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July 18-24, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Disaster district

The recent article by Steven Hahn ("Hitting the Funding Vein," July 11) quite rightly notes that syringe-exchange programs (SEPs) are gaining wider support in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

But Hahn's characterization of SEP spending in the District of Columbia missed an essential point. Hahn wrote that "Washington, D.C., may relax its longtime ban on public money for exchange programs." In fact, the ban on spending locally raised tax dollars on SEPs in the District was imposed by Congress in 1998 over the continuing objections of the city's elected leaders.

Certain members in the House of Representatives attached the spending ban to a D.C. appropriations bill, guaranteeing that the city with the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the country couldn't use its own local funds on one proven strategy for fighting the spread of the disease.

This tragic result occurred because D.C.'s nearly 600,000 residents have no vote in the House or the Senate. Instead, representatives elected by people who have never set foot in the nation's capital have oversight of the city's budget. Congress can even veto any legislation passed by the D.C. Council addressing purely local D.C. matters.

Fortunately, the tide is turning in the district, both in the battle against HIV/AIDS and on democracy in general. House legislation that would repeal the congressionally imposed SEP spending ban passed June 28. A bill to give District residents one vote in the House of Representatives also cleared the House this summer and is now being considered by the Senate.

Walter Smith, executive director, DC Appleseed Center, Washington, D.C.

Do they sell their sausages?

Avid reader here. I don't know the name of the author of that Stiff Dead Cat article ("Music, Mayhem and Meat" by Amanda Yskamp, June 6), but I felt it was outstanding and worth some feedback.

Man! If every article were as articulate, interesting and entertaining as that Cat article, I'd read more articles and not remain a book addict. Seriously, I'm not related to the author, I'm just a simple and thoroughly impressed subscriber wondering why she isn't writing for Rolling Stone?

Also, would love to read more about that band Stiff Dead Cat, because those are the people-oriented articles that bohemians love to read about. And what interesting fellas! (By the way--I'm not related to any of them, either.)

Do they sell their sausages?

Wendi Tibbets, San Jose

Latest model in bamboozle

The article "Bigfoot Inc." by Stett Holbrook (July 11) has overextended its stay. The belief in Bigfoot has the same credibility as the existence of "compassionate conservatism." Both are totally unreal and, as your article explained about Bigfoot, very lucrative--the latest model in bamboozle. So why is the Bigfoot phenomenon greeted within the realm of plausibility? The answer is the mainstream media. The article's title itself is self-explanatory. There's money to be made in publishing and in films. The very idea of Tom Biscardi's organization pursuing Bigfoot is self-explanatory; it's his nationwide cottage industry.

But regardless of the players in the game and the layers of deception, one demand has not been made, a demand that true Americans make when confronting dilemmas and mysteries: "I'm from Missouri. Show me!" After thousands of years of Bigfoot sightings, not one of its toes has been found, let alone a live one captured and exhibited in public. It took six years for Americans to get over with compassionate conservatism; it's time for the rest of us to get over with Bigfoot.

Armando Gomez, Santa Rosa

Some Coffee Pots Were Dropped

Nothing new about Bigfoot. Not a new species, either. Nor are they animals like Biscardi claims. Nor are there only 3,500. They are highly intelligent, interdimensional people that number in the millions in the U.S. alone. Benevolent, cautious, curious, polite, easily frightened spirit people who are eager to make new friends. They were studied at UC Berkeley by Stephen Hawking and others during his sabbatical there in '74-'75. Two were held in captivity at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in the '60s. Both escaped by outwitting their captors, by changing dimensions in their holding cell, thus leaving them to believe that they had escaped. When the janitor came into clean up, the creatures glided right by him in another dimension and were then loose in the facility for several weeks. Nobody was hurt. Some coffee pots were dropped. Both eventually left the building.

George Plaut, San Jose


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