File Under: Our Bad
Editor's Note: Last week, a slightly different version of this letter in our mail section generated a supernova of confused reader response the likes of which we haven't seen in years. We were content at first to sit back and laugh at everyone, but then we noticed something. Due to a slight slip of the finger--you know how close "R" and "9" are on the keyboard--the license plate number we printed was, how you say ... totally wrong. D'oh! Here's the correct version. Sorry, Ro. And everyone who checked with the Department of Motor Vehicles and then wrote letters to the editor answering Ro's letter, revise them and send them again next week.
Last week, as I drove out of the Clock Tower apartments, I spotted an Airstreamer parked on the side of the road with this personalized license plate: "1A N666R."
My question is, how could the Idaho department of Motor Vehicles let this one slip by? It didn't take but a single glance for me to realize the racist epithet that is parked in plain view of all who enter the Clock Tower complex. My second question is, am I the only one that is outraged here? Why hasn't this plate been reported? Have we become so ingrained in thinking that this term is OK, or is the Dept. of Motor Vehicles really this dense and naive? This vanity plate is unacceptable and disgusting, no matter who owns this vehicle, and I have reported it. I am now waiting to hear what the excuse is going to be for approving it, or better yet, allowing it to exist.
When I travel outside of the state and tell people of color where I am from, their comments and reactions clearly lead me to understand that it's not potatoes we are famous for.
Here's Some Advice: You Suck, BW!
After picking up the last two or three issues, I just had to find out what happened to the advice goddess. If she is no longer published in this weekly, I may as well grab the other free weekly, Thr!ve... you both carry the same things.
Shark fin soup, huh? (BW, Publisher's Note, "A Dreamy Message from the Far East," May 17). Did you follow that up with tiger penis soup or rhinoceros horn soup? I'm so happy you feel compelled to brag about participating in the senseless destruction of a top marine predator. Do you even know how those fins are harvested? The fact that you are a publisher for an alternative weekly is abhorrent to me. You sound more like someone who could be best friends with Gale Norton than someone enlightened enough to publish an alternative news weekly. You should be ashamed. Oooh, wait, is your next trip to the arctic to club seals, or maybe hunt a polar bear so you can sip your precious shark fin soup while lounging on a bearskin rug? You suck.
Bus Busters Miss the Bus
Thank you for the attention you have given to the bus system in your last two publications. There were valid points in both the article and the letter from a passenger. My personal favorite comment was from City Councilman Jim Tibbs, saying that before we talk about light rail we need to get more butts in the seats of the buses we have.
While I agree with Mr. Tibbs that we need more drivers, I can't remember the last time I had an empty bus for a complete trip. I am a ValleyRide bus driver. The Boise media seems fond of the "Empty Bus Myth."
Supporters of the myth admit they haven't ridden the bus. Therefore, it is reasonable to deduce that they have no background in how the system works. They are merely observing from the outside to make their conclusions. I have some questions about the myth.
When my bus is empty, why do cars try to avoid being behind the bus? (If it really is empty, it won't be making frequent stops to slow them down).
When I am in gridlock, there is plenty of time to see hundreds of cars that are empty, except for the driver. Is it the angry drivers with road rage who complain the loudest about congested traffic? If so, perhaps riding the bus would lower their stress level. They can read or do some work on their laptop while they commute.
Where are you lurking when you cite the bus is empty? Unlike school buses, not all of our passengers have the same destination. If the bus is indeed empty when you see it, why would you assume that it will be empty for the entire route?
On the other hand, when my bus is packed with a standing load, why don't you observe that, too? (That means all of the seats are occupied and people are standing. If each of those passengers were a personal vehicle, that would definitely add to congestion and road rage.)
The biggest question I have about the myth is, how do people get around if they don't have a car or a driver's license? They take the bus.
The Oregon Trail Lives on
You know that old saying, "Does someone have to get killed before....?" Well, in my case, it's "write a letter." Hopefully the State of Idaho will do a bit more, and soon. I picked up yesterday's paper, and noticed a young girl from Nampa was killed passing a semi at Black Cat and I-84. Witnesses said she "veered" off the right side before "overcorrecting" and rolling over. She probably wasn't experienced enough of a driver to handle the sudden, involuntary lane changes, caused by a worn out freeway surface.
I drove 650 miles these past two days, in Idaho and Oregon, on interstates and two-lane back roads, and noticed something upon my return to the Treasure Valley, specifically I-84 from Nampa to Meridian. That nine-mile stretch was the only time I had to steer with both hands, just to maintain a lane, let alone a straight line.
The pavement, in both directions, is just completely worn out, with "knee-deep" ruts. Lane changes are white-knuckle, heart-stopping experiences, with your vehicle being tossed sideways a foot or three every time a tire encounters one of the "canals." (This is the pavement laid down in '97, after the "big goo" day on the freeway that summer caused by an incorrect asphalt mix that didn't cure. I wonder how good this mix was ... by the same company? )
I've driven everything from a '63 Chevy, to a '92 Lexus, and a '01 PT Cruiser, an '04 Camry, and even a 2006 Freightliner on that wagon trail of a freeway, and none was a good time. All were nearly impossible to drive without constant jerking about, sometimes with near disastrous results.
I know the interstate out there is in line to be widened, and repaved, but obviously it didn't happen soon enough for one Nampa family. Maybe after they are able to grieve a while, they'll consider suing the state over the horrible condition of the road surface out there, and their terrible loss.
FREE the Eggman!
Last month, Mr. Adam Durand was sentenced to 6 months in jail (the maximum allowed, even though he was a first-time offender) for trespassing on an egg farm near Lyons, NY. Mr. Durand made a film, which can be seen on www.wegmanscruelty.com showing the brutality of this egg producer.
What the Wegmans do isn't against the law. They and anyone else who operate a factory farm can do anything they want to their chickens, and the law is on their side. The perpetraters shown on www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com, www.torturedbytyson.com, www.eggcruelty.com and www.factoryfarming.com have gone unpunished. Chickens have no protection against such abuse under the law.
Mr. Durand was the equivalent of the abolitionists before the Emancipation Proclamation. He is a compassionate citizen whose only choice was to break the law in order to expose the cruel and inhumane treatment of these animals. It is the operators of these factory farms who should be jailed, not those who expose the truth.
--Harold WilsonCorydon, IN
That's Not a Rock!
I have to get this off my chest. Everybody keeps complaining about illegal aliens, but what we're forgetting is that the people here are nothing to write about in the first place. The other day, I was rock climbing up at Table Rock, and what did I see? Somebody had, uh, "gone to the bathroom" (I know it's not exactly accurate, but I don't want to say "dropped a deuce") right up there along the rock cliffs. As far as I can tell, they had even dangled over the edge of the cliffs to do it. Now, I'm not usually one to judge, but that was sick and wrong. Whoever you are, you deserve to be probed by real aliens.
Praying to the Editor
Regarding: Iraq facts for the week of 06-12-06.
The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.
Let us pray for the nation.
Almighty God, giver of all good things:
We thank you for the natural majesty and beauty of this land. They restore us, though we often destroy them. Heal us.
We thank you for the great resources of this nation. They make us rich, though we often exploit them. Forgive us.
We thank you for the men and women who have made this country strong. They are models for us, though we often fall short of them. Inspire us.
We thank you for the torch of liberty which has been lit in this land. It has drawn people from every nation, though we have often hidden from its light. Enlighten us.
We thank you for the faith we have inherited in all its rich variety. It sustains our life, though we have been faithless again and again. Renew us.
Help us, O Lord, to finish the good work here begun. Strengthen our efforts to blot out ignorance and prejudice, and to abolish poverty and crime. And hasten the day when all our people, with many voices in one united chorus, will glorify your holy Name. Amen.
In the June 7 edition of BW, the story "Finding Their Voice" contained two errors. First, Michael Mitchell's name was misspelled.
Second, the story stated that a 2005 gay marriage initiative in Utah failed, when in fact it passed handily.