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October 11-17, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

Better Living Through Metro

Re "Welcome Home: A Burning Man Travelogue" (Cover Story, Sept. 27): Laura, I really enjoyed your memoir of your experience at Black Rock City. Just the title brought a tear to my eyes. I was a little homesick this year since I was unable to go. For a good reason, being I'm seven months pregnant! I figured being in a dust bowl for a week would not be good for me and my baby. So, I've lived vicariously through other people's experiences. I gathered from your writing that you grasped the true essence of Burning Man. It's such a magical place and the interaction with people is heartwarming. You can learn so much out there and bring that home with you. Thanks for sharing your experience, and see you on the playa next year!

Tara Bong a.k.a. Faerygirl, Los Gatos

Sorry, Sufi

Thank you for writing about the Sufi Coffee Shop in Mountain View in the Best of Silicon Valley (Cover Story, Sept. 20). Unfortunately I noticed an error which is as follows: We do not carry Arabic books; we carry Persian, English, Italian, Russian and French books.

Parviz Rasti, Owner, Sufi Coffee Shop, Mountain View

Twice Considered

Re "Best of Silicon Valley": I disagree with part of what you wrote when you recommended Bells Books in Palo Alto. Not that there is anything wrong with recommending that nice old used bookstore.

However, you said "San Jose once had a fine used bookstore, Twice Read books." This is wrong on two accounts: first, San Jose still has one of the best used bookstores in California—Recycle Books at 1066 The Alameda.

Next, you called "Twice Read" a "fine" used book store, but it was terrible, and a disgrace. The books were smelly, musty, and in poor shape. The owner was surly, and even if he deigned to tell you what he'd charge you for one of these "wonders," the price was far too high.

Darrold 'Dan' Wagner, San Jose

Conspiracy Theory by Any Other Name

I have seen three positive letters regarding the "David Ray Griffin" article ("Unquestioned Answers," Cover Story, Sept. 7). Your headline says he isn't a conspiracy theorist but then he says the "official story" is itself a "conspiracy theory"—a little incongruous, don't you think? In fact, he then proposes his own "theory" that the military pulled it off to create acceptance for the subversive intentions of the "neocons" at the "project for the New American Century."

The reason conspiracy theorists are so named is because they have no facts. It is interesting that Mr. Griffin is a "process theologist"—theology generally deals with faith not fact, and Mr. Griffin has no facts to back up his assertions.

The article mentions five books that Mr. Griffin has written or edited—personally, i think his goal is to sell more books which is usually the real purpose of conspiracy theorists. Not to mention movies, magazines, and seminars.

I will not review all the various 9/11 conspiracy theories, as they are all over the Internet. What I would suggest open-minded people do is read the following:

1. "Behind the 9/11 myths"—the August 2006 book published by Popular Mechanics magazine, with studies by recognized experts in numerous scientific disciplines;

2. The June 2005 article in Scientific American which includes information on the melting properties of steel;

3. The USA Today article from 9/11/2006 analyzing the Pentagon attack, pointing out that DNA of passengers was recovered as were the "black boxes" of the plane and parts of the fuselage;

4. The 9/11 Commission Report, which looked into many of the known conspiracy theories, finding none credible. On C-Span just recently, one of the 9/11 commission chairmen, Thomas Kean, said "the conspiracists asked levels of proof from the 9/11 commission they don't ask of themselves." He also said Michael moore's movie wasn't true—no surprise there. He pointed out that American history is replete with conspiracy theories stating some "still" think John Wilkes Booth escaped. In fact, I have seen recent news reports that a couple of the college professors involved in the "conspiracy community" are under fire from their administrators for questionable academic practices.

Mr. Griffin is free to promote his ideas, but hopefully the public will read the above mentioned sources (and others) that present findings by respected experts in their scientific fields and decide for themselves.

Ronald Brackney, Santa Clara

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