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Published: Tuesday, 6/24/2008

GIs add drive, maturity to classrooms

A Readers' Forum letter of June 12 made a compelling argument for the enactment of the GI Bill of Rights proposed by Sen. James Webb (D., Va.). I would like to add a personal note suggesting an added bonus that such legislation could bring.

During my undergraduate studies at the University of Toledo in the mid 1950s, the student makeup of many of my classes was dominated by veterans of the Korean War, attending the university under the GI Bill. Most of the veterans were four years older than I, had technical training from the military, and were more mature and much wiser than I. We studied together, socialized together, and their mentoring impressed upon me the importance of the knowledge available in our courses. Their presence in my classes raised the intellectual level of the courses, added practical experience to the theory, and gave me some fast rabbits to chase academically.

The unusually strong programs at UT had been initiated at the end of World War II to meet the needs of huge numbers of returning veterans. Since the GI Bill money went to the veterans rather than to the universities, and these customers were very discriminating, UT had to be top-notch to attract them.

The administration brought in a superb faculty that had both depth and breadth in all traditional disciplines. These veterans were too savvy to redeem their chits at an institution with weaknesses. The urban setting of UT had great appeal to the veterans who had families. These same conditions still exist, and the university could become a magnet for the community.

The passage of Senator Webb's bill would not only grant much-deserved benefits to the veterans, but it could also provide traditional students with the added sense-of-mission that the veterans brought to my learning process.

Larry Curtis

Bronx Drive

According to The Blade's ombudsman, Jack Lessenberry, "All of modern science is founded on an acceptance of basic Darwinian evolution." That's interesting. I guess I can't understand astronomy, chemistry, physics, electronics, and geology unless I toe the Darwinian line.

I've heard some exaggerated claims for evolutionary theory, but this takes the cake. The two "modern" examples Mr. Lessenberry gives - agriculture and dog breeding - are certainly no proof of evolution. You start with a corn plant, for example, and end up with a corn plant; or you start with a dog and end up with a dog. Evolution requires new information, and neither of these examples shows this. It's merely a reshuffling of existing genetic information that was already present in the gene pool.

Evolution is not settled science, as Mr. Lessenberry would have us believe, no matter how you care to define "theory." He also seems worried about challenges to the global warming theory, another idea being presented as settled scientific fact. Funny he should mention that, because evolution is speculation about something that supposedly happened in the past, and global warming is something that supposedly will happen in the future. Neither is observable, repeatable, or testable, and so neither qualifies as operational science.

I'd say we're in deep trouble if all of science is founded on these two flimsy theories.

Brian Lee

Sylvania

Kirk Walter's June 6 cartoon in The Blade was the perfect finale to a campaign that has been marred from day one by the most blatant misogyny I have ever seen.

I do not mean Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency but the campaign conducted by the media to discredit her merely because she is a woman. Can you imagine a companion cartoon showing Sen. Barack Obama, sitting bug-eyed, perhaps trembling, waiting in fear for "massah" to call him to work in the fields?

If it is clear that such a portrayal would be outrageously offensive, why is it not clear that a portrayal of a powerful, intelligent, determined woman sitting by the phone for a man to call is equally offensive?

Shame on Kirk and shame on The Blade for printing it.

Karen H. Meyers

Briar Lane

Well, the primaries are finally over and Sen. Barack Obama has the delegates he needs.

My family followed the campaigns closely and noticed that he waited until Sen. Hillary Clinton rolled out her plan for health care before he brought out his. He did the same thing for every other issue. Now we know why he was so fond of saying that he and Senator Clinton were so close on all the problems facing us. It's because he took her plans, changed them a little, and then called them his own.

He gives an inspiring speech, but have you noticed how clumsy his responses to questions are? We need solutions, not speeches.

He claims he didn't know about his preacher. I don't believe it. You cannot go to a church for 20 years and claim you never heard or knew anything about its views. He passed it off, saying he didn't agree with everything said from the pulpit. So, he did hear it? When it wouldn't go away, he castigated the preacher by saying the remarks were wrong.

Finally, just days before the last few primaries, he quit that church. What timing. The first time my preacher spouted half the stuff his did, I would have walked out.

He has been linked to a man under indictment, has said that he will talk with any world leader without preconditions (that's worked so well with Korea, Iran, and Russia, hasn't it?), has missed more than 100 Senate votes during the primary campaign, and hasn't served even one full term in the Senate. He thinks he can run the country. What hubris.

I have heard rumors that Senator Clinton may run as an independent. I hope she does. If not, after Senator McCain is elected, she can say, "I told you so!" and run again in 2012.

Mark Long

Holland

Since Hillary Clinton believes she has the popular vote, why doesn't she run as an independent or write-in candidate?

Then, if she gets the most popular votes, the Electoral College has to declare her the winner. This would effectively bypass the super delegates at the convention.

Ned Plummer

Hagley Road

Recently, The Blade published a picture of a pump in a farm field pumping oil and acknowledged that we have huge resources of oil beneath our own lands, from Alaska to most of the states to the south and near our coasts.

The average cost of gasoline across the United States is more than $4 per gallon and even higher prices can be expected.

Historically, we have located, drilled, pumped, and used our own oil, but now Congress has passed laws making this a criminal offense, alleging dangers to ecology. This in the face of facts that there has never been a single oil spill anywhere in the world when the drilling, piping, and production were done by American workers.

I spoke to a welder who worked on the installation of the Alaskan pipeline for two years who told me that his only fear was being trampled by migrating caribou.

We spend billions of dollars and risk the lives of our military people to assist oil-producing nations and, at the same time, buy their oil at escalating prices. Isn't it time that we told Congress that this stupidity must stop? The oil is here, the drilling and production equipment is here, and American workers are here and ready to work. Let's advise Congress to stop playing politics and get to work.

Dale K. Anderson

Ottawa Hills

Regarding Mayor Carty Finkbeiner s proposal to fi ne citizens who own vacant residential properties, what about the many vacant commercial buildings we have in our town? We have buildings that have sat empty for years, creating eyesores and hazards. I ve always wondered whether there was a way to penalize those owners.

CAROL J. BORKOWSKI

Whitehouse



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