The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 2, 2012

Readers' Forum 10-2 | Writer taken aback by scooter ‘ignorance’

Submitted by Readers

— I took offense to David Frieben’s letter regarding electric scooters (“Electric scooter industry booming,” Sept. 22). 

My disability can’t be seen, touched or smelled. I use a mobility scooter for my safety. It took a while to get over the stigma of ignorant people looking down on me because I don’t look sick. There are days I use my walker or hold on to someone – it depends on how my body is responding to the disease on any specific day.

Frieben’s judgment and lack of empathy aren’t surprising. In this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. It’s just ignorance.

Six percent to 10 percent of Americans suffer from invisible disabilities, including renal failure, diabetes, sleep disorders, lupus, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, arthritis, myalgic encephalomy-elitis, heart disease and many more.

Some of them use scooters on bad days and some don’t. Some use them for short term, some need them forever. Some use them to save their energy for other activities. Read “the spoon theory” at

I prefer kids who point and ask, “Why do you have that?” often to the chagrin of their parents. I tell them honestly, “My legs don’t work all the time and this is safer.”

Sometimes, they ask if it’s “cool” to have a scooter. My answer, “It’s cool to be here talking to you!” 

My scooter keeps me active and engaged with the community.

Cindy Leap


Don’t vote purely on emotions

This letter is in response to Wesley W. Altman’s letter of Sept. 24, “Romney/Congress a disaster waiting.”

Romney was at a private fundraising dinner discussing campaign strategy. They were talking about the best way to invest campaign funds.

There are groups of the populace who never vote, only vote party lines, split their votes and independents. Why would Romney spend funds on those he has no hope of winning? That would not help him.

Also, President Obama doesn’t spend time and money on those he knows will not vote for him. It’s common sense.

As far as hashing over President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and President Clinton, it’s a waste of time. Put it to rest.

Everyone should research both candidates honestly and not base their decisions on emotions. This is one of, if not the, most important elections of our time. This must be taken seriously.

Go see the movie “2016: Obama’s America.” This is not a made-up movie but based on his own written biography.

These are things I don’t like about Altman’s letter, and they are points of antagonism and division:

* Suggesting the start of World War III.

* That Romney cares only for the rich.

* Comments about Medicare to scare the elderly.

* Fear and intimation for the poor and elderly.

* Class warfare.

Can all of us who belive in God humbly bend our knees and say a prayer for our country, our leaders and ourselves?

Dixie Lochrie


Expectations that  are not realistic

The national news media have, and during the Democratic National Convention, numerous news commentators/speakers have, lauded President Obama’s economic policies as successful.

It’s impossible to understand how anyone could come to that conclusion while facing the worst economic recovery since World War II, an 8.1 percent unemployment rate more like 12 percent adjusted for all the people who have dropped out of the labor force, $16 trillion of national debt, the first-ever downgrading of the United States’ credit rating, 46 million people on food stamps and a health care law considered by small-business owners to be the biggest impediment to their hiring more workers.

Plus, a majority of Americans want Obamacare repealed.

And now, in a desperate attempt to prod the economy, the Fed is throwing a Hail Mary pass by announcing another round of monetary easing. This time, however, the program for all intents and purposes will be open-ended – the printing of money for as long as the Fed sees fit. The Fed, with the blessing of Obama, now has officially bet the farm on this failed strategy. (The problem is, it’s not their farm to bet, it’s ours).

If the question is, what needs to be done and how can we fix America? the answer surely is not Obama, for he and his administration have a total disdain for our American Constitution.

If Obama and Democrats consider these past four years a success, I would hate to experience what they would consider a failure.

Ronald F. Budash

Upper Yoder Township

Obama clueless on international protocol

President Obama apologized to the Muslims after their radicals bombed the American Embassy in Libya, killing and butchering our ambassador along with several Navy SEALs.

Then, Obama snubs the prime minister of Israel, one of our strongest allies.

Does Obama know how the president of the United States of America is suppose to react to crisis, or even protocol, with our allies?

And to think that polls are reflecting a possible second-term win.

Not with my vote.

Karen Gaydos


Education leader should focus on students                                               After reading the article in The Tribune-Democrat on Sept. 24, “Teachers facing discipline,” written by Melissa Daniels, I am convinced that the Pennsylvania Department of Education, headed by Ron Tomalis, is living in the Middle Ages.

The article states that “easily over 100 teachers” are to be brought before the Pennsylvania education inquisition because they have been accused of manipulating test scores. Why? Because education funding is based on how well schools perform.

Has Tomalis ever spent time in a distressed school system?

A billion dollars was taken from education funding, which further promotes a feudal system of the “have” and the “have not” school districts.

What does Tomalis expect districts to do? 

How much assistance has Tomalis given to schools, attempting to answer “why” and what help is needed rather than sending his inquisition to lynch teachers?

Is Tomalis supposed to fix the system or to set up court? How many tax dollars have been spent by his staff playing “CSI”?

According to the article, the percentage of Pennsylvania students achieving proficiency under the current testing is not high enough, but testing is to become more rigorous and the bar raised even higher. I see it as setting up more districts and students to fail.

It is time for Tomalis to get off the statistics and testing crusade and concentrate on how to better educate students in the commonwealth.

Jacqueline Hockenberry


Catholic Democrats will defy church

There’s a saying that’s been around for generations: “You can fool all the people some of the time; you can fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

You have to give the devil his due. President Obama has done a fantastic job of fooling some of the people all the time.

Abortion is on the Democratic platform. Catholic Democrats will thumb their noses at their church’s teaching and vote for Obama.

Same-sex marriages is on the platform; same comment. Freedom of conscience is being challenged; same comment. Three times the delegates to the Democratic convention refused to reinstate the name of God; same comment.

St. Peter denied Jesus three times. So did Democratic delegates. Peter repented. I wonder if the delegates ever will.

If Obama wins, it will be the Catholic Democrats who will make it happen.

One thing is obvious. The Democratic Party means far more to the Catholic Democrats than their church’s teaching.

For them, the Democratic Party is in the driver’s seat and the Catholic Church can go sit in the back of the bus.

If you think your grandfather would roll over in his grave if you voted for a Republican, let the man rest in peace – just don’t vote.

Obama will get plenty of votes from the atheists, Planned Parenthood and all the other abortion organizations, homosexuals, free-loaders and all those who the Democrats were able to raise from the dead.

Richard A. Ruth


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