Where's Ron Paul?
As far as it went, Edward Ericson Jr.'s article "They've Got Issues" (Feature, Jan 30) was both informative and well-done, but he left out GOP Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the only person in the race on either side--indeed, in the last several presidential contests!--to even mention the Constitution of the United States.
OK, granted, City Paper is an ultra left-wing rag that for 30 years has bashed the Right and most moderates, but one still had the apparently mistaken impression that you cared a fig for the Constitution! Ron Paul wants to stick to its letter, bring all the troops home, end all our foreign and bogus wars, halt the IRS reign of terror, and cut all our taxes, and he also stresses personal liberty, but that registered not one iota with City Paper!
I feel like Rick Blaine in the movie Casablanca when the Vichy French policeman (Claude Raines) asks him, "Rick, why did you come to Casablanca?" "For my health, for the waters." "Waters? What waters? We're in the desert!" Rick replies, "I was misinformed." So was I.
Vincent Williams' commentary on the good feelings people receive by supporting presidential hopeful Barack Obama ("She's the Man," Feature, Jan. 30) and his perspective on "hope" changing the world corroborate that late, brilliant writer James Baldwin, who said, "The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it."
Conal Bashiri Rose
Pigtown: Look Again
I am writing in response to a letter written by Joel Perry in today's City Paper ("Living in Denial," The Mail, Jan. 30).
While I understand Mr. Perry's frustration with the city's lack of support for Pigtown, I take issue with his statement that Pigtown hasn't changed, and I was especially incensed by his unfair categorization of Pigtown's residents. As a resident and business owner, I can say without fail that the No. 1 resource we have in this community are the people who live here--both longtime residents and new arrivals. We will be the catalyst for change, not the city. My business, the new dry cleaner (Ladies and Gents II), the new salon and day spa (Fabulous), the revamped Nick's Subs (best fried fish sub in Baltimore, I swear!), the revamped Carroll Station, Bobby's Jazz Club and Cigar Bar, Shahrazad's--all of these businesses are here because the residents want us here, and new businesses are following in our footsteps. Redevelopment projects--both residential and mixed-use--are either currently under way or will be very shortly. All of us are investing our time, energy, and money, and I assure you that it's not because we're "naive."
The residents are also demanding safer and cleaner streets, resources for their children, and a better quality of life. I am proud to have lived here for the past eight years, and I am proud to be raising my son in such a supportive, wonderful community. Calling the new residents "naive" is simply childish and insulting, and has no place in an intelligent discourse on how to fix the city. Come to Carroll Park and play soccer with my son and me, Mr. Perry. I promise to not throw punches.
The writer is the owner of Evelyn's: The Pigtown Coffeehouse and Café.
You guys at City Paper are gonna get chapped hands if you keep wringing them about the culture of violence and murder here ("Bloodletting," Feature, Jan 23).
Here are some truths: water is wet, shit stinks, fire burns, and Baltimore is a violent, burnt-out city.
If your childhood nickname is stupid motherfucker, you may just live in Baltimore. If you're a 24-year-old grandmother, or a 40-year-old great-grandmother, you may just live in Baltimore. If little girls just want a baby, not a child, and boys just want to get laid, you may just live in Baltimore.
Please have an open and honest series about why Baltimore is a violent, burnt-out city, except for a couple of soon-to-be-gated Yuppie Zones. Or please stop wringing your hands.
Michael S. Eckenrode
Meat: It's Not Sustainable
Woodberry Kitchen continues the trend of restaurants catering to an eco-aware market ("Pleasure Principled," Omnivore, Jan. 23). While these owners deserve praise for emphasizing local agricultural products, the new trend is not as sustainable as commonly perceived.
While I'm sure many owners and suppliers endeavor to be honest and responsible, many menus are dominated by beef, pork, and chicken, and distinctly short on meatless options. Regardless of how local the meat is, laws of ecology cannot be ignored. Animals require at least 5 to 10 pounds of grain and legumes (primarily corn, barley, and soybeans) to produce one mere pound of edible flesh. Attempting to feed an American-style diet to the world's population would require three times more arable land than exists on the planet. It's not the poverty-stricken populations who are out of step, it's meat-hungry Americans.
Although local meat suppliers may claim to generate less waste per animal with fewer pathogens, pathogens are still assumed to be present (since manure cannot, by definition, smell like roses or be sterile). Thus, we cannot assume this fecal stew is not contaminating waterways.
Livestock also consume huge amounts of water (up to 20 gallons per day per beef cow) and require up to 500 gallons per beef cow in what is euphemistically known as "processing." Water shortage? Did someone say water shortage?
A vegetarian can theoretically live for a year on one month of a meat eater's fossil-fuel needs, and manure also releases methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, regardless of whether it is burned, spread as fertilizer, or buried. Thus, the United Nations places much of the blame for global warming squarely at the feet of the farmed-animal industries.
Lastly, how will 5.6 million Marylanders continue to eat even a modest meat-based diet using eco-friendly, nonindustrialized, local meat suppliers? Despite the best attempts of many well-intentioned "locavores," this is ecologically and geographically impossible.
Perhaps if eco-aware restaurants offered a menu heavy on meatless options, where meat was used more as a condiment or small appetizer, these owners could defend use of the word "sustainable." This does not suggest that vegetarian foods are free of eco-impacts (they're not) or that supporting local farmers doesn't have numerous other societal benefits (it does). However, even if you pronounce the food delicious, the owners pioneers, and the buildings masterful works of green-friendly rehab, can we call the menus sustainable? Not yet.
Mark E. Rifkin
I did not know about the state of Indiana's racist tactic of a voter ID program to keep the voting process totally white and a righteous evangelical (pro-life) political supremacy (Political Animal, Jan 16).
School me, Brian Morton, on yet another secret propaganda trick to keep equal rights from "the problemed black folks." I have been watching CNN, MSNBC, C-Span and Fox News (America's legal "fair and balanced" tool of bigotry), and I have not seen any news reports about the voter ID program in Indiana.
I must read Allen Raymond's How to Rig an Election. It was informative to me to learn that Raymond had served prison time for jamming the phones in the 2002 New Hampshire senatorial contest between Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican John Sununu.
I believe the recent primary election in New Hampshire was rigged to give Hillary Clinton a win over Barack Obama. If Obama had such a large lead over Clinton before the New Hampshire primary, what happened? As an Afrocentric feminist who has always been against the white feminist movement, I have a feeling Howard Dean has been "too quiet" on the race tactics of Bill and Hillary Clinton. I guess he wants to keep the Democratic election "all in the white family" of European DNA.
I do not trust this electoral process in America. One fault is in the Constitution. It has set up a legal formula to rig the minds of minorities and poor whites that their low-class status will give them unalienable rights while pledged to the proven "they lie" of a monopoly of democracy for all people. Perhaps it is the reason why Bill Clinton has become an angry white racist.
In the book The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, by Barbara W. Tuchman, the author wrote, "Strong prejudices in an ill-formed mind are hazardous to government, and when combined with a position of power even more so."
If Bill and Hillary Clinton are using the race card to win an election, I believe we Americans must call them out of their deceitful meanness because the Clintons are rigging our minds to control the outcome of their mischief. Black woman thinking, not Barack Obama who wants to include all of us in one America without rigging the voting process. I believe it!!
Free the mind.
Larnell Custis Butler
A. Robert Kaufman's contentions that methadone rots users' bones and teeth and is "more addictive" than heroin are junk ("Bob on Bupe," The Mail, Jan. 9). "Methadone rots your bones" is a hoary myth from the '60s, comparable to saying that LSD causes chromosome damage or marijuana will make men grow breasts. I am disappointed to see Kaufman--whose views on drug use generally are reasonably sane--perpetuating this nonsensical notion. As for the idea that methadone is more addictive, let's be careful--"addiction" is a useful but nonscientific term that describes a pattern of behavior. How "addicted" a user is or how "addictive" a drug may be are not things that can be quantified like body temperature.
Editor's note: You only have until Feb. 7--Thursday--to submit your free valentines for the Feb. 13 issue here. And hey, next week is the Feb. 13 issue. See you then.
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