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Wednesday, March 21, 2007 09:57 pm

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.

FIGHT BIG OIL: RIDE A BIKE With rising gas prices once again upon the fine people of Springfield and Sangamon County, I want to send my yearly reminder to those citizens who are fed up with working 40 hours a week to just sign their paychecks over to local gas stations: Try bicycling this summer — not just to save gas money but for health as well. Bicycling is an excellent way to burn off fat, tone muscles, see a beautiful city’s best-cared-for areas, and be able to ride past gas stations and laugh, knowing that your money will go for products and services that you really enjoy. Sure, bicycles are not nearly as fast as cars, but factor in the time spent cruising a parking lot, wasting gas, and looking for a decent parking place, and you tell me which is the most effective means of transportation. Besides, for most businesses, a person cannot beat the parking, because bicycles can park almost anywhere. Norman Hinderliter

Once again the best reason, if not the only reason, to pick up Illinois Times is Doug Bybee Sr. [see “Revised ethics testing,” March 8].
James L. Buck

TICKET DRIVERS WHO USE CELL PHONES I am tired of seeing people driving around with cell phones up to their ears and seemingly unaware of the road. They weave, drive at low or very high speeds, never use their signals, and endanger the lives of those around them. I have dozens of stories.
I think a law should be passed that would encourage police to write “distracted driving” tickets for drivers who spend more than 30 seconds on a cell phone (long enough to say that they will call back). The ticket should be for $75, and the offending phone should be seized until the fine is paid.
Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
WE’RE HEADING TOWARD DISASTER In 1999, one year before Dick Cheney became vice president, he gave a speech before the Petroleum Institute in which he proclaimed that oil was getting scarce, and therefore the best place to get the remaining oil was in the Middle East. Cheney is an oilman, so, coming from him, we should listen. Although the Caspian Sea Basin, in Central Asia, holds a large part of the world’s remaining untapped oil, it will be difficult to get at because it is underneath the sea basin and there are many competing claims on this area, including Russia’s and those of the other former Soviet republics. So what better way to get at the oil that is remaining and is easiest to get than to invade a Middle Eastern country such as Iraq, which is practically defenseless, and to privatize its previously state-owned oil reserves? And this is exactly what happened. Furthermore, 9/11 provided just the right opportunity to do this. By deceptively tying Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 hijackers, Cheney and Co. were able to engineer the public’s consent for a war it did not want. Cheney did not consider alternatives to the so-called peak-oil crisis, such as conservation or developing alternative energy sources, which is the only remaining hope for the world. The major economies of the world run on oil, and what are we going to do when the oil runs out? Not to mention the fact that a foreign policy based on going to war is bound to create more political instability. We are heading toward a disaster of cataclysmic proportions. Will we wake up in time? Beni Kitching Springfield
ANOTHER WAY TO RECYCLE HERE Imagine living in a community where used items that are in good condition are given away freely, with no strings attached, and no money exchanged. Imagine living in a community where people not only recycle, but reuse, by giving away their unwanted items freely to others — even strangers — who will give them new life. Sound too good to be true? That community exists, right here in Sangamon County. The Springfield Freecycle Network is an Internet community of local people who are giving (and getting) good stuff for free right in their hometown. The goal is to keep useable items out of the landfills, keep curbs and alleyways clean and save our prairie grasslands from being overtaken by landfills that no one wants in their own back yard.
Anyone with access to a computer can log on to www.freecycle.org, click on the region where they live, scroll to their state, and click on a link to their local community Freecycle site. There are currently more than 3,900 Freecycle sites worldwide, with more than 160 in Illinois alone. The Springfield site started in January 2004, and now has more than 1,500 members. We are one of the most successful sites in the state. The Springfield site is moderated by two local volunteers who try to build community involvement and make the site fun and productive. The address is groups.yahoo.com/group/freecyclespfldil/. Everything must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages. Bartering, trading, swapping, and selling are not allowed. Membership is free, and members are required to provide the ZIP code where they live in order to attain membership. Although “wanted” posts are allowed, everyone must make an offer first before asking for something. Reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink … Freecycle. Tracy Owens and Terri Woodliff Freecycle Moderators
Springfield, Illinois Freecycle Network
ALTERNATIVE TO THE ALTERNATIVE In response to the letter to the editor about alternative recycling methods, there was mention of the Freecycle group. There is one other that needs to be mentioned as well: It’s the Sharing is Giving group that’s local to Springfield and surrounding areas. A lot of people have found that the Freecycle group isn’t for them, and the other group is pretty relaxed on the type of postings it allows, and anyone can join without going through a questionnaire. The Web site for the local Sharing is Giving group is: groups.yahoo.com/ group/sharinginspfld. You can post items you no longer want or need, and others can ask for items they need. The goal is to keep usable items out of the landfills and in the home of someone who has a need for them!
Tony Baker
Group owner, Sharing is Giving

THE ULTIMATE RECYCLABLE You can make arrangements with the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield to have your body donated to science upon your death. The address is SIU School of Medicine, P.O. Box 19612, Springfield, IL 62794-9612. The telephone number is 545-7581. Brice Brinkman Springfield
DECRIES CONDITIONS AT WALTER REED How is it possible to believe anything this Bush administration tells us when, once again, we are waking up to still another vile story concerning lack of care and compassion for our wounded service members? It appears that our beloved leader’s “support the troops” mantra is nothing more than one more miserable lie coming out of his mendacious mouth. From the inexcusable lack of proper armor on the battlefield to the shamefully indifferent care of the wounded once they are back home, this president has shown that he either doesn’t really care about the people who serve in the military or that he is simply lacking in the necessary skills to do the job he was hired to do. Either way, he should resign or be impeached. He’s the big shot who likes to remind us that he’s “The Decider,” so he needs to step up and explain why he has failed so miserably in so many ways. He’s done quite enough damage in this job to last for generations. As the story of conditions at Walter Reed Hospital continues to develop, there already appears to be a “smoking gun.” While the story behind the story will prove to be the incredibly stupid decision by the Bush administration to “privatize” outpatient services, even before the dust has begun to settle, we are hearing the name Halliburton come up. It is of greater importance to this administration to provide government contracts to their corporate friends and reliable campaign donors than to provide our wounded troops the treatment they desperately need and surely deserve.
It is well past time that these fools were removed from office, tried and convicted for their crimes, and made an example of for the next would-be American Emperor. It’s well past time to say enough is enough! It is time to throw these bums out! Ed Lazarus Springfield
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