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web posted December 22, 2003

Re: Celebrating Saddam Hussein's capture

Newspapers have the disadvantage of always carrying yesterday's news. Usually the time lag is barely noticeable since radio and television reporters steal their ideas from the morning papers. (And print reporters often use broadcast news as crib notes. That's how you get six months of headlines like this: Is SARS over?)

Sometimes, however, the papers look as though they have arrived not by paperboy, but by time machine, from another era. Just try looking at a paper from September 11th, 2001. On that day, The New York Times said that Donald Rumsfield was "declaring war on bureaucracy in the Pentagon" because "bloated bureaucracy [is] a security threat". Indeed! There is also a front-page teaser about shark attacks.

I experienced the same sense of lag on Sunday, after the capture of Saddam Hussein.

On the same day the world saw Saddam being checked for head lice, Canadians were reading an article from the Toronto Star's Middle East correspondent about traffic jams in Baghdad.

It says: "Under Saddam, the punishment for dangerous driving was cut and dried: a month in prison. Now, said Mahmoud [a driving instructor in Baghdad], some of the most aggressive drivers are so out of control they actually start playing chicken with his students when they see his bright yellow training car on the road." Why, in fact, "Mahmoud himself witnessed a deadly episode of road rage last month." Another Iraqi, asked about the traffic, is quoted as saying, "I feel bitter about it. We think of America as the most civilized country in the world and, now that they are here, we are more backward than ever."

Here is my reconstruction of the thought processes of the average Baghdad resident as perceived by a Toronto Star reporter:

"I'm not too sure about our fearless leader's policy of mass graves for dissidents, but I do like his plan to ease traffic congestion by imprisoning drivers. Man, that commute is rough. I guess that's why I was one of the 100% of Iraqis who voted for Saddam in the last election. Down with American-style gridlock."

Of course, by the time this piece of anti-American propaganda reached Torontonian's breakfast tables, it was yesterday's news.

James Boston
Toronto, Canada


Re: The National Association of Black Journalists doesn't speak for everyone

I hope that all Americans take a critical look at where political correctness is getting us. In trying to silence those whose opinions may offend certain groups, is to take a shot at the freedom that our ancestors fought so hard for.

I just received an e-mail by the National Association of Black Journalists stating that an apology had been issued by the Naples (Fla.) Daily News for an article written by Brent Batten, called "Why Hip-Hop Winterfest went bust." Batten writes an explanation for the abortive hip-hop event in a dialect 'written for fans of the genre.' NABJ called the article 'patently offensive.' The article was a satire on hip-hop culture.

My fiancé and I were enraged to hear that NABJ demanded an apology for an editorial piece, especially for a satirical one because satire and parody are theoretically sacredly protected by First Amendment rights. [Read the apology here.]

As an American who appreciates my rights, I believe everyone is entitled to share their thoughts and satirical comments in an 'open market place of ideas.'

Moreover, a side not on this matter: I do not appreciate other blacks speaking for me and every black person on Earth. Despite who gets all the media attention, we are not monolithic in thinking. I am angry that Batten was portrayed as being insensitive toward blacks because he mocked the hip-hop dialect. I am black and hip-hop has nothing to do with me. My life is dictated by principles, not ever-changing definitions of 'blackness.'

Ariana Ford


Re: Stem cell research

At his press conference on Monday, December 15, President Bush said "God's gift to the world is freedom." This is my response to the President's remark:

Mr.President, please allow our scientist the freedom to develop "cures" for millions of people who are suffering from chronic illnesses. Allow and support "somatic cell nuclear transfer" or therapeutic stem cell research to proceed unfettered. Put aside your personal religious views as well as the religious views of others and grant our scientists who see so much potential in therapeutic stem cell research, the freedom to do what they do best, doing research for cures. Fifty years from now, history will look back and agree that your total support was the right decision.

Harold D. Adams


web posted December 8, 2003

Re: Criminal activity or Christian persecution by Jeremy Reynalds (December 1, 2003)

After reading this article by Jeremy Reynalds (Dec. 1, 2003) and researching the issue further at www.rsusaga.com I've come to the conclusion that the police interviewed in this case either don't have a technological clue or they have an agenda. Did they 'jump the gun' in deciding these kids were guilty and now can't back down? Since when does a police officer shoot off his mouth to the press? The Claremore Police Dept. needs to look into this. It isn't a good thing to have a 'loose cannon' on the force. Looks to me like the Fellmans could have another case before the court, one of slander and libel by Officer Norris.

Name withheld by request


web posted December 1, 2003

Re: Barbra Streisand: The new Janet Reno by Michael Moriarty (web posted November 24, 2003)

As someone who loves Michael Moriarty's work (I think I own every one of his sublime CD's, films, books, and even talking books), I was surprised to read his article on Barbra Streisand and the recent Reagan film. Mr. Moriarty has spent much of his life celebrating freedom of expression -- indeed, it's the theme of his book, The Gift of Stern Angels. While the Reagan film may be simple-minded and ill-timed (my own husband died of Alzheimer's Disease after an eleven-year battle so I empathize with Mrs. Reagan), CBS's burial of the movie at Showtime seems to involve the same right which Mr. Moriarty holds so close to his heart. Is he suggesting that such freedoms are to be protected only in instances where the expression is sufficiently artistic, accurate, and properly timed? And, if so, who is qualified enough and objective enough to pass judgment on future films?

Linda Brengle
New Albany, Indiana

Michael Moriarty responds:

Showtime is freedom of speech to millions of people. Ms. Streisand, her husband and the program were not censored. For those, like yourself, who wish to see the film, it will be available. The book was not burned....just put on another shelf in the library.


Re: Do we want another Jessica Lynch? by Kimberley Jane Wilson (web posted November 24, 2003)

We got Jessica Lynch because the Military thought it was a good PR story. If backfired. The reports of bravery in the face of death were lies. The reports that she was in mortal danger from Iraqi soldiers were lies. And her Iraqi rescuer was cold calculating con man, who successfully parleyed the rescue of Jessica into asylum in the U.S. and millions of dollars.

Why does the public continue to be enamored of Jessica after the truth came out that she was an just unfortunate victim of war? Black Americans know why. Because she has an all American white, blond haired, blue eyed look. The public feels good about her. She's their daughter, sister, niece, or neighbor.

The real hero according to Shoshana Johnson and Jessica was a soldier named Miller. I forget his first name. They, and others, credit him with saving their lives by killing seven Iraqi soldiers. During the fight, Shoshana, Miller, and others claimed that their weapons repeatedly jammed when fired. But that's another story. Miller feels a little bitter about the whole thing. They all do. They don't blame Jessica. They blame the military and the media.

Rape is one of many terrible tortures that a man or woman may endure when captured. At this time, women and men accept the risk voluntarily. They are in best position to make that judgement. Americans, who cannot stomach risks to female soldiers in war will just have to learn deal with it.

The men (George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and the neo conservatives), who are responsible for this war, are all too old and rich to be in combat and when they were young they avoided it. Moreover none of their children or grandchildren are fighting in Iraq. You must be aware that these men are referred to pejoratively by military men as "chicken hawks." Colin Powel is only one among then who knows first hand the savagery of war.

Sandra Robinson


Re: George W. Bush's trip to Baghdad

What U.S. President George W. Bush did by taking the opportunity and chance of flying to Iraq to visit America's military personnel took true courage on the part of our Commander-In-Chief. His actions showed his caring and compassion for our troops, and expressed those same thoughts and feelings for the families of our G.I.'s.

But I would also like to give a big thumbs up to former First Lady, and Democratic Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Despite her liberal politics, and all the scandals surrounding her family during their years in both Arkansas, and the White House; Senator Rodham Clinton also exhibited caring, concern, and even compassion by having the courage to enter Afghanistan, and Iraq, to also visit America's sons and daughters in the U.S. military.

Some folks uttered criticisms of Senator Rodham Clinton for making the journeys, but is it based on her politics? Or can any of us read her mind, so as to question and cast doubt on her motives for making what is most definitely a hazardous trip to both regions?

Is it truly impossible to believe that any Democratic elected official can feel for our soldiers and their families so much that they would put aside fears for their own safety, and take that risk to go into dangerous territory, simply to let these soldiers and their families know that "Hey, I DO care!"?

In truth, both the President, and Senator Rodham Clinton, took a risk, visited our military personnel during a holiday in which we all should be grateful enough to give thanks to God for His blessings, and we should also be grateful that our elected officials would think enough of our people overseas, far from home, to give of their own time, and put their own lives in possible harms' way, simply to tell these men and women "We appreciate you, very much!"

President Bush, and Senator Rodham Clinton did far more this Thanksgiving 2003 than what President Bill Clinton ever did through 8 years in office.

Merry Christmas to both of them!

Sincerely,

William G. Smith
Lancaster, PA.

 

 

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