Hyping the Drought
Kirsten DeLara's May 25 article "The Drought of 2005" unfortunately takes an important topic (global warming) and mixes it with so much fear-mongering that the average reader comes away more terrified than informed.
Although "mountain snowpack is scant," the reality is that in any normal year, the majority of the snowpack that feeds our reservoirs is gone by June 1. The overriding concern at this time is reservoir height. And the reservoirs are full (it has been pouring this spring).
In 2001, the Seattle Public Utilities director at the time noted in The Seattle Times that during the summer, it was hard to keep "a straight face" because the reservoirs were full to begin with and late rains only added more. She noted that the utility "did up the crisis mentality for the good of the whole state." (Eastern Washington was more affected in 2001, like this year.)
The problem is, the Seattle Weekly article is once again upping "the crisis mentality," at a time when we would do better just being honest. Yes, parts of Eastern Washington are in trouble again. Yes, conservation needs to be encouraged everywhere. But loading an article with debatable terms like "statewide drought," "slow-moving natural disaster," and "most severe" does not enhance the discussion.
Global warming and the management of our natural resources are important topics. Creating a crisis in Seattle, when there is none, doesn't help that. If anything, it only serves to inoculate the public in the event of a real one. We can do better than that.
Thank God For Guantánamo?
I do not think that Newsweek is some superliberal magazine that is trying to tar the image of the U.S.A. around the world; I think that it was trying to do its job and report the news. It is not to blame for the 17 deaths of Muslims. The people who killed those 17 people are to blame—I mean, talk about taking things out of proportion! The problem, though, that I had with the article "Retraction Distraction" [May 25] was Geov Parrish's complaint about prisoners being tortured in Cuba. So our boys are making them feel a little uncomfortable, big deal! If I was a Muslim in U.S. captivity, I would be thanking God every day that I was not an American in Muslim captivity, because then I might lose my head!!
Take Back the Rights
Thank you to Knute Berger for writing about what is the basis for our regulatory, environmental, and labor crisis: corporations usurping human rights via the 14th Amendment [Mossback, "The Rights of (Corporate) Man," May 25]. I don't believe that most people would regard a corporation as a natural person who should have the same protections the Bill of Rights guarantees human beings. These rights were meant to protect us from the tyranny of government, and now corporations are using them to protect themselves from the supposed tyranny of man. You know, people's pesky need to drink clean water and breathe clean air. Our right to living wages and safe working conditions. Our rights to health care and education, etc., etc.
Every community that cares about local autonomy needs to consider passing a resolution to educate the public about this nefarious problem. Ideally, we will someday soon be establishing local laws revoking corporate personhood. Perhaps even the Supreme Court will realize its supreme mistake in allowing corporations the same rights as individuals for over a century, since the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. casein 1886.
Boycott Public process
Great piece, but part of the corporate strategy is to make us angry so we will dissipate our energy in countless meetings of all the levels of government and become apathetic [Mossback, "The Rights of (Corporate) Man," May 25]. . Rather than get angry, we should boycott public meetings and develop an integrated pyramid of information flow as an extragovernmental expression of the people that can really hold politicians' and bureaucrats' feet to the fire. (Five people meet and send one to a meeting of five representatives through sufficient cycles to include all who will participate; 10 such meeting cycles would be enough to break the back of the governmental/industrial complex, or get us shot in the streets and campuses.) I think I know how to organize this, but first people must become willing. Nearly all prefer to wait until the poop hits the prop before they will act beyond their own sphere of "knowledge," or react to each little or big crisis rather than address the generic causes and principles that produce or fix them.
San Diego, CA
Smacks of Homophobia
I enjoy Steve Wiecking's Small World column, and his column last week on Johnny Knoxville and Saturday Night Live struck a chord ["Night Falls," May 25]. I, too, am tired of heterosexuals, particularly supposedly progressive straights, finding men in drag or two men kissing to be so outrageously funny. It smacks of homophobia, and by 2005 it seems we should be tired of that joke and need to find something else funny. (Now, I must admit that I think Johnny Knoxville is sexy and wouldn't mind seeing him naked and/or kissing some man, especially tongue-kissing (!), but it's not because I would laugh hard.) Wiecking's column reminded me of the American Film Institute's 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time; two of the top three "funniest" movies were because men were in drag (Some Like It Hot and Tootsie). Give me a break and grow up.
Regarding Steve Wiecking's Johnny Knoxville/Saturday Night Live column ["Night Falls," May 25]: I thought Wiecking had some excellent points to make, though personally I found it a little dismaying that he felt he needed to spend so much of the column genuflecting before the Politically Incorrect gang just to make sure they know he can take a joke. Like PC before it, PI arose for some very good reasons, but (again like PC before it) it has since devolved into an oppressive, one-sided crock o' shit. PI is even more disgusting in the way it lets some hyperinsecure straight white guys get all misty-eyed about that mythical time when women and minorities just shut up and took what they were given. Speaking as a very androgynous, slightly bi white male who has no intention of cowboying up to make anyone feel more comfortable, I fully agree with Wiecking's conclusion that things aren't really going to change until the pretension-popping jokes get flung equally in every direction, and that underlying them is affection, not sullen pathology.
Geov's a Gem
Thanks for the publication of Geov Parrish's article about John Bolton's nomination ["Right Result, Wrong Reasons," May 18]. It stands out among the many pieces written recently for clarity and cogency, both on the subject of Bolton and senators of both parties. A treat, if a painful one, in a wash of weak, tired babble. In my not-uncritical opinion, Parrish is among the best journalists working in the U.S.A. today. We're lucky to have him.
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