In his Feb. 14 column, The Blade's Dan Simpson said that he was asked by the State Department to go to Sudan for four months to stand as acting ambassador. The Blade was willing to release him temporarily. But then he was advised by the State Department that his temporary assignment had been rejected at the political level. Turns out that columns he had written had offended the Bush Administration.
On Feb. 15 The Blade had an article about the governor of Maryland banning all state employees from talking to two reporters from the Baltimore Sun. The governor said they were not objectively covering his administration. The newspaper sued but a federal judge dismissed the suit.
The scariest man in America says, "If you're not with me, you're against me," and is increasingly getting rid of people in his administration who dare question his judgment. Dissidents are told they are unpatriotic.
During the inaugural parade he was whisked past protesters. Did he close his eyes, cover his ears, and hum?
Before being written off as a left-wing nut job, I would like to say that even though I have voted for a Democratic presidential candidate once or twice in the past, I am a registered Republican.
I have an open mind and listen to what everyone has to say. However, I do not like the direction in which this country is heading.
To quote Harry S. Truman, "Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
Finally, we had the long-awaited opening day of the newly expanded and renovated Waterville Library.
Because residents were without our beloved library for so many months, we were all eager for this event.
Our beautiful and more spacious library is everything we had hoped for. I commend the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and the Lucas County citizens who support our wonderful library system.
What incredible gems we have in our greater community - a library system, a zoo, a botanical garden, and an art museum that are top notch and greatly enrich our quality of life!
I had occasion to read The Blade again when a relative from Lucas County brought one down with her. What a treat!
My dad, Ernie Blank, was the district circulation manager for that wonderful paper over several counties in this area from 1946 to about 1965 and I was one of seven or eight carriers at the local agency for five years during the 1950s.
I believe it's still available on local newsstands but, with three papers delivered daily to our home I don't go seeking out others often.
I always enjoy the Peach Section, just because of its off-beat color, but the news which you carry is so much more extensive than our two area moderate-sized cities' papers can publish. Toledo is just a bigger market, and The Blade is, and always has been, about quality.
Dad and all his co-workers have gone to their eternal reward years ago and now I see ever-increasing obits of people in their mid-60s, so I imagine some of my contemporaries in the mobile newspaper retailing business (paper boys and, occasionally, girls back then ) have also left to join departed friends and family.
I'm having fun doing silly things such as this, so I'm not ready yet, but it's not my call, either.
I wanted to share these thoughts with someone who might have an interest. Thanks for the privilege!
ROBERT E. BLANK
Van Wert, Ohio
I was reading a financial prospectus of an interest-bearing account that I have had since the mid-1990s, and it revealed an interesting statistic. During the Clinton years, when the deficit was being replaced with a large surplus, and inflation was running about the same as today, interest on this account ran over 5 percent on average.
Since George Bush has been in, and with huge unprecedented deficits now replacing surpluses, the rate has dropped like a rock, and is under 1 percent up to the date of the prospectus. On average, it was only about 1.5 percent during Mr. Bush's first term.
Maybe that makes President Bush happy, but I doubt those who are trying to live on fixed income investments are pleased.
In The Blade's Feb. 9 story on Gov. Bob Taft's State of the State address, Mr. Taft is quoted as saying: "If we are to create tomorrow's jobs, we can't remain frozen in yesterday's tax system Unless we change it, our progress will be slow, our people will suffer, and Ohio will not grow."
Immediately following that was a statement by the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Jon Husted (R., Kettering): "We have to stop letting failed policies and failed ideas dictate our economy in this state, and we need to start looking forward if we want to create jobs, live, work, and invest in this state."
Think about these words. Do they not sound like words of people who just came into office?
What are we to make of Republican leaders whose party has controlled both the executive and legislative branches for the last 11 years and the governorship for the last 15 who talk of how they now "have to stop letting failed policies and failed ideas dictate our economy in this state"?
Our state has been at or near the bottom among the 50 states on most measures of economic well-being. But we are number one in the number of people (ages 25-40) who have left the state.
If these Republican leaders are right, it just shows what slow learners they are. If they are not right, what can we reasonably expect from people with such a record except more of the same or worse?
Let us take them at their word and act accordingly at the next election.
DENNIS M. ANDERSON
Your Feb. 10 editorial on reducing mercury emissions, "Friends in high places," ends with a call to enforce current laws.
As Shakespeare would say, there's the rub- there aren't any. The Clear Skies Act (S. 131) represents the first time this nation would set specific requirements for reductions in mercury emissions.
In addition, S.131 also mandates major reductions in SO2 and NOx - an additional 70 percent from 2002 levels - using the flexible "cap-and-trade" approach that has been so successful in reducing acid rain cost-effectively, ahead of schedule, and with nearly 100 percent compliance. And it leaves in place all the environmental and health provisions in the Clean Air Act.
What's holding up efforts to cut power plant pollution is the disinformation, overheated rhetoric, and litigious approach of the anti-energy activists. The technology for reducing mercury emissions has not yet developed to its full efficiency.
Enacting goals we can meet is better than bickering while Rome burns.
Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Energy
We are pelted daily with stories of a poor economy, tight municipal and county budgets, and general tough times. Despite this, Lucas County Commissioners Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Pete Gerken were able to find $1 million to sweeten the pot to entice Owens-Illinois to remain downtown.
The real question is this: Is the $1 million being offered to save 350 jobs at 1 Seagate or one job (Mayor Ford's) at 1 Government Center?
DON E. STATHULIS
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