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Published: Sunday, 12/12/2004

Guidelines for research of stem cells

As a parent of a child with juvenile diabetes, I long for the day when we can find a cure for this dreadful disease. In that spirit, I very much appreciated Amjad Hussain's Dec. 6 column, "Society must come to terms with science." He makes the welcome point that science must and will move forward, but that clear ethical guidelines should be established for embryonic stem-cell research. A few points of Dr. Hussain's persuasive argument, however, require further clarification.

Dr. Hussain largely pits religion against science. It is true that many opponents of stem-cell research base their opposition on religious principles. These people would be free to refuse treatments developed from stem-cell science. But many religious people and religious leaders from a range of faiths support stem-cell research. For many people, the commitment to helping those who suffer comes from their own religious principles, not in spite of them. Readers can learn more at www.pfaith.org, the website of People of Faith for Stem Cell Research.

Dr. Hussain also conjures up what seems to be a frightening world in which animal and human tissues are combined. As a surgeon, though, he might have reminded readers that animal tissue is already widely used for treating humans; e.g., cow and pig tissue for heart surgery, pig skin for burns and so on.

It is not so farfetched to imagine that stem-cell science could move forward under clearly defined ethical guidelines. In fact, it already does: England has national rules for embryonic stem-cell research, and it is leading the world in advancing this science.

Fadi V. Nahhas

Perrysburg

Liberals show signs of new affliction

Kudos to Marilou Johanek for her hysterical Dec. 3 diatribe, "December's dark days mirror times of our lives." This rant gave me a chuckle on this cold December morning. I've heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a kind of depression that affects some people during the winter, but I wonder if the symptoms exhibited in this Chicken Little-esque harangue aren't indicative of a new, as yet unnamed, ailment.

I'm no doctor, but I think that a general profile of someone susceptible to this illness can be easily drawn. Typical sufferers would be liberal Democrats who are in despair over the resounding loss of the election last month, not to mention the continuing decline of the left-wing agenda in general. Denial about why they lost as well as exaggerated and often farcical accusations about their opponents' intentions is common. The belief that the end of the world is imminent because Democrats are out of power is another prevalent symptom.

Common sense would be recommended as the best prescription for this malady. Sadly, however, it appears that few victims are willing to try this treatment. If left unchecked, this affliction leads to complete irrelevance.

Since every illness needs a catchy acronym, here is a suggestion: The BLADE (Bitter Liberal After DEfeat) Syndrome.

Jeff Jankowski

Terrace View North

Column elicits resounding 'ditto'

With a heavy heart, I add a resounding "ditto" to Marilou Johanek's eloquent dissertation of Dec. 3, and pray God's blessing on the victims and the victimizers.

FAYE FENWICK

Mount Vernon Avenue

Electric rate notice was a real shock

I am a retired 68-year-old. Recently I got a notice in the mail from Edison saying it was going to raise my electric rate because I don't use enough, because I don't have an electric furnace or water heater. I have lived here for eight years. I cannot afford a new furnace and water heater to get a lower rate.

HAROLD LAKE

Millbury

Using methane gas as an industrial fuel

I support Pat Nicholson's Nov. 25 letter, especially as it addresses the flaring of methane gas at the Hoffman Road landfill.

Our company has been working at the DaimlerChrysler plant, which is very close to the Hoffman Road landfill. This proximity has given me the opportunity to watch billions and billions of BTUs being wasted forever.

Assuming for the moment that we didn't know anything about the Kyoto Protocol, we didn't know a BTU from a calorie, we couldn't find the Daimler Chrysler plant if we were at Hoffman Road landfill, but that we just wanted to quit being 195th nationally in economic development.

The first thing to do would be get in our "Liberty" and go over to the BFI landfill and ask why they are not wasting gas like we are. They probably would tell us to get back in our Liberty and drive west about three miles where we would see plumes of water vapor being emitted from a large building on the south side of Alexis Road. If using our gas as an industrial fuel will require more years of study, consultation, planning, and all other types of delays, then consider these: the generation of electricity, the heating of hydroponic gardens, the heating of year round catfish farms, or, as I have heard suggested, sending it to the Bayview wastewater treatment plant where we already have the potential to make more gas than we require.

JAMES G. BENNETT

President

Toledo Caisson Corp.

Ottawa Lake, Mich.

Best not to stopper this brain drain

A recent letter from a 27-year-old informed us that now that he is a grown-up "businessman," he is waaay too important to continue living in the city of Toledo.

Mr. Businessman is moving to Sylvania where he expects the grass to be greener, skies to be bluer, garbage to disappear tidily, and where only prominent rulers will govern his domain.

Evidently, he has gripes regarding Toledo's rain, leaves, garbage, police and fire protection, and $7 trash fee proposal - and it's all the fault of his councilwoman. This sage 27-year-old complains that his council representative is inexperienced. Mr. Self-Important goes on to ignorantly and erroneously detail the councilwoman's professional status and accomplishments.

I don't know what bug crawled up his shorts, but we sure wouldn't want him to compromise his integrity by continuing his "affiliation" with Toledo. If this is the kind of self-righteous brain that is draining from our city, I advise "Take your $7, and don't let the door hit you on your way out."

Anna Frank

Monroe Street

Upgrading Toledo's trash collection

I have been reading about Toledo wanting to charge a monthly fee for trash collection. After seeing the pictures on The Blade's Web site of two people walking behind a moving trash truck, I want to tell you how trash is collected in Columbus.

Here every household is issued a large trash can that is mechanically picked up by the trash truck. An arm comes out, grabs the trash can, and dumps it into the truck. It is a one-person operation. It is very efficient and very quick.

Why doesn't Toledo upgrade to this technology? It would speed trash collection and probably eliminate the need for the fee. I only see one major hurdle to this - the trash collectors' union.

This can be done over a period of years and eliminate layoffs and extra costs of buying the new equipment by phasing it in over time.

Rob Johnson

Columbus


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