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Published: Wednesday, 3/2/2005

Liberals dare not be censorious

Your Feb. 24 editorial, "Big brother on campus," described state Sen. Larry Mumper's "bizarre" "academic bill of rights" as "thinly veiled intimidation" by "ultra-conservative lawmakers" with "phony crises and scapegoats," "the sky-is-falling fulminations," "co-sponsored by another proud right-winger."

It mentions "alleged left-wingers" on the one hand and "decidedly conservative" "Ashland University" on the other, and sees a "nonexistent problem."

This repeatedly heated bullying talk is itself sky-is-falling intimidation, meant to squelch dissent, and is the very problem at hand. I voted for Ben Konop, Democratic law professor, one of the calmer critics of this bill, for Congress, but maybe I'm still your "right-winger."

I've often missed the open academic "discussion of controversial matters" when sneering and four-letter words greet dissent, when told directly to keep quiet, when a colleague says privately that he can't give his views, and when another colleague says that the established academic views are right so we don't need to hire any of those with other ideas.

I found some of the same while teaching at Kansas, Stanford, Illinois, etc., so the "nonexistent problem" label is false. As some other states have found, rules like Senator Mumper's bill may really open up, not close, discussion.

I don't support David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture (cspc.org) on every point, but it is right on this, although I've seen and heard only "the sky is falling" academic comment. Circling the wagons is no better for us academics than for congressional leaders. Being liberal should mean being generous and tolerant. To show that we're not censorious we dare not be censorious, especially at a university or newspaper.

Ronald Rich

Bluffton, Ohio

That awful Sept. 11 morning we all rallied round President Bush. Remember what he said: "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." And, "I want justice There's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'●"

I believed Mr. Bush. Yet, a mere six months later he said:

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority. I am truly not that concerned about him."

As the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz zeal to take out Saddam Hussein consumed the administration, involvement in Afghanistan was depleted. The majority of our Arab-speaking linguists, military hardware, and soldiers were diverted to Iraq. The search for bin Laden was essentially put into the hands of the military dictatorship of Pakistan.

Many Pakistanis and Afghans revere bin Laden. Nearly half believe insurgent suicide bombing is justified. They hate America. How eager do you think they'd be to help find him?

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has tenuous control in a country with nuclear warheads. In Afghanistan the Taliban has reorganized, war lords are regaining control, and 90 percent of the world's heroin supply is produced there.

The instigator of that terrorist act remains elusive. His attacks are carefully planned and executed years apart; this lull shouldn't make us complacent. Al-Qaeda uses varying strategies. Do you believe they'd use passenger aircraft again? It only takes a pop can full of biological or nuclear material to wipe out a core city through its vulnerable port!

The occupation of Iraq dominates the news, but how's the real war on terrorism going?

Jeannie Jones

Springfield Township

With all the recent news about the East Toledo Marina District plus the prospect of a new sports arena, I felt it time to pause and reflect on an old friend.

For 50 years the Toledo Sports Arena has been a center for quality entertainment, sports events, and all types of attractions galore. It has been, at the same time, a solid employer to so many here in our area.

The arena, while considered dated by critics, is well maintained by a competent staff. It looks great. Surprising, yes, for a building over a half century old. Excellent management with good staffing have assured its upkeep for so long. There are many structures in far worse shape in this area. Hats off to all at the arena for their efforts.

As a host venue, the arena has had everything from hockey to wrestling to the greatest show on earth - from rodeos to ice shows - roller derby to many big stars past and present. Elvis Presley came, Johnny Cash, Guy Lombardo, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Gunther Gebel-Williams, Linda Fratianne, a whole who's who.

We all have our own interests and our own memories. If you are from Toledo you have many of the Sports Arena.

You may yet experience its hospitality with all the shows and events coming soon. How about a Toledo Storm hockey game? Stop by and see an old friend in East Toledo. The place where visions could and should happen.

TOM HENRICKS

South Avenue

We came to [the bridge to] mourn and remember. They were our sons, husbands, brothers, and friends. Most of all, each and every one of them touched a place in our hearts.

As we walked to the site to remember that tragic day one year ago most of us had that same feeling. Just once, I mean, just once couldn't the media let us remember and mourn in peace?

Instead, as we approached the site, members of the media were like sharks feasting on injured prey. They all wanted that exclusive interview.

For most of us it was a hard day to remember. We felt good giving each other support. This is what unions do.

Just think how classy it would have been to hear the media say, "Out of respect to the four men who lost their lives one year ago, we give our sympathy. We will not send a team to the site, but let those who hurt the most mourn and remember in peace."

Joe Szenderski

Chalice Way

The fiasco surrounding Justice Alice Resnick's traffic stop for drunken driving raises many questions.

First, is it the Bowling Green police department's policy, or the Ohio Highway Patrol's, to allow a suspected drunken driver to leave a traffic stop, without the officers' permission, and then drive nearly 10 miles on a busy highway before stopping them again?

What about public safety? What if she had caused a fatal accident before she was stopped on the interstate?

Public safety is the very reason police departments exist, and in this case they failed the public miserably.

Second, when Justice Resnick was arrested for drunken driving she was on her way to the Ohio Supreme Court. If she hadn't been stopped, it stands to reason that she would have been drunk while hearing Supreme Court arguments.

Were there other court sessions she attended while drunk? Am I the only person outraged by this thought, as the Supreme Court hears cases literally concerning life and death?

Third, as northwest Ohio's leading newspaper, it is The Blade's responsibility to be the conscience and voice of the public. If The Blade doesn't demand answers to questions such as these and honesty and integrity from public officials, then what chance does an individual citizen have of demanding the same?

David Gerbich

Gibsonburg, Ohio

Some basketball players stay on the court too long, football players stay on the field too long. Some in Congress stay too long; there are boxers who stay in the ring too long, and some preachers stay in the pulpit too long.

Now when it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court, there should be no lifetime appointments. There should be a set time how long a judge would be allowed to serve on the high court. Some of the justices have been on the court so long they have stopped interpreting the law and have begun to legislate their personal opinions and calling it law.

This is wrong and it is time for a change.

NATE WASHINGTON

Bricker Avenue



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