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"Obama" Was a Joint Effort

Posted 11/5/2008

I was pleasantly surprised to see your latest cover (Oct. 29). As much as I would like to take the credit, my wife Debbie Ally-Dickerson came up with the concept and we hired our friend, Joshua Batten, a fantastic freelance illustrator and painter, to create the Obama logo.

Rob Dickerson
Baltimore

A Big Sticking Point

While there maybe more than a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans on domestic issues, on foreign policy fundamentals they play the same tune. (Political Animal, Oct. 29).

As noted by conservative scholar Andrew Bacevich, both parties are part of an "unspoken consensus which commits the U.S. to permanent military primacy" which has led to the "militarization of foreign policy." This goes a long way in explaining bipartisan unconditional support for Israel regardless of how this frustrates our broader interests in the Middle East.

What would otherwise be objectionable policies are made palpable to the American electorate with lofty concepts like "democracy" and "freedom" that obfuscate the real consequences of our actions.

If elected, will Obama's mantra of change apply to foreign affairs? Does he have the will to challenge the entrenched powers of our national security state? Does he want to?

One thing is for certain, though. Whoever is president will have to deal the chaos in Afghanistan. This will require an unbiased, pragmatic reassessment of moribund foreign-policy assumptions, because killing our way to a solution there is not an option.

John Bailey
Edgemere

Lawless in Baltimore

I am responding to the story "A Death in the Family" (Feature, Oct. 22). All too tragic; these stories occur daily in Baltimore City. Growing up in Brooklyn, I have seen the good and the bad that the city has to offer. When I was in my early teens, there used to be 10 of us playing sports together. Over the years things went downhill. Several of them started selling drugs. By the time we reached our 20s, three of them were locked up for murder and six of them became drug addicts. Of the 10 I am the only one to survive with no criminal record; I have since moved to Anne Arundel County.

The last straw for me in Baltimore City was about 18 months ago. Driving home from work with my wife and kids one Friday at approximately 11:30 p.m., I turned onto my street to see a large group of juveniles. They were throwing bricks at passing cars. They hit the passenger side where my wife was sitting, putting a huge dent in the door. Behind my car was an older lady driving a red Chevrolet. They threw a brick through her window.

As I parked my car, the juveniles threatened me and my family. I opened my cell phone and dialed 911. Several of them told me to hang up. I was living in a rowhouse at the time with a side yard. As I entered my house, five of them were hiding in my backyard. When the officer pulled up to my house, the five boys ran right past him. I told him what happened and he didn't even bother to chase them or check my car for damage. Better yet, he didn't even file a police report.

My father told me he heard that Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefield doesn't want the city cops to file a report unless they have to. So my message is to all Baltimore City residents: Get out while you still can!

After living in Brooklyn for 32 years and Anne Arundel County for one, I can say honestly that the Anne Arundel police are way better; they really do protect and serve.

The story of Clayton Oxendine is very sad. I'm sure now he is in a better place, a place that you and I one day hope to be . . . Heaven!

Tim Lumber
Baltimore

Barack Hussein Obama

I saw with shock and awe the bull-shoot that Joe MacLeod wrote in his column on Oct. 22 ("Barack Hussein Obama," Mr. Wrong), which was a show of "How many ways can I disrespect a nigger's name?"

The audacious and flippant show was what Joe MacLeod did when he repeated over and over again the name "Barack Hussein Obama" to mentally persuade his readers that Barack Obama's name had a "foreign"- and "terrorist"-sounding name. Who needs a terrorist in the White House?

In my opinion, the issue of race or racism might give John McCain a presidential victory. I certainly hope that God will show us that he is able to give working people what we have asked him to do in our prayers: "(Lord) show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, Lord, hast helped me, and comforted me." I hope God hears our prayers, and gives us Barack Obama as the next President of the United States.

Recently I saw a news story from a local television station. Barack Obama signs were on the front lawn of an expensive-looking neighborhood. Someone had pasted the letter "s" on the name Obama to read "Osama." Did anyone read Joe MacLeod's article and get an idea?

This nefarious and premeditated "felony" deed was probably done by an individual or individuals who did not want a black man to become president of the United States. I am not proud of Joe MacLeod for his show of bigotry and the person who defaced Obama signs in a neighborhood. Apparently, love didn't have anything to do with their deeds.

If presidential candidate Barack Obama does not win the election, all the people in the world in many countries will know that the foundation of democracy is mired in racism and Christian bigotry. The leaders of other countries might never be able to convince themselves or their people that America's democracy is grounded in human rights for all of her people.

I am going to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden even though I know racism is still a factor in every aspect of our government, educational institutions, banking system, prison system, court system, medical corporations, hospital system, religious institutions, universities, and colleges.

I believe somewhere down the road, God is going to make Barack Obama a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He will be a powerful minister similar to Rev. Gardner Taylor (born in 1918 in Louisiana) and known as "dean of American preaching." A black man who preached all over the world. I believe God has greater plans in the future after the presidency for Barack Obama as the new "Jeremiah" of a preacher.

Larnell Custis Butler
Baltimore

Remember the Neediest

Thank you for Jay Sandler's series on the homeless in Baltimore. These essays make the problem of homelessness real to those who don't know what the weakest in our society experience day-to-day.

We were pleased to see the Franciscan Center included in Sandler's Oct. 1 essay that listed places offering free meals ("As the Day is Long," Concrete Jungle, Oct. 1); however, it mentioned that most of them serve lunch from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. We hope that you will let your readers know that the Franciscan Center serves a hot lunch for three hours, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on most weekdays (except for a few holidays and training days). Although prayers are offered at the beginning of the meal, no one is required to pray to receive help from us.

At the Franciscan Center, we do more than feed the homeless. For the past 40 years, we have operated as an emergency-outreach center to all those in need. Our mission is to serve the needy with the dignity and respect that all children of God deserve.

In addition to our hot lunch service, low-income families can take home a three-day supply of groceries for each member of their household. We help those facing utility shut off or eviction. People who need a bus pass to get to work come to us for help. We assist people without identification apply for proof of citizenship. People suffering from HIV and other chronic illness can get medical care on Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. A man without proper clothing for a job interview or a funeral can find it at the Franciscan Center. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon, our Technology Resource Center is open for our needy brothers and sisters to learn simple computer skills, access the internet, search for jobs, and even get help putting together a resume.

We do this work with a small staff plus an army of volunteers, including some people who are or have been homeless themselves. While our resources are limited, we do our best to ease the suffering of the sick, poor, and homeless among us and offer what assistance we can to help them reach their potential.

We invite you to visit us at 101 W. 23rd St. to see God's love made visible.

Karen Heyward-West
President and chief executive officer, Franciscan Center

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