Backtalk

November/December 2009 Issue

Water, Water Everywhere

Anna Lenzer's "Spin the Bottle" set the Web a-Twitter, netting thousands of tweets. Selected shorts:
@pcorcoran Fascinating detailed reporting re: geopolitics of bottled Fiji Water
@erictatro Go figure, Fiji Water is bad for the environment, bad for Fijians, bad for your pocketbook. Buy a filter and drink tap.
@FijiWater We won't back down from our commitment to Fiji's communities.
@davidburn Anna Lenzer on Fiji and Fiji Water for Mother Jones, rarely do we see investigative reporting like this anymore
@geckotek The Elite drink Fiji water while the people of Fiji suffer.
@sa_bing The truth behind the fancy-pants square water bottle and why you should put it down immediately
@mkapor H20 full of contradictions.
@ilisapeci People are getting angry about Fiji Water but they think nothing about staying in a $600 room while the maid gets paid $2 an hour
@AmyKinc A compelling read on Fiji water—­the power of marketing & the influence of the powerful.
@DestroXXIV Drink Fiji Water? Might want to think again.
@will_bristol a story that should be dumb satire... but isn't. Still or sparkling, madam?

News You Can Reuse

I am so grateful that your staff produces such hard-hitting looks at stories that actually matter. I have to admit, though, that your smart, fearless journalism often reveals a world that both dumbfounds and scares the pants off me. So I was particularly grateful to find a story on the cover of your latest issue about a problem I feel I can easily help to address: bottled water (and Fiji brand bottled water in particular). I may not be able to completely wrap my brain around the economic crisis or decide how I think the modern-day robber barons who caused it should be dealt with, or predict how Obama will possibly clear the hurdle of anti-socialist rhetoric to pass meaningful health care reform, but I can happily continue filling my reusable bottle with water from my tap. Thanks for making it easy on me this month; I know better than to expect that (or want it) too often.
MICHELLE MCQUISTON
Seattle, Washington

Notes on a Scandal

I was very interested to read David Corn's "CSI: Watergate." As the editor of nixon tapes.org, I'm familiar with the efforts of Phil Mellinger as well as those before him who've sought to reconstruct the June 20, 1972, meeting between President Nixon and Bob Haldeman. Even if unsuccessful, perhaps it will raise a level of interest and awareness in the fact that more than 35 years later numerous records related to Watergate haven't been released to the public.
LUKE A. NICHTER
Assistant professor of history
Texas A&M University-Central Texas

Facts on the Ground

Robert Dreyfuss' "Still the Chosen One?" scrambles the context of a comment I made about the potential for "the most serious dispute between the US and Israel in the entire 61 years of relations between the two countries." This comment, which I made before the plenary session of the aipac annual policy conference and still stand by, was NOT made in the context of differences over the Arab-Israeli peace process, as the article clearly suggests. In fact, I do not believe differences on that issue will have the far-reaching ramifications for the US-Israel relationship that the article foresees.
ROBERT SATLOFF
Chevy Chase, Maryland

Schools That Rule

Thanks for recognizing Muhlenberg College's Environmental Action Team for our hard work in Kiera Butler's "Give 'Em Hellraisers." EnAcT has been campaigning to ban bottled water for the last few years, and hopefully by the end of next year we'll be officially bottled-water free. Our last obstacle is our stubborn and apathetic student government, which turned down last year's proposal to remove bottled water from our campus eateries.
GABRIEL A. PROCACCINO
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Landmark Breakthroughs

While Laura McClure was busy counting the number of public displays of emotion, she missed reporting on the countless results people produced including strengthened relationships, community projects, acts of forgiveness and generosity, the presence of intellectual rigor, and breakthroughs in peace of mind ("42 Hours, $500, 65 Breakdowns," July/August 2009). Had she reported on those, she would have given readers some insight into why more than 1.1 million people from all walks of life have taken the Landmark Forum and, when surveyed, more than 94 percent agreed that the Landmark Forum has made a profound and lasting difference in their lives.
JOSEPH DIMAGGIO
Chairperson, Landmark Education
Research, Design and Development Team