Roger Downey raised important issues in his thoughtful article "People who run with aliens" (9/30). The challenge that scientists have not taken up>"/>
Roger Downey raised important issues in his thoughtful article "People who run with aliens" (9/30). The challenge that scientists have not taken up is this: regardless of whether the phenomenon is "real," thousands—perhaps hundreds of thousands—of people are experiencing something that affects them emotionally. At the least, this should qualify it as worthy territory for serious study. At best, it challenges our perception of reality and may lead to entirely new ways of perceiving human psychology, biology, and the nature of reality.
The real from fantisy
Good work in your September issue on UFOs, alien abduction, and the need to believe ("People who run with aliens," 9/30). Just like John Mack, [Roger Downey] kept his distance of opinion. It is well known by all that to believe without scientific proof is a dillusion. If it can't be repeated under controlled conditions—it's not real. And for our own safety—it should remain that way. . . .
I am an experiencer. I am an x-file. I am dillusional—and I can't spell worth a darn. At a May 1994 Alien Abduction, my Abductor asked, "Have you ever been abducted by a ship like this one?" then he pointed to a classical UFO—like from the movies. In that same dream, I saw another ship like from Star Wars. And several types of beings, greys-angels; but the one I remember the most was the 1st being who guided my about the belief in life after death. And that classical ship was not his.
What I am saying is that if you ever want to write something way beyond the normal—and keeping yourself far from believing it, contact me. . . . And if you wonder—yes, I do know the real from fantisy.
EMMA L. ROGERS
Re: Winston's two-page ad in the Seattle Weekly (9/23): "If aliens are smart enough to travel through space, why do they keep abducting the dumbest people on earth?" Not only is Winston systematically undermining the physical health of the world's population, but though this campaign of ridicule, they now seek to savage our psychological health as well.
We two psychotherapists have—for the past five years—worked clinically with (and interviewed) people who have experienced Close Encounters. Far from being "the dumbest people on earth," our clients have included a medical doctor, nurse, dentist, psychologist, Navy pilot, molecular biologist, videographer, secretary, computer programmer, stockbroker, consumer electronics distributor, internet corporate executive, realtor, massage therapist, systems analyst, mental health counselor, and social worker. These people come forward with great reluctance because of the considerable public ridicule they face. That ridicule and cultural denial is a major part of what makes such contact traumatic.
So why are these people suddenly the targets of R.J. Reynolds? Apparently such people signal the significant cultural change in store for us that is threatening to the status quo Winston represents. After all, people who "awaken" from the cultural trance are less likely to be snowed by media campaigns, whether the ad promotes ridicule, intolerance—or addictions.
Please reconsider accepting Winston as an advertiser.
JANET COLLI, PhD
THOMAS BECK, PhD
This week's cover (9/30): what a cheap shot—bait and switch.
Your cover (?) story had nothing more to do with Robert Anton Wilson than barely a decent paragraph could describe. Even then, most of what was written was paraphrase. Wait—maybe we're onto something here. Parastory? Parafeature?
RODNEY SHELDEN FEHSENFELD
Thank you for the really good article about Brian Derdowski ("Brian Derdowski: Californicated?" 9/23). It reflects a considerable knowledge of the politics on the Eastside and some of the harsh realities of the politics of growth.
You don't have to be 'Green' to understand the importance of a Brian Derdowski on the King County Council. And those who have fought the growth machine to maintain the quality of life on the Eastside saw the writing on the wall after the campaign for the city of Sammamish City Council. In that race, the 'dark side' used disgusting tactics that were successful in convincing the voters of the new city to abandon the very people who had worked to create the new city and had their best interests in mind.
That campaign of lies, misrepresentations, impersonated newsletters, direct mailings filled with deceptive statements, sign stealing, etc., and its support from local papers like the Seattle Times and the Eastside Journal to get the developers' dream-team elected, was just too overpowering for voters who didn't know the facts or the history of the Plateau. Too many voters were simply too apathetic and lazy to read beyond the Developers' Journal or the deceptive signs on the side of the road.
The defeat of Brian wasn't the real wake-up call. The wake-up call is in recognizing the tactics of the growth machine that is winning elections—victories that could never happen if the press was doing their job to point out the lies and the slime behind these negative campaign tactics.
The Seattle Weekly is a gem of a paper because of its courage to report things the way they are. But unfortunately, the Weekly doesn't reach everyone, and that means that the lies, innuendo, and the rest of it is prevailing.
Ask the neighbors
Congratulations on a fine piece by Knute Berger on Derdowski's demise ("Brian Derdowski: Californicated?" 9/23). Clearly the failure of local memory was a major component in the Irons victory. The housing developments on the Pine Lake Plateau cater to and were created for newcomers. Most are middle managers who have arrived here from similar developments in other places. The whole idea of these developments is that they are interchangeable. In four years when transferred once again, the sellers can quickly unload the house here and buy a clone somewhere else.
What might be efficient and workable as a lifestyle for the Klahanites has been most unfortunate for those of us with roots in the community. Finding road systems or school systems that don't work, the newcomers might think that what you have here is a systems problem, a management problem. And cleverly, Irons presented it as such.
In fact, the problems on the plateau go much deeper. Allowing the developers to determine how many people will live in which places has lead to a near breakdown. Adding new roads or more schools might appear as a manageable fix in the short run, but as those new amenities come on line they only encourage more development and more disaster.
To a newcomer it might appear that the mess and bother simply comes with the territory and it has always been like this. How can they know any differently—ask their neighbors? When the cultural memory goes back only a couple of years, where would they encounter the long view? Remember, this is the land of the rolled out front lawns, the instant community. Eastsideweek published thoughtful, insightful analyses of the complex development issues. Seattle Weekly has done much less of that. If there is to be real dialogue, and with it a search for real solutions, we will require the help of more than election post-mortems. Mr. Berger, we desperately need thoughtful ongoing reporting on development issues. Sock it to us.
A modest proposal
Funny you should mention Mayor Schell on the radio last week, our senators rapping Sound Transit's knuckles for lack of community consensus, "tons of money" for transit on the Eastside (do tell . . .), yet Seattle needing to raise taxes to pay our transit tab,and the Mariners' Stadium, all in one breath ("Tied to the rails," 9/23).
Traffic jams are cited as the biggest blight on our region's quality of life and the prime reason we need light rail. The bridge traffic is the biggest and most ubiquitous blight in every radio traffic report. Funny, in all those reports, we rarely hear of the snarls caused by games at Husky Stadium, the Key Arena, or Safeco Field—any one of which bogs down at least two major highways and often the bridges too. It's as if sports games were somehow Above Suspicion as traffic culprits.
Schell says it'll take a decade. Yet, as soon as a millionaire wanted it, the Mariners' stadium was built post haste, regardless of the fact that Seattle voted against it. So it
follows, to get a train across the lake, all we need is a millionaire—say, a certain Eastside multibillionaire—to want one.
I modestly propose that we start a petition to ask him if he hasn't always wanted a train set to play with. And to spur him on, I propose that we boycott—and heavily tax the tickets for—games in his old pal's stadium
and the other sports venues in Seattle, until someone builds that cross-lake train. Then we'll play nice again. But until then, let's play hard ball.
Cut out the middleman!
What is all this fuss about the WTO (see "Will labor fight" 9/30, "W-T-wOes," 10/2)? Americans are always complaining about the size and cost of government. Here is our chance to get rid of it. Just imagine the lower taxes: No messy legislators to pay for. No judges' salaries. Who needs a Chief Executive when you have competent CEOs to decide what is profitable and, therefore, good for society? And consider the lower prices when corporations rule the world and write the laws: We won't have to pay for their campaign contributions and lobbyists anymore. We won't have to pay the costs of those pesky labor and environmental laws anymore. Here is a sample of what the WTO has accomplished so far: Forced the US to modify the endangered species act and the clean air act, overturned American restrictions on toxic pesticides, forced the province of Ontario to dismantle a successful single-payer insurance system, forced Canada to import ineffective but dangerous fuel additives, and unilaterally imposed punitive sanctions on European imports in blatant support of American-based corporate giants.
I say cut out the expensive middleman and just let bankers and corporations run things directly.
The rank and file speaks
Recently, Geov Parrish wrote an article in the Seattle Weekly regarding big labor's little whimper on the issue of the WTO ("Will labor fight?" 9/30). Another article by Sarah Luthens appeared in both Labor Notes and Eat the State. Both of you did a great job illustrating the rank-and-file union members' opposition to the "reform the WTO" line the union bosses are trying to ram down our throats.
However, none of these articles mention the single most important fact related to this issue. That is, rank-and-file AFL union members, IWW members, and other labor militants have organized the "WTO Labor Mobilization Committee"—and it has been meeting for MONTHS now. Martha Baskin has done much work on this committee and deserves recognition, but really, we are more than just one person! This committee is open to all workers whether in unions or not, and meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at Teamsters Local 174 on Denny Way at 7pm until December. Our central focus as a committee is to mobilize workers (both union and nonunion) to take the day off, walk out, call in sick, or do whatever necessary to get down to the mass labor march in the middle of the day on Tuesday, November 30.
WTO LABOR MOBILIZATION COMMITTEE
PUGET SOUND IWW DELEGATE
Shaking things up
Of course Geov Parrish is dead on about objectivity in reporting ("Watching the reporters," 9/30). It should be noted, however, that this idea of objectivity is a recent invention—promoted precisely because the media was consolidating. Back when there was such a thing as two or three independently owned newspapers in each town, everyone knew that reporters—being human after all—had their biases just like everyone else. Each paper had its own take on the issues, but competition forced them to work to get better information to their readers.
As chains bought up newspapers and wiped out the less than profitable system of competition (or set up joint operating agreements to "manage" competition) the myth of objectivity was created to reassure the public that they would still get the straight dope.
So not only does the media get more biased toward corporations and the government (which exists primarily to support corporations these days), but the myth of objectivity helps it along. The myth of objectivity gives the government an excuse to allow consolidation, and it gives us reporters and editors an excuse not to ask the tough questions or come to some basic conclusions.
Luckily, there's a few alternative news sources still out there to shake things up. Keep it up.
Prepare for battle!
I suppose I should just wait and let Eric Scigliano and the rest of Seattle be surprised, but I can't keep a secret: the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is not going out of business. In the Weekly's September 30 edition, Eric concocted a fanciful explanation for why The Seattle Times dropped their jazzy masthead in favor of one that bears a resemblance to the classic masthead of the P-I (Quick & Dirty, "Thin blue line"). He opined that it might be a way to soothe morning readers as they coped with the certain death of their favorite morning newspaper. Well, like all the prognostications about the future of Seattle's dailies, this one, too, was founded on antique assumptions about the Hearst Corporation and the self-serving bombast emanating from the Times newsroom.
Two popular but shallow death scenarios keep getting repeated. The first is that The Seattle Times is so dominant that, as soon as the Times manages to switch to mornings, readers will abandon the P-I and it will quickly wither away. The second scenario says that the P-I's owner, Hearst, will kill the P-I so that they can rake in their guaranteed profits from the joint operating agreement without having to actually pay to run a newspaper. Both these scenarios are dramatic but wrong.
Hearst is a very big, very rich communications company. Though the corporation went through a long period of somnolence during which they let their newspaper division slip, that era is long past. Today, Hearst is expanding on all fronts. They want a presence in the Seattle market. Hearst carried the ailing San Francisco Examiner for years until the family which owned the San Francisco Chronicle gave up the fight and sold out to Hearst. Now Hearst has it all. Could the same happen in Seattle? The P-I is not ailing. Hearst is making money here and the Times' lead in circulation is not substantial. Times publisher Frank Blethen, of course, has made it quite clear he is not going to give up his family legacy and none doubt him. But conditions can change over a decade or two and Hearst would be happy to purchase full control of a major market, especially one that has been kept vibrant by competition between two healthy newspapers.
This is going to be a long fight between two committed rivals who both have resources for a sustained struggle. In the long run, it's impossible to predict who will win. In the short term, though, I think there's a good chance it will be Seattle readers who win, because they will have a choice of two dailies far more energized, competitive, and agile than they have been up to this point.
So, forget the silly obituaries for the P-I. Get ready for battle.
Sweet on Cherry
Cherry Pop was a wonderful surprise to discover some months ago. I was shocked to see that last weeks letters to editors had a letter "dissing" her. It was also silly to compare her to Dan Savage, who is about as ill-informed as any half-talent scratching his way to the top. Dan Savage represents no one but himself and speaks for no group. I just thought you might like to know that even some of the people who advertise in the Stranger can't stand Dan Savage and love Cherry Wong.
Why? Because I'm tired of the male perspective on women's sexuality and anatomy, such as Savage and Leykus. I'm tired of the male-identified women who feed into the hatred of women, such as Dr. Joy Brown, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and a myriad of other mainstream right-wingers. Cherry Pop is lusty and smart and doesn't have shame about being a female who loves sex. I'm a big ol' bull dyke who could care less about about the rules. Live and let live, you uptight yuppies and pompous freaks, and leave us women something we like for a change. Cherry Pop? I love it! I love it! I love it!
Thanks so much for John Longenbaugh's wise column about the sadness of animals in circuses ("Seeing the elephant," 9/23).
For animals held captive in circuses, life consists of cramped cages, shackles, and daily beatings. When PETA's investigators went undercover at a Florida training school for big cats, we documented trainers hitting tigers in the face with ax handles, shoving ax handles down lions' throats, dragging leopards across the ground by chains around their necks, and depriving animals of food to force them to perform. And when PETA's investigator traveled to South Africa this past spring, she witnessed elephant babies separated from their mothers and savagely beaten to prepare them for sale to circuses, where they will perform under threat of punishment night after night, eyes always riveted on the person with the metal hook or the whip.
We applaud the trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, tightrope-walkers, and acrobats, but let's leave the animals in peace. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, India, Switzerland, and the UK have all banned or restricted the use of animals in entertainment—it's time for the US to do the same.
PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS (PETA)
Just a tiny black hole
Fred Moody's "Black hole sonsabitches" (9/23) about the "threat" posed by the Brookhaven National Lab's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is woefully misinformed.
The Brookhaven experiment will be no more dangerous than events that occur naturally all the time, less than a hundred miles above us, where high-energy cosmic rays (fast-moving atomic nuclei released by distant stars) collide with the upper atmosphere. Since the Earth has withstood billions of years of such cosmic ray bombardment, it's reasonable to assume that it will survive the Brookhaven experiment.
Even if the Brookhaven experiment were to, somehow, create a tiny black hole, the black hole would pose no threat; such a black hole would "evaporate" almost immediately due to Hawking radiation. Without going into details, suffice it to say that all black holes are subject to evaporation at a rate which rises dramatically the smaller the black hole is. Any man-made black hole would be so tiny that it would evaporate long before it could swallow even a single subatomic particle. (Only black holes resulting from collapsing stars are large enough to consume matter faster than they evaporate.)
Perhaps Moody is someone who gets more agitated whenever he hears reassurances, or perhaps he was just looking for something to write about during a slow week. It's a pity; the most alarming thing about his article is its demonstration of how ignorance of science can lead to scaremongering.
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