Letters to the editor

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The PG's last climate editorial was stupefying

Your editorial "Climate Pique" (Dec. 4) decrying Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia possessing no legislative mandate for Copenhagen, and extending that pity to our own Mr. Obama, confounds this reader.

You manage to detail the picayune and irrelevant internal politics of Australia, and also the minutiae of its allegedly extreme weather over the last year (compared to climate change also irrelevant), while at the same time ignoring the elephant on the couch of this issue: "climate-gate" or the utter debunking, through leaked or hacked e-mails in England, of the critical data underlying the warmists' entire argument.

If it were a local issue of little consequence, I could almost condone your paper's limited scope; we've seen it before. But on an international issue regarding literally the world's future, the future of our economy, and economic productivity around the world, I find your limited treatment shocking. One of the key players in the controversy is Michael Mann of Penn State University, the author of the now infamous "hockey stick" graph (which has become iconic in this debate, like the polar bear floating on the iceberg). The recent announcement of an investigation at Penn State might warrant your mentioning it in the editorial.

Your bias is showing. Please tailor your editorial work better before it is put before your readers.

Squirrel Hill

Let's be truthful

On Nov. 24, Glenn Beck in his effort to defame President Barack Obama emphatically chided him for devoting too much time to health-care reforms and not enough to the Afghanistan war. He stated that four American soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan in the past week. He proceeded to say and I quote: "No American has ever, ever died from lack of health insurance." Well, Mr. Beck, you were correct that four American soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan that week, but you were very wrong in emphatically stating that no American ever died due to lack of insurance coverage.

Mr. Beck, if you, for whatever agenda, must indulge in vilifying President Obama's lines of action, at least get the facts straight.

The facts are that the American Institute of Medicine recently reported that 45,000 Americans die each and every year because of lack of health insurance coverage. That breaks down to 123 per day.

If you had the facts straight, Mr. Beck, you would have understood the president's concern and dedication of time to the urgency of passage of health-care reform. Your unawareness and lack of facts have wounded many Americans who have lost their loved ones due to lack of coverage.

Mr. Beck, the wounds caused by your lack of facts can be mended only with an immediate and emphatic apology to be aired by you from the same Fox News podium you use to vilify President Obama.

As the saying goes, Mr. Beck, the ball is in your court. I'll be watching.


Those in power

I'm writing in response to Mary Beth Walling's Dec. 3 letter ("Palin's Effect on Some People Certainly Is Puzzling"). Ms. Walling says the following: "Let's not forget which party was in power when the problems we have now were created or increased." Yes ma'am, let's not forget who that party was and still is today -- the Democratic Congress. Since being put in power in 2006 this Congress has managed to create or worsen our economic problems. Thanks for reminding us.

Ms. Walling also included this little gem: "How can people take Sarah Palin seriously as a politician?" Yes, how can we? I mean she's not going around chanting hope and change! Hope and change! Hope and change! If only she would do that, then we could take her oh so seriously.


Bush kept us safe

This is in response to the Nov. 19 letter by Jay Lynch, who is still blaming George W. Bush for not trying terrorists who have been kept at Guantanamo ("Botched by Bush"). Our Constitution does not cover war criminals. A military tribunal covers war crimes. For Mr. Lynch's information, an enemy captured in wartime does not need to be read his rights. Military trials have been held, and this group of terrorists will be tried also. President Bush kept us safe for eight years; now, President Barack Obama wants to try them on our soil!

Those murderers will have a lawyer who will defend them and put the United States on trial for holding them. They will be given the same rights as we citizens have. This trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in our criminal court system is strictly a political move. What about the people of New York? Won't this make them a target again? How do they feel about this? This move by Attorney General Eric Holder and Mr. Obama is totally against our Constitution. Congress has the power to stop this absurd action.

Is it time for we the people to tell Mr. Obama that he works for us? Is it time for we the people to stand up for the country that our loved ones fought and died for?

And yes, Mr. Lynch ... I thank President Bush for keeping us safe for eight years, just as you should.

West Homestead

Passing the buck

Harry Truman is remembered for the slogan "The buck stops here." President Barack Obama's slogan must be, "Where can I pass the buck today?"

During the presidential campaign, there were many promises. Those earning less than $250,000 were assured their taxes would not be increased "by one dime." We were promised "open and transparent" government. Reform was on the way and no corrupt lobbyists would appear anywhere near the White House. There was a plan to unify the country. His health-care plan was the best ever. There was another plan to right the economy. Troops would be withdrawn from Iraq. Many supported the great orator with a nice smile but no experience -- friends like Bill Ayers, Van Jones and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and a wife who first became proud of her country in 2008.

The American people were misled, and I'm not sure how we express our differences of opinion. Whenever supporters of the administration are criticized for not living up to expectations there is no room for intellectual dialogue. The immediate response is either: 1) place blame on the previous administration, or 2) play the race card. Readers of the Post-Gazette who enjoy Rob Rogers, Tony Norman and Maureen Dowd certainly can relate.

Since Mr. Obama took office, the buck is not stopping anywhere. He keeps finding ways to pass it around and the media continue to make it way too easy for him to do so. Let's stop coddling this administration, quit accepting excuses and start demanding accountability.


Smokers/minorities analogy is absurd

I am writing to respond to Jan Pankowski's Dec. 2 letter about the discrimination she says smokers feel ("PG Editorial Was Dripping With Disdain for Smokers"). To wonder if the editorial staff would "get away with earmarking an ethnic minority with the same bombast that you displayed in this editorial against smokers" is appalling and ridiculous.

People choose to be smokers; ethnic minorities don't get to choose their race. In addition, a person's choice to smoke negatively affects those who are around them and who have chosen not to smoke to avoid the health problems that are associated with smoking. One person smoking in a restaurant affects everyone in that restaurant. Being an ethnic minority does not have any adverse health effects on people whom they may be around. Being an ethnic minority doesn't affect anyone else in the same aforementioned restaurant.

To compare smokers' minority status to that of an ethnic minority is insulting.


A toxic choice

I thank Jan Pankowski for her satirical letter ("PG Editorial Was Dripping With Disdain for Smokers," Dec. 2), which equates smokers with ethnic minorities. Smoking, of course, is a choice, while being born into an ethnic minority is not. One might argue that once addicted, smoking is no longer a choice. Additionally, ethnic minorities do not give off toxic, offensive fumes, unless they happen to be smokers as well.

Squirrel Hill

We receive more letters than we can fit into the limited space on the editorial page, so we'd like to share some additional letters with our Post-Gazette Web site readers.

Altmire wants health-care reform done right

Letters to the Post-Gazette are awash with criticisms of U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire's voting against the national health-care bill. They are totally unfair.

Mr. Altmire is in favor of a national health-care bill, but not as it was written - in a 2,200-page document that few have read and fewer understand. His "no" vote was related to the trillion-dollar price tag, which drives America deeper into debt. He has stated if changes are made, he could change his vote to yes.

With all the financial failures by the current administration, without health care and the coming cap-and-trade bill, the debt created will be borne by our kids and future generations. Some form of health care will come to pass - let's hope at a reduced debt.

Franklin Park

Rep. No

U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire's Nov. 20 Perspectives piece ("Why I Voted No on Health Reform") is another display by anti-health-reform bill proponents to confuse the issue and muddy the waters. He states that he voted against H.R. 3962 because the bill did not reach his goals of slowing the growth of health-care spending and building a system that focuses on quality care rather than quantity of care.

These are reasonable goals except they are abstract in nature. He did not specify how and to what degree he was looking at slowing the growth of spending. In addition, he did not point out how the present bill focuses on quantity rather than quality of care.

Further on in his article he writes that he would like a bill "that includes incentives for providers to keep their patients healthy and out of the health-care system in the first place." Nice, but he does not explain the language he would like in the bill to accomplish this.

His explanation on how he would contain costs and slow the growth of health-care expenditures is "to change behavior through reforming the way health care is delivered and paid for in this country." What and whose behavior is he talking about?

In summary he is stalling with abstract arguments to kill the bill.


The U.S. must have a climate-change policy

I was gratified to read your Nov. 30 editorial "Climate Progress: Obama Could Stimulate Change in Copenhagen." You're right: Climate change must be a policy for the United States and all other nations. Here in Pennsylvania we have already begun to see the various impacts of a changing climate including increased rainfall and flooding. It's time to do something about it.

Pennsylvanians want action. Over a 30-day period in October and November, almost 24,000 public comments were submitted on a proposed state climate action plan (more comments than on any other issue) - and according to the Department of Environmental Protection, roughly 99 percent of those comments were in support of a state climate action plan.

I urge Sens. Robert Casey and Arlen Specter to lead the way to a clean energy future by supporting the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Comprehensive clean energy and climate policies will create millions of jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make America a leader in climate-change solutions.

Global Warming Field Coordinator
National Audubon Society
Narberth, Pa.

Dubai's decadence

Your Dec. 1 editorial "Jitters From Dubai" states: "The rest of the UAE should save its bacon, rescuing in the process the threat to the reputation of emerging markets in general, or at least some of them."

Dubai is one of the biggest centers of human trafficking in the world; many workers are lured there from poor nations and literally forced to work and live under horrid conditions. Dubai had an indoor ski slope and was planning an underwater hotel; it imported water and many other commodities because "money was no object." Oh, and McKinsey Consulting advised it all along the way on how to build this unsustainable font of decadence. This is an emerging market whose bacon is worth saving?

It's a metaphor for an impoverished, and now failing, Western MBA understanding of human existence. And Tiger Woods had money in there, too, because the profits were too good to resist.


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We welcome your letters. Please include your name, address and phone number, and send to Letters to the Editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. E-mail letters to letters@post-gazette.com or fax to 412-263-2014. Letters should be 250 words or less, original and exclusive to the Post-Gazette. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and accuracy and will be verified before being published.


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