings. They will eventually fight amongst each other or be destroyed by Russia or China. The police state is the wealthy jump starting their vision.

I reread this and thought, I sound a little deranged. But, what if………

Wilkes-Barre, a town in need of serious help.

I live in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. I have lived here the majority of my life. Growing up it was a decent community. The crime was never really out of control and people tended to look out for one another. Murders were relatively non-existent. It had your typical crimes like any other community. It was a nice place to live.

It has changed quite a bit over the years. Drug use and peddling has decimated this once pleasant community. Wilkes-Barre is located between New York and Philadelphia. It apparently looked like an easy target for the drug pushers. In 2013 we have had 13 murders, more per capita then parts of New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City. All but 2 of these murders were connected with drugs, with the majority being committed by people from outside the area.

There are about 41,000 people living in the city. We have 81 police officers. We are supposed to have 91, but our mayor does not believe we need a full complement. 7 officers recently retired and there are at least 4 that were hurt while on duty. 2 of which most likely will not return. So that leaves us at 74 officers. Mayor Tom Leighton recently said the city was hiring 10 officers. He neglected to mention the retirees. He also said he doesn’t believe there is a crime problem in Wilkes-Barre. It seems as if his head is buried in the sand.

Facebook is used by 40% of the people in the U.S. daily. As much garbage that you find on there, you also find some very useful sites. I follow several Crime Watch pages, with Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch 2 being my preferred page. Before I go on I would like to say that I know the Police work hard. I know that it is a difficult job. I believe our area needs at least 100 if not 120 officers to stop the disintegration of our community. But daily we here about calls being put on hold. Officers having to wait to go on a call because they do not have an officer to assist them. There are 6 Cops on the streets during all three shifts. Does anyone believe this is enough?

Wilkes-Barre spent a large sum of money to put cameras up around the city. None of them seem to work. What is the use? The mayor has been called out for shady deals on local properties. He is very dismissive of citizens who question him at City Council meetings. He has called citizens names at these proceedings. The city pays for his alarm system at his home. During his tenure as mayor the city has progressively gone downhill. Taxes are raised, garbage bags cost more, permits cost more, recycling fee and all other city fees have gone up. Yet t hth e city no longer cleans the streets and cannot hire more officers. We also recive money from the Casino, the naming of a local ice rink and parking meters. Where is all of this money going?

If a city is having the amount of trouble Wilkes-Barre is, why are they nit asking for help? Why are the State Police not involved? Why are other local police forces only used on occasion? Why is the DEA or FBI not involved to help with the drug problem? Why are citizens calling about drug deals being made out of a house for 2 years and nothing has been done? Why are arrest records being fudged? Why are people that were busted for drugs on the street? Why are those said people on bail and being busted for murder? These are some of the issues facing Wilkes-Barre. Why are we not getting answers for our questions?

Growing up I could walk all over my neighborhood. Now I don’t let my daughters go anywhere. The tax base is shrinking in our area because people are leaving. Who wants to deal with this? I believe Wilkes-Barre has reached a breaking point. If something is not done soon, we will face a mass exodus. There is no reason this can’t be the city my parents knew. It is time to fix our broken city.

Mississippi’s slippery anti-abortion slope.

                 On March 14,  2009, 31 weeks into her pregnancy, Nina Buckhalter gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. She named her Hayley Jade. 2 months later, a Grand Jury in Lamar County, Mississippi indicted Buckhalter for manslaughter. The D.A. argued that tge methamphetamine in Buckhalter’s system caused Hayley Jade’s death. The State Supreme Court heard arguements on April 2 and is expected to rule soon on whether the prosecution can move forward.

If prosecutors prevail in this case, the state sets a dangerous precedent. That unintentional pregnancy loss can be treated as a form of homocide. Mississippi’s manslaughter laws were not set up to apply to stillbirths or miscarriages. Four times between 1998-2002, Mississippi lawmakers rejected proposals that would set specific penalties for damaging a fetus by using illegal drugs.

Mississippi’s prosecutors claim that 2 other state laws allow them to charge Buckhalter. One defines manslaughter as the killing of a human being, by the act, procurement or culpable negligence of another. The other states that an unborn child at every stage of gestation, from conception to live birth is included in the state’s definition of human beings. Obviously the second reasob violates Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that is U.S. Constitional law. In the U.S. Federal Law is the law of the land, therefore it supersedes state laws.

The cause of any stillbirth or miscarriage is difficult to determine. Many experts believe there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to drugs in utero can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. But this opens the door to charge women for drinking herbal tea, eating unpasteurized cheese and lunch meats, all of which Doctors recomend against. If a women had a miscarriage after drinking herbal tea, could she be charged with manslaughter?

Critics are also saying that Buckhalter is collateral damage in Mississippi’s abortion wars. In 2011 there was a State Ballot Initiative to grant full rights to fertilized eggs, which would make all abortions illegal all of the time. The measure failed, but Pro-Life supporters vow to try again in 2015 and lawmakers are attempting to close the State’s last abortion clinic. The unintended cause of this case could be more women seeking abortions, for fear of being prosecuted.

Republicans believe they can force religious beliefs on the American public. If the Constitution diesnt say what they want, it can be avoided by nullification, which is CONSTITUTIONALY ILLEGAL. Democrars work within the confines if the Constitution, as does President Obama, who many Republicans refer to as a dictator. Simply put, the Supreme Court said abortion was legal until the viability of the fetus, which us about 23-25 weeks. It is FEDERAL LAW, which I cannot say enough, supersedes state laws. We are not a loose coalition of countries, we are the United States if America.

That being said I think anyone the does drugs, drinks or smokes cigarettes while pregnant are selfish and irresponsible. Charging them for manslaughter when it cannot be conclusively proven is an abuse if the law. Try charging them with negligence and move on from there. I am not an expert, but on this my opinion of drug use certainly effects my opinions. But that being said, can you charge a wonen for not breast feeding, that is supposed to be the healthiest way to feed a child. There are studies that suggest that not breast feeding causes health problems later in life. So are you going to charge a woman for using formula. It is a slippery slope.

Governor Corbett blames high unemployment numbers in Pa. on jobless using drugs.

                    Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania explains away poor job numbers, saying that most unemployed are on drugs. He is battling an uphill battle trying to keep his post as governor. He has a negative job approval rating and the states slow economic recovery are both working against him. The states unemployment rate dropped to 7.9%, but the number of people working in Pa. tumbled about 14,000 employees in March, following a drop of 6,000 in February. Private job creations has remained flat for over a year, growing by 1,000 jobs and leaving the state ranked 49th in the country in job creations.

              In trying to explain away Pennsylvania’s less than stellar jobs performance, he argued that the state gained 111,000 private sector jobs, since he took office. He insists Pennsylvania is doing better than other states on his watch. He grew defensive when interviewed and complained that a lot of bussineses are having trouble filling job openings because many Pennsylvanians use illegal drugs.

               A Quinnipac University Polling Institute Poll released recently found Corbett trailing potential Democratic opponents by at least 9 percentage points. His approval rating has been in steady decline. He has been linked directly to several scandals and many of his ideas have been met with cynicism because of his overly friendly relationship with the Natural Gas Drilling Industry. His aattempts to alter the state pension funds have been called unconstitutional and have been held up. His cuts to education have been well documented, as well as the fact he has received over $1 million from Natural Gas Drillers since becoming governor.

       Earlier this year a Pennsylvania state senator introduced a bill requiring drug testing of all recipients and applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Pa. The state is currently conducting a pilot program. 19 counties across the Commonwealth have started testing only those who have been convicted of felony drug offenses.

               This isn’t the first time Governor Corbett has attacked the jobless. During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, he said many jobless are just going to sit there and not seek work until their unemployment benefits run out. It also worth noting that since Corbett took over as governor, Pennsylvania’s record on jobs has deteriorated. In 2011 the year Corbett took office, just 1.8% of workers in Federally regulated industries failed drug tests. Typical of a Republican to bland the people for his failings.

            Pennsylvania has been torn under Governor Corbett. Republicans and Democrats are in constant state of disagreement. Of the 100 people I have asked, I know alot of people who hate President Obama, 83 of them said they are unhappy with Corbett and will vote for someone else. It is not the most sophisticated poll, but it does show a small concensus about his performance. I guess he is not called One Term Tommy because he will be reelected.

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Can gun violence really be blamed on movies and video games?

             The NRA and Republicans continuing trying to blame movies and video games for mass killings and gun violence. I know when I play a violent video game no one geyser killed but the fake people on the screen. Just like watching a violent movie doesn’t cause any deaths, other than the fake on screen ones.

               Our society has changed drastically over my lifetime. Morals have changed, that alone causes people to think differently. We live in a society where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Where the poor are demonized as leeches who suck the life out of government and the rich made all their money by themselves. All of these things contribute to a desperation in the poorer communities that causes a lot of crimes.

                Mental illness also seems more prevelant. Remember Reagan throwing people out of hospitals that helpers with mental issues. Many people do not have health insurance because they cannot afford it. This leaves people in a bad spot, unable to get help or medicine to assist them with their mental issues. Thus also leads to violent crimes.

               Drugs are also very common in the poorer neighborhoods. Selling drugs seems to some to be their way out of struggles. The upward mobility in this country is almost non-existent. Corporations are making millions, but still not hiring, and if they do it is part time with no benefits. This leaves people scrambling just as bad.

            The 2 common denominators here are poor people and guns. But mass killings aren’t being done by poor people. That removes one denominator and only leaves GUNS. If we take steps to make it more difficult to get a gun, just like Republicans are doing with abortion, maybe we can prevent deaths. Background checks can weed out criminals and others with mental problems. Assault Weapons Bans keeps those weapons in police and soldiers hands. High Capacity Magazine Bans save lives by making them change clips.

             Democrats cannot let the NRA win on this. We must bring it up fir vote again very soon and show them the people are important. 90% of us want it and we will get it. We are Democracy, corporations are not.

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Is the use of antibiotics on livestock causing antibiotic resistant bacteria.

            For decades the meat industry has denied ant problem with its reliance on routine, everyday antibiotic use for the nations chickens, cows and pigs. Antibiotic use on livestock farms has surged in recent years- from 20 million pounds annually in 2003 to 30 million pounds in 2011. Over the same period, the entire human population has consumed 8 million pounds per year. Which means that livestock farms now suck in 80% of the antibiotics consumed in the U.S. Meanwhile the industry routinely churns out meat containing an array of antibiotic resistant pathogens.

                The meat industry does not seem to take any of this seriously. The websites of the major industry trade groups, the American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, all insist current antibiotic practices are safe. The main reason they can claim this with a straight face is that while scientists have long suspected that drug resistant pathogens can jump from antibiotic treated animals to humans, its been notoriously difficult to prove. The obstacle is ethics, you wouldn’t want to extract, antibiotic resistant salmonella from a turkey and inject it into a person just to see what happens. The risk of what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention politely calls treat and failure, death, would be to great. But this reason is fraying quickly. The latest gene sequence study from Denmark that documents 2 cases of MRSA, a deadly antibiotic resistant staph infection, jumping from farm animals to people.

          After analyzing the mutations of the MRSA strains in the women and animals, the researchers concluded that it had been circulating among the livestock before jumping to the people. This study comes on the heels of a 2012 paper by a consortium of U.S. and European researchers. It used gene sequencing to show that another common strainer of MTSA originated in humans as a common staph infection, jumped to livestock, where it evolved resistance to the common antibiotics tetracycline and methicillin and then jumped back to humans. If course you can also contract antibiotic resistant pathogens through contanct with raw meat. For example, more than 109 people did when the agribusiness giant Cargill sent out 10s of millions of pounds of ground turkey tainted with antibiotic resistant salmonella in 2011.

         The studies shine a hard light on another key industry claim. The public needn’t worry about antibiotic use on farms because the FDA has extensive guidelines about how antibiotics must be used to ensure the safety for both humans and animals. It is true the FDA has limited the use of a few specific antibiotics on farms. But the GDA was restricting antibiotics that weren’t used anymore.

              In fact the FDA offers only voluntary guidelines on judicious use. In fact antibiotic use on feedlots is a free for all. The FDA operates with very little information about the gusher of antibiotics entering factory farms is being used. Both the animal pharmaceutical industry and the livestock industry treat most data on antibiotic use as a tightly held secret. How much of the 30 million pounds of antibiotics now used on factory farms goes to sick animals and how much goes to making them grow faster? None of this is public information.

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