Letters to the editor
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I am writing in response to the news that President Barack Obama plans to "revamp," rather than eliminate, the system of military tribunals established by his predecessor ("Obama to Keep Tribunal System," May 16). Once again, President Obama has retreated from promises made by candidate Obama. In so doing, he has betrayed those in the anti-war community who helped to elect him.
During the campaign, Mr. Obama promised to end the war in Iraq. Now he admits that thousands of "non-combat troops" (whatever those are) will remain indefinitely.
During the campaign, Mr. Obama promised to lift the veil of lies with which the Bush administration prosecuted its illegal wars. Now the president seeks to suppress documentary evidence of torture practices central to those wars.
During the campaign, Mr. Obama promised to do away with Guantanamo Bay and its secretive military tribunals. Now, even if he does honor his post-election promise to close Guantanamo, he has effectively kept that facility open by perpetuating the system it housed.
Thousands of progressive constituents donated money, time, labor and dreams to Mr. Obama. Had it not been for these activists, he would not be in office. By recanting his promises, he has stolen the resources of the people who put him in the White House before selling them down the river.
Those of us who still believe -- as apparently our president does not -- in the injustice of the wars being waged by his command and in our name must finally admit that no single man, however grand his promises, can or will end those wars.
We must do so ourselves.
JOSHUA D. BELLIN
"We think not." Thus do the erstwhile soldiers of the free press at the Post-Gazette Editorial Board cavalierly discount the safety of our armed forces if the Obama administration releases more interrogation photos ("Credible Move: Obama Should Release the Prisoner Abuse Photos," May 18). The self-serving advice that this paper offers the president is juvenile in the extreme.
In a world where (false) stories of putting the Koran in a toilet cause global riots, destruction and death, the effects of more pictures of our interrogation methods or even abuse would be dutifully, if not breathlessly, reported by an aging media. In the next breath, the previous administration would again be condemned by the conflating of sadistic and degrading pictures by weekend warriors with the necessary and effective interrogation methods that has kept our country safe. Methods which, by the way, did not elicit much howling from an opportunistic Congress until it became advantageous to do so.
Your hypocrisy notwithstanding, the PG would be delighted if the Obama administration would continue to find ways to rake the Bush administration over the coals instead of finding ways to fix our nation's current problems.
Regarding the May 14 Perspectives piece by lawyer Paul Titus, "Notre Dame Is Right: I Am Proud That My Alma Mater Is Honoring President Obama":
The kind and respectful references to Bishop David Zubik were self-serving and off subject. Additionally, to suggest Augustine, Aquinas or Maritain may be in support of his position is clever lawyering, but of no value as precedent.
His statement that "a law which permits an individual woman to decide whether to have an abortion is not support for abortion" might have some element of logic if the procedure was not publicly funded. Funding is conclusively supportive!
Other statements suggesting an alliance with diocesan offices and pro-life fanatics is ridiculous. They may share some common ideas, but there is no conspiracy. Why attack the church?
As I recall, Bishop Zubik's position was: Let the president speak, but an honorary degree is misleading.
It would be similar to honoring French President Nicolas Sarkozy or Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for their thoughts on the indissolubility of marriage. An answer to a woman's inability to raise a child is needed, but abortion is not an acceptable Christian solution.
Poor Carrie Prejean, Miss California USA. Our latest moral crusader has had a "Devil" of a time lately!
First, that wicked old Satan caused the wind to make those sweet, innocent pictures of Carrie in a swimsuit turn into an erotic, topless photo shoot. Not done yet, that evil Devil then forced Carrie to falsely sign her Miss California USA contract which prohibits any type of nudity.
Now, her breast implants are another matter. There is nothing in the Bible that prohibits them, so her Jesus would approve. But Carrie finally overcame Satan's torments when she bravely and valiantly defended the Christian concept of marriage (between a man and a woman) in the Miss USA pageant. She listened to Jesus as He strengthened her resolve to ignore that wicked Satan's temptation and answer the question from her heart. And He even sent Archangel Gabriel, (in the disguise of Miss USA pageant owner Donald Trump!) to help her keep her title.
This will also allow Carrie to continue her fight against Satan and all his followers. Watch out for Carrie and The Donald! They've got Jesus on their side ... and they're coming to a church near you!
Pittsburgh used to be called "The Steel City." Today we are home to health care, technology, robotics and financial services companies, and when it comes to higher education, we can still boast about University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon.
Thanks to its business diversity, Pittsburgh is economically strong. The city added jobs in 2008 while, at the same time, our nation slipped into recession and unemployment began to climb.
I am concerned that the Waxman-Markey climate change bill could confront Pittsburgh with a second recession, one it may have difficulty overcoming. The bill features a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But cap-and-trade is rife with complexities and subtleties that would make it easy to manipulate. Congress is already making backroom deals to give away free carbon allowances to favored companies, not mindful of the billions of dollars the carbon credits are worth. Since there's no free lunch, someone will have to pay for that pork. Who? You, me and the environment.
I would like to see progressive, transparent and positive climate change policy, but hold the pork.
I was pleased to see that the city has started enforcing the disruptive property ordinance to target city landlords whose tenants are creating disturbances at their properties.
I recently moved into a home in Beechview. The house next door is vacant; the grass is knee-high, the front steps are crumbling and there is trash strewn about the side and back yards. I was prepared to call the city to report this house as a nuisance, hoping it would fall under the disruptive property ordinance. While the house is not occupied by problem tenants, it is an eyesore, a danger to my children (broken glass is among the trash I've picked up), and a magnet for criminal activity.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the owner is actually ... the city of Pittsburgh! Perhaps the city needs to follow its own policies on being a responsible homeowner.
To paraphrase the Disruptive Property Appeals Board Chairwoman Aggie Brose: The neighbors and I can't monitor this property on a daily basis ... you have to.
I was glad to see the May 12 article about installing the first slot machines and tables at the new Rivers Casino ("Slot No. 1"). I am a travel and tourism student at Pittsburgh Technical Institute and will eventually be pursuing a career in the travel and tourism field. The future of Pittsburgh is coming along greatly. The promises made by public officials in this town, for many years, are finally coming to fruition.
In my opinion, the Rivers Casino is also going to bring in a lot of business and tourists to our city to try our "Pittsburgh foods" and culture. It actually makes me feel that we, as a city, are doing something that we have promised, instead of just talking about it.
I hope that we will build more businesses that bring people to our city for vacations instead of solely to view our hometown football and hockey events. In the future, maybe "Sixsburghers" will have something else to do in their free time rather than just look at our city and its rivers.
First Published May 26, 2009 12:00 am