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October 18-24, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

Plundering and Robbing

Peter Byrne's latest insight into the corrupt world of the current Republican administration is right on the mark, which is more than can be said about smart bombs ("Bush Whacked," Oct. 11). Is Byrne the only writer with the guts to spell out to the voters how this shower of legalized graysuits are--by their misguided actions and policies--plundering and robbing every man, woman and child in this country of their basic rights, namely, a good education, good medical care, good salaries and a toxic-free environment?

This is not a lot to ask, really, when you consider the billions of taxpayer dollars that are being squandered on the illegal invasion of Iraq. The voter never wins; only the government wins. This, in turn, translates into companies such as Halliburton walking away with the spoils of war. In this case, those spoils are contracts and more billions of dollars going to the very few who are inside the special boys club. Wake up, America, and spread the word!

John Clifton, Sebastopol

A groupie born every second

I didn't read Peter Byrne's articles at first, writing him off as another young Turk with a tendency to blow with the prevailing and ironic idiocy of the post-boomer crowd. And then I read a recent piece a few weeks ago that was as good as Hunter Thompson ever wrote. OK, close. But this last ("Bush Whacked") made me a convert, and if I was ever that kind of person who looks to bestow adulation, I would be a Byrne groupie. He nailed it beautifully and courageously.

Eugene Hill, Geyserville

Dum Dee Dum Dum Dumb

Your editorial response to the two writers who complained about your fall fashion issue (Letters, Oct. 11) included the remark that "we have been forced . . . to produce fashion issues." What I would like to know is: who forces you?

Ever since the Sonoma County Independent was taken over and its name changed to the North Bay Bohemian, I have been dismayed to see that, overall, the standard of investigative journalism has gone down. I was also saddened to note on takeover that the mission statement of the Independent, which was to provide in-depth, quality journalism on serious issues, was quietly dropped.

True, there have been one or two bright spots, a few crumbs thrown to the masses to keep them pacified, but they are paltry compared to all the lightweight stuff you produce, such as the fall fashion issue. This lack of serious journalism has led to the stunning success of locally owned newspapers such as the Russian River Times and the Forestville Gazette.

Study your competitors, and stop dumbing down the news!

Dee Cope, Sebastopol

There is a common misconception that the transition from the Independent to the Bohemian involved staff or ownership changes. It did not. It was a name change and a redesign. We are the same fine paper run by the same fine people after the name change as we were before.

Dad didn't amount to much

How do you possibly figure James McMurtry is a "Working Class Hero" when his dad is a rich and famous author and Hollywood screenwriter? (Music, Oct. 4.) McMurtry junior is a very, very wealthy and privileged man. Not taking away from his songs, but there are a lot of us out here with great songs who you'll never hear because our parents are not well-connected names in the entertainment industry. Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright, Lenny Kravitz--the list of familial cronyism-determined success stories is grossly long.

Mark Weigle, New York

Stories and faces

Thank you for the photos and short piece about the grape pickers at Dickerson Winery ("Sweat and Tortillas," Oct. 11). The photos of these hard-working men are some of the few images we receive of these people in our midst that work hard to better their lives and ours.

The current media is fraught with images of immigrant laborers as dangerous, threatening our borders and a problem. I for one am far more afraid of the vigilantes and their racist ideas and methods than I ever have been of these workers.

Some community people and the obreros themselves have worked for years to help this community by providing free English classes and establishing a hiring hall. Go to Graton to see what can happen in an atmosphere of humane support, instead of a one of fear and threats.

Thank you for your humane piece. By making these people more visible, you have added to the effort toward acceptance. We have a long way to go toward a peaceful world.

Vicki Smith, Graton

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