Letters to the Editor: Dec 27 - Jan 3 | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Letters to the Editor: Dec 27 - Jan 3

Religious studies

I am sure I am not the only reader to respond to the obscure and somewhat inarticulate cover of City Paper's Dec. 20, 2006 (era vulgaris) issue.

I would like to thank you for reporting on the important issue of freedom of speech on political correctness-strangled college campuses. And as our Holy Law as received from Aiwass at the Equinox of the Gods by the prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu, also known as Aleister Crolwey, applies to the writers on the City Paper as well as anyone (and covers the right to misuse as well as use words as ye will), I am not writing to complain about your inclusion of the Law of Thelema at the bottom of the cover of this issue.

Rather, to clarify: There is nothing in Thelema's doctrine which suggests Thelemites want anyone to "think exactly the way we want" (confer Liber Aleph vel CXI Chapter 35, "De Libertate Mentis" or "On the Freedom of Thought"). Nor is there any association, institutionally or philosophically, between Thelema as a school of thought or any Thelemite organization that I know of and the Communist Party, as seems to be implied by your cover.

We continue to be baffled by being regarded by some as an extremist movement (is that what the City Paper cover was implying about Thelema?) for espousing what seems to us to be common sense (albeit expressed, at times, within the context of the tradition of occultism). But hopefully this cover, directed towards academia, will encourage clear-minded research and a deeper understanding of Thelema.

-- Frater Zeus

Society Ordo Templi Orientis, International

Growing up an Orphan

Really enjoyed the piece on the Blues Orphans in the "Best of" issue ["Best Blues Band," Dec. 13]. Having known Bob, Andy and Bones the better part of my life, and I am older than most of the band, I can say that their style has always been eclectic.

I lived in Chicago from 1977 through 1983, and it was always a hoot when the Orphans would bang on my apartment door at midnight, completely unannounced, and spend a few days needing just a place to lay their heads. Many a night we spent across the street at the Olde Town Ale House, Kingston Mines or any number of bars and blues clubs.

Having known Bob this long, I see all of the musical eras we passed through in many of his songs and arrangements. We all began playing the funk in late '60s, more acoustic styles in the '70s, including C&W and bluegrass from the days when they lived in the Appalachian hills of southern Ohio. From there, we all got caught up in the fringes of the punk styles and even some disco. Yes, Bob actually introduced some licks from those corny years into some of his arrangements; fortunately for all of us, he left that era in the back of the closet.

What everyone hears on any given night is really a quilt-work of their lives, the musical traditions within the Fitz family and other influences from the old blues masters to current greats.

Hopefully, they have many more years entertaining in the 'Burgh.

-- Marty O'Toole, Rosslyn Farms

Timber lines

This letter is in response to Marty Levine's Dec. 21 article, about the Allegheny National Forest ["Into the Woods Today"].

Friends of Allegheny Wilderness (FAW) is not opposed to logging in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). After all, timber production was part of the long-term rationale for President Calvin Coolidge in establishing the ANF in 1923. Correctly, there will still be high-quality saw logs going to the marketplace from the ANF in 2056 and 2106, just as there are in 2006.

However, one use of the ANF that will be significantly diminished over the long-term unless decisive, forward-thinking action is taken is backcountry wilderness recreation. Roadless areas of the ANF, such as the Cornplanter area on the west shore of the Allegheny Reservoir, the Tracy Ridge area on the east shore of the reservoir, and many others, are highly qualified for permanent protection under the Wilderness Act of 1964 as part of America's National Wilderness Preservation System.

At less than 2 percent of its total land base protected as wilderness -- compared to 18 percent for all national forest land in general, and 11 percent for eastern national forests -- the Wilderness Act is far from being fully implemented on the ANF.

Of the 8,277 public comments the Forest Service received over the summer on their draft plan, more than 6,700 were written specifically in favor of the eight areas delineated by FAW in our Citizens' Wilderness Proposal (online at www.pawild.org). The agency should not ignore this overwhelming public outcry in their final plan.

Those who resist additional ANF wilderness designations brazenly flout a long-standing Congressional mandate to permanently protect qualifying national forest land as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. Such a position, whether taken by an elected official, community leader, agency employee or others is every bit as disingenuous as those who openly flout federal statue mandating that the ANF be managed "to furnish a continuous supply of timber."

Protecting qualifying areas of the ANF under the Wilderness Act will not eliminate other uses of the forest, such as timbering, oil and gas production, or motorized recreation. It would, however, bring real balance so that the ANF is truly managed for the "greatest good for the greatest number over the longest period of time."

To help, readers can contact their member of Congress (www.house.gov) in support of our Citizens' Wilderness Proposal.-- Kirk Johnson, Executive DirectorFriends of Allegheny Wilderness

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