To Mr. Chandler, I can only pray that Mr. Bush will not in fact become a gun-grabber. Since we can expect no respite from the War On Druggies or the burgeoning kleptocracy courtesy of asset forfeiture, the few of us whose worldly goods haven't been stolen in the name of "protecting the children" may still have an opportunity to enjoy our firearms.
To Mr. Houck, I can offer my pity and maybe some food for thought. Regarding the Electoral College, we need it more than ever. A direct election could be won by a candidate who controls the top 15 or so media markets. Despite much fear and loathing of the Heartland by America's urban elite, it supplies much of the raw material that makes America great, such as food, water and cannon fodder for wars started by the urban elite.
Regarding "states' rights," I believe the Democratic Party buried that principle back in the '60s. Whether I mean the 1860s or the 1960s is left to the reader.
Regarding "fairness", we could start by allowing all voters and all political parties fair access to the ballot box. Though one might feel that "too many candidates" is what caused the trouble in Florida, how can anyone fairly dictate which parties can fast-track to the ballot box and which ones must round up signatures? The current system is collusive to the point of being criminal.
Regarding "organization", nothing would please me more than for the NRA to organize a "3 Million Member March" in DC this year. Hopefully I could get out before the gratuitous tear gas and cavalry charge.
-- Ken Parmalee, Morrow
Build a better rat trap
Oh please, spare us the dramatics! Rats are hardly the monstrous devious scourge that that Mara Shalhoup makes them out to be ("Rats: The Critters Who Spread Disease and Creep Us Out," Dec. 2), and do not deserve to be cruelly killed.
Rats are simply opportunistic survivors -- like coyotes, pigeons and Richard Hatch. Their populations thrive according to the available food, water and shelter. Simply making the environment less desirable to rats will encourage them to leave. (Sorry, we can't make any promises that this will work on former "Survivor contestants."
Garbage should be kept in tightly covered containers, and food should never be left in open places or in cardboard containers, which rats can eat right through. Do not store items on the ground and keep all storage areas tidy so that rats will not seek shelter among them.
Sealing holes in exterior walls -- even small ones, since a rat can wriggle through a hole no larger than a quarter -- will prevent rats from entering indoor areas. Just be sure that no rats are trapped inside before blocking off their exits.
Live rat traps are available. Simply trapping and relocating rats is much more humane than drowning, freezing, electrocuting or poison them. C'mon, have a heart.
-- Heather Moore, PETA Correspondent
I applaud Cathy Byrd's article highlighting the positive things that have happened this year in the arts community in Atlanta ("National Exposure," Dec. 30). So many dismal articles and words from doomsayers have pervaded our city and press in recent months -- much of what has been said is well founded. As a "city of international distinction," we desperately need more support for our arts community and artists with potential for national recognition. Hopefully these calls to action will give our community, especially the corporate community, a kick in the pants.
Unfortunately, absent from your list of positive arts initiatives, shows, etc. in Atlanta is ArtScape, Atlanta's New Festival of the Arts -- a second year fine arts festival held in Woodruff Park, in downtown Atlanta.
Atlanta Magazine listed ArtScape as the top outdoor art festival in our city, and the AJC's Cathy Fox praised ArtScape organizers for their efforts to reintroduce a fine art festival to our city after the demise of the Atlanta Arts Festival.
Though I am certainly biased, being the marketing director for ArtScape, I think you missed an opportunity to rally support for a high quality, emerging festival -- something our city really needs. The festival juries over 800 artists to fill only 125 slots. These are talented national artists, in our city.
Over 33,000 people came to ArtScape this year, a very respectable number for a 2nd year event that was rained out in its first year. Festivals such as ArtScape need the recognition of press like CL to survive and grow. For some reason we have been unable to get the eye, and more importantly, the ink, of CL. I hope you will consider mentioning ArtScape in future editorials/articles about the state of the arts in Atlanta.
-- Dan Gottlieb, Central Atlanta Progress
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