Friday, March 04, 2011

Jack Kelly is Wrong

Jack Kelly's Jan. 3 column ("Blowing Up Liberal Shibboleths") is typical of his style and what has come to dominate opinion pieces: a distortion of facts for partisan bickering. Mr. Kelly, like writers on both sides, offers selective information to support his opinion, rather than arriving at his conclusion after reviewing the information.
He describes the Transportation Security Administration as a "bumbling empire" when it successfully assists 10 million commercial flights a year to operate safely in the United States. He then opines that "hurting the feelings of Muslims" affects President Barack Obama's security policies. Mr. Kelly should also know that of the 1 billion people who practice the Islamic faith, fewer than 1 percent are involved in active radical jihadist activities.
What Mr. Kelly really exposed is not a weakness in Mr. Obama's approach, or an issue with Islam, but the weakness of his writing. Why is someone who distorts facts given space in the Post-Gazette?


The report by Mark Belko about the URA's involvement in the Strip District is concerning ("URA Approves Deal for Strip Development," March 12).
While it is a laudable goal to improve the area with recreational riverfront opportunities, it makes no sense not to renew the agreements with current occupants of the produce terminal. The URA's mission includes, "creating jobs ... and working with businesses."
So why would businesses that are staples of the area be relocated for what the mayor's office feels are "the highest and best use" of their space?
The mayor, Sen. Jim Ferlo and the URA should keep their plans away from successful businesses and instead grant the terminal a historic designation. The Strip should look like Pittsburgh, not a "redeveloped" common area with no unique character.

Jack Kelly is Wrong

Jack Kelly is at it again, writing a column of distortions and half-truths. He claims the president is "in bed with big oil" ("Sloth in Charge," May 30). However, President Barack Obama's contributions from employees of oil companies represented only 1
10,000th of his campaign donations. Mr. Kelly also claims the federal government "dithered" in construction of berms in the gulf. The delay came while Mr. Obama demanded BP fund the berms, and they eventually provided money in escrow for the project — a project that many scientists believe will not be effective.
Finally, Mr. Kelly's implication that federal regulators' poor response is Mr. Obama's fault ignores history. The agency charged with oversight of oil exploration was gutted by the Bush administration. In 2005 shortly after an energy summit with Dick Cheney at the White House, a provision in a defense appropriations bill allowed off-shore drilling to be regulated, in effect, by the oil companies themselves. This lack of regulatory oversight represents another problem Mr. Obama inherited from a former administration truly "in bed" with big oil.
Mr. Kelly is just as delusional as those who allow deep-water drilling to continue without a reasonable plan to deal with these inevitable disasters.


DDT is not safe
Letter writer Don Adler misrepresents the environmental accomplishments of Rachel Carson and misinforms readers about the spread of malaria ("Blame Rachel," July 31). DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, is a neurotoxin that has been shown to kill animals and disrupt the food chain (thereby potentially increasing insect populations). It is still in use today but has failed to eradicate malaria in Africa.
One reason is that those who succumb to its effects are often poor and live in small shacks or huts near pools of stagnant water and lack access to sanitation and clean drinking water. The World Health Organization has also linked the malarial spread to "rapidly spreading resistance to antimalarial drugs, climatic changes and population movements."
The "DDT is safe" chorus has unfortunately found its way into some media outlets that choose to rehash the rantings of a few lone bloggers.
To control malaria, policies are needed to lift people out of poverty, provide immunizations and proper childhood nutrition, limit the effects of climate change and provide clean water sources to people regardless of their economic status. These are all causes of the modern environmental movement championed by Rachel Carson.
Thanks, Rachel!

League of Women Voters Rocks

Thank you, league
I want to show support for The League of Women voters and their continued efforts to allow voters to hear candidates in a public forum prior to casting their votes ("Pledge Incites Peters Debate," Oct. 28). The league is nonpartisan and hosts many debates. It has rules so that the people who come to the debate hear issues and not talking points.
Candidates should respect the rules (which they have agreed upon in advance) and each other even when their positions differ. The audience should do the same. Standing up and shouting that the debate is "un-American" or accusing the moderator of being "agenda-driven" serves no purpose and further shows a lack of knowledge of what the league does. I would suggest that holding a debate is not "unpatriotic," but using a debate in an attempt to create a phony controversy is.

Jack Kelly is Wrong Again

Jack Kelly's Feb. 13 column ("Beware the Muslim Brotherhood") is another directly slanted commentary that completely misses the mark. He claims President Barack Obama has been "caught ... by surprise" by the events in Egypt and has given mixed signals. Mr. Kelly must not have heard the president's Cairo speech or his inaugural address, in which he said dictators who "cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent" are "on the wrong side of history."
What Mr. Kelly fails to understand is something that President Obama does understand: People in the Middle East can retake their country without the direct intervention of the United States, or the forceable imposition of what Mr. Kelly calls "Western-style democracy." Mr. Kelly was a cheerleader for the Iraq War, in the name of freedom, which left hundreds of thousands dead.
However, it is perplexing that now he seems deeply concerned when a peaceful, intrinsic protest removes a dictator without the cost and lives that were required in Iraq. Mr. Kelly should remember the argument from the prior administration whose military intervention, it was thought, would produce a cascade of democracy in the Middle East. What is happening now, in a mostly peaceful manner, may actually achieve that goal.