Battle stars

  January 23, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  January 21, 2009

I was stunned to see a cover-story profile on Barack Obama's astrological forecast! Has the Phoenix lost its collective mind? While some might dismiss the story as a light, holiday-week piece, I am disturbed by giving any credence at all to the fraud that is astrology. Let's be blunt: astrology is a stupid, discredited pseudo-science that traffics in ignorance and superstition. The very idea that the position of the sun, moon, and planets at the time of our birth has any affect on determining our personalities or destinies is beyond stupid — it is reckless. We live in a country where a majority of its citizens believe in angels, biblical literalism (i.e. the Earth is only 6000 years old), and other stupid myths that belong more in the Middle Ages than in the 21st century, while denying evolution and science. Why is this a problem? Because an ignorant citizen rarely makes an informed choice. And the Phoenix's choice to showcase astrology on its cover is nothing less than endorsing ignorance. I frankly expected more from a quality alternative newspaper like the Phoenix, which had provided excellent, in-depth coverage of the 2008 election from start to its glorious finish.

Doug Carr

Regarding "Follow the Leaders", here are some ways the state can save money.

1) The governor, Senate, and the House should forgo pay raises or take a pay cut.

2) Get rid of the unions — that means police, fire, teachers, T employees, whatever. They are too expensive. Replace them with cheaper labor.

3) Make officials pay for their own health care out of pocket.

4) Raise taxes.

5) Find a way to pass a bill to get rid of Prop 2 1/2 once and for all.

6) Get a casino in Massachusetts.

7) Merge a few cities and towns together in Massachusetts: 351 is too many to split tax money over.

8) Become a part-time government: cut the sessions to five to six months a year. That should save you some cash.

Jimmie Carabineris

Ich bin ein fan
Regarding your Valkyrie film review: I am not a fan of Tom Cruise. He usually plays way too "woodsy" for me. But as a German, I have to say this movie touched me a lot. With all due respect: this is by no means "like last year's Super Bowl." The story is intense and meaningful. The point is, Mr. Keough, that Valkyrie shows quite accurately how conservative military men died for their beliefs — not necessarily in a democracy how we know it today, but at least for their beliefs in a better country.

Wolfram Herrmann

Unfair portrayal
While your discussion in "Facebook Battleground" is purportedly about the use of Facebook, using Israel/Palestine as the topic, I was struck by the examples chosen. You quote, for instance, that someone had written on the site "kill the Jews." This is a refrain on mainstream Jewish talking points — the promotion of anti-Semitism. But my experience as a Jew, and having been around some of the deeply Zionist supporters of Israel, is that many in that community have an unrestrained hatred for Palestinians. Their policy toward Gaza is: "Nuke 'em."

As you evaluated the value of Facebook, you conveyed to your readers that anti-Semitism is expressed by supporters of Palestinians. But you left off the virulent racism and bigotry expressed by those supporting Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Marla Erlien

Related: The elephant also rises, Obamastrology, Generation X: Letters to the Boston Phoenix Editor, January 7, 2011, More more >
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