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Published: Tuesday, 3/1/2005

U.S. forfeiting its place as world leader

The history of the world tells us that many things have occurred to transfigure the Earth, but they have always been spontaneous. The transfiguration of the world because of emission of gases will be the first time that the changes have been devised by man.

Some 140 countries decided that it was worth their effort to try not to transfigure the Earth due to our self-indulgence. The United States decided it did not want to be part of that effort. Our country's leadership decided that to try to curtail the deterioration of our atmosphere would not be in the current best interests of our corporate enterprises and economy, which create products by the use of heat created from energy sources that destroy our atmosphere.

History indicates clearly that, when a reigning worldwide power becomes preoccupied with short-term gratification or profit at the price of the Earth and the rest of civilization, it has given up its right to lead.

If the United States, the world's largest polluter, elects not to join in the effort to protect the long-term well being of all of the Earth's people, then the Earth's people will logically turn to other countries for leadership. For our President to say that it "isn't so" without a shred of scientific credibility makes our country and its future subject to radical change.

I sincerely hope that Congress will step up to the responsibility of not focusing on short-term implications and decide that, as "leaders of the world," we in the United States will be part of a movement to make this the best world possible in which to live.

JOHN W. DAVIES, JR.

Wyndwood Drive

Did anyone else react to the doubling of First Energy's 2004 profits with a regurgitating impulse? This near disgorgement immediately reminded me of PUCO, our state energy rate lapdog. Woof.

J. Hohl

Burroughs Drive

The Blade's Feb. 20 editorial, "Bleeding higher ed," was an accurate portrayal of the current crisis being experienced by our state's four-year universities. If our state and its leaders are serious about developing Ohio's economy and creating jobs, they must start with higher education and reverse the trend of disinvestment in our state's universities that has not only threatened our mission and future, but that of our state and its citizens.

We cannot "continue this mindless race toward the bottom" and expect a turnaround in our state's economy much less compete with those states that are investing more in their young people and their economic infrastructure. As you said in the editorial, it will take lawmakers who harbor real concern for the future of higher education.

Thank you for your continuing support of higher education and particularly our four-year universities. Our universities are not asking for support for themselves; rather we are asking on behalf of our students, their families and the future of our communities and state.

Dan Johnson

President

University of Toledo

With regard to President Bush's proposed 2006 national budget, let me use a well worn metaphor: the hits just keep on coming.

Some of the programs subject to these hits are:

●The Environmental Protection Agency will receive 5 percent less in its budget.

●The Department of Transportation will take a hit of 6.7 percent.

●Housing and Urban Development will be cut by 11.5 percent.

●The Department of Energy will join the hit parade with a 2 percent decrease in its 2006 budget. There will be, though, an increase in the DOE's weapons programs.

●The Department of Education would have to eliminate almost 48 programs, given this budget proposal.

The entire play list is too long for this short letter.

Along with all of these cuts President Bush proposes to maintain tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.

Meanwhile the big spender becomes the big recipient of government dollars. The Pentagon, under this budget, will receive $419.3 billion. The military receives an increase of 4.8 percent. This increase does not include the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which have been financed by supplemental expenditures. These off-the-budget allocations have been averaging almost $5 billion a month.

Martin Luther King said "a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

In light of the President's budget priorities, Dr. King's prescient warning of "spiritual death" seems ominously near.

Let us hope our collective spirits can reverse this disturbing trend. Let's hope our spirits can take wing and fly again. Let us hope it is soon.

STEVE MILLER

Scottwood Avenue

Recently I read the articles about the state of the City. Two main issues really stood out: Jobs for youth (money) and a cleaner city (recycling). Both are clearly within the grasp of this City and state of Ohio without any expense to either. In fact, there would be an on going source of revenue for both.

Simply put: a bottle bill, a deposit on all types of beverages and juice containers.

There isn't a child around who wouldn't collect these dimes lying around without ever thinking of charging the City $20,000 a year to ride around in a $100,000 vehicle to collect them, and then deposit them to recycle for less than the cost of the gas for the truck.

It is the mayor's responsibility, along with City Council, to take recycling seriously and lobby Columbus to make this happen.

NEIL BLAKEMAN

Maplewood Avenue

George W. Bush, the master of deceit, the king of the big lie, is at it again. George just saved the middle class from all those big, bad lawyers through tort reform recently.

Never mind that class action suits to protect the environment and safety of the public will be much more difficult to pursue. We (or should I say the big corporations) got saved!

Hallelujah!

Mr. Bush is planning to save us soon from all those bankruptcy cases we middle-class citizens are filing, too. He doesn't care that the tremendous increase in recent years is mainly because of medical emergencies and the lack of health care coverage or poor coverage. Those banking institutions are patriots like he is. They deserve every last cent that can be squeezed out of Americans filing for bankruptcy before they're put out on the street.

His most significant plan is to save us from Social Security. He is using a page from the Iraq playbook for this one - use every opportunity available to paint the situation in terms of a crisis.

It doesn't matter that the Congressional Budget Office analyzes Social Security able to pay all benefits through at least 2042 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits in subsequent years; George will cry crisis long and hard enough until at least 51 percent of the people listen to him.

Ah yes, as with the mythical weapons of mass destruction subterfuge, critics of the President's new social insecurity plan will be labeled do-nothings and unpatriotic as well.

So as you wave your job good-bye as it floats away in the sunset to China or India, just close your eyes and repeat after me, "George W. Bush will save me. He has family values!"

BARBARA MASTERS

Perrysburg

Surely there can no longer be any doubt about what the President has in mind for Social Security.

After seeing and hearing chants of "Hey hey! Ho ho! Social Security's got to go!" at a town hall meeting held by the President's chief supporter of privatization of Social Security in the Senate, Republican Rick Santorum, can the President really get away with saying they want to privatize Social Security to save it? Their chutzpah leaves me speechless.

Judith Jackson

Petersburg, Mich.



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