Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday July 27, 2007


Editors, Daily Planet: 

Does the city of Berkeley care about global warming? Does it make sense to sanction the use of gas-powered electricity generators in our public parks for private functions? 

Does the city of Berkeley care about protecting the commons? Do we have so much park lands that we should allow them to be used for the business of providing “amusement-park” entertainment? 

This is a no-brainer. There is no reason to allow the city’s scarce park resources to be compromised by noise, air-pollution and encroaching privatization. 

Bruce Loeb 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Daily Planet has recently run a series of articles which present misleading and inaccurate information about the University of California’s program to clean up contaminants left by historic industries on and near what is now the UC Berkeley Richmond Field Station (RFS). I am writing on behalf of the university to address a few of the many misrepresentations. 

One claim is that the university has not properly communicated to its employees about the clean up at RFS and nearby properties. On the contrary, UC has held many meetings with RFS employees and maintains a website ( specifically to provide technical information and current news to our employees and the community about conditions at RFS.  

Another claim is that the university has retaliated, or threatened to retaliate, against employees who may have expressed workplace health concerns. This is simply not true. Employees are made aware of the university’s “Policy for Protection of Whistleblowers from Retaliation,” which specifically allows employees to express their concerns without fear of reprisal. Further, UC Berkeley labor relations representatives have asked repeatedly for information on the alleged retaliations, but the unions have failed to provide any details. 

The Daily Planet states that the university “devised its own cleanup” at RFS, when the fact is that our remediation plans were developed by experienced environmental consultants, and reviewed and approved by the lead regulatory agency and numerous other government agencies. 

DTSC has recently alleged that part of the RFS remediation work conducted between 2002 and 2004 lacked proper permits. DTSC has emphasized that these alleged violations are not based on any increased health risk at or near the RFS. 

Since the beginning of our cleanup efforts, the university has worked in a fully cooperative manner, first under the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and now under DTSC’s Coastal Cleanup Operations Branch. That the same agency we have been cooperating with since 2005 would now initiate an enforcement action against us is a surprise and disappointment, and we disagree with the agency’s position. We are eager to meet with DTSC so that we can understand their concerns and resolve this issue. As always, the university is committed to completing the site cleanup and restoration in a safe and efficient manner for the benefit of the entire community.  

Mark Freiberg 

Director, Environment, Health and Safety 

University of California, Berkeley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I share Stephen Wollmer’s concern that the City Council’s recent approval of the Trader Joe’s project undermines the integrity of the city’s land use planning process and sets a bad precedent. As he wrote in last Friday’s Daily Planet, the council majority has taken the view that they have wide latitude in allowing a project to exceed zoning regulations if it appears necessary to make the project economically feasible.  

The zoning regulations exist in part so residents and developers know the “rules of the game” for any given parcel of land. The requirements to include affordable housing and to provide “bonuses” (license to exceed what the zoning allows) for developers already complicate matters. But when the City Council claims the right to award additional bonuses on a case-by-case basis, as it did with the Trader Joe’s project, it’s essentially saying it reserves the right to bend the rules. To be sure, it makes sense to allow a degree of discretion, but awarding an arbitrary number of bonuses to make a project “economically feasible” puts the council in the position of judging project economics, and invites developers to game the system (even more than they do now).  

Where I disagree with Mr. Wollmer is in his disparagement of developers’ complaints that complying with Berkeley’s development standards and affordable housing inclusion requirements is expensive. That these policies increase costs and reduce revenues is obvious. Whether they render a given project too risky with respect to its likely profitability is very hard for outsiders to judge, since both costs and revenues are subject to uncertainty. 

Requiring developers to provide a large number of apartments that will yield below-market rent in perpetuity is a sacred cow that no one (except developers) wants to criticize. But it doesn’t come for free, and all too often it’s the neighborhood around a pumped-up project that bears the cost (in terms of livability and land values). I like low rents as much as the next person, but to me it seems unfair when new residents of a neighborhood (the future tenants in the below-market units) benefit at the expense of those who already live there. It may be that having “smart” AND “neighborhood-friendly” growth requires new ways of providing housing that’s affordable for those of modest income. 

Steve Meyers 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

Mayor Tom Bates came across as your standard collectivist-statist during the KPFA interview on Sunday. He was blaming everything on the feds for not supplying the loot fast enough and the capitalist system for the personal failure of every street bum in Berkeley. 

Bates properly drew the line at some of the more outrageous lumpen around the so-called People’s Park. By the way, Becky O’Malley, you don’t have to live in Marin to realize the deterioration of Telegraph Avenue, you just have to have your head not lodged up your anal cavity. 

As far as KPFA goes they have been losing listeners for decades and fell quite short on their last marathon. Laufer, while still insufferably PC, is almost a breath of fresh air after the intolerable and totally predictable Bensky. Maybe your ilk doesn’t run things around here anymore, Becky. Tough but we’ll survive. 

Michael P. Hardesty 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Thank you for running the deeply heartfelt July 24 commentary by Susan Chacin in regards to local Street Spirit vendors of Berkeley, and Mayor Tom Bates recent on-air KPFA radio comments that were casting dirt upon the homeless population in Berkeley. 

As I listened in to KPFA’s July 22 Sunday Salon morning program, I too was hurt by the insensitive nature of Mayor Bates’ comments as he publicly bragged about avoiding Street Spirit vendors in Berkeley, so that he could avoid giving a contribution. These rantings sounded more like the behavior of Scrooge in the old Dickens Christmas classic, rather than the mayor of a so-called progressive city who should inspire us all with good will and deeds. Mayor Bates made it clear on KPFA that he is no friend of the homeless when he implied that the community should not assist the poor with monetary contributions, even if they are selling Street Spirit. Mr. Mayor, if you read this in the near future please be advised that when the community makes contributions to Street Spirit vendors for the newspapers they sell, it is for a noble cause, and not something the community should be ashamed of or avoid. Street Spirit newspapers are expertly published on a monthly basis by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and it’s founding editor, Terry Messman. 

Even during troubled times, Terry Messman has managed to make the newspaper freely available to it’s vendors on a monthly basis, so that they have something to sell that is of value to the community at large. For the asking price of $1 dollar, the newspaper offers stability, an income and some meaning to the lives of the homeless involved in the program, which is much more love than the mayor is offering to the homeless lately. 

Street Spirit newspapers go way beyond being informative, and are loaded with great poetry and artwork by the community contributors. Each issue is a collectors edition in it’s own right, and a deep reflection of who we are. 

I support the Street Spirit vendor program, and am grateful that many others support this community effort to offer the homeless a position in our society as our friends and neighbors. 

Lynda Carson 

Street Spirit contributor 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Horray and bravo to the Oakland’s newest, the Honorable Mayor Ronald Dellums, my hero for decades for his tireless efforts in the recent lockout of Oakland’s Union/Teamsters who work for Waste-Management, and who safely drove the huge garbage trucks.  

I am a dues-paying, retired teacher from Berkeley and Oakland. I always honor labor’s picket lines; this situation is not a strike. We need more and stronger labor unions for all working people. My fear is that this same company may lock out their workers in Southern California in an attempt to break their union, thereby cutting wages and working conditions for many hard working men and women who deserve good pensions, health care, safety conditions, a living-wage, and of course the time-honored traditions which were won by blood, sweat and tears—withholding their labor, a strike which is now one of the company’s demands.  

We teachers were threatened with firing if we did not return to work during the six-week teachers’ strike in Berkeley in the fall of 1976. As with many settlements, amnesty was granted and all teachers went back to work with no repercussions. In today’s situation the company, Waste Management, Inc., has locked out the workers for more than 20 days; families undoubtedly feel the strain financially and personally. WM recently raised their rates and obviously are making enough of a profit to settle the labor dispute and agree on a good contract. It has been reported on TV and in newspapers that the trash in our poorer Oakland neighborhoods hasn’t been getting picked up in a timely/regular fashion, which is a health hazard.  

Former President Reagan broke the air traffic controllers union which I consider a tragedy. I urge all readers who value labor and respect working people who are union members or not to remember it is labor unions who have brought you the 40-hour work week, no child labor, the weekend (my own mother used to work Saturdays, a 48-hour work week), safer working conditions for men and women, the right to organize and have representation in unfair labor practices among many other benefits. “Solidarity Forever...and the union makes us strong!” as the old working class song goes.  

Sylvia P. Scherzer 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

With cancellation of Oakland’s July Fourth fireworks display and the Waste Management lockout, the answer’s in on whether our new mayor was on the job, or just enjoying junkets around the country. It was no secret that the trash labor contract was coming to an end with trouble looming. The mayor should have gotten a court order for the company and union to fulfill their contract with the city. The city’s health is, after all, the most basic government duty after fire and police. Will your columnist Allen-Taylor eat crow?  

Jim Young 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am outraged at the proposed tuition increases at the University of California. The tuition at our public universities is already much too high. If Canada, England, Cuba and Venezuela can provide free university education for their people, why can’t we do it here in the United States? The high cost of education here in the United States makes it very hard for middle class and low-income people to attend university. And when kids leave college, they owe a bundle. 

Here, tuition increases at the state universities and community colleges have increased steadily, until now the UC deans want to charge $43,000 a year to go to a public professional school, like law or business.  

While we are raising barriers to education here in the United States, we are importing professional people educated at free or low cost universities in India, China, the Philippines and elsewhere to fill our professional jobs here. There is something wrong with this picture.  

Who benefits? Big business hiring cheap foreign labor? 

Those greedy deans and regents—instead of comparing their salaries with industry, they should be comparing them with school teachers. These deans and regents are employed in the public sector, and should be loyal to the people they educate, not to their business buddies. 

Margot Smith 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I just returned from Denver, where I rode RTD’s wonderful light rail system. That kind of thing may be too expensive for the East Bay, but it sure is a beautiful dream. The most amazing thing was the Free Shuttle Bus on 16th Street Mall. It carried happy shoppers and restaurant patrons through 20 blocks of Denver’s downtown, on lanes without cars. There is no parking whatever on the mall. The mall buses are special units, built in Denver. They have four doors. They are hybrid diesel-electric, using natural gas. Everyone rides the mall buses—tourists, business suits, cattlemen there for a convention, students, and workers. Downtown Denver is indeed, as I read on the back of a city worker’s shirt, “clean, safe and vibrant.” 

It was quite a come-down to return to Berkeley and attend the Southside BRT meeting. The same reactionaries were still claiming that bus-only lanes on Telegraph will be bad for business and that any reduction in parking on Telegraph will kill off what commerce remains. Downtown Denver shows what can happen with good, far-sighted city planning. The lanes on Denver’s 16th Street Mall are reserved for the mall buses. Evenings and weekends, the lanes are used by horse-drawn carriages and pedicabs, but never any cars—not even regular city buses. The mall buses, sidewalks and stores were crowded and business was booming. The light rail crossed the mall and regular city buses were available on the other streets. Berkeley could have a mall bus and a business boom, if some of us were not so reactionary about public transportation, or so fixated on cars and parking. Where were the cars in Denver? Oh, there were plenty of them; many times, I watched congestion from the sidewalk or a bus, or as I sped along in a light rail train. There are plenty of parking lots, and metered on-street parking is available on the streets feeding the mall. But on the mall itself, pedestrians strolled car-free or rode the Free Mall Bus, getting off when they saw an interesting store or restaurant. Denver’s downtown business was booming, even with bus-only lanes. 

Steve Geller 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The danger posed by environmental degradation is on the forefront of many people’s minds. Thankfully, many of these same people are quickly finding ways to combat the problems. Most advocate for conservation and improved technology. I certainly agree that these are promising steps toward environmental sustainability. However, without addressing an essential component of the environmental crisis—population sustainability—the Earth will continue to be overstressed, which threatens our collective flourishing. 

Each of us can personally combat rapid population growth and the consequent environmental degradation by making educated, informed choices about the number and spacing of one’s children. When people receive adequate family planning education and have the ability to choose and implement their decisions, they tend to have fewer children. This leads to a reduction in environmental degradation, which raises the quality of each child’s life.  

Comprehensive sex education and international family planning services provide a useful education on the environmental consequences of one’s reproductive choices. Please ask your representatives to do two things to further this cause: 1) Vote for the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act, would require federal funding for domestic comprehensive sex education, and 2) Secure more funding for international family planning.  

Georgia Gann 

Population Connection 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am not happy letter writer James Sayre is getting a Trader Joe’s in his neighborhood. I am surprised that he somehow has created the imaginary and fantastic idea in his head that Trader Joe’s can be compared with a supermarket. Consider the wide array of products at a supermarket, such as the Andronico’s in the Willard neighborhood in Berkeley. Customers there are given a choice of products. There are premium brand fava beans in salty water and there are private brand fava beans in salty water; there are regular’ bananas and there are organic bananas; there are more brands of wheat bread than you would ever buy. But at Trader Joe’s, this is not the case. Trader Joe’s sells it own labeled products made for them by other manufacturers. Less choice for the consumer, higher prices overall and a bad tradeoff for those who think they are getting a supermarket. Certainly, Berkeley has reached the point where a luxury market is in demand. I remember the day Andronico’s started carrying Krispy Kream donuts, but even one donut was not a value for money.  

James Sayre and other supporters of Trader Joe’s might call those who oppose this store “Marxists” and “Communists”; but I challenge the strength of his argument. I challenge James Sayre to shop at Trader Joe’s with only the average weekly shopping budget of a low-income single man and promise to only eat on that budget for a month. In the end tell us, for the common good, whether the community needs the choice of a supermarket or the dictate of Trader Joe’s. The average weekly August thrifty food budget of a low-income single man in California (according to the USDA, who sets the standard) is $31.10. Can James Sayre prove Trader Joe’s is not harmful to families on a budget? I await his results in one month’s time in the letter column of this newspaper. 

John Parman 

Washington, DC (and Berkeley) 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The Berkeley Board of Library Trustees (BOLT), at the July 18 meeting, voted to approve acceptance of an application for the upcoming trustee vacancy from a person whose application was received after the submission deadline of July 1. Four candidates who managed to apply during the short window of opportunity were interviewed by BOLT at the July 18 meeting. Another special meeting, originally to interview one more presumably timely applying candidate, will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 1 at the Central Berkeley Library. 

The work of the ad hoc Committee to Sunshine the Trustee Selection Process, set up by City Council recommendation, and designated to establish qualification criteria and timelines for the application process was ignored, and its’ further progress stagnated by the unavailability of committee member, BOLT Chair Susan Kupfer, whose work and social schedules were too full for her to allow scheduling of an ad hoc committee meeting for more than four weeks. Yet Chair Kupfer was able to schedule two special BOLT meetings in July mainly for the purpose of interviewing candidates for the October, 2007 trustee vacancy. Now that BOLT has replaced Kupfer with Laura Anderson on the ad hoc committee, hopefully it will meet and recommend the application process be reopened so that other candidates who did not apply by the July 1 deadline may now have the opportunity to apply and compete with the candidate whose application was received late on July 3. 

Gene Bernardi 

Berkeleyans Organizing for Library Defense (SuperBOLD) 



Editors, Daily Planet: 

So the Bush administration is inept? That’s what I keep hearing. Too inept to pull off any kind of 9/11 conspiracy, too befuddled to have planned for and even encouraged the lethal dysfunction now occurring in Iraq. 

But apparently not too inept or befuddled to give us what may be our first American dictatorship. For we find ourselves with a president who first prevents members of his staff and the Justice Department from testifying at a congressional hearing, and then vows to repudiate any contempt citations that may result from this hubris. 

Furthermore, he may get away with it! He has packed the Justice Department with neocons. If Congress does vote to issue the contempt citations now being considered against Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, the court (U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.) may well side with Bush. 

The fact that we must even worry about such a scenario tells us much about how far we have already traveled down the path towards authoritarianism. Congress and the courts will soon decide if we have, in fact, already arrived at that appalling destination. 

Judy Shelton 




Editors, Daily Planet:  

3 p.m., Wednesday July 25: I just witnessed a narrowly averted tragedy in north Oakland that makes me question the willingness of the Oakland Fire Department and the 911 system to do their job in flatland neighborhoods. Working at my desk, I noticed a young woman on the ground in the OHA parking lot across the street, surrounded by spilled purses and jackets, her friends attempting to revive her. I crossed the street to see if immediate assistance was needed while calling 911. The girl was flat on her face, out cold, snot draining from her nose, her friends prodding and tugging her to wake her up. One said don’t call 911, my mom will kill me. 

It took Oakland Fire Department paramedics eight or nine minutes to arrive after my call, which may have not been the first 911 alert. When the fire fighter paramedic unit arrived, they exited the truck at a stroll and though I cannot for the life of me explain their attitude, but the nonchalance with which they approached the body in the parking lot made me particularly angry, their casual approach incongruous to an emergency situation. 

Sitting on my porch I yelled “Hurry up, go do your job,” and rather than take it as a prod to get on the hustle, one of the firefighters, the one with the big biceps, stared me down like he wanted to kick my ass while the girl remained sprawled on the ground, unmoving. This child could have aspirated vomit and would have been brain dead or completely dead in the time it took them to show up. 

Another fireman yelled calm down and said that they had encountered a similar scene around the corner and their assistance had been refused. But I’ve got to ask, if this was the same young woman, who would allow a minor to refuse obviously needed medical attention? 

The girl was taken away in an ambulance and Fireman Biceps stared me down again as he strode back to the fire truck. All I could do was curse him under my breath and ask, how long is the response time in Montclair or Rockridge? 

Hank Chapot 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Let’s review the facts behind Sharon Hudson’s latest letter, so readers can decide for themselves whether she is spreading misinformation. In a 2003 opinion piece, Ms. Hudson opposed a development in the seminary neighborhood by writing “The seminary neighborhood is a classic walking neighborhood. The Urban Land Institute, a smart growth group, states that buildings need not exceed three stories to accommodate compact development,’ and that ‘primary buildings in walkable neighborhoods shall not exceed 35 feet...’” 

I was surprised to hear this, since the ULI usually often supports high-density development (much higher density than I would like), and I wrote a letter to the editor saying that their website featured an award for a 35-story building. 

Martha Nicoloff responded by giving a reference for the study that Ms. Hudson quoted (Urban Land Institute, “Smart Growth in the San Francisco Bay Area: Effective Local Approaches”) and Ms. Hudson repeated this reference in her latest letter. 

But if readers look up this reference, they will find that that the statement Ms. Hudson quoted is not in the body of this study, where the ULI states its own position. It is in Appendix E, where they summarize a model zoning ordinance created by a group in Utah, which they give as an example of one possible model ordinance promoting compact growth. The study includes a number of other examples of compact growth, such as infill development in San Jose that varies from 19 to 205 dwelling units per acre. 

The ULI promotes smart growth and walkable neighborhoods at a variety of densities—sometimes as low-density as three stories but usually much higher density. Ms. Hudson was clearly spreading misinformation in her original opinion piece, where she claimed that the ULI generally opposes development over 35 feet in walkable neighborhoods. 

Anyone who has a background in planning issues and knows the record of the ULI will find her claim laughable. 

Charles Siegel 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Exxon Mobil is reporting yet another quarter of staggering profits near $10 billion. While we pay the high gas prices that pump up Exxon’s profits, we are also paying for Exxon’s campaign to block action on global warming. 

Studies used by Congress show that if we increase our use of homegrown renewable energy resources like wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, then consumer energy prices will drop and new high-paying jobs will be created. ExxonMobil is the only oil giant still refusing to invest in renewable energy. 

Sarah Rodriguez 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

On this morning’s news Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was shown praising the valor of a soldier killed in Iraq. (I didn’t get the soldier’s name.) Gates was so moved, his voice broke and his face was contorted with grief. Moments later, on the same news broadcast, George W. Bush was shown sprinting across the White House lawn waving cheerily at reporters. I asked myself, does this man feel any remorse or guilt for the thousands of young men whose lives have been snuffed out thanks to his immoral war? I look for some sign of anxiety, perhaps circles under his eyes, deep lines in his face—as was evidenced on Lyndon Johnson’s countenance during the Vietnam War. But no—there’s nothing there but that smug, self-satisfied smile! 

Dorothy Snodgrass 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Let’s get one thing straight about Assemblyman Lloyd Levine’s hugely controversial (and recently dropped) spay/neuter bill, AB 1634: There’s no such thing as a “responsible pet breeder.” An estimated 25-30 percent of the animals in our shelters are pure-breds, and pet breeders, “responsible” or not, are an integral part of the problem, however vehemently they deny it. So long as one healthy dog or cat remains unadopted in the shelter, there should be no intentional breeding of dogs or cats allowed, period. 

Want a new pet? Then save a life. Go to your local shelter or a pet rescue, not a breeder. 

Eric Mills 

Action for Animals 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am so disappointed that the Assembly balanced their budget by cutting $1 billion that should be invested in public transit. The cuts are even more upsetting because the Assembly simultaneously voted for tax breaks for powerful corporate interests, including Hollywood, airlines, and the oil companies.  

We need world-class transportation for California’s future, including clean buses and fast subways connecting neighborhoods, and high speed rail connecting our cities. Especially with 60 million people in California by 2050, cutting more than $1 billion from public transit will only make it harder to avoid gridlock on our roads, reduce our oil dependence and meet our global warming commitments.  

The Senate should reject the Assembly’s cuts, and instead dedicate a larger percentage of the revenue from the sales tax on gasoline to public transit for future years. Keeping California mobile depends on it. 

Michelle Denney 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In the remaining 548 days of the Bush II presidency what to do about Iraq will dominate all discussions of foreign policy and will be accompanied by this contextual question, stated or implied: “Are we safer?”  

For the Republican Party and its presidential hopefuls it’s a tricky question which they will be forced to interpret rhetorically or risk contradicting themselves. They want to take credit for having kept the nation free from attack but they must keep alive the fear that an attack is possible, probable or imminent. This would tell us we’re safer but we’re not safe, yet. 

Democratic Party leaders and presidential hopefuls will have to handle the question differently because for them it’s a trap. They cannot agree without surrendering to the opposition and they can’t disagree—there’s no denying six years with no terrorist attacks on the homeland —so they’ll respond evasively by citing weaknesses in intelligence gathering and in security mechanisms.  

If one recognizes the emotional fraud embedded in the question, one can handle it this way:  

Q: Are we safer?  

A: Of course, we are. We’re safe in the sense that a terrorist attack, even one as catastrophic as 9/11, cannot destroy the world’s only super power, unless we let it. Furthermore, it is easy to be safer but difficult to be safe enough.  

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

True to its tradition as an outlet for every manner of hysterical anti-Israelism, the Daily Planet ran as a serious op-ed a condemnation of Israel for a traffic accident in the West Bank in which a Bedouin child was run over by a garbage truck. The accident is labeled a “crime” and all of Israel indicted, tried, and found guilty. But the author gives the reader not one scintilla of corroborating evidence. We do not learn whether the child recklessly ran in front of the truck or whether the truck was driving recklessly. All we learn is that the villagers soon arrived on the scene and set the truck on fire. We do not learn whether the driver was a Jew or an Arab.  

The writer wants us to believe that he or she was a Jew, since the word “Israeli” is used all over the article. But, in fact, it is very unlikely that Jews drive garbage trucks though Arab villages in the West Bank. I don’t care so much about the writer, Heide Basche. The East Bay has no lack of Palestinian propagandists. My concern is that The Daily Planet persists in publishing every manner of provocative propaganda without taking the slightest journalistic care to do even rudimentary fact checking. For all we know, and for all that we can rely upon The Daily Planet, the whole incident might be just an Internet hoax. 

John Gertz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

The current administration has squandered both our tax dollars and our reputation around the world. Our Bill of Rights has been decimated, our Constitution, not worth the animal skin it’s written on. To paraphrase James Madison, “Pardon power should not to be used as a blank check to break the law of the land.” If I had leaked Valerie Plame’s name to the press, I would be tried for treason and we all know the penalty for treason. Impeachment is too good for these Anti-American Corporate Croanies. 

Robyn Linder 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Good lord a mighty! Perhaps with the “hep” of TV, narcissism, and just plain ignorance, Fred Thompson, the frog/toad star of Law and Order, could be our next right-wing president! Arnold got in, Ronald got in, and now, to continue the great horror of media influence on our glued-to-the-set citizenry, good ol’ Fred could lead us on into the early, tragic years of the 21st century.  

America, have you no shame?  

Robert Blau