We welcome letters, but please include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number. We edit all letters for libel, length and clarity.
Send letters to: Letters, Illinois Times. P.O. Box 5256. Springfield, Illinois 62705. Fax: (217) 753-3958. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SWIFT CARTOON WAS INSENSITIVE
Although I usually do not read your publication, I did thumb through the Aug. 26 edition. I noticed the cute little cartoon on page 4, depicting an elephant carrying a swift boat through the water. Interestingly enough, this swift boat has the hull number "04" on its bow. Thought you might like to hear a little history about the real No. 4 boat.
On Feb. 14, 1966, the No. 4 boat struck a booby trap in the Bay of Rach Gia, Republic of Vietnam, killing four crewmembers and injuring the other two. I'll just bet those guys and their families don't think the cartoon is quite so cute.
A SUPERIOR LEVEL OF SENSITIVITY
There are two points on which Elizabeth Farrar and I would probably agree ["Get out the map," Sept. 2]: one, that war is terrible; two, that knowledge of other cultures can be laudable.
But Ms. Farrar attributes all sorts of astonishing qualities to knowledge of other cultures. Not only will it enrich us to learn about the diverse customs and beliefs of other people -- it has the power, apparently, to rid the world of war.
Of this I am, to say the least, skeptical. War has been a constant throughout human history. The belief that the untold number of men who have died and the great cultures and nations that have risen or fallen because of war have done so chiefly because of cultural insensitivity has no basis in history, human experience, or common sense.
Perhaps Ms. Farrar herself, despite her undoubtedly superior level of sensitivity to such matters, would be "befuddled" upon arriving in a foreign land where she was continually dodging bullets or praying that she was not the next victim of a suicide bomber. And hopefully, if she gave her life in the service of her country, as more than 1,000 U.S. servicemen have in Iraq, others would refrain from the ridiculous and insulting inference that she died due to a lack of cross-cultural education.
GIVE TRASH BIZ TO ONE COMPANY
I want to suggest a revolutionary idea in light of all the publicity Mayor Tim Davlin's words and nonactions have generated in the matter of trash hauling in Springfield [see Fletcher Farrar, "Enough trash talk," Aug. 26]. Why not put the trash hauling in Springfield out for bids? The single company that wins the bid would have all the business, including regular weekly pickups of branches, yard waste, and large bulky items.
Isn't it time to quit trying to please everybody and get the job done? For goodness sake, [the mayor should] stand up and make a decision that will improve the city of Springfield.
Marilyn R. Piland
SO WHERE WAS ROD SERLING?
In times past, Bush, Republicans, and the huge conservative-case-making slice of the media pie gave Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction as the sole reason for invading Iraq. As we moved forward from times past, we arrived at the "Twilight Zone convention," in which the script called for speakers to attack those who believed Iraq having WMDs was the sole reason for an invasion. They must think the American people are fools. The binding poll in November will tell whether they are right.
TAKE TWO ASPIRIN AND CALL US IN THE MORNING
This letter is addressed to the voters. As you go to the polls to vote this presidential election, ask yourself this crucial question: Which candidate represents my concerns -- especially when neither candidate discloses or makes available to the masses state-of-the-art technology in regenerative medicine coming out of a U.S. government microbiology research project? That to which I am referring is the "ganesh particle," which regenerates cells and produces differentiated cells. Ganesh is an organo-electro-magnetic particle released from the quartz that makes up Vishnu schist. And yes, "Vishnu schist" is a real geologic term: Said particle comprises some protein components, sugar, and oligonucleotides. As said, ganesh is a particle that remediates cells. Yet neither presidential candidate has disclosed to the voters its existence. So go ahead and vote for these candidates who are duping you and keeping medical truth from you, the masses, for their own agenda.
Gregory Roosevelt Thompson
KERRY DOES NUANCE
Let's set the record straight in a couple areas: John Kerry was in favor of the $67 billion portion of the $87 billion supplementary military-funding bill actually designated for the troops in Iraq. But he would have made the $20 billion for Iraq rebuilding efforts a loan, not a gift, or, at the worst, paid for it by reducing the highest end of the president's proposed tax cuts for the wealthy. But the Bush administration pressured a Republican-driven Congress to make the $20 billion an outright gift, so Kerry voted for his principles and against the bill. Yet the Republican campaign continues to discuss not the actual merits of the measure, only his dissenting vote.
When the first President Bush proposed suspending the B-2 program in 1989, '90, and '91, Kerry voted in favor of that proposal. [In other words, Kerry] supported the recommendations made by Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. But now we have the Republican Party, and the current President Bush, portraying Kerry as "cutting funding for the military" when actually it was Bush's father and the current defense secretary proposing and recommending those cuts, because that was the world then, not now.
The current president worked in concert with HMOs and big pharmaceutical companies (both huge corporate campaign contributors) to sell the Medicare drug program to Congress and the American people. It was widely touted as a means of cutting cut health care costs for the elderly, those most in need of cost reductions. But his drug plan specifically excluded any price negotiation by the Medicare administration. The Veterans Administration, along with any other significant medications program, has this key entitlement, and so should Medicare. But, to further lock in their greater profit against the drug-card program then pending, just a month before the cards were rolled out, the big pharmaceutical companies raised their prices on the most-used medications by an average of 15 percent, thus eliminating any possible savings to seniors on their drug costs. And the Medicare Part B premium is going up 17 percent in the next couple of months.
Space precludes me from detailing any more fallacies generated by the Bush administration, but I will note a couple of one-liners: Bush inherited the highest homeownership numbers from the Clinton administration. He also inherited 30 or 40 years of an environment becoming cleaner, and now that record, along with our environment, is demonstrably worse, to the point that the FDA has issued "do not eat" advisories regarding fish to citizens in 48 of the 50 states because of sharply higher mercury contamination. The world is not a safer place but instead is radically a less safe place, due in large part to Bush's fundamentalist, "I'm right, don't confuse me with facts" stand on what he considers terrorism.
We live in a complex world that is becoming more complex. We must elect a president who does "do nuance," and that would be John Kerry, not George W. Bush.
Jerry Clark, a volleyball player who plans to compete in the Deaf Olympics in January, has not received financial support from the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, a state agency. The commission does not contribute money to individuals, says its director, John Miller. The information was incorrect in a recent column [Grace Smith, "Going for the gold," Aug. 12].
Edwards Place was the former residence of Benjamin Edwards, not his father, Gov. Ninian Edwards. A story that mentioned ghost tours at the mansion was incorrect [Cinda Klickna, "Arts harvest," April 29].
The name of Pomona Winery was misspelled in last week's Fall Guide [Mikel Weisser, "Illinois fall getaways," Sept. 2].
Illinois Times regrets the errors. If you catch any others, e-mail email@example.com.