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Thursday, June 24, 2010 01:39 am

Letters to the Editor 6/24/10

Lazer Dudes, state pension and oil


The Lazer Dudes.

I am not an avid fan of Illinois Times. But, once or twice a month I will pick up a copy to thumb through with a faint hope that I’ll be shocked by one of the articles. Finally it happened with the June 10 issue: “The Mysterious Lazer Dudes,” by Tom Irwin.

Tom Irwin has published several respectable pieces in the past. His craft for music journalism is not elite, but it is certainly not amateur.

Black leather fingerless gloves. Love Club and Stripping Glitter. Tattoos of strange designs in stranger places. Cahokia Mounds and MoonPandas. What link ties these odd and peculiar things together?

Let me guess...The Lazer Dudes? Listing what the writer hopes to be seen as a funny, eclectic mix of things that a reader would hopefully never believe all share a common thread and then shocking said reader by stating that oh yes, this awesome band totally has all these weird, cool and funny things in common is a very tired practice.

The next three paragraphs take the reader on a detour very far off the point by defining the words “laser” and “dudes.” Mr. Irwin must have been having an extremely hard time writing this article if he resorted to his dictionary for the opening. I’m still pondering the mystery theme of this band, as it plays a central role in the article. What made a Springfield, Ill., rock band so mysterious? By the fifth paragraph the only mystery comes from why this writer isn’t telling me what this band sounds like.

This entire article feels like a sales pitch.

It is very unlikely every band written about in Illinois Times is always as good as its articles say. There is plenty of terrible music in Springfield and if Illinois Times wishes to be taken seriously as a critic of events in the area it needs to be honest with the reader and not simply sell everything it reviews.

Bradley Trevor Hoffman
Kansas City, Mo.

In 1966 I started my first teaching position in this area. My salary was $6,000, the same as General Assembly members. That year the General Assembly did not fund the pension systems but gave a promise to fully fund these pensions later. When I retired in 2002 my final salary was $49,000; the General Asembly members’ salaries were in the upper $60,000s.

During those 36 years of teaching I can count on one hand the number of years the state pension systems were ever fully funded. A General Assembly member’s pension is fully vested after eight years of service. Teachers Retirement System members are fully vested after 36 years of employment.

During this time all state pension system members were given a promise that the systems would receive payments of the borrowed money. The pension systems are still waiting. Why should the members of these state pension systems be required to lose their benefits? I do not see members of the General Assembly, those individuals and/or groups that are advocating reducing my retirement benefits, saying they would have their retirement reduced. Why would anyone vote for any of these do-nothing General Assembly members?

Scott A. Brawner

After the explosion, why didn’t BP shut the leak off by destroying the wellhead immediately? Blowing up wellheads with high explosives is a proven technique for closing erratic wellheads. But that would mean losing a well that could produce billions of dollars over a 25-year life. Let’s face it. Oilmen are gamblers and they are gambling that not much will happen to them. They have seen how the courts and Congress handled the Exxon Valdez disaster and they know that they will basically walk. This country is now drenched in oil and will continue to be until we quit using the nasty stuff.

Doug Nicodemus

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