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Untruths in the news

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Dear Friends,

Good morning. Before I get to my funny story about the transporting of bees, I have several items. The first is a pat on the back for Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and his bill to require the Internal Revenue Service to release the tax returns of any candidates for president or vice president for the the 10 years prior to when they announce their candidacy.

The eight-page New York Times article (Oct. 2) addresses President Trump’s assertion that he’s a Horatio Alger self-made-man; Trump’s story is a lie. If old white men had known the truth about the Trump myth prior to the 2016 election, would they have voted for him? I wonder.

Putting it differently, not having that requirement makes it easier for liars to pull the wool over our eyes.

Will Fitzpatrick attract support on both sides of the aisle? Will he be able to move his bill out of committee? Alas, I doubt it.

Meanwhile, here in Pennsylvania, the state Legislature has precious time remaining to reduce the institution. The state Senate-House divide on the issue has plagued efforts to amend the state Constitution to cut the House from 203 members to 151 and the Senate from 50 members to 38.

Constitutional amendments have to pass both chambers of the legislature in two consecutive two-year sessions. About a month remains for lawmakers to get the amendment over the finish line for the second round of approval before the 2017-18 session ends. Call your state representative and senator to paint or get off the wagon.

Too many lawmakers hope the initiative will die.

Now that’s enough sour news. Here’s something that will make you smile. In the Oct. 1 Inquirer, I read a story about a Hatfield bee keeper.

Keith Snyder has kept bees since his childhood when a bee colony hung just beyond the kitchen where he and his parents cooked all their meals. Now, decades later, he has 14 hives thriving. Unfortunately some of his neighbors object. The Hatfield municipality is considering an ordinance that would limit the number of hives on any property.

Good luck Hatfield.

But the article did prompt my memory of a true story about transporting bees. About 30 years ago, the mother of my friends was transporting her bee hives from Montgomery County to her summer home in Maine. As she had done over the years, she knew it was important to keep the bees separate from the front seat and the station wagon’s storage area.

To prevent disaster, in addition to taping a plastic liner dividing the front seat from the bee hives, she also kept a beekeeper’s hat and gloves next to her. This nice woman was in her 80s, and she had a lead foot. As she sped north on the New York Thruway, she noticed that the plastic divider had become unglued and the bees were swarming through the car.

Not to worry. She plopped the bee hat over her head, donned the gloves and continued on her journey. You guessed it … a highway patrolman spotted the speeding woman and gave chase.

She obediently stopped her car and waited for the state trooper’s approach. Suddenly, he realized what was about to happen. “Don’t roll your window down, lady,” he shouted. “Just drive slower!”

She did and all ended well.

So, I’ll close with this little ditty.

The Queen Bee, bless her soul.

Never heard of birth control.

And that’s why there

are so often found,

So many sons of Bees around.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

By the way, I’ll have a comment or two about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court next week. In my opinion, he’s become the third asterisk justice on the court. The first was Clarence Thomas (who won a razor-thin Senate confirmation by 52 votes to 48); the second asterisk belongs to Neil Gorsuch who was confirmed thanks to a one-year delay from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, preventing a hearing of President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the court.

And now, the third asterisk, Judge Kavanaugh.

We’ve lost confidence in Congress, which has approval ratings of only 18 percent.

President Trump’s approval continues below 40 percent. Before the Kavanaugh debacle, the Gallop Poll ranked the Supreme Court at 53 percent. What will become of the court’s reputation now?

Are we losing confidence in our form of government? Instead of worrying about the Russians or Chinese meddling in our democracy, we should worry about ourselves.

After all, it was author and TV newscaster Jeffry Toobin who stated in the last sentence of his bestseller about the Supreme Court (“The Nine”), “We the American public get what we deserve.”

It is we, the voters, who elect presidents who nominate the federal judiciary.

Stay tuned.


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