Letters to the Editor
In and around Springfield
ENOUGH IDIOCY, ILLINOIS TIMES
I’ve come to expect a lot of left-wing idiocy from Illinois Times. After all, any paper that would publish Jim Hightower’s hate-filled screeds has to have a measure of idiocy. However, I’m absolutely appalled that you would print Jason Berry’s attack column in your paper under the guise of a news story [“Memory of the Flood,” Aug. 24]. It’s an opinion column that does nothing more than attack all things not liberal.
Speaking of incompetence, Berry makes mention of incompetence in the response to Hurricane Katrina but somehow manages to omit the incredible incompetence of New Orleans’ Democrat mayor, Ray Nagin, and Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco in the evacuation and posthurricane response. These (obviously deliberate) omissions of incompetence on the part of the Democrats most responsible for the wellbeing of New Orleans and Louisiana highlight the blatant hypocrisy of the entire article, as well as the willingness of Illinois Times to print any trash, regardless of its accuracy, as long as it’s critical of the Republican administration.
I try to read Illinois Times because sometimes it features some really good stories and great reporting. Jason Berry’s “article” is a prime example of what Illinois Times should avoid — pretending that attack columns are actual journalism.
EVEN WORSE: A DEPLETED NEWSPAPER
I was prompted to write this after reading the Associated Press story about depleted uranium in the State Journal-Register by Deborah Hastings on Sunday, Aug. 6. The last time anything was mentioned in Illinois Times about depleted uranium was back in 2004, and before that in 2003, both as part of the roundup of underreported stories not locally written and both were bullet entries in a larger collection. It also appears that Pete Sherman, former writer and editor for Illinois Times, wrote a short article about depleted uranium in 2003.
Since depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, I don’t think the problem went away, yet you would think it did reading Illinois Times for the last two years. I guess I see the priority level treason and genocide get these days, even and especially when it is committed by our own forces.
Look at how many stories on the war have been printed in Illinois Times and any newspaper, and how many of them were about depleted uranium? I normally see Illinois Times’ stance on the war as critical, and here you have the mother of all criticisms lying in the “too busy/not enough money” bin and not on your front page!
Perhaps you have sympathy for our current administration and simply feel that this issue would be hitting below the belt. Or perhaps you don’t really understand the problem of forever debasing an entire corner of our world with chromosomally devastating toxic waste that will last for billions of years and infect everyone who comes into contact with it, from the soldiers coming back to their wives and their children, not to mention render the Middle East uninhabitable. At least 2,000 tons have been deposited there already over the last 15 or so years, and they are still doing it.
People still say to me that they have never heard of this. I thought it was the job of the press to tell us these things and to inform the public. I thought it was the stance of Illinois Times to apply critical thinking to this current nightmare.
But apparently there is not enough money and not enough time to do the right thing anymore.
SHOOTING STRAIGHT ON PRUITT STORY
Congratulations to Dusty Rhodes and the editorial staff of Illinois Times— the “Snow job” story [published Aug. 31] represents a breakthrough in the stranglehold that Neil Williamson has on the local media. Giving Rhodes her well-deserved respect, one still has to wonder why her peers at the State Journal-Register and WICS-TV (Channel 20) didn’t approach the story from the same factual, objective perspective.
There were some very interesting comments made, which I would like to address. First, let me make it clear that neither Jerrad Pruitt nor his actions are the subject of my concerns; he did what he did, he is what he is. However, Mallorie Teubner and Neil Williamson also do what they do, which is [usually] lie, deny, and misdirect.
At the time Pruitt was hired, a criminal-history check would have revealed his felony conviction. Several deputies and other law-enforcement officers were able to retrieve that information from the same computer system that Teubner oversees — why couldn’t she? Interestingly, whenever LEADS [Law Enforcement Agencies Data System] or NCIC [the National Crime Information Center] is queried, the query date, time, subject and person making the inquiry are memorialized; maybe Teubner would like to show Illinois Times a copy of the CQH [criminal history] inquiry, but, then again, you can’t produce what you don’t have.
I do applaud Teubner’s immense sense of humor. Her comment, “The days of someone being recommended and getting a job just doesn’t happen,” was hysterical. Maybe she should discuss how she got her job — it sure wasn’t based upon her stellar work history as a dispatcher with the Illinois State Police.
Then we have Williamson, who said, “I wasn’t involved in the hiring. I wasn’t even [listed as] a reference [ . . . ] He wasn’t even married to my daughter when he applied.” OK, they weren’t married, but they were dating and either engaged or on the verge thereof. If you want to believe that, as a member of the 911 board, Williamson didn’t influence the hiring, you go right ahead, but how can you explain Williamson’s own patronage hires and not believe that he wouldn’t influence a [soon-to-be] family member’s employment? Reality check!
You guys displayed a lot of character and responsibility to the public by running that story, despite the fallout you will probably get as a result. Hang in there; Springfield needs honest and reputable reporting — and right now you’re the only hope we have.
Name withheld by request
I have trouble believing that the Democrats would let Rod Blagojevich lose the governorship in the coming election [Rich Miller, “Trouble ahead,” Aug. 17]. If federal indictments are a sure thing, then they would have run another candidate in the primary who could win — unless they really want him to lose and actually their candidate is [Republican nominee] Judy Baar Topinka.
If Blagojevich is indicted and convicted, then Illinois will have the distinction of having two governors in prison at the same time. I guess you can never burn your bridges, because politics and federal prison make for strange bedfellows.
Welcome to politics in Illinois.
Jerald F. Jacobs
HOW WILL REPUBLICAN RACISTS REACT?
I have noticed a phenomenon with the black Republican candidates running this year that nobody seems to want to talk about [R.L. Nave, “Party favors,” Aug. 17]. Doesn’t it seem to you that some percentage of the white Republican base has abandoned these candidates because that base will not vote for black candidates? Seems to me that the Republican Party, in fielding black candidates with the stated goal of attracting black voters, is assuming they will keep their entire base and peel off enough black voters who usually vote Democratic to form a solid majority. Aren’t they pretending it’s all a plus game without admitting they stand to lose some white racist Republicans?
I know the Republicans would be in trouble in Ohio this year no matter what, with Gov. Bob Taft’s approval as low as 6 percent and all the scandals. But Ken Blackwell has been remarkably free of any taint from those scandals, and Ohio remains a red state. Why is he running 20 percent behind? Gov. Ed Rendell appeared vulnerable in polls early in the year in “purple” Pennsylvania but appears to be cruising to reelection now that the Republicans have fielded Lynn Swann.
Let me venture a little hypothesis: If black Republican candidates peel off 20 to 30 percent of black voters who normally support Democrats yet lose the 10 to 20 percent of the white vote that is deeply racist, won’t vote for black candidates, and usually votes Republican, it represents a net loss of votes. If this courting of black voters is going to pay off for the Republican Party anytime soon, it’s going to be when enough black Republicans are created to help carry a white Republican to victory in a close race, when the white racist Republicans are joining in.
Everyone is watching to see if blacks will vote for black Republican candidates. Is anybody watching to see how many white racists the Republicans lose? And if these elections turn out as they look now — a series of losses — how will the Republican Party react?
Kevin J. Keefe
TRY WALKING OR RIDING A BUS
I heard on the radio people complaining that challenger Judy Baar Topinka’s claims for solutions to the gas problem are not in harmony with [her campaign entourage] riding around the state in a large bus. Here is the truth: Several people riding in a low-gas-mileage bus can use less gas than the same number of people riding the same route in separate vehicles. This is part of the reason for public transit. It is also true that living in Springfield while the Legislature is in session and walking to work uses a lot less fuel than flying back and forth to Chicago during the same period.
THANKS FOR GRASSROOTS ACTIVISTS
This letter is in response to one in your Aug. 17 issue, written by Keith Housewright of St. Jacob [who wrote about] the photograph of peace-loving activists protesting the Iraq war.
Labeling, tearing each other down, focusing on our differences does nothing to help anyone. All left-wingers and liberals are not soldier-haters; on the contrary, most are pro-life [and] lovers of life. That is why they so highly value peace. Saving the lives of these precious men and women overseas is the idea. War has been around since the dawn of humankind. Will we ever learn that it is generally used by governments for the acquisition of natural resources or economic access and better positioning for power? Rarely is it used for altruistic, democratic purposes.
History has shown us all that governments tend to lie, distort, hide, or manipulate the truth — at the better to keep the majority of ordinary citizens in the dark, ignorant of facts and real truths. Knowledge is power and is a might weapon. Thank God for local grassroots organizations that are slowly making progress by informing, enlightening and organizing efforts to make a difference. So I ask Mr. Housewright: Because you were so strongly affected by this photograph of the activists, could you be the one who was so easily duped?
EXECUTIVE ORDER CAN’T TRUMP OATH
Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s executive order requiring pharmacists to fill morning-after pill prescriptions collides with — and should not override — a pharmacist’s professional oath. That oath, put in place by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in 1983, states the pharmacist will “consider the welfare of humanity and the relief of human suffering my primary concerns,” and “will maintain the highest principles of moral, ethical and legal conducts.”
The moral concern with the morning-after pill is that it may kill a newly created human being; that is, cause an abortion.
The dictionary states an oath is a “solemn statement of the inviolability of one’s word.” Our governor took an oath to the state of Illinois before he could execute any order. He should not be allowed to turn around and trample the professional oath or religious beliefs and consciences of Illinois pharmacists — or the human beings they are trying to protect.
Concerned Women of America of Illinois
Former state Sen. Bob Madigan encouraged Lincoln resident Pat O’Neill to press forward with his political career. A recent profile identified the wrong lawmaker [Lawrence Crossett, “To persevere,” Aug. 17]. The incorrect headline appeared last week with the continuation of a news story [R.L. Nave, “‘Only one vision,’” Aug. 24]. Illinois Times regrets the errors.