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Published: Friday, 4/9/2004

U.S. workers must adapt to economy

As the presidential campaign heats up, the issue of job outsourcing will continue to be hyped by the media. One would think this is a new phenomenon. Actually it's been going on for years and has resulted in the service economy of today.

Instead of finger-pointing at government officials, we simply have to look in the mirror to determine whom to blame.

First, ask yourself, "Am I willing to pay three times as much for an American-made product simply to support the higher wages of U.S. workers?"

Second, American workers have been slow in recognizing the importance of career evolution. A good-paying job is not a birthright - you have to have something to offer. Companies are in the business of making money; and if they can do it more efficiently in another country, they will.

So instead of whining about jobs leaving our borders, U.S. workers need to prepare themselves for "outsource-proof" careers. People aren't going to go to Taiwan to get their teeth cleaned, call Mexico to get a plumber, or stop by Korea for a haircut.

Geoffrey J. Humphrys

Gilhouse Road

I have some news for all the crybabies out there who scream that any news that is less than 110 percent positive about this country is treason. Our country is not absolved from the bad things it has done just because "someone else started it." That's the excuse of a spoiled 8-year-old.

If we turn a blind eye to renegade soldiers mutilating and murdering innocent farmers, we diminish ourselves to the level of the Viet Cong running the Hanoi Hilton. If we blow up whole sections of Fallujah to avenge four American contractors, we are as dirty as Saddam Hussein massacreing the Shias who angered him.

We can't stay the best country in the world just by doing a little Superiority Dance. We have to actually behave better than everyone else, even when it's inconvenient. Especially, it means that if we do something wrong, we have to admit it and take our medicine, or else we are as morally rotten as any other liar.

How can we demand that former Iraqi conscripts atone for their sins and then say that former American conscripts don't have to play by the same rules? That's the hypocrisy of a whiny brat who throws a fit until he gets his way.

I thank The Blade for its series in the same way as an earlier letter writer: You have to clean out a painful wound before it can heal right. We're now sadder but wiser because we know more about the problems we want to avoid in the future. In other words, we're better people.

What kind of a country are we creating when confessing your sins and asking for absolution is called treason, and turning a blind eye to evil is called "being a good American"?

Amanda Reno

Minneapolis, Minn.

Sincere congratulations on the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. All Toledoans should reflect pride in this outstanding achievement.

In particular, I want to salute Joe Mahr, whom I have always regarded as an extremely capable and dedicated reporter. His reporting, "Stuck in Gear," is still the best definitive reporting on Toledo's economy that I have ever read.

J. Patrick Nicholson

Richmond Road

Editor's Note: Mr. Nicholson is past president of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board.

"Blade buys Pulitzer"! That is how I think the headline should have read regarding your despicable series, "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths." Just how much money did the Blocks spend to produce and promote an unpopular and unproductive exploitation of men challenged by the exigencies of war?

Please remember, the soldiers portrayed in the series were members of the 101st Airborne Division, the same unit we admired and honored in The Band of Brothers.

Yes, there may have been isolated acts by a few individuals in the Tiger Force platoon, but within the context of war - and especially the Vietnam War - desperate deeds are done by desperate men. I do not think it serves your readership or Vietnam veterans to be splashed by the mud of investigative muckraking.

Perhaps the Blocks and the investigative reporting team should spend some time in Iraq. Get a little combat experience, get ambushed by "friendlies," get pinned down by automatic weapons fired by women and children.

Then, and only then, should they report on what happens in war.

Earn a Pulitzer. Don't buy it!

John A. Barber

Luna Pier

After reading the series, "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths," I was left wondering what combat or military experience the writers themselves had during the Vietnam War they seemed to know so much about.

Unfortunately, little mention was made by them about the atrocities suffered by our troops and the South Vietnamese at the hands of the NVA and Vietcong.

Seeing the Pulitzer people saw fit to award The Blade its top prize for the one-sided report, one has to wonder if the title of the series would have better been "Biased Reporting, Hidden Agenda."

Paul Wroe

309th Street

I want to extend my sincere congratulations on winning the coveted Pulitzer Prize. What a tremendous honor for The Blade and for Michael Sallah, Mitch Weiss, and Joe Mahr. I can only imagine the excitement in the newsroom as the awards were announced.

The time and resources you invested in this story were clearly necessary in order for the truth of this horrific story to be told.

I am sure that during the months of the investigation, countless hours of research, and numerous drafts and edits, an unimaginable story began to unfold. The dedication and commitment of your reporters are to be commended.

I hope that you truly enjoy this amazing moment in the history of The Blade and wish you continued success.

Alan W. Brass

CEO, President

ProMedica Health System

Congratulations on the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. It is about time that the rest of the literary world realized that the "Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths" series was truly a piece of distinguished reporting.

The Pulitzer Prize is one of the greatest honors of American journalism. It is gratifying to know that all the hard work by Michael Sallah, Mitch Weiss, and Joe Mahr has resulted in this well-deserved honor. It's made even more special by the fact that more than 2,000 entries were submitted and only 21 awards were made.

The Pulitzer Prize is a great commentary not only on the work of your reporters, but also on The Blade itself.

This win over the New York Times and Washington Post, the other two finalists in the category, showed what we here in Toledo have known all along, that The Blade is a fine example of the American newspaper industry.

It is great to see the underdog get the award.

Peter Gerken

Toledo City Council

To the letter writer who envisioned himself witty and ironic by stating that he'd use his tax rebate check to make a contribution to the Kerry campaign, I would say this: Do with your money what you will.

That is precisely the philosophical foundation behind the Bush tax cuts. It's your money, and you are able to spend it in any way you deem appropriate. I would only caution that perhaps you shouldn't be so cavalier about this money, because if things fall your way and your guy does get elected, it will be the last tax rebate check that touches your hands for at least the next four years. Enjoy!

Brian T. Jones

106th Street



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