Letters to the editor

Readers clash over McCain's use of "gook" Plus: Splitting up siblings heartbreakingly common; the thrill of playing God with a Sim family.


Letters to the Editor
February 19, 2000 10:00PM (UTC)

Straight talk
BY JAKE TAPPER
(02/17/00)

Enough already with the p.c. indignation. So McCain
called guys who bashed his head in, broke his arms, starved him
and held him prisoner for several years "gooks." I'm surprised
he didn't call them "f---ing gooks."

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So why doesn't John McCain "move on?" Why doesn't he put it
behind him and forgive his captors? Why doesn't he want to hug
and make nice with them? Hey, that's a good idea. I'll
remember to use that advice the next time a group asks for
reparations for past unjust treatment, or wants some special
dispensation because of historical wrongs. I'll remember that
when we screech about hate crimes against gays or women or
minorities ... "Hey guys, that was the past. Move on."

-- Diana Johnston

Jake Tapper is apparently upset by John McCain
referring to the men who tortured and imprisoned him for
five-and-a-half years as "gooks." Oh please. I think there
should be a rule: You can call the people who imprison and
torture you whatever the hell you want! What should the guards
at Auschwitz be called? Crowd-control officers?

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-- J.B. Miller

John McCain went to Vietnam to kill Vietnamese
people, destroy their property and ruin their land. Together with
others who went, he is responsible for killing between 1 and
3 million people.

It is difficult to understand why he should feel he has the right
to criticize his captors considering what he was trying to do to
their country and their families. He should apologize for his
actions, rather than denounce the Vietnamese.

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At the very least, since the people of Vietnam seem to have
forgiven Americans for the killings and destruction they caused,
McCain should be able to forgive the considerably lesser sins
committed by his captors.

-- Ketil Bjugan

The term "gooks" is an epithet as disgustingly offensive
as the "N" word. The fact that the sadists that tortured McCain
were Asian does not make them "gooks," it makes them sadists
and criminals.

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McCain insists on using the word "gooks," even after reflecting
and considering his usage over a period of years. This is more
than ample evidence of McCain's racist attitudes.

Criminal acts by individuals are not caused by their ethnic
origins, but by individual criminal motives. Even though
McCain insists he is applying "gooks" to individuals, it is a
group description, and an awful one at that, one that should not
be used, particularly by someone who wants to be president.

-- Daniel White

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Torn to
pieces

BY NELL BERNSTEIN
(02/16/00)

I am a child welfare worker and the reality of splitting
siblings is a very common and difficult problem that I face on a
daily basis. I agree that children should not be separated.
However, there is a desperate shortage of available foster homes
and adoptive homes willing to take "troubled" children or
children over a certain age. The case of a mother that had three
or four drug-exposed children is typical. These children all
have medical problems. The actual work and time these children
require prohibits some of these siblings being put together.

Yes, the situation is desperate, but let me tell you what is truly
terrifying. Here in Oklahoma, our governor claimed that he is
going to cut child abuse in half in one year. It appears that the
way he is going to do it is by redefining child abuse away.
Attempted murder will get your kids picked up, but little else
will in the near future. So to reduce the overload that workers
like me face (between 30 and 40 children on my case load), to
alleviate the shortage of beds, they are going to just leave the
kids in the home. At least till they start dying.

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I personally am sick of people dismissing the efforts or motives
of social workers. Most of us work tons of unpaid overtime. We
won't get rich doing it. We are still blamed when parents kill
children, as if it were our own hands around a child's throat.
Responsibility must rest with the parent, the perpetrator. In my
mind, social workers in general and child welfare workers in
particular should be carried on the shoulders of society. And yet
we have thugs who can play schoolyard games well, pro
athletes, as our role models. The real problem is that people
don't care about children, not the poor ones. We will hear about
JonBenet, but not the dirty little minority kid. Moralizing and
pointing fingers at the woefully underfunded system will not
save lives, but it may make the authors feel better.

-- Scott Raybern

The heartache of being separated from siblings is
compounded by the adoption laws in this country. Contrary to
the popular opinion, most states are so restrictive, financially
and legally, adoptees have no access to their original birth
certificates and adoption records. With such restrictions, there is
little to no way an adoptee can discover the adoptive names of
their siblings.
This greatly narrows the possibility of finding siblings and
family once the adoptee is grown and can search. The
knowledge of siblings, medical information, traits, and simply
who you favor is a black hole for most adoptees.

-- Beverly Buchanan

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Love
strands

BY SUSAN STRAIGHT
(02/17/00)

I read dumbstruck Straight's article about how she's
willing to be "patient, because that's what we do" with regards
to combing her daughters' hair. She makes it sounds like she's in
the throes of some cosmic sacrifice because she has to comb
black hair everyday. Gimme a break already with the martyr act.
I guess black women who've had to make their children's (boys
and girls) heads look good to present to a white world deserve
sainthood! And by the way, the word for your kids' hair is not
"curly" or "wavy" it's nappy, plain and simple.

-- Robyn Richardson

Sims in the hands of an angry God
BY JANELLE
BROWN

(02/17/00)

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Rather than torturing my Sims, I enjoy imposing my
world view on them. I am especially thrilled that the inter-Sim
romances are not limited to opposite sex partners, or to one love
object at a time. My favorite Sim family right now is an
interracial female couple who share a double bed at night, and in
their thought-bubbles, they dream of each other. A daughter
from one's first "marriage" lives with her father and comes over
to watch cartoons. Of course, if I wanted to, all of the houses in
my neighborhood could have a husband and wife with two kids
and a swimming pool in the backyard, but the game is more
fun, and much more realistic, when it gets a bit messy.
Bravissimo, Will Wright.

-- Mishel Dyas

Only the
lonely

BY DAVID CORN
(02/17/00)

No wonder Bradley refuses to tell his favorite books.
For every book he mentions, some shallow reporter determines
that he has bared his soul. I'd hate to be identified with the
heroes of my favorite books. If it's "Mrs. Dalloway," does that
mean I flirt with suicide? If "Charming Billy," does that mean
I'm a closet drunk? If "Anna Karenina," does that mean I'm an
adultress? Come on now: Bradley is a good and smart man who
reads and thinks. Was Lincoln a back-slapper? Would we prefer
an illiterate to be our president? Better a man who reads Conrad
than one who reads Clancy.

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-- Phyllis Mindell

It's
how they take you anywhere

BY BETH KEPHART
(02/16/00)

I wanted to thank you for printing Beth Kephart's
wonderful article about reading to children. My grandmother
would read Kipling's "Just So" stories to me as a child, and "The
Elephant's Child" was probably my favorite. I had not thought
about the "great grey-green greasy Limpopo river all set about
with fever trees" in years, and it brought back a wonderful flood
of memories.

It is because of her delight in those and other books she read to
me, and my parents' delight in reading aloud almost anything,
that I continue to read so voraciously, especially "children's"
books. Why? Because, as the boy says, they take you places.
So a big thank you to my grandmother and my parents for
taking me so many places, and thank you Beth Kephart for
reminding me and ensuring that other children (no matter the
age) continue to go there also.

-- Margaret Lawrence

Dark Hotel

BY BOB CALLAHAN, SPAIN RODRIGUEZ, HAL ROBINS
AND PAUL MAVRIDES

(02/18/00)

Just a quick note to let you know how much I adore
The Dark Hotel. I'm an underground comics fan from way back
and I've always loved Spain Rodriguez. The new story line
about Drago running for president is especially good. So, lovely
stuff, really. Keep it up.

-- Bill Wagstafff


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John Mccain, R-ariz.

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