Most interesting article on the Luke Air Force Base/Goldwater Gunnery Range and the Sonoran pronghorn antelope ("Boom, Boom on the Range," Jeremy Voas, November 21). As I read, no fewer than a dozen (in groups of two) F-16's screamed over my abode in Surprise. Sometimes, on really clear days, you can see the young pilots in the cockpits. The F-16 is certainly mechanically impressive, hauling ass across the azure-blue desert sky, but once one's intellect gets beyond Newton and Descartes, what's left is a sick feeling one gets upon viewing a horrible crime scene. Because, as stated in Voas' article, these are weapons of mass destruction, as in the destruction of human life.
With that thought in mind, is it reasonable to expect the U.S. military, the most powerful and imperialistic force in the history of the planet, to give any ground when it comes to nonhuman species? Several other questions should be raised, such as why the Department of Defense budget is still more than 300 billion dollars, at a time when the U.S. has no superpower rivals. There is a rumor in the northwest Valley that it costs three grand in jet fuel every time an F-16 kicks in the afterburner. Is it really a priority for the USAF to use live explosives at Goldwater? Who are the boys from Luke preparing to bomb?
In conclusion, I always find a sort of black humor in the fact that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wilderness Society and the Arizona Department of Game and Fish are always portrayed as "protectors" of animals, that view, of course, dependent upon not questioning their position on animal damage control, hunting, fishing, animal husbandry, zoos, aquariums, circuses and "the Big Lie," vivisection. They selectively choose which animals are expendable, and which aren't. That way, they don't really have to change their own lifestyles, or the societal collective consciousness.
David C. Brainerd
It appears as though the beautiful Sonoran pronghorn antelope are doomed. By the time they go through the long, drawn-out waiting period of federal bureaucracy, there won't be any left to save! Why not go ahead and construct manmade water holes like they did for the desert bighorn sheep? This would be a good way for Luke Air Force Base to show that it truly does care about these animals.
Why not get all these hunting organizations together and organize some kind of effort of more varmint hunts in this area to help control the ever-expanding coyote population? It seems as though every animal has its own growing share of predators, except the coyote. It is common knowledge that these predators are increasing in population and are killing more and more big game animals every year. It's time there was a predator that controlled their population so that other animal populations can continue to grow.
Let's not wait until the red tape strangles the antelope.
I wonder if anyone else has noticed the image "softening" of two top amigos of Republican hardline-ism ("Might He Be Innocent?," John Dougherty, November 14). We were advised by the "other" paper that Newt Gingrich will now be kinder and gentler. We have been subjected to John McCain's new smiley demeanor that belies his temper. Can Faultless Fife's new image be far behind, to build sympathy toward an acquittal, which is possible according to New Times?
Perhaps his three handlers will convince him to take on a facade of modesty instead of arrogance--that would fit well into this parade of opposite imagery. Then, perhaps, he can reformat his perception of the proper role of a governor in a democratic system, where a great number of the electorate no longer believes in his ability to govern, and abdicate. But that would require more than a superficial change of image. It would require honor, decency and statesmanship.
Marcia G. Imber
Just read the short article on our esteemed Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom I have been referring to as Sheriff Joke in my letters not only to New Times, but to the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette (Flashes, November 21).
Anyway, this is the first time I have noticed anyone at New Times refer to him as Sheriff Joke. Did New Times borrow my line? If so, that is fine with me because Sheriff Arpaio is the biggest joke--well, one of two--ever to hit the state of Arizona.
Editor's note: New Times likes to give credit where it is due. In the case of renaming our illustrious sheriff, however, we wonder that it didn't occur to nearly everyone in Maricopa County months ago. For the record, New Times plastered the words "Sheriff Joke" on the April 25 cover.
Great article about belly dancing (Screed, November 21). Nice to see the nightclub aspect de-emphasized for a change.
By the way, that's zar--nothing to do with Russian rulers. The real zar is a whole ritual, not just the dance, and is probably a cross between voodoo and Islam, though Islam does not officially sanction it.
Meira, the Joyful Dancer
In Screed, Peter Gilstrap wrote, "I ask her why so many women would want to put on expensive, revealing outfits and rapidly move their flesh."
Well, I've got a reason. We live in a society where being a woman means being an asexual office worker; a self-sacrificing, nurturing housewife; an idiotic but cute bimbo; or some impossible combination of all three. Middle Eastern dance (a.k.a. belly dancing) is just about being a woman. (Of course, this means different things to different people, but there's a fertile earthiness in even the glitziest cabaret dancing, and a glamorous beauty to tribal-style and Renaissance Faire dancing.)
Thanks for one of the better articles about our art I've seen in a mainstream publication.
P.S. Belly-dance costumes only need be as expensive and revealing as the dancer wants. Many dancers cut costs by making some or all of their costumes. My favorite costume is a slinky evening dress that covers my tummy, and the skimpiest cabaret costumes cover far more than the bathing suits you see on the beaches in California.
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New Times' writers are the addle-minded products of excessive television viewing and immersion in the prejudices of popular culture. Will they ever penetrate through the blather of their own phony liberal imperatives? The unexamined life is not worth living, and the literary products of such a life are not worth committing even to pulp. Please move the movie listings and personal ads closer to the front of the paper so that New Times' readers will be less tempted to [stet] the rabblesome sloth its "stories" might invoke as they page toward their real interests. Please, New Times: More car-stereo ads and less of the predictable, sanctimonious, hypocritical horseshit you call journalism.