Letters for July 6, 2006

He’s caffeinated, not paranoid

Re “Way too much pot, etc.” and “Truth or paranoia?” (SN&R Letters, June 29):

Letter writer F. Thomas Cain’s conclusions are in error. Neither I, nor any of my friends at 16th and J streets, to my knowledge, use any of the mind-altering substances he mentions, or any others. I do, however, drink coffee.

H. Michael Sarkisian claims in his letter that he has spoken with me “on several occasions.” I do not recall ever having spoken with anyone by that name, nor have I ever called him or anyone I’ve spoken with “a ‘murderer’ and worse,” as he states.

David R. Kimball

Counting the truth space

Re “To tell the truth” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, June 22):

Thanks to R.V. Scheide for writing this story. It’s one that needs more attention.

I have a couple of comments.

According to my count, Scheide devoted 22 percent of the space (I counted lines; 200 out of 879) to presenting the evidence that the World Trade Center (WTC) was blown up. He devoted 21 percent (190 lines out of 879) of the space to commentary on why conspiracy theories are popular and why this one is wrong, from Olmstead, Cahill and Taylor. They all fail to understand one thing: Whatever decision one person makes about what to believe about 9/11 does not change what happened on that day.

Overall, I think this article will help to expand the ongoing debate about what really happened on 9/11. Thank you for publishing it!

Mark Graham

NIST, FEMA, whatever

Re “To tell the truth” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, June 22):

This story was riddled with factual errors and misleading statements that are typical of these so-called truth activists.

For example: The article mentions that the NIST study of the twin towers was adopted by FEMA. This is incorrect. NIST adopted FEMA’s study and expanded upon it.

Second, when Scheide mentioned FEMA’s earlier “conclusion”: “The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remains unknown at this time. Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the best hypothesis [fire/damage-caused collapse] has only a low probability of occurrence. Further research, investigation and analyses are needed to resolve this issue.”

This line is taken out of context, and additional words not included in the FEMA report have been added to change the meaning. “[Fire/damage-caused collapse]” is not in, nor implied in, the report. In fact, the very line above the one quoted states: “Loss of structural integrity was likely a result of weakening caused by fires on the 5th to 7th floors.” The low probability of occurrence was a reference to the total diesel fuel, not the fire/damage-caused-collapse hypothesis.

This also conflicts with another part of the report where they mention, “The performance of WTC 7 is of significant interest because it appears the collapse was due primarily to fire, rather than any impact damage from the collapsing towers.”

Third, Scheide stated: “Yet, no further investigation has been forthcoming.” NIST is coming out with a final report on Building 7 in December of this year.

Fourth, Professor Jones states there are squibs coming out from the side of Building 7. Jones’ video (that he uses in his paper online) is of very low quality and full of low-resolution artifacting. When compared with a higher-quality video source, such as at www.911myths.com, you can see there are no squibs and they occur after the building is already in collapse.

I urge others to do their own research and carefully read the opposing arguments against these wild and poorly substantiated claims.

Scott Sleeper
via e-mail

R.V. Scheide replies: Mr. Sleeper is correct that I inadvertently reversed the order of the reports. NIST adopted FEMA’s study. I apologize for the error, and it’s been corrected online. That doesn’t invalidate the facts taken from the reports used in the story. I respectfully disagree with all of his other points.

Bad rap for good dogs

Re “Let the dogs rock on” (SN&R Guest Comment, June 22):

I must come to the defense of my American pit bull terrier, Scarlet.

Mr. Reany’s justifiable gripe about Cesar Chavez Plaza’s policy on excluding canines was interesting. What appalled me was his hypocrisy in targeting American pit bull terriers and Rottweilers as habitual misbehavers. Mr. Reany cannot separate himself from the exclusionary tactics employed by the plaza.

Responsible owners of Rottweilers and American pit bull terriers would never allow their animals to indiscriminately “pick” fights with other dogs. Why should they have to abide by Mr. Reany’s injunction to leave “pit bulls and rotties at home”?

Mr. Reany must be made aware that despite all the misguided hate projected onto American pit bull terriers, these dogs routinely and consistently score well above most other canine breeds in temperament testing (www.atts.org). Moreover, sound American pit bull terriers are great companions for children because they can handle rough-and-tumble play without responding in a negative fashion.

I would caution SN&R, a paper that proposes to be progressive in its thinking, from allowing further unfair slights such as Mr. Reany’s to be printed amongst its pages. In all fairness, a dog of any classification should be judged on its individual deeds, not according to its mythical, and many times inaccurate, legend.

Roland Magill
via e-mail

Byrne’s out of line …

Re “Baby killers” by Peter Byrne (SN&R Essay, June 22):

A longtime reader, I have always enjoyed SN&R’s mix of political analysis (remarkably balanced among the alternative papers) and local scoop on food, music and sundry happenings.

Byrne’s essay “Baby killers” struck me as an anomaly and upset me for one simple reason. While I oppose our involvement in Iraq, Byrne’s piece suffers from such an incredible dearth of journalistic and factual foundation as to be almost a parody of what the right is always harping about, accusing the “liberal media” of distortion and innuendo. Byrne proves their point. He offers outrageous accusations, inflammatory invective and moralistic diatribe, revising history without any substantial data, elucidated facts or cited sources on which to base his assertions and arguments.

Byrne’s tirade accuses our forces of genocide and asserts that this is a historic “business as usual” for American troops throughout history. I say bull sh*t, unless Byrne can provide evidence. He does not.

I know there are daily tragedies in Iraq. War is a tragic means of solving disputes, and Iraq is more the rule than the exception in that respect. But Byrne’s brush is way too wide, and his paint is full of water. If Byrne is going to make such outrageous and stupid statements without foundation, he should stick to Starbucks conversations and stay away from legitimate media, which he is demeaning by his shtick. Perhaps he needs to visit Baghdad and get some facts of his own instead of making it up as he goes.

Thanks for listening. Now I can feel OK about continuing to read my SN&R.

Steve Boreman
via e-mail

… but she loves him!

Re “Baby killers” by Peter Byrne (SN&R Essay, June 22):

Mr. Byrne, thank you for your indignation! We, the deafeningly silent people, permit murder, torture, massacres and other war crimes to be purchased with our tax dollars. In Afghanistan and Iraq, some of our soldiers and too many of our private military contractors (i.e., guns for hire) commit these crimes. In Palestine, Somalia, East Timor, etc., it is our paid surrogates who commit them.

If we are so desensitized as to no longer have compassion for the suffering of beleaguered people “over there,” are we perhaps at least greedy enough to protest billions of our tax dollars being stolen by corrupt sole-sourced contractors or simply “lost” in suitcases stuffed with millions of dollars?

Shame on us!

Brigitte Jaensch

Thanks, Jack

Re “'I would do it again’” by Rachel Gregg (SN&R News, June 22):

I just had to offer my thanks to Jack Tocco (and the unnamed middle-aged woman) for doing what we have all wanted to do for years!

It is painful to see that our First Amendment rights can be abused to such extremes by hate-filled propagandists such as the driver of that truck. I really appreciate and respect these two vandals for taking a hit in the name of tolerance. The truck driver is lucky it was Tocco that snapped that day and not me, considering I would have probably left that hardware store with a can of gasoline and some matches instead.

Wayne Farrens
via e-mail

Try an angel instead

Re “'I would do it again’” by Rachel Gregg (SN&R News, June 22):

Like Jack Tocco, I disagree vehemently with and am offended by the strange truck-man’s weird and repulsive manner of expressing his opinion.

Unlike Mr. Tocco, I am not in the least tempted to violate the truck-man’s (can’t help myself—that’s what I call him, and everyone knows who I mean) civil rights. No matter how offensive, wrong-minded, hateful or just plain awful his opinions, the truck-man has as much right to express them as I do mine.

A more appropriate response: Use that paint to make your own sign and stand next to his truck. Or, better yet, do as the counter-protesters did to the “God Hates Fags” preacher, Fred Phelps, in Wyoming: Dress as an angel and cover the truck-man’s hateful message with love, grace and style.

Jan Klein