Your recent Porkopolis column (issue of Jan. 25-31) referred to Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for its outrageously hateful picketing of gay people and gay funerals. When you mention them, it would be helpful if you add that this "church" is only one guy, Fred Phelps, plus his wife, offspring, in-laws and grandchildren who meet in his basement.
This group is not affiliated with any legitimate Baptist Conference, from the ultra conservative Southern Baptists to the liberal American Baptists.
Porkopolis also gave us a heads up on a problem in upcoming elections. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell decreed that boards of election may not count absentee ballots until they determine those voters did not vote a provisional ballot as well. This can delay some final counts for days.
Can anyone tell me why a voter who votes by mail with the convenient absentee ballot would then go out on Election Day to cast a provisional one? What was Blackwell thinking?
— Kathy Helmbock, Oakley
Great Country for Scoundrels
I confess I couldn't stomach the entire State of the Union Address, but I saw enough to offer an observation. In as sad a spectacle as I can think of, the so-called leader of the free world — an as-yet-unconvicted felon and con man responsible for the wrongful deaths of countless people and a man with practically no credibility anywhere on the planet — dished out platitudes, half-truths and outright bull to a hall filled with Congress and invited guests — one of whom, a woman whose son died in Iraq, was arrested for nothing more than wearing a T-shirt showing the number of U.S. troops killed there so far.
Yes, there was applause and even some cheering. Appearances must be kept up. But what really spoke volumes about the state of our Union — far more than the words I heard — was the fact that this same man was still delivering this speech after five years. Is this a great country or what?
— Jim Byrnes, Hyde Park
Get Priorities Right
The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to make $39.5 billion in cuts to Medicaid, Social Security for people with disabilities, child care programs and student loans. Shortly afterwards, the Bush administration announced that it will ask for another $70 billion for the Iraq War.
Look at those numbers. Look what they say about what is happening to us. Cut Medicaid? Cut help for disabled people? Cut child care? And if we cut student loans, we end up with even less educated people — and we can't even compete in the world market as it is.
It's time we stand up and say, "No more!" This is our money and our future. Speak up, people!
— Steve Howard, Dillonvale
Mrs. King Practiced What She Preached
Last week, thousands of mourners waited for hours in freezing rain at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church and the state capitol rotunda to pay their respects to the "first lady of the civil rights movement," Coretta Scott King, who died on Jan. 30. President Bush and former President Clinton led the list of dignitaries at memorial services.
Coretta Scott King was much more than a devoted wife and partner of the celebrated civil rights leader. She traveled throughout the globe on behalf of peace and nonviolence, racial and economic justice, minority rights, religious freedom, the poor and homeless, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and ecological sanity. She helped found dozens of organizations advocating social justice, received honorary doctorates from over 60 colleges and universities and authored three books and a nationally-syndicated column.
King was also a vegan who eschewed all products of animal suffering, including meat, dairy, eggs, leather and cosmetics containing animal ingredients or tested on animals. Her strong belief in peace and nonviolence extended to the violence perpetrated against billions of innocent, sentient animals in America's factory farms and slaughterhouses. Her passion for justice extended to the most downtrodden living beings on the planet — the animals bred, abused and killed for food, fur, research and entertainment.
Coretta Scott King truly practiced what she preached. And for that I salute her.
— Ted Martindale, Walnut Hills