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Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007 11:11 am

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.
PROHIBITING ALL “BAD” THINGS Wow, what an article by Nick Gillespie [“The race to ban,” Jan. 4]! I am surprised someone had the intestinal fortitude to speak out against these groups force-feeding us these bans. What a direct, to-the-point, and very true article! If every adult reading this article doesn’t get outraged at what is happening, they should! Pandora’s box was opened some time ago, and now someone has kicked it over, spilling everything inside. The original “can’t think for themselves so we are going to force it” issue has to be the seat-belt law. Sure, there’s less injury using seat belts — who is really denying that? These groups are basically saying, “The general public is too stupid to decide on their own, so we will force you!”
Yes, there is a possible ban for everything someone has decided is bad for us. For those readers who applaud some of these bans, don’t applaud too much or too loud. At some point you will be banned from your vice, favorite food, or beverage. Here’s a list I see as being next for the “all things bad so let’s ban it” list: alcohol, beef, pork, caffeine, sugar, barbecue (lots of smoke and charred meat), eggs, salt, tuna, and fried chicken. Do I really need to continue to make my point? There’s a survey/study somewhere saying all these products are bad in one manner or another. The real problem, though: For the most part, the public isn’t actually voting for some of these bans. Isn’t about time a politician with intestinal fortitude takes a stand and tells these lobbyist groups to place these bans on general election ballots? Let us decide if we want these bans. Before too long, we will all be forced to eat only organically grown rice and vegetables and wash it down with only approved, certified, mandated water.
Jeff Davis

HERE’S SOMETHING TO BAN I heard that they are going to push for a statewide smoking ban. Well, that is all right. However, what they should put a state ban on is the cell-phone use [in vehicles] without a hands-free device. Cell-phone usage is getting out of hand. Police officers are among the biggest offenders: I have seen them driving and talking on their cell phones, and they should be setting an example for how we should conduct ourselves behind the wheel. The statewide smoking ban is a joke: The ban should be on the use of cell phones. John Rector Springfield

NEXT STOP: IRAN Plans are being readied for a military engagement with Iran. Aircraft carriers have been moved into position in the Persian Gulf, and the first shot was fired during Bush’s recent speech to the nation when an Iranian consulate was attacked in Kurdistan in northern Iraq. If you think this isn’t happening, think again. One key indication is that Adm. William Fallon has replaced Gen. John Abizaid as chief commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East — a perfect choice if you want to go for military engagement rather than political engagement. The plan is for surgical strikes against specific targets in Iran, but it won’t end there. Eventually it will necessitate the use of ground forces (where are these going to come from?), and, when that fails, [the United States will] resort to the use of nuclear weapons. Building on this cataclysmic state of affairs will be Iran’s use of nuclear weapons. This will lead to a worldwide economic depression. Cassandras have been warning us of the coming debacle. To name just a few: Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker, Scott Ritter (author, Target Iran), Joseph Cirincione of the Center for American Progress, Daniel Ellsberg of the Vietnam era (pleading with leakers to come forward and expose the administration’s secret plans), and, finally, retired Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan. Richard Perle has stated that the policy of this administration is “total war.” Iran and Syria have been in their sights all along. War is the solution to any problem, even if you’re losing. The motto is “failing forward,” as Hersh has said. And why? Because this is how they stay in power. If you want to stop them, the only solution is impeachment and removal from office. Start the proceedings now. (A word to the Democrats: as the old saw goes, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.”) Beni Kitching Springfield
WHAT IS THE GOVERNOR HIDING? Well said, Joshua Hue [“Letters,” Jan. 18]. I am with you 100 percent. I hope you sent a copy of this to the governor’s office, because I am sure he doesn’t read Illinois Times. I have heard this governor say so many times how he wants to stop corruption in our state government. What is the governor hiding? Release the subpoenas. Another angry taxpayer. LaDonna McClanahan Springfield
As I sat in my break room yesterday and today, I had a chance to unwind from the “brain drain” I have continuously felt from working and residing here, and I read your article about being “Alone in a crowd” [R.L. Nave, Jan. 4]. For the first time ever since moving from my home in Chicago, I discovered that my negativity regarding this city was not just a personal issue that I needed to dispose of.
First of all, let me state for the record that I am not interested in the nightlife on any level. However, I have noticed that the futile mentality runs rampant amongst all races here. Getting high or intoxicated, envying anyone they don’t know, fighting, feuding, and stealing from each other seem to be the way of life. We have too many African-American people who come from the larger cities to “get on Section 8” or settle for menial jobs so that they can stay on welfare assistance and get Link benefits, simply because it is much cheaper to live in Springfield. With this regressive way of living in this area, I can relate to the hopelessness professional and level-minded minorities undergo on a daily basis and will pounce on the chance to get out of here. I also know that racism in the entire nation is as prevalent as the air we breathe, but its prevalence here is suffocating. Regardless, if there are new developments and large opportunities that arise, the issue will always be the process of selection and who will handle it in a fair and objective mannerism. We recently had a historical landmark open in Springfield, in 2005. I was professional enough to converse with the patrons, smile, and explain what their experience would entail but not professional enough for any office duties that my nonminority peers were assigned to complete. I was commended for my knowledge, but I was not fully appreciated or made to feel capable. I have tried to reject the idea that it was because I am an African-American and that maybe it had more to do with my being active in my union (in a place where they honor the man committed to preserving the Union) and the others were not. It became even harder to ignore when a few of the white employees left; they passed around fliers bearing icons of weeping faces and threw house parties for them. They were invited to our senior administrator’s home for a barbecue months after they had left. I, on the other hand, received our daily passdown of events that stated that it was my last day and “good luck.” As infantile as it sounds, it hurt because I put my everything into exemplifying that I was a model employee, regardless of what my personal life entailed. Since tranferrring from this facility, I have been awarded certificates for a higher-paying title in three counties of my choice (Sangamon is dead last, of course) through a union-sponsored program. With all of this said, it does not change the perspective of my neighbors or future employers in this town. I am saddened by the reality check your article provided me. I just hope that within the next 20 years or less our community leaders and residents can pull together with a modern and culturally diverse solution and come from out of the shadows of oppression.
Althea Barnes Springfield
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