By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
May We Have Your Pension, Please?
Thank you for Tom Robbins's excellent feature "The Art of the Shakedown" [May 19-25] about former senator Guy Velella's decision to plead guilty to the crime of bribery. The ex-senator will serve a short time in jail and then get big bucks serving as a lobbyist.
This article made me sick! Senator Velella is a crooked politician who misused his office. Government officials should have nothing to do with him once he's out of jail.
In addition, the state legislature should pass a law depriving elected officials of their pension checks if they plead guilty to a government-related crime. Guy Velella will be earning $80,000 a year for life from the statethanks to his pension. His pension is based on his years of service. But Guy Velella didn't serve the people. He ripped us off.
Greenburgh, New York
I applaud Sharon Lerner's bold and poignant article regarding the Food and Drug Administration's rejection of over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill ("NyQuil, Yes. Morning-After Pill, No," May 12-18). Indeed, while conservatives hail the decision, their reasons do not hold up under scrutiny.
My favorite excuse is that over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill would lead to increased promiscuity. If that is the case, why not ban over-the-counter sales of condoms as well?
Sharon Lerner is making some very unusual comparisons and implications in her article. There is a fundamental problem with people's mentality about unprotected sex. We need to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to such matters. If the Plan B pill were to be sold OTC, I fear that people would use it as a form of birth control rather than the "emergency" drug it is intended to be. Perhaps a better solution to this problem would be to educate people about practicing safe sex, including the use of birth control in conjunction. Spreading knowledge and a sense of personal responsibility would alleviate this "problem." If one is going to engage in unsafe behavior (unprotected sex, cigarette smoking, drinking, etc.), then one must also be aware of the consequences. If a teenage girl is unaware of the consequences of unsafe sex, then I would have to say that she shouldn't be having sex to begin with. Lerner asks,"So what's a girl who's just had unprotected sex, or had a condom fail, to do?" Perhaps a better question that gets at a more fundamental problemis, What's a 15-year-old girl doing having unprotected sex?
Sharon Lerner replies: Whether or not you think 15-year-olds should have sex, they do. Forcing them to have babies or abortions doesn't make sense when there is a safe, effective way to prevent those outcomes.
Re Wayne Barrett's "Inside Bush's Indian Bureau" [April 28-May 4]:Congratulations on a well-written article about the influence peddling that goes on at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 2000 and again in 2003, certain individuals mentioned in your article were involved in helping pave the way for a tribe to acquire land in the Bay Area. This is one of many reasons I will not support Bush and his administration this time around.