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Published: Wednesday, 6/16/2004

Population fund catalyst for change

I agree wholeheartedly with your editorial that decisions by the Bush Administration to deny funding to the United Nations Population Fund do not reflect "compassionate conservatism." Instead, they reveal the extent to which the Bush Administration is captive to the religious right.

I was part of a nine-member interfaith delegation that spent a week in China last September investigating the role of UNFPA in China's population program. Our contingent was composed of religious leaders and scholars from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith traditions. What we discovered is that UNFPA is functioning as a much-needed catalyst for change in China.

Where UNFPA is in operation in China abortion rates are in significant decline, reversible means of contraception are replacing sterilization, and both women and men are becoming aware of a variety of ways to exercise responsible birth control.

These facts are not new; similar conclusions were reached by a high-ranking State Department delegation as well as a group of British parliament members.

The decision by the Bush Administration to reject the conclusions of these three delegations reveals how much it is indebted to the religious right, and how willing it is to play politics with the reproductive health of millions of people around the world.

James B. Martin-Schramm

Associate Professor of Religion

Luther College

Decorah, Iowa

President Bush compared his Iraq war to World War II in his recent speech to the Air Force Academy graduating class.

This president has delusions of grandeur.

I have great respect and empathy for the armed forces participating in this unnecessary war. The dead are at peace. The injured and their families will carry the burden and pain as a legacy of Mr. Bush's war for the rest of their lives.

As a World War II veteran, I have only one response to comparing the current conflict to the second world war:

Quick! Give me the barf bag.

RAY SZYMANSKI

Coolidge Parkway

One of the most precious freedoms we have is freedom of the press and expression. Thank God and our Constitution for it! And thanks to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi for recently offering something all too rare in Washington these days - straight talk about President Bush's Iraq policy, questioning his leadership.

President Bush and his surrogates in Congress have been trying to bully the American people into silence over his failed policies in Iraq. They're saying it's somehow unpatriotic and even dangerous to criticize the President during wartime.

After President Bush came to Capitol Hill for a pep rally before Republican members of Congress (where he refused to acknowledge any questions about Iraq), Representative Pelosi said that his handling of the war in Iraq shows "an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment, and experience in making the decisions that would have been necessary to truly accomplish the mission without the deaths to our troops and the cost to our taxpayers."

She said what a growing majority of Americans think and believe. Also, thanks to The Blade for covering this and other "uncomfortable" viewpoints.

Tony Perzynski

Darewood Drive

A June 11 article, "Hybrid-car buyers find claims are overstated," mentioned that some buyers of hybrid cars are not seeing the gas mileage that Toyota and Honda predict, and that some hybrid buyers are upset about this.

The article did not mention the thousands of hybrid buyers who are seeing the predicted gas mileage and who are very satisfied with their hybrid vehicle.

I own a 2002 Honda Insight and I get over 55 miles per gallon, in town as well as on the highway.

The article quoted a Consumer Reports director as saying that even with the price of gas at $2 per gallon, it would take 12 years to recoup the cost of a hybrid. This is nonsense. Hybrid buyers do not expect to recoup the entire $20,000 purchase price of the car.

If a prospective car buyer is deciding between a $20,000 non-hybrid and a $20,000 hybrid, the hybrid makes obvious financial sense.

Gwen Johnson

Bowling Green

As one who drove the road from Toledo to Napoleon daily for a few years, and still drive it occasionally, I feel qualified to comment on the proposed $332 million project for U.S. 24.

I agree the traffic is horrendous. I agree the road is dangerous. I believe the fatality rate is 45 percent above the state average. I don't agree that the highway needs to be replaced or rerouted at $332 million or even $32 million.

The only reason U.S. 24 is crowded and dangerous is the huge truck traffic and manufactured homes going down the highway. These truckers are not on U.S. 24 because they like it or because it is the only way. They would rather be going down a three- or four-lane each direction highway that is not crowded.

Surprisingly, there is such a road, our own Ohio Turnpike. But truckers do not use the turnpike because they have to pay exorbitant fees. The turnpike commission does not have to spend the money for new roads, so it couldn't care less about trying to accommodate the truckers.

A reduction in the turnpike toll would save the state money (for construction of U.S. 24), save lives (by reducing the traffic on the existing highway), and leave our scenic and pleasant drive down U.S. 24 intact.

The state could even take some of the construction money saved and reimburse the turnpike commission and everyone would be happy, even the environmentalists and the farmers.

Bob Larch

Sylvania

Norma Smith has lived on Illinois Avenue in Maumee since 1946, when she and her husband built a house with their own two hands. The business known as the Sunset Mobile Home Court was added in 1953. When her husband passed away in 1966, Mrs. Smith continued to run the business by herself until 2000.

She has been a longtime taxpayer to the city of Maumee, as well as the residents of the mobile court. The property is not abandoned. Mrs. Smith loves her home and wishes to stay there for the rest of her life. Furthermore she has plans to redevelop the property as a self-storage facility.

The city of Maumee, as thanks to Mrs. Smith for her contribution to the city coffers over the many years, is planning to take her property through eminent domain. The property has never been for sale. There are other possible locations for the new fire station that the city could use that are better sites.

For example, why not use the Joseph's Supermarket on Conant Street which has been vacant for years? There is an empty body shop on Illinois, the American Legion could sell, or the Food Town on Anthony Wayne Trail and Conant. They are also commercial and they are no one's home. But they must have Mrs. Smith's home.

Why?

It would be a hardship for this 82-year-old woman to move from the home she loves. It would break her heart to see her home torn down. She is not in the best of physical health. Would the council members do this to their mothers?

Lynn Seigfreid

Waterville

The college football season approaches, and the public eagerly anticipates it. Now is the time for television networks to consider devoting half of the halftime period to the college marching bands, with their practiced maneuvers and inspiring music, instead of "pundits" explaining what we have already seen, projecting what we may see, or what we heard on pre-game gab.

Networks, save a lot of money spent on these learned experts and let us experience each week that American tradition: the college marching band.

Mable Bridgman

Sylvania



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