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Challenging the church

On "The Church Inside the Catholic Church," our interview with National Catholic Reporter columnist Jamie Manson: This woman is not a Catholic, by any means. Ignoring the teachings of the church or saying that the church must change doctrine to reflect the views of the secular society makes her a Protestant. Maybe not by declaration, but certainly by her actions.


That the Catholic Church needs to change is obvious to all but the blinkered. Personally, I do not see acceptance of gay marriage. However, I do see the ordination of women. The institutional church proclaims the equality of men and women, but when push comes to shove, does not practice it.

If the leaders of the Church want to be taken seriously as moral teachers and leaders, hypocrisy is not the way to go.

Where in the New Testament does it say that a marriage can be between two women or two men? Who am I to judge gay people, when we all fall short and we are all sinners? Just because we sin doesn't mean that we should celebrate or agree with that sin.


Assessing Ginna

On "The Nuclear Option: Ginna's Future in Jeopardy": Utility companies, regulators, and the general public must seek a balance between obtaining low prices, energy security, and the need for a diversified supply base for both economic and supply reasons.

One issue not really addressed in the article is the environmental impact if Ginna shuts down and the replacement electricity is supplied from fossil-fuel-sourced plants. Even natural gas has some emissions, although they are much lower than coal-fired plants. Conservation efforts and solar/hydro sources might help in the long term, but I do not think they would contribute in the short term.


New York City already has influenced our state enough; when does this influence end for the remainder of the state?


"The study, conducted at Constellation's request, says that without Ginna or some other power source equal to that plant's output, the Rochester-area electric system could experience reliability problems through 2018 – meaning that there's an outside chance that there won't be enough power to go around when demand is at its peak."

The above statement is correct. RG&E has very little generation left. And they severed all of the motor and transformer cables in Russell Station to prevent it from ever providing power again. It could have been converted to gas.


Deregulation precipitated this problem, because the private sector has no responsibility to look forward and set aside the necessary resources to ensure safe and reliable electric service.

Pre-deregulation, that was a large part of the Public Service Commission's responsibility. They had eight entities to oversee; now there are many more. There are only seven local distribution companies whom we pay that the PSC can affect. New York hydro units are limited due to supply, and there aren't enough economical options for more. The well-to-do have eliminated a wind option in Lake Ontario and other locations.

It is true that Ginna's value can never go to $0 so long as there is no countrywide long-term waste repository – a very thorny problem where none of the players will be satisfied with the solution.


The US and ISIS

Mary Anna Towler notes her displeasure of Obama's ISIS policy (Urban Journal, "Toward What End?"). One must understand that this would be the third time the US will have fought in Iraq. General Powell convinced President Bush I to stop short of Hussein's presidential palace. The rest is history.

President Bush II won the second war only to have Obama snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Obama's plan is flawed. Yes, we should have boots on the ground, as long as they're filled with the feet of America's best and bravest.

There should be "rules of engagement." The enemy should be shot. It's silly to waste time and money to try to rehab them. You can't, and you don't negotiate with them. Sometime down the road there'll be an agreement, and terrorists will be free to slice the heads off more innocents.

US troops shouldn't wait until they're fired at. Shoot first; ask questions later. Tactical nuclear weapons should be used, if necessary. That's if Obama hasn't gotten rid of them. To the naysayers: tactical weapons have graduated degrees of potency. The smallest would level two blocks of flat land and everything on it.

Take the shackles off our troops once and for all.


No evidence of humans causing climate change

Re: "Heroes and Cowards in the Climate-change War" (Urban Journal): Included among the cowards in the climate-change debate are many of the leaders of the coal industry. Rather than standing up and effectively contesting the dubious science cited by the Environmental Protection Agency when promoting its new carbon dioxide regulations, most industry leaders meekly accept it. Instead, they complain about job losses and costs, a sure-fire loosing strategy.

If the industry is to survive, coal workers must find new leaders to speak out in their defense, spokespeople who have far more courage than the current crop. These bolder leaders must then clearly state that reports such as the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change demonstrate that today's climate and weather are not extraordinary. There is no convincing evidence that human activity is causing dangerous climate change now or in the foreseeable future. There is no legitimate reason for the EPA to take action against emissions of carbon dioxide.

The choice is simple: coal sector leaders must have the courage to fight to actually win the war on coal, or step aside and let others take over who will.


Harris is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition, based in Ottawa.

Columbus Day reconsidered

With Columbus Day approaching, I'm thinking about what we learned in school about the holiday and the man – and what we didn't learn. I believe we could all recite the names of his ships. But were we taught about the cost of his entry into the "new world?" Did we learn about the indigenous people who were violently and systematically displaced? Did we learn about our use of colonization, domination, power and oppression? Did we learn how slavery became a foundation for the economic system?

While there is much to celebrate about our country, we must also acknowledge the residual impact of these early tactics. We need to know how our economic systems keep many of our most vulnerable caught in webs of poverty, violence, instability, and oppression, and how they're destroying our planet.

We have much to learn from the indigenous people who were here when Columbus landed: their reverence for the earth, and their belief that all beings are connected. Human beings are not "above" other species, but part of the web of life that sustains us all.

Let this Columbus Day celebration invite us to examine our own lives and values – to reflect on what really matters and live more in harmony with indigenous wisdom. For example: In what ways are we fostering connection, community, and compassion, rather than fear, accumulation, and separation?

Last month I walked with 400,000 others in New York City as part of a plea for us all to return to a more reverent relationship with the Earth and its climate. Is this an indication humanity is waking up to what's truly worth celebrating, the wisdom that has been hidden from most of us for centuries?

I live in hope that the future of my children and grandchildren can be protected as we each re-claim our connection to one another and all creation.



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