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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 02:10 pm

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.

OXYMORON: MILITARY INTELLIGENCE As usual, Dusty Rhodes did a great job in telling the Marty Dwyer story [“Hard way out,” April 13]. I know nothing about Mr. Dwyer, other than what the article revealed, but it is easy to empathize with a man who has been so wrongfully treated, especially by the very government willing to send him into harm’s way at a moment’s notice. It seems paradoxical that the same military masterminds who mildly sanctioned an officer for killing friendly troops would go to such great lengths to destroy a man whose only “offense” is being a homosexual. Perhaps my priorities are misdirected, but I find Mr. Dwyer’s conduct much less repugnant and threatening than the wannabe Tom Cruise pilot who still proclaims his innocence in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In at least one way, it seems Dwyer’s accuser has a lot in common with that pilot: They both seem to share delusions of grandeur. I encourage Mr. Dwyer to continue his legal challenges and — hopefully — a more intelligent and rational phoenix will arise. Brett Cameron Mount Zion

NOT ALL CHRISTIANS ARE CONSERVATIVE I read your cover article “Culture wars,” by R.L. Nave, in the April 6 edition. The article itself was largely commendable for its efforts at increasing awareness of the need for a discussion on the needs of people of alternate sexualities on the UIS campus. As a graduate student and with a family member currently enrolled in the UIS undergraduate program, I can attest to the fact that these persons are underserved by the campus administration and largely ignored. For raising awareness of this, I commend Mr. Nave. However, one glaring problem was the horrifically misleading picture on the front cover. It depicted a cross draped in a rainbow banner, ostensibly to depict the “culture war” between “gays and conservatives,” as the title and subtitle indicated. This is misleading and irresponsible because “conservative” is not synonymous with “Christian” or even “religious.” By placing the symbol of the cross front and center (a blatantly and overtly religious symbol with absolutely no intrinsic ties to conservatism), the front cover depicted this “war” not between gays and conservatives, as both the title and the article state, but between gays and religious people, specifically Christians. This only serves to further perpetrate the negative and false stereotype that the conservatives have the market cornered on Christianity or that all Christians are conservatives, especially the insensitive types discussed in the ensuing article. Many Christians are Democrats, pro-choice, pro-equal-rights, pro-environment, and even — gasp! — gay or bisexual themselves. The road between Christianity and Rush Limbaugh is not a two-way street; it isn’t even really a one-way street. Thus, while the article itself distinguishes between the actions of the secular Society of Conservative Students and the faith-oriented Christian Student Fellowship, the front cover muddles the two into one group, incorrectly labeled “conservatives.” If it seems to the reader that the distinction is splitting hairs, remember that we live in an America ruled by sound-bite debate and bumper-sticker philosophy, and a front-page headline is remembered far more clearly than two short paragraphs in a three-page article. To the editor and layout artists of Illinois Times: There are many Christians (myself included) who are sympathetic to both the humanity and the inherent rights of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/ questioning persons. Please do not stereotype and misrepresent us as being at war with these persons. Spencer Owen Springfield

BLINDED BY BAD SCIENCE R.L. Nave’s article on global warming [“Hot in here,” April 13] deserves some comment [because it suggests that] weather events such as tornadoes in Springfield and hurricanes Katrina and Rita are symptoms of global warming. As a scientist who has studied and written on this subject and who feels strongly that the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change is very well documented, I must take issue with the causal connections made to these specific weather events. Because hurricanes form and intensify over warm ocean water and water temperatures have risen slightly in recent years, it’s understandable why there’s much speculation that global warming is causing the increased number and ferocity of storms. However, the science backing a link between global warming and increased hurricanes is preliminary, skimpy, and contradicted by many hurricane experts. Even the researchers who suggest there may be a link caution against leaping to conclusions without a lot more study and admit there is no evidence to account for specific storms as is done in Nave’s article. The science linking specific tornadoes is nonexistent, to my knowledge. We should continue to research whether global warming is affecting the frequency and intensity of those storms, but there’s certainly no scientific consensus at the moment. There is an abundance of other scientifically supported evidence for human-induced climate change. It does not help but hurts the environmental movement to use bad science in this analysis. We leave that to the Bush administration and its cohorts. Alex Casella Springfield

OH, GO AHEAD — IMPEACH HIM In regards to your commentary on the courage of Russ Feingold and his lack of support from his peers: One can only be amazed at the lack of courage in U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama [Roland Klose, “Rise up,” April 13]. One small hope lingers in me: They are waiting for the November elections to give them a bigger group of Democrats to fight with. And I haven’t given up on impeachment, either. To wait out Bush’s term is to bring shame on our country. If we do this, we have failed to maintain whatever shreds of dignity we have left. We need to rise up and hold him accountable for the criminally reckless behavior of the invasion of Iraq, plunging our nation into massive debt for a small group of very wealthy individuals, and being directly responsible for the needless deaths of Iraqi people and American troops. Impeachment petitions are on the Internet. The phone lines are still working, and, last I checked, and most Americans still know how to write. Get moving, people. Write or call Congress. Sign an impeachment petition online. Restore your self-respect. Anne Logue Springfield

WHAT’S MISSING FROM IT I love my Illinois Times. I make a special stop every Thursday morning to pick it up. It stays in my house for a week because we use the calendar so much. We won’t quit reading it, no matter what. However, two weeks and no crossword puzzle? What’s going on? Just wondering. Victoria Vincent Springfield

I hope that this is the right address to send this e-mail to. I was just wondering what happened to the “Flicks” column by Marc Sigoloff. I read and enjoy his views every week and was rather disappointed to see no column this week and no explanation. Is this a temporary break? I have been online for about six months and stumbled over Marc’s articles while searching for movie reviews online (I must say that it was one of my more fortunate Internet discoveries). Many writers in the U.K. press are either a bit behind the times or just simply not as good at balancing sensible critiques with a sensibility encapsulating a genuine affection for movies. Not to dismiss them, but they’re just not often that appealing. Kevin Matthews Edinburgh, Scotland
Editor’s note: The crossword puzzle was discontinued; Sigoloff’s column is on hiatus.

IMMIGRATION, THE AMERICAN WAY This is in response to Christina Martinez-Romero’s misrepresentation that this country was founded by “illegal immigrants” [“Letters,” April 13]. She needs to pick up an American-history book and read it. This country was founded by those seeking freedom from persecution and oppression. Afterward, many migrated to the States for the same reason, legally (as decreed by the people of this country through representation). Once here, they sought to assimilate themselves into our society — not change it to fit their own needs and/or desires. This is what Theodore Roosevelt had to say in 1907 on the subject: “We should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an Amer-ican and nothing but an American. . . . There can be no divided allegiance here.” Walt Foster Springfield

DO THE FAIR AND MORAL THING How do you deport 12 million illegal immigrants? You don’t. It is impossible. The logistics of such an undertaking are mind-boggling. The first crucial step to resolution of the illegal immigrant problem is to stop the influx of the illegal aliens. If our military were not spread around the world in “policing actions,” still in Afghanistan accomplishing nothing and deployed in the ill-advised war in Iraq, it could be used to guard all of our borders. Bringing the troops home and ending our involvement in all military action would infuriate many in the world. What else is new? Now is the time to stop trying to be the savior of the world and give full attention to the problems of the United States. Serious consideration might be given to a moratorium on all immigration until the illegal immigration problem is solved. The next step is to give the illegal immigrants the option of becoming U.S. citizens or returning to their homelands. The time allowed to decide should be short, 30 to 60 days. Those who choose to stay must apply for citizenship, attend citizenship classes, learn English, and register with Social Security. There certainly are more requirements, but these are essential. The government must immediately prohibit bilingual teaching in all levels of public schools. This is America. The language spoken here is English. We are all immigrants or descendents of immigrants. Most retain affection for their heritage. But as Americans our loyalty is to our homeland, the United States of America. There will be attempts by employers to circumvent the illegal-alien law. No mercy or exception must be shown to them. The severest possible penalties must be levied. All jobs performed now by illegal immigrants will be done by legal immigrants and U.S. citizens for a fair wage. Will this increase the cost of consumer goods? Possibly. But what’s better, paying a few dollars more for goods or, in the near future, having 30 million to 40 million illegal aliens in your country? This is America. We must do the fair and moral thing. Stop the influx and assimilate those present into American society. John D. Kolaz Springfield
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