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No diversity of opinion found in news story

No diversity of opinion found in news story

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No diversity of opinion found in news story

In reading the Jan. 23 news article "Bill seeks to protect diversity of opinion," it seems the writer only captured one side of the argument.

Granted, The Roanoke Times is known for its slant toward the liberal point of view. However, the writer seemed to capture only the thoughts of academia -- professors, college administrators. They are the problem.

The only supporter quoted in this article is the delegate who introduced the bill.

Are biased professors the "experts" on this bill? Would the writer run to interview prison inmates on new legislation on prisons?

Our public colleges have gotten so politically correct and liberal that competing opinions are actually suppressed or punished with lower grades. It is a sad commentary on our public universities that this bill is necessary.

The tone of your article suggests that you and your editors think this idea is crazy, and seems to show your disdain for the proposed legislation.

I hope your future articles can present a balanced approach, with an effort to determine other people's opinions -- parents, students, taxpayers, etc. rather than just the opinions of those with whom you agree.

J.B. MIXON
ROANOKE

Stay informed on winery debate

Since its days as a colony, Virginia has placed agriculture in a prime position in its economy. Thomas Jefferson himself is considered America's first distinguished viticulturist.

Many Virginia tax dollars have been directed toward fostering the agricultural and business development of small wineries in the commonwealth.

Unfortunately, this budding industry suffered a crippling blow when self-distribution was prohibited as a result of a federal challenge to the constitutionality of Virginia's ABC law.

Attempts to restore limited self-distribution are currently being considered by the General Assembly. Please consider contacting your legislators asking their support in restoring rights to limited self-distribution of wine.

These Web sites can give you the most pertinent information: virginiawine.org/Legislative/ or richmondsunlight.com.

GENEVIEVE GOSS
FINCASTLE

Call for more thought, less caterwauling

No sooner did I criticize the editorial staff and Tommy Denton in a letter to the editor for never having admitted expressing a wrong opinion when, lo and behold, the newspaper issued its first such admission (Jan. 19 editorial, "Reconsidering Grayson prison"). Coincidence? Can Denton be far behind?

While welcome, this is just another example of self-inflicted nonsense.

The Times has an unwise habit of caterwauling about topics just a day or so after the news first appears in its pages -- sometimes even the same day -- but before all sides are fully developed.

In this case, the editorial reversal was based on facts known (or knowable) at the time of the original editorial.

In the rush to make itself an "online destination," The Times has embraced the style of Internet and TV instant-analysts. Mimicking bloggers and Bill O'Reilly, the editorial writers appear more concerned about having the first and loudest word on a topic rather than the most thoughtful.

Whatever happened to newspapers being the source of thoughtful editorializing? Could that be a tradition abandoned by The Times' editorial writers as they adapt to their irrelevance?

CHRISTOPHER VanCANTFORT

RADFORD

Principal taught vital lessons

The recent passing of Warren Crawford came as a great loss to all of us who knew and worked with him in the Roanoke schools (Jan. 27 news article, "Principal devoted life to children").

Over the years, I was fortunate to share many conversations with Crawford and to learn from his expertise. Now, I am fortunate to be one of many who will seek to carry on his legacy of excellence and concern for children.

Crawford's effectiveness was a tribute to his gifts as an educator and reflected his genuine concern for youngsters and the future. His impact on his students was immeasurable. Truly, he was a living study in the power of human capital.

As those of us in public schools seek to uncover the secrets to success and to increase the achievement of our students, we should reflect on Crawford's example. His actions will speak for themselves for a long time to come.

And if we choose to learn from his amazing contributions, Roanoke's kids will continue to benefit as a result.

WADE WHITEHEAD
ROANOKE

Scrap the car tax, not just the decal

We see that Roanoke County (and undoubtedly the other counties) still ponders the little decal on the car window (Jan. 22 news article, "Roanoke Co. to consider eliminating vehicle license decals"). Let's keep this in perspective as we sit idly and let someone drink the blood from our wallets.

The state permits us to operate our vehicles through its registration program today at about $30 per automobile.

The state taxes us through license fees on our personal property, which they permit us to operate, and the localities tax us on its value and give us a little decal on that same property.

The state wanted localities to eliminate that personal property tax but hasn't been able to do so. And we hear political jabber about eliminating the little decal.

Whatever happened to just eliminating these nuisance and multifaceted taxes? After all, it's our property in the first place.

We paid taxes to acquire it, and in the case of the automobile, we pay more taxes to buy the fuel and parts for it.

It won't end until we continue to yell and scream at the politicians. But we have to start yelling and screaming, and we've apparently not been very good at that.

BOB HUNT
EAGLE ROCK

Experts' advice differs from president's plan

Thank you, Rick Horowitz, for reminding us about the Iraq Study Group (Jan. 18 column, "Out of ideas, out of control").

The media and the public all seem to have forgotten this long-awaited bipartisan advisory report on the Iraq war.

Gee, maybe that's why President Bush waited so long to announce his own way "forward," knowing as time passed the advice of so many assembled experts would not be compared to his plan. He was right.

Bush says the Democrats don't have a plan. Sure they do.

The Democrats say that we assembled these experts, they studied long and hard, and then strongly recommended diplomacy over more force. Why don't we listen to the experts?

Bush just likes to pretend that no one else has proposed a plan. He thinks we've forgotten the Iraq Study Group.

LISA BECK
BLACKSBURG

President acts in best interest of country

Your Jan. 22 Opinion page cartoon by Jim Morin of The Miami Herald lampoons Sen. Hillary Clinton for changing her mind, particularly regarding her position on the war in Iraq.

The obvious conclusion is that The Roanoke Times feels that she is guided by the whims of public opinion, with no firm principles of her own. Frankly, I tend to agree.

But the cartoon by Daryl Cagle of MSNBC.com on the Jan. 19 Opinion page poked fun at President Bush for being oblivious to the overwhelming chorus of cries for the United States to withdraw our troops from Iraq.

In that case, the apparent message was that the president is wrong not to be guided by the opinion polls.

I was always taught that "what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," meaning that we must be consistent in our beliefs. Apparently, The Times does not hold to this tenet.

Frankly, I am proud and grateful that we have a president who does what he thinks is right and best for the long-term interest of our country, despite the shrill cries of his critics.

PETE HAMILTON
BUENA VISTA

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