all early reviewers argued that time zones are a representation thingie, and doesn't belong in the abstract type.
Then maybe the reviewers didn't have a sufficiently wide range of applications in mind?
If I were to create a database of email messages, I'd be seriously annoyed if it normalized the timezone info away. A message sent at 10pm EST has a different feel to it than one sent at 4am MET. It should sort on UTC, but it should use the original timezone to display the dates.
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)