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Post-Gazette -- OPINION

Updated: 2017-11-24T06:39:49




Steve Hallock is director of the graduate program and teaches media ethics in the School of Communication at Point Park University.

Lockdowns work: A grim lesson from Rancho Tehama shootings


Horror came to a small town in rural Northern California last week. A deranged man went on a shooting rampage. Kevin Neal started by murdering his wife the night of Nov. 13. The next morning, he killed three neighbors, stole a pickup truck and drove into town, shooting at random. He shot up a car driven by a mother with three of her children as passengers, severely injuring the woman and harming a child. He rammed a car off the road and shot at its occupants when they emerged, killing a woman and wounding her husband. 

Pachyderm preservation: Keeping import ban on elephant parts is right call


President Donald Trump’s decision to keep in place the ban on the import into the United States of pieces of African animals was correct. It still isn’t entirely clear why he took that position, reversing a decision put forward by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, overseen by the Department of Interior. Most observers put it down to intervention by conservative conservationist donors, but it showed sound judgment on his part.



Dan De Luce is chief national security correspondent for Foreign Policy.

Consider the historical context of tax rates


In response to Steve Schlauch (Nov. 22 letters, “An Economic Boost”): His quoting of JFK about tax cuts is misleading and does not take into account the historical context of tax rates in the 1960s. JFK suggested cutting the top tax rate from 91 percent to 70 percent and reducing the lower rate from 20 percent to 14 percent. Compare this with today’s 35 percent top rate.

We have a wonderful zoo in Pittsburgh


Our zoo is world class, and I was so glad to read Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium president Barbara Baker’s Nov. 17 commentary about that. She was responding to a letter from the director of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (Nov. 16, “The Pittsburgh Zoo Should Want to Be in the Best League”). 

The role of zoos has changed, so return nonendangered animals to the wild


It has been greatly amusing to watch the feud between the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and its former governing organization, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Pittsburgh Zoo president and CEO Barbara Baker’s commentary last Friday (Nov. 17 Perspectives, “Our Zoo Is World Class”) predictably characterized the flap as having nothing to do with the zoo no longer following animal care guidelines but rather a difference of opinion and a case of an organization overstepping. She also committed a major faux pas by trying to compare her situation with that of the Steelers and their alleged former participation in an inferior league, the AFL. Everybody in Pittsburgh knows the Steelers were always in the NFL and is one if its oldest franchises. (The idea!) By now, she most certainly has heard many times about her misstep because, yes, we do love our Steelers here in Pittsburgh.

We've certified that the Pittsburgh Zoo gives animals outstanding care


As the country’s oldest national humane organization, we wanted to weigh in on a story about the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on the off chance that any readers might have misinterpreted the PG’s Nov. 12 article “Zoo Kicked Out of Conservation Programs: Elephant Dispute Led to Facility Leaving Zoo Association” to believe that the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium provides anything but the best welfare to the remarkable animals in its care.



It is not difficult to understand the motivation behind the protests by the NFL players, other athletes and private citizens.



The only certainty about the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is that it cannot survive in its current form. That’s a lead-pipe cinch.

A despot departs: Mugabe’s fall is a signal to greedy leaders all over 


Absent some unforeseen contingency, Robert G. Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwe since 1980, is gone. His politically ambitious but unpromising wife, Grace, is out of the picture, too. Mr. Mugabe resigned Tuesday as impeachment proceedings were beginning in parliament.

The grace of thanks: Why the Thanksgiving ritual always makes sense


What shall be discussed at the table today? Immigration? Islamist terrorism? Sexual harassment by TV hosts and congressmen? Will family members who fought about the election last Thanksgiving make peace and find common ground today?



Dr. B. Emily Esmaili is a general pediatrician with extensive global health experience. She works at the Lincoln Community Health Center in East Durham, N.C., and is a senior research fellow at Duke University’s Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research.

A doubled standard deduction will benefit most tax filers


I read Paul Krugman’s “The Tax Plan Is Widely Hated” (Nov. 18 column). I am tired of hearing that same old story, “tax relief only benefits the rich.” 



Roger L. Beckett is executive director of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. The center teaches students, teachers and citizens about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. He wrote this for



Thanksgiving is a splendid holiday. It reminds us that gratitude is a virtue. We owe the most satisfying parts of our lives to others.

Obama's addition to the national debt will saddle generations to come


The syndicated cartoon by Robert Ariail in the Wednesday Post-Gazette is funny but incomplete. The cartoon should have shown former President Barack Obama advising the GOP on how to really grow that deficit. His care of the deficit turkey resulted in just about doubling the size of our debt, an increase of almost $10 trillion! The United States economy will be saddled with debt for decades due to his irresponsible spending!

GOP economics adds up only for the wealthy


Why is it that whenever Republican leaders like Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Keith Rothfus tell us about their idea for a tax cut for the middle class, they always know exactly what they want to give millionaires and billionaires, but the middle class always has to wait until it trickles down. 

The Craven (with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)


Once upon a midnight dreary, while Congress pondered weak and weary

Don't feed the ducks at parks; they don't need people food


I hate to be a spoil sport, but a photo in last Thursday’s PG showing someone feeding old hot dog buns to ducks is not a good idea for the ducks. It may even be illegal. Wildlife needs natural food, not highly processed people food.