Talk of the Town - Paradigms June 17 2000

Saving my lunch Luke Boggs column "Saving Elian" (CL, June 10) about little Elian Gonzalez made me want to puke. Ronald Reagan this, Ronald Reagan that. Ronald Reagan was a senile old man who was just as good at back-slapping and glad-handing as Bill Clinton. Boggs obviously knows not of what he talks about. Totalitarianism and communism do not have to even be related. Nazi Germany was totalitarian, but not communist. And to say that communism failed because Reagan stood up to them is ludicrous. Communism would have failed no matter what, because eventually the people rise up, just like what happened in the USSR ten years ago. The coup and the ousting of communist power, I suppose those were the works of covert ops by Reagan's CIA? Please, don't make me laugh. Communism failed because it doesn't work not because Ronald Reagan sold arms to Iran to finance a revolution in Central America ... whoa, did I actually say that? Funny how selective memory works, isn't it Luke? Maybe that is why you don't remember Ronald Reagan's embarrassing testimony in front of the Senate all those years ago. Thankfully, there is an explanation for that now: He was senile and really couldn't remember it. What he didn't tell us is that he also didn't remember where the bathrooms in the White House were anymore and had to have poor Nancy take time out of her Say No To Drugs campaign to run his foreign policy. Ronald Reagan was a joke, and the fact that he is remembered differently is a testament to the spin doctors that the Republicans have working for them. They are almost, almost, as good as Bill Clinton's.

- Eric Bowman, Stone Mountain

P.S. About that war all those years ago that you spoke so glowingly of; you ought to have a talk with my aunt who lost her husband defending that country and see if she thinks it was worth the price paid. She might have a little different take than you do. Of course, how old are you anyway? Obviously not old enough to have been worried about having to go to that war.

Not such a glowing report I am writing to point out several inaccuracies in the Atlanta CL article "Traveling Nukes Through Georgia" by Nicole Lee in your June 3 edition. The inaccuracies come from mixing information about two separate programs and a lack of understanding about the transportation of nuclear materials.

First, the Department of Energy is not shipping commercial spent nuclear fuel anywhere in the United States. Any commercial spent nuclear fuel shipments that have taken place in Georgia have been done by the private reactor operators under the control of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These shipments are usually from the reactor to their company's storage site.

@body: The Department is shipping domestic and foreign research reactor spent nuclear fuel to the Savannah River Site, Aiken, S.C., and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID. There is an significant difference in fuel size and radioactivity between commercial spent nuclear fuel and research reactor spent nuclear fuel.

However, we are not shipping any spent fuel to Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, at this time. In fact, we are in the process of doing an environmental impact study on whether Yucca Mountain can be the repository for commercial spent fuel and other highly radioactive materials. Current schedules show shipments being in about 2010 to 2015 time frame.

@body: The shipment taking place this summer is a shipment of foreign research reactor spent nuclear fuel from the United Kingdom going to the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory in Idaho. It is not going to Nevada as reported. This will the second such shipment through Georgia.

@body: Ms. Lee reference to transport beginning in 1969 and continuing through 2009 is also incorrect. The program in questions is the Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel Acceptance program which was renewed in 1996 and will run until 2009. Under this program, U.S.-origin highly enriched uranium was provided to foreign countries for peaceful research with the understanding that the U.S. would take the spent fuel back. We have completed 14 shipments under this program with only one going through Georgia so far.

@body: While Ms. Lee did capture my quotes correctly, they where only referring to the research reactor shipments and not any commercial spent fuel shipments.

@body: I hope with this information you will see fit to print a correction to the story. If you need more information about the foreign research reactor program, please give me a call. If you want more information on Yucca Mountain and commercial spent nuclear fuel, please call Allen Benson at 702-794-1366 [e-mail: allen_benson@ymp.gov}

- James R. Giusti, ???????

NOW, it's our turn As the newly elected executive committee of the Georgia National Organization for Women, we are writing to challenge the sexist and incorrect reporting contained in the recent article you published about the change in leadership of Georgia NOW ("NOW's Not the Only 'n' Word," CL, May 27).

Your article begins with the false and overheated charge that Georgia NOW was "hijacked by women haters," but fails to note that five of the six state officers chosen by the membership at the May 7 election are women. As if to further justify this assertion, your reporter then proceeded to quote three men - two of whom do not even hold positions on the state council - leaving the impression they were speaking on behalf of Georgia NOW, when, in fact they were not. The article did quote Goldy Criscuolo, our new state president, but this hardly justifies your reporter's failure to even attempt to contact longtime NOW members and feminists like Liz Flowers and Claudia Schauffler, who were part of the victorious Progressive Slate.

Among those NOW members who did vote on behalf of our Progressive Slate were five members of organized labor, two of whom were women. Unfortunately, your reporter neglected to report this, preferring instead to rely on the bigoted, condescending and plainly inaccurate assertions of Tina Trent (who garnered all of two votes in her lackluster candidacy to become Georgia NOW state president).

According to Ms. Trent, Georgia NOW was "taken over" with the help of "the unibrowed dregs of organized labor carrying spanking-new NOW membership cards wedged sweatily between their beer-bellies and lifting belts and a gaggle of silk-socked males from the Georgia Equality Project." While questioning the only two of us (Goldy Criscuolo and Daniel Levitas) whom she did interview, your reporter made no attempt to verify these statements of Ms. Trent, nor did she even grant us the courtesy of responding to them. Your reporter further dismissed the elitist, intolerant, anti-labor and homophobic prose of Ms. Trent by calling it simply: "colorful language." So much for journalistic balance and objectivity at Creative Loafing.

Your article implies that the victory of the Progressive Slate resulted in the ouster of "longtime NOW officeholders," yet your article does not name or cite any of these people because they do not exist. In truth, there were only two candidates running for the state council, and neither of them (including Tina Trent) were "longtime officeholders" in Georgia NOW.

While the article correctly noted that the overwhelming defeat of Tina Trent stemmed largely from her opposition to hate crime legislation, your reporter mistakenly asserted that Ms. Trent opposed the hate crime bill "because it did not specifically address crimes against women such as rape." This is untrue. Ms. Trent stated in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she would oppose the hate crime bill regardless of whether "activists made a good faith effort to include crimes like rape." Instead of checking the facts with experts like Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, who authored the hate crime bill inclusive of gender from the start, your reporter took Ms. Trent's bogus assertions as fact. This is shoddy reporting at best. Had Creative Loafing taken the time to contact Sen. Fort, your readers would have learned that all the major women's groups in Georgia supported the bill. @body:Turning finally to the issue of the quote in the article attributed to Joe Criscuolo, we wish to inform the readers of Creative Loafing that Mr. Criscuolo has resigned his post as Action Vice President of the Atlanta Chapter of NOW. In his letter of resignation, Mr. Criscuolo, who has a life-long record in support of civil rights and progressive causes, explained that it was never his intention to offend or harm anyone, and that his remark was clearly taken out of context. However, in the interest of ensuring that Georgia NOW is able to maintain its focus on the critical issues that matter - fighting sexism and discrimination; protecting reproductive rights; promoting affirmative action and equal opportunity; challenging violence against women; and combating the radical right - Mr. Criscuolo has resigned his post as Action Vice President with Atlanta NOW.

We can only hope that your future reporting on the activities of Georgia NOW will be more accurate, balanced and objective.

- Goldy Criscuolo, President; Claudia Schauffler, Vice President/Executive; Liz Flowers, Legislative Coordinator; Lisa Taylor, Recorder/Archivist; Daniel Levitas, Financial Coordinator??

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