Letter of the Day

From the RTD:

Editor, Times-Dispatch: Fetnah Houdyschell expresses confusion over a perceived contradiction in Christian homosexuals [“Are Homosexuals Ignoring God’s Word?”]. Perhaps I can help resolve the quandary.

Everyone who has ever read the Bible heeds those portions that correspond to his own prejudices and ignores those passages that are counter to his own biases.

Anyone who believes in following the Bible literally will advocate stoning to death a disobedient child, putting male homosexuals to death, and stoning to death a woman who is not a virgin when she marries. He or she also will believe that women in menses are unclean and should be separated from men, a man is worth 50 shekels and a woman is worth 30, a man selling his daughter into slavery is behaviong acceptably, it is an abomination for a woman to wear men’s clothing.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Through the millennia our Western culture has largely rejected those biblical dicta that are counter to basic morality.

“How can [homosexuals] justify the lifestyle they’ve chosen [sic] and ignore the written word of the God they claim to honor and obey?” Houdyschell asks. It’s simple. We all ignore the written word of God in various ways. The part about two men sleeping together didn’t even make the Top 10 list in Exodus 20. (Note: As far as I can tell, two women sleeping together is okay.)

The thinking morality in the U.S. is now waiting for those who advocate slavery, misogyny, and homophobia to catch up with us. Kimberly Batteau. charles city.


Quote of the Day

“Once they get the movies throttled, how long will it be before we’re told what we can say and cannot say into a radio microphone? If you make a pitch on a nationwide radio network for a square deal for the underdog will they call you a Commie?”

–Frank Sinatra

Moronic Tripe of the Day

From today’s RTD:

Editor, Times-Dispatch: How do the media let a candidate for President, having served many years in Senate, get away with not talking about votes and issues once strongly debated during those years? Do the media not have access to John Kerry’s record? After all, when another Senator, Bob Dole, ran for the presidency, the media replayed and rehashed just about every vote he cast.

Kerry spent four months in Vietnam and 30-some years later is running for the highest office in the land. That is at least what the pundits and media would have us believe. He never was a war protester, claiming his “band of brothers” were nothing more than a bunch of war criminals. He never was lieutenant governor under Michael Dukakis. He never was Senator for 19 years, or while Senator, never cast a vote, never gave a floor speech that was videotaped, and never, ever made contradictory statements or misstatements. William Schwarz. midlothian.

It is a matter of history that U.S. soldiers killed innocent civilians in Vietnam just as it is a matter of history that in all wars innocent civilians are killed (Hiroshima anyone?). There is no such thing as a good war. A war is a signifier of utter and complete diplomatic failure and, moreover, the utter and complete failure of civilization. .

The fact that John Kerry came back from the Vietnam War disillusioned and had the balls to stand up and be counted against it shows a rare type of courage. He could have come back and lived a life of ease and comfort with hiswealthy family, but he spoke up and took action for what he believed in. That is a rarer kind of courage than that of someone who’s ordered to shoot the enemy and shoots the enemy.

As far as John Kerry’s Senate voting record, anyone with an internet connection can look that up. The fact that the media doesn’t focus on that only shows how well Bush and his cronies are doing keeping the focus on the so-called ‘War on Terror’. There’s only so much time in the day to cover news. When Bob Dole ran, I don’t remember his Senate voting record being an issue covered by the media at all. As I recall, he retired from the Senate (which he probably would’ve done anyway). Morever, anyone who thought Bob Dole was going to beat Bill Clinton obviously was on some kind of hallucinatory drugs. Bill Clinton would still be President if a third term was allowed, so the issue of the media covering Dole’s Senatorial voting record is largely a moot one.

As far as contradictory statement or misstatements, here’s a list of some of Bush’s misstatements. Whatever John Kerry has said, I don’t think he could possibly come within five miles of the pure idiocy that has come out of our God-lovin’ President’s mouth.

Women in Politics

When Republicans mouth off about Teresa Heinz Kerry feminist views, they should remember what one of their dear allies once said:

“One of the things that politics has taught me is that men are not a reasoned or reasonable sex.”

“In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.”

Both of these quote come from one source – Conserative British Prime Minister (1979-1990) Margaret Thatcher.

Letter of the Day

Democrats, Too, Believe in God

Editor, Times-Dispatch: In his column, “When It Comes to Hypocrisy, Democrats Have Cornered the Market,” John Leo implies that as a “fervent non-minority Christian” I would be “moving into the Republican column.” I realize many people are Republicans because of their Christian beliefs. However, it is possible to be a Democrat because a person is a fervent Christian.

As a Christian, I believe God wants everyone to have access to quality health care, to have a decent place to live, to be paid a living wage for a day’s work, to have access to an excellent education, and to have enough food in his stomach when he goes to bed at night.

As a Christian, I believe God wants His world to be free of pollution.

As a Christian, I believe God cries every time a species of animal, which He has created, becomes extinct.

As a Christian, I believe God wants corporations to treat their employees, their customers, and their stockholders with fairness.

As a Christian, I believe God is much more interested in how I treat my neighbors in the world than in whether I say “under God” when I say the Pledge of Allegiance.

As a Christian, I believe God loves us all, regardless of our faith, color, sexual orientation, or nationality.

For all these reasons, I will be voting for the Democratic ticket this fall. Many Christians will be voting for the Republican ticket. I respect their choice. All I ask is that my beliefs be respected also. Let’s not argue about whose side God is on, but instead each of us should vote according to our knowledge of God’s will. Sarah Abernathy Hoyle. midlothian.

The above writer was chosen as ‘Correspondent of the Day’ for today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Letter of the Day II

Like Dead Fish, Paper Shines – and Stinks

Editor, Times-Dispatch: No one ever will accuse your Editorial Pages of being fair and balanced, and to your credit, at least you never have made that claim.

Ross Mackenzie’s thinly veiled prejudices sparkle with the creation of such classic pearls as “Dems” and, more recently, “HM” (for homosexual marriage) as his good-ol’-boy idea of a humorous synonym for same-sex marriage [“There Likely Will Be an Amendment, But Not Yet”]. And let’s not even mention the way you demonize Michael Moore, a real patriot with enough energy, conviction, and talent to expose the common thugs who broke into the White House, guns in hand.

The Times-Dispatch has no competition in Richmond, and I say this without irony. But all too often your paper’s best feature is the rubber band around it. Frederick Chiriboga. richmond.

Letter of the Day

From the RTD:

Preachy Entertainers Don’t Entertain

Editor, Times-Dispatch: I understand Bruce Springsteen is rounding up his friends to put together a Bush-bashing concert tour in October. In an interview he countered complaints about Hollywood involvement in politics by stating that he was a citizen, too.

Well, I agree. However, there is a feeling among most Americans that entertainers should, as some have said, shut up and sing. Springsteen fans go to his concerts for the music, not to hear political speeches.

Hollywood already has power over the American culture through the various media. We willingly give Hollywood that power and in return we expect entertainers to entertain us, not seek additional power through political involvement. Most Americans resist putting too much power into the hands of an elite class of people. That’s not the way America works.

The values of Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment media are, by and large, not shared by the average American in “flyover country.” If they want to get involved in politics, they should jump in with both feet. Many have done so, to their credit.

What really galls me is when they preach to the rest of us about how evil we are, in regard to the protection of the environment or how we treat the poor and disenfranchised, for example. Then they go home to their multi-million-dollar mansions, summer homes, or winter resorts, in their limousines, luxury cars, or SUVs. Worse still, they fly off in their gas-guzzling private jets to foreign countries and then trash America some more.

Ben Affleck in 2008 anyone? He might as well try something else; his movie career is done. Ryan Peede. midlothian.

Partisan politics only serve to divide and conquer. When entertainers take sides, they cheapen their art. If it’s woven into the art and done out of overt protest (the protest singers of the 60’s, for example) and billed obviously as such (Hail to the Thief, Radiohead’s last album is another example), then I consider it a good expression of freedom of speech, but the political message shouldn’t be force fed to people just looking to listen to some good music. In other words, if I’m showing up to what I think is just good ol’ fashioned entertainment, it shouldn’t turn into a political rally. If I want to show up to a rally and there are protest singers involved, that’s a different story. Truth in advertising is all I’m talking about.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Saw it over the weekend. Enough has been written about it. Here are some good reviews:




My personal reactions:

1) Sadness. Remembering how it felt on 9/11 with that feeling of helplessness, like the world was ending. Moore shows a blank screen for about three or four minutes and simply lets the soundtrack represent the attacks. Very effective.

2) Disgust. Remembering how it was when the whole country was in limbo while bean counters and assholes in robes decided who was going to be the next President of the United States. What made it all the more surreal was watching as Al Gore presided over the Senate as African-American members of the House paraded by without a single Senator’s signature on their objections to the election results. See this link for more on that.

3) Bemusement and a perverse amusement. Watching George W. Bush in his worst moments. Does this guy have any good moments? He’d be completely hilarious if such serious consequences had not resulted from his ineptitude.

4) Horror. The death, destruction, lost lives, and the complete vacuity of many of the American soldiers’ comments. They’d been duped along with the rest of us, but so many didn’t see it. They were too busy jamming to their hard rock music while killing civilians. Of course, any of those civilians could’ve actually been a terrorist, so it’s OK.

5) Hilarity. As Michael Moore reads the Patriot Act outside the Capitol to oblivious Congressman who signed it into law without reading it. As Tappahannock Virginia authorities wonder why terrorists would want to strike there. As local Sheriff’s ‘infiltrate’ a small peace movement in a small town.

6) More Disgust mixed with perverse amusement. At a system in which laws are passed without our representatives even reading the text of the bills. “Sit down, my son. We don’t read most of the bills. Do you really know what would entail if we were to read every bill that we pass?” says Congressman John Conyers, (D-MI). Obviously.

7) Applause. ‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World’ by Neil Young plays as the credits roll.

Message to the SCC

Submitted today to this SCC site, calling for comments concerning the feasibility of placing utility distribution lines underground:

The protection of our electrical energy supplies at the consumer level is an issue that transcends narrow business concerns. In our society, we have come to rely on electricity for everything from pumping water out of our wells to ensuring our meats are properly cooked. In the 21st Century we should have electrical supplies that hold up in the face of nature. Underground lines is a way to provide this reliability. Together, we can share the cost and make this happen for everyone, not just those who live in newer developments.

Letter of the Day

Jail Isn’t Right For Graffiti Crimes

Editor, Times-Dispatch: The recent plea agreement regarding graffiti represents the illogic of many powerful people. It is easy to throw someone in the slammer and rid the city of his or her presence temporarily, but when the convicted individual is sentenced to an unnecessary amount of time, sitting in jail serves no beneficial purpose. The once artistically motivated individual will only become resentful of the institution that determined time in jail would be an appropriate sentence for the crime committed.

Graffiti only highlights areas of the city where social decay has been a problem for years. Abandoned buildings, tattered billboards, and other eyesores become appropriate canvases for one to work with. Those who cannot acknowledge the artistic merit in graffiti must at least agree that once a building has been “tagged” it is noticed. We should be thanking the individuals who would draw our attention to danger spots in our beloved city.

Richmond’s Graffiti Task Force, consisting of a single noble individual, would be well equipped with ex-graffiti artists at hand. Cleaning up spray paint is an expensive and tedious task, I concede, so why have those responsible for any property damage sit in jail while the city spends more money hiring individuals to clean up after them? Localities would be better served by sentencing the artists to countless hours of community service in the form of such clean-ups, or better yet, beautification of public schools.

Jail time for graffiti is an ineffective punishment and a waste of public resources. Elisabeth Murphy. richmond

Histrionic Personality Disorder

This is a new one to me. I thought I’d heard of the most common disorders. According to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health, 31 million adult Americans, or almost 15 percent of the general public, have at least one clinically defined personality disorder. These include paranoid, antisocial, schizoid, avoidant, histrionic, and dependent personality disorders.

The U.S. study did not test for three additional personality disorders—borderline, narcissistic and schizotypal disorders. According to Dr. Bridget Grant, chief of the epidemiology and biochemistry laboratory in the intramural clinical and biological research division of NIAAA, if it had done so the proportion of the U.S. population afflicted by personality disorders would have been most likely much larger. More information on Histrionic Personality Disorder, from Psychology.net:

A pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  • is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention

  • interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior

  • displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions

  • consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self

  • has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail

  • shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion

  • is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances

  • considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

This describes most drama majors I met while in school. Is it a disorder or a lifestyle?