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Published: Sunday, 7/24/2005

Reporting blurs fact and fiction

The Blade is to be applauded for its commitment to vigorously report on the affairs of state government, but not when that vigor turns to baseless implications of wrongdoing.

Such was the mistake your newspaper made in its July 20 story implying that I used my position as chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati to benefit a business partner.

The article accurately reported that I had no role in the hiring of a business associate's firm to represent the bank and further that I had fully disclosed my professional relationship with that associate and recused myself from all discussion or voting on the issue. The article further reported that I had voluntarily met all reporting requirements related to my business association.

But you did not stop with the facts. Despite quoting a variety of sources who found my actions to be ethical and proper under federal law, the article proceeded to raise questions about the integrity of my professional relationships.

Unfortunately, The Blade has developed a reputation for pushing facts into unfair or unfounded speculation.

For the sake of your journalistic credibility, I hope you will take steps to curb these overzealous attempts to blur fact and fiction.

ROBERT T. BENNETT

Chairman

Ohio Republican Party

U.S. Attorney Greg White wrote on July 13 that he was trying to engage the public about the USA Patriot Act. However, the Department of Justice has consistently kept from the public information necessary for such a discussion.

He claims that there has never been a single verified infringement of civil liberties attributed to the Patriot Act. Yet much of the vital information on what the government has done under the act has not been shared with the public.

While there are provisions in the Patriot Act that call for congressional oversight, this oversight is woefully limited. Furthermore, the Department of Justice has not been forthcoming with much information and continues to misrepresent use of the act to Congress.

For example, he insinuates - as have many other Justice Department officials - that the Patriot Act is only being used against terrorists. We now know that this could not be further from the truth. The Justice Department itself has reported that the legislation has been used to track down everyday criminals - a serious breach of the public's trust.

Accordingly, the National Rifle Association, former congressmen Newt Gingrich and Bob Barr, the ACLU, and groups from across the political spectrum have raised concerns about the anti-civil liberties measures of the Patriot Act. These groups know that over-reaching and unnecessary security legislation creates cynicism and a sense of oppression which erodes support for truly necessary security efforts.

Legislators should seize the opportunity to reaffirm individual rights and vote to repeal some of the most intrusive provisions of the Patriot Act.

CHRISTINE LINK

Executive Director

ACLU of Ohio

Cleveland

Isn't it ironic that on the same day that terrorists were killing innocent people in London, The Blade featured a letter with the usual liberal hogwash blaming poverty and American policy for this type of murder? The writer said " The root cause of 9/11 was poor U.S. foreign policy and poverty." This argument is utterly absurd.

Osama bin Laden was the product of one of the wealthiest families in the world. There is no evidence that I know of that any of the 9/11 bombers were from abject poverty in their own countries.

U.S. foreign policy treats these people like the terrorists they are, not like Marcy Kaptur's "freedom fighters."

They must also deplore England's foreign policy, as well as Spain's and Indonesia's, and let's not forget Egypt, whose foreign minister they murdered, and all the other civilized countries of the world.

Does anybody listen to this liberal malarkey? Their arguments don't pass the smell test.

JOHN F. WEBER

Swanton

Your July 11 editorial was right on target. While local governments are struggling with a methamphetamine epidemic, the Office of National Drug Control Policy is spending millions on a reefer madness revisited ad campaign. This reflects a bizarre sense of priorities.

A National Association of Counties survey found that the vast majority of county officials report that methamphetamine is the biggest drug problem. Local law enforcement is where the rubber meets the road. These are the public safety professionals who deal with drug offenses on a daily basis. And it's not marijuana that concerns them, but rather meth.

Meanwhile, an out-of-touch federal government continues to be obsessed with marijuana, even going so far as to prosecute terminally ill patients who use medical marijuana. The biggest lie to come out of the ONDCP is that new, potent strains of marijuana allegedly make pot a far more dangerous drug. This is nonsense.

The only difference between weak and strong marijuana is that potent marijuana requires significantly less smoke inhalation to achieve the desired effect.

It's actually less harmful. The tax dollars wasted on the ONDCP's misleading anti-marijuana campaign would be better spent on treatment for methamphetamine addicts.

ROBERT SHARPE

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

I'm glad that Jane Schmucker noted in her July 18 article that the $1 million for the South Bass Island water line project comes from us, the federal taxpayers, and is not some freebie from the federal government, nor from Marcy Kaptur!

GENE NOVAK

Oak Harbor, Ohio

In 2000 George Bush ran for president and won as a Washington outsider. The new gun in town promised an end to politics as usual and lawyerly debates on the meaning of "is."

So let me get this straight. If top adviser Karl Rove didn't actually say the name of CIA agent Valerie Plume, but did identify her as the CIA agent wife of Joseph Wilson, he did nothing wrong? That's logical. That's lawyerly. That's politics as usual.

And once again I'm embarrassed by the nanny-boo-boo preschool doubletalk and spin that defines politics in America.

I'll let the investigation play itself out but I'm afraid the only real question here is: How gullible are we?

I know one thing for sure. When you spin, you lie. When you lie, you don't serve the public, you serve yourself. Is this logic? Is this splitting hairs? What "is" this really?

Again, it's politics as usual and I'm embarrassed, disappointed, and, worst of all, not at all surprised.

I hereby announce a new ticket for the presidency in 2008: my cat Glenn Walker Piddlepants and his goldfish buddy Ruthless Magoo. Washington outsiders, uniters not dividers. Barring some unforeseen tunagate scandal this is as honest as it gets in Washington in my lifetime. A vote for Meow and Glub Glub is a vote for honesty. If you're not with us you're a liar.

TOM GRZYBOWSKI

Wynnewood Drive

I am confused again. I started dating the woman I married around the time of the Clinton sex scandal. We had to clarify if oral sex was actually sex. There seemed to be some confusion in the media. We as a couple decided it was and that the President and his lawyers were wrong.

Now Karl Rove and his lawyers are confusing me.

Is the woman I married my wife? May I say, "this is my wife," without saying her name?

I will discuss this with the woman I married tonight. We will come up with a logical solution, even without a lawyer.

RANDY FUHS

Fremont



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