Letters to the editor
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The Sto-Rox board is putting education first
I was appalled to read about the continued vitriol being projected by parents and students toward the Sto-Rox school board ("Sto-Rox School Board Gets Another Earful on Policy," Oct. 15). I was even more appalled that a teacher in this school district agreed with them.
The parents, students and obviously some of the teachers need to get their heads out of the sand and realistically look at what is going on in the world of education. Our public school system is failing, performance is in decline, parental involvement is minimal at best and student responsibility practically nonexistent. When you add Sto-Rox to a long list of many other communities across the country that place activities before education, is it any wonder that our country's educational performance is falling behind the rest of the world?
I commend the Sto-Rox school board for trying to improve the educational standards of their community. If it were up to me I would raise the standards even higher!
The writer has taught for 16 years at two colleges in the Pittsburgh area.
Regarding the Oct. 13 editorial "Pigging Out: UPMC Deserves Heat for Its Use of Live Animals": As senior medical and research adviser for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, I want to set the record straight on our organization and why we oppose UPMC's use of pigs for trauma training.
PCRM is an independent nonprofit research and health advocacy organization founded and managed by physicians, with more than 9,000 physician members. We support higher ethics and effectiveness in medical education and research, conduct groundbreaking clinical research including studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and advocate for policies that support preventive medicine.
We oppose the use of animals in trauma training because it is an outdated and substandard method of teaching critical procedures for treating traumatic injuries in humans. As a cardiologist who has employed and taught these procedures, I know that the best trauma training uses cutting-edge simulators and supervised experience with real patients. Mastery of the essential skills requires a precise understanding of human anatomy, not pig anatomy.
I'm thrilled that UPMC now plans to end its use of animals for trauma training within a few months.
JOHN J. PIPPIN, M.D.
The Obama administration reminds me of the characters in George Orwell's "Animal Farm."
George W. Bush gets to be the Farmer Jones to our current, progressive Napoleon.
Unemployment was lower during Mr. Bush's inept second term but is now higher under President Barack Obama's term. But "we can't return to the failed policies of George Bush," say the liberals. The disgraceful policy of forcing American taxpayers into debt to foreign money-changers was bad under Mr. Bush and his Democratic Congress. But it is far worse under Mr. Obama and his Democratic Congress. For every bad decision or policy that Mr. Obama and his Democrats decry about Mr. Bush, their policies and decisions have only stimulated our economy and conditions to become worse.
Outside of Beijing bankers, Washington bureaucrats and bailed-out Wall Street financial firms, who has benefited from any of the Democrats' failed progressive policies? Perhaps it was bad under Farmer Jones, but this new Napoleon's administration is demonstrably worse.
If "we can't return to the failed policies of the past," it is even more apparent that we cannot maintain the demonstrably worse policies of the present! It is time for a new Congress.
And I'd like to remind my Republican friends that the Chinese are only increasing our national debt by loaning to the Obama administration the billions of dollars in profits they acquired under the Republican free-trade policies.
As a senior citizen and Korean War vet, I feel compelled to write these experiences with the hope that some understanding is reached among my fellow Americans. I have to credit my father, who lost his savings and investments during the Hoover administration for helping me realize this connection.
Does anyone else see the similarity that exists between the Roosevelt and Obama administrations?
1) President Herbert Hoover declared business sound and pledged a tax cut. Wall Street was pleased in 1929.
2) In 1933 our spirits were lifted by Franklin D. Roosevelt's confidence; he acted to end the national banking crisis.
3) The Social Security Act was a major accomplishment in 1935, but Republicans accused Roosevelt of being a socialist.
4) In 1935, the Republican Party wanted Roosevelt off the backs of business owners.
Roosevelt was in office for just two years at that point. How long has Obama been in office?
More important, will anyone see the similarities?
WALTER A. REID
The Oct. 10 Forum article "Gay Kids Keep Dying" by Walter G. Meyer described how bullying caused the suicides of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi and other gay teens across the country.
Catholic bishops in alignment with Vatican edicts use labels and derogatory comments to demonize and dehumanize homosexuals in the name of their morality. They teach that homosexuals are "intrinsically disordered" and oppose civil rights legislation that will grant them equality and the right to civil marriage.
The unintended consequence of their teaching fosters an environment of hatred and discrimination toward gays that leads to assaults and deaths.
Nowhere in the New Testament does their Lord Jesus condemn homosexuality. If they would follow the teachings of Jesus and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they would support equal rights for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation.
Statue in poetry
Too bad the article on the Oct. 14 front page about the defacement of the statue of Christopher Columbus didn't mention the excellent poem by Robert Gibb titled "Christopher Columbus Monument, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh," which appeared in the Oct. 9 Perspectives section.
By the way, I'm an avid follower of the Saturday poetry feature.
Financial power and corruption in government go hand in hand
This is in reference to "Billionaires Rule the GOP" (Oct. 9) by columnist Paul Krugman:
From Nov. 2 and beyond, what was once called "Election Day" has evolved into "political auction day."
Those who spend the most money in political propaganda ads to buy their candidates' way into office will claim ownership of those candidates' votes. Financial power in the wrong hands leads to political corruption. Political corruption, as always, is our fourth branch of government.
The Supreme Court's decision last January made it possible for billionaires and corporations to air or print their own political ads independently of political parties. They can promote or denigrate candidates or political issues without regard for the truth and be immune from exposure as the source of those ads. Half-truths spewed in their ads may be accepted as whole truths by an unsuspecting public. ("A married political opponent was seen having dinner with a beautiful woman half his age that was not his wife. That's a half-truth. The whole truth is that the young woman is his daughter!")
As Mr. Krugman states: "What the Koch brothers have bought with their huge political outlays is, above all, freedom to pollute."
Money always has quietly influenced our elections, but now our ostensible republic has officially and legally become an auction house for blatant graft.
How do paid-off politicians sleep at night?
DAVID R. BURKE
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First Published October 20, 2010 12:00 am