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First Santorum, and Now This

In recognition of Tom Danehy's peerless contributions to the culinary culture of Southern Arizona, I propose honoring Mr. Danehy in a way befitting his editorial style (Danehy, Nov. 25). From this day forth, let every bowel movement following a vegan meal be henceforth referred to as a "danehy," as in, "That tofurkey was terrific; I've got to danehy like a dog!" This honor will also fit easily into everyday parlance such as, " You're full o' danehy" or "cut the danehy." How about, "danehy for brains" and "like trying to fit 10 pounds of danehy into a 5-pound sack."

I'm sure your fine readers will applaud this long overdue acclamation. Like, "No danehy, Sherlock!"

Michael Bissontz


We'd Do This, But We're Too Busy Examining Our 'Corporate Dictate'

In the Editor's Note a few weeks back (Onward and Upward," Nov. 11), you stated that you wanted to publish more from the "right" than just letters. Although this is an egalitarian ideal, my question is: Why? (Other than the Wick Corporate Dictate?) The "right," as far as I can see, is mostly wrong and trying to impose themselves and their beliefs on others. Let's forget my personal opinion for a second. It seems to me the "right" has plenty of airtime and column inches all over the place. It is the left of center and far left that is not being represented.

For starters, you could get rid of Police Dispatch and bring back Jim Hightower. After all, Police Dispatch is the same story told over and over again of somebody under the influence, usually partially or totally naked, acting badly. Jim Hightower's stories are about people fully clothed, often under the influence (of money/power, not a drug of choice), acting badly. The major difference is that Police Dispatch costs nothing to produce, and you would have to pay for Hightower

Since the Weekly waxes political as well as poetic on occasion, I would like to suggest a few topics for your feature writers. How about a story on instant runoff voting? It is used all over the world, including the United States. How about one on doing away with the Electoral College? What ever happened to that quaint idea of one person, one vote? Or a story about having the presidential term being one five- or six-year span with no incumbency? Nixon spent most of his first term preparing to run for his second. Remember Watergate? Dubya was out collecting contributions for his second campaign from day one, and it never stopped.

Richard Shapiro


And Now, Back to the People Who Think Danehy's Full of Something

I was really disappointed in Tom Danehy's "A Lack of Class and Common Sense: Incomprehensible Academics Who 'Teach'" (Dec. 18). I don't buy that implicitly racist remarks and stereotyping are some kind of bold move to combat a "politically correct" atmosphere in education. Could we consider that the problem is perhaps ours, in that we expect our professors to prattle on in a perfectly tailored, never-spent-any-time-out-of-this-country-and-I-only-speak-one-language English? Education is not just about understanding formulas and regurgitating neatly packaged ideas. A good education requires effort and is at its best when it strays from the Eurocentric perspective that has dominated the university system for far too long.

Kathleen Sweet


Incomprehensible Academics? Blame the U.S. Education System

While I sympathize with Tom Danehy's student having to cope with foreign-born math instructors, he might have asked why universities across the country hire so many in the first place. The reason is that the American educational system simply does not produce enough homegrown mathematicians and computer scientists, and those that it does produce are highly coveted by the high-tech industry.

We are largely an innumerate and computationally challenged society. This was brought home to me in one of my introductory geology classes, when I was talking about how to calculate the surface area of the Earth. Along the way, one of our homegrown students raised his hand and asked, "Dr. Gardner, what is pi?" Later, practically the entire class went ballistic when I introduced the "rule of 70" as it relates to calculating the doubling time for population growth. "We don't do math," they protested. Finally, as a homework exercise, I asked them to estimate the maximum human population that the Earth could sustain. One student's estimate was 10 raised to the 35th power. If that number of human beings were packed together like sardines, they would form a sphere with a diameter approximately equal to that of the orbit of Mars. The mass of such a celestial body would be so great that it might cause the gravitational collapse of the entire Milky Way galaxy.

Perhaps this student felt that the ultimate purpose of the human race is to produce a stupendous supernova.

Leonard Robert Gardner
Distinguished professor emeritus of geological sciences
University of South Carolina


'Repeating History' Hit Close to Home

I just finished reading Renée Downing's cover story, "History Repeating" (Dec. 11) and feel near tears. I totally relate to all three of their stories, as I am 61 years old and lived through all that "history." We grew up believing in our government leaders and that they truly knew and wanted what was best for our country's citizens. How naive our generation was, and idealistic.

As I grew in understanding and became more aware, I swore that I would never be quiet and would take to the streets if this country ever got into something this insane again. Back then (1965-1974), I was an elementary public school teacher and the mother of two little boys, living in New England with a husband in the Air Force. We lost friends during that time and became ever more "awake," even though all the "truths" were still withheld. I'll never forgive Robert McNamara, LBJ and crew for all the lies. I had hoped that our country had learned a lesson about war and other people's countries.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. What really gets me most is that it seems so easy for those who have not actually participated in battle to send other's children off to war, and that "collateral damage" is so euphemistically used to refer to civilians being maimed or killed by our actions! This country has a huge lesson to relearn, it seems. I feel for those who have to directly pay the price for this lesson. Knowing our history is vital to keep from such awful mistakes in the future. As for me, I will continue to speak out, educate and take to the streets!

Rebecca Hogle


Stop Being a Meanie and Belittling Letter Writers

As a former reporter back east, I am clearly aware that the editors get the last word in response to letters they publish. Thus, it was no surprise that you chose to belittle mine that related to a silly cartoon (Random Shots, Oct. 14). You chose to headline my letter as a "Slobbering Defense of SAHBA" (Mailbag, Oct. 28). In most SAT tests for reading ability, an understanding of the words on the page is a main point for grading, and you flunked.

I was not presenting a defense of anyone; what I did was expose your fact- and spelling-challenged cartoonist. Perhaps this defensive need on your part is reflected as well in "The Skinny," where content is quite thin as well.

Of course, I don't expect this to be published, but you did not deserve the last word in this instance.

Cheers!

Joe Honick

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