Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chutzpah

The Houghton-Mifflin dictionary defines Chutzpah as "Utter nerve; effrontery." It is a word that has its roots in the Yiddish language, and more often than not, conveys a sense of the negative.

Wikipedia defines "public trust" as:

"The concept of the public trust relates back to the origins of democratic government and its seminal idea that within the public lies the true power and future of a society; therefore, whatever trust the public places in its officials must be respected."
Chutzpah is the nicest way we can describe yesterday's announcement that Steve Maitland has thrown his hat in the ring for a vacant seat on the bench in Adams County. The County's population topped 100,000, so we get a fourth sitting judge.

We don't know what else to say except this: holding public office includes holding the public trust. The two are as inexorably linked as bees and pollen. Without the pollen, the bees can make honey, but each cycle there would be fewer blossoms to pollenate. Eventually only a rare blossom, and an even more rare bee. Having a public official who does not work to maintain the public trust means that you do not have a public official, you have an elected official who is serving himself.

We believe that is what happened with Steve Maitland during the last terms in office as the Representative in the 91st Legislative District. Maitland introduced very little legislation in his 14 years in office, so there is little to recommend his skills as a legislator. But at the end, he became involved with the infamous "Midnight Payraise" instituted by corrupt members of the legislature and the State Supreme Court, and with at least the tacit approval of Governor Rendell and his administration. They raped the taxpayer's wallets, and betrayed the public trust. Given the opportunity to rectify the situation, the legislature and the Courts refused to back down, citing that what they did was "legal". Well, "legal" it might have been [and it is still an open question], but moral and ethical it was not. So blinded by greed and hubris it took the unseating of a well ensconced State Supreme Court Justice, and the near unseating of another to get their attention. They repealed the pay raise, which included the language that allowed them to take their raise in advance by dint of a fabication of State Supreme Court Justice Ralph Cappy and legislative leadership, the "unvouchered expense."

Taxpayer uproar went up a notch when many legislators refused to return the advanced money they had collected. Some gave it to charity, others simply returned it. Still others, among them Steve Maitland, refused to return it, despite public and private pleas for him to "do the right thing." Sadly, those same corrupt officials, many of whom were unceremoniously dumped out of office over the next two elections, butchered the repeal, not including the unvouchered expense, and barring it from being counted toward pension benefits. So the legislators pensions are inflated by money they received unethically.

Maitland was turned out in a primary by voters in his own party by our current Representative Dan Moul, a man who in one term has accomplished more for his constituents and for the state than Maitland did in fourteen years.

We use the term hubris. The Literary Dictionary defines hubris thus:

"hubris [hew‐bris] or hybris, the Greek word for ‘insolence’ or ‘affront’, applied to the arrogance or pride of the protagonist in a tragedy in which he or she defies moral laws or the prohibitions of the gods. The protagonist's transgression or hamartia leads eventually to his or her downfall, which may be understood as divine retribution or nemesis. Hubris is commonly translated as ‘overweening (i.e. excessively presumptuous) pride’. In proverbial terms, hubris is thus the pride that comes before a fall."
We cite as an example of hubris the farewell speech Maitland gave to the House of Representative in which he stated that the voters didn't know how lucky they were to have him as their Representative [or words to that effect]. We responded then, and repeat that response, that Steve Maitland didn't know how lucky he was to have that position. He left bitter and angry, and to this day has never apologized or made any attempt to return the money he kept from a pay raise that was repealed. He still has his myopic hubris-glasses on.

He is not alone in this, there are others, as well, and most of them were also thrown out of office. [The Judges of the state went to court to keep their raises and in a very self-serving decision by the state Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille, who would later be elevated to Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, possibly for his "good work" on the pay raise case, the state's judiciary got to keep their pay raise.]

Perhaps Maitland thinks the voters have forgotten why he was thrown out of office by his own party. Apparently he has. The voters have not, and will not.

Today, Maitland practices law, a gift from the taxpayers and voters of Pennsylvania. He used his "unvouchered expense" money to pay for law school, and maybe for his backyard pool.

We say this: We believed Maitland to be unfit for public office three years ago, and nothing he has said or done has, or can change that belief. He is the same man he was when he voted for the Midnght Payraise, took the "unvouchered expense" money, and kept the "unvouchered expense" money after the raise was repealed, refusing flat out to return a single penny of it by claiming he deserved it because he didn't steal from the taxpayers all those other 14 years in office, and using it for law school would make him a better legislator. Hello?

And he wants us now to elect him to the bench where he will mete out justice to those who come before him?!!??

That's chutzpah. That's hubris.

Not with ethics like those. And those ethics, in our opinion, make him unqualified for a seat on the Adams County -- or any other bench.

And that means, ABSOLUTELY NOT!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Latschar to remain as Gettysburg Superintendent

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Northeast Regional Office
200 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

For immediate Release

Latschar to remain in current post as Gettysburg Superintendent

Gettysburg Superintendent John Latschar will remain in his current post, reversing his decision to retire and become president of the Gettysburg Foundation. Latschar made the decision following advice by Department of the Interior ethics officials that would have severely curtailed his ability to work with the park in his new role with the Foundation.

“When initially approached to consider heading the Gettysburg Foundation, Superintendent John Latschar did what any responsible federal employee should do,” said National Park Service Northeast Regional Director Dennis R. Reidenbach. “He contacted National Park Service ethics officials, and he also contacted me as his supervisor.”

When initially informed by the Washington office in October 2008 that there was no ethical issue in accepting the position, Latschar announced his retirement. Subsequently, Department of Interior ethics officials issued supplemental guidance because of Latschar’s involvement in developing agreements between the Foundation and the NPS.

"The Foundation obviously would have been honored to have John as its next president," said Foundation President Robert C. Wilburn. "But we are thrilled that he will continue to facilitate our successful partnership as superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park." A search committee to find Wilburn’s successor is in place; Wilburn will postpone his departure from the Foundation until a successor is named.

“I had been looking forward to the challenges of moving to the private sector and working for the Gettysburg Foundation,” said Superintendent John Latschar. “However, I can't complain about going back to the best job in the National Park Service as Superintendent of Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS. We'll now redouble our efforts to make our wonderful partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation the best that the National Park Service has ever seen.”

The Gettysburg Foundation’s loss is the National Park Service’s gain, and I am happy that John chose to remain as Superintendent,” said Reidenbach. “The situation with the ethics guidance was unfortunate, but John Latschar and the Gettysburg Foundation have always maintained the highest ethical standards possible.”

--NPS--


Experience Your America
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

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GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Local Connections with Principles and Promise

Edmund Burke wrote, “All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Fortunately, we in the Gettysburg, Adams Hanover area are represented by two men who are not known for doing nothing. These are two men of action, who are guided by their moral compasses and personal principles.

We recently had the opportunity to interact with our local State Representative, Dan Moul, and our Congressional Representative, Todd Platts.

We can say with complete candor that we are in good hands -- with both men.

Dan Moul is a good, devoted, solid family man, a hard worker who still includes his family in his life. His values are our values. He is a smart legislator, as well, having educated himself during his first term. A measure of the respect the local populace has for Mr. Moul can be seen in the fact that he had no opponent in the last election, his second term.

Todd Platts, is a man who respects those who serve, or served in the US Military. He has made several trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, visiting troops, and carrying messages back and forth between our troops and their families. And it doesn't always mean only the families of his constituents. A hard working family man also, Mr. Platts has done a wonderful job for us in Washington, even standing his ground on the rush to judgement concerning the enormous bailouts Congress is handing out with little or no accountability.

We are fortunate to have such good men representing us. We suspect they will move on up in a few years, but we believe they will always have our interests in mind.

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A new conservative blog has appeared and we wanted to alert you to it. A New Republican is a consevative blog authored by two recent graduates of Gettysburg College. These are bright, bright eyed young people, who are a big part of how the Republican Party will adjust to the needs of the Country. They are both super-patriots, who are well grounded, and full of the promise of a life full of meaning. These two will go a long way, and will become very influential. We will hear from them along the way.

Pay a visit to the New Republican!

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reading the Signs

Reading the Signs I

According to the Wikipedia entry on "Vandals":

The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Goth Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths and regent of the Visigoths, was allied by marriage with the Vandals as well as with the Burgundians and the Franks under Clovis I.

The Vandals are perhaps best known for their sack of Rome in 455. Although they were not notably more destructive than others, the high regard which later European cultures held for ancient Rome led to the association of the name of the tribe with persons who cause senseless destruction, particularly in diminution of aesthetic appeal or destruction of objects that were completed with great effort...

..."Vandalism" is from the French vandalisme, which originated during the French revolution. On August 31, 1794, there was an explosion of the powder mill of Grenelle in Paris. The Abbot Grégoire denounces vandalism (it is the first time that this term is employed).**

It has been speculated that the Arabic term for Muslim Spain Al Andalus is possibly derived from the berber pronunciation of Vandal: "Ouandal". *

*vandals - Definitions from Dictionary.com

The attack the other day on the Eternal Peace Light Memorial on the north end of the Gettysburg Battlefield was as dastardly an attack as the Park has ever seen, with possible permanent damage to the memorial in several places.

The people who did it are indeed guilty at least of moronic behavior. They are sociopaths as is evidenced by their oppositional behavior and lack of respect for the bounds of society. Sadly, we have no other idea of why this was done to a memorial to Peace, other than senseless vandalism. People do not protest Peace. People don't taunt the authorities, either as these "pinheads" have done.

We are incensed at this senseless vandalism and have decided to offer a $100 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who perpetrated this crime. We have notified the National Park Service to this effect.
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Reading the Signs II

It has the stink of death about it. It is not a sudden thing, though the ultimate end certainly will be sudden. But it began months ago as a long slow glide down the slope to its ultimate demise.

And so begins the death watch for the Gettysburg Times.

Recently, a drop in local advertising [spurred by a drop in circulation???], led to an expansion of coverage area to include the Emmitsburg, Maryland Area. Emmitsburg's weekly paper died about a year ago, and left what was a small gem in a large void in the Emmitsburg area. So the Gettysburg Times decided to attempt to fill the void.

Unfortunately, there is hardly enough advertising revenue and subscriptions in the Emmitsburg area to support the added expense involved in both selling ad space, and reporting the news from there.

Recently, the Gettysburg Times has gotten much thinner.

Recently, the Gettysburg Times has run a Police and Fire Log two columns wide in very large type. Apparently the editor and the compositor, who may very well be the same person, had too much page 3 space to fill. This is another sign of the demise of the newspaper.

Recently the Gettysburg Times, citing bad economic times, outsourced home delivery of its print editions.

Recently the Gettysburg Times printed an unattributed, opinion piece on its front page as if it was news, in its efforts to push their agenda of backing the expensive new football stadium at the high school. It took two days for the author to be identified, and no apology or explanation as to which editor authorized the front page publication of the piece which at best was little more than a PSA on behalf of the Gettysburg Education Foundation.

Not so recently, and continuing since, the word has gotten around town that if you want to read about Gettysburg, subscribe to the Hanover Evening Sun.

The fact of the matter is that print media around the country have become opinion mongers, rather than dispassionate news disseminators. Politics has controlled the editorial desks of almost all newspapers in this country, and each one has developed a social agenda to go along with their politics.

The agenda of the Gettysburg Times is about as pro-development as a newspaper can get. The valid reason for the above reference to the Hanover Evening Sun starts in the news articles on township meetings. General news, and vagueries are what the Gettysburg Times prints, seldom any detail as to size and scope of development being discussed, or of any issues that might have arisen during the meeting. John Messeder is a master of this, and Scot[t] Pitzer has been learning at his feet. Contrast the work of the reporters from the Sun, and you will quickly see a totally different story than what the Times prints. This doesn't mean the Sun is not pro-development -- it is very much so -- but at least it does not filter the news to keep the taxpayers in the dark.

Contrast the editorial policies of the two newspapers, and you get a clear, though sometimes flip-flopping policy from Marc Charisse at the Sun. At the Times there is...well, can anyone remember when the Times published an editorial by its own editor [presumably B.J. Small, but sightings of him are rare these days!]?

The masthead on the front page of the New York Times boasts "All the news that's fit to print!" Sadly, that once great newspaper has fallen on hard times because it has lost its way. It no longer prints "All the news that's fit to print!", printing instead all the news its editors think you should be allowed to read.

The Gettysburg Times has practiced that policy for years. Doing so has set its course for self-destruction because it has a diminishing readership that increasingly loses its trust in the paper, and finds its new conveniently at hand from another source in another city. For years, coverage of the Gettysburg Area has been light years better, and more honest, in the Evening Sun than the Gettysburg Times.

Editorial excess occurs when the editorship of a news organ becomes so convinced that he or she knows so much better what is good for his readers that he begins force-feeding a strict diet to them. The Gettysburg Times is, like many, indeed most, of the newspapers in the nation, guilty of such excess, and of the intellectual dishonesty that goes with it.

The epitaph of the Times will not be long in coming. Perhaps someone will buy the paper before it goes under, and perhaps they will at least attempt to resurrect it with an honest editorial policy. But they will have a huge hole to climb out of to achieve success. We doubt the current ownership and editorial board have it in them to make the kind of changes necessary. Current ownership betrayed the taxpayers with their backing of the super-expensive high school football stadium.

Newspaper deaths are a sad spectacle. We can only pray that they come to their senses sooner rather than later, though they will be in a diminished role thanks to the Internet. Nevertheless, there will always be a need to tell the taxpayers what goes on in Straban and Cumberland Township meetings, and Gettysburg Borough Council.

GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

David Wills House Opening February 12

Gettysburg National Military Park and Main Street Gettysburg Press Release

For Release: January 7, 2009

Explore Lincoln and the Aftermath of Battle at the David Wills House, Opening February 12

“After the battle, Gettysburg became a vast hospital and morgue: dead and wounded soldiers outnumbered civilians eleven to one,” - so begins the Battle’s Aftermath exhibit at the David Wills House, opening February 12 in downtown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as part of Gettysburg National Military Park.
For the first time ever, the National Park Service has created a museum to tell the story of the aftermath of battle, and Lincoln’s visit to the give the Gettysburg Address. “The home of David Wills, a prominent citizen of the town, become ground zero in Gettysburg’s recovery effort, with Wills himself fulfilling the roles of the CDC, the Red Cross, and FEMA combined,” says Dr. John A. Latschar, Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park.

In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday on February 12, the David Wills House will celebrate an official ribbon cutting, offering visitors a new look at the little-known story of the aftermath at Gettysburg and Lincoln’s visit to give the Gettysburg Address. Grand Opening events will take place throughout 2009 – Lincoln’s bicentennial year.

The museum includes seven galleries filled with displays, original artifacts, and featuring two films: “Battle Ground to Hallowed Ground” which explores Cemetery Hill’s transition from a Union army defensive position to the site of the National cemetery; and “A Brief but Immortal Speech” which investigates the meaning of the Gettysburg Address from November 19, 1863, to today.

Two rooms are restored to their 1863 appearance: Wills' office as he received letters from families looking for loved ones after the battle and began planning for the cemetery and its dedication; and the bedroom where Lincoln stayed and prepared to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

Main Street Gettysburg will operate the museum located at 8 Lincoln Square in downtown Gettysburg, in partnership with the National Park Service. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places and has just had a $ 7.2 million overhaul to rehabilitate its historic features and develop the museum exhibits.

Winter operating hours will be Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In spring and fall the hours will be Tuesdays through Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In summer the hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

On February 12 admission will be free to all. Regular entrance fees will be $6.50 for Adults; $5.50 for Seniors; $4.00 for Youth (6-18); and Children 5 and under are free. For group tour reservations call toll-free: 866-486-5735.

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Main Street Gettysburg is a nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation and economic revitalization of Gettysburg for the benefit of its citizens, businesses, and visitors. For information about the benefits of becoming a David Wills House Charter Guardian, contact Main Street Gettysburg at 866-486-5735 or at http://www.davidwillshouse.org/.

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American History. Information is available at www.nps.gov/gett.

NPS
-END-
GettysBLOG

We support the Roadmap to Reform!

“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.