Senator of Controversy
Regarding the recent public outcry against Senator John McCain's lack of character, he deserved it. Not only has he committed a despicable attack on an innocent young girl (Flashes, June 18), but when McCain should speak up about vital issues in our community, he remains silent. I get it--he only attacks those who are in no position to fight back.

I observed Senator McCain addressing a large group of his constituents when he stated that he didn't realize that the Sumitomo Sitix factory was a problem. That was several months ago. Where is his voice now? It's too busy attacking young people to defend them from the hazards that are threatening them within their own community. He's so busy spewing vicious jokes at the expense of a young woman's feelings that he's blatantly ignoring Sumitomo's emission stacks spewing poisons onto its neighbors.

Senator McCain needs to look in the mirror and see what ugliness within prompted him to make such a vicious comment. Perhaps the next words he utters after a heartfelt apology to Chelsea Clinton and Janet Reno will be words in defense of the health and safety of his own community.

Susan Tompkins

Senator McCain likes to appear red, white and blue, but with his recent vicious remarks about Chelsea Clinton, he's finally shown his true colors.

One would like to think that there are a large number of moderate Republicans who found Senator McCain's comment to be just as repugnant as I did, but, considering the relentless witch hunt aimed at the President by members of their own party, I have my doubts.

One has to ask oneself why Senator McCain thought he'd have a receptive audience for such mean-spiritedness: Could it be that the vicious personal attack on a sitting president and his family--ones based on unproven speculation--are unprecedented? Could he correctly have assumed that if the father was fair game, so then is his daughter?

And finally as to the definition of character--Senator McCain surely stands out as a sterling example after this gaffe!

It's not enough for the senator to have merely apologized to Ms. Clinton and Ms. Reno; that is just so much lip service. He needs to do some serious soul searching.

Presidential material? We need as our president someone with the moral fortitude and depth of character to rise above personal smears; one who is not afraid to attack the pressing problems of the nation, not an innocent young woman.

Lesley Pedersen

I was enlightened by Amy Silverman's article "Smoke and Beers" (June 4). And I enjoyed it perhaps because I'm on occasion both a smoker and a drinker. If Senator John McCain's heavy tax on tobacco passes, a black market will undoubtedly light up in the states, as suddenly smokers can't really afford their heavily taxed crutch of choice.

Since the young can get any kind of illicit drug, why wouldn't that include cheaper tobacco? And blue-collar workers will be the most tightly harnessed by the new tax, which will further bloat the federal leviathan, at a time Republicans are supposedly trying to shrink it. Besides national defense and, for a while, the space frenzy, if there was one federal tax-and-spend program that worked in the past 85 years instead of making things worse, perhaps there could be justification for McCain's tax. Let's first get the banks, the government and the insurance companies out of our pockets and our lives. They shuffle paper, corrupt the citizenry, invest in and send jobs to other countries and take their own enormous cut, while we foot the bill. As Barry Goldwater knew, the problem with solutions is usually solutions. As for this national ruling class, like our local Lord Forntroys now attached to the public trough, let such bums and liars cut their teeth on decent jobs.

Mark Zorro

It's time for a changing of the guard in the United States Senate. For you people too ignorant or not informed to see through Senator McCain's attempt to appeal to more voters, his time is up.

Senator McCain has been relatively quiet in the Senate until recently, when his attempt to pass campaign-finance-reform legislation was killed by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and his own party. His current antics with tobacco legislation will follow the same ill fate, but McCain is only trying to moderate himself from the radical right.

One thing is for sure, the senator has created more enemies than friends in Arizona. All one has to do is tune in to the local "far right" talk shows with numerous callers spouting off with their best anti-McCain sentiment. A few months earlier, when state legislator Scott Bundgard attempted to eliminate affirmative action from state programs, McCain attempted to wow minority voters in Arizona by coming out against this. But I'm not fooled!

It's quite obvious that our distinguished senator is making a pathetic attempt to reach out to more voters when he spends more time out of the state than in. Maybe he should worry less about his presidential aspirations than the state that elected him to office. He has a duty to the people of Arizona, not New Hampshire.

And as for Ed Ranger, I've met the man on numerous occasions, and he is just what Arizona needs--one of us and not some millionaire helping out his own. Many people (New Times included) don't give Ed Ranger a snowball's chance in hell; however, I've heard that story before. A few years back, a no-name candidate ran against one of the most extreme conservatives in Congress. The voters of California's 44th Congressional District (home of the John Burke Society) elected a Hispanic woman by the name of Loretta Sanchez, ousting a sit-in for the Rush Limbaugh show named Bob Dornan. With her strong determination and help from her family, she got elected. I hope Arizona can follow suit by electing Ed Ranger to the U.S. Senate.

Vince Enriquez

Snake Eyed
I had just about given up on Christians, thinking they are all heartless tyrants when it comes to behavior toward animals. Then I read your story on Dale Burton ("Rattling Cages," Terry Greene Sterling, June 4) and how he saves and protects rattlesnakes. Dale and his wife Liz are wonderful to cats, also. I hope this means that a new era is being ushered in, where churchgoers will see that if they are kind to animals, they will start getting some respect, instead of the disdain they are getting now for hunting animals and experimenting on them.

Shaynie Aero

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your article on Dale Burton and his fight for the rattlesnakes. Man, it was an insightful piece of feature writing. I'm a hiker, and I've seen a lot of people literally smash to death or shoot rattlesnakes because they are scared of them. While they aren't one of my favorite creatures, I have a healthy respect for them and try and stay away from them when I go hiking. It sounds like Mr. Burton is trying to save the rattlesnakes with his limited personal funds. Could I make a donation to his cause, and where do I send the check to?

Again, it was a great story. It touched my heart.
Victoria Johnson
via Internet

Suspicious Minds
In his letter of June 11 criticizing Barry Graham's column on a racially charged incident at a Scottsdale jeweler ("Overdressed," May 21), Roger Ellington writes: "A month ago, another jeweler was murdered by a robber in Fresno. The two criminals were Asian. Would you blame Fresno stores for being suspicious of Asians now?"

In a word, yes. To see how silly his remarks sound, Mr. Ellington, whom I presume is white (as am I), should substitute "white" for "Asian" in the above-quoted text. Presumably Mr. Ellington doesn't consider it reasonable to regard whites with suspicion simply because last month a pair of whites robbed a bank in Tempe or a jewelry store in San Francisco, even though white people account for a larger number of armed robberies simply by virtue of the fact that there are more of us. How would he feel if he were the object of suspicion and the merchant was black? He'd feel offended, and with good reason: Most whites, or for that matter, most blacks, Asians and Hispanics, are not robbers.

Now if Mr. Ellington really wants to understand, he should endeavor to imagine that he is a minority and that most merchants he might choose to patronize are of another race. Imagine that at least once a week, he walked into a store to spend money, only to find himself regarded with barely disguised suspicion, fear or hostility because of his race. Imagine the indignity of being pulled over by the police in your own neighborhood because you are driving a nice car and are a different race from most people in the area--always with a flimsy excuse unrelated to race, of course. Imagine that your ancestors were brought here in chains as slaves, regarded as inferior life forms for most of the country's existence, and that, more often than not, persons of your race seemed to be featured in the news as criminals and parasitical lowlifes--when they were featured at all. Wouldn't you become somewhat sensitive, perhaps even a bit paranoid, about the role of race in society?

Mr. Ellington then asks Graham: "If the black man in Scottsdale had been white, would you have written about it?" If that had been the case, likely there would have been nothing to write about, unless the white man had fit a very specific description. Most jewelry-store patrons in Scottsdale are white, and store owners cannot afford to alienate them by calling the police every time a well-dressed white man fitting the general description of 20 other white men walks into the store.

Of course, every case has to be judged on its individual merits, and New Times is to be applauded for permitting the owner to respond in print. The point here is much broader than whether a particular merchant erred in judgment. The broad point is that the most insidious forms of racism are the kind people aren't aware of.

Mark Adkins


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