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A challenge to our readers

I find the Letters to Editor section of this newspaper fascinating. I also find it interesting how many have a tenor similar to what physicist Leo Szilard said to his friend Hans Bethe when he was contemplating keeping a diary.”I don’t intend to publish; I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God,” said Szilard. “Don’t you think God knows the facts?” Bethe asked. “Yes,” said Szilard. “He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts.” To be sure, anyone with the courage, dare I say temerity, to put his or her opinion out into the public square is to be applauded. So I thought it might be fun to offer a tailor-made opportunity for boldness by challenging the readership to respond to any one or more of the seven questions below. Send all responses to Don Rogers at editor@vaildaily.com and please be concise when presenting your thoughts on the following weighty matters:1) Who would hold the moral high ground if the leaders of the pro-choice movement focused as much attention on preventing abortions by promoting greater access to birth control, sex education and morning-after pills for the poor and young; or the pro-lifers after clarifying whether they’re strictly against abortion or if their position extends to being anti-birth control and anti-sexual freedom?2) The earth’s elliptical orbit varies significantly during 100,000-year cycles, its tilt changes every 40,000 years, and our axis wobbles on a 26,000 year cycle. Singularly and collectively, these phenomenons have enormous impact on climate. So, too, does cyclical solar activity, tectonic plate movement that reroutes ocean currents and volcanoes that release millions upon millions of tons of carbon dioxide sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride and ash into the stratosphere.Cattle flatulence and termites cause a significant percentage of methane gas in the atmosphere, which acts much like carbon dioxide in the way it absorbs infrared energy, thus keeping heat trapped on earth. Over 99 percent of species that existed before the birth of Christ are now extinct due to climate changes such as the one that caused the extinction of the saber-tooth tiger. There have been periods when little or no ice existed on the planet, and the poles have changed numerous times.In the meantime, man has been keeping accurate meteorological records for a little over 100 years. Scientists are currently measuring ice core samples to determine what gases were present in our atmosphere 100,000 ago. But the planet is 4,500,000,000 years old and therefore has been alternately warming or cooling for 45 million centuries. Considering the myriad of factors that either have or are influencing the Earth’s climate and weather, is it possible that we’re overestimating the human impact on global warming?3) The West has funneled roughly $600 billion of foreign aid into Africa during the last four decades, yet the continent remains in the same dire straits it did before the assistance began. Unbelievably, despite the largess, Africa’s per capita income has experienced zero growth, while AIDS has reached pandemic proportions. Why?4) Fifty percent of all federal spending is a type of transfer or entitlement such as Social Security. Discretionary spending comprises about 8 percent of America’s $11 trillion economy. Congress must approve all government spending. The Federal Reserve controls the money supply. Increased oil consumption in China and India are key factors in the price of gas. Acts of terrorism and natural disasters such as Katrina significantly impact our nation-vis-a-vis the above. How much influence does the president have on the economy?5) Why do Americans spend $133 billion on fast food while spending $124 billion on medical treatments related to obesity and $2 billion more on diet books?6) An amendment was put forth on the floor of the House of Representatives in 2004 to block federal officials from involving the United Nations (the body that placed Cuba, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Libya on its Human Rights Commission) in American elections. The Democrats voted 160-33 in favor of allowing the United Nations to be called into American elections. The Republicans voted 210-0 against U.N. involvement. Can anyone cogently explain the disparity between the two political parties on this issue?7) I’m not Jewish, never have been, and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be converting anytime soon. But the other day I ran across some statistics that when philosophically extrapolated are quite revealing.For the record the global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000, or 20 percent of the world population. They have received eight Nobel Prizes. The global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000, or about 0.02 percent of the world population. They have received 127 Nobel Prizes.There are 85 times (8,500 percent) more Muslims in the world than Jews, which when adjusted for Nobel Prizes per capita, means that the world’s Jewish population has received 1,360 times or 136,000 percent more Nobel Prizes than their Muslim brothers. Why? I look forward to reading the erudite responses over the next few days.Butch Mazzuca, a local Realtor and ski instructor, writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz68@earthlink.net


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