Letter to the editor - Leesburg Today

In his Apr. 19 response to local resident Debora Lavin attacking programs aimed at helping the incarcerated, local activist Jonathan Weintraub inaccurately characterizes a lawsuit brought against the state of Iowa by an activist group that hopes to outlaw public expressions of religious faith.

Weintraub’s creative wording and only partial retelling of the case seems intended to mislead the reader. The material he apparently drew his information from never uses “prosecuted” to describe a routine First Amendment challenge. Having successfully sued one government body and currently suing another on First Amendment grounds, I have never used the term “prosecuted” to describe such suits as it would mislead newspaper readers.

And while Weintraub made sure to quote the initial 2006 U.S. District Court injunction he never mentioned the appeals court ruling just months later tossing it out and allowing the program to operate. That decision was made by former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and two respected appellate judges, Judges Roger L. Wollman and Duane Benton.

While Weintraub attempts to paint a lavish fictionalized portrait of a vengeful federal prosecutor striking down those Weintraub disagrees with in a scene out of a Hollywood movie, the reality is the highly-regarded program was in fact upheld by a former Supreme Court justice and two respected federal judges, and PFM still provides much-needed assistance to Iowa’s prison inmates.

For yet another week, Weintraub’s colorful conspiracy theories and attacks on those different than he prove to be more subterfuge than substance.

Donny Ferguson


Today in History: Legislators demand more pi

On this day (May 5) in 1897, the Indiana House of Representatives passed a bill by Democrat State Rep. Taylor I. Record changing pi to 3.2. Indiana schools could use pi for free, but anyone else using pi in a math equation could have to pay royalties to Dr. Edwin Goodwin, a Taylor constituent who developed it.

The bill was headed to passage in the Senate when a mathematics professor who happened to be in the Capitol was shown the bill by a proud legislator. After coaching state senators on the idiocy of what they were doing, it was tabled and never passed.

(HT to Lawrence Reed)