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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006 04:33 am

Letters to the editor

In and around Springfield

We welcome letters, but please include your full name, address, and daytime telephone number. We edit all letters for libel, length, and clarity. Send letters to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.

THANKS FOR SHOWING THE LIGHT Your recent article on the local Springfield underground music scene couldn’t have made me happier [Marissa Monson, “Growing underground,” Jan. 26]. I grew up going to the Asylum, Rise, and Viele’s Planet. It gave me a place to go where I knew I was accepted and I made lifelong friends at shows. Many of my best memories are being at those places, listening to great local bands and even groups I had never heard of but was quickly turned on to.  I hope it has shown the light to some people who think we’re all a bunch of drug addicts. Give the Black Sheep the support it needs to get off the ground, it might keep your kids from being the ones we read about and see on the news being arrested for dealing drugs and being criminals. We’re good people who love good music. Kudos to you, Illinois Times — you have no idea how much many of us appreciate it. Katie Connelly Springfield

SOMEBODY NEEDS A HUG I have become increasingly pessimistic about the fate of this country, as well as the fate of the planet. We have done very little, in the past 30 years, to address the issues of the depletion of fossil fuels and global warming, which could lead to sudden catastrophic climate change. Although there have been proposals in the past to commit government resources to the development of alternative energy sources, they have been roundly defeated. As Al Franken said recently on CSPAN, we have a government that is “looting” the country. There is widespread corruption in all reaches of the government by a party that controls all three branches of the government, which has resulted in the elimination of the checks and balances so important in maintaining our democracy. This is a government run by thugs that has trampled on our liberties, waged an illegal and unnecessary war costing hundreds of billions of dollars, engaged in a war against the poor (and the middle classes, I might add), bankrupted the country for the benefit of the rich, gutted the Constitution. And we are now heading toward a police state, it seems. All the while, this government has been engaged in a propaganda-and-disinformation campaign — lying to the American public — and succeeding in fooling half of the country. Beni Kitching Springfield

POPE’S SURPRISE MESSAGE OF LOVE I was very surprised to see Pope Benedict XVI referring to the spiritual importance of eros. He seems to be saying that ecstatic love is likely to be important in any significant spiritual maturity within the church and humanity in the future. He makes the powerful connection that nonsexual love of neighbor — even of enemy and of adults for children — is actually rooted and sustained in healthy ecstatic erotic love between committed adult partners. I never expected the pope to be talking in such a vein, for the Catholic Church has been so involved for centuries, along with much Protestant emphasis, in demonizing genuinely ecstatic sexuality, or eros, as understood by the Greeks. I am just quite amazed and encouraged at this, for the church has tended to even punish, socially if not physically, any rich enjoyment of human sexuality through the centuries. Negation of sexual joy has been a most common interpretation of the sin of Adam and Eve. What a tragedy. This negative view of eros is also part of the reason, I believe, for emotionally negative judgments of homosexual love. The reality of sexual ecstatic joy’s being experienced with no possibility of procreation is enough to make it wrong from a typical church perspective, even if the two people are in a committed responsible relationship. I’m convinced that our culture and the church have a primary sexual problem, not a homosexual problem, as so many are expressing. If we did not so minimize the spiritual meaning and importance of erotic heterosexual love, there would not be the upset regarding homosexual love. The words of many clearly show there is a fear that homosexual love will somehow harm heterosexual love, that gay marriage would harm the genuine quality of heterosexual marriage. There is no logic or indications of any such thing. It appears to me to be mostly pure irrational emotional fear. Humans in general will have to be much more humble and truly in awe if sustained erotic love is to become a more common experience between partners. I trust that the pope is sincere and genuine and will show it by other actions and words designed to get people really looking at the meaning and place of sexuality in God’s scheme of giving what is good and truly loving to humankind. Jim Hibbett Springfield

RAIDING THE PUBLIC TREASURY Recently the U.S. Congress has debated extension of the temporary tax concessions for capital gains and dividend income. The tax loopholes enacted for the wealthy in 2003, which are scheduled to expire in 2008, currently tax capital gains/dividends at 15 percent. The top tax rate is now 35 percent, which is what the coupon-clippers will pay on dividends after, and if, the loopholes expire. Capital gains will go to a 20 percent tax rate. In the current corporate-backed legislation, the richest 1 percent of the population, with an average income of over $1 million, will enjoy 53 percent of the tax cuts in 2009. Their average tax cut would be $13,000 in 2009. This average tax cut would provide heating for an average family for a year or more. The majority of taxpaying citizens would receive nothing at all from the extension of these special tax privileges for the wealthy. Seventy-eight percent of U.S. taxpaying citizens would get no tax cut. About 10 percent of citizens would get less than $100. Perhaps those of us who may receive that miserly $100 could then invest it in lottery tickets, the smoke dreams of the poor. Extending tax breaks for unearned income would severely worsen the nation’s fiscal health, increasing the already stupendous fiscal deficits by an additional $35 billion in 2009. At a time when services for the poor are about to be erased by massive raids on the public treasury, think of the benefits which could be provided to at-risk populations for $35 billion, medical care, therapy, nutritional aid, even probably infrastructure improvements. George W. Bush’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform is calling for adding $7 trillion more to the to the deficit over the next two decades and calls for shifting more of the tax burden from coupon-clippers onto us working people, wage-earners. Unless citizens wake up to what is going on, more raiding of the public treasury is sure to follow. The Wall Street people call this “mining the public sector.” Ed Gutierrez-Perry Pleasant Plains

BILL REQUIRES PRESENCE OF R.N. Every patient deserves a registered nurse, especially in one of the important areas in the hospital, the surgical suite or operating room. As a registered nurse for 43 years and a member of the Illinois Nurses Association, I believe patients are most vulnerable when undergoing surgical procedures or anesthesia. Senate Bill 2238 mandates that a registered nurse qualified by training/education and experience in operating-room nursing shall be present in the operating room and function as the circulating nurse during all invasive or operative procedures. The circulating nurse is responsible for coordinating all nursing care, patient-safety needs, and the needs of the surgical team in the operating room. Anything less than a registered nurse in this position puts every patient who has surgery at risk. P. Joan Larsen, R.N. Monmouth

END OF ROE WON’T ELIMINATE CHOICE Is Danny Faulkner aware that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will not come to an end [“Letters,” Jan. 26]? If Roe is overturned, it will not make abortion illegal in the United States. If it is overturned, the abortion issue will simply revert back to being a state-by-state issue. States such as Illinois, California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts will retain a woman’s right to choice. Thankfully, Illinois is controlled by liberal, progressive legislators who will keep reproductive rights where they belong — in the hands of women. Stephen M. Truman Springfield
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