In Defense of Don
Books could be written on the subjects that Don Schrader and I disagree. However, sometimes I find myself in agreement with him, especially when he writes about Albuquerque Police Department [Letters, “Don Schrader on APD,” May 17-23].
If any business or organization had produced as many murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, wife killers, stepfather killers, thieves, insurance fraudsters—many of them escaping justice through chicanery, complicity of others in the criminal justice system and sheer cowardice—the Nuisance Abatement Team / Safe City Strike Force would have taken them to court, demolished their place of business and run them out of town.
The individual attempting to pass herself off as an "ex-police officer's wife" [Letters, “In Defense of APD,” June 28-July 4] serves up a bunch of rehashed dialogue from television police dramas and dime novels to attempt to portray the typical Albuquerque police officer's lot. Rubbish. Those are the kinds of fears the wife or husband of a U.S. service member experiences due to the very real and constant dangers many of them face at the hands of potential terrorists, enemy combatants, insurgents, whatever you want to call them. Albuquerque police officers have a de facto license to kill (even the unarmed innocent). They lie about why they killed them and get away with it. And that's not one of the U.S. service members' perks. I am convinced there is some sort of unwritten agreement between the U.S. government and the city of Albuquerque whereby the U.S. Department of Justice turns its head to the abuses and atrocities committed by Albuquerque police officers in return for the city of Albuquerque turning its head to Kirtland AFB poisoning the aquifer through its underground jet fuel spill.
Say what you will about Dan Schrader, but he has the guts and integrity to sign his name to his letters and opinions rather than trying to hide behind some concocted facade like "ex-police officer's wife." It's an Albuquerque cop writing that letter, and you can't fool us. What are you afraid of? Don Schrader is nonviolent. And he reaches a heck of a lot more people through his letters in the Alibi than he could visiting jails and prisons and trying to preach to a captive audience—as if Albuquerque's criminal justice system would ever even let him in to their premises dressed as he does!
The thing that bugs me about our U.S. Senate race is how candidates are dodging the issues that voters raise with them. KOAT reported on a giant, inflatable fat cat that was part of a protest against the $8 billion in tax cuts that big oil companies get while they make over $100 billion in annual profits. The fat cat asked Senate candidates where they stand on the tax cuts, and Rep. Martin Heinrich said, “At a time when big oil companies are pulling in record profits, taxpayer dollars should not be padding the pockets of CEOs.”
Heather Wilson's staff responded with this: “Heather Wilson supports a balanced, long-term energy policy that will create American jobs and reduce energy prices.”
Both statements sound great, but while Heinrich's suggests that he opposes the tax cuts (and he has a record of voting against them), Wilson's dodges the question of how she would vote on big oil tax breaks. Her support of a “balanced energy policy” might indicate that she thinks renewable energy companies merit the same tax breaks that big oil companies enjoy. Or she might mean that neither should get tax breaks. Her reference to job creation could mean that she feels these tax breaks could be better spent to create new jobs, but it's hard to tell. We don't really know what Wilson means since she makes no reference to taxes. This is what bugs me. With all the talk about our nation's huge debt, unemployment and rising energy prices, you can't get a Senate candidate to give us straight talk about billionaires getting tax breaks and voters having to subsidize big oil companies twice: at the pump and on tax day.
I hope somebody can get these candidates to tell us what policies they support and what policies they'll fight. Big oil tax breaks would be a great place to start.
Greg’s Letter to Bill
Like many of us boomers, I came of age in the early ’60s watching old black-and-white movies on late-night TV. Somewhere in one of those scripts it is 1947 and the protagonist walks into the Hotsy Totsy Club. "Hotsy totsy" became part of the vast outpouring of idioms from our parents' generation. Do you remember "23 skidoo" and "siss boom bah"?
You too, in Dallas, are trying to avoid the heat wave: 98 degrees here, no humidity. At 10 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday I put in a few hours at Kathy's pruning trees with a pole saw. By noon on both days, I was fried and stumbling. Glazed over like a zombie, I fled to the guest room here at Chris', turned on the ceiling fan, laid the comforting eye pillow across my lids and fell deeply into a one-hour blackout. As Harry Ezell (Miami ’69) used to put it at nappy-poo time, "Shut 'er down, Leroy."
With a party of 16, Chris and Kathy are camping in southern Colorado at over 9,000 feet on the Conejos River. Chris left behind six huge corporate tomatoes because Kathy complained that they were void of flavor, so this afternoon I made Sicilian tomato soup with ingredients out the wazoo: soulless tomatoes, and onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, spinach, parsley, white wine, orange juice, orange zest ...
Lightner Creek Fire, Colo.: I like to believe that Leichner sometimes became Lightner in the early 1900s when German immigrants changed their surnames to avoid the stigma of "anarchist" or "hun." My German ancestors came to the U.S. in 1858. With thousands of their countrymen, they settled along the Ohio River Valley because it reminded them of the hills and bluffs of the Rhine Valley. Many of our American surnames come from the British, and the way men identified themselves by their trades: Taylor, Collier, Wheeler, Smith. The British surnames rarely end in N-E-R. N-E-R is a syllabic quirk from the German language. After paper-thin research, I have chosen to believe that Leichner, at its root, means "easygoing pallbearer."
At 65, I embrace the little pleasures. Yesterday at 5 p.m. it was 98 degrees, no wind, no clouds. Outside I stood barefooted in the grass facing the sun in the west. No one was around. I took off my clothes and lay face down in the warm grass. It took me a while to relax, to give it up. Java was purring nearby. I turned on my back and assumed the Da Vinci Position, arms at 10 and two, legs at seven and five. Java fell asleep in my open left palm.
Even if ... for only one pure nanosecond ... just look up.
Taxing Cognitive Dissonance
[Re: Blog, “The Daily Word in Syrian violence, snitches and foie gras,” June 29] I'm OK with Obamacare; lots in the act I like.
It is funny Obama said it was not a tax, the solicitor general argued it was not a tax, but it is constitutional cuzz Roberts says it's a tax.
How about this: In order to provide for the common defense all non-prohibited persons, residing in the United States or its overseas territories, who are the age of 21 or older shall maintain an M4 type carbine, eight magazines and a minimum of 240 rounds of service type ammunition. Qualifications to U.S. Army standards must be done annually. Failure to comply will result in a fine no less than 1 percent of gross income.
We could be like Switzerland. Or Somalia. Depends on who your neighbors are.
Repealing DADT Didn't Help Anybody
[Re: Feature, “Young Hearts, Be Proud,” June 28-July 4] At best, it made life a little more tolerable for those who choose or have compelled into imperialism. As Ali Abbas writes, the right to serve lauded by queer militarists "currently leads to the murder of millions of people of color and the illegal detainment of many more." Incorporating suitably respectable lesbian, gay, and bisexual folks into organized mass murder isn't a step forward.
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