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Letters to the editor: 11/13
Nov 12, 2008 | 5422 views | 1 1 comments | 118 118 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Coverage criticized


I read with much interest your Oct. 9 editorial, “Confronting crackpots,” and Mike Zoller’s article “KDKA talk show host meant nothing by bailout remark, station executive says.”

I commend The Jewish Chronicle for highlighting all acts of obvious and reasonably perceived anti-Semitism. Regrettably, the overall news media world finds it convenient and desirable to ignore many such incidents (e.g., the harassment and physical beating of a young Jewish soldier at Fort Benning, Ga., reported by the Tribune-Review recently but not even mentioned by The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, or the Post-Gazette).

I recall that you also reported the matter between Herky Pollock and David Sunseri concerning the latter’s statement during a social dinner at Morton’s Restaurant that “only Jews like this kind of bread.”

While I do not profess to be a maven on journalism, or an investigative reporter, I have had the misfortune of personally experiencing numerous anti-Semitic acts and words throughout my life. I grew up in the lower Hill District (a somewhat different environment for Jews than Squirrel Hill). As a consequence, I developed a finely tuned perception of what constitutes serious and significant anti-Semitic acts and words.

Therefore, I am extremely puzzled by The Jewish Chronicle’s total lack of interest and concern about the U.S. Attorney’s comment that she considered me to be a “flight risk to Israel.” No such geographic-ethnic remark had ever been made by Ms. Mary Beth Buchanan previously regarding Pete DeFazio to Italy, Tom Murphy to Ireland, Dennis Skoznik to Poland, or any African-American defendant to Africa.

Aside from my quite obvious and readily admitted personal bias, I have great intellectual difficulty in understanding the reasoning and logic of The Jewish Chronicle in deciding to publish stories about Marty Griffin’s comment and Sunseri’s remark while completely ignoring these comments by Buchanan and Zappala, the two highest ranking law enforcement officials in our community.

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht

Squirrel Hill

(Editor’s note: The author is the former Allegheny County coroner and a former county commissioner.)

Election stirs Jewish pride

After the election last Tuesday of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, many have expressed an increased pride at being an American. For me — and many others, I am sure — the election also brought an increased pride at being Jewish.

With exit polls suggesting that 77 percent of American Jews voted for Sen. Obama, we have shown ourselves and the country that we were not and cannot be fooled by the vicious falsehoods spread about Obama’s background, his attitudes about Jews or his feelings toward Israel. And we have shown ourselves that a candidate’s ideas, not their race or ethnicity, are what matter to us.

We can now look forward to the better country, the better world that Barack Obama’s election promises. Indeed, we can do more than that — we can each find a way to help fulfill the dream.

Michael J. Zigmond

Squirrel Hill

Emanuel choice a mistake

I note with interest that Chicago U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who is an observant Jew, has been appointed chief of staff for President-Elect Barack Obama. This might ordinarily be cause for rejoicing in this community, but I have serious misgivings.

At a time when Mr. Obama has stated the desire to unify the country, to put an end to the partisan bickering and pettiness with which the electorate was inundated throughout the just-concluded insulting presidential election campaign, he fills one of the most important, high-profile, powerful positions with a man who is known for being unable to speak without the use of profanity, one who is a fierce and vicious partisan, having at least once stated, “F— the Republicans,” and who once sent a dead fish to a pollster with whom he disagreed.

I did not vote for Barack Obama or John McCain. I remain willing to give Barack Obama a fair chance to reshape our country in a manner that will be beneficial to most Americans and to ameliorate the wreckage that has been inflicted on our nation and our world by the unprecedented arrogance and incompetence of the George W. Bush administration. I believe that in the selection of Rahm Emanuel, though, that the president-elect has made his first mistake.

Oren M. Spiegler

Upper St. Clair

You were there

For those of us old enough to remember the show “You Are There,” Tuesday, Nov. 4, felt surreal.

In our youth, when televisions were a new fixture in our living rooms, “You Are There” took us back with elaborate re-enactments to the most historic moments in history allowing us to taste the past. Now it is our turn. We are living during one of those historic moments. Generations that follow us will learn about Tuesday, Nov. 4. They will try to feel the emotions and grasp the awe and significance of this particular event. Those of us, who are experiencing this extraordinary moment, will not have to learn through books, visuals or audios. We all, whether young or old, Republican, Independent or Democrat will be able forever to reach back and personally feel the memory of this day.

There are those of us for whom the election results of last night were disappointing at best. However, regardless of which candidate we each supported, whatever our beliefs, the election of Barack Obama as our 44th president says something collectively about all of us and about this country that we love.

This biracial young man with skin that is too dark to be white and too light to be accepted as truly black has shown the world the possibilities and promise that is uniquely American.

None of us can predict the future, but we are now in this together. To survive these treacherous times, we must not be red or blue, black, yellow or white. We cannot afford to separate ourselves by beliefs or lack of belief. It is time for us to embrace the familiar and respect the differences. Let us judge each other on our honesty, on our ability to seek and understand, and our commitment to truly do unto others, as we would have others do unto us.

Marilyn Bricklin Lebovitz

Yardley, Pa.

‘Gravely important issue’

In a recent editorial about the most pressing issues confronting President-elect Obama (“What now?” Nov. 6), The Chronicle surprisingly left out the most worrisome international issue of all — Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran’s nuclear program not only poses an existential threat to Israel, it threatens to further destabilize the entire Middle East and creates the possibility that terrorist organizations will gain possession of nuclear weapons.

We take heart that President-elect Obama has said, “We have to act much more forcefully and effectively on the world stage to contain Iran’s nuclear capabilities.”

The Iran Task Force of Pittsburgh will help our 44th president mobilize grassroots support for diplomatic and economic approaches to this international crisis, and we hope The Chronicle will do its part to educate and inform our community about this gravely important issue.

David Steinbach and

Barbara Burstin

Pittsburgh

(Editor’s Note: The authors co-chair the Iran Task Force of Pittsburgh)

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mike Ference
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February 22, 2009
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala tried to trade Dr. Cyril Wecht freedon for the freedom of a two-bit Mafia hoodlum by the name of Chuckie Porter.

Porter is the father of Charles Porter, the partner in the law firm that wiseguy Stephen Zappala used to work for. Zappala still recieves a monthly stipend from the firm (Zappala says it's from his buyout). Zappala sends overflow work from the DA's office to Porter's firm.

Dr. Wecht has every right to be angered.

Dr. Wecht is one of the few persons who has held an elected position in Allegheny County who could actually be trusted and who has brought nothing but favorable publicity to our region. Sadly, the power is in the hands of deMOBocrats like the Zappala family. The same family that will eventually go to prison for kicking back cash for kids.

Mike Ference