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Got the power 

I really am sorry that the people of the rural South are doing so badly ("Dead in Dixie," Jan. 22). These people are human beings, too, and they deserve the chance to make the best of their lives.

But they have only themselves to blame for the mess they're in. They either refuse to participate in government or they let themselves be conned by people they say they admire: from the pastor giving out financial advice to whatever right-wing radio host telling them what to believe, to the leaders of the GOP.

It may be that one day they will wake up and realize what they are doing to themselves, but I don't see that happening any time soon. The sad thing is that, because of the political power the South has, the rest of the country is going to have to suffer along with them.

-- Joe Vecchio, Decatur



Thinking for themselves
The article "Dead in Dixie" (Jan. 22) highlights the condescending paternalism that I find so revolting in today's liberalism. The article can be summarized as follows: Why can't those stupid white trash idiots realize that we elitist progressives know what is best for them? After all, we have advanced liberal arts and journalism degrees and most of them can barely read. They should vote for our candidates so that we can protect them from those awful rich people.

Here is a thought: Maybe some of these hard-working people actually have some pride and confidence in themselves and would rather not be wards of the state. Maybe they are turned off by the drug-addicted felons in Hollywood who are trying to tell them who to vote for. Or just maybe they are smart enough to know that if some huckster promises that he will be their champion, they'd better protect their wallets and run because they are about to get fleeced.

-- George Petkovich, Decatur



Explanations abound
Thank you for trying explain Bush's popularity with the people he could care less about so comprehensibly ("Dead in Dixie," Jan. 22).

I ask myself "where's the anger" almost on a daily basis. Why aren't these people in the streets screaming for a change in administration? And you offered a variety of explanations, each making complete sense. It's ignorance, it's the skewed dream of being "like Bush" one day, it's selfishness, it's right-wing talk media, it's definitely religion and it's a combination of homophobia and racism. Scary.

-- Lisa Marzilli, Riverview, Fla.

Silly ARSE-enal
I partially agreed with Cathy Young (News & Views, "Let's retire the Hitler comparisons," Jan. 22). But why don't we just retire the stupid allegations and responsibly embrace accurate historical patterns? For example, a pan-nationalist with the stated goal of conquering his region invaded multiple neighbors, violated brokered agreements and international law -- including a war-ending truce -- and attempted to ethnically cleanse civilian populations with the use of poison gas. He rose to power through Machiavellian violence and filled mass graves with untold numbers. These acts would demonstrate key parallels in the dossier of both Hitler AND Saddam Hussein.

Of course, there are differences ... I can't recall that Hitler sponsored rogue terrorist groups. Yet, the comparative documented record between tyrants seems an affront to those who reject reason. Despite the invectives of MoveOn's devotees and their ilk, Bush doesn't fit the venom. Likewise, the choice to trust Saddam over the current administration will eventually be exposed as bizarre thinking.

The "CL Left" just sees what it wants to see. Emotionalist hyperbole reigns supreme; image over substance, passion over context.

Many conservative voters are simply people who have grown up and seen the sinister manipulation of hysteria for what it is: a political scam upon those devoid of diagnosing the complex realities underpinning issues. Adulthood means leaving behind unsupportable, infantile squawking, and embracing pragmatic solutions. Ironically, the supposedly "compassionate" left has actually become the true reservoir of unexamined bile and hatred in American society! And inappropriately trotting out the legacy of Hitler is a cornerstone of their silly "ARSE-enal," and shall be for years to come.

-- Bob West, Atlanta



Fair game
I have to toss in my idle thoughts about the decline of the blue crab in Georgia and destruction of wetlands in the Coastal Plain, the ostensible cause for the crab's decline ("In a pinch," Jan. 15). Enforcement of wetlands protection is often lax in the Coastal Plain. Approved wetlands boundaries are frequently delineated willy-nilly and with particular regard for the developer, who coincidentally pays the bills. An ecologist delineating a scientifically based boundary cannot compete with a more business-oriented consultant. Some "ecologists" often boast about how they can reduce wetlands acreage through spurious arguments with the U.S. Corps of Engineers and outright obfuscation. The Corps has neither the personnel, nor the political backing, especially in the Coastal Plain, to check wetlands boundaries.

The political will to review impact sites is lacking, and understandably so. Unless you're planning a Lake Alma, wetlands in South Georgia are fair game. Whether that is linked with the blue crab's decline has yet to be proven, but a net loss of wetlands certainly continues.

-- Brian Dickman, Atlanta



Thanks for the years
Felicia Feaster: I've been enjoying your reviews since I came to Atlanta nine years ago and want to extend my thanks for your excellent work. The intelligent, historically accurate, and word-conscious writer is hard enough to find, but one who reviews film is a treasure. That said, I find it interesting how you added Cold Mountain to your top 10 films of the year ("The year in culture," Dec. 25), particularly in light of Curt Holman's condemnation (however he did have Lord of the Rings at the top of his list, so now it all makes sense). But I am not writing this out of film snobbery, but just to say that I am in wholehearted agreement with you. I saw Cold Mountain last week and can't get it out of my mind. While the comparisons to O Brother are obvious, its cinematographic beauty and poetry pressed up against cruelty and war bring comparisons to Terrence Malick's Thin Red Line.

No review I've read has been positive, but I simply loved the film and its performances. Even the tongue-in-cheekiness of casting Jack White opposite real-life girlfriend Renee Zellweger was a perfect, subtle comedic wink. Keep up the great work.

-- Robert Schreiber, Atlanta

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