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Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005 04:45 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

Job well done, Dusty Rhodes! Your article “True Britt” [Nov. 17] managed to capture the essence of Springfield’s editorial cartoonist Chris Britt. Chris is an amazingly clever man. How fortunate we are that the State Journal-Register opinion page displays his works of genius so frequently. Also, kudos to Chris for his willingness and ability to defend his position to those challengers who call or e-mail him. Lori Farrington Springfield

I enjoyed your article “True Britt,” very much. As I began reading, I couldn’t help but see the parallels to the way Chris Britt is received, and criticized, by the public. It reminded me very much of the reactions to Steve Benson of the Arizona Republic. In reading further, I found that Benson is Britt’s mentor! We lived in the Phoenix area for almost seven years, and I looked forward to Benson’s creations as often as they were in print. They can really stir things up! As an artist, I appreciate their work very much and know somewhat the difficulties in capturing the expressions and caricatures that are involved with their format. Thank you so much for providing this insightful article on a totally creative young man. MarySusan Farmer Jacksonville

Nov. 19 passed quietly without so much as a ruckus or observance. I guess labor forgot the author of The Preacher and the Slave, Mr. Block, and There Is Power in the Union. Ninety years ago, on Nov. 19, 1915, Joe Hill — labor’s troubadour and organizer of the workers of the world — was shot down by a Utah firing squad, executed after a show trial for a murder he didn’t commit. As the song goes, “ ‘The copper bosses killed you, Joe, they shot you, Joe,’ says I.”
And now the chemical bosses, the oil execs, the fast-food barons, and others of the ownership class are shooting the workers down. Illinois is witness to this unfeeling, unthinking corporate bid for profit at any cost: labor lockout in Meredosia, a strike in Lincoln, and, as the recent Illinois Times evidences, corporate globalization in Centralia [Mary Rickard, “Future shocked,” Nov. 17]. Social strife and suffering are widespread. All that is solid melts into air. Recently I contacted Sen. Larry Bomke about passing a bill banning the use of replacement workers during lockouts, strikes, negotiations — in fact, an absolute ban. While he said he isn’t opposed to the idea and that more needs to be done to help the working class, he also made it clear that the majority Democrats probably aren’t interested in this basic job- and community-preserving measure. While this is mostly true, I don’t see what Bomke has to lose beyond corporate sponsorship in starting a conversation on the subject by introducing such a scab-banning bill. Do the unions not realize that by supporting Democrats they aren’t getting much beyond rhetoric? Sure, the Dems aren’t as far gone as the pro-business Republicans. So it’s a choice between the lesser of two evils. But are the unions really content with Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s minimum wage increase? Shouldn’t the workers sit at the head of the table, not pick up the scraps and sustenance wages and benefits dropped by Republicans, Democrats, and big business? How about living-wage legislation? Anyone want universal health care or elimination of the at-will status of most employment in Illinois? Termination is only a grudge or prejudice away. While the real movement for progress and human development occurs through society, workers need meaningful, principled, unwavering representation in government. Joe Hill’s command must be our rallying cry: “Don’t mourn for me — organize!”
He never forgot the worker. Joe Hill isn’t dead; Joe Hill ain’t never died.
Michael P. Ziri Springfield

The Salvation Army, according to city attorney Jenifer Johnson, has said it may sue the city if it is not granted zoning permission to erect a new complex in the 1400 block of J. David Jones. The controversy rose to a high level when both the Oak Ridge Neighborhood Association and veterans representing the war memorials across the street opposed the Salvation Army’s relocation. Most of those opposed to such a move gave great praise for the work the Salvation Army performs worldwide but have grave concerns for those that come to the Salvation Army for help and must be turned away for any of many reasons. Where will they go? What will they do? One can only believe that it would be in the vicinity of the Salvation Army shelter.
The Building and Zoning Department voted down the zoning change request at its Oct. 18 meeting. This brought the matter to the full City Council meeting held on Nov. 14. The Oak Ridge Neighborhood Association and veterans had unofficial assurances that the Salvation Army’s request would be denied by the council. As if by chance, one day before the council meeting, the Salvation Army provided the city with a document threatening to sue the city of Springfield if they were not granted the zoning changes they had requested under federal-fair housing law. The council voted to defer this issue until its Dec. 6 meeting.
It is truly a very sad day when any city’s leadership bows to these kinds of threats. I guess poorer taxpayers and veterans don’t deserve proper representation like those that live in Panther Creek who won their battle against the giant business named Wal-Mart.
Others and I will be there to point the finger at the city of Springfield should anything happen to one of the neighborhood children or any of the schoolchildren visiting Oak Ridge Cemetery’s many historic monuments. Jim Mathes Springfield

Why is the bird flu flying over the global cuckoo nest so fast? Birds of a feather flock together. The answer, my friend, is the Holy Bible. More than 1,900 years ago, there was a prophecy is the Book of Revelation (chapter 18, verse 2) that tells about the bird flu today. Also the Book of Matthew (chapter 24, verse 7) tells about pestilence in the last days. The bird flu is one of the pestilences.
Don’t let the bird flu give you the blues and put fear in you. There isn’t enough vaccine for the bird flu now, but Dr. Jesus has a cure. Get a shot of the blood of Jesus in your veins. The blood of Jesus has never lost its power! The bird flu will fly away when the blood of Jesus vaccine saves the day! George Culley Pinckneyville

I recently learned that in 2003, the Illinois General Assembly passed into law a plan to screen all children, birth to 18, for mental health. At first glance, it seemed harmless, but after some consideration, I am outraged. Who will determine “mental health”? The state? Or the professionals who see this as a gravy train? Will all kids be considered at risk? What about those kids who “fail” to measure up to these vague standards? Will they be put on medication? Or worse yet, labeled for the rest of their lives? Let’s face it, many of the emotional and mental problems facing our kids today stem from a breakdown of the family.
The thing that infuriates me the most is that unless parents know about these screenings, they will not be able to stop them. Where are my rights as a parent to raise and protect my children? I have called my elected officials who helped create this mess, and I urge others to call their state representatives and senators and tell them to stop this intrusive mental-health-screening plan. Alicia Taylor Bolingbrook

No matter what President George W. Bush does or whom he endorses, he will never please the opposing party! He nominated a woman to the Supreme Court and was slapped down. Now the Democrats promise a battle to block the nomination of Samuel Alito, a highly qualified individual, because he is too “conservative.” Bush campaigned for the presidency as a conservative and won the right to make such an appointment. It’s time for those who truly care about the ungodly direction our country has been heading in recent years to stand up. Carie Parkes Orland Park
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