I used to be a loyal reader of your paper, but notice the use of the past tense. City claims to be an "alternative" newspaper, but your news is beginning to look and sound like the same biased "news" I can get from any run-of-the-mill paper.
Your recent bashing of third parties, and your opinion that anyone who doesn't jump on the "ABBA" (Anyone But Bush Again) wagon is ignorant or uneducated, is nauseating. I am a college-educated working professional, and I am a third-party member who, like many others, cannot change her beliefs on a whim. If John Kerry wins the election, many Democrats will think they have done all that is necessary to secure the future of our country, since they have a Democrat in the White House. I do not believe that Kerry best represents me, or that our country will be substantially better with him in office.
If Kerry wins, I and many other third-party members will still be fighting for the repeal of the unconstitutional Patriot Act, an end to the No Child Left Behind disaster, a fair working wage, free medical care, fair and unbiased election laws, and an end to the corporate-backed Iraq War. These are just a few of my major concerns, and they seem to be none of Kerry's or Bush's. So I have to look outside our country's two-party system to find individuals like Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb, who will represent me and help provide a better future for our country.
Your paper claims to be alternative, so try living up to it. Provide a free, unbiased representation of the news, and leave it up to your readers to form their own opinion, or continue to lose readers and join the mainstream media.
Misty Harris, Monroe Avenue, Rochester
In response to Prince D. George's letter ("Time for Bush to Go," Sept 1) and many others like it: Prince writes, "Is Bush not a president of the wealthy class?" It would hardly be news to ask the same of John Kerry. While W. Bush was born into wealth, Kerry got it the old-fashioned way: He married into it.
Does Bush deserve another four years? Hell, no. But the debate shouldn't stop there. How about asking: Do ordinary Americans deserve better than Bush and Kerry? While Bush's plan to solve the health-care crisis is to ignore it, Kerry's is to give businesses --- businesses! --- tax breaks to make it more affordable for them! Are these real solutions?
Why isn't there a major-party candidate who is against the war, when at least 40 percent of the population is for pulling out now? Let's not forget: Democrats led us into World War I, World War II, and Vietnam and dropped the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And I'm supposed to believe Kerry will be any different? Nixon pulled us out of Vietnam, not because he was anti-war, but because we, ordinary people, were organized to demand it.
Let's be honest about what Kerry is and what Kerry isn't. This isn't the "most important election of our time" or "a choice between fascism and democracy." Most of us are old enough to have heard these lines before. People have been holding their nose to vote for lousy Democrats for so long, they are suffocating.
Enough is enough. I'll be voting for Nader this fall. But more importantly, I'll be organizing the community to demand the changes we want, no matter who gets chosen this fall.
Brian Lenzo, Monroe Avenue, Rochester
I saw part of the Republican convention comedy special, and I must compliment the comedy writers. They did a terrific job.
Speaking as a two-tour Vietnam veteran, all the fired-up war talk, flag waving, and highly choreographed posturing cracked me up. Coming from people who had, let's say, insufficient enthusiasm for actual fighting when they were young: well, that's just comic genius.
But I can do as well. Maybe better. So I'd like to apply for a job as a Republican gag writer. Here's a sample of my work:
For George Bush: "Vietnam? Boy, don't you know what the initials of the National Guard are? 'NG.' 'NG' meant "No Go" back then."
For Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Vietnam? Well, I heard they had only two mirrors for shaving. How could I look at my magnificent body in such a girly-boy mirror?"
For Rush Limbaugh: "Vietnam? I only like confrontation when my opponent is not actually present."
I got tons more. Jokes about the economy, health care, the deficit and national debt, Social Security, even the war in Iraq. I'll have them rolling in the aisles. But the administration, with its policies, deserves all the credit. They supplied the foundation material.
I can begin work immediately. I got sick and had to wait so long to get medical care at the VA that I lost my job. That's not funny. Not funny at all.
Bill McMannis, Berwick Road, Rochester
Your column "Hurtling Toward November (September 1) was excellent. I'm getting a sinking feeling about the election --- and at the same time, I'm angry and disgusted with the (apparently) more than 50 percent of the electorate who will force us into a bigger sinkhole.
In my pessimistic moments, I feel that the US --- much less the world --- cannot withstand another four years of Bush et al. Aside from the disastrous domestic policies and certain issues that I care passionately about, we now face a far more formidable anger worldwide, especially in the Middle East. I fervently hope that enough people will wake up to reality before November 2.
Susan J. Levinson, Rochester
Four years ago, President Bush spoke of returning honor and dignity to the presidency. He said he would be a "uniter and not a divider." I was willing to give him that opportunity, especially after the terrible 9/11 attacks on our country. Sadly, after four years he has completely failed in at both tasks.
Today his campaign and its surrogates rely on rhetoric that smears Senator Kerry's war record in Vietnam and in the Senate while distorting their own record of failure with respect to the economy and the war in Iraq.
They say the economy is strong, but more people live in poverty today than four years ago, and more jobs have been lost than at any time since the Great Depression. Health-care costs are on the rise, including Medicare, and we now have 43 million uninsured Americans, again more than four years ago.
Under-funded GOP mandates in education have help create record state and local government deficits, leading to an increase in property taxes for middle-class homeowners, while the GOP tries to make permanent its large tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Bush claims we're safer as a result of his actions, but terrorism experts (both in and out of the military) agree that the war on Iraq has made us less safe. The Iraqi occupation wastes billions that could have been spent on homeland defense, such as increased funding for first responders and added security for our ports and nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, North Korea and Iran move ahead with nuclear weapons programs that directly threaten our security while the GOP continues to claim Iraq had "programs to create weapons of mass destruction." You know: those weapons no one can seem to find.
Isn't it time we start talking truthfully about Bush's record, rather than wasting time on unsubstantiated lies and rumors about Senator Kerry? Isn't it time we address the issues, not the smears?
Steven Searls, Pennicott Circle, Penfield
We were saddened by news that another seven US soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber. And it is obvious to much of the world that our strategy in Iraq is producing many more terrorists than are being killed. I am reminded of President Bush's statement that he knows what he is doing in Iraq.
We are mired in an endless war that will not be resolved by the application of military force in a foreign land, where we are seen as an occupier with a proxy government unrepresentative of the Iraqi people. And according to General Anthony Zinni, history will note 10 major mistakes we made in attacking Iraq.
The May-June issue of the newsletter of the Center for Defense Information published excerpts from a speech Zinni gave to the Center's board and staff. In it, he cited those 10 mistakes:
1) We believed that containment as a policy doesn't work. It worked, Zinni noted, against the Soviet Union and has worked against others.
2) Our strategy --- which was based on a belief that we would be welcomed in Iraq with open arms, and that we can solve the Palestine-Israel problem by going through Baghdad --- was flawed.
3) We created a false rationale for attacking Iraq to get public support.
4) We failed to "internationalize the effort."
5) We "underestimated the task." "Former combatant commanders of US Central Command," said Zinni, "beginning with General Norman Schwarzkopf, have said you don't understand what you're getting into."
6) We propped up and trusted untrustworthy Iraqi exiles.
7) There was a serious lack of planning for political, economic, and social reconstruction and for rebuilding the infrastructure in Iraq.
8) We didn't put sufficient military forces on the ground.
9) We created "an ad hoc organization," the Coalitional Provisional Authority, which did not have "the breadth, scope, or depth necessary to work the problems down to grassroots level."
10) We made a series of bad decisions on the ground, "de-Baathifying down to the point where we alienated the Sunnis" and lost the people who knew how to run and maintain the infrastructure.
The truth is quite clear at this point. Iraq is divided into power blocks, all vying for influence and control, with an occupying force that plans to maintain a presence and exercise influence indefinitely. The civil war in Lebanon lasted 15 years. How long are we willing to sacrifice our men and women and Iraqi people to an insane policy by a president who does not know what he is doing?
Peter R. Mitchell, Edgerton Street, Rochester
I don't remember hitting a link to your newspaper before, but I will be looking forward to all future articles written Mike Doser. Day after day, I scroll through the various columns written by his competitors and see the same old garbage.
The running back controversy is, in my opinion, mostly fabricated by the local press. Doser's points about Travis Henry seem to be ignored by most every other sports writer, and it's about freakin' time someone put this into perspective ("Where Is the Love," September 1). Having worked for a brief time with Empire Sports in Buffalo, I had the opportunity to see the upstate New York media wheel in motion, and I could not believe how jaded most of them really are. Well done, and keep it real.
Paul Helling, Los Angeles, California
Chad Oliveiri and Tim Goodwin's brilliant piece of video-game lore brought back memories ("Bringing Back the Age of Atari," August 25). I am from that generation, and I would get a genuine rush when I went to Child World or KiddieCity or Toys R Us and pick up video games for Atari 2600 for a song.
In my heyday, I had close to 1000 video games for the classic five Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, ColecoVision, and the Intellivision systems. I am slowly selling them off to a younger generation. When the youth of today talk about the Xbox or PlayStation, I tell them those are great systems but you need to bow at the altar of Atari. Without it, there would be no games like the ones we have today.
I won't try to compare the merits of old school versus new school, but it doesn't matter whether I spend two hours on Atari or two hours on Xbox. Fun is fun, no matter which system you have.
If you're interested, go to www.digitpress.com and click on "collectors." You won't see more video collections of old school and new school anywhere else on the web.
KreagClar, LeFrois Street, Rochester
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