Looks to me like the "crab-basket" mentality is at work here; they all sit motionless in the basket until one tries to climb out—then all the others try to pull it back in. I can't wait to start reading about Uncle Tom Tiger Woods. After all, is he not also succeeding at the "rich white man's game"?

Mike Robertson

Big Government Liberal

James Ridgeway's observations in Mondo Washington about Al Gore's selection of Senator Joseph Lieberman appear insightful, but are undercut by the bumps Gore has received in polls since naming Lieberman ["Gore's Rabbi," August 15].

However Ridgeway may feel about Gore and Lieberman politically, tapping him as a vice-presidential running mate is a significant breakthrough for diversity and tolerance. Besides, how "conservative" can Lieberman be with a 95 percent rating from Americans for Democratic Action in 1999?

Ralph Seliger

Sound Of Silence

James Ridgeway got it wrong when he wrote in Mondo Washington [August 15] that Senator Joseph Lieberman backs "school prayer." Simple fact-checking of congressional transcripts would have revealed that Senator Lieberman is in favor of a moment of silence—not school prayer. The two are very different.

Theresa Ohberg
Decatur, Georgia

Puppets Of The State

In otherwise excellent coverage of the protests and police activities in Philadelphia during the Republican convention, both Tom Carson and Sarah Ferguson mentioned the police raid on the puppet-making "warehouse" in West Philadelphia, but neither of them mentioned the most salient fact: In terms of dubiously constitutional police behavior, all of the occupants of that building without exception—70 people—were taken into custody and then held for at least four days on the flimsiest of charges, and some were not even arraigned until the third or fourth day.

Also, while many of the detainees did not cooperate with the police, others cooperated fully from the very beginning, yet were unable to get themselves released. Philadelphia Direct Action had distributed an open invitation to help with the puppet-making. Thus, who got arrested was only a matter of chance.

Philadelphia police spokespeople tried to play up the potential danger of the activity in the puppet-building studio, and largely succeeded in convincing the shamefully unques-tioning media. They sought to blur the distinction between those who had actively engaged in sometimes violent protests and those who were building puppets.

The police characterized pipe, chain, and chicken wire allegedly found on the premises as "dangerous weapons" and even intimated that bottles, rags, and solvents could potentially be used for Molotov cocktails or bombs. I would point out that some of these items are regularly used to build large street puppets and others are staples of art and carpentry workshops. If potentially dangerous uses of these materials can justify police raids and significant detainment, then political artists in particular, and all those concerned with more than just token free speech, are in for a difficult future.

Blaise Tobia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Inside Voice

Tom Robbins's article entitled "The Con and the Mayor" [August 1] was one of the most extraordinary pieces that I have ever read. It was fascinating and uplifting—a story of an unlikely do-gooder arising from inside the walls of Marion maximum-security prison. Yet again, Robbins reinvents perspective and speaks up for those whose voices are rarely heard, or largely ignored. Bravo.

Jenna Capeci

Waiting To Inhale

Re "You're Going Too Far, Baby" by Ginger Adams Otis [August 15]: Ms. Otis quotes Matt Myers of Tobacco-Free Kids and Nancy Kaufman of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. What Myers and Kaufman didn't say is that the women in most third world countries are more likely to die from infectious and parasitic diseases than from smoking.

Myers and Kaufman also failed to point out that in some countries the government owns the cigarette business, and women smoke national brands far more than expensive imports.

And, of course, neither Myers nor Kaufman noted that their salaries come from pharmaceutical money—money from RWJF's more than $5 billion in Johnson & Johnson stock. J&J makes Nicotrol and other cessation products, which compete in the nicotine market with tobacco.

Wanda Hamilton
Miami, Florida

Out Of Site

The redesign of your Web site is one of the best I've ever seen. I love the quick table-of-contents-like access to all the sections of the paper. And it looks great, too! Congrats.

Stephen Sposato
Chicago, Illinois


  • Donna Ladd's article "Think Different" (August 8) incorrectly reported the name of the Apple gossip site that posted a message reading "So Sue Us" in response to the computer maker's threats of legal action over corporate leaks. It was Applelinks.com.

  • Rapper Mr. Dead was misidentified as Sensational in the caption on last week's Sound of the City page.
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