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Where’s the charm?

3/18/2015

Kent Carlson’s thoughts on “charming” (Guest View, March 12) have left me wondering whether he may be just a wee bit confused about what the word actually means. On the one hand, he states that “charm goes a long way in winning over people,” which is absolutely spot-on since the actual (and only) meaning of the word is “the power or quality of pleasing or delighting.” But then he confuses me when he states that it is “not a term that is used often these days,” which he believes is a good thing since the “concept isn’t really appreciated.” Huh? People have stopped appreciating being pleased or delighted? Since when? I’m sorry Mr. Carlson’s “two favorite summertime activities” now take place on the asphalt in downtown Des Moines instead of in a leafy glade or on the grounds of a stately manor home. There are many things to be said about the Western Gateway, but to compare it to a Wal-Mart parking lot with a few “odd sculptures thrown in for conversation pieces” says, it seems to me, more about him than it does about the latter-day arts venue. Buck up, Mr. Carlson. Change is as inevitable as death — itself a form of change — but there’s every chance you may yet rediscover the thrill and charm you now bemoan.

John Franklin
-Des Moines

 

Republicans should have known better

The letter to Iran sent by the 47 Republican senators lays out a terrible message to the whole world. Basically the letter implies you cannot trust the United States no matter what. Sen. Charles Grassley should have known better, and he should have advised Sen. Joni Ernst not to sign it, too. I am afraid Grassley has been taken over by the tea party. This is not the work of a statesman. Has he lost all Iowa common sense? Shame on him for signing it.

HIV

J.Marshall Tormey
-Urbandale

 

Science deniers must be rescued from the Dark Ages

Herb Strentz’s, “Give up ignorance for Lent” (Guest View, March 12) couldn’t be more relevant considering the Republicans’ broad assaults on science. Most of us can recall from our high school science class a term called the “scientific method.” The technical definition defines it as a “method of inquiry that is commonly based on empirically measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.” That method of problem solving came about in the 17th century and ushered in the Modern Age. Thanks to science, we learned the earth isn’t flat, the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth, and life evolved over millions of years. We now know these former beliefs were all conclusions based on bias, myth or ignorance. Today, the scientific method has produced all the advances society enjoys and relies on to improve our lives. From our computers to modern medicine, we depend on science to observe, test and find solutions based on that proven method. Climate scientists are relying on that same long-proven method to explain the warming of our planet resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. Republican climate deniers are still living in the Dark Ages by rejecting the science of climate change. We must rescue them from that mentality.

Rick Smith
-Urbandale

 

Knowing right from wrong

Political Mercury writer Douglas Burns shared (Political Mercury, March 12) his learning experiences on “The Third Step” as a college fraternity pledge and contrasted that to Gov. Branstad’s anti-bullying legislation. I could not help but think of the recent events in Oklahoma, where a few members felt it was appropriate to sing racist songs on their bus. In the latter situation it seems those on the bus chose from at least four options.

1. Sing along.

2. Stand up and point out the leader as wrong.

3. Sit quietly and let the leader make an ass of himself.

4. Record the episode, post it, then let others deal with it.

Most, I think, hope they would choose option No. 2. However, from the little we know, none did. I don’t think it takes laws or tax money to teach or show by example right from wrong.

Mike Rowley
-Clive

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