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The Civic Scene: Boro in all its diversity rallies for tsunami victims

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A number of people spoke, offered condolences and shared their feelings. Rabbi Dr. Hirsch Joseph Simckes of Hollis Hills Jewish Center was the master of ceremonies. The foreign dignitaries present were Ambassador Andrew Hsia of the Taiwan Consulate, Deputy Consul General of Sri Lanka R. Jaya Sainghe, Deputy Consul General of India Ashok Tomar, and Deputy Consul General of Thailand H. Pravit Chaimongkol.Musical selections enlivened the gathering. Cantor Sol Zim of the Hollis Hills Jewish Center sang the song "You'll never Walk Alone." His chorus also sang. Pundit Piyatissa, president of the New York Buddhist Council with headquarters south of Hollis Hills at 214-22 Spencer Ave., chanted a very moving prayer with two other Buddhist monks. Also present were Swarangit Singh from the Punjab in India; Imam Asaad Dajwa from the Holliswood Mosque; Asad M. Bajwa, who does volunteer PR for the Ahmadiyya Movement In Islam; and a representative from Indonesia.One of the speakers said "people who are neighbors but don't know each other came here tonight to talk of the losses due to this tragedy, tell what has been done so far and what has to be done in the future." Dajwa spoke of the fact that his mosque was across the street from a Jewish Day School in Holliswood.City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) sang the national anthem, an activity she is famous for. Among the speakers were President Jan Fenster of the Queens Jewish Community Council, Susie Tannenbaum for Borough President Helen Marshall, Debra Markell for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Howard Pollack for City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) and Dr. Arthur Flug for the Queensborough Community College Holocaust Resource Center.U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) spoke movingly. Calling for unity were Rabbi Stanley Greenstein of the Hillel Institute and Rabbi Barry Kornblau of the Young Israel of Windsor Park. Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), who represented the immediate community, talked to the gathering. Other councilmen present were Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) and John Liu (D-Flushing). The evening ended with Cantor Zimm leading the singing of "God Bless America."My wife decided to do something so she talked to the Pundit Piyatissa and learned that they do not need any more clothing but do need school supplies. We bought some and obtained some from friends which we then brought to their temple. They have sent containers filled with donated goods and another was going out in a week, so we were able to help in a small way.GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEKI saw a televison story a couple of weeks ago about American multinational corporations being offered a one year "tax holiday" to bring their foreign profits back to the United States. These corporations can bring their money home and pay only a 5.25 percent corporate tax rate instead of the usual rate of 35 percent.The purpose of this tax break is to get money back home, which can then create jobs and improve the economy. Well, it seems that the money returned here can be used to buy other companies. This could just lead to the laying off of workers, which is what usually happens when two companies merge. It can pay off debts or provide dividends or buy back stocks or pay executives. How many of these activities will create jobs? Some companies that plan to bring back billions of dollars are Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Merck, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.This idea sounds good in theory, but what will be the end results? Congress permitted this to happen. No one gave any warnings that I noticed. How will corporations that played by the rules all these years and brought their profits home to be taxed at the legal rate feel about this? If good paying jobs are not created or maintained, then there will be not be a worker base to buy the goods created by our companies. Will corporate taxes be lowered or eliminated? Can individual taxes alone pay our national expenses? How will we raise money to build and maintain schools, parks, our highway system, train system, our health care system, our ports, maintain our armed forces and protect our borders and provide money for research, all of which is needed for our economy?

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