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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Of celebrities and presidents

It has been fascinating to watch celebrities proclaiming their political views at every opportunity. I suspect that the public acclaim and media industry-generated aura of superiority given to entertainers has seduced many of them into believing we all hunger for their views, and that whatever they say has inherent validity simply because it is they who say it.

That is not to say that all celebrities are alike, that none has worthwhile ideas, or that none contributes anything of value to humanity. It is to say that being skilled at entertaining does not necessarily give one moral authority or an accurate world view. Listening to actors and singers pontificate about the president's real motives and hidden agendas can actually be quite entertaining, but realistically it says much more about them than it does about the president.

The leaders of our national government have sources of information like few others. They also face responsibilities and demands like few others. Imagine being president and having the Sept. 11 attacks happen on your watch. Now imagine being faced with trying to prevent future attacks.

Perhaps their skill at entertaining provides celebrities with superior perspective on our world. Perhaps the influences that have shaped them and the values they have adopted give them superior moral clarity. Perhaps we should all listen to these marvelous beings with uncritical admiration whenever one of them has anything to say.

Or perhaps not.



End coercive funding of arts

In their March 10 editorial, "Another fiscal body blow: Oregon Arts Commission loses state funding," The Register-Guard's editors lament the cut in funding for the Oregon Arts Commission, but I say it's about time.

It's about time the coercive forced-funding of the arts is ended. Why can't the art organizations get their funding from other sources, such as ticket sales? Am I the only one who still believes in supply and demand? Why should I, who is trying to set aside money for my daughter's college education, be forced to pay for the arts? If I want to support them, I'll buy tickets.

Oregon Arts Commission officials should listen to themselves. They've become panhandlers who rely on the Oregon government. Provide a high-quality product, and people will buy tickets. It's how the rest of the world works.



Ivins doesn't do homework

Lately I have been dismayed and hurt by the truly anti-American, anti-Bush and unrealistic columns in The Register-Guard. I sincerely value the right of free speech that enables these writers to express themselves, even if I don't agree with them. I certainly agree with their spirit of discussion. However, as someone who values both freedom of expression and journalistic accuracy, I can no longer remain silent about the newspaper's choice of columnists.

What provoked my ire was a March 14 column by Molly Ivins. What unadulterated trash! While I frequently disagree with the majority of the opinions pinned by the educated elite of the journalistic world, I acknowledge that most of these writers do their homework and have some factual basis for their work. Ivins fails this basic journalistic benchmark.

Instead of doing some meaningful opinion-based reporting, Ivins' career seems to be based upon slandering President Bush and portraying anyone to the right of Barbra Streisand as being out of touch with mainstream America. Ivins need only look out her door in Austin, Texas, to see who is out of touch.

I'm calling upon The Register-Guard to replace Ivins' column with one rooted in facts rather than catchy sound bites. Ivins' journalism would not be tolerated by any conservative, so let's be fair and at least pretend to have some semblance of journalistic fairness in this paper.


Junction City

Pray that troops come home

I believe in supporting our troops by praying that we don't go to war.

Two fellow employees who are enlisted in the Oregon National Guard were sent overseas for active duty more than eight months ago. During this time, we have sent them care packages and cards, and luckily we have e-mail communication with them. It sounds as though they and their fellow crew members are extremely homesick.

We asked one of them recently if there was anything he needed. His response: "A one-way ticket home." Let's pray that all of our troops come home soon, alive and well.



Letters provide education

I don't get to read the entire paper every day, but I never miss the Mailbag

I love to read the big words written by the biggest brains in the community. Sometimes I need a dictionary to understand the biggest words. The bigger the words, the more impressed I am with the authors. If it weren't for their letters, I wouldn't know what to think. I need others to do my thinking for me.

Sometimes I believe the folks writing the letters would be much better running the country than the president. Many of the letter writers have much better ideas than President Bush. I bet they wish the president would pick up The Register-Guard and see how much better their ideas are. I'm sure if he did, he would slap himself on the forehead, and say, "Why didn't I think of that? All this time, I've been running the country incorrectly, and all I had to do was pick up the newspaper and read the letters!"

I love to see the cartoons of the president looking like some type of pig with pointy ears and a big upper lip. I'm sure the cartoonists could do a better job running the country, too, if given the chance.

I'm learning from the letters that people are free to criticize the president and should do just that if given the opportunity. Please keep those letters coming so my education can continue.


Cottage Grove

DEA crackdown lacks logic

I was shocked to read in the March 9 Register-Guard about the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's arrest of two Eugene glass blowers. Persecution of artists is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes. The DEA's pretext of stamping out drug paraphernalia is ludicrous - apples, pop cans, syringes, spoons, light bulbs, mirrors and dollar bills are all commonly used in the consumption of illegal drugs. Shall we arrest everyone who produces these items?

It's highly ironic that the glass pipes in question can also be used to smoke tobacco, a highly addictive and carcinogenic drug whose production has been subsidized by the federal government. Tobacco paraphernalia is also commonly used to smoke marijuana - the DEA's logic dictates that all producers of cigarette lighters, rolling papers, matches and tobacco pipes must now be imprisoned.

There is no logic or reason behind this most recent manifestation of the war on drugs in Eugene. It is pure tyranny, a glaring symptom of the decline of our alleged American democracy. It is the height of hypocrisy for our government to be fomenting war abroad in the name of democracy while actively dismantling democracy at home. We need regime change!



Attorneys donate time

In his March 9 letter, Jim Arnold wondered why lawyers were not donating their time to help the needy, as many doctors do. As program director for the Senior Law Service, a program of the Lane County Law and Advocacy Center, I know firsthand that many lawyers do just that.

In fact, were it not for the generosity of so many Lane County lawyers, we would not be able to provide services to so many people who have legal problems. The same is true with Lane County Law and Advocacy Center and Legal Aid Service. Both of these programs also depend upon assistance from attorneys who donate their time and expertise.

I know that Arnold was mostly talking about criminal matters, and I cannot speak to that because our office focuses upon civil legal matters, but I want him and others to know that many attorneys do volunteer and some of them do their share and then some.


Program Director

Senior Law Service


Truthful candor connects

Regarding David Shaw's commentary, "Why the rush for a liberal Limbaugh?" (Register-Guard, March 9): The answer to Shaw's rhetorical question is simple. Rush Limbaugh's radio show effectively galvanizes and buttresses the innate feelings and opinions of most of his millions of daily listeners.

Liberals would understandably welcome such a powerful tool of their own, which they would hope might propagate their own version of truths and/or political correctness.

Shaw shows a surprisingly accurate understanding of why so many conservative talk shows succeed. In a nutshell, it's not merely the personality or shtick of the host. Nor is it the views or opinions of the owners of the radio stations. Even the entertainment value of the show itself is not the root of why so many conservative talk shows succeed..

All of the above helps, of course. But there's something about truthful candor that connects with millions of Americans who push or pull the wagon every day instead of merely riding in it.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 19, 2003
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