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Letters

Editor
Northern Virginia Daily

Sir:

Concerning the present resurgence of anxiety over President Obama’s eligibility for the presidency, the Aug. 4 contribution of your cartoonist, Mike Peters, hit the bottom. How dumb does he think we are?

George Washington strikes a heroic pose, while a couple of founding fathers — looking like Jefferson and Franklin — converse in the background holding, of all things, the Declaration of Independence. One whispers to the other: “He can’t be President. He wasn’t born in the United States.”

Peters’ point? I presume he means that the great Washington became president even though he was not born in the United States (i.e. was born before there was a United States). Ergo, if Washington did it, how small-minded of anyone to quibble over the existence or non-existence of the president’s birth certificate, over where he may have been born.

First, it is the U.S. Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence, that is relevant to qualifications for the presidency and to this cartoonist’s deception.

Second, the U.S. Constitution provides plain guidelines on who can be president. Article II, Section I: “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible …”

Clearly, Washington was a “citizen … at the time of the adoption of this constitution …”

Accordingly, we have the collapse of Peters’ entire “shtick,” — his comic and misleading gimmick which plays on ignorance and seeks to place Obama on Washington’s coattails.

Constitutionally speaking, no American, no signer of the Constitution, no signer of the Declaration of Independence had the slightest doubt about Washington’s eligibility for the presidency.

Richard W. Hoover
419 Liberty Hall Road
Front Royal,
Aug. 4, 2009

Editor
Northern Virginia Daily

Sir:

I’m writing based on the impartial coverage that this ongoing conflict has received from your newspaper.

Regarding the “public hearing” notice in The Winchester Star on July 14 and 21, the city of Winchester advertised a public hearing to the general public, regarding the ordinance change for the Winchester Taxicab Code, Chapter 31.

We, “the taxicab owners,” attended that meeting and were not permitted to speak in that phantom “public hearing.”

To the point, there was no public hearing regarding the taxicab ordinance change. Yet the minutes for the July 28 meeting specifically states that “no citizens came forward to speak on the topic of Chapter 31.” Our honorable City Council moved to a closed meeting where the Winchester Taxicab Coalition attorney was asked to stay and speak to them in “private” with absolutely no threat of litigation pending.

Council met in private and voted in private leaving all stakeholders and the general public in the dark.

End result being that the Winchester City Council highjacked the democratic process and rubber-stamped the council president’s personal opinion. If that doesn’t “slap” you sideways, our City Council, according to the published minutes for July 28, has “historically revised” the chain of events in that meeting.

Everything concerning the venue was not “open” for public inspection. Hence the minutes recorded are willfully misrepresented. There was “no” public hearing on anything regarding Chapter 31.

We are very disappointed at the behavior of our City Council. In times such as these, our public servants must be held accountable and publicly scrutinized.

The recorded documents in the council clerk’s office on the second floor of Rouss City Hall are great examples of what happens when the general public has absolutely no interest in the civic process.

If nothing else, it’s good to know from recent news in the Daily that the city of Winchester has been awarded a $682,000 public safety grant. I certainly hope that Chief Sanzenbacher uses that grant to “impartially” deter gang-related activity.

Richard R. Cadmus Jr.
111 Willowbrook Court
Winchester
Aug. 4, 2009

Editor
Northern Virginia Daily

Sir:

Once again John Fusto, blinded by his lemming-like devotion to the can-do-no-wrong church, misses the point.

I applaud the efforts of organizations and individuals, religious and secular alike, who devote their time and resources to helping the poor and oppressed in third world countries. However, despite their efforts, there still remains all to much suffering as the latest statistics show. The number of children who die of malnutrition and health-related diseases has risen to 25,000 a day. The number of human beings who go to bed hungry every day now exceeds 1 billion and counting.

That may be sufficient for Fusto and the pope but not for anyone who truly cares for those human beings who through no fault of their own are less fortunate than others.

The question we must answer is not what we have done, as Fusto points out, but can we do more? We can and we must simply because it is in our national interest.

Sixty years ago, Dr. Corliss Lamont, writer, teacher and humanist philosopher, penned the following that rings true today:

“All countries in this modern age are economically, politically and culturally interrelated and Interdependent. The time has past when any national unit can be sufficient unto itself and function prosperously and securely in isolation from mankind. … For the humanist it follows that beyond all questions of national self interest, everyone has a moral obligation to humanity as a whole; a duty, which is also an opportunity to make common cause with other peoples of the earth in man’s eternal quest for peace, plenty and freedom. All individuals of all countries are together fellow citizens of our one world and fellow members of our one human family.”

Humanist philosophy, with its faith in human beings to solve our problems through human intelligence, scientific techniques and reasoned optimism is our best hope to cure the many ills of humankind.

Impossible dream? Perhaps, “but the world will be much better for this if we strive with our last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable star.”

Gene Rigelon
1117 T-Bird Drive
Front Royal
July 31, 2009

Editor
Northern Virginia Daily

Sir:

On July 31 we drove south on Interstate 81 to Harrisonburg just before noon. There was wet heavy traffic, wipers, lights on. We encountered unspeakable rudeness, danger and white-knuckle navigation. Rolling roadblocks. Speeding truck-car mixes. Tailgating. Lane changes that make NASCAR’s close encounters look like driving instruction for the blind.

We have more than 100 years driving experience between us. We clucked our tongues and tsk-tsked at the egregious behavior displayed in the 60 miles from marker 300 on south.

What is of intense, personal issue to us was our observations and feelings echoed in Saturday’s Washington Post, Metro section, an exact account of our own experience.

We kept to the “slow lane,” speed auto-set at 65, wipers and lights on. We realize that state police are in budget decline, along with the newly shuttered rest stop at New Market and can no longer assure the civility and legality of the rules of the road for the lure of the open road.

We’ve seen 18-wheelers blow past open “inspection” stations (divine dispensation?). We were on our way to the Virginia Quilt Museum in Old Towne Harrisonburg for Marilyn’s gig as docent. There, decompression from fraught to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” was almost immediate.

We knew that on our boogie north out of Harrisonburg we had to avoid the majority of I-81. We had been looking for the wood mill of Mr. Polk who sold us slab firewood last winter, from Quicksburg, west off Route 11.

Inconvenience or adventure, this quest was an existential choice when taking blue highways. Wow! What vistas! Rolling meadows, hills, cornfields. Grandma Moses farmsteads. Top safe speeds of 45 mph. No tailgaters. The residual feeling that this is not going to change in the next century.

The most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen is stupidity. We don’t think we’ll live long enough to experience any remediation of the bad driving on I-81, so all we can do is avoid using it.

Philip Lelle
Marilyn H. Lott
105 W. 18th St.
Front Royal
Aug. 1, 2009