By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Letter of the Week
Regarding Chisun Lee's "Political Prisoners" [October 1319]: I think that bringing unfairly discriminatory laws out for discussion is a great service, and I thank you and the writer for doing so with this article (and others). However, let's talk about the effect on "felons" of all races whose only transgression was to be in possession of an illegal drug. Preventing past or present users of "controlled substances" from voting quite effectively keeps us from overturning the very laws that so unfairly ruined so many of our lives. For instance, I myself spent three months in jail and lost my home simply because I had a few grams of hash and an ounce of pot. That was nearly 20 years ago, but federal prohibition laws continue to assure that I'll suffer for the remainder of my life even if I never break another law! How about doing a story on that kind of "discrimination"?
Life as we know it
There's a huge difference between executing criminals and murdering innocent babies conceived through the selfishness and irresponsibility of their parents. Your motto should be "Liberals: tough on fetuses, soft on murderers."
I am opposed to the death penalty as well as abortion. I think if you're going to be pro-life, it should extend to all life. While I can understand how some people believe that the death penalty is appropriate for violent, capital criminals, I cannot comprehend the thinking that somehow the killing of innocent unborn babies ought to be a protected "right," while the execution of violent criminals is condemned.
It's so twisted.
I have an alternative reason for the popularity of The Da Vinci Code: It's a good read.
While it's true that there are a lot of people who were ignorant enough to be taken in by the blend of nearly seamless invention and history, that doesn't explain its popularity. Gnostic influence on Christianity in general, and on Roman-Greek Catholicism specifically, is old news.
Gnosticism is a blend of neo-Platonic ideas with Christianity, and some of those ideas were taken to an extreme by early Christians all around the Mediterranean. Asceticism, mortification of the flesh, etc. can be traced directly to Gnosticism.
There was nothing new in this bookit was a medley of actual theories and poetic license, and was quite enjoyable, though I for one didn't have much trouble discerning the difference.
I did learn one very interesting fact, howevervinegar actually does ruin papyrus very quickly.
Mixing it up, corporate style
Excellent article. The only thing Perlstein left out of the mix is the corporatocracy that provides the funds for the destruction of democracy.
Anything but hypothetical
I read "The End of Democracy" with great interest. Surely Perlstein realizes that the scenario offered by "Deep Faith" in the concluding paragraphs is anything but hypothetical: Bush & Co. were "able to have a coup" (the 2000 election); something really bad did happen; and, most perniciously, the Bush cartel will be in charge permanently, or at least for the foreseeable future . . . in all likelihood, through its handpicked surrogates.
And Mr. "Faith" is quite right; the people who staged the coup, fabricated the jihad, and now cling so tenaciously to the power have precious little interest in running a democracy. Certainly not while they're wallowing in orgiastic delight, tallying up the spoils of running a latter-day robber-baron plutocracy.
Westwood, New Jersey
Perlstein needs to get a grip, historically speaking. The democracy is not threatened any more now than it has been throughout our history.
Some of the political tactics he described, if true, are over-the-top. Historically, these things happen from time to time. Somehow, the majority of Americans, no matter how stupid and gullible he thinks they are, will come to a reasonable conclusion.
The St. Louis presidential debate proved more than anything else that regular citizens can ask reasonable, thoughtful questions that the candidates should answer. These issues are important to them and a great many people throughout the country.
There are many people between the coasts, and I think Perlstein needs to spend some quality time with them to at least calm the heck down!
Name the other two
In "Big Ruling, Little Notice" by Rick Perlstein [October 2026], in a case involving alleged voting rights violations, Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit is accused of handing down "a capricious, flippant dismissal of the complaint, ignoring key portions of its argument and simply inventing others."
The article also claims that Judge Posner is "a prominent conservative intellectual and vocal Bush supporter."
What the article omits is the fact that, as any awake first-year law student knows, every federal circuit court decision must be signed by at least three judges. Yet the article singles out Posner and doesn't mention the other two judges who co-signed the decision.