Letters for February 20, 2003

Dummies on the streets
Re “Are there too many polls?” [RN&R, Streetalk, Feb. 6]:

Respondents to the recent Streetalk column regarding opinion polls pointed to a disturbing lack of knowledge among the citizenry. As an aspect of the larger problem of scientific illiteracy, people discount the results of correctly performed, random polls along with totally ridiculous samplings—such as some Reno Gazette-Journal polls based upon several readers who call in. Correctly done, polling is highly accurate with small and calculable margins of error.

Earl Piercy

We want a war, duh
Re “Are there too many polls?” [RN&R, Streetalk, Feb. 6]:

In the Streetalk column, the question was asked whether or not there were too many polls. Francis Beckett responded, “I hope President Bush does [respond to polls], and averts a war by listening.” Francis, haven’t you heard that 70 percent of the American people support a war in Iraq? Yes, I hope he responds to polls, too!

Name withheld

Don’t romanticize puke
Re “Scenes from the underground” [RN&R, Cover, Feb. 6]:

I found your piece on the underground drug culture frightening and ironic, considering that just one page before it there was an advertisement for a class on tobacco-free living. Why is it things such as smoking have become incredibly evil while drug use is looked upon as perfectly innocuous? For an article that points fingers at the antiquated authority figures who lead us astray by feeding us unrealistic depictions of drug dealers or who tell us how we were contributing to terrorism through drug use, I find that it smacks of hypocrisy by casting the drug culture in a similarly exaggerated and romanticized light. Where were the perils? Puking in a planter? Your description is more poetic than anything else, and even makes drug use sound as if it were natural.

Also, thank you for the detailed description of how to find out more about drugs and how to buy them. It almost seemed as if your article was more of an advertisement for drug culture than an objective description.

Joshua Hartzog
via e-mail

Chemical burn
Re “Scenes from the underground” [RN&R, Cover, Feb. 6]:

I was in Lake Tahoe attending the Western Pharmacology Meeting when I came across your paper. What an irony that scientists are dedicating their lives to improving the human condition while publications such as yours promote the degradation of the humanity! I don’t know how many deaths and disabilities will result from publication of his comments, but I have no doubt that society will pay a hefty toll for Thompson’s gorification (yes, I am spelling this correctly) of drug abuse.

As a neuropharmacologist who studies the psychopathology associated with drug abuse, I cringed at Thompson’s implied advocacy of the use of substances such as amanita muscaria mushrooms, which cause fatal liver toxicity. But worse yet is the non-fatal brain damage associated with drugs like ecstasy, which creates humans who no longer have the ability to function normally.

I am sorry to learn that you provide a venue for such shamefully pathological writing.

Robert C. Speth
Pullman, Wash.

Bush ain’t no bull
Re “This Modern World” [RN&R, Feb. 6]:

As the old saying goes, you’re more likely to be pitied than censured for your “Like father like son” cartoon panel, which itself was a “simplistic misrepresentation of the facts.” You will be pitied because the lies, the self-serving hypocritical rhetoric, the naked emotional appeals and more damned lies that you attribute to our president are what we have been fed, not in 12 years but in eight, by the degenerate from Arkansas. You are obviously too blind to see it. You are also pitied because you can’t recognize Bush’s honor, decency and integrity, at least compared with Bull Clinton’s (Bull is said purposefully, as in bullshitter).

Clinton, Gore and so many of their fellow travelers, and now you, are psychopathic liars who wouldn’t know or discern the truth if it bit them, and you, in the derriere—the repository of whatever brains you may possess.

Dissent is one thing, sedition is quite another. Sinning against the greatest country in history is utterly reprehensible. Wake up, comrades!

Charles A. Conroy