Letters to the editor
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In response to Mandy Lewis' Dec. 10 letter ("It's Time to Stop Whining About the 'Rich' "), I'd like to add my two cents. The debate going on in the country regarding tax cuts is really not about whining about the rich and powerful or envy from those who are not. It is more about paying our fair share and getting the country back onto solid financial ground.
It would help the country a great deal if individuals who are financially comfortable went back to the Clinton-era tax rates. From all that I have read and heard, it sounds as though the country can't afford those tax breaks anymore.
I, too, am happy when Americans excel and do well. I am even happier when, as a country, we provide a pathway of opportunity for growth for those in less fortunate circumstances.
Misruled by wealth
Anyone wondering how the average real income of the bottom 90 percent of Americans has been allowed to stagnate for the past 30 years, how the super-rich have quadrupled their income over this three-decade era of increased job insecurity, market instability and rampant outsourcing, and how organized labor has been so debilitated, demoralized and demonized that its own heir, the middle class, now resents it ... need look no further than the recent letter from Mandy Lewis ("It's Time to Stop Whining About the Rich," Dec. 10).
Ms. Lewis' worldview is conveniently binary. There are the successful, who've worked hard and become rich, and there are the losers, who envy and therefore blame the successful. It's a fairy-tale ideology where the refusal to restore higher taxes on the super-rich seems morally imperative.
There's a confounding sense when reading Ms. Lewis' letter that we are complicit in our own undoing. We've been had by the big-monied interests that own our government and dictate its legislation, but we blame our neighbors.
Any objective look at income trends over the past 30 years leads to the dismaying conclusion that we've become a plutocracy.
I am a retired employee of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I was there 32 years. I had many different positions there but spent many years as a toll collector. When I read that the new increase in January would not be posted on the ticket, all I could think of was the grief and anger the collectors will face when customers pull up and have no idea how much the toll will be ("Turnpike Tickets Won't List Amount of Toll Owed," Dec. 13).
I have never heard of anything so ridiculous in a long time. Turnpike customers, like everyone in today's economic turmoil, budget their money. Now, when going to visit family on vacation, they will have to guess their tolls.
The toll collectors are being sacrificed in an effort to save money. Shame on the commission!
For peace in Sudan
With all of our domestic concerns, it's easy to forget that many people in other countries are worse off. The people of Sudan are facing a critical period as a referendum on South Sudanese independence will be held Jan. 9. South Sudanese voters are expected to vote overwhelmingly for independence, and the possibility of renewed conflict between South Sudan and the Sudanese government in Khartoum is worrisome.
More than 2 million people were killed in the civil war between North and South Sudan before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, largely brokered by the United States, took effect in 2005. In the meantime, the situation in the western Darfur region of Sudan remains unstable. There are still more than 3 million internally displaced and refugee Darfuris and no likely prospect of political and military settlement of the simmering conflict there.
The Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition is working to raise awareness of these issues and to urge our diplomats to maintain their focus on working toward peaceful solutions in Sudan. On Nov. 16, at a meeting sponsored by the PDEC and several other groups, Dr. Jendayi Frazer discussed these issues, including the important role played by activists in influencing the increased U.S. diplomatic focus on Sudan since September.
PDEC and other local and national human rights groups, joined by members of the Pittsburgh area South Sudanese and Darfuri Diaspora communities, will sponsor a march and rally for peace in Sudan on Jan. 5, beginning at noon on the steps of the City-County Building. We urge all concerned citizens to join us. For more information, please visit our website at www.pittsburghdarfur.org.
MARY DAWN EDWARDS
It was disturbing to see the Post-Gazette cover entertainer Glenn Beck's $90.50 per person show as if it were a "news" event ("Glenn Beck Enthralls Benedum Audience of 2,500," Dec. 3). Still, what is far more disturbing is the Post-Gazette "reporting" rather than condemning Mr. Beck's political shtick on children's health and nutrition.
What our nation's children eat is not a partisan issue. It is a public health issue, and it is not debatable that consuming unhealthy foods and beverages has adverse consequences for human beings, regardless of age. It is also not debatable that the issue has an impact on us collectively as well as individually.
Yet, somehow, this once proud newspaper, in its yearning not to appear "liberal," passes off Mr. Beck's insulting nonsense directed at first lady Michelle Obama as just part of the show.
The problem in this country isn't that people like Mr. Beck have a forum for their message. It is that supposedly mainstream news outlets like the Post-Gazette feel compelled to report as if every issue has two sides that may be right or wrong.
No, it is not a government conspiracy that Mrs. Obama is promoting the idea that we give our children food that is as healthy as possible. A responsible, informed society should see it no other way.
The writer is a Westmoreland County commissioner.
Hunting: an atrocity
Regarding "Bear's Demise Leaves a Trail of Questions" (Nov. 25): I found it interesting that the wildlife officials are trying to connect this poor animal's death with the fact that people were feeding it. Huh?
It seems clear to me the bear died because a hunter got his jollies by killing it, when it was not a threat and did nothing to him. And he might make a rug out of this creature's remains sick, sick, sick.
As for David Price lamenting that "This may be the peak of my hunting career, and it's tainted, it really is": Mr. Price, I feel so sorry for you. A beautiful, much loved animal is dead and your hunting career is tainted. You poor boy.
Can you think of any other "sport" in which only one side participates willingly and is armed with high-tech weaponry, while the other unwilling participant has only the skin on its back, and little more?
Calling hunting a sport is like calling Sarah Palin an intellectual.
George Bernard Shaw said it best when he opined, "Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity."
John Boehner's unreal weeping is beyond embarrassing
And the winner in the category of "Make Believe" is none other than the incoming Weeper of the House -- John Boehner! His "60 Minutes" interview was touching. We learned that he isn't even able to speak at schools anymore without crying at the thought of "kids having a shot at the American dream."
Too bad he wasn't thinking about those same kids when he held hostage the extension of unemployment benefits (to their parents) in exchange for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.What a hypocrite!
I was under the impression that unemployment was pretty high in Ohio; apparently a lot of millionaires are living in the 8th District -- they keep re-electing him. That, or it's just one more example of "the dumbing of America."
While I'm no fan of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, can you imagine how Boehner & Company would have reviled her for tearing up during an interview? She's too emotional ... she's not tough enough for that job.
There's nothing wrong with public figures (men or women) expressing emotion, as long as it's genuine. This was a pathetic and failed attempt. Clean up your act, Johnny, you've become a laughingstock.
First Published December 17, 2010 12:00 am