Berg wrong on Bush
The self-delusion expressed by Rick Berg in his latest column ("They Dare Not Speak His Name," 9/12/08) is astonishing. He agrees with most Americans that the country is on the wrong track. We have no coherent energy policy, our financial markets are in crisis, and many Americans are struggling with rising food and energy costs.
But, somehow, none of this is remotely the fault of the people who have been running the country for the last eight years. President Bush is really a flinty-eyed gunman, protecting all the poor and timid townsfolk from wild men. He was just too darn busy doing that, and maybe feeding his horse, to attend to other needs.
This, of course, completely ignores the actions and inactions Bush and his allies have taken. Like purging the ranks of professional civil servants and replacing them with ideological yes-men, eliminating science and fact from national discourse, and enriching their already rich friends at the expense of the rest of the nation.
Berg pulls out the tired line that Democrats are more worried about reading terrorists their rights than capturing or killing them. Besides not being true, since when did caring about rights become something to scorn?
Brian Casey, Fitchburg
Rick Berg says we owe thanks to the Current Occupant of the White House for keeping the nation safe after 9/11. And indeed we have been safe since 9/11, just as we were during the 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years before 9/11. If this is the "lasting legacy" of the Current Occupant, it must be that also of Clinton, Poppy Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, and Nixon, and all the rest back to the War of 1812.
Of course, to get back to normal, the CO has spent billions of dollars, lost over 4,000 members of the military, tortured captives, spied on the rest of us, and denied basic legal rights so adeptly that Berg smirks at the notion that the accused even have rights.
As to the heap of present problems Berg says these will just bring out the ingenuity of the American people.I propose that we join Berg in thanking the CO here too, since by causing so much anguish, misery, poverty, deceit, decay, and international execration, he has given the nation the glorious chance of "doing the improbable and prevailing."
While I'm grateful this nation has not experienced any terrorist attacks since 9/11, I'm not grateful for the mess that He Who Must Not Be Named has put us in.
He Who Must Not Be Named, his vice president and secretary of defense, lied to the citizens of this country about weapons of mass destruction that did not exist, invaded a country based on those lies, cost this country the respect we once held in the world and cost this nation the lives of thousands of our armed forces.
Ask the families of those soldiers killed in this never-ending "war on terror" how much gratitude and respect they have for He Who Must Not Be Named. Ask the injured soldiers.
Vicki Halverson, Edgerton
It amazes me that Isthmus will print the clueless babble that comes from Rick Berg. On Sept. 11, 2001, the president of the United States was George W. Bush, not William J. Clinton. Charged with protecting the American people on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush failed miserably. He deserves no respect or gratitude!
Matthew DeWar, Cottage Grove
Berg argues that we should thank President Bush that no additional terrorist attacks have occurred on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. This is absurd. To begin with, the mass deaths on 9/11 occurred on Bush's watch. He is directly culpable.
There is strong evidence that elements of his administration were actually complicit in those attacks. But at minimum, Bush was criminally negligent in the days leading up to 9/11 in ignoring repeated specific, credible advance warnings about impending al-Qaida attacks, from the intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Jordan and others as well as his own CIA and FBI.
A 320-page GAO report released last year said the Bush team "could not take credit for the fact that there has not been another terrorist attack on American soil."A recent 200-page RAND Corp. study of 600 terrorism movements worldwide concludes that Bush's "war on terrorism" is fundamentally flawed. It said thebest way to prevent terrorism is through police and intelligence methods, not unilateral military interventions thatbreed more terrorists.
Perhaps Rick Berg forgot that both presidential campaigns pledged not to campaign on 9/11. But like John W. McCain, who gave political speeches on 9/11 while Barack Obama did not, Berg invokes the memory of 9/11 to play the McCain fear card on us. And his lack of logic tripped him up.
To say that George W. deserves all the credit because no other terrorist has hit the USA since 9/11 is about as ridiculous as claiming that Sarah Palin has kept Russia from attacking Alaska for the past 20 months.
The fact is, George W. has gotten thousands of our bravest killed, and tens of thousand maimed, in a false war. John W. McCain was among the first supporters of that slaughter, and still refuses to admit he was wrong. Barack Obama voted against that war and hasn't changed his vote or his mind.
Feminism and the GOP
Jonathan Burack, give us a break (Letters, 9/19/08)! Sarah Palin is no more a feminist than John McCain is an agent of change. She just happens to be a woman.
Real feminists support equal pay, equal opportunity, equal and full access to health care, safety for women. The Republicans claim to be whatever they think gets votes. You'd have to be a complete idiot to support the party that only supports the super-rich. Gas at $4/gallon. Crumbling infrastructure. Failing schools. Abandoned hurricane victims. Destruction of our Constitution. Go ahead and vote for these scumbags and see what you get!
Our drinking problems
In his opinion column ("It's Not the Bars' Fault...," 9/19/08), Hawk Schenkel complains that city officials find downtown drinking problems a big deal. Excessive drinking is involved in over 70% of downtown police calls and most downtown disturbances, property damage, rape and other violence. That is a big deal.
Schenkel suggests that the city build relationships with bars to help get a handle on the problem. Sure, and beyond ticketing speeders, how about if the police invite them out for coffee? Better yet, bar owners who create a public nuisance by illegally serving underage and intoxicated individuals should simply expect to be closed down.
I don't hear anyone advocating for Prohibition. The majority of Wisconsin residents either drink moderately or abstain. A sizable, vocal minority engages in episodic heavy drinking. Large numbers of bars selling cheap alcohol draw these drinkers into downtown Madison.
City and county officials and groups like Capitol Neighborhoods Inc. are responsibly sounding an alarm about our alcohol problems. (I'm a family physician and public health practitioner at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health who serves on the group's alcohol issues committee.)
Responsible citizens should back measures to decrease alcohol-related crime, violence and car crashes. These include reducing the high density of bars, raising the price of cheap alcohol, stepping up enforcement of underage drinking, and implementing other strategies.
Richard L. Brown
Quoted cook gets seconds
Before we at Gordon Commons started cooking dinners for Hillel, the supervisor was given a crash course in kosher cooking and storage ("Are UW's Kosher Kitchens, Er, Kosher?" 9/19/08). The university calls these dinners cultural events. But when we are following archaic rules that have no practical application in a modern world, what else could you call it but religious?
Following strict Orthodox procedures such as covering every food contact surface with foil and triple-wrapping prepared food in foil is disruptive to our production flow. Why are we being forced to play Religious Restaurant?
The kosher kitchen at Rheta's, which feeds fewer than 100 people a night, enjoys state-of-the-art equipment, including a combi-oven. We at Pop's Club feed up to 1,000 people a night. Where's our combi-oven? Equipment envy? You bet.
The UW-Madison attracts students from all over the world. We in food service are happy to dish up heaping helpings of Madras cabbage, African steam bread, chicken mole, falafel, Caribbean jerk pork, etc. on the serving line. This is sane multiculturalism sans religion.