Letters for October 19, 2006

Reviewer missed the theme
Re “Death has no mercy” (Theater, Oct. 5):

I am writing in response to Ms. Waples negative review of Nevada Repertory Company’s The Lady From Dubuque. It’s obvious that Ms. Waples missed the point of this interesting play by Edward Albee. The play is about dying. It’s about the main character (Jo) coming to terms with her own impending death. It’s about her husband (Sam) accepting her death, as well. It’s about how the other two couples, self-centered as they are (except perhaps for Carol), respond to her terminal illness. (Who needs friends like that?!) Oscar and Elizabeth aren’t just “Death” coming for Jo. They’re “Angels” coming to make the dying more bearable. The game Twenty Questions at the beginning of the first act poses the question “Who Am I?” over and over again. Toward the end of the second act, Elizabeth (one of the Angels) stresses that “Who Am I?” is the most important question a person should try to answer in life. The play dramatizes the importance of honesty, self-knowledge, and, shedding what’s false (even friendships) in our lives before our own inevitable demise. I agree with Ms. Waples that some of the actors were better than others, but unlike her, I enjoyed the play a lot and highly recommend it.

Patricia R. Coia

Gibbons can’t make the grade
U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons recently earned a disappointing 0 percent for his anti-environment votes in the first session of the 109th Congress, as listed in the League of Conservation Voters’ 2005 National Environmental Scorecard. Published by LCV every Congress since 1970, the Scorecard evaluates the environmental performance of every representative and Senator. We deserve a representative who will consistently put our interest in a clean and healthy environment first. When it comes to protecting our air, water and natural heritage from corporate polluters and developing a forward thinking energy policy, Gibbons’ LCV score shows that he gets a failing grade.

Sharon Marie Wilcox

Carter nostalgia
Re “Jimmy Carter returns” and “The last Christian president” (News and View from the Fray, Oct. 5):

Memories are wonderful things. We forget the bad, and the past is marvelous. The RN&R recently paid tribute to former President Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party through various articles. I appreciate Mr. Carter. He is a good man! His presidency had numerous flaws, however, which is why he lost. Double- digit inflation and unemployment, which even the Democrat-controlled Congress couldn’t put back together again. Then the hostage crisis, which further stained his legacy. I suspect the Dems were going through a type of hangover after getting rid of the evil Nixon and pulling us out of the Vietnam War. They didn’t realize there was still a country to run. Even Edward Kennedy was emboldened to try for the presidency in 1980.

Though I’ve never met him, I’m sure that Jack Carter is also a good man. But then, so is John Ensign, and he now has seniority for the state. There is another senatorial race coming up soon. Perhaps Jack can run then.

Bill Thibault

Eternal vigilance to protect rights
The threat is real. A recent Chicago Tribune article, “Abortion foes’ new rallying point” by Judith Graham, illustrates the reality of the threats to birth-control access in the United States.

In attempt to outlaw birth control, 250 people gathered, and ‘experts’ claimed that, “contraception devalues children, harms relationships between men and women, promotes sexual promiscuity and leads to falling birth rates, among social ills.”

If we don’t vote for candidates who stand strong on choice issues, reproductive and sexual health, education and family planning in the United States will take a step backward.

The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rates of the developed nations. In 2000, Nevada had the fourth-highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation; through sex education and access to birth control, it has dropped to 12th. We must further this trend.

The General Election on Nov. 7, 2006, is fast approaching, and I can only hope that voters show up to the polls this year, educated on their politicians’ stance on choice.

Voting is our voice. Our demands of access to birth control, family planning and education need to be heard loud and clear on Nov. 7. Vote for reproductive freedom. Keep personal decisions out of the hands of politicians.

Nicole Donald

Derby campaign response
Re “Elect Dean Heller” (Editorial, Oct. 12):

In the Reno News & Review’s endorsement for the Second Congressional seat, the editors call the current political system dismaying. That’s an appropriate term to apply to the RN&R’s uninformed endorsement of Dean Heller.

The RN&R apparently hasn’t been paying attention to this race, or they wouldn’t have used terms like “moderate” and “true to himself” to describe Heller. Is it the “moderate” position to support staying the course in Iraq even if it means keeping our troops there for another decade? Is it “moderate” to suggest that Senators opposing the President’s torture plan are “more interested in protecting the terrorists"? Is it “moderate” to support privatization of Social Security? Those are Heller’s positions. Come to think of it, did the RN&R miss Erin Neff’s column describing Heller’s veer to the right since the primary?

The RN&R also must have missed the flurry of attack ads that Heller has launched against Jill Derby in the past few weeks. Attack ads that have been labeled false, misleading, and downright silly by an independent news source? Is that Heller being true to himself? No, that’s politics as usual and the RN&R should know better.

The RN&R apparently doesn’t like Jill Derby because she doesn’t fit their narrow stereotype of a Democrat. That’s the whole point of her campaign against career politicians and politics as usual. Jill isn’t a stereotypical Democrat, but a common sense Nevadan who will do what’s right for the people she represents and not just be another party vote. She doesn’t think either party has a monopoly on good ideas and is committed to working across party lines to change tax and healthcare policy to benefit everyone, not just the rich and not just the poor. The RN&R seems to understand Heller’s double talk better than the straight talk Jill offers.

The RN&R talks about the “continued screwing of the working people by a majority of Republicans and conservative Democrats” if people like Jill are elected. What does the RN&R think Congress is doing now? Advocating for working people? Hardly. The current leadership–which Heller repeatedly says he will stand behind–has cut veterans benefits, dramatically increased interest rates for student loans, and given billions to their pals in the oil industry. If that’s the definition of looking out for working people, it makes you wonder how bad things have to get before the RNR thinks it’s time for a change.

Jill makes no secret of her party, her service on the Board of Regents, or her doctoral degree in cultural anthropology with a focus on Middle Eastern cultures. She talks about all of these in her ads, on her website, and at the many candidate forums, house parties, and community events she attends. If the RN&R editors had bothered to get out to see the campaign first hand, turn on their televisions, or simply pick up the phone for an interview, they would know that.

This editorial demonstrates that the RN&R relies on old news stories and the view from their offices to make endorsements. It’s not like the RN&R bothered to interview Jill or ask tough questions of the candidates to make an informed choice. Thankfully, the voters will.

David Cohen
Campaign Manager, Jill Derby for Congress

Editor’s note: There are a good many candidates who would prefer that journalists pay attention to what is said in a campaign rather than how they behaved in previous offices—their record. Those who want to predict how a newspaper will endorse candidates need to look beyond party affiliation and toward whether the candidate honored open-meeting laws and supported transparency in government.