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Editorials from around Pennsylvania

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2015 at 8:16 am •  Published: May 20, 2015
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Editorials from around Pennsylvania:

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PARENTS SHOULD HAVE DISCRETION ON ALLOWING THEIR TEEN CHILDREN TO DRINK IN THE HOME

For teenagers, there are dangerous driving days ahead.

According to AAA, the most deadly dates on the road for teens during warm-weather months are May 20, May 23, June 10, July 4, July 9, Aug. 8 and Aug. 14, based on a five-year study.

In other words, proms, graduations and the associated celebrations combined with warm temperatures and youthful hubris lead to young people making bad decisions. Those decisions often involve driving at high speeds and alcohol.

Some parents believe a responsible way to keep their children safe is to allow them to drink at home, where activities can be monitored and they will stay off the road.

One problem: It is illegal.

About 30 states allow underage consumption of alcohol with parental consent on private property, according to the National Institute on Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism. Not Pennsylvania. As the commonwealth's Liquor Control Board website states, in no uncertain terms: "It's a crime to sell or give alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 — even your own kids."

So what is a thoughtful parent to do? Allow a child to drink before they are legally able, in an effort to keep them safe, on the assumption they will do so elsewhere if you do not permit it in the home? Do you allow these young people who you are helping to develop a sense of right and wrong to knowingly break the law? Or are you strict on the issue and not allow any drinking, and then expect your child will obey your rules when out with friends?

Parenting is about helping your children make good decisions, whether you are around or not. So discussions need to be had about the consequences of alcohol. There is something to be said about trying to demystify drinking and all it entails for a youngster who is heading to college in a few short months and is likely to encounter a culture that not only encourages it but glorifies it.

Pennsylvania should revisit its statutes to give parents the discretion of allowing their own children to drink at home. We simply don't see a problem with allowing a sip of wine or a nip of beer for a 17-year-old. But we also realize that this is the same state that has alcohol sales policies straight out of the 1920s, so we aren't holding our breath that this will be addressed anytime soon.

Let's be clear: Whether laws are changed or not, no parent should allow a child younger than age 21 to get totally wasted, or let them drink on a regular basis in the home. But some discretion should be given to parents without making them criminals.

In the meantime, talk to your teen children about drinking. Encourage them to make good decisions. Help them stay safe not only this summer but all year long.

— PennLive

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THE 'GREEN' RUSE: GERMANY'S POOR 'MODEL'

Germany's much-ballyhooed, nearly 30-percent wind and solar power-grid conversion isn't all it's cracked up to be. And it carries devastating costs for nations less fortunate.

Praised by President Barack Obama and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, it imposes a "simply brutal" burden on the poor, Pioneer Energy President Robert Zubrin writes for National Review. With an average residential electricity rate about twice those in neighboring Poland and France and almost two-and-a-half times the U.S. rate, annual electricity bills average $1,700 per German. Figuring two per household on average, that exceeds 10 percent of Germany's $33,000 median household income — and is a far greater income percentage for Germans "just scraping by."

The 30-percent-green claim is overstated, too. Factor in wind and solar power's intermittent nature and they produced just 14.8 percent of Germany's electricity in 2014. And with the Fukushima disaster leading Germany to unplug nuclear power plants, it's actually producing less carbon-free electricity now than in 2011 — and meeting demand by burning more coal.

"Germany's green-energy program is neither green, nor an energy program," but "a form of ultra-regressive taxation — in effect, a state-sponsored cult of human sacrifice for weather control," Mr. Zubrin says.

Remember that when climate cluckers tout it as a model.

— The Tribune-Review

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FUND AMTRAK, CONGRESS, FOR THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO USE THE RAIL SERVICE EACH YEAR

Americans love their cars, but not everyone drives. And not everyone who does relishes the idea of driving to cities such as Philadelphia and New York.

Every day, Lancaster County residents take Amtrak trains to Philly, Harrisburg and points beyond — last year, 521,670 passengers used the Lancaster station, and there were more than 5.9 million Amtrak passengers in Pennsylvania. Total Amtrak ridership in 2014 approached 31 million.

We still need trains. And we need those trains to be safe.

So it was disturbing when the U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to slash Amtrak funding by 18 percent, or by about $250 million.

Members of Congress, "particularly those from areas that have little or no Amtrak service, have bridled over the roughly $1 billion-a-year funding for Amtrak's operations and capital projects," The Washington Post reports.

Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970, to take over passenger rail services previously operated by private railroad companies. As its website explains, it's a federally chartered corporation — the U.S. government is its majority stockholder — that is meant to operate as a for-profit company.

But it hasn't been able to turn a profit, despite its 55 percent growth in ridership from 1997-2012.

Republicans in Congress blame mismanagement for Amtrak's financial woes and want to privatize the rail service, particularly its Northeast Corridor.

But rail privatization isn't always the answer, as Britain found out in the 1990s.

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