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Letters to the editor

Thursday, January 25, 2001

Why couldn't the PG stop criticizing Bush for one day

I know George W. Bush wasn't the Post-Gazette's endorsed candidate. I know he wasn't the man you wanted all of your readers to vote for, so get over it. It's done, and none of the biased essays or bad-taste editorial cartoons are going to change that.

I know we will also have to endure four more years (at least) of Bush-bashing, but could the Post-Gazette not, at least for one day, respect the office of the president of the United States?

The editorial cartoon by Rob Rogers on Inauguration Day (Jan. 20), picturing Bush being sworn in "to uphold the office . . . basically handed to you on a silver platter," was another of the Post-Gazette's poor-taste selections.

If you can't congratulate President Bush (and he is the president now), at least respect the country he will serve and the office that is one of the most important in the world.

My first reaction was to cancel the paper, but my husband lamented, "I'll lose my comics." So that is your status in my home -- the "funnies paper."

SHARYAN BORGEN
Shaler


Cartoon on the mark

Hats off to Rob Rogers for his editorial cartoon in the Jan. 20 paper depicting the George W. Bush inauguration. He said it all! My opinion of this election is that it is a national disgrace. I hope some reforms will be made in counting all the votes in future elections.

RICHARD FINCH SR.
Mount Washington


Abhorrent suggestion

I would like to express my disgust with the Jan. 18 editorial regarding the deaths of fleeing Koreans at No Gun Ri in 1950 ("Report on a Massacre"). The final paragraph was an affront to every American life lost in the war to save South Korea from a communist takeover.

To suggest that the United States should pay financial compensation for the tragic events that day is ludicrous. Whoever that liberal editorial writer is, he needs to get his head on straight. He is lucky to live in a country where he can get paid for stupid remarks.

Compensation should not be paid. Period.

BOB WAGNER
Coraopolis


Smearing Ashcroft

It is sad and disturbingly obvious the way the Post-Gazette is trying to portray attorney general nominee John Ashcroft. The PG has been trying to smear him unsuccessfully for days now.

The facts remain that he is the best attorney general candidate we've had in years. He was a state attorney general, governor and senator, with impeccable morals to boot. I just don't understand what the left has against that. Now I remember why I get the Post-Gazette: "No, no, Poochie, on the paper, on the paper!"

GUY GIAMPOLO
Oakland


Their own intolerance

I couldn't help but smile as I read Arthur Wilson's condemnation of the Post-Gazette's opposition to John Ashcroft ("About the PG's Opposition," Jan. 19 letters). A conservative Christian calling anyone intolerant is the greatest irony ever.

As a group, the conservative Christians of this country are the most intolerant people around. I think someone should remind Mr. Wilson, and people like him, of the old adage about people who live in glass houses throwing stones.

JOHN ELIOU
Baldwin Township


Cover all candidates

With the importance of the mayoral race this year, I've been most curious regarding coverage of candidacies thus far. Mayor Tom Murphy is believed to be running for re-election. Bob O'Connor just recently made an announcement that he is running. Eighteen-year-old Josh Pollock, who also recently announced his candidacy, may or may not meet the age qualifications for mayor.

Mark Rauterkus -- a 41-year-old Republican from the South Side -- has been an announced candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh since August.

I would believe journalistic ethics (in which I have more faith than most) would require that articles, polls and other matters related to the mayoral race should include all candidates. The grass-roots approach of Mr. Rauterkus has garnered some interesting views and asked challenging questions of our existing policymakers. The views of this Republican deserve more than the typical "winner-of-the-Democratic-primary-equals-elected-mayor" predetermination.

The primary season is a vetting process. That vetting should include giving voters a fair chance at information on all declared candidates from all involved parties, should it not? And I submit that the press, as impartial chronicler, is an involved party.

The mere act of not including all declared candidates -- and for all I know Mr. Rauterkus may not be the only declared candidate so ignored -- leans dangerously toward cronyism or, perhaps, acquiescence to an unacceptable status quo.

CHICK AGNEW
West View


Editor's note: Mr. Rauterkus was mentioned in the Jan. 12 article "O'Connor to Start as Front-Runner" about City Council President Bob O'Connor's candidacy.


About science curriculum

The Nov. 29 article by staff writer Pamela Winnick is a fair description of the arguments from both sides relating to the Department of Education's proposed revision of the public school's science curriculum ("Proposed Rules Boost Teaching Creationism"), but the Jan. 7 Forum article by Leonard Krishtalka ("Don't Let Creationists Corrupt Science Standards") is simply a rant about the subject.

His comments do not rise to a level worthy of reply in this forum, except to note his ire centers on the consequences of substituting the Genesis creation account for Darwinian science, and that subsequently we should expect these "enemies of science" will try to change the value of pi to 3 and further such nonsense, none of which is, in the remotest sense, under consideration or discussion in Harrisburg.

The science related to origins of life is negligible and totally irrelevant to the education of students in preparation for careers in modern biology, or for understanding the current status of the field.

The theory posits that an ancient soup of organic chemicals (for which there is no geological evidence), self-assembled, by chance alone, into living matter. Proteins are some of the essential ingredients required for cellular activity. The simplest bacteria require 300 to 500 different proteins for minimal function, made from the required 20 different amino acids. It has been reliably demonstrated that self-assembly by chance, of a single small functional protein, of 100 amino acids length, could occur in one chance out of 1,000,000,0 -- (500 zeros); for 300 different proteins, one chance out of a number with a million zeros. It is ludicrous to give this scenario serious consideration -- counting all the atoms in the entire universe, the number has only 80 zeros! Of what value is this theory for the education of our children?

The curriculum controversy can be finessed by omitting this origins part of the theory. But, if people insist on its inclusion, it surely should not be included as dogma: "That is how it happened!" but with proper scientific examination of its validity.

An intriguing question: Why do some people insist it must be part of the curriculum, in its dogmatic form? At best, it is a theory about ancient natural history, 3.5 to 4 billion years ago, and completely irrelevant to modern research and understanding.

PHILIP S. SKELL
State College


Editor's note: The writer is Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, Penn State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Extraordinary assistance

On behalf of the citizens and businesses of Little Rock, Ark., I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to Allegheny Power for the extraordinary work its employees performed for us during devastating back-to-back ice storms we recently endured.

For those of us who went without electricity, we know too well how dependent we are upon it. As our neighborhood service was repaired, one line at a time in some cases, we salute Allegheny Power for the 20-hour days, extreme discomfort and bitter cold working conditions the employees experienced. "Thank you" cannot fully express our gratitude.

Although we cannot begin to know what it's like to be a lineman or tree trimmer, we can imagine the significant personal sacrifice of being away from family and friends at this time of year. The residents of Little Rock appreciate Allegheny Power's dedication and commitment to restoring our electrical power and, in many cases, restoring our families' comfort and safety.

We wish each of them and the families they left behind to come to our aid a very happy -- and powerful -- 2001.

JIM DAILEY
Mayor
Little Rock, Ark.


Deregulation brings out the worst in utilities

Our politicians have forgotten the reasons for having regulated utilities in the past. In the main, regulation of these monopolies was instituted to restrain them from the kind of piratical business practices that we now see starting to appear.

Regulation was done to protect the public from these practices and, at the same time, give the utility being regulated a monopoly that it could enjoy without harming the public's interest.

Deregulation will spawn collusion in pricing, the creation of artificial energy shortages and the division of marketing territories among the largest of the companies involved.

It was naive of anyone to think deregulation would cause today's corporate managers to be different from their forebears in their approach to creating a bottom line. We will see the worst of their work in time to come.

HAROLD N. CARL
Center




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