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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 01:40 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.

DELIVERING A DOUBLE OUCH Illinois Times has made a concerted effort to sadden me over the past few weeks. First, in its recent cover story, it suggests that the reason I will not vote for Barack Obama is not because, despite his nonpartisan rhetoric, he is unwaveringly pro-choice but because I am a racist [Jeannette Cooperman, “Demonizing Obama,” April 3]. Ouch. If the Christian right is guilty of demonizing Obama, is Illinois Times guilty of divinizing the man? Then, as if that were not a direct-enough indictment of my character, they suggest in a recent lead commentary that I am actually increasing abortions in my efforts to promote life and chastity [Cristina Page, “Results matter,” April 10]. Ouch again. However counterintuitive, the charge still hurts. Thus, Illinois Times has inspired me to ask a few of my many questions: If abortion is in fact morally acceptable, why is limiting its occurrence important to a pro-choicer? Or is there some part of this medical practice that is abhorrent to him or her as well?
How are my pro-life aspirations “guided by ideology” when I support the very unideological material life of a fellow human being? A living human is not an idea but a substantial empirical fact indeed, right?
How is it that we tell students that they can be anything they want to be or that they can achieve whatever their hearts desire but then say that they are incapable of living chastely? Do we not believe they have the ability to see each other as subjects rather than as objects? When we teach gravity, we do not give them parachutes. Why, then, if we are able to teach them fully and appropriately about their sexuality, should we give them contraceptives? Isn’t it better to reason, simply and with logic, than [to rely on] irregular, convoluted, and ambiguous statistics? Do any supposed statistical results justify immoral means? Paul Gesterling Springfield
WE’RE NOT STUCK WITH BLAGO I read Rich Miller’s article about efforts in the Illinois House to move toward impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and how this is just a “feel-good” effort [“Politics,” April 10]. I agree with him that as long as Emil Jones is in the governor’s pocket nothing will happen in the Illinois Senate, but I disagree that we are stuck with Blagojevich. The Rezko trial will wrap up in about another month, and it is really hard to believe that Levine was able to sell political favors, collect millions of dollars, funnel millions into the governor’s reelection campaign, and not be connected to Rezko. If Rezko is found guilty, then the real fun starts. Typically the feds build a case from the bottom up, and if you think Rezko was their target then I have a governor’s mansion in Springfield I would like to sell you. If things happen as I expect, the people of Illinois will begin to feel good later this year.
Jerald Jacobs

WE’RE NOT CRAZY; WE JUST GAVE UP The gun pathology eating away our culture was depicted brilliantly [Hal Crowther, “Madness,” April 17]. The writer, like many of us who are horrified at what we are becoming, seeks to discover the source of this sickness so we might return to a healthier society free of this parasite that seems to feed on itself. One of the most important talking points made in the article is that guns are not merely dangerous tools, they are symbols of destruction dressed up in the American flag or fronted as a symbol of strength, when all they really do is kill. The frequent argument about cars as weapons is a frail and shallow one. Cars are designed for getting us from one place to the other. When someone gets in a car it is to go somewhere. When a gun is placed into someone’s hands, destruction is the immediate goal, be it a clay pigeon or someone’s ex-girlfriend or just someone you think is going to hurt you. Our culture has romanticized guns so much that killing someone is seen as cool. The writer cites madness as the reason we have turned our country over to gun nuts. I do not think it is madness. I think it is a loss within ourselves. Somehow we, as a nation, have stopped striving to achieve greatness as we allow the violence to define us in our entertainment, our way of thinking, we give up, never knowing what we could have been.
Anne Logue

THIS IS A BITTER PERSON Regarding Hal Crowther’s “A nation of pistols and Prozac”: Here’s an article from a man whose wife says he’s too unstable to own a gun, a man who believes the Second Amendment is irrelevant in today’s world. I wonder if he thinks the First Amendment — his right to write this junk — is obsolete, too. He calls gun owners fearful and paranoid, but he says he has big dogs for his own paranoia and fears 5th- and 6th-graders will be allowed concealed carry. Gee!
All this from a man whose biography says he’s from a family of veterans and commissioned officers. I don’t mind reading articles from the far left but this one is out of the ballpark. As Obama might say, this is a bitter person. I have nothing but respect for law enforcement, but remember, Hal — when seconds count the police are only minutes away.
Dennis Gillette Springfield
HEALTH CARE AND THE “FREE” MARKET I had a detached retina and subsequently had to suffer vitrectomy surgery. When it came time to go to the drugstore to get a prescription for Vigamox filled, I called around to all the pharmacies to get the best price — drugs are expensive these days, and I’m not Donald Trump or Bill Gates. Prices for the tiny 3-milliliter bottle of drops ranged from $62 at a little pharmacy in Auburn to more than $80 at County Market and Walgreens, the two closest to my home. I noticed that the big corporate pharmacies had the highest prices, and the high-priced pharmacies made it a point to inform me that the price of the drug didn’t matter since my insurance co-pay was the same no matter where I bought this drug. In the end I bought it at Walgreens, the closest drugstore to my home. Gasoline isn’t cheap, either. I’d like to ask those who parrot that the free market solves our health-care problems two questions: First, how does the free market apply when my price is the same no matter what? Where is my incentive to find the best bargain? Second, if the so-called free market in health care is so great, why do Americans pay more per capita for health care than any other country while being nowhere near the best when it comes to longevity and infant mortality? Third, why should the insurance industry have anything whatever to do with health care? They seem to be the single thing that’s wrong with our health-care system! Stephen McGrew Springfield
I AM A MAN, NOT AN ATM I lost my temper downtown. I try very hard to control it, but at some times the shield is thinner than at other times. On Saturday [April 12] I was walking downtown near the Old State Capitol building. There were three people on that block. Two others panhandled me at opposite ends of the block. I blew up at them. We have a law against panhandling downtown where it scares the tourists. The second one told me that he just got out of prison. I asked him what that had to do with me. I offered to have the cops come explain it to him if he wanted. Yes, I was bitchy. I still am tired of being mistaken for a free ATM. I give to various charities for the homeless and hungry and phone cards for the troops. I give blood. I do not give on the street. Get your food from the charities and don’t get your booze or drugs from me. I wish I could just brush their requests off, but I feel kind of guilty about not giving but I could never make enough to give to everyone who would ask if given the chance.
Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
A TRUE COMMANDER IN CHIEF The ongoing discussion between the Democratic candidates for president has focused to a great extent on the question of which would make the most effective commander in chief. This has me thinking of how, of the many duties of our president, the handling of our military may be the most difficult and solemn duty he or she will face.
The wise and judicious use of our military seems to now be more important than ever, because the continued misuse of the military has left our country somewhat vulnerable — equipment in need of repair or replacement and families torn apart for reasons that we now realize were bogus from the very beginning.
America will need a great deal of time and money to undo the damage this failed commander in chief has caused by his foolishness. And there is still the real global war on terror to worry about, as opposed to the Bush-Cheney lust for oil in Iraq. Imagine how different our world would be today if, on 9/11, we had had a commander in chief worthy of the title and capable of handling his responsibilities as required. I have thus far been unable to conjure up an image of any of the three candidates’ reacting to 9/11 by “hiding out” on Air Force One as our current “wimp in chief” did. Our excellent military would have quickly resolved the issue of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and it is likely that Osama bin Laden would today be rotting in hell or in prison. We would have actually provided the rebuilding help we so glibly promised as we were dropping bombs on their country. (Remember the incredibly cynical speech by Bush as he urged American schoolchildren to donate their pennies to help the children of Afghanistan?)
Schools, businesses, and other facets of the economy would be well into the recovery stage, and, after all those years of interference by others — first the Soviets, then us — the people of Afghanistan might be living in peace today. Our National Guard would have been here at home instead of fighting a positively unnecessary war in Iraq, and much of the shame and human misery of the Katrina disaster might have been mitigated. It is unlikely that so many of America’s finest military leaders would have retired — or been forced to retire — had they not felt the patriotic duty to speak out against the clearly discredited policies of their commander in chief, who knows precious little about warfare and almost nothing about the politics and traditions of the Middle East.
And it is truly difficult to imagine that anyone — other than George W. Bush — would have allowed our military hospitals to fall into such shameful disrepair. Seeing photos of Walter Reed Army Medical Center well into the presidency of this fool, and long after he had sent our young people into battle, was reminiscent of footage shown from time to time on TV of orphanages in places like Romania or Russia. Incidentally, as our beloved leader was exhorting us to “support the troops” and suggesting that opposition to his war was unpatriotic, he was simultaneously urging Congress to slash funds from the budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This was his vile and pathetic version of being commander in chief. One might think that with his military background and the fact that we all regard him as an exceptionally brave man who served his country well, John McCain would be a very effective commander in chief, but he has already indicated his intention to simply act as Bush III, if elected, where the war is concerned. His hinted-at 100-year occupation of Iraq suggests that he may have limited faith in our military, and his continuing blunders in his comments show that even after all this time he really doesn’t know his Sunni from his Shi’ite. That certainly does not bode well for the future of our military . . . and, indeed, our country, under our present circumstances. I don’t think any of us can possibly know how any of the three remaining candidates would handle their responsibilities as commander in chief, but I really hope we will never again see any of our military leaders brought before the Congress and the American people to “explain” the decisions of his president, as was the case with Gen. Petraeus. A commander in chief doesn’t push others out in front of him to deflect criticism. Cowards do that. That was a cynical use of a military commander, and I believe the general, and America, deserved far better.
Ed Lazarus Springfield
CLOSE THE DOOR ON 24-HOUR GAMBLING Casinos have known problems associated with the use of their product. That is why the Illinois General Assembly originally limited casino gambling to riverboats — cruises could not exceed four hours, and gambling could not be conducted while the riverboats were docked.
Now the casinos want the Illinois Gaming Board to eliminate the last remaining safeguard and allow the casinos to stay open 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.
Allowing 24-hour gambling will impact public safety. Addicted gamblers seem more hurried and take more risks during their heavier gambling activity and drive much like drunk drivers. The combination of alcohol and gambling can lead to serious suicide attempts. To voice your concerns, write the Illinois Gaming Board, 160 N. LaSalle, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601.
Anita Bedell, executive director Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems

DEMOCRATS ARE SPLIT The election this year is going to be like the one in 1980, when Democrats crossed over and voted for Ronald Reagan. The Democrats are so split, I don’t think they can recover by November. President Clinton is doing more harm than good for his wife. He needs to keep his mouth shut; then maybe Hillary would have a chance. She probably lost most of the Hispanic vote when he called Gov. Bill Richardson a Judas. I don’t think President Clinton wants his wife to win.
Danny Faulkner Springfield
FECKLESS AND FARCICAL What we have in our primaries is chaos created by an obsession to win at any cost while the common man is forgotten in favor of elites and their special interests; it’s all about money. The end result is a feckless farcical process in which most of the voters have little say about who the nominee is! Superdelegates — how absurd is this? This is clear evidence that the “Democratic” Party does not trust the people to decide their nominee. Democrats decided not to seat Florida and Michigan delegates at their convention when they thought it wouldn’t matter; now that they have discovered that it matters a lot, they have a big problem.
On the Republican side we have a nominee who was left for dead but wins because he won in the early states and the domino effect took hold, and the rest of the states never even had a contest. Who presides over this fraudulence in the primaries? Essentially it’s the very ones that preside over real-time government. How would these primaries have turned out if all states had voted on the same day, giving all the people the opportunity to decide?
Common folks long for a dynamic government instead of the feckless and farcical one we have. Until we stand up and demand an end to career politicians, it will only get worse. Bob Ruble Springfield
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