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Send letters to: Letters, Illinois Times. P.O. Box 5256. Springfield, Illinois 62705. Fax: (217) 753-3958. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKE HOLIDAYS MATTER
It’s not so much that Casimir Pulaski was not from Illinois; it is that Chicago has the second largest population of people of Polish descent next to Poland [Dusty Rhodes, “Equal time,” May 26].
Is playing hooky on that day any different than playing hooky on Veterans Day, Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Day, or, if you think it’s right, Jane Addams Day?
Do our students really need another day off to honor someone by playing Halo on their PlayStation2s?
One thing I admired about the school where I used to teach was that on Veterans Day the students were in school. They (the students and faculty) gave away coffee and doughnuts in front of the school to veterans who wanted to stop by, and during the day lessons were geared to learning about national conflicts and the men and women who served their country. My students went to the Vet Center and the DAV Club and spoke with men and women who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Maybe instead of Jane Addams, Pulaski, or Every Other Person of Some Importance Days, we should have a day to remember those people who are important in Illinois history. Instead of giving students the day off, we make lessons geared to teach them about the people of the past, not a day off so that they can skateboard and practice their video-game skills.
THE TRUTH IS ELUSIVE
My friend e-mailed me your article “Consider the alternative” [Joan Villa, May 19]. There is quite a lot of wisdom there. The general media only let us know what they want us to know, and frequently the information is very one-sided.
Take, for instance, the falling of a leaf from a tree. The first viewer says that the leaf fell to the ground, the second gives a description of its having been blown by a strong cold wind, and the third goes into great depth regarding the color of the leaf and how it twisted and turned as it very gently landed on the crisp snow. It is the same story but is presented in entirely different ways.
There are always two sides to be examined to get the correct picture. I served for six-and-a-half years in World War II but generally only saw the one side. Now, with flashbacks on the TV and so on, I can partly see the picture from the other angle.
Congratulations to those who are making a stand for the true facts, even though full truth is very hard to get.
My family and I migrated from England to Sydney, Australia, in 1954 and now live on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, so I am afraid that I am slightly out of your area for the Yard to Yard competition.
William R. J. Jackson
Bli Bli, Queensland, Australia
OUR EFFORTS RECOGNIZED
Wow! I was just e-mailed by one of the Democracy Now! representatives about Joan Villa’s article “Consider the alternatives.” Tonight we have one of our community meetings: People will be so excited and overjoyed to see their hard work in the press. The story overall was amazing and included so much wonderful information about the community-led movements. We also saw the piece pop up on the FCC news wire soon after. Awesome.
Texas Media Empowerment Project
San Antonio, Texas
MEDIA MUST REGAIN TRUST
There was a time when newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and television presented the news without bias and personal opinion. The reporters competed for the scoop. But the responsible media told the stories with simple, truthful, accurate facts. Sensationalism was left to yellow journalism. The editors of responsible media held their reporters to a high level of integrity and accuracy. They did not allow the innocent to be maligned and reputations ruined with half-truths, innuendoes, and phony “unnamed sources” or “on the condition of anonymity.” The “public’s right to know” was fulfilled by reporting the story without embellishment. Only those named were the principals involved.
In recent years, a disgraceful number of “investigative reports” have prove misleading, biased, opinionated and, quite often, totally false. When the malicious act was exposed, the reporting media would print or telecast a retraction with a vague apology. But the harm had been done and could never be reversed.
Who are these miscreants who submit articles that they know will do irreparable harm to innocent persons? Is their desire for 15 minutes of fame so strong that they disregard all vestiges of civility and honesty? Are they so psychologically warped that they actually get pleasure from inflicting pain on others?
These are dark days for the news media. The public no longer trusts it for factual reporting of local, national, and international events. It has lost its credibility. The solution is simple: Those who have lowered their standards to gain favor with a political party or segment of society must do some serious soul-searching. They must return to honest reporting of the news.
Most certainly this is not an indictment of the entire industry. There are many, many honest newspapers and radio and television stations that operate with integrity. And there are those that, for the most part, are faithful to their journalistic mission. However, for whatever reason, they allow a few of their reporters to indulge in sensationalism.
The public has the right to expect truthful and factual reporting of events by the media. We hope that those guilty of yellow journalism will regain the trust of the public by honoring that right.
John D. Kolaz
A MEDICAL MYSTERY
When medical clinics try to control the doctors, the doctors lose their patience. When the clinics do control the doctors, the doctors lose their patients!
Donald E. Palmer
VULTURES OF DEATH
On Saturday, May 7, our family received a letter from a monument company in Springfield. This letter, which arrived less than two weeks after my father passed away, stated that “as a friend,” the firm wanted to assist our bereaving family in the selection of a memorial stone.
To imply this company knew my father and considered themselves a friend of the family extends past the normal means of soliciting business. Businesses that look in the newspaper under the obituaries to find families that need their service are nothing more than vultures of death. My father was a businessman and he taught me the greatest advertisement for a business was the quality of service it provides.
EVERY SEASON HAS ITS REASON
School will soon be out and area festivals will begin. In just days, the Virginia Bar-B-Que will be underway for the 39th year with food, fun, and entertainment. What a grand way to begin your summer.
More will follow as the weeks pass. The Jim Edgar Panther Creek Bicycle Challenge will take place June 26 in the recreation area just a few miles outside of town. Racing events of nine and 26 miles will fill the day.
The Cass County Fair in Virginia will run for a week in July, giving town folks a chance to be neighbors to the farm animals again and see close-up the talents and abilities of 4-H members in our county.
[There are] many good reasons to visit Virginia through the seasons. Let it be the destination for joy and good cheer this year. You will be most welcome and not be disappointed.
Roy L. French
MORE OF THE SAME, PLEASE
I really enjoyed “The tree dancer’s poem” [Doug Bybee Sr., May 19]. Many, many years ago I read a great article by the same author, a eulogy to a street person. Is there any possibility you could reprint it?
STILL LOCKED AND LOADED
I am provoked by the recent compromise on minority entitlement to filibuster. Allowing a Senate vote on several biased judicial candidates was the cost of the compromise. But what’s really been accomplished? One side is still saying, “We have the right and will filibuster if necessary”; the other side childishly responding, “If you do, we’ll change the rules.” We’ll be exactly at this impasse as soon as Bush nominates yet another unacceptable candidate. The fingers are off the triggers but the guns are still on the table.