BUYING THE NEWS
Barely a few weeks after your eye-opening article on the genesis of fascism ("Fascism in America?" December 8), we learn that this administration has misappropriated taxpayer funds to pay journalists to shill for it, and to create three (count them: 3) phony "news" videos designed to bamboozle Americans, one of which was actually picked up and aired as authentic "news" by more than 40 TV stations.
If this had happened under Bill Clinton's administration, the media would have been quick to plaster its outrage all over the front pages, Congress would be racing to begin investigations, and Bill Bennett would be frothing at the mouth about what constitutes a lie. But for this administration? The silence is deafening.
The greatest threat to our democracy is assent through silence.
Georgianne Arnold, Avalon Drive, Brighton
Thank you for "Stop the Steamroller. Reject Gonzales" (January 12), on why the Senate should not confirm Alberto Gonzales as US Attorney General. To anyone who believes in the protection of human rights and in the treaties and conventions obligating our government to treat prisoners humanely, Gonzales' confirmation would be an outrage.
I listened to much of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings and found Gonzales to have contempt for the human-rights standards that such organizations as the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have worked for. That someone so ignorant and disdainful of human rights could become Attorney General is an alarming indication of the moral abyss Bush and his cronies are dragging us into.
The Senate Republicans apparently don't give a damn about or don't see the horrible precedent they will be setting by confirming him. His beliefs have played a key role in the horrible abuses of US-held prisoners at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, and in Afghanistan.
Chris Dygert, Rosedale Street, Rochester
Regarding "RAC and You" (Metro Ink, January 19): I was a member of the Rochester Athletic Club downtown and am now a member of The Downtown Fitness club. I felt that the RAC was more like a retail corporation gym, a gym that wasn't welcoming. I would encourage all of you who have not tried the Downtown Fitness Club to give it a try. Yes, the building may be 100 years old, but it's a very safe, clean building. The club offers more than just aerobics and weight training; it also offers a 9-foot-deep pool, a whirlpool, sauna, tanning, personal training, and massage therapy.
But one of the other reasons I chose DFC was because it has a welcoming atmosphere. There is an attitude of 'We care about your health needs,' and the staff at DFC is great.
Mike Hendricks, Pearwood Road, Gates
Mike Doser makes a compelling argument about society's bias against women's sporting events ("Women," January 19). However, I fail to recognize how prohibiting men's sporting teams from having more spectators than women's would help. As Doser indicates, in college as well as professional sports, by and large the general public prefers to watch men's sporting events. But I doubt sexism and discrimination are the issue.
The caliber of play exhibited by the men's Syracuse basketball team is much higher than that of the DukeUniversity women's basketball team. The players jump higher, run faster, and are significantly stronger than women's teams. These reasons alone make for a much more exciting game to watch. This is why there is a women's league. Most women basketball players do not possess the strength and agility of most men players due to their physiological makeup.
I am not suggesting that women should settle for mediocrity. Perhaps a more aggressive marketing campaign would boost the popularity of women's athletics. No headway is made in increasing popularity in women's athletics, however, by telling people they can not show up at a men's sporting event simply because they prefer not to watch women's sports.
Brian J. Westman, Garden Drive, Fairport
Editor's note: Mike Doser's suggestion that we limit attendance at men's sports events was, obviously, a tongue-in-cheek comment.
Regarding Mike Doser's article on women's professional sports ("Women," January 19): First, the Women's National Basketball Association is not the only women's professional sports league. The former four-team Women's Professional Softball League, after earlier suspending operations, has now reinvented itself and emerged as the six-team National Pro Fastpitch last year and is adding a seventh team this year.
Also, while the former wintertime American Basketball League folded a few years ago, the new six-team National Women's Basketball League started and has been successful, largely because it and its major-league counterpart, the WNBA, allow athletes to play in both leagues, whereas the WNBA and the former ABL did not.
The Women's United Soccer Association is on suspension and is trying to make a comeback in 2006, with Rochester slated to have a franchise at PaetechPark. Canada has the National Women's Hockey League, which would like to expand into the US.
Keep in mind, too, the semiprofessional women's leagues in soccer and football, some of which have teams in Rochester.
Much of the downturn in women's pro sports was due to the downturn in the US economy, which did not affect the more established and better-patronized men's sports. In addition, our women have to compete for spectators and sponsors against more men's leagues than do the women's leagues overseas.
The WNBA and the NPF have partnerships with the men's NBA and MLB that could help them. The WUSA's biggest mistake was that they did not have this with the MLS. Other problems were overspending and having teams in large markets, some of which were not hotbeds for the sport, as Rochester is.
It would be nice to have professional women's volleyball again. However, this is a difficult sport to professionalize, especially since it is female-dominated with little or no chance of the same sport in a male league for support.
Title IX does need to be strengthened, but not the way Mr. Doser is suggesting. Instead, the Women's Sports Foundation has ways to strengthen it. However, the law must not be weakened. Despite his having two daughters and no sons, George W. Bush and his appointees are no friends of Title IX. As for sex appeal, it should be used in moderation without compromising family values; Brandi Chastain and the WNBA's Lauren Jackson may not have been setting good examples.
Maggie Brooks declared our area a women's sports hotbed. As such, I would like to see NWBL, NWHL, and NPF teams here and maybe in Buffalo as well.
Kevin F. Yost, Middle Road, Henrietta
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