The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 23, 2012

Cheers and jeers

Daily Item

---- — Cheers: To organizers at Sunbury Revitalization who are planning a special New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Sunbury. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and include a variety of activities, including all-night ice skating at the city's ice rink. At midnight, a giant light bulb will descend from atop the Hotel Edison, where Thomas Edison first wired a building, to commemorate the arrival of the new year.

Cheers: To Santa's helpers at Janet Weis Children's Hospital who made sure that the youngsters who are spending the holidays receiving medical care still got a chance to see Santa Claus. The jolly old elf paid a visit to the children by webcam on a electronic tablet carried around the children's hospital by Mary Tiffin, manager of integrated technology and social web services at Geisinger.

Jeers: To House Republicans, led (or misled) by Speaker John Boehner, who appear poised to push the nation to the edge of, if not over, the fiscal cliff. Almost all Americans have been adamant that they want Congress and the president to come up with a solution before the end of the year. But Republicans have been unable to organize themselves sufficiently to negotiate a compromise. The bumbling culminated late in the week when Boehner's Plan B could not get support from enough Republican lawmakers, prompting Boehner to cancel a vote and send Congress home for the holidays.

Cheers: To Geisinger pediatric surgeon Christopher Coppola, who visited the Lewisburg Rotary Club last week to discuss his experiences at a combat support hospital in Iraq in 2005 and 2007. Coppola's account, captured in a memoir "Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq," conveyed the horror of war, its effect on civilians and soldiers and the moral challenges facing those who are trying to determine how to devote time, energy and medical resources amid overwhelming need.

Cheers: To the officials at the Pennsylvania Public Employees Retirement System who were among the pension fund managers who expressed concern that some of their investments had been used to fund the company that made the assault rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. After pension fund managers across the nation began to question that holding, the fund management firm announced it was selling its stake in the gun company. Economic pressure may be the most expeditious means of forcing real-world change when it comes to the place of guns in our culture.