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We Still Have Bill to Kick Around

Posted 12/11/2002

In his column "Spin vs. Lies," Brian Morton wrote, "It is still permissible, however, if not encouraged, to repeat how Bill Clinton lied about a consensual extramarital affair. After all, there is no strategic national interest involved, no servicemen's lives at stake, no Social Security money at risk" (Political Animal, Dec. 4).

The implication is that poor Bill Clinton is still being picked on while other pols get a pass. It also carries the unwritten (this time) refrain that everyone lies about sex. There is one significant difference between Bill Clinton's lies about sex and most other lies about sex.

Bill Clinton, president of the United States, lied about sex under oath before a grand jury and, worse, in front of a federal judge who was present at his deposition specifically to protect him from overzealous interrogation by Paula Jones' lawyers.

Whether Slick Willy was getting his willy tooted in the Oral Office is of little consequence. I doubt that he's the first or will be the last. But he got caught and, having learned long ago that if he bit his lips and lied he'd probably get away with it, he lied and lied and lied.

Those lies cost him (or somebody) a $95,000 fine and a five-year suspension of his law license. Does that sound like the nothing special that Mr. Morton implies? And does it sound like the conduct expected from a president of the United States?

Billy and Hilly (the Hill-Billy Administration) started lying to the American people on 60 Minutes before he was elected the first (unfortunate) time when he bit his lips and told Steve Kroft that he'd never done Gennifer Flowers. Remember, he later admitted that lie, too.

Then he poked his finger in our collective eye again when he told the American people, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman . . . Miss Lewinsky." Another lie he had to fess up to eventually.

So the answer to Mr. Morton is that, yes, beating up on that skirt-chasing liar Bill Clinton should be encouraged at every opportunity, just to remind people what a scumbag they put in the White House twice, just like they put another of that ilk in the Maryland State House twice.

Gov. Parris Glendening snubbed Clinton after the revelations came pouring out but turned around and tried to emulate him by doing his appointments secretary and promoting her to ever-higher office the more she put out for him. Hypocrisy, thy name is indeed Parris Glendening.

Lastly, we saw Slick Willy on the front page of the Dec.3 Sun with Mayor Martin O'Malley at the Democratic Leadership Council's meeting in New York. I can only hope that the mayor washed his own hands after shaking hands with Clinton because one never knows where Clinton's hands have been.

Bob Erlandson

Hitting Home

"Hard Time" was a beautiful piece; both its prose and its message touched my heart (Nov. 27). I will be taking it home this evening to let my beloved read it, as he too is struggling to escape the abyss of addiction. I hope Earl Byrd will remain a regular contributor to this paper.

P.S. Taylor

Rybbies Rule

I think the letter by James Harper in regard to Adam Meister and his "rybbies" is disturbing in and of itself (The Mail, Dec. 4). Adam and his group are trying to make Baltimore a safer area that can thrive and be successful (Mobtown Beat, Nov. 20). It seems like a positive movement that will encourage social and economic growth in an area that is lacking. The article doesn't mention the group members trying to change the culture of the current areas, but they are attempting to change the crime, drugs, and eyesores that Mr. Harper is so fond of. I believe that Adam is attempting to renovate the city such as a similar movement in Atlanta. The group doesn't seem to be trying to exploit Baltimore but to revive it and let the beauty of the city and its people shine through.

I am writing this letter to show my support for Meister and his group. Of course property values will go up when people feel neighborhoods are up and coming. Is this a negative outcome? I do agree that there are realities of living in certain areas, as Mr. Harper states, but a community makes its own reality occur. It is disheartening for a person to acknowledge the current state of Baltimore as overwhelming and depressing, but then shun a group that is trying to alter it. The group doesn't appear to want to push residents out, and that is not the impression that I got from the article. I think they want to create a community that assists neighbors in developing pride in their communities without fear of retribution from local drug dealers. The area does need "real opportunities," but that comes with time and with people like Meister who care enough to make it happen. Instead of writing as a naysayer to a group of people trying to do something positive, Mr. Harper should write to the mayor or chief of police, or try to make a positive change himself. I don't believe the current state of Baltimore is the future of America, but a result of years of neglect and disregard. The residents of Baltimore deserve to not have to worry about local drug dealers, empty homes, or crime-ridden streets. If Meister and his group are about a positive change, then more power to them, and I offer my support and encourage others to participate.

Rochelle Robinson
Fairfax, Va.

I am in total dismay to read such a letter. I am moving to the Baltimore area in the spring to pursue a teaching career in the city's public schools. I have spent numerous hours looking for decent housing within the city. I had given up on the thought of living in Baltimore City because of the crime and the drugs. I have a 14-year-old daughter and must consider her safety first. After I read the plan by Adam Meister, I began to reconsider my position and now look forward to meeting him and his colleagues to further discuss their plans. It is so sad that someone from Baltimore would not like to see economic growth, gorgeous neighborhoods, and a change from the norm. If the presence of Adam and his group does wonders for the neighborhood, or just one block, then we all should take our hats off to him. Because if it were not for him, I would not consider living in Baltimore under any circumstances. If he wanted the housing prices to go up and to force out the people already there, he could have easily consorted with a local developer to make that possible. That is not the purpose of his plan. Get a life and stop dogging out someone who is truly trying to make a difference.

Deneen Blocker
Jamaica, N.Y.

Is James Harper not aware of the trend in America? The suburbs have nothing to offer but the mundane life. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia is currently being revitalized. Where do I go for a night out on the town? I go to the city. People are moving back to cities so they have a life. Peddling drugs on a street is not a culture, but a sickness. And, yes, drugs are everywhere; it's just that in the suburbs they are sold behind closed doors. What local person from Baltimore would not want the price of their house to increase? It is one of the fastest ways to make money since the tech stocks died. People go to New York and are starting to go to Philadelphia--for the action, the nightlife. Start with the neighborhoods, clean them up, add some nice restaurants, clubs, plays, musicals, schools (this is key), and what do you get? A great place to live! One where you don't have to drive everywhere. For a young hard-working person, day-to-day living in the city is very exciting. Raising a family in the city is great. Most of my relatives were born and raised in Philly. Develop the city to attract people not support peddling drugs to make them move away. As the prices rise on real estate, the locals will be dearly rewarded, more so than with peddling drugs on the streets. Doesn't that help the neighborhood?

Craig Thompson
Lansdale, Pa.

Good Eatin'

I really enjoyed your article on Baltimore natural foods (Mobtown Beat, Nov. 27). Too many people in this city are eating mostly junk food. Everyone thinks that in order to buy healthy food you have to shop at an extremely overpriced supermarket like Whole Foods. Baltimore Families for Natural Living is a great alternative, and I thank you for getting the word out about them.

Laura Carlson

The Potentate's Potential

In his letter Kendall Alexander advocates a "pre-emptive strike" (like Japan used against us at Pearl Harbor) because he believes that Iraq has the "potential" to do us harm (The Mail, Nov. 27).

It is, of course, impossible for any nation (or individual) to disprove that it has the "potential" to seriously damage any other nation (or individual).

Why would Iraq risk acting on such "potential," even if it wanted to, and if indeed it did have the "potential" that Alexander thinks it does? In his (unfortunately not uncommon) ignorance and paranoia, Alexander sarcastically asks, "Where will you be when Saddam Hussein releases smallpox on American soil?"

Well, I would like to know where Alexander was when we made biological and chemical weapons components available to Saddam in the first place?

Where was Alexander when our government instigated Iraq to attack Iran, which resulted in a million deaths and untold loss of arms, legs, and eyes? Where was he when Saddam used chemical weapons on the Iranians and the Kurds--with our government's implied OK?

Finally, where was Alexander when our foreign policy, the main purpose of which is to maximize the profits of the international corporations that finance our electoral system, caused most of the world to hate the U.S. government--for very good reasons?

A. Robert Kaufman

To Bomb or not to Bomb

While I commend those who are engaged enough to counter newspaper articles by writing letters of retort, one respondent clearly misunderstood the message and intent behind the placard bomb texas! (The Mail, Nov. 20). The satire was lost on this well-intentioned reader. Certainly no one would dare to suggest that we should launch a bombing campaign on the state of Texas! However, a nation of civilized people should be equally horrified by blank acceptance of an atrocity that will slaughter thousands of innocent men, women, and children in a foreign country. Baghdad was once the intellectual, cultural, and scientific epicenter of the known world. Islamic propaganda? No--irrefutable historic fact! Do Americans comprehend this hapless adversary, or is a nameless, faceless enemy far easier to eradicate?

As President Bush's war team scrambles to accumulate evidence of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" (that so far don't exist), gullible, ignorant people are ready to endorse the horror of an unnecessary conflict. Bush cannot disregard current U.N. treaties that ban all pre-emptive strikes, except in cases where there is incontrovertible proof of imminent national danger. Would he prefer to rewrite internationally recognized treaties, with regard to U.S. compliance alone? The policy of "pre-emptive war" is about to set a deadly, catastrophic precedent. Hitler used similar justification of an imagined "threat" to march into European countries. What if nuclear powers India and Pakistan followed our insane example of unprovoked hostility? Russia has already adopted our "terrorist" buzzword to excuse its known persecution of Chechens. Israel continues to ramp up its well-documented human-rights abuses against Palestinians, who pose a "threat to national security." As we cobble together a feeble excuse to bomb Iraq, are other nations truly incapable of differentiating this thinly disguised charade?

Our elected officials recently endorsed dismantling our constitutional protections, for reasons of "homeland security." Create a pervasive atmosphere of fear and endangerment so the powerless and uneducated willingly surrender their basic rights. We should cherish the fundamental right to nonviolent protest, the right to free speech, and the value of our free press. What is distressing is that those who are privileged to reside in our democracy are so readily prepared to abandon these rights on behalf of all U.S. citizens. If my City Paper detractor, Kendall Alexander, would deny my right to march in protest, then he is obviously prepared to sacrifice this important option for himself. He may soon live to regret giving up his American freedoms; perhaps in Kendall's estimation, such restrictions are only intended for those who don't share his opinions. When we are outraged, we must speak out. When our nation seeks to betray our trust, we must march in protest. I am proud to join those with the courage and conviction to participate in peaceful demonstrations against this unconscionable war.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." While I still possess the right to express my opinion in our free press, I will exercise that right too: It is my duty as a deeply concerned patriot!

Kim Sanders-Fisher

Speak Right Up

I write in response to Allison Stelly and her remarks made in your Nov. 27 Mail section. For starters, this woman should look up the world illiterate. Richard Crystal's remarks were made in a very clear, concise manner without any pussyfooting around (The Mail, Nov. 13). Gee, I hope the word "pussyfooting" isn't too harsh a word for Ms. Stelly to read in print.

The very fact that this woman even wrote in offends me. It is blatantly obvious she's just using it as an opportunity to exploit her gay agenda. Just to help her cause, she needs to somehow tie in every other group that might be worth recruiting (Muslims, African-Americans, or women). I notice she didn't mention white men in there. What is it, Allison, aren't white males' rights worth standing up for, too? If I was to read into your writings, I might consider you to be a classic blame-the-white-guy-for-all-your-problems kind of person.

She says near the end of her letter that she supports everyone's right to free speech. Oh, do you mean when gay-rights groups disrupt public functions with chants of "We're here, we're queer, and we're in your face?" That might offend a few people. The truth of the matter is, in this great country of ours, we do have the right in public places to freedom of speech. And if for some reason you're offended in an outdoor arena, try looking for an exit!

Being told exactly how to behave and what to do by an elite group of people sounds awfully scary to me. I would suggest embracing all people for their different beliefs. That's what makes the world so interesting. If we all wound up with the same viewpoints because they were forced down our throats, I don't think Ms. Stelly or her opinions would last for very long.

Teresa Carello

Slumber Party

Don't forget that Ephraim Keyser, the dean of Baltimore sculptors, lived with the Bachrachs for many years at 2408 Linden Ave. (The Nose, Nov. 6). Ephraim was Fanny Bachrach's brother. The Bachrachs also provided a home for other family members in addition to Ephraim Keyser and Gertrude Stein. It is just as well that the erroneous plaque with only Gertrude's name has been lost.

Dianne Feldman

Corrections: Due to a last-minute layout mistake in last week's feature ("Shadow of Her Smile," Dec. 4), photographs of Alma Walker and Oliver Felder and the Williams family were misidentified. City Paper regrets the error.

Also, the name of British playwright Caryl Churchill was misspelled in our piece on playwright Warren Leight (Opening Act, Nov. 20).

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