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Published: Friday, 5/16/2003

Bennett's critics use faulty logic

The Clinton apologists and Bush-haters are having a field day over the alleged hypocrisy of William Bennett. “Aha!” they cry, rejoicing over the public confession of one of the harshest critics of Clintonian immorality and one of conservatism's most eloquent spokesmen to some turpitude of his own. He gambles, their logic claims, therefore he is morally flawed and thus is utterly discredited from speaking on any moral issues.

Excuse me, but which of those who are so enthusiastically casting stones at this honest man does not have flaws of his or her own? If moral perfection were a prerequisite for speaking out on moral issues, then all of us must be silent, especially those who blithely dismiss the patently immoral conduct of our former president. But then those who condone immorality always prefer silence, disguised as the false virtue of tolerance, to opposition.

Further, attacking Mr. Bennett for his gambling in light of his criticism of Bill Clinton is a sham, so much so that its dishonesty disqualifies his attackers when their own logic is applied to it. If you will recall, Mr. Clinton proved himself a master of obfuscation, equivocation, linguistic gyrations - what does “is” mean? - and many other forms of dishonesty and denial when confronted with his moral failings. Mr. Bennett, on the other hand, publicly came clean and renounced his behavior. Which of Mr. Bennett's critics would demonstrate such integrity were their hidden vices called into public questions?

These attempts to de-legitimize William Bennett are nothing but another form of the tactic of some liberals to brand any opinion that opposes theirs as an assault on free speech. These people reserve for themselves the right to air their views and impose their form of morality on others, but dissenters are to be shamed into silence.

THOMAS BERRY

Bowling Green

At that memorable press conference in 1984, when Margaret Heckler, then Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced that HIV is the probable cause of AIDS, she promised an AIDS vaccine within two years. Well, 1986 came and went - and no vaccine. A decade passed, and still no vaccine.

In 1997 President Clinton got in the act, but Mr. Clinton, learning from experience, was a lot more cautious. He promised an AIDS vaccine within 10 years. We are now six years into his promise, and an AIDS vaccine is nowhere in sight.

How many years will have to go by before the U.S. government acknowledges that there will never be a vaccine, as there is nothing to vaccinate against? The HIV/AIDS hypothesis, in my view, is a charade, and the most profligate squandering of public monies ever, as this charade has cost the American taxpayers $115 billion so far, and the U.S. Congress shows no sign of bringing relief to American taxpayers.

The year 2007 will come and go without producing a vaccine. An AIDS vaccine is a mirage.

LEONARD HARGRAVE

North University

With so much company downsizing it makes one wonder how executive incomes continue to increase while those of employees and shareholders stagnate. Can this be a case of “the tail wagging the dog”? Too often this seems to be the case.

Executive pay schemes and arrangements are circular, like a dog chasing its tail. The CEO enlists mutual back-scratchers as members of his board of directors. These directors are coddled by the CEO with perks.

A few carefully selected directors are appointed to the compensation committee. The committee (not wanting to accept responsibility for outrageous CEO compensation) then hires an outside compensation consultant. The consultant's recommendation to the committee is “you have to meet competitive incomes and perks in order to keep your top level executives from leaving for a better deal elsewhere.”

When the full board approves the recommendation of the compensation committee the dog finally catches his tail, completing the circle. Year after year the circle and executive incomes and perks continue to grow, often with little relationship to the bottom line results of their businesses.

While the perimeter is made up of the CEO, the compensation committee, the compensation consultants, and the board of directors, this arrangement creates a “zero” in the middle representing the income increase the shareholders and average employees get.

This injustice will remain the norm until corporate boards, realizing that the increasing income gap between top executives and average workers is socially destructive, take corrective action, and/or empower shareholders to elect truly independent directors responsible to all members of the enterprise.

JOHN P. SCHALLES

Hillandale Road

Toledo City Councilman Peter Gerken says that building a casino in Monroe County, Michigan, would be taking jobs out of Toledo. How can this be when there are no casinos in Toledo to take jobs from? Toledo is missing a big source of tax revenue by not pushing hard for casinos in Ohio. With a casino in downtown Toledo, downtown would come alive again. More conventions would come to town, as there would be something to do after the day's activity at a convention.

How many millions of dollars are crossing the border to Michigan because there are no casinos in Ohio?

PAUL J. VERES

Grantwood Drive

While the proposed enlargement of the St. Lawrence Seaway may generate economic benefits for the Great Lakes in general, it is hard to understand the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority lobbying for this project. Toledo has trouble maintaining its shipping channel now, let alone a deeper and perhaps wider channel needed to handle larger ships.

The Maumee River drains 6,600 square miles of mostly agricultural land, dumping 1.3 million tons of silt, more sediment than any other river in the Great Lakes Basin and rich in farm-use chemicals, into Maumee Bay. This shallow estuary averages less than 5 feet in depth, through which Toledo maintains a 28-foot channel.

The 850,000 cubic yards removed from the channel yearly are either placed in confined disposal facilities (CDFs) or dumped elsewhere in the lake. These methods pose serious long-term environmental concerns. A larger, deeper channel would only intensify both problems. This is the largest regular dredging project in the Great Lakes, accounting for one-fourth of all dredging dollars spent in the lakes. Dredging costs alone average $2.2 million yearly and when the costs of CDFs is included, the cost jumps to $4 million to $5 million per year.

Since the present CDF is nearly full, plans are to allow for an increase in open lake dumping. The dumping area would be northwest of the channel, about six miles out from the harbor light. The water depth is 22 to 24 feet, certainly not deep enough to prevent re-suspending and redistributing the sediments during storms.

With today's vast rail and road network and the Port of Detroit within miles, lobbying by the port authority for an expanded seaway, for limited local gain, while ignoring prolonged adverse environmental harms seems both shortsighted and self-serving.

JAMES MANNING

Oregon

I feel like I'm on a sinking boat and about to drown. Everything I own or use is being taxed, and that which isn't soon will be.

The government says our inflation rate is low. I don't know where those people live but it is not around here.

Our medication just doubled, and some tripled, in price. How can this be justified? Everything seems to be going through the roof in price.

If you are on a fixed income you are on that sinking boat.

GLENN REAMSNYDER

Williston Road



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