Birthers are prime example of GOP intolerance

Re: "Colin Powell: Latent Democrat?" Jan. 24

Unfortunately for Gregory Kane, Colin Powell's interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" included a third example of GOP intolerance, which Kane forgot to address: "the whole birther movement".

The April 2011 Gallup Poll revealed that nearly half of all Republicans believed the birthers' lie that President Obama was not born in the United States. Half of the Tea Party and 40 percent of conservatives believed it, too.

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When Powell appeared Monday on ABC, he wanted to know why senior GOP leaders weren't publicly denouncing the intolerance that allows birthers to infest half of their party.

I want to know why columnists like Kane conveniently and lazily continue to omit this topic, even when it's presented in the very same interview clip Kane cites in his column.

Did Kane not read the online transcript?

-- Terrence Briggs


Abortion is creating a moral wasteland

Re: "Reflection and rededication as Roe v. Wade turns 40", Jan. 22

Legalized abortion is a right protected by a false freedom. A killing is a killing, and there is no tying a pink ribbon on it.

To choose to extinguish in cold blood a life given by God, to choose to reduce to dust and ashes the body of a human being made in His image and likeness, should make us shudder.

It is time that we all get back to our religious roots before the entire planet becomes a barren moral wasteland.

-- Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario


Virginia needs easier-to-understand school ratings

Quickly now: What is the difference between Virginia public schools that are: a) accredited with warning; b) provisionally accredited; and c) conditionally accredited?

Didn't think you'd know. In fact, it's doubtful that even most Virginia educators know the answer off the top of their heads. But if parents can't understand the rating system, how are they supposed to understand how well their child's school is doing?

Gov. Bob McDonnell seeks to answer this valid question by simplifying school accountability with an easy-to-understand A-F grading system similar to those used in 10 other states.

Sponsored by Del. Tag Greason, R-Loudoun, and Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Bedford, the bill charges the Virginia Board of Education with developing a letter school grading systemin additionto the current standards of accreditation and state and federal accountability requirements.

Using a series of complex metrics few can understand is confusing for both parents and communities that support the educational system. An A-F rating system would provide greater accountability and transparency, and increase parental involvement in Virginia's public schools.

-- Christian N. Braunlich

Vice president, Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy