- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 23, 2000

Readers rate Al Gore's best stories[p]

Your Sept. 20 editorial "Al Gore's best short stories" is nonsense. You have reprinted ridiculous claims about the vice president that were thoroughly refuted ages ago. Don't you people read the newspaper?

Regarding the "Internet" issue, Mr. Gore never claimed to have invented it; he just said that while in Congress he "took the initiative in creating the Internet." According to some experts, Mr. Gore's role in the rise of the Internet was pivotal, and the Internet we know today would not exist but for his efforts; therefore, his claim was not so outlandish.

On "Love Story," you have the facts wrong; author Erich Segal has stated unambiguously that the character of Oliver was partly based on Mr. Gore, and that what Mr. Gore actually said on the matter was true. Errors and misquotations by reporters for Time and the Nashville Tennessean transformed this into a cause celebre, which you continue to hype in contradiction to the well-documented facts.

Regarding Love Canal, Mr. Gore never claimed to have discovered it, just that he held hearings; you and others have just selectively quoted Mr. Gore and distorted what he actually said.

Now, I don't know the facts surrounding the arthritis drug flap, but based on the past performance of the news media (and, in particular, your newspaper), I am inclined to believe that Mr. Gore is right on the facts and that this is just another case of gross media distortion.

You folks are highly paid professionals. Is it too much to ask that you do your jobs and get the facts right?

DAVID BEAUCHAMP

San Jose, Calif.

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So, Vice President Al Gore says the prescription drugs for his pets are cheaper than the same prescription drugs for his mother-in-law.

That is not news. Ask any pharmacist. The pharmaceutical industry is required by the Food and Drug Administration to apply "clean room" type manufacturing processes to any drug meant for human consumption. That standard does not necessary apply to drugs manufactured for animal care.

The person at the plant where Mr. Gore's mother-in-law's Lodine was made was definitely wearing gloves when he handled the medication. That isn't necessarily so when the pet's drugs were fabricated. Sanitation requirements, along with other purification regulations, can drive chemical costs sky high.

I'm not saying that the FDA should lower standards for drugs intended for humans, but I am saying that people should be aware of the differences and why.

THOMAS W. MOORE

Santa Clara, Calif.

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Are USA Today, The Washington Post and the major TV networks imposing a news blackout on any stories critical of Vice President Al Gore?

These news media giants are quick to jump on any gaff committed by Texas Gov. George W. Bush in his quest for the presidency, but they will not run a news story that The Washington Times ran on its front page Sept. 19 ("Aides concede Gore made up medicine story").

As a member of the news media, having worked on the old Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and Phoenix Gazette, I am appalled at this bias in reporting legitimate news.

If Mr. Gore will lie to get votes from the elderly by creating a fictitious story about his poor mother-in-law and prescription drugs, what will he say once he gets in the White House?

It's good to know that your newspaper, at least, is telling the voters the truth.

GENO LAURENZI

Laurel

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Vice President Al Gore's most recent fabricated story of the drugs for his dog and mother-in-law is one of the most serious continuations of a pattern of lying by a politician. It is on par with the lies of President Clinton.

It is no longer a laughing matter. This pattern of lying calls into question Mr. Gore's fitness to be president. Would you accept this kind of lying from people with which you do business, such as an auto repairman, plumber, contractor, doctor, lawyer? (Well, maybe your lawyer.)

Mr. Gore has established this pattern of lying over a long period. If he claims we need to sacrifice the lives of young U.S. soldiers, can we believe him? I'm sorry, but with Mr. Gore's pattern of lying, I simply don't believe anything he says anymore.

You women who say Mr. Gore is your choice, please tell me, do you prefer the lies because that's what you want to hear or do you want the truth? Think about it.

RAND E. OERTLE

Springville, Utah

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This is an excellent article on Vice President Al Gore's latest trouble with telling the truth. What jumps out at me about the story concerns medical privacy. However, he violated his own mother-in-law's medical privacy by not checking with her to see if it was OK to use her as an example in his speech. If he had done so, maybe his assertions would have been correct.

His answer to this when asked was, "Well the issue is not her." Amazing. This man has absolutely no shame.

MICHELLE WOODSON

Hyattsville

Gasoline taxes are there for a reason[p]

The Sept. 15 Commentary column by Angela Antonelli and Mark Wilson, "Gassed and going up," takes the position that one way to offset worldwide rising fuel prices is to cut federal and state taxes in the United States because those taxes are a factor in the price of gasoline. But that approach is running on empty because it overlooks several major differences in how gasoline taxes are used in the United States and Europe.

In the United States, gasoline taxes predominantly are user fees paid by motorists and dedicated to make needed repairs and improvements to our nation's transportation system. If those needed repairs and improvements are not made, America's economy will suffer. The user-fee approach was reaffirmed in the United States when Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). In contrast, gasoline taxes in Europe are used as a source of revenue to fund other government programs.

Moreover, as Miss Antonelli and Mr. Wilson point out, in Europe, gasoline taxes make up as much as 80 percent of the price of gasoline. In the United States, the combined state and federal taxes on a gallon of gasoline account for less than one-fourth the price of a gallon of gas.

The reason gasoline prices are going up has little to do with any increase in federal or state gasoline taxes. The federal gasoline tax has remained at 18.4 cents for more than seven years. Only a handful of states have increased state gasoline taxes, and when they do, it usually is only by 3 cents or 4 cents a gallon, often with voter approval, with the idea of providing funding to catch up on needed highway repairs.

The authors also fail to recognize the economic consequences in the United States if needed repairs and improvements are not made to our nation's transportation system. Motorists in our nation's largest urban areas pay nearly $1,000 a year in wasted time and fuel costs sitting in traffic congestion. The commodities and products on which families depend must be delivered in a timely way or those products will cost us even more when we purchase them. The Internet revolution is creating an even larger need for timely and efficient delivery of goods purchased through electronic commerce.

With these increasing demands being placed on our nation's highway system, now is not the time to cut the funding source that plays a major role in the quality of life our citizens are able to enjoy.

WILLIAM M. WILKINS

Executive director

The Road Information Program

Washington

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