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How To Stay Free
Re: "In Defense of Liberty" by Jim Harper, Hal Crowther, Bill Berkowitz and Bob Barr (Aug. 6-12)

Thanks for contributing some in-depth coverage on the government's cleverly disguised programs that are stripping away the basic civil rights of Americans. The fact that so many millions of seemingly intelligent people are apathetic to what has been going on in Washington is truly frightening. As cliched as it seems, the bumper sticker reads true: If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!

While I found the articles informative, I think a disservice was done to your readers by not providing information on how to be pro-active and fight against these initiatives. There are many great websites out there to keep us informed, to help us join in or organize protests, and to provide an easy way to send e-mails directly to our representatives in Congress. Here are a few examples: www.InternationalANSWER.org, votenowar.org, votetoimpeach.org, united forpeace.org and notinmyname.org.

I hope you will continue to cover these important issues and to urge people to take it upon themselves to stay informed via non-mainstream media (including WMNF and WUSF). Even if it's just making their voices heard by voting online to protect our rights and freedoms, more people need to be called to action. The future of our country depends on it.

—Jessica Dwyer
St. Petersburg

It's Still Stealing
Re: "Give me downloads or give me death" by Steve Fennessy (August 13-19)

Until you've actually received a BMI check, cashed it, and paid a bill with it, spare me the martyrdom stories of the snotty, collegiate American. Stealing from the comfort of one's own home (or dare I say university), however comfortable one may be with it, is still stealing.

Your writer is losing his mind in some Stalinist daydream. The tone of this piece, while never straying too far from the juvenile notion that it's "seww cool" to create high-quality bootlegs, would suggest that any artist with a contract and a distribution deal is somehow inundated with money and has no need to sell records for his career to survive!

Particularly pubescent is your denotation of Congressman Howard Berman (D-Ca.) as a recording industry "stooge." Berman, who has done fine work in pursuing checks and balances against the manipulations of the military/industrial complex, makes an honorable (if unpopular) stance by batting for the RIAA.

In your efforts to villify an entire industry, you have thumbed your nose at thousands of good people who are clinging to employment. If you could provide one example of a working musician or filmmaker who has measurably benefited from the worldwide heisting of copyrighted materials, it wouldn't change the definition of larceny.

—Greg Zink

Who's A Dirtbag?
Re: "Radio Jingo" by Scott Harrell (Aug. 6-12)

Let me tell you something, my friend. Consider yourself lucky that you live in a country where you can openly express your views without the threat of direct repercussions, like Iraq where they would probably dip your balls in boiling oil for your sideways support for the enemy.

In my opinion, you're a dirtbag for giving the two Hussein brothers even a shred of dignity by your stance. It's people like you that are the personification of everything that's wrong with this country right now. Liberalism is gutlessness.

—Tom Voiland

Thank you for writing your article. I do not understand why we tolerate the demeaning of Middle Eastern culture through our media outlets. It happens too often. Thank you again for being part of the solution.

—Sean Fuller
St. Petersburg

Respect For The Prey
Re: "Fish as Food," a letter from Louise Kahle of PETA (Aug. 6-12)

So, Ms. Kahle, what is it exactly that you eat, lettuce? I guess you became lackadaisical in your research or didn't get the memo but plants feel, too. Where do you draw the line on what deserves not to be eaten? Do you also write in to National Geographic when you see pictures of big fish eating small fish? Such a shame that baby fish can't enlist your writing skills to save them from the unfair tyranny of the monstrous bigger fish of the sea? Be realistic about the food chain.

Regarding your concern for young children: What planet are you from that teaching children to provide for themselves by living off the land (and sea) is a bad thing? Surely after-school spearfishing for dinner is preferable than most unhealthy pastimes and an admirable skill. For a freediver to enter a place so inhospitable to humans as the sea, to adapt to life without air, and to hunt against all odds —that shows the deepest possible respect of predator for prey.

Regarding your concern about health: I guess you're fortunate enough to live in a bubble and be spared from the constant bombardment of toxins we meet daily. If you think that you're a healthier person just because you don't consume fish with dioxin and methyl mercury, then I'm sorry for your ignorance. There is a far greater correlation between a positive outlook and health than any data you're looking at. I urge you to assess your attitude before criticizing others' consumption habits.

So you feel that "spearfishing is cruel." A very interesting point, especially considering that you had no problem launching an attack on Noel without him being able to defend himself. It is clear that in your world, animals have feelings but people do not. Perhaps if you devoted even a quarter of your compassion toward humans you might actually make a difference in the world.

—Anne Margaret Konovitch
Madeira Beach

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