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07.09.08

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Voodoo Econ

John Sakowicz's article on the "Shadow Economy" (June 25) was succinct, powerful and dead on. I first became aware of how "shadowy" things were getting when I learned that there was a financial instrument called a "weather derivative." Betting on the weather! Sure sounds like voodoo economics to me. Time will tell how this all plays out but it should be an interesting time to say the least. Thanks again for the great writing.

Nic Smith

Santa Rosa


It really needs to stop

More than dark, symbol-laden German cinema, this gripping, yet horrifying story ("Shadow Economy") strikes me as the perfect theme for a Robert Ludlum thriller—very much of our times, sans the chickens.

It is mind-boggling yet eerily plausible that this garbage is going on. Lots of brilliant minds on Wall Street driven by greed (another famous movie image from the movie of the same name!), the lust for power, the ease of contrivance and strategy, and the fact that beautifully and simply, they can.

As our country and most of its inhabitants struggle with everyday problems—and lately, that's gas and groceries—the evil-making of these strangely charismatic villains continues unabated. This needs to stop. It really needs to stop.

Marva Marrow

hesperia


Unclothed Emperors

Excellent paper! I was looking for a glimpse into the zeitgeist of the Californian economy and popular culture while visiting the Napa Valley and came upon your well-written publication in a restaurant in St. Helena with the front page article on the secrets and lies of the current commodities market (May 28). John Sakowicz made us all proud with his alarmingly accurate perception of the current situation. Unfortunately, I've misplaced the paper and desperately want to show my people in Canada what's really going on.

Please email me a copy of this article as I believe this information needs to be circulated, and I no longer feel alone in knowing the emperor is wearing no clothes.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Jonalyn Siemen

Victoria, B.C., Canada


Last Dance?

Last Sunday, at the San Anselmo Street Fair, my wife and I enjoyed a talented band playing renditions of Beatles' tunes. While observing the crowd dancing to the music, we both noticed a particular dancer gesticulating in an eccentrically '60s style of movement. I remarked about how his exaggerated style enhanced the ambiance of the music. It seemed to be a reminiscent celebration for all.

Very soon after, we observed a police officer approach the dancer and pull him aside. The officer proceeded to quietly handcuff the dancer. Within three minutes, a gathering of puzzled and concerned citizens approached the officer to ask what the dancer had done. The officer answered that someone had placed a call to the police department, feeling threatened by the dancer's behavior. 

A brief conversation among the gathering of concerned citizens revealed that no one had witnessed any behavior at any time that could be construed as threatening. At one minute the dancer was celebrating, the next minute he was shackled, shamed and crying in front of a dismayed crowd.

I communicated to the officer in charge that the dancer had committed no crime and suggested that the proper procedure would be to release the dancer, while maintaining a police presence in his vicinity. I also pointed out that by the officer's standards, at least 10 other imbibers swaying to the music should be detained. The officer responded that the dancer was obviously intoxicated and was a threat to his own safety. I replied that the dancer should be allowed to decide for himself if he was a threat to his own well-being.

The demeanor of the three officers involved was professional, courteous and firm. Their presentation represented their unit well. But why did the dancer have to be publicly humiliated? How eccentric must one be to be considered a threat? What kind of paranoid and self-obsessed individual would summon the police in response to such benign behavior?

After our brief conversation, the commanding officer returned to our small crowd of concerned citizens and said the dancer voluntarily acquiesced to going to detox. We left the dancer sobbing in the squad car. I trusted the word of the officer. I hope my trust was not misplaced.

 James Miner

San Rafael

     

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