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Sports letters to the editor

January 20, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
I’d like to believe that the Altoona Mirror’s Sunday Outdoors section and the Outdoor Times are informative dialogs about hunting and fishing and not political op-ed forums.

This past Sunday, I read a Walt Young piece on global warming for the second time in recent memory. For those who didn’t catch it, Young tried to convince readers that global warming is a natural occurrence in “harmonic sequences of warming and cooling,” and that he looks forward to global warming so he can go fishing in January.

Yes, periods in earth’s history have shown variance in temperature, but any open-minded outdoor enthusiast with a keen eye can spot even the most modest of human impacts on our environment.

I am not aware of Young’s educational background, but I’d venture to guess that he’s underqualified to make statements on scientific evidence on human activity driven climate change. He ignorantly called global warming advocates a “pop-culture phenomenon of false prophets of doom recruiting an army of dippy disciples.”

It amazes me what a hot topic global warming — or the more politically correct term “climate change” — has become. As a public communications consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, I was not even allowed to mention the words “global warming” in publications until early 2007.

But just recently I came up with a no-nonsense way to explain climate change to nay-sayers I know and love. Anyone living in the rural areas of Pennsylvania can tell you how much colder winter nights are in the country than in our state’s urban areas.

Even WTAJ weatherman Joe Murgo says “colder in the outlying areas” during every weather forecast. This heating effect is known as urban islands. As the amount of developed land grows with more paved surfaces and more strip malls built where woods and farmlands used to be, so does the heating effect of urbanization. This undeniable localized warming multiplied by similar growth around the world means human impacted climate change.

Putting the growing actions taken to limit human impacted climate change into terms even Young can identify with, it’s like going hunting with scent-control clothing. You can definitely hunt deer without scent-free clothes, but it probably doesn’t hurt your chances by putting them on.

I’d simply like to ask Young to stick with what he knows and tell me all about turkey hunting and trout.

Brandin McDonough

State College

Three cheers for Young

It was so refreshing to read Walt Young’s article on global warming. I just shake my head when I hear people fretting and whining over this chimera.

The only man-made element about it is that it’s been fabricated to advance global socialism.

I live in Vermont. And while it is certainly beautiful here, it’s often times hard to tell the color of a vehicle because it’s plastered with wing-nut bumperstickers.

I sure miss Central Pa.

Bill Aigner

North Bennington, Vt.

(Editor’s note: The writer is a native of Hollidaysburg).

Sports in a negative run

Everyone’s so sick of all this cheating, lying, dog fighting, gambling and all this stuff about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

Here is Marion Jones spending six months in prison for lying and cheating. Then you have Clemens and Bonds on steroids and maybe going to prison. Mark McGwire may be going to prison also.

Then they take Pete Rose out of baseball for gambling and won’t put him in the Hall of Fame. A NBA referee lost his job and is going to prison for what he did.

Now to football: You have Vick in prison for dog fighting, and you have Bill Belichick, the Patriots’ head coach, caught for taping the Jets’ defensive signals. He even admitted to it.

Who knows how long he has been doing this? What’s his punishment? He’s got to pay some money, and he’s in the AFC Championship — on his way to the Super Bowl.

Mike and Nick Beckel


Belichick got off too easy

When was the last time you picked up a newspaper or listened to a sports program that didn’t gush about how spectacular a team the New England Patriots are?

Excuse me, but weren’t they busted not that many weeks ago for cheating? Didn’t their coach, Bill Belacheat (Belichick), get caught using a camera to spy on the opposing teams’ plays?

Well, they were punished, you contend. Punished? They fined a millionaire, and the team lost a draft pick. Whoopee! What round draft pick did they lose anyway?

What kind of precedent did that set?

In my opinion, if the ‘‘powers that be’’ wanted to send a clear message that cheating will not be tolerated in the NFL, the Patriots would not only have to forfeit the games they ‘‘won’’ back to the other teams, they would be sitting at home watching the rest of the season on TV. Who’s to say they are not STILL cheating? Anyone can have a perfect season if they know every move the other guy is going to make.

Belichick must have zero confidence in his team if he had to stoop to such a low to insure a win.

But still, it’s as though it never happened; it’s as if the media has totally forgotten that. They have picked (most of them anyway) the Pats to go all the way this year. Where is the surprise in that?

So, parents, the pressure is off. We no longer need to try and teach our children that if you want to succeed in life, do what’s right, stay away from drugs, don’t break the law, and don’t be a cheater.

Apparently, that no longer applies. Just read the newspaper or watch TV.

Vickie Harbula


Mehno goes easy on Tomlin

Regarding John Mehno’s Jan. 10 column not blaming the Steelers coaches for the playcalling in the playoff loss to Jacksonville:

Although his points were well taken, I still have to disagree.

Even though the play in question may have been successful in practice, I feel it is the coach’s responsibility to carefully evaluate what had taken place in the game up to that point, and examine the personnel involved, both offensively and defensively, in making a call of such magnitude.

If the Steelers could get a first down, game over. That’s about as critical as it gets in playoff football.

The Steelers had gained less than 50 yards rushing at that point in the game, and that’s with a running back, not a quarterback.

Trai Essex is a third-string offensive lineman for a reason, and as Mehno pointed out, he missed the block that led to Big Ben getting stopped short.

The lack of creativity following the Jacksonville field goal was also troubling to me. If you lose, you go home, so why not pull out all the stops?

How about a reverse on the kick return, or an across-the-field lateral ala the ‘‘Music City Miracle” to give the Steelers a chance?

Oh well, I guess that’s why I’m a spectator and not a coach.

Clint Carothers


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