The old priest was good-hearted but hard of hearing. “So Father,” said the earnest parishioner, “What do you think of euthanasia?” The priest shifted his bulky body in his high-backed chair and said, “Well, my son, I think the youth in Asia are as good as the youth anywhere else.”
I begin with a humorous story as an introduction to a very serious and complex subject. The passing of Dr. Kevorkian, a Minnesota pathologist, who not only advocated but performed many “assisted physician suicides” brought this issue home like a forced march over a bloody battlefield. Dubbed ‘Dr. Death’ by the media, an oxymoronic appellation that underscores the macabre caricature he had become during his ill-conceived career. The death of Dr. Death does not mean, of course, that there will be less death in this vale of tears. But it might compel us to become more sensitized to these “end of life issues” without the irresponsible grandstanding of a libertarian run amuck. Kevorkian’s contemptuous flouting of existing laws prohibiting euthanasia, his intemperate language and his positively euphoric zest for his work made him the poster child for a culture of death. He was a willing accomplice in the demise of at least 140 people; Kevorkian was happy to oblige even those who were just depressed and didn’t want to live anymore.
A regular meeting of the board of trustees was held on June 7.
The meeting opened with a pledge to the flag. Present were Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy, Trustees James E. Rhatigan, Mary-Grace Tomecki, Dominick A. Longobardi, Kevin M. Fitzgerald, Village Administrator Patrick E. Farrell, Village Clerk Susan E. Walsh, Superintendent of Building Department and Superintendent of Public Works Stephen L. Siwinski, Police Lieutenant Michael Suppe and Village Attorney John E. Ryan.
I read with concern a report in Our Lady of Victory Parish Bulletin that the Village of Floral Park has cited the parish for being in violation of the village’s laws for using the front vestibule of the church during the recent funeral Mass of a young parishioner tragically killed. I am trying to understand what this is all about.
The construction project at the Church has been proceeding in an orderly and safe manner. Our Holy Week, Easter celebration and the celebrations of First Holy Communion used the front entrance without a hitch and such use was approved by the village. Safety precautions were in place. Everyone appreciated the celebrations.
As far as I can see, nothing at the site had really changed since the Easter events. So, why is it now necessary to come down on the parish for using the vestibule for a funeral, which meant so much to our community? I think that village government should show a little compassion to the family, which lost a child and to a parish community, which came together to share in the grief.
I think that the purpose of local government is to serve the community. I encourage our elected officials to work more cooperatively with the religious institutions in our village.
Red Alert – Red Alert, batten down the hatches, uncover the lifeboats and, while you’re at it, damn those torpedoes. The “International Agency for Cancer Research,” a panel of the World Health Organization, has ignited a media firestorm by claiming that the radio-frequency electromagnetic fields that cell-phones emit are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Sounds frightening, doesn’t it? But then being encased in a long tube, some 35,000 feet above the earth, to be propelled through space at 600 mph also sounds a tad risky. Yet millions of people around the world fly every year and we know that the statistics clearly show that it is the safest form of transportation, including walking. But fear, as I’ve noted before in this column, has great, big eyes. Sensationalism, high-wire coverage and hysteria headlines have become as pervasive in the modern world as high cholesterol. And like sex — baby it sells. The apparatchiks can hawk these hyperventilated fears all they want — this consumer isn’t buying. I might have been impressed by things called the “World Health Organization” in my imbecilic pubescent years but having settled into the autumn of middle-aged complacency, pronouncements by self-proclaimed public guardians have more the malodorous scent of ordure than they do hard science.
Is anyone else fed up with garbage pickers, or am I the only one? This has become more of a problem in recent years, and I believe that this needs to be spoken about. After finally getting angry enough with this, I decided to check village code to see if what they were doing was legal. After a quick search of village code, I found Chapter 72 Article 2.
Free speech — is there a more hallowed staple of the American Creed. Yet nothing is ever free; we pay a price for everything. As Memorial Day approaches my thoughts wander back to the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision back in March that said a traveling band of Baptists from Westboro, KS, has a constitutional right to stand on the outside perimeter of a military funeral and insult a young soldier who died for his country, his family and the nation to whom he made the ultimate sacrifice.
The 18th century author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson said, “it was right that the law should give women so little power, since nature has given them so much.” The narcotic allure of female sexuality has certainly influenced, dominated and destroyed powerful men as the current predicament of Dominique Strauss Kahn, chief of the International Monetary Fund and probable French presidential candidate, who was arrested and charged with seven counts including rape and unlawful imprisonment of a chambermaid in a prominent Manhattan hotel, attests to.
A regular meeting of the board of trustees was held on May 17, at 8 p.m.
The meeting opened with a pledge to the Flag. Present were Mayor Thomas J. Tweedy, Trustees James E. Rhatigan, Mary-Grace Tomecki, Dominick A. Longobardi, Kevin M. Fitzgerald, Village Administrator Patrick E. Farrell, Village Clerk Susan E. Walsh, Superintendent of Building Department and Superintendent of Public Works Stephen L. Siwinski and Police Commissioner Stephen G. McAllister.
Ulysses S. Grant was a great general, a better president than given credit for, a peerless wartime memoirist and became famously apothegmatical when he said, “The best way to get rid of a bad law is by its strict enforcement.” Despite these great achievements, it is this wonderful little maxim I want to focus on. It’s centered on the notion that passions are often pacified by common sense when we have to live under the laws we so blithely pass. The most famous or infamous of these laws was the Volstead Act of 1919, more commonly known as Prohibition. After decades of Carrie Nation crusading with her axe-wielding saloon wreckers to make their point about the evils of drink, America embarked on its great social experiment by passing the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors. In the entire history of Constitutional law, it would be the only amendment to actually restrict liberty.
The latest challenge to the unique quality of life we enjoy is not coming as intensified urbanization from our west, but rather, an ambush from the east. Recent reports are that the Shinnecock Indian Nation is trying to take lands in our community, which is more than 75 miles from its reservation in Southampton. To surrender land at either the Hub or at Belmont Park is outrageous and our village’s future with a sovereign nation next door is unpredictable. Like his predecessor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s efforts were rewarded by an Appellate Court’s August 2010 decision, which took decades of litigation to resolve. The decision declared that tribes, like the Shinnecock Nation in Southampton, must charge and collect state levied tax on cigarettes sold to patrons from off the reservation. Millions of dollars of state revenue have gone uncollected as a result of these sales. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman applauded the state’s appellate ruling saying, “Today’s decision closes an enormous tax-evasion loophole that was depriving New York of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. The state estimates that as much as $500,000 in unpaid taxes goes uncollected every day as the result of Indian tobacco sales.” (The Southampton Press.)
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