Regarding your May 13 article "Whose pocketbooks are hit by $2 gas prices": I'm a single parent who is struggling to make ends meet. Now, with gas prices the way they are, it's becoming unreal. Last week it cost me $42 to fill my tank, and that was just to travel to work and back and to get my children where they need to be. The rising cost is affecting everyone, especially those who were struggling in the first place. How are many people even going to be able to get to work? Grocery prices have increased, gas has increased, the overall cost of living has gone up, yet job availability continues to shrink.
How can Americans help get the price of gas under control? If we continue to let the oil industry control pricing without policing its members, they are going to cause even more Americans to lose their jobs. For myself, if gas prices continue going up, it will put a halt to my business travel, which takes me to hospitals and nursing homes as part of the ministry in my area.
(The Rev.) Paul B. Allen
Regarding Debra Bruno's May 10 Opinion piece "If kid's diary is online, should mom peek?": I have to confess, I peeked. Two years ago I did more than peek. I read, cross-referenced, and investigated. But you'll hear no mea culpas from me.
There is a world of difference between the little locked diary under the bed that we grew up with and the online diaries of today's teens. Check out some of these web sites and you will see that they are more public forums than private diaries. Not only can your entries be read, but people are invited to write comments. While there is nothing wrong with teens discussing subjects that matter to them, the reality is that these online forums are the hunting grounds of sexual predators.
When my daughter was 13, she received comments from her friends at school but also from at least two obviously (to me) adult males who were encouraging her to trust and explore her prepubescent feelings of "love." A "warning" about "sexually explicit, racist, or other offensive language" was posted on her diary site, but I guess they missed that. My daughter now has a little diary that she keeps under her bed.
Regarding Lori B. Andrews's May 14 Opinion piece "Rights of gene-altered kids, clones spill from TV plot - to reality": Genetic science has great potential for either serving or degrading humanity. Its proper use requires moral reflection and the establishment of moral limits.
There are many uses of genetic engineering, such as "somatic cell" therapy, that are morally acceptable. In this instance, a genetically determined malfunction in a particular kind of human body cell is corrected using genetically altered cells.
But "germ-line" therapy performed on early human embryos is more problematic. It alters the basic genetic constitution of the person and all of his or her future offspring. Here, a relationship of domination of researchers over their embryonic subjects exists that not only opens the door to new threats against life but is contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.
Genetic screening involving the deliberate destruction of human embryos can never be justified, in my belief, because that would be murder. Every government has a moral obligation to protect human life in all phases of its existence - from conception to natural death.
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