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Mine: Your Business

Posted 4/12/2006

Thank you very much helping to cast some light on the actions of the mining industry in West Virginia (“Tragic Mountains,” March 29). Like the creator of Black Diamonds, I am also a native of the West Virginia hills, and want to see those hills and mountains protected from those who would destroy them for their value and leave my home ruined. And yes, West Virginia will always be my home, no matter where I go or how long I am away; I will always feel that connection to the hills of my childhood.

Mountaintop removal is just the latest chapter in the mining industry’s exploitation of the people and land of West Virginia. It’s good to see that there are still those who are not blinded by the promises of cheap energy, and will stand up against the media machine of the industry to fight for the people and the land.

James Calvert
Baltimore

Plan B, Please

Brian Morton got it right in “No Sex, Please,” when he summed up the viewpoint of the radical Right (Political Animal, March 29): “Anybody can overturn Roe v. Wade. Real men want to overturn Griswold v. Connecticut.

And the “real men” of the Maryland Senate are moving forward toward exactly that goal: On March 28, in an outrageous move to stop women from preventing unintended pregnancies, Senate Bill 297 was voted on and defeated by one vote. This bill would have allowed women access to emergency contraception, better known as the “morning after pill” or Plan B, from a licensed pharmacist without a prescription.

This was a common-sense bill that was all about prevention and not a bit about abortion—by any stretch or skewing of science. So, how does the Maryland Senate prefer that women prevent unintended pregnancies? Apparently by saying, “No sex, please.”

At least eight states and 40 countries offer emergency contraception without a doctor’s prescription. France approved emergency contraception in 1999 and currently has half the U.S. abortion rate. The Maryland Senate had an opportunity to reduce abortion and increase women’s access to health care—instead, a scientifically illiterate and immoral majority told women to say, “No sex, please.” (Thanks, gentlemen, this especially works well in situations of domestic violence and rape.)

Echoing this “no sex” sentiment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—despite overwhelming approval from scientific advisers—still refuses to allow pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription. So the battle must be fought separately and repeatedly on the battlegrounds of each state, and in the Maryland General Assembly next year.

Marylanders can take steps to ensure that politics doesn’t trump science and common sense again in 2007—and the first step is to vote against the “no sex” senators in elections this fall.

Christine R. Valeriann
Baltimore

Covering Alleged Black Corruption is Racist, as Is Covering Who’s Covering Alleged Black Corruption

In the latest Media Circus article (“Charitable Coverage,” March 29), Gadi Dechter tries to bring home a point in his most sincere and cultural perspective, racial favoritism. For centuries, elected officials of Caucasian descent have given jobs, contracts, favors, and more to family, friends, and their closest associates. However, now that a powerful black official has allegedly done the same, it is a tremendous uproar. And God forbid the black media outlets not report on this official, like The Sun has in its obviously biased reporting. Since the Baltimore Afro-American hasn’t decided to take the low road, it must be some black conspiracy or something! Is it racial?

Let’s get some things clear before I go on. The first is that while these charges have yet to be proven, they are incidents that have been reported to be going on way before 2006. Dale Clark, who single-handedly built the current City Council web site, which assists constituents such as myself, was hired over a decade ago. Janice Dixon, who works for a company that got contract funding, never directly received a penny from these agreements. However, with this being an election year and City Council President Sheila Dixon likely to become the first black female mayor of this great city, I wonder why The Sun has all of a sudden found these alleged improprieties. Is it politics?

Second, those elected officials, black and white, who returned illegal campaign donations from churches did so voluntarily once it was discovered that it was in conflict with state regulations. And as for President Dixon’s generous contributions to charities that assist those less fortunate, I ask you, Mr. Dechter: How much have you given to help improve the lives of those in the black community? Is it $0?

Hassan Allen-Giordano
Baltimore

I read with spy-glass interest the article headlined “Charitable Coverage.” Meanness in America has become a delicious “truffle” in the body of politics.

After reading the article, I thought of two black American women who caught “hell” living in this separate and unequal American society because they chose to work out their professional struggles in their own way, not a man’s way of thinking.

Shirley Chisholm once said, “In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing—anti-humanism.”

Leontyne Price once said, “I am here and you will know that I am the best and will hear me. The color of my skin or the kink of my hair or the spread of my mouth has nothing to do with what you are listening to.”

As an Afrocentric feminist who refuses to be polite to anyone who desires to make me bend my back in order for them to make progress in their own life while reducing my intelligence, and female human essence, to nothing, I am as MAD as an angry black woman can get. I do not like what I see happening in Baltimore City by both conservatives and “can’t tell a lie” Democrats who are discrediting the intelligence of smart black women and want them out of office.

I am amazed that voting black women have not expressed outrage about the quiet way certain white men are trying to remove City Council President Sheila Dixon from office—Coon Mammy cannot be a mayor (my personal opinion). There is no sisterhood in black community churches on Sunday morning.

To blame the Rev. Dorothy Boulware of the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper for not publishing unknown legal facts before a court examines the case is unfair. I do not believe the Rev. Boulware owes any allegiance to conservative white folks who believe their lies are right because they are white.

Who was the individual who went to the state prosecutor with evidence against Sheila Dixon? Did he steal the evidence from Ms. Dixon’s office? Will the state prosecutor tell us where he got his “evidence” about Sheila Dixon? Is white law fair in courts?

When a woman plays “hardball” on the job and can match a man’s schemes, women get punished.

As I see it, there are too many women in all racial groups doing nothing while conservative men make bad political moves to remove the poor from the landscape in America and in all places in the world. We must work together as women to neutralize men who know what is best for the “little wife” or their sexual-addicted habit with “the whore.”

This I know: There will not be another white mayor in this city if Sheila Dixon is found guilty of charges of any kind. Black women from every economic advantage or disadvantage will vote to bring about change in this city. Trust us.

Larnell Custis Butler
Baltimore

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