Last updated: March 16. 2013 11:39PM - 467 Views

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Mountain Top needs a gym to pump us up

Mountain Top needs a gym or a fitness center.

After North East Gym and Fitness went out of business the only gym close and easily accessible to the people of Mountain Top is now gone.

The people of this town don't want to drive 15 to 20 minutes to Wilkes-Barre to work out. I am included in this group of people.

We need another gym up here pronto.

RailRiders' name/mascot match regional history

As you may know, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees were changed to the RailRiders and the new mascot is a porcupine. There has been a lot of criticism over the new name and mascot that I believe isn't deserved.

The railroad systems were a major part of our area's history and really shaped our community. The Laurel Line connected Wilkes-Barre to Scranton and was another major factor in coming up with the new name.

Many people say the porcupine as the mascot doesn't make any sense.

However, I like the fact that it is the only professional sports team to use the American porcupine as an official mascot. For the people that think that the mascot should logically be a locomotive, I would ask them to think outside the box.

The porcupine will be a great marketing item among all ages and especially with younger children. I believe that the name and mascot change was a great idea and should be supported throughout the community

Political party tailspin calls for more balance

Imagine a bird with only one wing.

It can't fly. If you would throw it off a cliff, it would spin round and round until it crashed.

Now think of the political spectrum in the United States. It is missing its left wing. All of the industrialized nations have a functioning Communist Party and several Socialist parties (including a Christian Socialist party). But in the United States, none of these parties is ever mentioned in the media.

The reason? These parties tend to blame U.S. corporations (advertisers) for our current mess rather than government.

Now that left-wing parties have been demonized and their views excluded from the media by corporations, left-wing positions have been pushed to the center, over a cliff and to the right.

The center of world politics is now called the left by the U.S. media corporations, and the Democratic Party has been forced to that center.

There is no room on the left, but all the room in the world on the right. So, Republicans have no alternative but to go further to the right.

We now have plain conservative Republicans (currently without a role in the party), Libertarians to the right of conservatives, and reactionaries like the tea party, representing the largest corporations and richest Americans

The Republican minority in this country has only one option: they can get elected only by rigging the elections.

The red states have enacted voter-ID laws, shorter voting periods, gerrymandering, and now are proposing representation by congressional district in the electoral college to rig elections in their favor.

In the last election, the Democratic House candidates received 1.5 million more votes than Republicans, yet the minority retained control of the House.

The bird needs a left wing if for no other reason than to return balance to our political system, if not sanity.

TL education editorial earns an ‘F' for sense

The Jan. 10, 2013, editorial, A failing grade on common sense, claims that Governor Tom Corbett is out to make education look bad by transitioning from the 11th-grade PSSAs to the Keystone Exams; however, the premise of the editorial is seriously flawed.

In fact, when the state Department of Education was planning the implementation of the Keystone Exams this school year, the Corbett Administration spoke with the U.S. Department of Education about waiving the adequate yearly progress requirement for high school students during the shift from the 11th-grade PSSA to the Keystone Exams.

Unfortunately, the federal government rejected that idea due to the fact that it would, in its opinion, violate the federal No Child Left Behind law.

As a result, students who graduate this year through 2016 will only take the three Keystone Exams to determine adequate yearly progress. These are not required for graduation purposes until 2017.

While we wish the transition process to the Keystones was more meaningful, the federal government would not offer any flexibility and required us to test high school students with these exams.

Also, it's important to note that the 11th-grade PSSA has always included content juniors were not exposed to since their freshmen year. Remember, in the core subject areas – math, reading, writing and science -- one year builds upon the next as students' progress through high school.

The Keystone Exams are quite different: they are taken by students at the end of the course, regardless if a student is in eighth, ninth or tenth grade.

Unfortunately, your editorial misinforms the public.

Questioning the need for high-powered weapons

Who is it, exactly, who needs his or her own personal weapons of mass destruction?

I can see the military needing such weapons, even the police, but who among us actually needs these assault weapons?

Did you know that these weapons are specifically designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest time. They're not designed to kill the most deer or rabbits or ducks as possible in the shortest time, just people.

And what about high-capacity ammunition magazines and bullets that explode on impact?

Does your neighbor need such things? Not likely.

And by the way, the NRA is a gun manufacturer's lobby, so don't count on them to be neutral.

They want to sell lots of personal weapons of mass destruction.

Send us your opinion

Letters to the editor must include the writer's name, address and daytime phone number for verification. Letters should be no more than 250 words. We reserve the right to edit and limit writers to one published letter every 30 days.

• Email: mailbag@timesleader.com

• Fax: 570-829-5537

• Mail: Mail Bag, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 1871 1

Shanon Ross Mountain Top Brian Markowski Mountain Top Robert E. Beard Lewisburg Ron Tomalis Secretary of Education Pennsylvania Department of Education Ed Cole Clarks Summit

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