Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cranky Man Writes Cranky Letter

Garth Seiler, nut job-letter-to-the-editor All-Star, has his latest missive printed in the NW:

Suspect identification, war, stem cells prompt reply

I am writing in reply to some recent letters and articles in the paper. First, if Stew Rieckman believes what he wrote, and I think he does why stop at race? Why categorize suspects by height, weight and age, because you unfairly make all fat or slim, young or old, short or tall people in the community suspects, therefore to be consistent The Northwestern to have reported the robbery as being done by two human beings.

Sounds foolish doesn't it? Where he and the paper are wrong is by not giving the public all the information they can to help them to be as safe as possible.

What in God’s name is Garth ranting about? He seems to have selected one sentence from a recent NW article and decided it was worthy of criticism, but without any reference point I simply have no clue what he’s talking about.

A robbery, apparently – but which one? Oshkosh is a reasonably safe place, but it’s not like there hasn’t ever been a robbery in town before.

And if he wants to know why newspapers tend to identify the race of suspects the answer is a lot simpler than he might think: it’s because more often than not race is the only characteristic that can be readily verified. I know very few people – outside of carnies, of course – who can accurately estimate another person’s weight, largely, in my opinion, because we frequently spend so much time misrepresenting our own. No one needs a scale to determine what the color of someone’s skin is.

Second, (James) Genisio is angry at the war and the people he thinks started it, and cites the Pope. I wonder why he stands by Feingold knowing his vote against the ban of partial birth abortion. Why, no outrage for his vote Mr. Genisio?

Well, first of all, the war in Iraq and abortion are two entirely unrelated issues, Mr. Seiler.

And secondly, Genisio didn’t say the Pope had anything to do with starting the war. Here’s his exact quote:

It is time to listen to those who have been right even before the start of the Iraq War. Some, like John Paul II, are dead. But others like Senator Feingold and myself are still living.

Mr. Seiler would be wise to perhaps read more closely before going apeshit on someone.

Back to you, Garth:

Third, Mr. White blames Bush for terrorism. It is obvious he must have been holed up in a cave the last 14 years. He says Saddam was not that bad, Saddam killed in excess of hundreds of thousands and I do not believe he only killed the guilty. I wish just once as the usual suspects ramble on with their letters they would put the blame where it belongs on Saddam, he was the one who flipped the finger when given many chances to avoid conflict.

On this I have some sympathy with dear old Garth. Marc White’s letter tries to put forth the argument that Iraqis continue to die in ridiculous numbers in the current civil war just as they did during the reign of Saddam Hussein, so as any sort of humanitarian justification for the war is essentially a wash. He doesn’t do a very artful job making this point and Seiler seizes on White’s esspecially poor use of the word “innocent.” But don’t take my word for it, here’s the graph in question in White's letter:

You can still bring the living 9/11 perpetrators to justice without starting something that has no end in sight as of today. The U.S. supported "the butcher of Baghdad" at one time, and, as unbelievable as it may sound, fewer innocent Iraqis died with Saddam in charge. He's dead and the number of deaths keeps rising. He kept the lid on the Sunni and Shiite boil over we see now.

See what I mean? “The Butcher of Baghdad” sounds likes it’s being used ironically and the whole paragraph does have this Saddam-was-just-a-law-and-order-kind-of-dude feel to it. And if you’re going to make such a sweeping claim like “fewer innocent Iraqis died with Saddam in charge” you sure as hell better back it up with some statistics and authoritative citations. White’s heart is in the right place, but it pretty much protocol to admit that Hussein was a dick and sounds kind of suspect when you don’t.

Anyway, why don't we let Garth take us in for the landing:

Last, a thumbs up to Ms. Gellerup, the only thing she should have pointed out was every time people write a letter they say, "Bush is against stem cell research." He is against using human embryos, as we all should be.

Garth Seiler Oshkosh

Well, at least Seiler decided to end his pissing contest with Messrs. Rieckman, Genisio, and White by patting a fellow winger on the back. Betty Gellerup’s anti-embryonic stem cell research letter is standard issue drivel trying to doctor the distinction between embryonic and adult stem cells. Her letter is another example of something that looks more like a PowerPoint presentation than an argument and really isn’t worth the energy to dissect (at least at the moment). So suffice it to say that it sucks something fierce.

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