I noticed in the Deseret News of April 23 the various ratings self-serving special interest groups are putting forward that "grade" the performance of others in our society according to their self-interested and self-aggrandizing agendas. Where do these insufferable hacks come off telling how well the rest of us are doing on their various scales of "1-to-10" or "A-through-F," as if these rating schemes really have any validity? For example, the self-described Utah Kids Coalition just "rated" the recent Utah state legislative session and various state legislators for their supposed "anti-children" votes.

Is it by pure coincidence that the laws and scions that received "passing" grades are those that spend taxpayers' money the most liberally and whose social and political ideology is unabashedly left-of-center, and that those who "failed" are laws and people who happen not to share this group's narrow and self-defined criteria of what is "anti-child"?

In another article, your paper reports that the Disability Rights Action Committee, protesting City Hall's Olympic flag ceremony "is among the coalition of advocates for disadvantaged Utahns that gave Olympic organizers low marks for failing to look out for the interests of the poor, the disabled and minority communities." Who elected the Disability Rights Action Committee and its parent "coalition of advocates" as the spokesperson of the poor, the disabled and minorities? Does this group portend to represent all, if at least a majority, of Utahns who consider themselves poor, disabled or minority? If so, I would like to see its membership numbers and election results.

Like advocacy groups run the gamut from homosexual and women's "rights," to environmental "protection," to "advancement" of the arts, to anti-firearm ownership, all of whom have a tiger's eye toward private, self-promotion of their own, and disproportionately unrepresentative political influence. They present an image of "concerned experts" in hopes this will snatch some cheap publicity on the 6 o'clock news and will dupe voters at large to support their ingratiating forays into the public trough.

What I find most disturbing about these ideologues is their shameless and disingenuous use of children, disabilities, poverty and rights (among other issues) on voters' heartstrings to further their own power-grabbing ends. When examined more closely, these groups are usually found to be much less representative of the mass of people for whom they claim to speak, are run by a small clique of life-appointed demogogues, are testimonials only to their own self-importance, and represent nothing less than extremist socialist and anti-democratic fronts.

We Utahns elected by majority vote our state representatives who as a body, in my opinion while not attempting to grade them, did more than an adequate job in the 1998 legislative session, regardless of the whining of some woe-is-me, "disadvantaged" class-seekers whose oversensitive clamor for more kowtowing and tax money was ignored.

Utahns in particular, and Americans in general, do not need self-appointed fringe groups and their bogus rating systems to tell us whether our representatives are functioning appropriately or not. These groups' trite ratings should carry about as much weight with voters as the arbitrary and supercilious attention getters that come out periodically listing Hollywood's "best" dressed celebrities, America's "worst" vacation spots, or David Letterman's "Top 10" whatevers.

As an academic in higher education with over 20 years in the classroom, I must rate my students regularly on criteria that I establish as "passing" or "failing" in my courses. I therefore feel just as eminently qualified to grade the Utah Kids Coalition and the Disability Rights Action Committee. I give both groups an A+ in Advanced Hubris Studies and an F- in Remedial Relevancy 101. I think each of my fellow voters out there should take the initiative to rate the gaggle of these magpie advocacy groups similarly.