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Frame and Fortune

Posted 3/1/2006

Brian Morton is so right that Democrats should start framing their Republican opponents now (Political Animal, Feb 22).

If I were running against a hard-right warmongering creep of the Dick Cheney stripe (who Russ Smith admires), I would spread the rumor that my opponent fucks baby ducks and let him spend the rest of his campaign denying it.

The ends sometimes justify the means.

Gerald Ben Shargel

Speaking Of Ducks . . .

Have you thought about going hunting with Dick Cheney (Right Field, Feb. 22)? Would you still be a big fan if he shot you in the face and then ducked the reality for two or three days?

Do something horribly wrong and then let a woman go to press with it . . . that seems about right for the Republicans.

Andrew Tamberino

Best of Times, Waste of Times

I read Jessica Leshnoff’s article “Waste Not” (Mobtown Beat, Feb 22) and couldn’t help but laugh. I had to double-check the names and places. This was what I have been going through for almost a month. Where was this article when I needed it?

My work has recently brought me to Baltimore via Philadelphia; I have been working in the area for six months now. Being waste-aware, it didn’t take me long to realize that recycling was not the norm in these parts. I started recycling my personal office waste immediately. Not much time had passed when I started trying to stop others in the office from disposing of recyclables. I was pulling things out of garbage cans soon thereafter. It became an obsession. There had to be an easier way.

This is a decent-size city. I was sure I’d have a recycling program set up in no time. The only thing I found out quickly was do not expect the local government to help. Anne Arundel County offered no assistance! And the only incentive it offered was to put the company name in a local newspaper.

I pursued private avenues, but no one wanted to give any answers. One particular organization,, promised a waste analysis and an information packet. Neither ever made it.

I finally received answers today—ironically, the day after reading the story about Dana Koteen and his recycling struggles. I prepared for the worst, but was still surprised to hear the costs we would be taking on to do a little to help the planet.

More people need to be aware that recycling is a necessary part of life. Baltimore needs more people like Dana Koteen and Jessica Leshnoff. We only get one earth.

I would like to thank Ms. Leshnoff for preparing others for the trials that Dana and I have endured.

Nicholas Greto
Newark, Del.

I was glad to see City Paper focusing some attention on recycling issues in Baltimore. The big question for me and perhaps hundreds of others is: Is this stuff really being recycled? No one knows.

There are no annual reports or press releases from the Bureau of Solid Waste informing us as to how many tons of each material were recycled, what companies took it off the city government’s hands, and what products or materials the stuff was recycled into. We’re all in the dark here. Thousands of households (and a few businesses) are conscientiously going through the motions of being ecologically responsible, and it’s all based on blind faith.

I am not at all reassured when I see the conglomeration of glass, metal, and plastic containers tossed into the packer truck and then crushed. How is that compacted mess going to be rationally and economically “recycled”?

Chris Stadler

Mr. Wrong Weigh-In

Joe MacLeod must have been produced from a drug-induced fuck and raised up in a fertilizer factory. P.U.

Leo A. Williams

Speaking of Leo A. Williams . . .

OK, guys, I’m scratching my head on this one. Why, oh why, do the scions of editorial wisdom at Baltimore’s Fairest and Balancedest Alternative Weekly feel the need to print every bigoted, homophobic rant to flow from the poison pen of Mr. Leo A. Williams? (“No Separation of Church and State,” The Mail, Feb 15). Is it just to raise the ire of City Paper’s sane and tolerant readership, guaranteeing a spate of angry, reasonable responses in the following issue?

OK, I’ll bite.

It is indeed nice of Mr. Williams to take us by the hand, explaining that “the separation of church and state is a man-made concept.” I suppose that’s fair, given that “church” and “state” themselves are man-made concepts. And I suppose it’s possible that there “is no separation of church and state in God.” I’m just glad I don’t live there. I live in Baltimore, where there is a separation of church and state, and frankly, this “God” doesn’t even sound like a nice place to visit.

He further asks us to “imagine giving a people a right to do what is immoral!” Uh, sorry, Mr. Williams, I don’t need to imagine this. Last time I checked, the state you wish so desperately to marry to whichever church you happen to infest exists solely to prop up an economic system based on the right of a few men to viciously exploit the labor of their fellows. I fail to see how anyone can be so pruriently obsessed with the sexual activities of consenting adults, while capitalism fucks us all whether we bend over or not.

Jason Lewis

Predictably, your homophobia allowed you to disregard the rational and moral stance that permits sexual activity only by “consenting adults.” Let me repeat: “consenting adults.” But no, like every moron who does not possess the intellectual ability to discern the difference, you use the specter of pedophilia as the moral coup de grâce. Pedophilia is sex between an adult and a child, whether it be homo or heterosexual in nature, and the law is there to protect the child. There are similar laws on the books to protect the weaker sex from the abuses of being regarded as the property of their menfolk. In reference to your opinion that there should be no separation between church and state, you disregard the purpose, which is to not allow any one religion to dictate civil issues and to act as a check and balance system against corruption. Can you say “Catholic priests”? And while we are on the subject of perversion, does it not strike you as unsavory that you are so involved in other people’s sex lives?

Sharon Price

Leo A. Williams has it all wrong when he writes, “There is no separation of church and state in God.” Listen, state ALWAYS trumps church and God!

For example, when property or other disputes erupt between church members, they are invariably settled in civil court (aka “the state”), not by God in heaven. (I capitalize that word due to convention, not conviction.) When a clergyman is convicted of fondling little kids, it’s the state, not God, that sends him to hell (aka prison). When a TV evangelist bilks his/her gullible viewers of millions, it’s the state, not God, that levels retribution. It’s not God, but the IRS that blesses churches with their tax-exempt status.

States also co-op God for their own purposes. Except for the Quakers and a few others, besides psychologically sedating their flocks, organized religions serve as patriotic chaplains of their respective nation-states. Ever notice how, especially in this country, the national flag adorns the altar of nearly every house of worship? They are there as a reminder of who’s boss! In places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan, it’s the state that hires and fires religious leaders. Same-same in the U.S. military.

Mr. Williams finally gets it right when he says, “. . . the separation of church and state is a man-made concept.” In this country, we remember the men who performed that service to humanity as the signers of the U.S. Constitution!

Herman M. Heyn

Scandal is Dandle but...

Kudos to Van Smith and City Paper for their report on the problems with the administration of the Board of Liquor License Commissioners (“180 Degrees,” Mobtown Beat, Feb. 1). I hope that Sam Daniels is able to bring some kind of new image to the board.

Unless you are already connected with the old-boys club that holds most of the licenses, getting a liquor license in Baltimore can be a dirty proposition. And then, as a licensee, you would sometimes get the feeling that the board, with all of its arrogance, might just take your license away for no apparent reason. Having almost lost a license to the 180-day rule, I can tell you that keeping a license alive is just as difficult, and extremely stressful. There was absolutely no communication about it from the board. I had to contact them to ask them about the law, and their answers were rarely helpful.

What the article did not really touch on was how this law came about, and why. If there have been no new licenses issued by the city since 1968, why all of a sudden do we need to terminate all of these inactive licenses? It seems to me that the man who introduced this bill should have better things to do than mess with people’s livelihoods to make the remaining licenses more valuable in the future. Perhaps he owns a few licenses, or knows people who own some . . . just a thought.

Todd Berger

The author is the former co-owner of the Ottobar.


Clarification: Our story on residents relocated because of the East side biotech project (“Moved and Shaken,” Feb. 22) was unclear about one bit of outdated information. As reported in the story, the relocation package for residents was originally set in 2002 at a maximum of $70,000. But because of rising housing costs, that figure now serves as a minimum. Essentially, homeowners are given whatever it costs to find a home elsewhere comparable to their East side residences.

Editor’s note: This issue we start making the most of one of the few things newsprint actually has going for it in this digital age: puzzles. Thus the new City Paper Puzzle Page, featuring Jonesin’ Crosswords and Psycho Sudoku. Lick your pencils and turn to page 97 to get going.

And hey, dig into our annual EAT dining guide, which you should find inserted into this issue’s center spread.

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