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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007 02:05 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.
I just read the Dusty Rhodes column and want to express my appreciation [“Love and Skittles,” Nov. 15]. Forty years ago, I was on my way to St. Monica’s, the home for unwed mothers run by Catholic Charities in Springfield. Back then, in my small town (and many others like it), unwed mothers were considered to be of weak moral character and their babies were often referred to as bastards or, in mixed company, illegitimate. It’s hard to understand that attitude today, but it was cruelly real then.
At 17, I did not have the power to do anything but hide my pregnancy as best I could. This year, I found the courage to stop hiding this sad story from my past and registered with both the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange through the Department of Public Health and Catholic Charities as a birth parent willing to share information and open to contact from my child.
I am very encouraged by Rhodes’ willingness to take a chance and open her heart in her own adoptive family. Name withheld by request
Reflecting on Fletcher Farrar’s column covering Gov. Henry Horner [“Gov. Henry Horner, martyr to good government,” Nov. 22], I am reminded that as an usher at the Senate Theater in the late 1930s it always was a happy occasion when Gov. Horner would arrive, as he did in the evenings nearly once a week. In those days he would walk alone from the governor’s mansion to the theater between Fifth and Sixth streets on Monroe, ask the usher to seat him at the right end of the last row, and quietly give the fortunate usher a 10-cent tip — big money at a time when the usher’s pay scale was 15 cents an hour.
John B. Dixon

CAREER POLITICIANS DIVIDE US Career politicians have given us a nastily divided country. “A house divided cannot stand.” Abraham Lincoln’s words should have a chilling effect on all Americans who take the time to think. Over time, members of Congress have created rules and procedures to thwart the principle of majority decision-making. Gotcha politics and grandstanding are epidemic. Their focus is on themselves. Most of what they do does not serve a useful purpose for the people whom they have sworn to honorably serve. Why do they do what they do? Political survival, the root of their failing, has earned them an 11 percent approval rating, and sending the same career politicians back will keep producing the same failed result. Does the word “futility” come to mind? This situation is not inconsequential; it impedes progress, and time will prove it to be a momentous crisis. However, it is a crisis that career politicians and most voters are insensible to!
Bob Ruble Springfield
SMALL MARKETS ALWAYS CHEAP I saw your story about television, “On the cheap” [Amanda Robert, Nov. 15], on an online newsletter, and was fascinated. “One-man bands” have nothing to do with the current state of the broadcast industry, nor do low salaries. ’Twas ever thus. I anchored the 10 p.m. news in another state capital, Jackson, Miss., in 1971, and made minimum wage. The next year I moved up to a much bigger market, Memphis, Tenn., then market No. 30-something, and started at less than $9,000. I was a one-man band there, and two or three stories on any given day meant it was a slow day. And we had to be finished with all of them by 2:30 p.m., because we had to drop off the film to get it processed in time for the 5 p.m. news.
In my experience, local TV in markets below the top 20 or 25 have never paid decent wages to anyone but anchors. That’s why there is such an exodus of journalists about the time they reach 35 — they can’t support their families. There are exceptions, of course. One of the young reporters I worked with in Jackson is now a news director there. But not a single one of my 35 news department colleagues at the Memphis station still works there. The same is true of all but two of my 125 colleagues at the station I worked for in Denver 22 years ago.
Tom Bearden
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

MAYBE ALFRED WASN’T SO GREAT Recent letters seemed to be confused as to whether Beowulf is an English poem or a Danish poem [see “Letters,” Nov. 22]. The answer is that Beowulf is an English poem probably composed in the early eighth century by a masterful but anonymous poet who lived in the west of England. The characters, however, are Danes, Geats (Beowulf himself), Swedes, Half-Danes or Scyldings, Jutes or Frisians, and the Heatho-Bards, whose king is named Froda, which may possibly have inspired the eminent Anglo-Saxon scholar J.R.R. Tolkien to name his hero Frodo. One century later almost all of East Anglia, that part of England that juts out into the North Sea, was under Danish control and was known as Danelaw. The English city of York, for example, was then the Danish city of Jorvik. The reconquest of England was begun by my supposed ancestor King Alfred the Great (849-899). King of the West Saxons and a brilliant hypocrite, Alfred knew that the Danes were bigger, stronger, and possessed superior military technology in the form of the dragon ship and the deadly, dreaded seax, so he decided to use Christianity for military purposes. Each time he took a town, he built a church, pointed to the steeple, and cried out to the ignorant, gullible peasantry, “See, Jesus is more powerful than Odin.” When he marched into battle, his ragtag army was accompanied by priests bearing an alleged relic, and he would reassure his troops by saying, “St. Peter’s finger bone is the equal of a dozen dragon ships and a thousand axes.” Apparently they believed him. Today every Danish worker is guaranteed free health care, five weeks of vacation, and up to four years of paid unemployment compensation. It might have been better for us all if the Vikings had defeated the Saints.
Blair Whitney Springfield
A DIFFERENT ENGAGEMENT After hearing news on Thanksgiving of Jenna Bush announcing her engagement, I honestly do not know whether to be happy for this young woman or to be deeply insulted.
Why? Like too many other low- to middle-income families, my family has members serving active combat duty in the Middle East. I am just baffled at why neither Jenna nor her twin sister, old enough to get engaged and get married, has enlisted to serve her country in what the twins’ father, President George W. Bush, calls “a time of war.”
I have to ask, if these “wars,” including the invasion of Iraq, are so “critical” to America’s future, then why haven’t Jenna and her sister enlisted for active duty in combat zones? This question also extends to Bush cabinet members, none of whom has family members serving in combat at this time.
Politicians do not care how many caskets are filled, so long as their own families are kept safe and sound, here at home.
Norman Hinderliter

Gold, which is God’s currency, is nearing $800 an ounce. The U.S. dollar is dropping against the Euro and British pound. Oil is $100 per barrel. One-third of the daily trades on Wall Street are done by hedge-fund gurus; they’re pumping hot air into the Wall Street tire that is about to burst! The housing-mortgage crisis is just starting to climb the bubble to Mount Everest. Many banks and their Wall Street bosom buddies will fail, hurting every American taxpayer. The Russian president has visited the madman of Iran. The country of Turkey voted to go into Iraq to get the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, bringing Turkey closer to Russia in an attack on Israel. Dividing Jerusalem in half, with U.S. help, is why the curse of God is affecting the U.S. economy. Done with all the bad news. The good news is, Jesus is returning soon. The end is near, and get ready to meet your maker! George Culley Pinckneyville

CORRECTION Community Energy Systems can be reached at 217-629-7031 (or at www.censys.org). The phone number was incorrect in a recent article [Diane Lopez Hughes, “Good neighbors,” Nov. 22].
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