Go Michael

RE: “Active Vibrations


I love Michael Franti — he’s an inspiring, intelligent, provocative figure. When most people in Hollywood or the music industry are worried about what they’re wearing at the Oscars or Grammys, he’s putting himself on the line while making great music and having a good time.

Go Michael.

Matt Petersen

Did they get a raise?

RE: “Missing the Forest for the Fees


Every penny of money should go to maintenance and improvement of our National Parks and Forests. It is absurd for “administration and collection” to take such a whopping percentage. Did the administrators raise their own wages and salaries when the fees went into effect? And I want to know how the government justifies paying corporations to log and otherwise exploit land that belongs to the American people. A justification, worthy or not, must exist.

Constance Ashton Myers

Giardina serving the public

RE: “West Virginia’s Mountain (Party) Mama


I fully support Denise Giardina. She is intelligent, organized, dedicated and passionate about our home state. Her ideas are important to West Virginia and any future it may be able to eke out. I’m sick of outside interests raping our state and being rewarded by local politicians with the foresight of a mole.

Denise represents many people in our state who are fed up with previous politicians who only look back and have no concept of moving forward. I applaud her courage and appreciate her commitment to our state and the people here who deserve much better than we’ve had. She reminds us that the term “public servant” still has meaning and that many elected officials should reassess exactly who they are serving — their constituents, not the out-of-state businesses who buy them.

Dana Cochran
Bramwell, W.V.

To fee, or not to fee

RE: “Missing the Forest for the Fees


This issue of forest fees — how they are collected, from whom and for what purposes — should be a matter of public debate. Instead it is in the hands of administrators of public agencies that are more likely to feel pressure from politicians and the corporations that fund their campaigns. It is a prime example of why campaign finance reform is needed, and why I am voting for Ralph Nader and the Green Party. The abuses that are currently tolerated in our National Forest system would not be allowed under a Ralph Nader presidency or a Green Party administration.

John Howes
Saint Petersburg, Fla.


It seems perfectly reasonable to me that those who use the improvements on forest lands should help to pay for them. The biggest lump to swallow is the treatment of large mining and lumber corporations who exploit public lands for profit. Those resources are no longer infinite. Subsidizing their activities induces a gag-reflex in me.

Dr. Mark A. Melton
Las Vegas, NV

If the party’s no fun, start your own

RE: “West Virginia’s Mountain (Party) Mama


Excellent article. I’m delighted you included this. God help us all if we don’t find innovative ways to transcend the two present political parties.

John Talmage, Ph.D.

Debating the debate debate

RE: “The Great Debate Debate


I think this is all a power play. George is in a tug-of-war to see who gets to decide the debates and on whose terms. I don’t think this has anything to do with his inability/ability to debate. He just wants to gain control over the decision making, making him the victor even before the debates started.

It didn’t work for him. He will go down fighting and we may not see these two debate at all. Old George doesn’t know when to just go along.

Michael Carragher

Bush not just wimping out

RE: “The Great Debate Debate


Isn’t it possible Bush wants to go on Russert and King because on those shows he won’t be subject to a time limit or be stopped from responding to any of Gore’s statements? To say that Bush is afraid to debate may be true, but it is just as likely that he is wanting to debate in a forum where his responses will not be cut short by some stiff moderator. (Not that Larry King is a particularly lively character.)

Mark Stern

War is hell on Earth

RE: “Collateral Damage of the Environmental Kind


Environmental clean-up of damage caused during a war must be included in the planning for wars. The environment knows no physical boundaries; damage is not confined to specific locations and will eventually cause problems for innocent victims of war.

William J. Reichertz