Greed fuels rapid rise in gas prices
Here we go again. As re- ported on “World News Tonight,” the excuses continue for why our gasoline prices fluctuate like a yo-yo. They report the cost of transportation from the refineries to the pumps and lack of enough infrastructure drive up the price of gasoline, and it’s cheaper to ship our oil and gas overseas for sale.
What happened to transportation and infrastructure three weeks ago when gas was selling for as low as $3.20 per gallon? Did the earth swallow up the infrastructure the past few days, driving prices up?
They even try using the excuse of unrest in Egypt, where the military friendly to the U.S. is making sure oil shipments aren’t curtailed. What about threats to our refineries in the gulf from bad weather? No.
So what is it that is causing this yo-yo effect like no other time in recent history, when changes in price were pennies — not 20, 30 and 40 cents?
I’ll tell you what it is: Greed — greed by the oil companies and indifference by our federal elected officials from the White House to both sides of the aisle in Congress. Have a few hearings on the matter, then let it drop. With the lobbyists courting them, our tax dollars paying for their gas credit cards, and who knows how many other perks they enjoy at our expense.
Why do we even have a federal government when it steals us blind by terrible waste at every turn and passes regulations that stymie business growth? We have trade agreements that have shifted the balance of trade in favor of enemies such as China, national debt so deep that we no longer own our country, on and on.
America is no longer recognizable as the wonderful country I’ve known and served. All I can say is God help us, as our elected officials most certainly are not.
Robert DeFelice, Youngstown
We profile, even without knowing
So what’s wrong with profiling?
Example 1: The hostess told the cashier “don’t forget to take 20 percent off the bill” as I walked to the cash register. It was Tuesday (Senior Day) at Perkins restaurant, and the hostess obviously saw my gray hair.
Example 2: When the rabbits in my backyard get close to the garden, I pay a lot more attention to their activity.
Example 3: When you get a discount from ABC company in return for personal information, what do they do with the information?
In the above examples, the hostess profiled me as elderly, I’ve profiled the rabbits as potential diners, and the ABC company has profiled you potentially as a certain type of consumer.
Baseball umpires are taught to be aware of the current situation and anticipate all the things that can happen but not to anticipate the call.
So, when encountering a person(s) that falls into a certain group that is responsible for a disproportionate number of crimes, it’s ignorant not to be aware of that fact. That’s not to say that it’s OK to judge an individual before he or she has done anything.
So, what’s wrong with profiling?
For judging, see the Bible. Start with Matthew 7:15 (... “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged ...).
Joe Parsons, Youngstown
Blame lawmakers for Martin death
What was Trayvon Martin doing wrong the night he was shot?
What was George Zimmerman doing wrong that night?
Martin was doing nothing wrong — except being a young black kid walking with a drink and some candy on his way home to watch a basketball game.
Zimmerman was doing nothing legally wrong the entire time the tragic event was unfolding. At least that’s how it stands at this point.
Then what was going on? And why do I feel so bad?
Here’s my take.
First I believe Martin did nothing wrong the entire time that evening, even if ultimately he attacked Zimmerman, who was a stocky man following him for some reason unknown to Martin. Some might say Martin should have just gone on home as fast as he could and, thus, avoided any incident. In his phone conversation with his friend from Miami, he manifested apprehension, even some fear at the time. But there’s no known reason to think he believed there was to be “an incident.” That is until “an incident” happened. And — this being Florida — he then had every reason to stand his ground in defense of his being. Actually, at this point - we’re he to have had a gun — Martin could have shot Zimmerman and, under the “Stand Your Ground” law, would not have been guilty of murder because he was in fear for his life or in fear of great bodily harm. But Martin didn’t have a gun. So he’s dead and Zimmerman’s innocent.
And Zimmerman? He killed Martin but was found not guilty of murdering Martin. So he violated no Florida law. Additionally, he had SYG behind him since he was in fear of great bodily harm or even death at the hands of Martin, (At least that’s the story.) So, nobody did anything wrong? Even though there’s a dead kid? So what’s going on?
There’s a clear distinction between bias and prejudice. Similarly, there’s a difference between “profiling” and an act that results from profiling. A bias is when we “lean” toward or away from something. We all do it on things as trivial as favorite numbers or as seemingly important as race and nationality. It’s not even always clear where these biased notions come from, but we have them about many things.
However, when it comes to race and nationality, biases move to entirely different levels of importance. They act like a car’s steering that “pulls to the right or left” and require a hand on the wheel to keep accidents from happening. Zimmerman obviously had the notion in his head that a young black male fit the profile generated in his mind by reports of recent crimes committed in his neighborhood. Having this kind of idea in his mind is, I believe, quite human. Acting on the profile, however, can lead to stupid and even criminal behavior. Zimmerman prejudged Martin. His act was stupid and (I believe) his biased profiling led to this stupid — if not criminal — behavior.
And what gave him the authority to act in such a reprehensibly stupid way?
There’s a difference between lousy thinking and stupid behavior. The Florida Legislature, however, seems to have found a way to blend them.
Along with the NRA, ALEC and guys like me who have done little or nothing to change things for the better, that Florida Legislature is responsible for this tragedy. That’s why I feel so bad.
John Wendle, Youngstown
The ethics of moving Mooney
This letter is to comment on the proposed move of the Cardinal Mooney High School from its current location to a place in the “southern part of the county.”
I am a Cardinal Mooney alumnus and a veteran of six years of military service during the Vietnam era. I also have a postgraduate degree in geography and planning from the University of Akron .
I find it hard to believe that the people who came up with the $18 million price for the renovation of Cardinal Mooney High School on Erie Street didn’t originally consider the removal of asbestos as one of the factors.
This being said, the real problem is that a decision to move a stable institution that exhibits middle-class values from the middle of perhaps the poorest neighborhood in Ohio to a green field on the edge of the urban footprint is in my Mooney graduate, devout Roman Catholic, urban planner mind, a very unethical decision.
Ray DeCarlo, Youngstown