What about the goof on the outside?

RE: “Killer Grilles


We are quite willing to dedicate thousands of dollars per vehicle on safety items for the goof inside who has ultimate control over the speed, direction, and proximity of his personal ton of vehicle. Yet we will not sacrifice the looks of our SUVs for the safety of the innocent pedestrian.

From the lowly seatbelt to the highly controversial and expensive air bag, plus extra strengthening like side-door guard beams (a very flattering term for a piece of pipe), we will give every chance for the nut not installed in the factory to be delivered from the hazard he put himself in. Yet no one will consider incorporating a proximity-fired airbag that would catch and save an innocent adult, child, or other potential road-kill from being struck, pinned, dragged, or flung through the air by our vehicles. Instead we actively increase the probability of serious injury or death with useless decorations.

Gerald Moen

I’m so tired …

RE: “Rage Against the Ennui


It isn’t ennui as much as depression. I’m tired of the media thinking that I live to be entertained by sex, lies, T&A, and gossip. I’m tired of the assumption that I don’t have enough of a brain to understand issues without the ever-so-cynical interpretation of the media analysts. I’m tired of Republicans coming on as people who care when the real powers in their party are the essentially uncaring Trent Lott, Tom DeLay, and Dick Armey. Cynically, they know that they can say they’ll do ridiculously impossible things, like campaign finance reform, safe in the knowledge that Congress under the uncaring ones will never let these bills out of committee.

Now both conventions are over, thank heaven, and if we can manage to exist until early November through the constant barrage of political advertising, mud-slinging and innuendo — not to mention the politically-timed investigation of Bill Clinton — then perhaps we can turn on the television or radio again and read the morning paper over coffee. That will be nice.

Anne Tanner

Ad campaign ignores alcohol

RE: “Al Gore on Drugs


The financially and politically influential alcohol lobby successfully opposes the inclusion of alcohol in the government’s anti-drug ad campaign and in doing so, perpetuates the ignorance that kills our children.

I would add that the anti-drug ad campaign begins to look extremely stupid when one realizes the very, very expensive campaign ignores alcohol — which kills more people than all illegal substances combined — and concentrates on cannabis, which has NO lethal dose and whose pharmacological effects have not caused a single death in more than 5,000 years.

Maybe the politicians are required to adhere to the party line of prohibition because law enforcement, customs, the prison industrial complex, the drug testing industry, et al can’t live without the budget justification — not to mention the invisible profits, bribery, corruption and forfeiture benefits that prohibition affords them. The drug war also perpetuates racist enforcement policies and is diminishing many freedoms and liberties that are supposed to be inalienable according to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Myron Von Hollingsworth
Fort Worth, Texas

Trucks are scary too

RE: “Killer Grilles


It is not just SUVs but also trucks that have developed this “big face” design. Machos love these designs and are buying them like crazy. I have always thought that bumpers must match on new cars and trucks, but bumpers have risen to obscene heights. This makes machos growl with pleasure and serves their need to extend their egos.

The upshot of this is that, on impact, a small compact will slide under these behemoths and be driven over — since the wheels are allowed to be so large in diameter.

Bull rack or not, these vehicles are dangerous weapons, especially in concert with an angry driver powered by road rage. These vehicles should be outlawed from the highways.

Dennis McLaughlin
Wheaton, Ill.

The right-wing media

RE: “Rage Against the Ennui


The press is providing ample coverage of the protest demonstrations at the Democratic convention in Los Angeles. Nightly, on our television screens, we get to see police in riot gear confronting protestors.

There were also protest demonstrations at the Republican convention in Philadelphia. How come there was hardly any mention of these protests in the media? How come these confrontations and arrests weren’t thrown in our faces on the nightly television news broadcasts?

Why are the print and broadcast media so biased in their coverage? What is this conspiracy between the media and the Republicans to perpetuate the Republican Party’s myth of harmony? Could it be that the owners of the media are Republicans? Could it be that the Republicans and media moguls have a tacit pact for perceived mutually beneficial interests?

The protest demonstrations should be in the news, those directed against the Republicans as well as those against the Democrats. However, what the media should report is the issues and positions of the protesters instead of the police actions. What a shame for America that our treasured right of freedom of the press has become prostituted to political interests.

Susan Burwen
Mountain View, Calif.

MoJo responds: We recommend you supplement your media diet with a few doses from our Alternative Convention Coverage page.

Way better than Bush

RE: “A (Very) White House


I think that despite the negatives in this article, Gore would still be better than Bush in the White House. At least the Clinton-Gore team makes an attempt to pander to blacks — that’s more than the Republicans ever do. After the election is over we’ll see the Republicans distance themselves from us until the next time they need us. I have seen more minorities and women in positions of power in the last eight years than ever before in this country. Yes, we still have a long way to go, but what good is it to totally alienate the one door open to us?

Allison McMillan

Durst a dittohead?

RE: “Clinton’s Last Hurrah


Funny, I just watched a tape of Clinton’s speech (again) and disagree very much with your take. To point out that the President passed over the low points is hardly news — did Reagan ever talk about the October Surprise, selling arms for hostages, or allowing over 200 marines to die because he ignored his military advisors? Get real.

As for the speech, it was fairly brief, funny at times, and quite upbeat. Would you prefer the harangue of the Republican speeches at their convention? Come clean, are you just another dittohead?

Lewis Grove

Spin on the War on Drugs

RE: “Al Gore on Drugs


The apparent contradictions between a war on drugs and the non-inclusion of alcohol as a targeted drug disappear when you cut through the spins justifying the war on drugs. The war on drugs serves corporate interests including the prison industry and military contractors, as well as a politically acceptable excuse to support the controlling powers in South America.

The “war” also serves political interests by providing acceptable reasons to intervene in the domestic affairs of other nations, to roll back the liberties of our own citizens, and to selectively target our inner-city population for increased police scrutinty and incarceration.

Bob Kulaya

Drug numbers wrong

RE: “Al Gore on Drugs


Dennis Hans should know that illegal drugs do not kill 52,000 people per year. That number was made up by General Barry McCaffrey. When he was asked directly about that number, he admitted the number is made up. The figures published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in their Annual Research Monographs, typically show deaths related to illegal drugs in the range of 10,000 per year.

Hans also ought to know that no death has ever been attributed to marijuana. Even the DEA’s own chief administrative law judge stated that.

Clifford A. Schaffer
Canyon Country, Calif.

MoJo responds:

Mr. Schaffer and several other readers have pointed out the dubious nature of McCaffrey’s 52,000 number for annual US deaths linked to illicit drugs. We have corrected the story and posted our changes and additional stats on drug- and alcohol-related deaths (for example, did you know you’d have to smoke 1,500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes in order to overdose?), on our corrections page.

Cut us a break, Durst

RE: “Spit-Shining the City of Angels


Speaking as a relatively new Angeleno who has gradually been won over by this weird city, I think Durst is being a little hard on it. The number of alternative events, counter events, and consciousness-raising events springing up this week is huge. And the local media have not simply ignored them, as seemed to happen in Philadelphia. Even members of the notoriously lazy film industry are marching to protest the number of jobs flowing over our borders into Canada and the Dems’ lack of action on the issue.

Darin Goulet
Los Angeles, Calif.

Carelessness the real killer

RE: “Killer Grilles


After my husband was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, he bought a Suburban and had it equipped with grille guards on the front as a protection for himself — not for the looks of the vehicle. He feels safer against all the many stupid drivers that are distracted by cell phones, stereos, etc. I feel that drivers must, of course, always be aware of those around them. The pedestrian should always have the right of way. If we observed these safety precautions, there would be fewer accidents — with or without grille guards.

Mary Young