Something still missing

I have enjoyed the mostly thoughtful back-and-forth the past few weeks about fact-checking opinion pieces in these pages after Mr. Anderson’s atrocious column. What is still missing is any response from the editor. Are Opinion columns fact-checked in any way? If not, why not? Free speech grounds? Or financial necessity, since fact checking takes staff time?

We are lucky that both local universities have well-reputed journalism departments, so how about commissioning a “pro” and “con” column from local experts? They might discuss history, legal implications, or current best practices. My quick search found that the both USA Today and the New York Times have fact-checking policies for all opinion pieces.

This is not about free speech or censorship. Mr. Anderson is welcome to lie to his friends and family or stand on the corner of Main and Grand with an “antifa did it” sign. If he does it peacefully, I’ll defend his right to do so.

But the Daily News is a private business and freely chooses what to print. It is also trusted. I don’t want one dollar of mine to go towards giving a lie oxygen on a trusted platform. And before you croak about “cancel culture,” I am not advocating dropping his column. I too enjoy reading him. I just want him to stick to his opinions.

Journalists (and judges) know how to separate opinions from facts. The Daily News can remind us all how. Without facts, there can be no truth, and without truth there is no justice. Societies without justice descend into violence and totalitarianism. I see absolutely no public value in printing old, widespread lies like “the Holocaust never happened” or new, widespread lies like “antifa did it”, “the election was stolen”, or “airplanes are fueled by the tears of unicorns.” OK, maybe that last one hasn’t caught on yet.

Joe Cook


Coronavirus mutations

Early this summer a mutated coronavirus (D614G) was found by scientists at Scripps Institute to be about 10 times more infectious than the original coronavirus from China (D614). They determined that a mutation in the S “spike” protein allowed the mutated version to better bind to cells in human’s airways and was the reason the virus was more infectious.

The University of Texas, Austin, performed a large study of coronavirus genome sequences in the Houston area last summer and identified the D614G as being highly infectious. Initially, 71 percent of the coronaviruses identified in patients in Houston were D614G. This variant leaped to 99.9 percent prevalence during the second wave of the outbreak in Houston. The second wave appeared to be falling off and going to zero in mid-September (i.e. google coronavirus daily death graphs, NBC) when it stalled and then began increasing again as the new virus completely replaced the old.

Because the new coronavirus spreads more easily and rapidly, the “herd” immunity for D614G will be much higher (i.e. 85 percent or greater percentage of population) than the original D614 coronavirus (i.e. about 60 percent). Although the new virus is not any more deadly than the original virus, protecting vulnerable people from this new version is more difficult because it is so much more infectious.

For these reasons, more people will now contract the disease and the death rate will be higher. The use of masks, social distancing and other measures helped to promote the evolution of this virus to become more infectious. This unfortunate situation appears to be another example of “the law of unintended consequences.”

A large percentage of the population have already been infected. Vaccines are available and hopefully the people most vulnerable to this disease can be quickly vaccinated and we can return to our normal lives.

Dean B. Edwards


This will not unite

President Biden said he wanted to unite the country. He either is very disingenuous or naive while deliberately signing executive orders that will further divide this country. One of his worst actions is signing an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. This sounds innocuous but unless corrected, it pretty much does away with girls’ and women’s sports as it will allow males who say they are females to compete in any and all sports that were female only in the past.

The consequences in places where this is already happening are dramatic and damaging to the intent of Title IX for enhancing female participation in sports. In addition, giving males who say they are females permission to use all women’s facilities is going to cause a multitude of problems. Forcing the military to deal with transgender persons, including paying for expensive transition surgery, is going to have a detrimental effect on our military and its mission.

The frustration this poorly thought out executive order is going to cause on the majority of the population for the sake of less than 1 percent of the population and the further division of the country it will produce, is in my opinion, unacceptable. We all know that there are significant differences between male and female. That was a major reason for the Title IX act, to enhance female opportunities and level the competitive field. No amount of surgical or cosmetic action will change the chromosomes of a male to a female or visa-versa. There are things that can be done to help people who think they are transgender without making the majority of women and girls suffer and the population in general. Now is the time to speak up and get this executive order changed.

Larry Kirkland


Flash of insight

Picture this … two prisoners are sitting at easels, paint brush in hand. They sit back to back, both gazing out the one small window as they paint what they see. On their respective easels, one has painted the window frame and its black prison bars. The other prisoner, who lives in new thought wisdom, paints only the window frame and the nature scene of grass, sun, trees, etc. There is a smile on his face; the other is frowning as he spies what his cellmate has painted.

If you live in the awareness of new thought, you see only the “good” (what you want to see and become); the bars are not even visible to your consciousness. That makes all the difference. If you want to check to see what you are seeing and expressing, take one day, or even one hour, and watch where your point of awareness goes, minute by minute, and you will see who you really are.

I must add, new thought does not mean you deny the not-wanted things, they just don’t interest you enough to allow yourself to identify with them. As you become more and more aware of your inner self, noticing the things you identify with becomes easier and you let go of the things with which you have no attachment. They just don’t matter to you. Like pandemics or contagion itself. ...

Eleanor Richard


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