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I applaud Illinois Times for its investigative articles on Joe Wilkins and Letitia Dewith-Anderson [Dusty Rhodes, "Mystery Man," Aug. 28; and "Leaving Oz," Jan. 15].
The article on Ms. Dewith-Anderson revealed for the first time how sinister racism is in Springfield. The hiring of two black males doesn't cover [the] unconstitutional treatment of Ms. Dewitt-Anderson. Instead of settling the Renatta Frazier case, which former Mayor Karen Hasara mismanaged, Mayor Tim Davlin showed us how Democrats discriminate against blacks. We already knew how Republicans mistreated blacks: We only had to look at our schools, our police department, our fire department, our streets, our electric bills, our jails, and our numbers in public employment. Yes, Ms. Dewith-Anderson was an at-will employee, but that does not eliminate her rights to equal treatment and equal protection under the law.
As a Democrat and longtime employee of the Office of the Secretary of State, I already knew that Springfield's Democratic Party leadership (blacks and whites) was playing closet Republicans and selling out Springfield's black Democrats and the black community. Personally, I would like to see the community come together and elect Ms. Letitia Dewith-Anderson as the next mayor of Springfield.
It is time for a change.
Margaret J. Collins
LIFTING THE CURSE
The last three years have been the most devastating to the present and future of the United States. Most significant was 9/11, which seemed to present a good reason to start a war with Iraq, even though the person thought to be responsible, Osama bin Laden, had nothing to connect him to Iraq. Currently bin Laden remains free, despite a huge reward for his capture.
We have supposedly captured Saddam Hussein (or one of his four or five lookalikes). He was checked for head lice, but as of now, his current location is unknown to the public. Instead of punishment, it's as though he is being protected.
On the issue of homosexuality, if marriage for same-sex [individuals] is allowed, within 100 years the earth will be devoid of human beings.
On the issue of our national debt, it is currently the highest in our history. We have inherited yet another problem with our current leadership: illegal aliens' being allowed to cross our borders by the thousands. If they were rich individuals who came to us with millions of dollars of business and property, this would be great. However, no one would believe this conception. It's far more likely that they are only going to add to the millions of Americans out of jobs with no money or homes. For survival, these people will be forced to take measures such as home invasion, theft, and murder. The top 5 percent of our nation is composed of billionaires [who] love our present leadership. Unfortunately, the other 95 percent, the lower- and middle-class Americans, are losing jobs, receiving less pay and suffering the possible loss of Social Security benefits, even though the billionaires have enough money already to live 10 lifetimes at leisure. This is a sickness called greed -- a mental addiction corrected only by legal procedures that give hope to all people in the world.
My hope -- and my reason for these words -- is to try and erase this apparent curse that has befallen us. I feel that all men have faults, so we must now find truth, consideration and equal treatment of 100 percent instead of 5 percent. [We must find] a leader who would rather be forever remembers as being loved for his kindness and consideration for everyone than for huge supplies of paper money that he will never live to spend. By living his life for the sole purpose of helping even the poorest of people, he will forever live in the annals of history.
I believe this leader may be John Kerry.
William A. Fromm
WHAT MESSAGE DID WE SEND?
We are writing in regard to the article "Bad Boys," written by Peggy Sower Knoepfle [Dec. 18]. We were disturbed to read about people's not being able to protest in the United States without there being some sort of chaos involving police. Does not the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantee freedom of speech? The FTAA (Free Trade Areas of the Americas) agreement is making it harder for people in other countries to live.
The fact that innocent Latin Americans are being beaten and ill-treated by police officers for protesting something that directly affects them is absurd. The United States is supposed to be a democracy, but what kind of democracy is it when people's rights are being violated? Several Latinos were arrested for protesting: Luis Adolfo Cordona, the Colombian labor activist who was arrested and burned with electric prods on his ankles and legs during a protest, claims, "In Colombia, they chased me ... but they never put me in prison. Here in the United States, I go to jail!" What kind of message is this to people who think that the United States is a country where one has the freedom to speak one's mind?
The police pepper-sprayed and shot rubber bullets at protesters. A woman was forced to take off her pepper-sprayed clothes in front of male officers. What happened to these individuals was wrong. What is this incident teaching society? It is showing others that they cannot speak their minds or they will be arrested and mistreated.
Carol Stream, Ill.
WE NEED PAPER RECORDS
The Florida election mess was an embarrassment to our country. Unfortunately, a nightmare replay of the Florida fiasco may be coming our way. New computerized voting machines, which are set for use around the country in November, are not designed to produce a trustworthy recount. And most states are refusing to demand a simple solution to this problem, which is that all machines produce a paper record of votes cast. We should do everything in our power to avoid a Florida replay. If a paper trail of computer ballots will do the trick, I say let's do it.
CHECK THE SOURCE
The Passion of the Christ reveals Christianity's underlying sadomasochism, glorifying and romanticizing misery and suffering. Worse yet, until the 15th century, it was thought that only Jesus, as a unique son of God, could bear such torture, but German monk Thomas A'Kempis in 1418 wrote a book, Imitation of Christ, putting forth the thesis that everyone should suffer like Jesus did and that suffering is good for you.
Just because there is a movie about something does not make it true. The chronology of the Passion story is highly implausible. Knowing how slowly court systems work, it is highly unlikely that someone could get arrested late Thursday night and be executed at 9 o'clock the next morning on Friday. Furthermore, Jesus would have had to go through not just one but two legal systems -- both the Jewish courts and the Roman courts. Also, the Sanhedrin court was not allowed to meet during Passover and furthermore had to wait 24 hours before rendering a verdict in a case. Jesus' death after only three hours on the cross is also highly suspect; victims of crucifixion usually did not die for two days or even longer. Therefore the local Jewish population rejected the Passion story as bogus; only faraway Gentiles unfamiliar with Jewish customs and practices accepted the story.
There are also many other inconsistencies in the various versions of the Passion story in the Bible.