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Published: Monday, 10/29/2001

Encourage girls and women to reject limits

Our 1992 American Association of University Women study, “How schools shortchange girls,” to which you referred in a recent article, “Girl power replaces sugar and spice,” has been updated. The new findings confirm a recent Girl Scout report: Girls today tend to reject limits that hampered previous generations.

But girls are still under enormous pressure - from parents, community, and media stuck in stereotypes - to stay quiet, not to be strong, to avoid nontraditional careers, and, most important, to be pretty and thin.

What alarming news, especially in view of another article in the same issue of The Blade, “Plight of the Afghan Women/The Walking Dead.” These women, many formerly teachers, doctors, and other professionals, live under the tyranny of Taliban rulers who grant women no rights - no choices.

Women cannot go to school, go to work, or leave home by themselves. They must wear burqas that cover them from head to foot. Punishment for disobeying the Taliban's laws ranges from beatings to death.

I am almost certain that, before the religious extremists took over, Afghan women felt secure as full, useful, productive citizens. How could they imagine that a minority of poorly educated men, fearful of losing power, would practice such brutality against women as to reduce them to non-personhood?

Here in America, we must not rest on our laurels because girls and women have made strides since 1992. We need to fight those forces that would remove choice - that would dictate to girls to emulate Britney Spears or, in the name of a distorted holy tradition, to retire silently and don the burqa.

GAIL CONRAD

AAUW/Toledo

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Recently returning from a two-week trip, I collected mail and had received a letter from the Toledo Electric Government Aggregation Program. In this letter was a minimal savings on electricity annually, but its presentation to me was a very aggressive forceful way of acceptance. If I refuse, I must send an “opt-out” form within a specified deadline, using my own time and money (stamp and envelope). If I don't send in the opt-out, I've accepted.

Isn't this backwards? If I sent letters to people for a service (say lawn service), could I legally collect a fee if those individuals did not send me a refusal letter within a deadline, using their own time and money?

As a taxpaying American citizen, I'm being forced to send a non-acceptance reply, rather than a voluntary reply of acceptance.

Had I not returned from my trip in time, I would have unknowingly and unwillingly accepted a proposal and the cost that goes with it. I personally find this to be a very un-American way of doing business and wonder if our future contractual commitments in life are going to be forced-return “opt-out” replies as well. I sure hope someone doesn't sell me something I don't know about when I take my next trip!

R.H. HEPLER

Waggoner Boulevard

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The public often thinks of Toledo Public School's Mayfair Achievement Program as a problem school filled with “bad” students. Many think this program does nothing to change the lives of its “at risk” youth and that all of the students who attend MAP are cold-hearted and uncaring.

When the Sept. 11 tragedy occurred, our class talked in great detail about how the affected families felt and what kind of person(s) could commit such a crime. All of our students wanted to help, but having little or no money and resources, they felt helpless. They were too young to donate blood and had no items to send for the rescue efforts.

We searched the Internet for more info on the Sept. 11 tragedy and came across the memorial web sites dedicated to the heroes and victims. We marveled at the various pictures displayed, with one student commenting that the pictures would make nice badges. When a student asked, “Can we print those pictures?” another said, “Why not make badges with our kit and sell them?” It was decided to try raising funds by making and selling patriotic badges for $1, and donating the money to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

We're proud to say that in the past four weeks, we've made and sold more than 1,100 badges, with more orders still coming in. For a school that gets a lot of negative attention, this shows that our school can make a difference in the lives of our students, and they can be thoughtful, considerate, and compassionate.

DARLENE BROWN

Mayfair Achievement Program

Bennett Road

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Shame on you for the Oct. 12 obituary of Donald A. Baker. Instead of “ex-leader of S & L was forced to quit,” it should have read “leader in mortgage lending for the working class people for 40 years,” as quoted by Dr. Douglas V. Austin.

This was old news (1989) not pertinent to his demise and covered extensively by your paper at that time. His family suffered during this period as did his health; rehashing this in an obituary is unconscionable.

Losing your husband, father, and grandfather is difficult enough without digging up old skeletons. Persecuting a dead man is like another trial, which is not the purpose of an obituary.

Dr. Austin was correct: “He should be remembered for trying to get as many people in homes as possible instead of how First Federal finally died.”

May he rest in peace.

DOROTHY RORICK

Maumee

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In response to an Oct. 22 letter and all others who share the view that killing is wrong, I agree. My faith and common sense tell me so. However, the United States is not involved in the act of murder, rather a murderous minority has provoked us into armed conflict. The goal of this conflict is not murder, but justice and peace. When one does something wrong, one must face the consequences of one's actions.

When terrorists hijacked four planes on Sept. 11 and succeeded in flying three of them into buildings, killing thousands of innocent, unsuspecting Americans, they did something horribly wrong. In turn, our military is going to deliver the consequences to Osama bin Laden and his associates. The Oct. 22 letter writer naively suggests that the United States, in doing this, is “fighting terrorism with terrorism.” Terrorism would be killing innocent, unsuspecting civilians, e.g., flying planes into buildings.

MELISSA TROMBLEY

Autumn View

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I am incensed by the media's over-zealousness in introducing the scare of smallpox to an already nervous public. When did their job change from reporting the news to making the news?

Just as we are trying to absorb the scare of anthrax, they bring in smallpox and play it up as the more deadly disease, which it is, as if we did not have enough to fear already. They have been questioning experts as to how it can be used and what effect it can have on the population just in case our enemy had not thought of this one.

Why not report the news as it happens instead of bombarding us with possibilities of a terror that is not a reality (yet). If they play it up enough perhaps our enemy might get a message. And if that does not work, perhaps the media will come up with something more deadly to suggest.

MAXINE JENNINGS

Shenandoah Road

A striking contrast in columnists

I enjoy the contrast when Molly Ivins' column is published directly next to Linda Bowles' column. Common sense vs. fire and brimstone fundamentalism. Humor vs. doom.

Ms. Bowles assumes a divinely inspired America where good (conservatives) opposes evil (liberals). Ms. Ivins assumes a secular America that respects true freedom of religion. I have always felt that Ms. Bowles' columns should appear in the Saturday Religion section, but perhaps it would be better just to continue putting the two side by side.

MIKE O'DELL

Tulane Avenue



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