Good for Hood
In "Bloomin' Hell" (6/10), Michael Hood did a great job of capturing the local reaction to tourism in a clear and entertaining manner. Thanks to Michael Hood for the good work and to you for publishing it.
From the cover story on 6/10 ("Bloomin' Hell"): ". . . says novelist Tom Robbins, who's lived in LaConner since 1970."
Interesting. Back around 1992, my girlfriend's father's moving company was hired by Robbins to move him to LaConner. Perhaps he just moved from one part of town to another. . . .
She was a big fan, and wanted to know where in town he was being moved to. Her father didn't want to ruin Robbin's privacy, but he did bring back a giant candy thumb signed by the author himself.
Regarding Michael Hood's article "Bloomin' Hell" (6/10), what kind of crap is that? I love how people who've made their millions by selling books (or selling a nice place in California) like to move to some place and profess some historical perspective.
Hey, I hate the M's, too!
Your recent statement that I "led efforts to give the Mariners every little thing they wanted" (4th & James, "County vs. Mariners," 6/17) couldn't be more wrong—such accolades belong to Sen. Slade Gorton, Gov. Gary Locke, and council member Chris Vance. In fact, I was one of the six council members to vote against placing the original stadium measure on the ballot, one of the four who signed the infamous letter telling them they couldn't build the thing in the time frame they demanded without incurring substantial cost overruns, and the first to blow the whistle on their latest attempt to raid the public treasury and rape the taxpayers. If you think I've been such a great friend of the M's brass and their stadium demands, why don't you ask them. I'm sure they'll give you a decidedly different answer—complete with expletives.
King County Council
What a day! First I get a free Weekly and then Roger Downey saves me from spending $45 on a SAM impressionist catalog ("Impre$$ioni$m," 6/10).
The bonus was Mr. Downey's usual cogent review. He's right: sometimes we can safely let the art, the picture, the music, the poetry speak for itself.
As a participant in current HIV vaccine research, I resent and reject UW Primate Center's William Morton's claim that primate research is necessary to prevent AIDS ("Torturing Small Animals," 6/17), and I'm surprised that Geov Parrish chooses to believe corporate propaganda.
At a May 18 HIV Vaccine Awareness Day event promoting further research and honoring those of us who volunteer to participate in vaccine studies, one of Seattle's leading HIV vaccine researchers (Dr. Lawrence Corey) stated, "There is no immunological animal model for humans." In other words, once in-vitro methods (bacteria cultures, tissue cultures, database searches, etc.) have indicated that potentially lifesaving vaccines are safe, the next relevant data comes from human studies. Mice, monkey, and chimpanzee studies are a waste of time, money, and lives.
Of course, one can't expect white-coat welfare recipients to admit that their breeding colonies and labs should be cut off from the federal tax dollar trough they feed from at the expense of meaningful research. But one would expect Parrish to recognize that institutional resistance to change, along with the lobbying of lab animal food, caging, equipment, and breeding companies, is what keeps money flowing to useless animal studies of AIDS, breast cancer, and other diseases.
It is up to citizens who care to challenge the corporations and their sycophants in academia. People are dying because of funds being misdirected to primate research. I know the loss of humans I love dying of AIDS. Parrish states that if it comes to a choice between himself and animals, well "sometimes ya just gotta be selfish." Desperate people have allowed use of prisoners, the mentally ill, and anyone who is one of society's "others" in research, but that is not the progressive or effective choice. If we want to prevent HIV/AIDS, it is vital to demand an end to useless primate research and increase the funding for the important human studies now in progress at the UW.
Scott Van Valkenburg
Geov Parrish's June 17 Impolitics ("Torturing small animals") serves as an important reality check about animal rights. Certainly, we would all like to see an end to animal research, which is why scientists are working to develop alternatives. However, until these alternatives prove to be as accurate as using animal subjects, animal research remains the most promising means of medical advancement.
Few people would give back treatments for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and osteoporosis developed through animal research. I also don't believe many would reject the polio vaccine in the name of animal rights.
By ignoring the benefits of animal research, animal rights activists alienate the millions of people suffering from incurable diseases, people who are desperately waiting for medical treatments to improve their lives or the lives of their loved ones.
Americans for Medical Progress educational
Paying for crime?
Rick Anderson and Curt Firestone are blowing smoke ("Unequal Impounds," 6/10). The city towing contract is let on an open bid basis. If they think the people in the Rainier Valley are paying too much all they gots to do is form a towing company and bid on next year's contract.
Why should a towing contract in the Valley cost $45 more than in another part of the city? I can think of two possibilities. First, maybe it was an affirmative action contract and the company which won didn't post the lowest bid. Second, I wouldn't drive a tow truck in the Valley without someone riding shotgun. This isn't necessary on Magnolia. Everything costs more in high-crime areas.
Gunn wrong on rights
Angela Gunn's remarks in her recent columns on the Church of Scientology and the Internet (Kiss my ASCII, 5/27 and 6/17) have been brought to my attention by church parishioners who read your paper and who have asked me to set the record straight. One of the points Gunn is missing is that free speech on the Internet isn't threatened by trademark or copyright law. Free speech is, however, threatened by "free theft." Free speech is abused when it is claimed as a shield to avoid responsibility for unlawful acts.
Unfortunately, theft of trademarked and copyrighted materials occurs far too often via the Internet. It is a fact that almost any creative work can be unlawfully exploited on the Internet—and not just when the work is posted on the Internet by the author. There is a growing problem of pirates obtaining copyrighted works and then posting them on the Internet themselves seeking to undermine the copyright protections and underhandedly "dump" the protected work into the public domain.
It then falls to the owner of the copyrighted material to vigorously protect and defend those copyrights—or lose them. This is true of the Church of Scientology, Microsoft, or any artist, journalist, or author whose works are legally copyrighted. Unfortunately, the church has been forced to use the legal system to deal with the theft and misuse of its legally protected scriptures. The good news is that in winning case after case regarding the protection of copyrights, the church has set precedents that have greatly increased the safety of copyrighted materials on the Internet—a win for everyone who owns intellectual property rights.
Laws protecting copyrights and trademarks—and those providing redress for defamation and false accusations that threaten their livelihood or reputation— apply in full to all citizens of the computer world. The real freedom of speech issue is that over-regulation of the Internet will occur if a few dishonest individuals are allowed to flout the law.
As for Gunn's comments on Amazon.com and Jon Atack's book, we appreciate Amazon.com's appropriate efforts to honor the British injunction on this publication.
Director, Church of SCientology of Washington
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