Letters to the Editor - P-eyes? November 20 2003

Bob Barr: Thank you for your aggressive stance on privacy issues in the U.S. (Flanking Action, “‘Going Postal’ takes a new meaning,” Nov. 13).

I believe there is a double basis for the government’s aggressive assault on all rights to privacy. The first is political control, not security. The second is increased profit for private companies at the expense of our government.

While the rhetoric is consistent with shrinking the government, the actual purpose is to expand the number of private contracts to which taxpayers are beholden.

-- Peggy Davis, Atlanta

br>?A life is a life
I have long admired your writings on the death penalty, but I was prepared to be outraged when I read the subheading on your article about the Terri Schiavo case, “Behind the right-to-life pitch is a culture of death” (Fishwrapper, “Saving Terri Schiavo, killing America,” Nov. 13). I expected a rehash of the hatchet job on pro-lifers that Kevin Griffis cooked up to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade last January.

I was both delighted and astonished, then, to read a more thorough and accurate expose of Peter Singer’s frightening work than I’ve seen in the mainstream press, and I was flabbergasted that you pointed out the support Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger afforded the eugenics movement.

Just as self-styled progressives like Sanger once promoted the sterilization of people and races they deemed inferior (and here in the South, devised the system of racial segregation to keep them at bay), their successors today seem obsessed with dehumanizing and destroying unborn children. Yet we adoptive parents all know, as you yourself admit, how dishonest it is to dismiss the value of those “potential” lives in the womb that are spared from the abortionist to become our own sons and daughters.

I just wish those on the left who espouse the “War is not the Answer” slogan realized how badly they hurt their cause by their tacit endorsement of the “Abortion is the Answer” viewpoint. Either human life is sacred and inviolable, or it is not. Unless we uphold the sanctity of every human life, then opposition to George Bush and his endless wars is nothing more than cynical political opportunism — the very charge of which Bush and other opponents of abortion and euthanasia so often stand accused.

-- Ron Chandonia, Peachtree City

br>?Never give up
I applaud much of your Schiavo piece (Fishwrapper, “Saving Terri Schiavo, killing America,” Nov. 13). But as a woman with disabilities who has been in Terri’s position, the writer saddened me, too.

The alternative form of feeding by a tube invented in the 1880s works by the same gravity and air pressure you use when sipping your Coke. There is no advanced technology, legion of machines or high cost involved in eating this way.

I was surprised to see this misrepresented.

Terri also regularly uses an eye-blink protocol found in intensive care units and cerebral palsy centers everywhere to discuss her needs with her caretakers. If she were allowed a 65-cent communication board made with a file and marker, much more could be learned about her thoughts right now. Both blinking and looking at symbols saved the lives of two political and religious liberal disabled people at my house.

I’m also surprised a writer would assume Terri’s prognosis of never being different and the acceptance of no therapy since 1991 was OK.

I was declared to be like Terri, yet write you now. The same doctors said I was barren without any testing to prove their belief first. My progressive “sterility problem” named Max just started college.

What should that tell you about the meaning of Terri’s alternative communications?

Been there, survived that.

-- The Rev. Rus Cooper-Dowda, St. Petersburg, Fla.

br>?Rock the boat
I feel that I must take exception to Roni Sarig’s recent comments regarding David Rovics’ song, “Jenin” (Sharp Notes, Nov. 6). Sarig states, “One that’ll get Rovics crossed off our not-just-a-knee-jerk-lefty-with-no-moral-compass list: ‘Jenin,’ in which he romanticizes the suicide bomber as a freedom fighter with a valid mission, rather than simply a brainwashed kid.”

After listening to the song and reading the lyrics on Rovics’ website (davidrovics.com), I can only conclude that Roni was listening to something else entirely. Instead of hearing a romanticization of a suicide bomber, I found an attempt to contextualize and understand the motivation of someone usually held in contempt by the American media culture. Jewish-American folksinger Rovics attempts to show how the direct experience of overwhelming violence by the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation, as exemplified by the widespread killing and destruction in the city of Jenin last year and in the face of a largely apathetic if not complicit world, leads to a furthering of a cycle of violence.

As he states in the liner notes to the record, “You reap what you sow, Israel. It’s harsh, I know — it’s the same here, too (see New York City for more information). But that’s reality, like it or not, whether or not it fits neatly in your moral Geiger counters. The way to peace is through justice. End the occupation.”

-- Tom MacMaster, Stone Mountain

br>?No room for two
I have read with amusement the responses to John Sugg’s article on WABE and their programming format. Classical music fans are pretty fired up over this. Both of them.

I happen to agree with Sugg that there are many interesting talk shows on NPR and it is a terrible pity that we do not get them in Atlanta. While at home, streaming audio allows me to tap into the only left-leaning talk radio there is. Too bad I can’t get it into my car.

I suppose the true tragedy is that the “world-class” city of Atlanta cannot support two NPR affiliates, one with a classical format and another with intelligent talk. That way, lefties could have a little talk, and classical music fans could have second and third cups of Lois Reitzes.

-- Mike Boykin, Atlanta

br>?Let it flow
As an Atlanta native and a longtime service industry worker and patron, I wish to convey the sense of urgency any bill regarding restricted bar hours brings not only to myself but many of my peers (News & Views, “Mary, Mary, why you buggin’?” Oct. 16).

Many of us were greatly set back financially by the recent Sunday restrictions. Further restrictions only seem to damage an already-stagnant economy, hurting an industry typically able to avoid the impact of financial recession. Each new story seems to be warning of impending utility hikes and lack of city funds.

Why, then, is the city considering forcing out not only the tax dollars generated by the employees of the service industry, but the establishments themselves — all of which pay various license and permits fees simply to exist? Would not a better plan be to encourage the growth of an industry that is almost always funded entirely by private monies, yet contributes a great deal of its profits to the city economy? We should not be shunning future party-goers, we should be welcoming them and the dollars they bring.

Many smaller cities deal with larger problems than Buckhead quite effectively. New Orleans is an obvious example. Or look at Memphis, Tenn.’s Beale Street. The question really is: If Atlanta plans to be the city it claims to be, will future event planners take us seriously if we can’t handle Buckhead? Southwest Atlanta rings out with shots almost nightly. Will new bar hours save those lives? Or is it that nightly shootings are OK, as long as they don’t take place in Buckhead? And has anyone asked the burning question: Did restricted bar hours on Sunday stop this most recent shooting?

-- Christopher T. Jackson, Atlanta