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Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005 07:11 am

Letters to the editor

In and around Springfield

Letters policy
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: editor@illinoistimes.com

Every now and then I pick up a copy of Illinois Times to get a different perspective on things. I, for one, believe it is good for a community the size of Springfield to have an alternative source of news and views, so I am not an Illinois Times basher. However, over the years, I have found a few news stories in which reporters engaged in “yellow journalism.” Sadly, such was the case when I read Bruce Rushton’s alleged news article “Cocaine and Abel” in the Sept. 29 issue. It doesn’t take a journalism major to figure out that Joe Zappa wasn’t the real focus of Rushton’s article or that he gave one rip about people who made some serious mistakes and were honestly trying to turn things around. No, this article was a sensational attempt to somehow discredit a sitting judge who has turned out to be one of the finest judges we have had serve in Sangamon County. Without any regard to the Zappa family, truth was once again sacrificed for sensationalism. Joe Zappa’s troubles with the law took place over seven years ago and are not any big secret, as they have been reported on before. What Rushton failed to do, however, was to take into account that individuals like Joe Zappa can make peace with their past, avail themselves of God’s grace and experience freedom from addictions and compulsive behaviors, and actually become good employees, sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers. That’s something that Joe Zappa has managed to do for quite a few years now. I know because I have witnessed it. I have personally consulted with him on many occasions and ask him the tough questions: Do you love your wife? Are you taking care of your daughter? Are you working hard? Paying your bills? Are you staying straight? Working things out with your family? Yes, I care enough about my friend to hold him accountable. What Rushton also failed to report was that Joe Zappa went to school while he was an unemployed construction worker and was trained in the dangerous work of removing asbestos, and worked removing this material, and that he had the right qualifications for the [state] position and that he applied for the job and got it because he was qualified, without any assistance from his brother, and that younger brother Joe probably has more Democratic leanings than his older brother.
Would Rushton be satisfied if Joe Zappa were homeless, out of work, and unable to support himself or his family? I wouldn’t have minded this piece so much had it appeared in an opinion section, but to try and pawn this off as a worthwhile and accurate news piece is just plain dishonest. Nicholas J. Stojakovich Springfield
Harish G. Bhatt is commemorating the birth, life, and philosophy of Mohandas Gandhi by working to raise awareness of Gandhi’s “principles of nonviolence, truth, and love for all beings” [R.L. Nave, “We need Gandhi now,” Sept. 29]. That sounds like a noble undertaking — until you consider a letter he sent to Illinois Times a few weeks ago. Then the whole thing stinks of hypocrisy. Bhatt is the person who thinks it’s wrong to jail and punish two teenage boys for their involvement in what he called “a stupid mistake” [see “Letters,” Sept. 15]. That mistake was the brutal beating to near-death, apparently with grotesque ease, of Monsignor Eugene Costa. According to Bhatt, these delinquents gave Costa the “lesson of his life.” So much for nonviolence. Who knows? Maybe if these kids had murdered Costa, Bhatt would have wanted to give them medals. Jack Duffy Springfield
Thank you for publishing the extensive story by Jane Adrian about research under way at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine [“The SIU explorers,” Sept. 29]. While many know this medical school for the education of caring physicians or the medical care provided to thousands of patients, our researchers and growing research efforts can go overlooked. Our mission to help the people of central and southern Illinois with their health-care needs must include advancing medical knowledge through research so there are better treatments available for the future. Having a vibrant research community here at SIU also helps us train the next generation of physicians, whose traits must include lifelong habits of scholarship and self-education. J. Kevin Dorsey, M.D., Ph.D. Dean and Provost SIU School of Medicine
Some people might have been impressed with the article on local medical researchers titled “The SIU explorers.” I wasn’t. An infusion of $25 million for the local economy and lots of hope, but little results, and totally the wrong focus for health care — that’s how I see it. The more the word gets out that drugs don’t heal (only treat the symptoms) and may involve very serious side effects, the more the rhetoric (advertising) heats up that they are trying really hard and could discover major breakthroughs if only they had more money. The good news is that there are already solutions for a large part of the health problems in America. The bad news for the drug companies is that it doesn’t involve drugs, so “big medicine” (drug companies, hospitals, and doctors) isn’t eager to publicize this, and actually dismisses it as not being scientific enough. A natural whole-food vegan/vegetarian diet, cutting out junk food, and lots of exercise have been shown to give the results that drugs only hope to do. You’ll have to do your own research on this because you won’t hear about it in the medical journals or from your doctor. They are too busy submitting grant applications, hoping to get rich with a drug patent.
Bill Wellington Springfield

Fox News Network on Sept. 27 ran a criticism of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-Louisiana, concerning the use of the National Guard to survey the destruction of his home. Wonder how U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, surveyed the destruction of one of his three homes? Probably during a fly-by [as a passenger on] Air Force One. Perhaps Lott can get a Halliburton connection to rebuild his home so President George W. Bush may sit on his front porch. S.R. Ziller Divernon
I have read yet another diatribe on how evolution should be the only factually accepted science and how intelligent design or creationism are just superstitious nonsense or mythology and should never be accepted [“Letters,” Oct. 6]. Now let’s hear from the rational side. I consider myself a man of faith [and] a rational human being. I thoroughly accept the evidence presented regarding the true age of the planet and of the thousands of prehistoric species that have existed on the planet long before the first human beings appeared. However, I also choose to believe in the existence of God. Many say that you can’t have both: You must either be a “rational” scientific thinker or a superstitious zealot. [They ask] how can you accept both science and God?
First of all, science doesn’t explain everything. Scientific study and achievement has given us wonderful discoveries as the genetic code, DNA, microbiology, etc. However, science has never been able to explain why sentience and intelligence only occur in one species. Sure, one can credit brain size and chromosomes, but it still doesn’t answer the all-important “why?”
True rational thought accepts that not everything can be explained. This is a big universe and there are so many things that are outside of our reasoning or ability to explain. It’s true, you can’t prove the existence of God, but you can’t disprove it either. A rational thinker would just leave this as currently unexplained, but that’s not to say we won’t be able to grasp these concepts in the future. So I’m asking both sides to just leave this alone. Creationists: Stop trying to rewrite science and turning blind eyes to evidence right in front of you. Evolutionists: Just because you can’t experience something with your five senses, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There are many different viewpoints in the world and accept that no one viewpoint is completely right or completely wrong. It’s the only “rational” thing to do. Steve Marley Springfield
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