Save the cells
I read with interest Jack Lessenberry's article, "Stemming the tide" (Metro Times, Dec. 26, 2007). I have agonized over the "Embryonic Stem Cell Research" issue for a long time, but, the more I think about it, the more I believe that I would rather die than destroy an embryo to save my life and I would rather be childless or adopt a child than resort to fertility clinics that use embryos as disposable raw materials to make babies. I strongly believe that life begins at conception and embryo is a living, growing entity and should be treated as such.
Embryonic stem cells constitute the building blocks of a living, growing embryo and cannot be used, abused or disposed of as inert materials. I hate to be on the side of the Bible-thumping religious right activists but I have to listen to my conscience and pay attention to the teachings of my faith — Hinduism, which, on this issue, seems in line with the teachings of Christianity. Of course, how people practice religion in their day-to-day life may leave a lot to be desired, but that's a topic for another debate! —Pradeep Srivastava, Detroit
Risking another's life
Anyone who is willing to let this young woman endure life in a wheelchair in order to "save" clusters of cells that will ultimately be flushed down the toilet is fighting for social domination and control, not for what is right, fair or just.
If you don't believe in the moral rightness of stem cell research, you shouldn't have to accept any of the benefits that it offers. However, if you don't believe in that moral rightness, do you achieve rectitude by denying others those benefits?
There are a number of words that describe those who impose their will on others, among them we may number: totalitarian, fascistic, demagogic ...
Taking a principled stand means dying for your beliefs, not asking others to die for you. If you feel that way, 1) don't personally accept the benefits of the therapies, and 2) don't impose the cost of your beliefs on others. Both stands are principled; holding this young woman hostage to the current primitive therapies offered by medicine is not. —Roger H. Williams, New York, N.Y.
Bottles & bands
I know you will probably receive many responses to your article "Jesus of Suburbia" and that you don't know me at all, but I had to write. Your article took me back to my own alcoholism and all the pain I experienced.
It also made me think of my dad, an alcoholic who killed himself last year just after Christmas. My husband is a drummer who had some success in the '90s and remembers playing at venues where Doug Hopkins was also playing. He had talked to me about Doug and his talent before, as I was a fan of the songs. Brian (my husband) and I met in AA. Our lives are much better now than they ever were. I suppose when I look back on my drinking and the horrible times I've had, I can see that, without that time, I would not be the same person. I would never have met my husband. We wouldn't have our wonderful son. I probably wouldn't have explored my own musical interests.
I'm always grateful to come across writing as meaningful as your piece. Thank you, from my husband and me. —Breanna Ferriby, Berkley
Re: Brian Smith's "Jesus of Suburbia" (Metro Times, Dec. 26), that was an absolutely fantastic feature on Doug. Doug certainly achieved his life's goal: His songs are always on regular rotation for me, especially at this time of year. Doug's ability to write the perfect song, musically and lyrically, time and time again, never ceases to amaze me. I don't think it ever will.
Thanks for such a great article on the one guy that really counts in rock 'n' roll. —Mark Ord & Katie Jensen, Melbourne, Australia
Cool & composed
I, too, would like to give kudos for your excellent article on the Motown composers and producers ("Holland-Dozier-Holland on some of the hits,"Metro Times, Nov. 21). I agree that was perhaps the best of many good MT articles this year.
Composers are a special lot and seldom get the media attention that surrounds performers. The people who wrote those now classic Motown songs — Smokey Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Norman Whitfield, Harvey Fuqua, Barrett Strong, Stevie Wonder and Sylvia Moy — presented the then-fledgling recording company with a consistent and fresh literature that is now familiar to the world.
I was, admittedly, a bebop snob when Motown started cranking up and thus didn't think too much of the music. Yet, as a composer myself, I can appreciate the lyricism and rhythms that made this music unique and enduring.
I now truly feel that Motown composers have earned a place in music history that parallels that of the great Tin Pan Alley composers. Hats off to them all for creating yet another classic Detroit genre of music. —Kenn Cox, Detroit
Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Conyers' hard choice" (Metro Times, Dec. 5). There is still plenty of time right now to hold impeachment hearings, if you were to return early to Washington, D.C., recall your House Judiciary Committee between now and Jan. 14, when the House returns from its long holiday break. You recall that 251 bipartisan House members recently voted to "debate" and "vote immediately" on Rep Dennis Kucinich's impeachment resolution, and more than 120,000 have now signed Rep. Robert Wexler's petition for immediate impeachment hearings.
You must lead this; now is the time. Stand up, John Conyers, stand up and do your duty! —Lance Ciepiela, Gilbert, Ariz.
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