Sounding off: Was Trump's sex assault apology fake news?
“I didn't do it but I won't do it again.”
I usually associate those words with some corporate lackey defending his boss following a legal settlement where the plaintiff has signed an agreement not to reveal the big bucks paid by the offender. Denying guilt while writing a big check is central to the deal.
The “won't do it again” part should be expected with any sincere apology. The cash settlement substitutes for any expressed apology, a means of making the issue disappear without admitting wrongdoing. Apologizing is treated as weakness.
When then-candidate Donald Trump apologized after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, people had reason to expect that not only would he not do or say again what was taped, but more importantly, that the apology was sincere.
A recent New York Times story raised doubt about Trump's sincerity, indicating that three separate sources say he now challenges the tape's authenticity. Say what? What happened to “I said it. I was wrong. I apologize”? Does this mean he no longer admits to sexual assault as is captured on the tape? Was his apology fake news?
Has he succeeded in transforming the party of “The Gipper” into that of “The Groper,” led by someone who didn't do it but won't do it again?
Glenn R. Plummer, Unity
Tuesday, Dec. 26
Electricity deregulation works
Pennsylvania lawmakers in 1996 passed legislation to deregulate the electricity sector and promote customer choice. As a result, electricity prices decreased and are now below the national average.
Due to pressure from nuclear power generators, state policymakers around the nation have handed out ratepayer-funded subsidies in a misguided effort to keep these old, expensive plants afloat. The Department of Energy recently directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to meddle with competitive markets nationwide to subsidize nuclear power. The result of such actions will mean higher electricity rates for Pennsylvania.
The emergence of low-cost energy such as natural gas has resulted in the creation of thousands of jobs, the investment of billions of dollars of private capital and the construction and operation of new, clean gas power plants throughout the commonwealth.
Dynegy owns and operates three highly efficient power plants in Pennsylvania. We pay $1.6 million in state and local taxes annually. Our Fayette facility provides more than 20 family-sustaining local jobs and produces enough electricity to keep the lights on in more than a half-million area homes.
We don't have anything against nuclear power. We just don't think customers should be forced to pay a premium for it.
Tom Buelter, Masontown
The writer is managing director of Dynegy Energy's Fayette Energy Facility.
Sunday, Dec. 24
Constructing women's careers
In 1986, I was one of the few female candidates to apply to the Western Pennsylvania Operating Engineers Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program. With the help of many forward-thinking leaders, I made it through the training and became an official member. In a rewarding, decades-long career, I have been a part of some of the biggest and most important construction projects in Pennsylvania history and was named to the apprenticeship board of trustees.
Because of my experience, I have become a champion for bringing more women into our program. While progress was slow but steady at first, it went to a new level with Pennsylvania's energy renaissance. The country's need for affordable and reliable energy has spurred numerous pipeline projects, a world-class ethane cracker project and associated infrastructure build-out, which has sparked an unprecedented workforce demand — and unprecedented levels of female participation in the industry.
I'm happy to say that the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66 has some of the best women running cranes, bending pipe and running excavators. They have stepped up to the plate and broken that ceiling. If you are a woman with a strong work ethic and think you have what it takes to become an operating engineer, I encourage you to look into our apprenticeship program.
Tammy Geanangel, O'Hara
The writer is director of marketing for IUOE Local 66.
Monday, Dec. 25
Ordinary people don't want coal mine
Americans should be outraged at President Trump's revoking of coal-mining regulations designed to protect our streams, air and health. In February, he revoked regulations against coal-mining debris being dumped into our streams, and now is reconsidering rules designed to protect miners from breathing coal dust and diesel exhaust.
The devastating effects go far beyond coal-fired power plants: Clairton residents have filed a class-action suit against U.S. Steel, claiming air pollution from the Clairton Coke Works has lowered property values and destroyed their health.
And where will the metallurgical coal for coking steel come from over the next 20 years? From a 2,900-acre underground mine in Donegal, gateway to the beautiful Laurel Highlands. Despite significant public protests and well-researched testimony against LCT/Robindale's proposed Rustic Ridge No. 1 mine, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection still approved the mining permit in the same area where $8 million has already been spent to clean up the environmental disasters of previous coal mining.
Once again, the voice of the ordinary citizen has been ignored by both government and industry. Residents in the footprint of this mine are outraged. We are fighting to stop it before one lump of coal is removed from our mountain.
We will be showing our support for the legal appeal filed by the Mountain Watershed Association by going by the busload Jan. 29 for our “day in court” at the Environmental Hearing Board's Pittsburgh office. Like-minded citizens are welcome to join us.
Barbara McMillan, Acme
The writer is on the board of directors for the Mountain Watershed Association and is an associate director of the Westmoreland Conservation District. This letter was submitted as her personal opinion.
Wednesday, Dec. 27
Trump is only hope for our survival
For decades, America-hating billionaire power brokers (George Soros, et al.) in their quest for a one-world government have been turning America into a Third World banana republic.
The game plan: Financially bankrupt the country; control education and the media; promote open borders, citizenship and voting rights for all; break up the family unit; destroy capitalism; erode our freedoms and liberty; and negate the rule of law.
It's about complete control. For example, you thought ObamaCare was a solution to health-care problems. It is not. It is the gateway to socialized medicine.
More insidious, however, is the promoting of our moral bankruptcy by taking God out of all aspects of our lives — by bastardizing the medical profession (performing surgical procedures instead of mandatory psychiatric treatment when Sally thinks she can become Sam) and ignoring thousands of years of tradition of following God's law by calling same-sex unions marriages.
Did it ever occur to you that these are all the product of one party? Do you ever get the feeling that the same puppeteer pulls all of their strings?
If there is any hope for the survival of America, it resides in the White House. He is President Donald Trump.
Rudolph Puchan, Latrobe
Thursday, Dec. 28
Wealthy deserve liberty and freedom
Regarding Joseph Sabino Mistick's commentary “Take a page from Carnegie's ‘gospel'” : To begin, I am nowhere near wealthy. My sole motivation is the retention of liberty and freedom. I know Mistick's heart is in the right place. But as is often the case with liberal policy, he overlooks the most essential concepts of the collective thinking that determines our self-government.
He cites tax loopholes as a motivation for the wealthy to retain the wealth they have accumulated. Perhaps Andrew Carnegie's motivation was guilt.
The essential concept I am referring to is freedom. The wealth obtained by those special people may have resulted from hard work and intelligence or it may have been pure luck. Notwithstanding the reasons, their accumulated wealth has already been taxed in accordance with existing legislated tax policy, and what is left should be theirs to decide what is done.
We may not approve of how their beneficiaries deal with that wealth, but it should be theirs. Otherwise, we are arbitrarily taking away an inherent and vital right of private property. That, in my view, is not “misguided affection.” It is confiscatory policy that is associated with totalitarian forms of government.
Louis F. D'Emilio, Irwin
Friday, Dec. 29
Relief from Trump Derangement Syndrome
Does it anger you when the leader of the free world tweets directly to the people? Did you spend Christmas dinner arguing with relatives over whether our president is in bed with a commie? Do you spend your evenings fuming while watching your “wing's” talk shows?
Are you skipping lunch to tweet nasty comments to the “anti” or “pro” news outlets? Are you tossing and turning “left” then “right” all night long? Are you experiencing headaches, nausea or depression after a day-long political argument? If so, you probably have Trump Derangement Syndrome. TDS is nothing to take lightly. It can lead to lots of bad stuff — exploding veins, facial redness, severe headaches and, in worst cases, heart attack, stroke and even death.
TDS is known to have been preceded by Obama Derangement Syndrome in many cases. Its appearance coincided with the second appearance of Clinton Derangement Syndrome (which began in the early 1990s). Relief can often be obtained by relaxation techniques, shutting off the TV, radio and phone, getting plenty of rest, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Remember, only a trained medical, media or political professional can diagnose if your symptoms truly are TDS. See one as soon as symptoms occur.
Next month's topic: Steelers Derangement Syndrome; not everything is “black and gold.”
Tim Kaczmarek, Harrison
Saturday, Dec. 30