Three recent letters in the Readers' Forum condemned former President Jimmy Carter for his efforts to negotiate peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis by speaking with Hamas, the democratically elected representative of the Palestinian people.
Mr. Carter's critics are fond of using the word "terrorist" to describe Palestinians, a term meant to justify and distract the reader from the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians living under an apartheid more ruthless than that in South Africa, according to Bishop Desmond Tutu. These atrocities include turning land into cantons surrounded by Jewish-only roads, with checkpoints that create long delays for Palestinians trying to go to work, school, or hospital.
Even in the midst of Mr. Carter's visit, 100 illegal Jewish settlements were being built on Palestinian soil - a mockery of the peace process. Such settlements typically involve demolition of homes (often with no advance notice); uprooting of orchards and olive groves; denial of water for irrigation; denial of "permits" for restoration of homes damaged by the Israeli army, and the killing of civilians, even children. American activist Rachel Corrie was run over by an American-made bulldozer as she stood in the way of one such demolition. Is this not terrorism? And is not resistance to it understandable?
As long as Americans are misled by the rhetoric, millions of our tax dollars will continue to fuel these grave violations of international law. How many occupations is our bankrupt nation willing to finance? When will this shameful policy be seen for what it is, a systematic violation of human rights? Mr. Carter should be commended for his courageous efforts to end U.S. support of this cruel and endless atrocity that has disgraced and discredited us as a democracy.
Anne Marie Abowd
Voice your objection to boating licenses
I read on the Internet that the federal government may require operators' licenses for pleasure boats in the future as a part of the so-called war on terror.
This is just another power and money grab made convenient by the Iraq war.
If the government is able to push this through against the wishes of the public, it will have no effect on any of our enemies but further erode the freedoms of Americans.
The only ones it will benefit are the people who administer and enforce the new laws.
Unless you want more government in your life and less money in your pocket, you'd be smart to write or call your U.S. senators and representative to tell them you disapprove of this and anyone who supports it.
Carl R. Goodwin
Deal could doom electric customers
In The Blade's April 27 editorial, it was noted that electric rates are going up but would be "stable and predictable" because of the recent reregulation compromise worked out by the Ohio legislature and Gov. Ted Strickland.
The editorial missed three important points that could doom Toledo electric customers:
1) Whether First Energy's customers see the acknowledged benefits of "going to market" is largely up to FirstEnergy to decide.
After spending the last year talking about the benefits of "going to market" and how some of its customers were then likely to see rate relief, FirstEnergy has been shy on that topic since the bill passed last week.
2) The ability of customers to select an alternative supplier and save on their electric bills is far from certain.
The compromise legislation leaves plenty of room for FirstEnergy and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to thwart the ability of consumers to choose competitive suppliers by forcing them to continue to pay FirstEnergy for services they do not take.
3) The compromise legislation is tilted toward encouraging utilities to take a quasi-regulated path - electric-security plans - that may well repeat our history of high rates in northern Ohio.
Rates went up 352 percent in the 1970s under PUCO-controlled pricing. Rate Stabilization Plans doubled many customers' bills in under three years. So, if history gives any indication, Ohioans could be locked into high prices for the long haul. It's up to the PUCO to enforce the rules in a way that competitive pressures are imposed upon FirstEnergy in order to help consumers as well as provide them with a choice of supplier.
Without allowing for retail competition, there is no pressure on FirstEnergy to earn your business by being efficient and cost-conscious. Hold on to your pocketbooks, Toledo.
Alliance for Real Energy Options
Honoring Komives is overdue at BGSU
I was moved by Tom Walton's April 28 column regarding Howard Komives in The Blade and could not agree with him more. I had not realized that Bowling Green State University had not retired his number.
I had the opportunity (perhaps misfortune) to play against "Butch" when I was at DeVilbiss High School and the honor of playing with him when we entered BGSU together in 1960. His jump shot was one of the most "pure" I have ever witnessed and his free throw shooting was unmatched. When the game was on the line, you wanted the ball in the hands of Butch Komives. Teammate Tom Baker had it right when he said Butch and Nate Thurmond were the greatest ever at BG. The many records Butch held speak volumes, and that 1963 night in Anderson Arena when we beat the national championship team, Loyola of Chicago, was the greatest sports moment I have ever personally experienced.
Mr. Walton's observation regarding other great BGSU athletes also needs to be addressed. It is a little mind-boggling that BG has failed to appropriately honor such outstanding athletes as Butch, Dave Wottle, Orel Hershiser, and Jackie Motycka by retiring their numbers.
It is long past time that BGSU (and for that matter, UT) addresses this oversight.
BGSU, Class of '64
Dean/VP of Admissions Emeritus, UT
'Alvin Fest' a flop thanks to teamwork
For the last four years, along with April has come "Alvin Fest." In the past, police tried to control the situation and the University of Toledo gave some support but the homeowners in Bancroft Hills still bore the brunt of the celebration. This year was a team effort. The university administration was actively involved; Toledo and university police were prepared and proactive. The Liquor Control Commission was very well prepared, landlords were notified, the city law department was on board, and the homeowners prepared their yards and had their phones ready to report disturbances.
Fortunately, it was a nonevent - much to the relief of all involved. No student's life was ruined, no property was damaged, no litter had to be picked up, the officers had only to patrol with no force being used, and the homeowners' nerves were spared. When people join forces and work together as a team, positive things can happen. Thanks to all who pitched in to keep the peace and tranquility on Alvin Street.
Bancroft Hills Blockwatch
Take down, replace worn, tattered flags
As a patriotic citizen, I am proud of what the U.S. flag stands for and for all the men and women who lost their lives fighting for it. But as an American, I am not proud of all the people who fly their flags torn or shredded. If you are true Americans, please replace them or take them down, as it is very upsetting to see so many in such deplorable condition.
Lucas County Republican Party Executive Director Joanne Wack stealing from the Girl Scouts is one of the most sickening things I've heard in a long time. Former state Rep. Lynn Olman says that "nobody cares about this" except The Blade and Jon Stainbrook. He is very wrong about this.
Not only do The Blade and Mr. Stainbrook care, but I'm sure the Girl Scouts and anyone who votes cares. I care. Wack should be relieved of her duties immediately.
Mr. Stainbrook for chairman.