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Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007 11:46 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.
PIECE OF OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE Thanks so much for Bill Janssen’s reminiscences on his musical life in Springfield [“No regrets,” Nov. 1]. I totally missed that scene, but only by a few years. Back in the early 1980s, I had to produce a fake ID to get into the Crow’s Mill School to hear Food and Money play. Springfield otherwise was such a musical backwater that I only heard bands such as XTC, Talking Heads, and the B-52s by listening to Jim Muir’s Undercurrents radio program on WSSR on late Sunday nights. Then I would go to Appletree Records to buy the vinyl albums, where guitar hero John Novak would patiently, if somewhat disdainfully, guide my selections. A little later on, as I began my descent into the local music scene, trying to put across original music where DJs and cover bands like Cats on Holiday ruled, older peers and bandmates reverently would recount their frequent encounters with Adrian Belew from a few years prior. What a marvel it was that Lone Rhinoceros and Twang Bar King were practically local products, like Mel-O-Cream doughnuts. There was a weekend (or what seemed like that short a span) in the early ’80s when Food and Money disbanded and a clique of young skate punks calling themselves the Gargoyles started playing gigs at Crow’s Mill School. Another young troubadour emerged named Tom Irwin. Crow’s Mill School was sold and the Gargoyles changed their name to N.I.L.8. Irwin’s band broke up, and he started playing country/folk music, hosting open-mic nights around town. The “Times Out” section of Illinois Times was much, much less populated and vibrant than today’s “Night & Day” section. Nobody ever told me about such things as the Tonguesnatcher Revue. Thanks again for finally providing such an important missing piece of Springfield’s cultural heritage.
Larry Stevens
Springfield

SOMETHING ROTTEN AT ARDC? “Blown away,” the lead article in the Oct. 25 issue, was factually accurate and well written. However, it did not include the important fact that U.S. Attorney Rodger Heaton has two assistants — Bradley W. Murphy and John H. Campbell — in the Peoria Division who have been censured by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for misconduct in a pending federal criminal case. Yet they have kept their jobs and are still employed. The ARDC attorney who handled their cases and allowed them to be only censured was Peter Rotskoff, the same ARDC attorney who wants to take my law license. Dan Mills Springfield  
CORRELATION ISN’T CAUSATION I was disappointed by Janice Shadley’s letter on Nov. 1, which defended Catholicism by attacking atheism. Janice may mean well, but my own Catholic upbringing encouraged a spirit of rational inquiry that this tactic lacks. Just as believers may protest that atrocities associated with a religion are not representative but are due to flawed human nature, atheists may protest likewise. Put more simply: Correlation does not imply causation. None of the many atheists I know would describe atheism as a social philosophy, let alone equate it with communism. Atheists simply reject gods. Janice’s accusation and its rebuttal are established rituals of religious and atheist Internet forums, so rather than rehash it here I invite her to inform herself. I also recommend she research the strange role of religion in Nazi Germany and Hitler’s own odd beliefs. Many would concede my point but argue that with no divine moral authority atheism inherently leads to depravity and therefore Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. Again defending my atheist friends, I ask: So what? Most I know are strongly naturalist and thus reject gods as a hypothesis that they believe lacks sufficient material evidence. Were it proven that atheism encouraged mayhem, they would remain atheist, because they consider truth independent of human desires. Such internal honesty is admirable.
Russell Tanton
Springfield

EXPLAIN STRANGE PRICE FLUCTUATIONS I read your article on the strange oscillations of gas prices in Springfield with interest, yet found myself in the end sorely disappointed [R.L. Nave, “The gasoline guessing game,” Oct. 25]. Your article consists mostly of commonplace capitalist or economic babble, and the insights of the local representatives totally bypass a truly strange fact: that the small town of Springfield has more fluctuations and differences in gas prices than the 50-times-larger city of Chicago. I get to travel a lot and find that gas prices don’t change as fast in Bloomington, Decatur, or Champaign, nor do they vary as much from station to station. Rev. Hans Poetschner Springfield
JUST CHECKING THE FACTS After reading two separate articles, “Minority report” and “Bend it like Blago,” [R.L. Nave, Rich Miller, Oct. 4], I was intrigued. “Minority report” talked about the underrepresentation of African-Americans and Hispanics in state government. “Bend it like Blago” discussed the importance of fact-checking. So here are some interesting facts. The African-American population of the state of Illinois, according to the U.S. Census, is 14.8 percent. The population of African-Americans in state government is 20.76 percent, according to the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. This translates into a 40.3 percent overrepresentation of African-Americans in state government. Just checking the facts.
Ginger Wilson Springfield
FATHER DOESN’T KNOW BEST Decades of economic progress have increased the health and prosperity of a vast majority of people around the globe and made capitalism the proven successful model for developing nations to rise out of poverty, suffering, and oppression. Nevertheless, leading clergy of the religious left depict free-market capitalism as a vast exploitative force, controlled by an elite cadre of godless power-mongers. Leaders of the religious left blindly ignore pertinent, cogent facts, sound logic, appropriate consideration of the alternatives, and reasoned conclusions that acknowledge the considerable academic and experiential data that shows that free-market capitalism not only works but works better than all the alternatives and for the greatest good for the greatest number of the population. Leftist clerics also ignore that an overwhelming amount of proof points to the fact that much of the poverty in the prosperous free-market capitalist economies results from dysfunctional behavior. In other words, from what the religious call “sinful behavior.” For example, entrenched inner-city poverty follows single parent children born out of wedlock. Duh! Churchgoers, on the other hands, do not share the same disdain for the free market’s characteristics, as Pew Research has confirmed. Looks like Father doesn’t know best. Perhaps the flock needs to refurbish the rock upon which the church was built. After all, where the religious left is leading, the flock is abandoning. Just look at the numbers. Tom Rand Naperville
STUDENTS ARE NOT PORK
I write to express concerns from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association regarding state funding for community college districts. Illinois state funding for community colleges is significantly lower than it was six years ago in fiscal year 2002. In recent years, small increases in the community college annual appropriation have almost kept up with inflation, but overall state dollars directed toward community colleges remain well below fiscal year 2002 state appropriations. Reductions in state support have directly caused community college students to pay nearly 50 percent more in tuition. During the fiscal year 2008 budget process, community college funding was cut to a level $10 million lower than the General Assembly had approved (and 1 percent below the FY 2007 authorized appropriation). Our $3 million Student Success Grant, which provides needed services for disadvantaged students, was eliminated. In addition, $7 million in general formula funding was reduced, placing additional financial demands upon our students. We recognize that higher education funding is not one of the governor’s higher priorities. However, we believe that our students are not “pork.” The Illinois Community College Trustees Association encourages the governor to view state support for community colleges as essential to Illinois’ long-term economic growth.
Kathy Wessel
President, Illinois Community College Trustees Association, Springfield
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