The Blade on July 6 included a story detailing the state of disrepair and maintenance backlog at "America's front yard," the National Mall in Washington. The mall's maintenance problems are a small part of the National Park Services well-documented $6 billion dollar maintenance backlog.
Now, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and a contingent of Republicans are being flown on Air Force jets to Colorado for a tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Then they'll fly to Fairbanks, Alaska, for a day and then on to Kaktovik and Deadhorse on Alaska's North Slope. The purpose? To open the North Slope to oil drilling. The trip is being paid for by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
What is wrong with this picture? Several things come to mind. If seeing the North Slope is valuable to our elected representatives, why are no Democrats included? How much will this trip cost? As a voter and taxpayer, I question the decision to sponsor this trip, especially since the National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior. The money might have been better spent on the National Mall - maybe to clean the muck from the Reflecting Pond.
Or they could have invited me on the trip. I'd have love to go to Alaska at taxpayer expense.
If, according to Rep. Bob Latta, policies such as oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge "now enjoy overwhelming support" by the American people, said people should be aware of some important facts.
It would take at least 10 years to see any production from proposed drilling in ANWR.
According to "Official Energy Statistics" from the federal Energy Information Administration: "ANWR oil production is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices. the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could neutralize any potential price impact of ANWR oil production by reducing its oil exports by an equal amount."
If oil exploration in ANWR would not help consumers, who would it benefit?
The same companies who are enjoying record profits during the current crisis: BP, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips to name a few.
Everyone is talking about doing more drilling for oil and natural gas. Sen. John McCain, who first supported saving endangered areas, now says drill, drill, drill.
Even if they do drill, many of the experts say, it will still take up to 10 years before even one barrel of oil could be pumped out of the ground.
We humans have raped the land and ignored what will happen down the road. Drilling isn't the answer. There are other means to find energy but the government has dragged its feet for so long, it's almost too late.
The stock market is now about 20 percent below its value level before George W. Bush became President more than seven long years ago. It is obvious that the tax cuts for the wealthy made by Mr. Bush and the Republicans contributed to our economic woes. After all, Japan lowered the tax rate on capital gains and its stock market is worth about half of what it was more than 15 years ago.
It is hard for me to believe that President Bush and the Republicans would purposely sabotage our stock market, knowing it would cripple the world's top economy. But the alternate implies that our elected officials are so foolish they'd make major tax changes without first studying the effect these changes would have on the economy.
What kind of leader takes audacious action without first thinking through the consequences?
When George W. Bush proudly proclaimed he was a "war president" six years ago, I didn't realize he had declared war on America's middle class.
Orchard Tree Lane
Both Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain want to tax the windfall profits or excess profits of the oil companies. This is one more of the numerous reasons I couldn't vote for either of them.
What they miss is that in a free-market economy there is no such thing as excess profit, and if we are not operating in a free market, politicians such as those two are the reasons.
The free market always works because it is the only moral economic system. Unlike other systems, it is a voluntary exchange between the producer and the consumer. It is consumer-driven and price-regulated.
In a free market, before I trade my dollar for a product or service I have to value the product more than the dollar or what it will buy. The exchange is always a win-win or it doesn't take place. We often hear of big business as a negative, but in a free market, competition quickly enters the market to take advantage of a money-making opportunity. This increases supply and brings price and profit back in line.
The problem with the energy crisis is that government entered the picture. Government has pandered to the radical environmentalist preventing us from drilling and preventing us from building refineries and nuclear-power plants. Lobbyist lawyers have thrown lawsuits against alternative energy, and freedom of the market has been removed.
When government creates a problem, the solution is always more government. Americans seem suicidal as they keep electing those at the federal and local levels who fail to understand the therapeutic value of the free market.
Please. Give it a rest. Other than The Blade and a few diehard preservationists, no one is concerned about the Seneca County Courthouse. Every nuance of this "story" does not require a front page story and yet another editorial.
Ohio has 88 counties with 88 courthouses. It's not necessary to preserve every one of them. The people of Seneca County have voted against restoration. Not satisfied, a few preservationists led by The Blade now want to spend state money - my money - on this unneeded project.
If these few people in Seneca County want to see an old courthouse, let them come to Lucas County or one of the other counties that has a restored courthouse. If The Blade's editors want to see one, they can walk across the street.
As even The Blade will occasionally admit, not everything that's old must be saved. Sometimes, the old must make way for the new. This is one of those times.
Joseph E. Pflager
Bully for The Blade's blistering July 13 editorial calling on Gov. Ted Strickland to intervene and save the historic Seneca County courthouse. Sometimes it takes naked courage to do the right thing, defying convention and the go-along, get-along attitude that plagues our nation.
As an ex-newspaperman, I take off my hat to you. I've long grown disillusioned with the state of the media today, pandering to the powerful, and favoring entertainment and celebrity news over what is truly important. Imagine if our eastern seaboard papers, located in the nation's power centers, exhibited such courage; our nation would be a far better place to live.
Your editorial restores a little bit of hope that has left my cold cynic's heart. Thank you.
Over the years, we have seen news photos of the long bread lines that appeared during the Great Depression in the early 1930s. Now we hear daily from the news media, various politicians, and pundits that we are in a recession and seeing very tough times.
I didn't realize how right they were until, alas, I saw - all over the United States - the long lines of people waiting for iPhones. How sad.
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