Supporting bigotry

Kevin McCarthy voted against the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1592) in May of this year in a move that suggests that he does not think there is a problem with violence based on sexual orientation. But the bill passed the House and will be facing a vote in the Senate soon, and hopefully our senators will do the right thing. The problem is that after the May vote, White House aides made it clear that if the bill passed both houses of Congress, it would be vetoed, so it may not really have a chance.

I have a real problem with McCarthy and George W. Bush (should he veto the bill) and others telling Judy Shepard that the beating and torture of her son was not a hate crime.

This is not merely the support of bigotry, like Bush's nomination of Dr. Holsinger for the position of Surgeon General (Holsinger has called homosexuality dangerous and unnatural). This is the support of violent bigotry!

I might not like the fact that people sit at home hating people who are different from them just because they are different from them, but I can accept that we are all entitled to our opinions, no matter how disgusting they are. What I cannot understand is the random acts of violence that are committed because of difference and how anyone could support it.

-- WIM LAVEN, Bakersfield


Movie theater filthy

Last night I went to a local movie theater. Once inside the theater, I was appalled at the conditions. I had not been to the movies recently, but had a good memory of the cinema for being a nice, clean theater.

The lobby smelled horrible. I am not sure if it was vomit or sewage, but it was rank. In addition, the concession stand did not look very clean and they were out of ice cream. The paper towel holder was taped to the wall and the stalls were not clean in the ladies room.

I asked my friend, who knew an employee of the theater, what was going on. I was told the manager had changed in the last year and was not keeping the theater up.

At $9.25 to see a movie, I would expect better conditions. When I left, I felt I needed a shower.

What is a patron to do in this situation? Boycott the theater until conditions change? Write a letter to the management? Then a coworker suggested I write a letter to the editor. I am not sure what this may do, but I hope it encourages the cinema and other such places to take more pride in their workplace and clean it up for patrons.

I would not have people over to watch a movie in a filthy house, thus I expect the same treatment, especially when I am paying for the entertainment.

-- DEANNA HEIKKINEN, Bakersfield


Poll problems

Avid politicos from both parties utilize the results of public opinion polls to bolster their position. Here's the result of my personal poll on immigration: Not a single person I've talked to supports the current proposals.

Politicians' answer: That's because, numbskull, our unbiased polls are scientifically conducted using random samples of about 1,000 voting age Americans with an accuracy of +/- 3 percent.

So I understand, your political gofers actually contact 1,000 out of 200 million eligible voters to provide figures that allow you to say, "Clearly, most Americans have said this is what they want!" Isn't that a miniscule percentage of actual voters?

Politicians: Ever hear of statistics, doofus? We use nationally recognized polling experts who ask easily understood questions. We draw our conclusions based on statistical formulae.

I'm still hazy here. If the polltaker had a bias, and the survey questions reflected that bias, couldn't answers be expected to reflect that mind-set?

The politicians, a little testily: We said our polls are unbiased. Haven't you seen Tim Russert and his white board presentations? Can you be more unbiased than that? The questions are carefully worded, the order is logically arranged and the results are meticulously analyzed before Tim puts pen to board. Trust us on this.

So, each political party could answer the other's polls and the results would be the same?

Politicians: That question doesn't even deserve an answer.

Well then, sounds like my poll's as valid as yours and we say, "Close the borders."

-- SCOTTY WALLACE, Bakersfield

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