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The Sky Isn’t Falling

Posted 11/17/2004

It’s very amusing to see the hysterical reactions to the presidential election, as literary scaremongers coast to coast predict the end of civilization as we know it.

Brian Morton predicts Social Security will be “bled dry” by privatization and “safe and legal” abortions will be things of the past (Political Animal, Nov. 10). As someone who voted for George W. Bush, I certainly don’t share Morton’s dark vision. For one thing, the annual returns on the money we invest in the current Social Security system are expected to come in between minus-0.72 percent and plus-0.86 percent (according to Edward C. Prescott, the 2004 Nobel Prize winner in economics). Compare that with the investment choices in your own 401(k) and tell me which is the better alternative.

Regarding abortion, many conservatives believe that the decision should be left up to each individual state. In Maryland, there is zero chance of abortion being outlawed. However, the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion should be re-evaluated. After all, we’re talking about driving a drill into the skull of a fetus that might actually be able to survive outside of the womb. Case in point: While expecting the birth of our first child, my wife went into labor six weeks early. The baby spent 10 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, but pulled through. This fall he led his soccer team in scoring.

Mark McGrath

Brian Morton responds: There’s no way to predict the real return on investments for a Social Security privatization scheme, although it’s pretty easy to foretell that fund managers and stockbrokers are salivating at the chance to reap the fees from the giant pot of money entailed. I’m no financial whiz, but it is a fact that losses on their 401(k) plan during the tenure of this president actually caused one of my retired parents to have to return to the work force.

And whether or not conservatives would like the question of abortion to be left up to the states, it is ultimately in the hands of the Supreme Court, which has been steadily eroding Roe v. Wade for the last two decades under the Burger and Rehnquist courts. This president has clearly shown his desire to overturn it completely, which would make it illegal everywhere.

By the Time You Read This I May Have Perished in Battle

Leading up to the presidential election I have read several articles by columnists Brian Morton (a truth-teller with common sense) and Russ Smith (a lover of his far-right own white skin) concerning the possible outcome of the presidential election. Morton (Political Animal) and Smith had excellent articles that were informative, but not always on point.

Recently, Russ Smith’s “Away From the Numbers” (Right Field, Nov. 3) left me confused about what he was trying to say. Perhaps Russ had a lot of points he wanted to make that he should have made in his previous columns about the election.

As an Afrocentric feminist who is very disgusted with all the pile-crap that conservative writers provide to print media, I am very angry that George W. Bush has four more years of advocating “anti-Christ conservative politics” in this country of “white skin” democracy. As I see it, conservative religious devils who want all Americans to live by their anti-Christ public morals is wrong.

These conservative, white, religious members of the far-right Republican “white skin” party are bigots who are afraid of wearing the white hoods of the KKK. Their Bible rhetoric is similar to a KKK meeting, and the lily-white crowd of conservative “white only” Christian worshippers is dangerous to the principles of democracy.

I am a Roman Catholic who had an illegal abortion in an urban house and almost bled to death. Single and a teacher, I did not know where to go to get rid of my evidence of an affair with a self-centered black male. A black doctor (male) in Richmond, Va., saved my life. Now I have two grown children and three grandchildren (my son’s children) and one grandchild who died at birth (my daughter’s child).

I want President Bush and these lily-white conservative bigots who claim to be Christian to not overturn Roe v. Wade or give this country a bunch of white or black white-supremacist-thinking people to put on the Supreme Court. I will speak out, because white conservatives are terrorists in America.

I don’t know about the rest of my black race, but all the foundations to protest my civil liberties are out of order in America. I have reason to start a revolution. If I must die, let the blood of my enemies be all over the word “democracy,” because it is a shameful disgrace the way conservative white bigots keep treating poor black people and poor people of all racial groups in this divided “white is right” country.

I am a follower of Black Jesus Christ (Revelations 1:9-16). There are injustices in America that stink of ages past. Racism is the generational curse white Americans refuse to deal with.

I have painted my face with war paint. My spirit is set for victory. My lips are sealed. There is no need to tell my enemies what I plan to do.

Larnell Custis Butler


I would like to address Jaye Hunnie’s article regarding the group known as the 5th eLement (No Cover, Nov. 3). While I credit the members of the group for their success, I must correct the unfair slant of the article as it pertains to myself. As a former member of the 5th, I happen to know that the plan for our independent and group releases was a mutual decision discussed in January 2003. The article, however, painted an inaccurate picture of myself and Sir Reigns as being “out for self.” Further, in the interest of a truly objective article, perhaps Hunnie could have attempted to contact the other members of the group, past and present. (By the way, “Complex” is spelled with a “K.”) I do not know how much of this inaccuracy was due to editing vs. dishonesty on the parts of Lawal and Ross, but in the future perhaps your publication would be more careful to check facts before just throwing around people’s names and potentially harming their reputations with brazen borderline slander.

Drew “Droopy” Anderson
Washington, D.C.

Bingo Ain’t His Name-o

Anna Ditkoff appears to be trying to emasculate the entire city (Bar Scars, Nov. 3). She would vehemently deny it was written for her friends as a vehicle to lash out against personal insecurities and what they’re unwilling to understand. On a positive twist, maybe it’s a boon for guys as an easy way to spot women who aren’t worth an effort—by weeding out losers who would actually carry a photocopy of a bingo card filled with stereotypes. Don’t be fooled by the line “[out] with a few friends for a quiet drink.” There’s genuine cynicism and sadness in inventing and playing such a game. If Anna and her friends are so often offended at being approached in bars as to make an elaborate joke of it, then maybe she might consider staying out of them? And what is Anna’s idea of a girls’ night out anyway? I’d like to know her motivation for going to bar yet again and not a quiet place, as she says, like a restaurant or coffeehouse, to have another fun night discussing her traumatic childhood and myriad heinous breakups. I suppose a bar would be cheaper for some than regular visits to a therapist.

Instead of prejudging and encouraging others to also, she should contemplate the possibility that guys get lonely also. Declaring 11 out of 12 guys as “physically and, more important, psychologically repulsive” is a stupid thing to write. Men know (or at least they should) that co-workers, women on dates, wearing rings, or in grade school are off limits. That leaves single women, especially in social situations, as the remaining option. It’s no surprise to anyone that men in bars can become drunken boneheads. A guy who dons his crash helmet, mimics Austin Powers, and asks a lady if she wants to “shag, baby, yeah,” deserves what he gets. But, Anna, here’s a clue: With the exception of supremely confident men, it takes serious guts (or liquor) for the rest of us to meet the challenge of engaging a woman we find attractive. Even your father probably tossed a few blundering one-liners to the ladies in his life, possibly even your mom. However, lucky for you, she had the courtesy not to let him stand there floundering in silence until he did or did not excuse himself. A common platitude for guys is that if they ask out a hundred women, just by sheer odds someone will say yes. How are these numbers perpetuated? Quick-to-judge women like Anna Ditkoff. Here’s the lesson Bar Bitch Bingo offers: Unless you’re perfect, just walk away and avoid being a pen mark on a piece of newsprint. That will make it easier for Anna and her friends to spend more whine-time on the musician/waiters in their lives.

Egging on people to laugh at the indignity and misfortune of others lacks character and is even worse than the act itself. America has enough close-minded, shallow, short-term thinking people, as proved by the last election, without spreading it around in a great publication like City Paper.

Michael Drinks

Correction: In our Nov. 10 issue, we mistakenly reported that the film Undertow was scheduled to open Nov. 12 (Film Clips). That opening date has been pushed back. City Paper regrets any confusion.


Editor’s note: Murder Ink is taking the issue off and will return next week.

Address letters to The Mail, City Paper, 812 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201; fax: (410) 523-0138; e-mail. Only letters that address material published in or policies of CP, are no more than 500 words long, and include the writer’s name, address, and daytime phone number will be considered for publication. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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