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    Letters to the Editors

    Cloning denies life's impermanence


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 3, 2002

    Re: How many lives now, Feb. 24.

    The pursuit of cloning is simply another example of how many of us in Western culture refuse to accept the impermanence of all things, living and material. To many, the collection of "things" as well as pets and other humans is their attempt to find happiness in their lives. Its too bad these folks seldom slow down enough to truly enjoy the life that is around them now and understand that loss is an important part of that process.

    So when the time comes that life is just another trinket in the collectable cabinet, I hope I am long dead and hopefully not cloned!
    -- Richard O'Toole, St. Petersburg

    McAuliffe's money

    Re: Bush-bashing alive in Democrat stronghold, Feb. 24.

    Isn't it interesting how Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe will get up in front of an audience and raise a stink about influence peddling by Enron to the Bush brothers, while at the same time he counts on big media's sealed lips regarding a nice little magical "investment" deal in Global Crossing he did several years ago which amazingly resulted in $18-million from an original $100,000 investment in just a couple of years.

    Of course McAuliffe was tight with the Global Crossing wizard Gary Winnick, and according to reports, he worked on Global Crossing deals out of a Washington office rented for him by Winnick. Later, he made sure Winnick got full access to President Clinton when desired, golf games and the like. The Clinton Library also got a million-dollar gift from Winnick. I'm sure this was simply a thank-you gift for Clinton having been such a swell guy. There's been little mention of this in the mainstream press.

    And why don't Democrats get righteously angry about all the little people who got financially destroyed in the Global Crossing debacle? Nothing changes except the current target of the national press, with its selective attention, as egged on by hypocritical politicians. Is it any wonder the public remains ever contemptuous and skeptical of our nation's political shenanigans?
    -- Jeff Pierson, former Global Crossing shareholder, Jacksonville

    Stop whining

    Re: Bush-bashing alive in Democrat stronghold.

    If Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe could only garner 800 people at his speech in Broward County, I think the game is lost. His own personal involvement (and enrichment) in the Global Crossing scandal is much more suspect than is President Bush's personal involvement in Enron's mess.

    McAuliffe's friend, Bill Clinton, did nothing over eight years to stamp out terrorist activity in America, thus leaving American citizens at risk. The old whining ways of Al Gore and McAuliffe do not play here in Florida. When will they recognize that they lost the recount and stop the darn whining? It has become annoying and passe, as well as very childish. It only enrages Republicans to hear their distortions, and that does not bode well for the Democrats.
    -- Maureen Waite, Lake Mary

    Problems sound familiar

    In his Feb. 24 article, A trip to the Middle East explains the culture of violence, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, echoing a remark made by President Bush, speaks disparagingly of "countries where leaders are selected, not elected... "

    I wonder who they are talking about. Today, by virtue of a wimpy Congress, of which Davis is a member, the United States is being run by George Bush and Dick Cheney, who not only did not receive a majority of the votes cast in the 2000 presidential election but actually less than those cast for their only major contenders; by John Ashcroft, who was rejected by the voters in his own home state when he sought another term as their senator but was then "selected" to be U.S. attorney general; and by newsroom and TV star Donald Rumsfeld, "selected" to run our war machine, which he does with almost obscene relish.

    Davis also refers to "the centralization of wealth in the hands of a few... " Unfortunately, he did not have to journey all the way to the Middle East to find that!

    Jim Davis is one of our better congressional representatives, but it is unfortunate that he and other members of Congress do not concern themselves more with why we are the subject of such resentment and hatred, instead of this sanctimonious attitude of infallibility. We run all over the world, meddling and arrogantly proclaiming that those "who are not with us are against us" and therefore against what is right and good, even as we embrace China, which threatens Taiwan, sells weapons to our enemies, persecutes and executes its own people by the thousands and has been visiting terrorism upon the people of Tibet for decades. We even apologize when one of their jets rams a U.S. plane over international waters and then holds hostage both the plane and its crew!

    This is a new and possibly dangerous form of isolationism. Those who do not genuflect and obediently fall in line are beyond the pale, subject to President Bush's displeasure and perhaps Rumsfeld's weapons of mass destruction. That does not resonate very well, even with our friends. And whatever became of that provision in the Constitution stating that the power to declare war resides in Congress, not the White House?
    -- Sydney K. Potter, Tampa

    Questionable accounting

    Re: Bleeding money, Feb. 24.

    The article about Bayfront Medical Center's trauma unit would lead the reader to believe the hospital is losing massive amounts of money. There were numbers for amounts billed and amounts paid by insurers, but no mention of what the hospital's actual costs are.

    Hospital bills always seem to be inflated compared to retail reality. Four-dollar aspirin tablets come to mind. If they are actually paying their suppliers $4 or even $2 per tablet, I can suggest other suppliers. "Losing" 68 cents of every dollar billed looks like some Enron-style bookkeeping in reverse.
    -- John B. Clardy, Seminole

    Selfish euphemisms

    Re: Emergency contraceptives should be available over the counter, by Robyn Blumner, Feb. 24.

    I don't disagree with the crux of Blumner's assertion that it is ultimately a woman's choice to make of whether or not she will have an abortion. Hopefully, she will make an informed choice and choose life and the rest of us will support her in that choice.

    What bothered me about Blumner's column was her apparent disparaging, if not condescending, tone in reference to pro-lifers: "Are our national medical policies really influenced by people who think like this?"

    Fortunately, yes, they finally are. For too long now we've endured dismissive references to the aborted life as being (only) "a dot sized cluster of about a hundred cells." Sentiments such as this translate too easily to: It's (only) a zygote. It's (only) an embryo. It's (only) a fetus. It's (only) a deformed child. It's (only) a girl child. It's (only) a ______ (insert ethnicity or national origin).

    True, a woman will ultimately choose whether or not she has an abortion. And we will continue to kill each other for myriad other reasons and wage useless wars. But let us not prop up our courage with selfish euphemisms. If we are someday going to stand before God and confess that we killed a human being, let us not presuppose that God will reassure us that it was (only) a human being.
    -- Andy Durey, Gulfport

    Cold facts

    Re: Emergency contraceptives should be available over the counter.

    In her column advocating over-the-counter distribution of the morning-after pill, Robyn Blumner implies the common cold is caused by freezing temperatures. Apparently she is not aware that a cold is caused by the cold virus entering one's nasal passage -- temperature has nothing to do with it.

    It is curious that one so lacking in rudimentary medical knowledge, can speak with such authority on human reproduction and the question of when life begins. Perhaps Blumner should temper her zeal for eliminating the result of sexual carelessness with a little concern for the health of those women with medical conditions that make use of the morning-after pill very dangerous.
    -- R.J. McDarby, Valrico

    A voice for the voiceless

    Re: Taco Bell should help tomato pickers, Feb. 24.

    Thank you to Bill Maxwell for being the voice of voiceless tomato pickers. Thank you for his exemplary kindness and his appreciation for people who are not his own, nor those of very many Times readers. Thanks for his tireless support for a cause which, even if its goals are reached, will bring no reward -- and scant recognition to him.
    -- William Baruch, Tarpon Springs

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