Cliff Huxtable For President
Vince Williams, we need to stop the Vulcan mind meld, because you say exactly what I'm thinking (Social Studies, Oct. 1). I, too, have been watching the Cosby Show marathon lately and wondering how sad it was black people thought a family with "professional" parents didn't realistically show black life. I still marvel that with all the drama Bill showed in his TV life and personal life, black people have the nerve to say such a thing. Thus bringing me to the Obama clan. I remember when the elitist label was thrown at Barack, I thought, Come on, Barack, you know if you behave ignorant, then you're keeping it real. They want the behavior of rappers to feel comfortable. How dare you and Michelle use dictionary English and mimic the Huxtables.
Now, onto the lady who will garner Tina Fey an Emmy. The Republicans know they will lose. It's the eight-year cycle. People kill me, acting shocked the cycle continues. The country gives each party eight years. I admire John McCain for spicing up a boring political season by picking Hillary Clinton . . . oops, Sarah Palin. Hillary has her faults, but missing an intelligent brain isn't one of them.
In the last issue of City Paper, Vincent Williams spoke about black becoming the "new normal." I've been normal and black for all my 27 years of life. Growing up in a "Cosby family," I enjoyed watching my lifestyle mimicked on television through The Cosby Show. It is unfortunate that many people are still surprised by the existence of traditional families in the black community, and have consequently subjected Sen. Barack Obama to unusually strict moral requirements and testing. Vincent, however, made a few omissions from his article. Obama's testing is not necessarily a bad thing.
Could we celebrate the fact that Obama can boast a less than shady past and present? Despite my "Cosby-style" upbringing, I would never subject myself to the moral and political tests of an entire nation. I applaud Obama and his family for not only passing the tests but also exceeding expectations. One can only hope his success inspires more African-Americans to succeed.
I applaud Vincent Williams for encouraging readers to embrace all types of people, including Sarah Palin. It is time for us to respect everyone equally--regardless of race, background, and culture.
I would like to provide some additional information to the blog post "What Are We About to Buy for $1 Trillion?" (The News Hole, Sept. 22). Your explanation of the situation was very accurate, but what isn't clear is exactly whose bad paper we will be buying. Here is the truth about the bailout.
We have been told repeatedly by George Bush and Henry Paulson that this bill is about a "rescue" of Main Street, not Wall Street. We have been lied to repeatedly. The bill the Senate intends to try to ramrod down our throat is neither about Main Street nor really even about Wall Street.
On Sept. 30 on CNBC's Kudlow and Co, Congressman Brad Sherman said: "Hundreds of billions of dollars are going to bail out foreign investors. They know it, they demanded it, and the bill has been carefully written to make sure that can happen."
Are you kidding me? You are going to have $700 billion--about 25 percent of the total federal budget--put on your personal credit card (via taxes forever) in order to bail out foreign investors. Oh, and the best part of it is that the underlying assets involved do not even have to be in the United States!
Here is the definition of a "troubled asset," right from the bill:
(9) TROUBLED ASSETS.--The term ``troubled assets'' means-- (A) residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before March 14, 2008, the purchase of which the Secretary determines promotes financial market stability;
and (B) any other financial instrument that the Secretary, after consultation with the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, determines the purchase of which is necessary to promote financial market stability, but only upon transmittal of such determination, in writing, to the appropriate committees of Congress.
Notice that conspicuously missing from the definition is the requirement that the asset's underlying thing (that is, the property that was mortgaged, etc.) lies within the United States. Also note that the Treasury Department must tell Congress if they add "new types" of debt, but that Congress has no right of review or censure.
That is, it is perfectly legitimate under the bill for a foreign bank to sell or swap any "crap sandwich" it may hold (irrespective of how or where it originated, so long as a mortgage is the basis for it somewhere) with a bank domiciled in the United States, and said bank may then "PUT" it into the TARP.
When this detail was raised with Paulson, he said if Congress tried to restrict the ability of the secretary to purchase assets "laundered" in this fashion from foreigners, that the bill would be vetoed.
If this bill passes, we will wind up eating $700 billion or more of foreign bad debt from the Chinese and elsewhere.
Now you know why it was such a rush job.
Paul R. Spenard
Thank you for your wonderful articles in the Big Books Issue (Sept. 24). I am a book lover, and I know that all kinds of books (acceptable and banned) have changed my life because I have learned to hear words with my eyes on the printed page. My intuitive impulses crystallize my consciousness to reveal all of my life experiences when a written word motivates me to a "to do" moment of creative-writing activity--an aphelion high of holiness.
"I am an ordinary human being who is impelled to write poetry . . . I still do feel that a poet has a duty to words, and that words can do wonderful things, and it's too bad to just let them lie there without doing anything with and for them." --black poetess Gwendolyn Brooks.
For me, I love the autumn and winter months. Right now, I have started collecting books from the Baltimore County Library and some thrift stores to read when cold winter weather keeps me close to home in a charmed life.
Recently, I finished reading The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper. Some books are like eating a good meal, especially when the written words must be chewed over and over again to feed your body and soul.
In the coming weeks I plan to read the following books: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, Growing Up White in America by Dr. Bem Allen, The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed, The Radicalism of American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood, and Mastering the Art of War by Zhuge Liang and Liu Ji.
The books I cherish most are the books my family and friends give to me in my hands, and say to me unexpectedly, "I thought you might enjoy reading this book." Fellowship with humanity kindness is what their deeds of love signify.
I am getting ready to do Christmas shopping. I will give to some of my family and friends a book that I will purchase at a dollar store where a green tree design is on the front of the shopping bag. Some of the books are priced at $15 or $20 inside the book jackets. I get to buy the books for $1 each. Pretty Christmas paper makes a merry book gift.
Larnell Custis Butler
Correction: Due to an editing error, the captions under two photographs were reversed in some printed copies of City Paper's Oct. 1 feature on foreclosures in and around the Fells Prospect neighborhood. 2207 Essex St. has a brick facade and a discarded gas grill in front of it; 307 Baylis St. has vinyl siding.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201