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Holding the Center

Posted 10/31/2001

In her article on the Center for Poverty Solutions (Mobtown Beat, Oct. 17), Molly Rath suggests that the center may be "heading in a new and revived direction" or "sputtering to stay alive." She focuses on the latter version; I would like to make a case for the former.

The Center for Poverty Solutions was founded on the belief that hunger and homelessness are symptoms of a larger problem--poverty. We are proud of the work of our predecessor organizations, Action for the Homeless and the Maryland Food Committee. Their work is our legacy, and we continue to provide emergency services to people with immediate needs. Our mission also requires that we seek long-term, systemic solutions to poverty.

Ms. Rath acknowledges our many positive efforts since the merger--our outreach programs, our advocacy efforts, the fact that we are a powerful anti-poverty voice in Annapolis. We are now called upon to do more than ever before. To be true to our mission, to be really effective, we are in fact moving in a new and revived direction.

It takes time to merge two organizations, time to build confidence in a new mission, time to raise public support for an issue as complex as poverty. We appreciate the ongoing support of local groups and committed individuals. We look forward to welcoming our new president, Alma Roberts. Under her leadership, the Center for Poverty Solutions will continue to work statewide to provide assistance and opportunity to our poorest citizens.

Harriet Goldman

Interim CEO, Center for Poverty Solutions

Home sweet home
Regarding Sandy Asirvatham's Oct. 17 column (Underwhelmed): You are correct--it is a deeply fucked-up world. Where else in the universe would it be considered wrong for a country that was attacked in the most horribly unimaginable way to want to not only find who's responsible and make them pay, but also band together and show some patriotism?

I find it unsettling that people who have even a taste of what it's like not to have our freedoms and liberties would question our demonstrations of patriotism! One doesn't have to have traveled abroad to appreciate that while America might not be Utopia it's a damn fine place to live compared to the rest of the deeply fucked-up world.

Certainly this country and, more specifically, its political leaders have made mistakes in foreign policy and lack understanding of other peoples and regions. However, more than 5,000 innocent Americans lost their lives in one horrific, cowardly act--and it's clear to friend and foe alike who was responsible.

Where were all of the flags before Sept. 11? Who cares? What matters is that you live in a country where you are allowed to stick an $8 flag on your car or a $20 flag on your porch--or, if you choose, burn it or stick it where the sun don't shine. You have that liberty, in part, because of the deeds of men and women like those chronicled in the HBO miniseries you mentioned, Band of Brothers. I find nothing arrogant or witless in the story of men who sacrificed a great deal not only for the freedom of their people, but for the suffering people of invaded Europe--men who fought for years, without proper food, clothing, shelter. Where's the self-congratulation in that? To come together and feel a sense of kinship, to want to show support for our servicemen and -women, to remember those chronicled in Band of Brothers, to remember the recent victims--these are the reasons for the flags. Not a naive feeling that "our motives are always pure and our principles always just." You don't give your countrymen much credit--or, more importantly, their due.

The people responsible for the recent attack care not for such freedoms. They have exactly no regard for human life. Were you to have lost in the genetic lottery and been born in Afghanistan, the last thing you'd need to worry about is showing patriotism, or even knowing what the word means. It would be all you could do to keep from being raped, tortured, abused, or killed.

America is not perfect. But we do much more good for this world than we do bad. Yes, we sometimes talk out of both sides of our mouth to "protect our interests"--but we also help feed countless starving people around the world, bail out foreign governments and banks, aid other countries in times of natural disasters. It is a deeply fucked-up world, Ms. Asirvatham, so God bless America.

Thomas Schammel
White Marsh

It Means "Not Yet Completed or Fully Developed"
I was just wondering if Ian Grey actually saw the same movie as I. The review we were given of Mulholland Drive (Film, Oct. 17) was sloppy and amateurish. "Inchoate" is a big word that sounded pretentious and predictable from someone confused. I suggest Mr. Grey log on to to enlighten himself by reading a well-written and smart review, "David Lynch's latest tour de force," by Stephanie Zacharek.

Please, if you just don't understand--not that anyone does--just admit it and reward the craft. It was a true gift.

Thomas Rudis

Male Bomb
Your story on abortion ("Choose or Lose," Oct. 3) was informative, and a propaganda piece for readers who like to enjoy guilt trips via the printed words of City Paper. As an Afrocentric feminist, I had an abortion in my early adult life. It was not an easy decision for me to make by myself. Nevertheless, I had an abortion, and God in heaven knows why, and he has kept my secret very well. Praise be to God. God is a feminism supporter. Still, racist and narrow-minded pro-lifers can make a person have "angry days" about having an abortion, or having had an abortion.

Perhaps I should have yelled at the penis of the man who gave me a presence that was not life in human form. I know yelling at him did nothing but humor his ego, and he informed me that I should have taken better care of myself. In my opinion, when the thrill is gone, most men do not care if a women is with child or not. The flesh is satisfied for them, which is the ultimate deed of a self-centered man.

Abortion happens. Medical doctors who are the first to tell a woman that she is "with life" are men who will look at a female's reproductive organs and say, "Bad pussy, very bad pussy."

No, I do not hate men. I want men to understand that the medical profession gives me the uneasy feeling that a female patient should not complain about medical problems to her doctor because the doctor knows best. I dislike the mentality of ignorant men and medical doctors who are men, but they are not thinkers beyond their white coats. Women who are progressive thinkers desire the men in their lives, communities, and churches to support a woman's right to an abortion, and the right to inform men what they know about a medical problem they are having. It's these same narrow-minded men who will not tell a woman, or their mothers, how many sperm they have wasted (aborted life) during an act of masturbation or ejaculation. Dare I ask a man to count the number of wasted sperm after a closed-bathroom sexual experience of "me myself and I" masturbation time? And you have the right to tell me whether a woman should have an abortion?

How many air attacks will abort the life out of Afghanistan's women who happen to be in an area of fallout from the sky missiles? I guess evil life should be destroyed, especially if there's a hint of brown in the skin coloring. Yes, we Americans are always faithful to the cause of patriotic and moral bullcrap, but we do not seem to have the intelligence to eradicate racism in America, or the bad propaganda that abortion is an evil sin. The reason: because America doesn't want to end anything that will keep us separated from each other.

Larnell Custis Butler

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