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December 9, 2011     Post-Gazette
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December 9, 2011

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Page8 POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 16, 2011 Simple with Girard A. Plante No Post Office? No Satur- day mail delivery? No assur- ance of first-class mail reaching our mail boxes or getting checks or letters across town or to their des- tinations? Is this nation I awoke in early this morning still the United States of America? What we're witnessing is the dangerous decimation of not a mere daily conve- nience. Rather, the United States Postal Service is still the lifeblood of millions of Americans of all walks of life. A recent factoid in The Washington Post shows that 40 percent of the world's mail is delivered by the USPS to 150 million homes and businesses. No corner mail box for my 84-year-old next door neigh- bor and a trio of 90-some- thing neighbors is time for panic. Their daily walk to the corner keeps them active and vibrant as that grand ritual keeps their bodies in motion. Gives them purpose and an outdoor occ.asion they look forward to. That block- long walk or 'round the cor- ner trek is a regular happen- ing they've lived by their entire lives. Greeting your familiar postal carrier is akin to seeing family. Mail delivery is simply a way of life. Recent decisions by the officials in charge of daily operating the Postal Service are gloom and doom at best. No, the woes of the Postal Service didn't hit overnight, or the past decade. These troubles were long in the making and easily correct- able. At worst, our elective public servants in Congress sat silently as matters worsened. That shameful inaction cannot be comprehended by millions of Americans who still daily depend on the ser- vice to conduct their affairs. Medications are delivered Via the Postal Service. Many recipients of Social Security prefer to get their monthly checks in their mail boxes. And, yes, they still put post- age stamps on envelopes to pay bills or send letters or Christmas cards. Those are a few essential reasons for keeping mail delivery to our homes and businesses that we know it's reliable and ef- ficient despite the Internet age. Villages and small towns will be hardest hit by the decision to close 3,700 post offices and slash 28,000 jobs by next spring. That decision alone is even more absurd than the closure of too many U.S. military bases around the nation in the 1990s. Rural areas will suffer im- measurably as they struggle to receive and send mail. Hours of traveling to the nearest Post Office is dis- heartening to merely pon- der. Importance of commu- nity will be lost. Urban neighborhoods will also lose a large part of their identity without a Post Office nearby. In times of national emer- gency "the Postal Service must be available when planes are grounded, Com- municating via the Internet or Twitter could be affected. So, the seeming outmoded method of communicating is still relevant within the lat- ter possible scenarios. Add in the factor that many older folks lack the skills to oper- ate a computer, don't own one, and care less to learn how to navigate cyberspace. Saving the United States Postal Service is not only about jobs and pensions. Af- ter all, its $8 billion dollar debt is the result of Congress demanding five years ago the Postal Service cover 75 years of its retiree fund within 10 years. Where does such suspect wisdom derive from? Stop playing politics with peoples' lives and get smartl The Postal Service has thrived despite challenges in the past. For example, the advent of the telephone in the 19th century threatened its viability, invention of the Fax machine in the 1950s, and nowadays the Internet has spouted forth the sure- as-hell death knell to the USPS. Each time its resil- iency prevailed. Now it's all up to members of Congress to recognize their constitutional obliga- ~tion to continue to safeguard the public trust. Do the right thing by building up, not tearing down, a worthy and worthwhile institution that Americans need and want. Editorial (Continued from Critics, including many lawmakers, believe the Obama administration is try- ing to curb Christianity from the military. In my further research on this subject, I came upon an informative piece in National Review Online authored by Clifford May and I quote in part. Imagine if Muslims in Europe were being arrested for nothing more than peacefully practicing their religion. Imagine if Muslims in South America were be- ing sentenced to death for "insulting" Jesus. Imagine if mosques were being bombed and burned by terrorists in a growing list of Christian- majority countries Page 3) Now here is what you do not need to imagine because it is all too real: In recent days, Christian churches have been bombed in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria and the Philip- pines. In Indonesia a mob of 1,000 Muslims burned down two Christian churches be- cause, according to one com- mentator, local Islamic au- thorities determined there were "too many faithful and too many prayers." In Iran, scores of Christians have been arrested. In Pakistan, a Christian woman received the death penalty for the "crime" of insulting Islam; the governor of Punjab prom- ised to pardon her -- and was then assassinated for the "crime" of blasphemy. I could provide dozens more examples of the perse- cution and, in many cases, "cleansing" of Christians in what we have come to call the Muslim world. If the situation were reversed, if such a war were being waged against Muslims, it would be the top story in every newspaper, the most urgent item at the U. N., the highest priority of all the big-league human rights groups. Mr. May's insightful article clearly exposes the obstacles America faces in this war on Christianity. We the people have to rise to the occasion as did our forefathers when called on to preserve our nation in its infancy. f ALBANO F. PONTE, CEP Financial and Estate Planning Emai/ a fponte @ msn. com Phone 617-320-0022 MICHAEL F. NOBILE, CPCU A RL ING TON 148A Massachusetts Avenue Arlington, MA 02474 (781) 646-1200 Fax (781) 646-1148 MEDFORD 39 Salem Street Medford, MA 02155 (781) 395-4200 Fax (781) 391-8493 BOS TON 30 Prince Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-6766 Fax (617) 523-0078 Edward P. Shallow reviewing SPEAK NOW' " WORLD TOUR LIVE (CD/DVD) Big Machine Records If your "Wish List" to Santa included a request to have Taylor Swift perform a con- cert in your home, then con- sider your wish granted. This super 2-disc package shines with a CD containing close to 80 minutes of music, with concert, versions from Speak Now, along with interpreta- tions of songs by other artists. The DVD portion is a two-hour music marathon of pleasure, and includes the complete list of 18 songs from the Speak Now concert, plus behind-the- scenes tour footage and home movie clips. Fans get access to Taylor's vision of bringing her songs to life, from perfor- mances and instrumentation to the staging, lighting, costumes and choreography. The total 34 songs on both discs include her Speak Now's three" consecutive #1 singles, and fans can enjoy the music, view her use of five guitars, banjo, ukulele and piano, and also her nine costume changes. So you see, this gift is not just about the songs, it's the chance to en- joy the ultimate "Taylor Swift Experience," from a front-row seat! THE DESCENDANTS - MUSIC FROM THE MOTION PICTURE Sony Masterworks The motion picture sound- track of The Descendants includes a selection of the finest music from Hawaii performed by established masters of Hawaiian music. Gabby Pahinui serves up beauties as, "Ka Makani Ka'ili Aloha," "Hi'ilawe," "Leahi," "Kaua'I Beauty," "Wai O Ke Aniani,: .anal joins with the Sons of Hawaii. for "He'Eia." Keola Bearner and George Winston deliver "Kalena Kai" foil,owed by a Beamer solo on "Imi Au la 'Oe." Duets have Makaha Sons with Dennis Pavao singing "Ka Loke," plus Ozzie Kotani and Dahiel Ho on "Paka Ua." Solo efforts shine with Ray Kane's "Auwe," Jeff Peter- son's "Hawaiian Skies," Sonny Chillingsworth's ver- sion of "Hi'ilawe," the pretty "Hapuna Sunset" (Charles Michael Brotman), adding "Deep In An Ancient Hawai- ian Forest" (Makana), Lena Machado's "Mom," and the final sounds of the islands has Sol Hoopii's Novelty Trio's "Ka Mele Oku'u Pu'Uwai." Aloha and Mahalo nui loa! GYM CLASS HEROES - THE PAPERCUT CHRONICLES II Decaydance/ Fueled By Ramen Riding the success of their trademark fusion of rock, pop, and alternative hip-hop, the Gym Class Heroes drop 11 ear-friendly tunes, enhanced by an outstanding lineup of special guests. GCH workouts have, "Martyrial Girls," the promising "Life Goes On" fea- turing Oh Land, the single "Stereo Hearts" with Adam Levine (Maroon 5) held #1 spot, plus the rhythmic "Solo :,~ ..... ..... by bob rnorello the the rest Discotheque" (Whiskey Bit- hess), and the pounding "Holy Horses**t" (Batman). Second half happenings sweat out beauties as, "Back Home" featuring Neon Hitch, the He- roes shine on "Nil-Nil-Draw" and "Lazarus; Ze Gitan," wind- ing down via "The Fighter" featuring Ryan Tedder, "Kid Nothing and the Never-End- ing Naked Nightmare." Strong lyrics with a message that suggests Parental Advisory Explicit Content. Powerful! THE MUPPETS- ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK Walt Disney Records The vocal strains of Kermit, Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy will stir the hairs in your ears as they deliver the soundtrack to Disney's The Muppets. The 30-song collec- tion features equal amounts of music and dialog tracks. The Muppets open with "The Muppet Show Theme," trailed by "Pictures in My Head" (Kermit/Muppets), Paul Simon singing his 1972 hit "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," plus the Moopets version of "Rainbow Connec- tion" (Muppets), followed by the Starship with their 1985 hit "We Built This City," along with "Me Party" (Amy Adams/ Miss Piggy), and the persua- sive "Let's Talk About Me" (Chris Cooper). Jason Segel and Walter begin the second half with "Man or Muppet," The Muppet Barbershop Quar- tet doo-wops "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Camilla & the Chickens cluck "FOrget You," as Muppets return with "Rainbow Connection," fol- lowed by Andrew Bird's "The Whistling Caruso," as the entire cast joins in for "Life's a Happy Song Finale," and the fun finishes with the classic 1969 version of'"Mah Na Mah Na." Fun movie and an even funnier soundtrackl BRAZILIAN BEAT Putumayo World Music Feel the need to get every body part moving? Brazilian Beat is the sure cure! Replete with bouncing berimbaus, Mro-Brazilian rhythms, retro samba soul and velvety bossa nova vocals, it all meshes per- fectly. Feel the beat through "Samba na Mao, Eu Tenho" (Tamy), diva Monica da Silva's "Feriado Pessoal," samba soul master Marcos Valle's smooth "Partido Alto," the Brazilian Groove Band keeps pace with "Bananeira," Michigan-born, Brazilian singer-songwriter Monica da Silva flows nicely through "Ai Entao" and Roman bossa band Bungalove's tasty "Minha Loucura." Maintain the mood with the diverse array of young musicians who form Fino Colectivo providing the pretty "A Coisa mais Linda do Mundo," along with "Samba Ti, Samba Eu" compliments of Brazuka Fina, the Rio- based Roge's clavinet-flecked samba "A Nega E O Malandra," trailed by rising star Tita Lima's labor of love titled "A Conta do Samba," putting the finishing touches on the masterpiece collection with "Anel de Saturno" to wrap up this global adventure! r-