- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2000

Your Sept. 20 editorial "Al Gore's best short stories" is nonsense. You have reprinted ridiculous claims about Vice President Gore that were thoroughly refuted ages ago; don't you people read the newspaper?
Regarding the "Internet" issue, Gore never claimed to have invented it; he justsaid that while in congress he "took the initiative in creating the Internet."According to some experts, 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 completely wrong; author Erich Segal has stated unambiguously that the character of Oliver was partly based on Al Gore, and that what Al 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, Gore never claimed to have discovered it, just that heheld hearings; you and others have just selectively quoted Gore and distortedwhat he actually said.
Now, I don't know the facts surrounding the arthritis drug flap, but based on the past performance of the 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 Al Gore Jr. says that his pets get prescription drugs cheaper than the same drugs prescribed for his mother.
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 with intent to distribute for animal care.
The person at the plant where the vice president's mother-in-law's Lodine was made was definitely wearing gloves when he/she handled the medication. Not necessarily so when the dog'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 television networks imposing a news blackout on any stories critical of Al Gore?
These media giants are quick to jump on any gaff committed by George W. Bush in his quest for President, but they will not run a story like the one the Washington Times published on page one Tuesday. ("Aides concede Gore made up medicine story," Sept. 19)
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 Al Gore will lie to get votes from the elderly by creating a ficticious story about his poor mother-in-law paying more for prescription drugs than it would cost her to get a similar drug for a pet, 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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Al Gore's most recent fabricated story of the drugs for his dog and Mother is one of the most serious continuations of a pattern of lying I have ever seen in a politician other than Bill Clinton.
It is no longer a laughing matter. This pattern of lying exhibited by Gore really calls into question his fitness to be president. Would you accept this kind of lying from people with which you do business: your auto repairman, plumber, contractor, doctor, lawyer (well maybe your lawyer.)
Gore has established this pattern of lying over a long period. If he claims we need to sacrifice the lives of young American soldiers can we believe him. NO! I'm sorry, but with Gore's pattern of lying I simply don't believe anything he says anymore. You women who say 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 Al Gore's latest trouble with telling thetruth. 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 if it was OK to use her as an example in his speech otherwise the facts would have been correct. His answer to this when asked is, "Well the issue is not her." Amazing how this man has absolutely no shame.
MICHELLE WOODSON
Hyattsville, Md.

Cutting gas taxes no solution to rising fuel prices

The Sept. 15 column by Angela Antonelli and Mark Wilson in the Commentary section of The Washington Times headlined "Gassed and going up," takes the position that one way to offset worldwide rising fuel prices is to cut federal and state taxes here 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 about how gasoline taxes are used in the United States compared to how they are used in Europe.

In the United States, gasoline taxes are predominantly user fees paid by the motorist that are 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. In the United States, the user-fee approach was reaffirmed when Congress passed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). On the other hand, gasoline taxes in Europe are used as a source of revenue to fund other government programs.

Moreover, as Antonelli/Wilson point out, in Europe, gasoline taxes comprise as much as 80 percent of the price of gasoline. Here in the United States, the combined state and federal taxes on a gallon of ga soline makes up less than one-fourth the current price of a gallon of gas.

The rea son 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 is usually only by three or four 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 it will cost us even more when we purchase those products. The Internet revolution is creating an even larger need for timely and efficient delivery of goods purchased over the Internet.

The Road Information Progam's analysis of data compiled by The Texas Transportation Institute shows that the amount of time the average motorist sits in traffic has increased by 50 percent during the 1990s. Our nation is projected to add another 60 million people by the year 2020. Highway travel is projected to increase by 40 percent by the year 2015. What happens to our transportation system if we fail to make improvements needed to address this continued growth?

WILLIAM M. WILKINS

Executive Director

The Road Information Program

Washington

Why should retirees work when government taxes them so heavily?

I am a retired electronics executive with bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering, and I was recently asked to provide consulting services. I took the task because it sounded fun and not for economic reasons. But taxes turned out to be a major disincentive to work. First I pay a Social Security tax of more than 15 percent. My retirement and investment income result in a 39 percent rate for federal income tax, and I pay 6 percent state tax. This means the government gets 60 percent of every marginal dollar I earn. To add insult to injury, if I don't spend these earnings, the government takes another 55 percent with the death tax. My question is simple. Why should I work at all if the government takes so much of my earnings? It is appalling that we have a tax system which eliminates any incentive for successful members of our technical community to work.

TALBOT S. HUFF

Huddleston, Va.

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