By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Allen Barra sinks boorishness to a new low with his anti-soccer rant. How appropriate for a Yankee fan.
Plainview, New York
Geoffrey Gray ["Fighting the Great 8," villagevoice.com] mentions that the recent G-8 summit was located in "the remote . . . ski town of Kananaskis, Canada, where the outrage [was] expected to take a milder form."
True, but not because "Canadian activists, as opposed to their European comrades, are a softer breed." The real issue was that a cordon of police and armed forces kept activists, and everyone else, miles from the summit site (at a cost of U.S. $200 million). So, as Gray reports, some protesters met in Ottawa, which is 1500 miles awaynot exactly "nearby." I guess they figured it was close enough. Is that familiar thinking?
Geoffrey Gray replies: Kudos to my Canadian comrade for pointing out my geographical blunder. However, my jab at the "softer" forms of your countrymen's protesting style was not inferred from the massive security force at hand; rather, from the massive knitting display in the streets of your capital.
Reading the lead item in James Ridgeway's Mondo Washington column on the lack of preparedness for a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C. ["Fleeing the Fourth," July 9], I did not recognize my city at all. While Washington is undeniably lacking in infrastructure, Ridgeway was incorrect in some of his statements in regard to the D.C. Metro. One of the stops he mentioned, Dupont Circle, has been my Metro stop for the past two years. Not once have I been stalled or "trapped" due to construction. Also, did Ridgeway interview any riders or did he come up with the amusing nickname "the Kursk" all by himself?
WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK
The concern identified by Geoffrey Gray that whistle-blowers are under attack ["Code of Quiet," June 25] may continue to grow with proposed homeland security legislation. The bill would allow the new agency's director to waive all employee protection in cases of whistle-blowing. However, the necessity of such a provision may be appreciated when viewed in the context of the war on terror. Lower-level employees are not informed of entire operations, and whistle-blowing could thus endanger national security if an employee falsely believes something's gone awry. A sensible way to protect national security would be to have independent counsel to whom employees could take their concerns if they feel management is not receptive.
Re Paul Moses's article "The Paper of Wreckage" [June 25]: Being a member of the Castle Coalition, a group formed by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice specifically to fight eminent domain, I got involved in the New York Times case, interviewed most of the land, building, and business owners threatened by the paper's action, and encouraged them to fight for their rights.
Fighting eminent domain on a grassroots level costs less and is frequently more effective than fighting in court. Some options are holding protests, writing letters to editors, speaking before community boards, and posting notices. More people would join the fight if they understood what eminent domain is. When posed as a question, the issue is clear: How would you feel if the government took your property and gave it to someone else whether you liked it or not?
To be constitutional, a taking under eminent domain must be for a public purpose and the owners must receive just compensation. The Times action fails both criteria.
Allen St. John's article "His Backhand Needs Work" [July 2] was well written and well documented, but I disagree with his conclusion. Just because the Williams sisters serve at a higher mph than John McEnroe doesn't make their serve more effective. (Is a pitcher who throws 93 mph necessarily better than a pitcher who throws 83 mph?) Also, McEnroe used to regularly beat players who served harder than the WilliamsesColin Dibley, Kevin Curran, and Roscoe Tanner, to name a few. Granted, his 40-year-old legs aren't what they were, but he won't be playing an entire tournament. Besides, Venus and Serena would have to deal with Mac at the net. No woman player can put pressure on them like that.
I wouldn't pay a nickel to see Tyson-Lewis on Pay-Per-View, but by golly I would fork over $55 to see McEnroe-Williams.
Allen St. John's assertion that John McEnroe could beat the Williams sisters only "in his dreams" is confusing. Much of his article suggests the opposite. If Kaarsten Braasch, ranked No. 200 in the world, beat Venus and Serena so easily, why couldn't McEnroe?
Also, St. John's references to the equal-pay issue for male and female players lacks perspective. John McEnroe has stated many times that women's professional tennis is more interesting than the men's game. However, St. John ignores a significant aspect of this debate: In Grand Slam events, men play best-of-five set matches, while the women play best-of-three. Women's matches are routinely completed in less than one hour; men's matches often extend for more than three.